The Pendragon Society’s 1000 Greatest Films (2019) 640-621


640. Heimat: A Chronicle of Germany (1984) Dir. Edgar Reitz, 924 mins.

Shot in 35 mm, the sixteen hour epic TV series depicts over sixty years, beginning 1919 and ending in 1982, German political history through its impact on family life in the fictitious German rural village of Schabbach in the Rhineland. A revisionist film, Reitz pursues history in terms of personal stories, seeking to restore a sense of continuity to the discontinuous and fragmented history of Germany. He integrates the Hitler regime into the lived experiences of the simple, unpolitical German villagers who consequently appear more as victims than anywhere near participants in the Third Reich. Becoming the most widely known and critically acclaimed history film of New German Cinema, it features remarkable attention to detail in its reconstructions of the various historical periods. It was screened as a film in two parts in European film festivals and all major German cities in the summer of 1984 before its release on TV.

639. The New Land (1972) Dir. Jan Troell, 204 mins.

In a sequel to Troell’s 1971 film The Emigrants, Max von Sydow and Liv Ullmann star as the Swedish immigrants establishing their home in Minnesota, during the Dakota War of 1862. With totally believable characters and stunning photography The New Land makes for brilliant and compelling cinema.

638. The Saragossa Manuscript (1965) Dir. Wojciech Has, 182 mins.

Based on the novel by Jan Potocki and set during the Napoleonic Wars, two officers from opposing sides find a manuscript in a deserted house, which tells the tale of the Spanish officer’s grandfather, Alphonso van Worden (Zbigniew Cybulski). Van Worden travelled in the region many years before, being plagued by evil spirits, and meeting such figures as a Qabalist, a sultan and a gypsy, who tell him further stories, many of which intertwine and interrelate with one another.

637. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011) Dir. David Yates, 130 mins.

The eighth and final instalment of the massively successful Harry Potter franchise follows Harry’s continuing quest to find and destroy Lord Voldemort’s Horcruxes in order to stop him once and for all. It’s a hugely entertaining and visually strong finale that may just be the best of the series and features a terrific ensemble cast, including Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort and Alan Rickman as the unfortunate but ultimately redeemed Professor Snape.

636. Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) Dir. Wes Anderson, 87 mins.

Anderson’s first full length animation, using stop-motion effects, is about a fox (voiced by George Clooney) who steals food each night from three mean and wealthy farmers, despite promising his wife (Meryl Streep) he’ll stop his chicken thievery. The farmers have become so fed up with Mr. Fox’s theft that they try to kill him, digging their way into the foxes’ home, but the animals are able to outwit the farmers and live underground. While the American accents don’t seem right for an adaptation of Roald Dahl and the female characters are under used, Anderson’s amusing tale successfully channels the writer’s darkly comic humour.

635. Eastern Promises (2007) Dir. David Cronenberg, 100 mins.

An exploration of violence and identity, Cronenberg’s gripping gangster thriller tells the story of a Russian-British midwife, Anna (Naomi Watts), who delivers the baby of a drug-addicted 14-year old Russian prostitute who dies in childbirth. After Anna learns that the teen was lured into prostitution by the Russian Mafia in London, the Russian gangsters threaten the baby’s life to keep Anna from telling the police about their sex trafficking ring. Soon she herself is under threat from the temperamental mobster (Vincent Cassel) and his driver (the excellent Viggo Mortensen). Particularly notable for the atmospheric cinematography and the visceral fight scene in a Turkish baths.

634. The Revenant (2015) Dir. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, 156 mins.

The screenplay by Mark L. Smith and Iñárritu is based in part on Michael Punke’s 2002 novel of the same name, describing frontiersman Hugh Glass’s experiences in 1823.

633. The Fly (1986) Dir. David Cronenberg, 95 mins.

Another visceral horror from the master, David Cronenberg that’s loosely based on George Langelaan’s 1957 short story of the same name. The film tells of an eccentric scientist (Jeff Goldblum) who, after his molecular teleportation experiment goes wrong, slowly mutates into a fly-hybrid creature. Like some of Cronenberg’s earlier output the film addresses his fears of illness and deformity and even with the horrifying gore, he manages to find poignancy and humour, helped greatly by Goldblum’s sensitive performance.

632. Kin-Dza-Dza (1986) Dir. Georgiy Daneliya, 135 mins.

A dystopian comic satire that follows two Russians,  a gruff construction worker and a Georgian student, who find themselves transported to an alien landscape after pushing the wrong button on a strange device. They’ve ended up on a planet named Pluke, a barren desert world that’s home to an oppressive bureaucratic society and where the humanoid inhabitants are telepathic. An imaginative cult sci-fi that parodies Russian society with the sort of absurdist humour that could be classed as Pythonesque.

631. The Secret in their Eyes (2009) Dir. Juan José Campanella, 127 mins.

The Argentine-Spanish crime drama depicts a judiciary employee and a judge in 1974 as they investigate a rape and murder case that turns into an obsession for all the people involved, while also following the characters 25 years later reminiscing over the case and unearthing the buried romance between them. Full of excellent performances and with an unpredictable narrative, the film is well on its way to becoming a classic of world cinema. It placed 91st on the BBC’s 100 Greatest Films of the 21st Century.

630. The Twilight Samurai (2002) Dir. Yoji Yamada, 129 mins.

Set in mid-19th century Japan, a few years before the Meiji Restoration, it follows the life of Seibei Iguchi, a low-ranking samurai employed as a bureaucrat. Poor, but not destitute, he still manages to lead a content and happy life with his daughters and his mother who has dementia. Through an unfortunate turn of events, the turbulent times conspire against him.

629. Safety Last! (1923) Dir. Fred C. Newmeyer, Sam Taylor, 70 mins.

With Safety Last, star Harold Lloyd introduced the special style of comedy of thrills with which his name became always associated with. It’s the story of an average country boy trying to make good in the big city. The Boy (Lloyd) leaves his sweetheart, The Girl (Mildred Davis, later the real-life Mrs. Lloyd) in Great Bend while he pursues his fortune in a teeming metropolis. The film’s famous final third sees Lloyd attempting to scale the side of skyscraper.

628. Apollo 13 (1995) Dir. Ron Howard, 140 mins.

The film depicts astronauts Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert and Fred Haise aboard Apollo 13 for America’s third Moon landing mission. En route, an on-board explosion deprives their spacecraft of most of its oxygen supply and electric power, forcing NASA’s flight controllers to abort the Moon landing, and turning the mission into a struggle to get the three men home safely. Howard delivers a detailed and compelling true story of what happened to the crew of the seemingly doomed mission and is helped along by strong performances and a terrific soundtrack from James Horner.

627. Dead Man (1995) Dir. Jim Jarmusch, 121 mins.

A western black comedy, shot in black and white, about a city slicker clerk (Johnny Depp) who goes to a wild west town to take an accountancy job and, after accidentally killing a man, ends up a gunfighter on the run with an enigmatic Indian buddy in the Northwest wilderness. It’s as odd as one would expect from Jarmush, but there are some memorable sequences and an interesting and well used supporting cast that includes Robert Mitchum, John Hurt, Gabriel Byrne and Iggy Pop.

626. Fireworks (1997) Dir. Takeshi Kitano, 103 mins.

Writer/director Takeshi Kitano plays a beleaguered policeman, Nishi, whose life is falling apart around him. His daughter was murdered, his wife is dying of leukemia, and his partner was ambushed by gangsters and paralysed. Nishi further complicates his situation by borrowing money from the Yakusa so that he can quit his job and spend more time with his wife. Fascinating, unique and with brutal flashes of violence, Fireworks helped transform Kitano’s reputation into that of a serious filmmaker in his native Japan.

625. Alphaville (1965) Dir. Jean-Luc Godard, 99 mins.

Set in the future and shot entirely on location in Paris, using high contrast super fast black and white film, Alphhaville is a dystopian thriller in which a totalitarian society is ruled by the computer ‘Alpha 60’. It’s both a stylized sci-fi adventure and a social myth about the competing claims of human love and new technology.

624. Spartacus (1960) Dir. Stanley Kubrick, 184 mins.

Kirk Douglas dominates Kubrick’s sword and sandal epic as the gladiator who defies an empire. Having worked with Kubrick on Paths of Glory, it was Douglas, also executive producer on Spartacus, who hired him to replace Anthony Mann after only the first week of shooting. The film was the most expensive made in the US up to that time, and the only one that Kubrick didn’t have complete artistic control over. However, despite some creative battles, he was still able to bring out his masterful cinematic techniques and intellectual ambitions within an industry framework.

623. Judgment at Nuremberg (1961) Dir. Stanley Kramer, 179 mins.

Set in Nuremberg in 1948, the film depicts a fictionalised version of the Judges’ Trial of 1947, one of the twelve U.S. military tribunals during the Subsequent Nuremberg trials. The tribunal, led by Chief Trial Judge Dan Haywood (Spencer Tracy), sees four German judges and prosecutors (as compared to 16 defendants in the actual Judges’ Trial) stand accused of crimes against humanity for their involvement in atrocities committed under the Nazi regime. The film deals with non-combatant war crimes against a civilian population, the Holocaust, and examines the post-World War II geopolitical complexity of the actual Nuremberg Trials.

622. Pixote (1981) Dir. Hector Babenco, 128 mins.

The plot revolves around Pixote (Fernando Ramos da Silva), a ten year old boy living on the streets of Sao Paulo, who is used as a child criminal in muggings and drug transport. Babenco delivers an hallucinatory vision with an uncompromising realism that offers no easy solutions to the plight of Pixote and his fellow street boys. The story takes on further resonance with the knowledge that six years after the film da Silva was killed in a shoot out with police.

621. Z (1969) Dir. Costa-Gavras, 127 mins.

One of the most highly praised political films of the post-war era, Costa-Gavros’s thriller presents a thinly fictionalised account of the events surrounding the assassination of democratic Greek politician Grigoris Lambrakis in 1963. It’s fast paced action cinema and a satirical attack on Greece’s military junta who ruled the country from 1967 to 1974.




