1000. The African Queen (1951) Dir. John Huston, 105 mins.
John Huston had a flair for casting, particularly when he pitted Humphrey Bogart against Katherine Hepburn in The African Queen. Adapted from a novel by C.S. Forester, Bogart is on Oscar-winning form as Charlie Allnut, the slovenly, gin-swilling Canadian captain of a tramp steamer called the African Queen, which ships supplies to small East African villages during World War I. Hepburn plays Rose Sayer, the maiden-lady sister of a prim British Methodist missionary, Rev. Samuel Sayer (Robert Morley). When Germans invade and Samuel dies, Allnut offers to take Rose back to civilisation. Inspiring so many of the adventure films that have followed, The African Queen is hugely entertaining and features a wonderful chemistry between its two stars. Watch
999. Cold Mountain (2003) Dir. Anthony Minghella, 154 mins.
Based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Charles Frazier, the film is set towards the end of the American Civil War, and tells the story of a wounded deserter from the Confederate army trying to get home to North Carolina and the love of his life. While some find the episodic structure flawed, the film is beautifully shot, well acted and captures the pointless