The Pendragon Society’s 1000 Greatest Films (2019) 660-641


660. The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) Dir. Robert Wise, 92 mins.

Robert Wise’s entertaining sci-fi classic sees a humanoid alien visitor named Klaatu (Michael Rennie), accompanied by a softly spoken but powerful eight-foot tall robot, Gort, who lands his UFO in Washington D.C., to deliver an important message to Earth’s leaders that will affect the entire human race. Klaatu has come on behalf of Aliens who are feeling threatened by the nuclear proliferation they have viewed on post-war Earth. Reflecting the fear and paranoia of the early cold-war era, The Day the Earth Stood Still is a landmark for the genre that’s superbly crafted, thought provoking and has aged remarkably well. More…

659. Bob le Flambeur (1956) Dir. Jean-Pierre Melville, 98 mins.

Co-scripted by the popular crime writer Auguste Le Breton (Rififi), the film is the story of ex-bank robber and compulsive gambler Bob (Roger Duchesne), who plans one last big heist at the Deauville casino. Placing the ambience of a Hollywood film noir into a Parisian milieu, the film features deft cinematography from Henri Decae and although Melville grew to hate the dialogue, the film was a great inspiration to the directors of the New Wave phenomenon. Watch

658. The Act of Killing (2012) Dir. Joshua Oppenheimer, Christine Cynn, 115 mins.

The Act of Killing is a documentary about individuals who participated in the Indonesian mass killings of 1965–66. Watch

657. Sanjuro (1962) Dir. Akira Kurosawa, 96 mins.

Toshiro Mifune stars as a wandering samurai warrior who becomes the mentor for a bunch of budding samurai who are heading toward a showdown with their corrupt clan fathers. Watch

656. East of Eden (1955) Dir. Elia Kazan, 115 mins.

It is about a wayward young man (James Dean) who, while seeking his own identity, vies for the affection of his deeply religious father against his favoured brother, thus retelling the story of Cain and Abel. Watch

655. The Damned (1969) Dir. Luchino Visconti, 154 mins.

The plot centres on the Essenbecks, a wealthy industrialist family who have begun doing business with the Nazi Party, a thinly veiled reference to the Essen-based Krupp family of steel industrialists. Buy

654. Heaven Can Wait (1943) Dir. Ernst Lubitsch, 112 mins.

The film tells the story of a man who has to prove he belongs in Hell by telling his life story. Watch

653. Daisies (1966) Dir. Vera Chytilova, 74 mins.

A Czech New wave comedy, generally regarded as a milestone of the Nová Vlna movement, the surreal and exuberant film was made with the support of a state-sponsored film studio and follows two subversive teenage girls (Jitka Cerhová and Ivana Karbanová), both named Marie, who engage in strange pranks. Buy

652. Winter Sleep (2014) Dir. Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 196 mins.

Adapted from the short story, “The Wife” by Anton Chekhov and one subplot of The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, the story is set in Anatolia and examines the significant divide between the rich and the poor as well as the powerful and the powerless in Turkey. Watch

651. The Florida Project (2017) Dir. Sean Baker, 111 mins.

The plot follows a six-year-old girl living with her rebellious mother in a motel in Kissimmee, Florida as they try to stay out of trouble and make ends meet, so they may keep one step ahead of impending homelessness. Watch

650. Stray Dog (1949) Dir. Akira Kurosawa, 122 mins.

Notable as a precursor to the contemporary police procedural and buddy cop film genres, Akira Kurosawa’s crime drama also shows consideration for the difficult period of Japanese postwar recovery. Regular Kurosawa collaborators Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura star as the rookie and the veteran detectives in a visually strong and complex film. Watch

649. White Heat (1949) Dir. Raoul Walsh, 114 mins.

This gangster movie centres on a psychotic, mother-obsessed thug. Watch

648. The Red Balloon (1956) Dir. Albert Lamorisse, 34 mins.

A thirty-five-minute short, which follows the adventures of a young lonely boy who one day finds a sentient, mute, red balloon. Notable at the very least for being the first film without dialogue since the silent era to be Oscar nominated for best screenplay, it’s also an enchanting journey that sees the balloon following the wonderfully responsive Pascal Lamorisse (son of director Albert) across Paris towards an uplifting finale. Watch

647. The Remains of the Day (1993) Dir. James Ivory, 134 mins.

Anthony Hopkins plays Stevens, the “perfect” butler to a prosperous British household of the 1930s. He is so unswervingly devoted to serving his master, a well-meaning but callow British lord (James Fox), that he shuts himself off from all emotions and familial relationships. New housekeeper Miss Kenton (Emma Thompson) tries to warm him up and awaken his humanity. Watch

646. The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013) Dir. Isao Takahata, 137 mins.

Found inside a shining stalk of bamboo by an old bamboo cutter (James Caan) and his wife (Mary Steenburgen), a tiny girl grows rapidly into an exquisite young lady (Chloë Grace Moretz). The mysterious young princess enthrals all who encounter her, but ultimately she must confront her fate, the punishment for her crime. Buy

645. Time of the Gypsies (1988) Dir. Emir Kusturica, 136 mins.

After several notable award winners earlier in the 80s, Bosnian born Kusterica further affirmed his reputation as a world class European director with a film about a Romani teenager with telekinetic powers who is tricked into engaging in petty crime in Milan’s underworld. Funny, moving and tragic. Watch

644. The Human Condition II: Road to Eternity (1959) Dir. Masaki Kobayashi, 181 mins.

Kaji, having lost his exemption from military service by protecting Chinese prisoners from unjust punishment, has now been conscripted into the Japanese Kwantung Army. Under suspicion of leftist sympathies, Kaji is assigned the toughest duties in his military recruiting class despite his excellent marksmanship and strong barracks discipline. Buy

643. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) Dir. Michael Curtiz, William Keighley, 102 mins.

The film concerns a Saxon knight (Errol Flynn) who, in King Richard’s absence in the Holy Land during the Crusades, fights against injustice as the outlaw leader of a rebel guerrilla band against Prince John and the Norman lords oppressing the Saxon commoners. A terrific rousing adventure movie from Hollywood’s Golden Age. Watch

642. Memories of Murder (2003) Dir. Joon-ho Bong, 130 mins.

It is based on the true story of Korea’s first serial murders in history, which took place between 1986 and 1991 in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province. Watch

641. Moon (2009) Dir. Duncan Jones, 97 mins.

Duncan Jones’s feature debut follows Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell), a man who experiences a personal crisis as he nears the end of a three-year solitary stint mining helium-3 on the far side of the Moon. Rockwell gives an intense performance in a gripping old school sci-fi that has heart as well as intelligence. Watch


The Pendragon Society’s 1000 Greatest Films (2019) 680-661


680. A History of Violence (2005) Dir. David Cronenberg, 96 mins.

An adaptation of the 90s graphic novel of the same name, the film stars Viggo Mortensen as the owner of a small-town diner who is thrust into the spotlight after confronting and killing two robbers in self-defence, an action that has huge implications for both himself and his family. The maverick Cronenberg won’t please everyone with his heightened scenes of violence but the film is a potent and complex character study.

679. An Autumn Afternoon (1962) Dir. Yasujiro Ozu, 112 mins.

It stars Ozu regular Chishū Ryū as the patriarch of the Hirayama family who eventually realises that he has a duty to arrange a marriage for his daughter Michiko (Shima Iwashita).

678. Hour of the Wolf (1968) Dir. Ingmar Bergman, 90 mins.

Ingmar Bergman’s spin on the demons that plague his fellow creative artists, follows Max von Sydow as a painter who, while spending a summer in seclusion with his pregnant wife Liv Ullmann, is visited by bizarre and disturbing visions.

677. In Cold Blood (1967) Dir. Richard Brooks, 134 mins.

An adaptation of Truman Capote’s bestseller, the film follows the trail of real life murderers Perry Smith and Dick Hickock who went to rob the home of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas, and ended up killing all four members of the family who were present. They then went on the run before being caught by the police, tried for the murders, and eventually executed. Brooks delivers a remarkably faithful adaptation given the source material had been deemed unfilmable. Holding onto a relentlessly grim mood throughout, the film has some harrowing moments enhanced by a strong cast.

676. The Cloud-Capped Star (1960) Dir. Ritwik Ghatak, 126 mins.

The first of an audacious and politically charged trilogy based in Calcutta that controversially addressed the condition of refugees, The Cloud-Capped Star is a devastating tale that centres on a working woman (Supriya Choudhury) who sacrifices her freedom and eventually her life to provide for her uncaring siblings. A basic and at times starkly realist narrative is enhanced by Ritwik Ghatak’s inventive direction and an overlaying mythic reference to a Bengali legend, about the Goddess Durga, that defines the actual means by which women are oppressed.

675. Castle in the Sky (1986) Dir. Hayao Miyazaki, 124 mins.

Miyazaki’s animated classic follows the adventures of a young boy and girl attempting to keep a magic crystal from a group of military agents, while searching for a legendary floating castle. Blends fable, steampunk and exciting action scenes to create an epic fantasy for all ages.

674. The Triplets of Belleville (2003) Dir. Sylvain Chomet, 80 mins.

The film tells the story of an elderly woman who goes on a quest to rescue her grandson.

673. A Short Film About Love (1988) Dir. Krzysztof Kieslowski, 86 mins.

A Short Film About Love is one of two episodes of Kieslowski’s The Decalogue TV series, that focused on the Ten Commandments, to be expanded for a cinema release. The film is about a shy young post office worker who spies on a promiscuous older woman living in an adjacent apartment building and falls deeply in love with her. There’s some beautiful and funny moments and it helped set Kieslowski on the road to international prominence.

672. Grizzly Man (2005) Dir. Werner Herzog, 103 mins.

Herzog’s documentary chronicles the life of bear enthusiast Timothy Treadwell and includes some of his own footage of his interactions with grizzly bears shot before he and his girlfriend were killed and devoured by one of the wild animals in 2003. Fascinating and provocative, the film refuses to judge, leaving the audience to make up their own minds about Treadwell’s mental state.

671. Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985) Dir. Paul Schrader, 121 mins.

Produced by Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas, the film is based on the life and work of the self-destructive Japanese writer Yukio Mishima (Ken Ogata), and shows interweaving episodes from his life with dramatisations of segments from his books, The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, Kyoko’s House, and Runaway Horses. Featuring a stunning score from Philip Glass, Schrader’s unconventional biopic is inventively plotted and visually arresting.

670. Central Station (1998) Dir. Walter Salles, 113 mins.

It tells the story of a nine year old orphan boy, Josue (Vinicius de Oliveira) and his friendship with a jaded middle-aged former school teacher, Dora (an Oscar nominated performance by Fernanda Montenegro). Salles delivers a beautiful haunting tale that never slips into cheap sentimentality and offers real insight into the human condition.

669. The Ladykillers (1955) Dir. Alexander Mackendrick, 91 mins.

Music professor Alec Guinness rents a London flat from sweet old lady Katie Johnson. He tells her that, from time to time, several other musicians will visit in order to rehearse. In truth, Guinness can’t play a note, nor can his visitors as he’s a criminal mastermind, holding court over a gang of thieves, including the likes of punkish Peter Sellers, homicidal Herbert Lom and punchdrunk Danny Green. The gang uses Guinness’ flat as headquarters as they conceive a daring £60,000 robbery.

668. Grey Gardens (1975) Dir. Ellen Hovde, Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Muffie Mayer, 100 mins.

An exploration of the inner psychological world of a mother and daughter, Edith and Eddie, who live in a rundown house in exclusive Easthampton, Long Island. Their superficially supportive, though mutually destructive, relationship is a study in family pathology. The film-makers move away from an observational approach an act as catalysts in this film, actively interacting with their subjects.

667. Into the Wild (2007) Dir. Sean Penn, 148 mins.

An adaptation of Jon Krakauer’s 1996 nonfiction book of the same name, Into the Wild follows college graduate Christopher McCandless who abandons his family and privileged life to travel across North America in the early 1990s. Penn’s character study takes a while to find its rhythm but once there becomes an uplifting and poignant tale.

666. Carlito’s Way (1993) Dir. Brian De Palma, 141 mins.

The film stars Al Pacino as Carlito Brigante, a fictional Puerto Rican drug dealer, who after spending five years in prison (released early due to a technicality), vows to go straight and to retire to the Caribbean with his girlfriend. However, his criminal past proves difficult to escape, and he unwittingly ends up being dragged into the same activities that got him imprisoned in the first place. Masterful direction by De Palma and a fine performance by Pacino that is matched by Sean Penn as Carlito’s sleazy lawyer.

665. Down By Law (1986) Dir. Jim Jarmusch, 107 mins.

The film centres on the arrest, incarceration and escape from jail of three men, a disc jockey (Tom Waits), a pimp (John Lurie) and an Italian tourist (Roberto Benigni). Arguably Jarmusch’s best film, Down by Law is delightfully funny and stylishly cinematic.

664. Casino Royale (2006) Dir. Martin Campbell, 144 mins.

The introduction of Daniel Craig as 007 takes the Bond franchise in a more gritty direction. Casino Royale takes place at the beginning of Bond’s career as the British Agent, just as he is earning his licence to kill. The film’s plot sees Bond becoming involved in an assignment to bankrupt terrorist financier Le Chiffre in a high-stakes poker game, after foiling an attack he arranged on a new aircraft being demonstrated at Miami International Airport. During the course of his assignment, Bond falls for Vesper Lynd, a treasury employee assigned to provide the money he needs for the game.

663. The Promised Land (1975) Dir. Andrzej Wajda, 179 mins.

Set in the industrial city of Łódź, The Promised Land tells the story of a Pole, a German, and a Jew struggling to build a factory in the raw world of 19th-century capitalism.

662. Mildred Pierce (1945) Dir. Michael Curtiz, 111 mins.

Dropped by MGM, Joan Crawford signed with Warner Bros. and saved her flagging career by winning the Best Actress Oscar for her performance as Mildred, a doting mother who rises from waitress to restaurant owner after the break up of her marriage. The film uses flashback to reveal the events leading up to the murder of her second husband and how her spoiled daughter’s selfishness results in heartbreak. Despite displaying elements of film noir in its narrative structure and visual style the film is known as a classic ‘woman’s picture.’ It’s well directed by Curtiz, who along with the moody photography, prevents the melodrama from becoming too much.

661. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) Dir. Martin McDonagh, 115 mins.

Written, directed and produced by Martin McDonagh, the crime drama stars Frances McDormand (delivering arguably her most compelling performance yet) as Mildred Hayes, who rents three billboards to call attention to her daughter’s unsolved rape and murder. The foul mouthed Hayes believes the local police to be lackadaisical in their efforts to solve the crime and is unconcerned that the boards upset the townspeople including popular Sheriff Bill Willoughby (Woody Harrelson), whose name appears on the third board, and officer Jason Dixon (Sam Rockwell), a dim-witted racist. While some in the media have objected to what they see as a powerful story of a grieving mother being undermined by the attempted redemption of Rockwell’s white racist character, McDonagh has crafted a surprisingly upbeat film from a bleak premise and despite all the fighting, rage and swearing it’s the quiet contemplative and cinematic moments that really make the drama hit home. More…



The Pendragon Society’s 1000 Greatest Films (2019) 700-681


700. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) Dir. Woody Allen, 103 mins.

Hannah and Her Sisters tells the intertwined stories of an extended family over two years that begins and ends with a Thanksgiving dinner.

699. Days of Being Wild (1990) Dir. Wong Kar-Wai, 94 mins.

Although a box office flop domestically, Wong Kar-Wai’s second feature maintained his reputation as one of the best up and coming art house directors on the international scene. Set in 1960, the stylish drama centres on the young, boyishly handsome rebel, Yuddy (Leslie Cheung), who learns from the drunken ex-prostitute who raised him that she is not his real mother. Deciding to trace the Filipino who gave birth to him, he leaves behind, with heartless disregard, two woman (Maggie Cheung and Carina Lau) who have fallen for him. With an intricately structured narrative and striking cinematography by Christopher Doyle, Days of Being Wild is probably Wong’s most underrated film.

698. The Big Heat (1953) Dir. Fritz Lang, 89 mins.

It centres on a cop who takes on the crime syndicate that controls his city, after the murder of his wife.

697. The Cranes Are Flying (1957) Dir. Mikhail Kalatozov, 94 mins.

It depicts the cruelty of war and the damage suffered to the Soviet psyche as a result of World War II.

696. RoboCop (1987) Dir. Paul Verhoeven, 103 mins.

Set in a crime-ridden Detroit, Michigan, in the near future, RoboCop centres on police officer Alex Murphy (Weller) who is murdered by a gang of criminals and subsequently revived by the megacorporation Omni Consumer Products (OCP) as a superhuman cyborg law enforcer known as RoboCop.

695. The Sword of Doom (1966) Dir. Kihachi Okamoto, 119 mins.

A bloodthirsty young fighter (Tatsuya Nakadai) kills a man in competition and is pursued by the slain warrior’s brother.

694. Avatar (2009) Dir. James Cameron, 150 mins.

The film is set in 2154, when humans are mining a precious mineral called unobtanium on Pandora, a lush moon of a gas giant in the Alpha Centauri star system. The expansion of the mining threatens the continued existence of a local tribe of Na’vi an indigenous humanoid species. We’ve seen this type of story before (Dances With Wolves and The Last Samurai are just two that come to mind), but never looking like this.

693. Breaker Morant (1980) Dir. Bruce Beresford, 107 mins.

While maybe lacking in subtlety, Bruce Beresford’s film touches a nationalist nerve by portraying Australian positivity against the pompous arrogance, conniving and incompetence of the British, who needing scapegoats for war crimes committed during the Second Anglo-Boer War, court martial three Australian Lieutenants Harry Morant (Edward Woodward), Peter Handcock (Bryan Brown) and George Witton. Set in 1902 and based on one of the first war crime prosecutions in British military history, the film offers historical insight from a time when Australia’s nationhood was being formed and still resonates with contemporary audiences thanks to its powerful sense of injustice.

692. Babette’s Feast (1987) Dir. Gabriel Axel, 102 mins.

A Danish film based on a short story by Karen Blixen (portrayed by Meryl Streep in Out of Africa) about two middle-aged sisters who take in a refugee as their housekeeper.

691. Goldfinger (1964) Dir. Guy Hamilton, 110 mins.

The quintessential Bond film follows Sean Connery’s 007 investigating gold smuggling by bullion dealer Auric Goldfinger and eventually uncovering his plans to contaminate the United States Bullion Depository at Fort Knox. The third entry in the series was a huge commercial success and features Shirley Bassey’s marvellous theme song and terrific action sequences.

690. Angels with Dirty Faces (1938) Dir. Michael Curtiz, 97 mins.

The film chronicles the fictional rise and fall of the notorious gangster William “Rocky” Sullivan (James Cagney). After spending three years in prison for armed robbery, Rocky intends to collect $100,000 from his co-conspirator, mob lawyer Jim Frazier. All the while, Father Jerry Connolly tries to prevent a group of youths from falling under Rocky’s influence.

689. Seven Beauties (1975) Dir. Lina Wertmüller, 115 mins.

Written by Wertmüller, the film is about an Italian everyman who deserts the army during World War II and is then captured by the Germans and sent to a prison camp, where he does anything to survive. Through flashbacks, we learn about his family of seven unattractive sisters, his accidental murder of one sister’s lover, his imprisonment in an insane asylum, where he rapes a patient, and his volunteering to be a soldier to escape confinement.

688. Smiles of a Summer Night (1955) Dir. Ingmar Bergman, 108 mins.

Although Ingmar Bergman had been directing films since the mid 1940s, it was not until Smiles of a Summer Night that he achieved substantial international recognition. Somewhat indebted to Mozart’s ‘ The Marriage of Figaro’, the film follows four people who indulge in a sexual rivalry during a wild weekend at a resort. A sophisticated comedy, the elegant ironies temper the film’s sense of the transience of love, happiness and enlightenment. The film inspired Woody Allen’s A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy.

687. Casque d’Or (1952) Dir. Jacques Becker, 96 mins.

One of the great films of the French classical era, Becker’s Casque d’Or is set in the turn of the century milieu of pimps and prostitutes. Not a popular success when released, perhaps because of its understated style, it has since been lauded for Simone Signoret’s performance and its heartbreaking romantic narrative.

686. War and Peace (1967) Dir. Sergei Bondarchuk, 453 mins.

An epic adaptation of Tolstoy’s novel that centres around the lives of two families during Napoleon’s 1812 invasion of Russia.

685. Jurassic Park (1993) Dir. Steven Spielberg, 127 mins.

Based on the novel by Michael Crichton, Spielberg’s dinosaur epic is set on the fictional island of Isla Nublar, located off Central America’s Pacific Coast near Costa Rica, where a billionaire philanthropist (Richard Attenborough) and a small team of genetic scientists have created a wildlife park of cloned dinosaurs. When the park’s technology breaks the dinosaurs are set loose. While the film has a ferocity which sits uneasily alongside its tidy moral lessons, Spielberg manages to combine the bitter horror of his early work with state of the art special effects to create some awe inspiring moments. The film surpassed the earnings of E.T. to become, what was then, the biggest grossing film of all time.

684. Celine and Julie Go Boating (1974) Dir. Jacques Rivette, 192 mins.

The film begins with Julie sitting on a park bench reading a book of magic spells when a woman (Céline) walks past, and begins dropping (à la Lewis Carroll’s White Rabbit) various possessions. Julie begins picking them up, and tries to follow Céline around Paris, sometimes at a great pace (for instance, sprinting up Montmartre to keep pace with Céline’s tram). After adventures following Céline around the Parisian streets, at one point it looks as if they have gone their separate ways, never to meet up again, Céline finally decides to move in with Julie.

683. Halloween (1978) Dir. John Carpenter, 91 mins.

In the film, on Halloween night in 1963, Michael Myers murders his sister in the fictional Midwestern United States town of Haddonfield, Illinois. He escapes on October 30, 1978, from Smith’s Grove Sanitarium, and returns home to kill again. The next day, Halloween, Michael stalks teenager Laurie Strode and her friends, while Michael’s psychiatrist, Samuel Loomis, pursues his patient, knowing his intentions.

682. Slumdog Millionaire (2008) Dir. Danny Boyle, 120 mins.

The film tells the story of 18 year old orphan Jamal Malik, from the Juhu slums of Mumbai, who becomes a contestant on the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Jamal looks back on his life so far, showing how he is able to answer every question while dealing with the suspicions that he is cheating. A feel good film that’s often exhilarating, Slumdog won eight academy awards.

681. Koyaanisqatsi (1982) Dir. Godfrey Reggio, 86 mins.

The first of Reggio’s trilogy of non-narrative examinations of landscapes and people-escapes with non-stop musical backing from Philip Glass.


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720. Dersu Uzala (1975) Dir. Akira Kurosawa, 144 mins.

The film is based on the 1923 memoir Dersu Uzala (which took its name from the native trapper) by Russian explorer Vladimir Arsenyev, about his exploration of the Sikhote-Alin region of the Russian Far East over the course of multiple expeditions in the early 20th century. Buy

719. Kiss Me Deadly (1955) Dir. Robert Aldrich, 104 mins.

This film noir stars Ralph Meeker as Mickey Spillane’s anti-social private eye Mike Hammer. After he and a hitchhiker are kidnapped by thugs, the semiconscious Hammer helplessly watches as the girl is tortured to death. Seeking vengeance, Hammer searches for the secret behind the girl’s murder. Buy

718. The Scarlet Empress (1934) Dir. Josef von Sternberg, 104 mins.

The Scarlet Empress is a historical drama made by Paramount Pictures about the life of Catherine the Great. Buy

717. The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum (1939) Dir. Kenji Mizoguchi, 148 mins.

The film follows a male actor specialising in playing female roles in late 19th century Japan. Buy

716. Zero for Conduct (1933) Dir. Jean Vigo, 41 mins.

The film draws extensively on Vigo’s boarding school experiences to depict a repressive and bureaucratised educational establishment in which surreal acts of rebellion occur, reflecting Vigo’s anarchist view of childhood. With its notable score by Maurice Jaubert, the film has been influential on future films featuring youth rebellion such as The 400 Blows and If…. Watch

715. Imitation of Life (1959) Dir. Douglas Sirk, 125 mins.

Lana Turner stars as a would-be actress who is raising her daughter on her own. She chances to meet another single mother at the beach, African-American Juanita Moore. Moore goes to work as Turner’s housekeeper, bringing her light-skinned daughter along. As Turner’s stage career goes into high gear, Moore is saddled with the responsibility of raising both Turner’s daughter and her own. Exposed to the advantages of the white world, Moore’s grown-up daughter (Susan Kohner) passes for white, causing her mother a great deal of heartache. Watch

714. L’Argent (1983) Dir. Robert Bresson, 85 mins.

Looking for some quick cash, young Norbert (Marc Ernest Fourneau) gets a phony 500 franc note from his friend Matrial (Bruno Lapeyre). After he spends it at a photography shop, the unscrupulous shop owner (Didier Baussy) decides to pass it on to someone else. The unfortunate victim is honest delivery man Yvon Targe (Christian Patey), who doesn’t realise the bill is a fake. Watch

713. Monsieur Verdoux (1947) Dir. Charles Chaplin, 124 mins.

Monsieur Verdoux is a black comedy directed by and starring Chaplin, who plays a bigamist wife killer inspired by serial killer Henri Désiré Landru. Watch

712. The South (1983) Dir. Victor Erice, 95 mins.

El Sur (The South) is the story of Estrella (Iciar Bollain), a little girl from Southern Spain who has been uprooted to the North. Estrella maintains a sentimentalised attachment to the region of her birth, an attachment manifested in her love for her father (Omero Antonutti). The girl’s rose-coloured memories are shattered when she learns that her beloved dad once carried on affair with a Southern woman and that the flames of passion still smoulder within him. Buy

711. Holiday (1938) Dir. George Cukor, 95 mins.

A magical romantic comedy that tells of a man (a charming Cary Grant) who has risen from humble beginnings only to be torn between his free-thinking lifestyle and the tradition of his wealthy fiancée’s New York society family. Things are complicated further when he catches the romantic eye of his fiancee’s more free spirited sister (Katherine Hepburn). Hepburn, has perhaps, never quite lit up the screen quite like this, although she has plenty of help from a terrific supporting cast and an amusing and touching script. Watch

710. Vengeance is Mine (1979) Dir. Shohei Imamura, 140 mins.

It depicts the true story of serial killer Akira Nishiguchi (Iwao Enokizu in the film). Watch

709. Lacombe, Lucien (1974) Dir. Louis Malle, 138 mins.

The film is about a French teenage boy during the German occupation of France in World War II. Buy

708. An Actor’s Revenge (1963) Dir. Kon Ichikawa, 113 mins.

Visually stunning and profoundly affecting Ichikawa’s Kabuti (one of the theatre styles of Japan) classic is set in 1836, and follows Yukinojo (Kasuo Hasegawa) an actor, travelling to Edo in feminine disguise. On his journey, he recognises three ruthless merchants who ruined his father’s business, driving him to suicide. He follows them along with a mysterious bandit, pledging revenge even if it means the destruction of one of the merchant’s innocent daughters, who has fallen in love with him. Watch

707. The Princess Bride (1987) Dir. Rob Reiner, 98 mins.

Adapted by William Goldman from his 1973 novel of the same name, Reiner delivers a delightful comic fable that follows a farmhand named Westley, accompanied by befriended companions along the way, who must rescue his true love Princess Buttercup from the odious Prince Humperdinck. There’s enough adventure to please young viewers as well as plenty of humour for older ones. Watch

706. Crumb (1994) Dir. Terry Zwigoff, 119 mins.

A documentary about the noted underground cartoonist Robert Crumb and his family, particularly his brothers, Maxon and Charles, as well as Robert’s wife Aline Kominsky-Crumb and his children. Making the connection between Crumb’s creativity and his eccentricity or perhaps craziness, the film is troubling and disarming with some haunting images. Watch

705. Ida (2013) Dir. Paweł Pawlikowski, 82 mins.

Set in Poland in 1962, the film is about a young woman on the verge of taking vows as a Catholic nun. Orphaned as an infant during the German occupation of World War II, she must now meet her aunt. The former Communist state prosecutor and only surviving relative tells her that her parents were Jewish and the two women embark on a road trip into the Polish countryside to learn the fate of their family. Watch

704. The Fire Within (1963) Dir. Louis Malle, 108 mins.

Widely regarded as one of Malle’s best, the film follows an alcoholic writer, Alain Leroy (Maurice Ronet), who is on the verge of suicide (his character is based on writer Jacques Rigaut, who killed himself in 1929). Having betrayed his wife with a recent liaison with Lydia (Lena Skerla) he visits his bourgeois friends in Paris searching for a reason to live. Stylishly made and enhanced by the outstanding and sympathetic Ronet, The Fire Within is an affecting study of self-realisation. Buy

703. The Awful Truth (1937) Dir. Leo McCarey, 91 mins.

The plot concerns the machinations of a soon-to-be-divorced couple, played by Irene Dunne and Cary Grant, who go to great lengths to try to ruin each other’s romantic escapades. Watch

702. A Hard Day’s Night (1964) Dir. Richard Lester, 87 mins.

Appropriating the documentary technique of cinema-verite but giving The Beatles their own cinematic fiction, Lester’s hugely successful A Hard Day’s Night follows a couple of days in the lives of the band that had become a major cultural phenomenon. Their irrepressible energy and youthful irreverence leaps off the screen in what feels like a feature length version of what we now call a pop promo. Watch

701. A Short Film About Killing (1988) Dir. Krzysztof Kieslowski, 84 mins.

Set in Warsaw, Poland, the film compares the senseless, violent murder of an individual to the cold, calculated execution by the state. Buy


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740. The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967) Dir. Jacques Demy, 128 mins.

Romance begins busting out all over in Rochefort. A fair is being organised, giving the town an air of excitement and effervescence. Twin sisters Delphine, a dance teacher, and Solange, a pianist and a composer, dream of making it big in the world of music. The sisters, like many in Rochefort, including a dashing American pianist, are looking for love, without realising that their ideal partners are right before their eyes.

739. The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988) Dir. Philip Kaufman, 171 mins.

Director Philip Kaufman and screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière portray the effect on Czechoslovak artistic and intellectual life during the 1968 Prague Spring of socialist liberalisation preceding the invasion by the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact that ushered in a period of communist repression. It portrays the moral, political, and psycho-sexual consequences for three bohemian friends, a surgeon, and two female artists with whom he has a sexual relationship.

738. The Sweet Hereafter (1997) Dir. Atom Egoyan, 112 mins.

The film tells the story of a school bus accident in a small town that results in the deaths of numerous children. A class-action lawsuit ensues, proving divisive in the community and becoming tied in with personal and family issues.

737. The Dead (1987) Dir. John Huston, 85 mins.

The last and perhaps most perfect of Huston’s literacy adaptations, treats a short story by James Joyce with love, joy and quiet regret. The film takes place in Dublin in 1904 at an Epiphany party held by two sisters and their niece. The story focuses attention on the academic Gabriel Conroy (Donal McCann) and his discovery of his wife Gretta’s (Anjelica Huston) memory of a deceased lover. The film is an achingly poignant valediction, glowing with the beauty and transience of life.

736. Killer of Sheep (1977) Dir. Charles Burnett, 83 mins.

The drama depicts the culture of urban African-Americans in Los Angeles’ Watts district.

735. Salvatore Giuliano (1962) Dir. Francesco Rosi, 125 mins.

Shot in a neo-realist documentary, non-linear style, it follows the lives of those involved with the famous Sicilian bandit Salvatore Giuliano, who remains mostly off screen. Seen as groundbreaking in political cinema, Rosi’s film is both mysterious and open ended but also features a gritty, raw realism.

734. Black God, White Devil (1964) Dir. Glauber Rocha, 120 mins.

Set in 1940s Brazil during a drought in the wilderness of the north east, the film is a densely metaphorical story of a peasant couple. The husband, a ranch hand named Manuel, is fed up with his situation and when his boss tries to cheat him of his earnings, he kills him and flees with his wife, Rosa. Now an outlaw, Manuel becomes involved with the ‘Black God’ a messianic religious leader and then the ‘White Devil’ a bandit. Displaying a range of cinematic influences including long takes and montage sequences, Rocha’s western depicts the dangers for the uneducated peasantry in going up against unsympathetic landowners when they don’t know where to place their allegiance.

733. The Sorrow and the Pity (1969) Dir. Marcel Ophuls, 251 mins.

Shown in two parts, the documentary The Sorrow and the Pity was the first film to examine the collaboration between the Vichy government and Nazi Germany during World War II, and the French resistance. It focuses on the town of Clermont-Ferrand, part of Vichy France until the Germans occupied it in 1942. Intercutting between interviews and newsreels, Ophuls creates a remarkable and moving account looking at a highly controversial topic. So explosive, in fact, that French TV stations avoided showing the film until the early 80s, despite its success in cinemas.

732. Detour (1945) Dir. Edgar G. Ulmer, 67 mins.

A B picture that has become a film noir classic, Detour was made in just 6 days and follows Al Roberts (Tom Neal) a piano player in a sleazy New York nightclub who is trying to hitch a ride to Hollywood to find his girlfriend who earlier headed there in search of stardom. Al gets a lift with a talkative, drug-addicted businessman who mysteriously dies during the trip. Frightened that he will be blamed for the death, Al hides the body in a ditch and assumes the businessman’s identity. Needing company, he picks up Vera (Ann Savage), a fellow hitchhiker who knows of Al’s deception. Most notable for its strong use of genre traits, Detour is stuck somewhere between atmospheric thriller and heightened melodrama.

731. In a Year of Thirteen Moons (1978) Dir. Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 124 mins.

The film recounts the last few days in the life of Elvira (Volker Spengler), a transsexual woman formerly known as Erwin. After being beaten up for trying to buy sex in a park, she returns home to her longtime lover Christoph (Karl Scheydt), who’s been away for six weeks. Christoph abuses her verbally and physically, and when he announces he’s leaving for good, she desperately tries to stop him, only to be rescued by her friend Zora (Ingrid Caven).

730. After Hours (1985) Dir. Martin Scorsese, 97 mins.

After a string of box office disappointments in the early 1980s and Paramounts’s abandonment of The Last Temptation of Christ production, Scorsese decided to focus on a small scale project. After Hours follows Paul Hackett (Griffin Dunne), as he experiences a series of misadventures while making his way home from New York City’s SoHo district during the night. A high energy dark comedy that’s also a visual treat.

729. Fox and His Friends (1975) Dir. Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 123 mins.

The plot follows the misadventures of a working-class homosexual, who wins the lottery and then falls in love with the elegant son of an industrialist. His lover uses flattery to exploit him and ultimately swindles him out of his fortune. A riveting melodrama that features a strong lead performance by director Fassbinder.

728. Lonesome Dove (1989) Dir. Simon Wincer, 384 mins.

The Western epic, adapted from Larry McMurtry’s novel, starred Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones as two ageing cowboys and former Texas rangers, who organise a cattle drive from Texas to Montana. One of the most critically acclaimed TV mini-series.

727. Red Beard (1965) Dir. Akira Kurosawa, 185 mins.

Red Beard is about the relationship between a town doctor and his new trainee.

726. Fat City (1972) Dir. John Huston, 100 mins.

With Huston’s reputation having plummeted by the late 60s, the pendulum began to swing back with Fat City, a study of small time, Dead end boxers, filmed with laconic sympathy and unmistakable, seemingly effortless authority.

725. The Long Good Friday (1980) Dir. John MacKenzie, 114 mins.

The film follows a London east side gangster Harold Shand, who controls the city docks, and is planning a big real estate deal, financed by money from the American mob. However, just as the American mafia’s representatives are about to arrive Shand finds his operation under attack and can’t understand who wants to destroy him. Impressively directed The Long Good Friday is a gripping drama featuring terrific performances from Bob Hoskins and Helen Mirren.

724. Call Me by Your Name (2017) Dir. Luca Guadagnino, 132 mins.

Set in northern Italy in 1983, Call Me by Your Name chronicles a romantic relationship between 17-year-old Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet) and his professor father’s 24-year-old graduate-student assistant Oliver (Armie Hammer).

723. Dances With Wolves (1990) Dir. Kevin Costner, 224 mins.

At the forefront of the modest revival of the western genre in the early 90s, Dances With Wolves, was a personal triumph for director and star Kevin Costner. It is a film adaptation of the 1988 book of the same name by Michael Blake that tells the story of a Union Army lieutenant who travels to the American frontier to find a military post, and of his dealings with a group of Lakota Indians. The film self-consciously sought to represent the culture and perspective of the Indians that the traditional Hollywood western had ideologically erased from view. This was rewarded by Dances With Wolves being the first Western to win the Oscar Best Picture since Cimarron in 1930.

722. Eyes Without a Face (1960) Dir. Georges Franju, 88 mins.

Franju’s influential chiller, an adaptation of Jean Redon’s novel, follows a brilliant but crazed surgeon who resorts to horrifying measures to restore the beauty of his daughter’s disfigured face. It was met with disgust by some critics when first released but is now lauded for its visual poetry.

721. The Road Warrior (1981) Dir. George Miller, 95 mins.

Having avenged the death of his wife and child in the original film, hardened “Mad” Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson) returns to patrol the dusty highways of a post-apocalyptic Australian wasteland where he fights off nomadic tribes. However, the cynical drifter begins to recover some humanity when he is drawn into protecting a  community of settlers from a roving band of marauders. The film follows an archetypal “Western” frontier movie motif, but still feels strikingly original thanks to stunning visuals, Gibson’s star performance and an influential comic book style. With a bigger budget than the first instalment, it delivers even more in the way of relentless and disturbing action scenes. More…


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760. The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933) Dir. Fritz Lang, 122 mins.

Rudolf Klein-Rogge returns as Dr. Mabuse who, while imprisoned in an insane asylum, continues on with his plots to destroy the world. Beautiful, powerful and with a great deal of suspense the film is Lang at his most inventive. Watch

759. Bambi (1942) Dir. David Hand, 70 mins.

With splendid animation the film tells the touching story of male deer Bambi from his birth, through to his early childhood experiences and particularly his memorable friendship with Thumper the rabbit. The tale takes a tragic turn with the traumatic loss of his mother at the hands of hunters and moves on to him falling in love and battling to save his friends from a forest fire. Was placed 3rd in the animation category of the AFI’s 10 Top 10 in 2008. Watch

758. We All Loved Each Other So Much (1974) Dir. Ettore Scola, 124 mins.

Stefania Sandrelli plays the longtime object of three friends’ affections. The film traces the interrelationships of those friends, Vittorio Gassman, Nino Manfredi and Satta Flores, over a period of thirty years, beginning with their involvement in the wartime Resistance. Buy

757. The Birds (1963) Dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 119 mins.

Loosely based on the 1952 story of the same name by Daphne du Maurier, the film focuses on a series of sudden, unexplained violent bird attacks on the people of Bodega Bay, California over the course of a few days. Perhaps dented by comparisons to the brilliance of Hitchcock’s previous three films (VertigoNorth by Northwest and Psycho)The Birds was uneasily received at the time of release, but is now lauded for its masterful suspense.

756. Porco Rosso (1992) Dir. Hayao Miyazaki, 94 mins.

The plot revolves around an Italian World War I ex-fighter ace, who thanks to an unusual curse, has been transformed into a pig, and is now living as a freelance bounty hunter chasing “air pirates” in the Adriatic Sea. More beautiful animation and irresistible, vibrant story telling from the masterful Miyazaki.

755. Branded to Kill (1967) Dir. Seijun Suzuki, 98 mins.

Having been promoted from making low budget action B films, Suzuki was gradually decreasing the importance of rational and logical story when he made the gangster film, Branded to Kill. The plot, which generic conventions dictate should be clear, was transformed into a labyrinth. The story follows Goro Hanada in his life as a contract killer. He falls in love with a woman named Misako, who recruits him for a seemingly impossible mission. When the mission fails, he becomes hunted by the phantom Number One Killer, whose methods threaten his sanity as much as his life.

754. The Rise of Louis XIV (1966) Dir. Roberto Rossellini, 100 mins.

Made for French television, the film revolves around the French king Louis XIV’s rise to power after the death of his powerful adviser, Cardinal Mazarin. To achieve this political autonomy, Louis must deal with his mother and the court nobles, all of whom make the assumption that Mazarin’s death will give them more power. The film shows off Rossellini’s remarkable eye for historical detail and Jean-Marie Patte’s performance, as the larger than life Louis, may change the way you think about acting.

753. The Thin Blue Line (1988) Dir. Errol Morris, 103 mins.

An investigation of the 1976 murder of a Dallas cop.

752. Barton Fink (1991) Dir. Joel & Ethan Coen, 116 mins.

The Coen brothers happily deliver a scathing attack on their own industry with this Kafkaesque drama, set in 1941, that follows a young New York realist playwright (John Turturro) who is hired by a Hollywood film studio to script a Wallace Beery wrestling picture. He’s quickly struggling and isn’t helped by having to deal with a hellishly nasty movie mogul (an Oscar nominated turn by Michael Lerner) and his next door neighbour, insurance salesman (John Goodman), who has murder on his mind. Despite all this our hero refuses to throw away his artistic ideals in the face of the industry’s commercialism. There’s plenty to enjoy here, from the beautifully designed sets, to the dark humour and superbly crafted narrative.

751. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) Dir. Steven Spielberg, 127 mins.

In the film, set largely in 1938, Indiana searches for his father, a Holy Grail scholar, who has been kidnapped by Nazis. Works best during the riotous moments when Jones (Harrison Ford) and his father (Sean Connery) are escaping the enemy.

750. Delicatessen (1991) Dir. Marc Caro, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 99 mins.

Set in a post apocalyptic country, the action takes place within a single apartment complex, which is owned by the same man, Clapet, who operates the downstairs butcher shop. A former circus clown is attracted to the complex which is a particularly popular place to live, thanks to the butcher’s uncanny ability to find excellent cuts of meat despite the horrible living conditions outside.

749. Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989) Dir. Hayao Miyazaki, 103 mins.

The film tells the story of a young witch, Kiki, who moves to a new town and uses her flying ability to earn a living delivering for a bakery. A charming, warm coming of age tale that’s beautifully animated.

748. The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) Dir. Martin Scorsese, 164 mins.

Having tried for many years to make an adaptation of Nikos Kazantzakis’s book of the same name, funding finally arrived for Scorsese off the back of the commercial success of The Color of Money. Like the novel, the film depicts the conflict between the human and divine sides of Jesus Christ, showing his struggles with various forms of temptation including fear, doubt, depression, reluctance and lust. The film suffered from protests by religious groups which prevented many exhibitors from showing it and whilst the American accents will put some off, it has some arresting imagery.

747. Ghostbusters (1984) Dir. Ivan Reitman, 105 mins.

The film stars Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson as eccentric paranormal investigators who start a ghost-catching business in New York City. Successfully showcasing Murray’s hilarious brand of deadpan humour Ghostbusters is a hugely likeable supernatural comedy enhanced by great special effects.

746. Juliet of the Spirits (1965) Dir. Federico Fellini, 137 mins.

The film is about the visions, memories, and mysticism of a middle-aged woman that help her find the strength to leave her philandering husband.

745. Stolen Kisses (1968) Dir. Francois Truffaut, 90 mins.

It continues the story of the character Antoine Doinel, whom Truffaut had previously depicted in The 400 Blows and the short film Antoine and Colette. In this film, Antoine begins his relationship with Christine Darbon.

744. I Am Cuba (1964) Dir. Mikhail Kalatozov, 141 mins.

Hidden away in the Soviet archives for three decades, “I Am Cuba” is a wildly schizophrenic celebration of Communist kitsch, mixing Slavic solemnity with Latin sensuality to create a whirling, feverish dance through both the sensuous decadence of Batista’s Havana and the grinding poverty and oppression of the Cuban people. In four stories of the revolution, Mikhail Kalatov’s astonishingly acrobatic camera takes the viewer on a rapturous roller-coaster ride of bathing beauties, landless peasants, fascist police, and student revolutionaries.

743. Limelight (1952) Dir. Charles Chaplin, 141 mins.

Something of personal indulgence from Chaplin, the film is set in the theatrical London of his childhood and deals with the difficulties of making comedy and the fickle nature of the audience. Chaplin plays a washed-up drunken comedian who saves a suicidal dancer (Claire Bloom) from killing herself and nurses her to success. The film appears to be both a reflection on Chaplin’s damaged reputation (thanks to an FBI smear campaign) and a retreat into the past. Its nostalgia is never more evident than when Buster Keaton appears in a brilliant cameo. (He’d been largely forgotten by the public at that time).

742. Faces (1968) Dir. John Cassavetes, 130 mins.

Having vowed never to direct another studio film Cassavetes returned  to independent cinema to tell the story of a dissolving marriage and the lovers to whom the couple turn to for solace. With the director at his most ambitious, Faces was shot on a small budget in black and white on 16 mm and, due to his painstaking methods, took a staggering 4 years to edit. Despite being entirely scripted, unlike his earlier improvised Shadows, the film is known for its powerful expressive acting and realistic dialogue.

741. American Graffiti (1973) Dir. George Lucas, 110 mins.

Making Universal a ton of money, Lucas’s American Graffiti spawned an ever growing number of Hollywood movies portraying teens trying to convince a sceptical adult world to take them seriously. Set in Modesto, California in 1962, the film is a study of the cruising and rock and roll cultures popular among the post–World War II baby boom generation. The narrative is a series of vignettes, telling the story of a group of teenagers and their adventures over a single night. Produced by Coppola the film was an early boost to the careers of Harrison Ford, Ron Howard and Richard Dreyfuss.


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780. Love and Death (1975) Dir. Woody Allen, 85 mins.

Filled with Allen’s much loved neurotic humour, Love and Death is a satire on Russian literature following Boris (Woody Allen) and his distant cousin, Sonja (Diane Keaton), who are living in Russia during the Napoleonic Era. After Boris accidentally becomes a war hero and Sonja is left a widow, they get married and engage in mock-serious philosophical debates. Silly, very funny and even poignant at times.

779. Simon of the Desert (1965) Dir. Luis Bunuel, 45 mins.

It is loosely based on the story of the ascetic 5th-century Syrian saint Simeon Stylites, who lived for 39 years on top of a column.

778. Atlantic City (1980) Dir. Louis Malle, 104 mins.

Burt Lancaster was at his best when blending pathos with bravado as shown with Atlantic City where he plays an ageing petty crook, who, granted the chance to live out his own absurd fantasies, rediscovers his self-respect.

777. Mary Poppins (1964) Dir. Robert Stevenson, 139 mins.

With terrific songs from the Sherman Brothers and an Oscar winning performance from Julie Andrews, Mary Poppins remains one of the most beloved musicals of all-time. Andrews plays the nanny who floats into London to improve the lives of the dysfunctional Banks family. Even Dick Van Dyke’s laughable attempt at a Cockney accent couldn’t prevent the film becoming the only Disney production made during Walt’s lifetime to be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar.

776. Oslo, August 31st (2011) Dir. Joachim Trier, 95 mins.

Thirty-four-year-old Anders (Anders Danielsen Lie) is a fortunate, but deeply troubled man battling drug addiction. As part of his rehabilitation program, he is allowed to go into the city for a job interview, but instead uses the opportunity as a way to drift around and revisit old friends. The day grows increasingly difficult as he struggles to overcome personal demons and past ghosts for the chance at love and a new life.

775. City of Life and Death (2009) Dir. Lu Chuan, 133 mins.

The film deals with the Battle of Nanjing and the following massacre committed by the Japanese army during the Second Sino-Japanese War.

774. Rosetta (1999) Dir. Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne, 93 mins.

The film follows a seventeen-year-old girl (Émilie Dequenne) who lives in a caravan park with her alcoholic mother. Trying to survive and to escape the caravan and her dysfunctional mother, she makes numerous attempts at securing a job.

773. All About My Mother (1999) Dir. Pedro Almodóvar, 104 mins.

A single mother in Madrid sees her only son die on his birthday as he runs to seek an actress’ autograph. Beside herself with grief, she returns to Barcelona where she hopes to find her son’s father, Lola, a transvestite she kept secret from the boy, just as she never told Lola they had a son.

772. Scarface (1932) Dir. Howard Hawks, Richard Rosson, 93 mins.

Written by former news reporter Ben Hecht to be like the story of the Borgias set in Chicago (at the request of Hawks), this ground-breaking and complex gangster film is essentially a family drama. At its core is the barely repressed incestuous desire of Tony Camonte (Paul Muni) for Cesca (Ann Dvorak). While controversial due to the graphic depiction of violence and Muni’s disturbing characterisation of the gangster as grotesque and abnormal, the film boldly outlines the motivations behind Camonte’s actions with a clarity that’s missing from similar gangster stories.

771. Local Hero (1983) Dir. Bill Forsyth, 111 mins.

Years before Donald Trump built a golf course in his mother’s native Scotland, Burt Lancaster played the wealthy American angering locals with his development plans.

770. Foolish Wives (1922) Dir. Erich von Stroheim, 140 mins.

Actor/writer/director Erich Von Stroheim stars as a fraudulent count, living high on the hog in Monte Carlo. He supports himself by extorting huge sums of money from silly married ladies who are dumb enough to fall for his romantic charms.

769. A Star is Born (1954) Dir. George Cukor, 181 mins.

A comeback for Judy Garland who plays an unknown aspiring actress who is given a career boost by an alcoholic film star on his last professional legs. The two marry, whereupon her fame and fortune rises while his spirals sharply downward. Unable to accept this, the male star crawls deeper into the bottle, leading to the wife tearfully deciding to give up her own career to care for her husband.

768. Antonio das Mortes (1969) Dir. Glauber Rocha, 100 mins.

Rocha’s highly stylised, inverted western masterpiece is set in the wilderness of the Brazilian north east. Having already appeared as the hired bandit killer for the church and landlords in Black God, White Devil, the eponymous mercenary is back, but this time he turns away from corrupt authority and becomes a revolutionary. Part fact and part legend the hallucinogenic western blends social banditry with the mysticism of messianic religion.

767. Closely Watched Trains (1966) Dir. Jiri Menzel, 93 mins.

The film is a coming-of-age story about a young man working at a train station in German-occupied Czechoslovakia during World War II.

766. In the Realm of the Senses (1976) Dir. Nagisa Oshima, 108 mins.

Set in 1930s Japan, the film is a fictionalised and sexually explicit treatment of an incident between geisha and prostitute Sada Abe and her lover, Kichizō Ishida.

765. The Birth of a Nation (1915) Dir. D. W. Griffith, 190 mins.

Griffith’s twelve reel epic Civil War drama hastened the American film industry’s transition to the feature film but is also notable for its highly controversial portrayal of black men as unintelligent and sexually aggressive towards white women, and for glorifying the Ku Klux Klan. While The Birth of a Nation has garnered acclaim for the acting, the impressive spectacle and its innovative film making techniques Griffiths spent the rest of his career seemingly apologising for the blatant racism.

764. Kings of the Road (1976) Dir. Wim Wenders, 175 mins.

While travelling his route along the border between East and West Germany, projector repairman Bruno (Rüdiger Vogler) meets paediatrician Robert (Hanns Zischler) when the latter attempts suicide by driving his car into a shallow lake. From such off beginnings, the two form a genuine friendship as Robert accompanies Bruno on the road.

763. Sullivan’s Travels (1941) Dir. Preston Sturges, 90 mins.

The film is a satire about a movie director (Joel McCrea), who longs to make a socially relevant drama, but eventually learns that comedies are his more valuable contribution to society.

762. The Shop Around the Corner (1940) Dir. Ernst Lubitsch, 99 mins.

Eschewing regional politics in the years leading up to World War II, the film is about two employees at a leathergoods shop in Budapest who can barely stand each other, not realising they are falling in love as anonymous correspondents through their letters.

761. Excalibur (1981) Dir. John Boorman, 140 mins.

Based on the 15th century Arthurian romance Le Morte d’Arthur by Thomas Malory and directed, produced and co-written by maverick film maker John Boorman, Excalibur is an audacious attempt to place the legend of King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table into less than 2 1/2 hours. Born out of a failed attempt to make Lord of the Rings, the film is much more than a mere sword and sorcery blockbuster and has some truly stunning visual sequences, even if some may struggle with the overly theatrical style. More…



The Pendragon Society’s 1000 Greatest Films (2019) 800-781


800. The Band Wagon (1953) Dir. Vincente Minnelli, 111 mins.

It tells the story of an ageing musical star who hopes a Broadway show will restart his career. However, the play’s director wants to make it a pretentious retelling of the Faust legend and brings in a prima ballerina who clashes with the star.

799. The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (1970) Dir. Vittorio De Sica, 94 mins.

Vittorio De Sica’s The Garden of the Finzi-Continis focuses on an intellectual, aristocratic Jewish family living in Ferrara, Italy in the late 1930s who don’t comprehend the threat of the Nazis until its too late. Moving and tragic it brilliantly depicts a family living an idyllic sheltered existence that is torn apart by the rise of fascism.

798. Pastoral Hide and Seek (1974) Dir. Shuji Terayama, 104 mins.

A visionary masterpiece based on avant-garde director Shuji Terayama’s play about a young boys’ coming of age in a strange, carnivalesque village that becomes the recreation of a memory that the director has twenty years later. Arresting and spellbinding cinema from a very underrated film-maker.

797. The English Patient (1996) Dir. Anthony Minghella, 162 mins.

The film tells the tale of Count László de Almásy, who is burned from a plane crash and tells his past story in flashbacks involving a romantic affair while he is tended by a nurse (Juliet Binoche). Ralph Fiennes and Kristin Scott-Thomas play the ill-fated lovers.

796. Inside Out (2015) Dir. Pete Docter, 94 mins.

More computer-animated success for Pixar. The film is set in the mind of a 11 year old girl named Riley Andersen (Kaitlyn Dias), where five personified emotions, Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Anger (Lewis Black), Fear (Bill Hader) and Disgust (Mindy Kaling), try to lead her through life as she has to adjust to new surroundings after being uprooted from Minnesota to San Francisco because her father (Kyle MacLachlan) has a new job. Funny, moving and made with the consultation of numerous psychologists, Inside Out delivers a delightfully entertaining idea of the going-ons in a young girls head.

795. The Thief of Bagdad (1940) Dir. Ludwig Berger, Michael Powell, Tim Whelan, 106 mins.

Alexander Korda’s productions mostly had a vigour and a sweeping exuberance of conception, which is the case with this soaring fantasy. In ancient Bagdad, Abu (Sabu), a good-natured young thief, befriends the deposed king Ahmad (John Justin) as both are imprisoned in the palace dungeon, awaiting execution under orders from the evil vizier Jaffar (Conrad Veidt), who has seized the throne. But they escape and make their way to Basra, where Ahmad, now living as a beggar, meets and falls in love with the Princess (June Duprez), who has been betrothed by her father the Sultan (Miles Malleson, who also wrote the screenplay) to Jaffar.

794. A. I. Artificial Intelligence (2001) Dir. Steven Spielberg, 146 mins.

A sci-fi fable developed by Stanley Kubrick and taken on by Spielberg. It’s a bleak and ambitious film that takes the tale of Pinocchio into a future where humanity’s best efforts to maintain civilisation have led to the creation of new robots known as mechas including David (a fine performance from Haley Joel Osmant), a child-like mecha programmed with the unique ability to love. His quest to become a ‘real boy’ takes him from abandonment by a human mother, whose loving acceptance he craves, into a dangerous futuristic world (brought to live by brilliant effects) where his only guidance comes from Jude Law’s mecha gigolo. Some will find the tale disturbing but it’s perhaps Spielberg’s most intriguing effort to date.

793. Lady Bird (2017) Dir. Greta Gerwig, 94 mins.

Set in Sacramento, California, in 2002, the film is a coming-of-age story of a high-school senior and her turbulent relationship with her mother.

792. Through the Olive Trees (1994) Dir. Abbas Kiarostami, 103 mins.

Set in earthquake-ravaged Northern Iran, Hossein Rezai plays a local stonemason-turned-actor. Outside the set of a film in which he is acting, he makes a marriage proposal to his leading lady, a student named Tahereh, who was orphaned by an earthquake. Because he is poor and illiterate, the girl’s family finds his offer insulting and the girl avoids him as a result. She continues evading him even when they are filming, as she seems to have trouble grasping the difference between her role in the film and her real-life self.

791. Before Midnight (2013) Dir. Richard Linklater, 108 mins.

Co-written by Linklater and lead actors Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, the film is the third of the director’s trilogy featuring their two characters. It picks up the story nine years after the events of the second film Before Sunset, where Jesse (Hawke) and Céline (Delpy) spend a summer vacation together in Greece.

790. House of Flying Daggers (2004) Dir. Yimou Zhang, 119 mins.

Set in 859 A.D. when the once great Tang Dynasty is in decline, rebel groups have formed, the largest of which is the House of Flying Daggers. Moving from one stunning scene to the next, it’s deemed by some to be visual style over narrative substance.

789. Paper Moon (1973) Dir. Peter Bogdanovich, 102 mins.

A bible salesman teams up with an orphan girl to form a money-making con team in Depression-era Kansas.

788. The Incredibles (2004) Dir. Brad Bird, 115 mins.

Set in an alternate version of the 1960s, The Incredibles follows the Parrs, a family of superheroes, who, in accordance with a government mandate, are forced to hide their powers and live a quiet suburban life. However, Mr. Incredible’s desire to help people draws the entire family into a confrontation with a vengeful fan-turned-foe and his killer robot. Brad Bird moves slightly away from the normal Pixar formula but his dysfunctional family tale provides plenty of wit, a great deal of entertainment and some amazing animation. A sequel was released in 2018. More…

787. Mystic River (2003) Dir. Clint Eastwood, 137 mins.

This murder mystery drama was something of a return to form for Clint Eastwood. The story revolves around reformed convict Jimmy Markum (Sean Penn) and his devoted wife Annabeth (Laura Linney) who have their lives torn apart when their teenage daughter Katie (Emmy Rossum) is beaten and killed. The film is competently directed, ambitious and features great performances, but perhaps just falls short of Eastwood’s best work due to great individual scenes failing to come together to create a truly convincing whole.

786. The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (2005) Dir. Cristi Puiu, 150 mins.

In the film an old man (Ioan Fiscuteanu) is carried by an ambulance from hospital to hospital all night long, as doctors keep refusing to treat him and send him away.

785. Talk to Her (2002) Dir. Pedro Almodovar, 112 mins.

The film follows two men who form an unlikely friendship as they care for two women who are both in comas.

784. The Untouchables (1987) Dir. Brian De Palma, 119 mins.

The film follows Elliot Ness (Kevin Costner), who forms the Untouchables team to bring Al Capone to justice during Prohibition. While some were disappointed with Robert De Niro’s portrayal of Capone, Sean Connery delivers an Oscar winning performance as the Irish beat cop (with a Scottish accent) who joins Ness’s band of uncorruptibles and teaches him how to fight organised crime “the Chicago way.”

783. F for Fake (1973) Dir. Orson Welles, 85 mins.

Initially released in 1974, it focuses on Elmyr de Hory’s recounting of his career as a professional art forger. de Hory’s story serves as the backdrop for a fast-paced, meandering investigation of the natures of authorship and authenticity, as well as the basis of the value of art.

782. Shine (1996) Dir. Scott Hicks, 105 mins.

A visually inventive and occasionally harrowing Australian biographical film based on the life of gifted pianist David Helfgott (Geoffrey Rush), who suffered a mental breakdown and spent years in institutions. Rush, only then known as a stage star, gives an extraordinary Oscar winning performance while Hicks steers clear of melodrama and delivers an ultimately uplifting film.

781. The Great War (1959) Dir. Mario Monicelli, 137 mins.

Sharing the Golden Lion at the Venice festival with Rossellini’s I’ll Generale Della Rovere, Monicelli’s film tells the story of an odd couple of army buddies in World War I. While played on a comedic register, the movie does not hide from the viewer the horrors and grimness of trench warfare.


The Pendragon Society’s 1000 Greatest Films (2019) 820-801


820. The Little Mermaid (1989) Dir. Ron Clements, John Musker, 83 mins.

Based on the Danish fairy tale of the same name by Hans Christian Andersen, The Little Mermaid tells the story of a beautiful mermaid princess called Ariel who dreams of becoming human. After a string of critical and commercial failures for Disney, the film marked the start of the studios renaissance. A live-action film adaptation of The Little Mermaid is currently in the works.

819. Manon of the Spring (1986) Dir. Claude Berri, 113 mins.

Following the events of Jean de Florette, Manon (Emmanuelle Beart), now fully grown, is a shepherdess who prefers to keep her distance from the local villagers but is determined to uncover the truth behind the death of her father (played by Gerard Depardieu in the earlier film) and to wreak vengeance on the men she holds responsible.

818. This Sporting Life (1963) Dir. Lindsay Anderson, 85 mins.

Adapted by former professional rugby league footballer David Storey from his own novel, Anderson’s raw and brutal ‘kitchen sink’ drama follows a rugby league player, Frank Machin (Richard Harris), in Wakefield, a mining area of Yorkshire, whose romantic life is not as successful as his sporting life.

817. Midnight Express (1978) Dir. Alan Parker, 121 mins.

Based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Billy Hayes, the film is an often harrowing account of how Hayes (Brad Davis), then a young American student, was sent to a Turkish prison for trying to smuggle hashish out of the country in 1970. While the film received criticism for the depiction of Turkish prison workers as violent villains and for deviations from the book, it has some unforgettable scenes and a powerful performance by Davis.

816. A Room With a View (1985) Dir. James Ivory, 117 mins.

An adaptation of E. M. Forster’s novel, the film is set in England and Italy and follows a young woman named Lucy Honeychurch (a terrific film debut by Helena Bonham Carter) in the restrictive and repressed culture of Edwardian era England and her developing love for free-spirited young George Emerson. The film is hugely entertaining, very funny and includes great performances by a talented cast. Critics were particularly impressed by the relative new comer Daniel Day-Lewis as the snobbish and pretentious Cecil given that the part was on another planet to his other acclaimed role of 1985 as a gay street punk in My Beautiful Laundrette.

815. Top Hat (1935) Dir. Mark Sandrich, 101 mins.

A screwball musical comedy in which Fred Astaire plays an American dancer named Jerry Travers, who comes to London to star in a show produced by Horace Hardwick (Edward Everett Horton). While there he meets and attempts to impress wealthy Dale Tremont (Ginger Rogers) who is on holiday in London and wrongly believes Travers to be the husband of her friend Madge (Helen Broderick).

814. Samurai Rebellion (1967) Dir. Masaki Kobayashi, 128 mins.

Considered one of the best samurai films ever made, Toshiro Mifune is electric as the masterful swordsmen who goes against his local rulers to protect his family. It’s a meditative and gripping film which ends with an action packed and tragic finale.

813. Giant (1956) Dir. George Stevens, 201 mins.

Giant opens circa 1922 in Maryland, where Texas rancher Jordan “Bick” Benedict (Rock Hudson) has arrived to buy a stallion called War Winds from its owner, Dr. Horace Lynnton (Paul Fix). But much as Bick loves and knows horses, he finds himself even more transfixed by the doctor’s socialite daughter, Leslie Lynnton (Elizabeth Taylor), and after some awkward moments, she has to admit that she’s equally drawn to the shy, laconic Texan. They are soon married and Bick takes his new wife back to his home state. Once there Leslie meets local handyman Jett (James Dean), who becomes infatuated with her and so begins a tense and long standing rivalry between Jett and Bick.

812. Gilda (1946) Dir. Charles Vidor, 110 mins.

Rita Hayworth stars as the sexy wife of crippled casino owner George Macready. She is also the former love of gambler Glenn Ford, who takes a job in Macready’s Buenos Aires casino. Macready goes out of his way to throw the two of them together.

811. Shame (1968) Dir. Ingmar Bergman, 103 mins.

The film explores shame, moral decline, self-loathing and violence through a politically uninvolved couple, concert pianists Max von Sydow  and Liv Ullmann, who are attempting to flee a civil war-ravaged European nation. They take refuge on a remote island but find no escape when large numbers of soldiers arrive. Bergman provides a chillingly real vision of a world in tatters where love and trust have fallen by the wayside.

810. Murmur of the Heart (1971) Dir. Louis Malle, 118 mins.

Louis Malle always had a penchant for taboo subjects as shown here with his tale of incest. Written as Malle’s semi-autobiography, the film tells a coming of age story about a 14-year-old boy growing up in bourgeois surroundings in post-World War II Dijon, France, with a complex relationship with his Italian mother.

809. Rope (1948) Dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 80 mins.

After a string of films for Hollywood producer David O. Selznick, Hitchcock sought independence from the studio system and made the commercially risky and aesthetically and technically ambitious Rope. The film concerns two implicitly homosexual college chums, who, inspired by conversations about Friedrich Nietzsche’s Übermensch years earlier with their kindly professor (James Stewart), kill a third friend as an intellectual exercise. Hitchcock’s first colour film is particularly notable for its experimental and elaborate long takes that were only interrupted when the camera needed to be reloaded.

808. Claire’s Knee (1970) Dir. Eric Rohmer, 105 mins.

One of what Rohmer labelled his ‘six moral tales’, the film follows French diplomat Jerome (Jean-Claude Brialy), who is on a resort vacation and meets Claire (Laurence De Monaghan), the teen-aged daughter of a friend. Though engaged to be married, Jerome falls hopelessly in love, not with Claire, but with Claire’s knee. Realising that to be revealed as a fetishist would be ruinous for him, Jerome does not act upon his obsession. The film manages to be both serious as well as lighthearted.

807. Night and the City (1950) Dir. Jules Dassin, 96 mins.

Shot on location in London and at Shepperton Studios, the plot revolves around an ambitious hustler whose plans keep going wrong.

806. Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) Dir. Vincente Minnelli, 113 mins.

Divided into a series of seasonal vignettes, starting with Summer 1903, the film relates the story of a year in the life of the Smith family in St. Louis, leading up to the opening of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition (more commonly referred to as the World’s Fair) in the spring of 1904. Perhaps best known to modern audiences for Judy Garland’s performance of ‘Have Yourself a Merry Christmas’.

805. Collateral (2004) Dir. Michael Mann, 120 mins.

Mann’s neo-noir crime drama stars Tom Cruise cast against type as a contract killer and Jamie Foxx as a taxi driver who becomes Cruise’s hostage during an evening of the hit-man’s work. Helped by widely praised performances from its two leads, Collateral is a stylish and tense thriller.

804. Sex, Lies and Videotape (1989) Steven Soderbergh, 100 mins.

Soderbergh’s feature debut tells the story of Ann (Andie MacDowell), the beautiful wife of an unpleasant lawyer, who has almost no interest in sex, while her husband is having an affair with her sister. The underlying problems of the couple’s relationship rise to the surface when the husband’s old college friend, Graham (James Spader), comes to stay. Graham, a troubled drifter, has decided that talking about sex is more fulfilling than actually having it and so videotapes Ann and her sister discussing their lives and sexuality. With a huge influence on independent cinema of the 1990s, Soderbergh, at just 26, delivers an intellectually mature and beautifully crafted film.

803. Manhunter (1986) Dir. Michael Mann, 124 mins.

The first film adaptation of Harris’ Hannibal Lecktor novels focuses on FBI profiler Will Graham who comes out of retirement to lend his talents to an investigation on a killer known as the “Tooth Fairy”. In doing so, he must confront the demons of his past and meet with Lecktor (Brian Cox), who had previously nearly killed him. Reappraised in more recent years Manhunter is now noted for its stylish direction and gripping intensity.

802. The Iron Giant (1999) Dir. Brad Bird, 86 mins.

Before moving onto box office success with Pixar, Brad Bird experienced financial failure (probably due to poor marketing) with The Iron Giant despite the sci-fi comedy drama receiving wide spread critical acclaim particularly for its beautiful animation and well crafted characters. Bird’s directorial debut is set during the Cold War in 1957 and follows a young boy named Hogarth Hughes, who discovers a giant metallic robot who fell from space. With the help of a beatnik artist, the boy attempts to prevent the U.S. military and a paranoid federal agent, from finding and destroying the Giant.

801. Ghost in the Shell (1995) Dir. Mamoru Oshii, 85 mins.

The plot follows Motoko Kusanagi, a public-security agent, who hunts the mysterious hacker known as the Puppet Master.


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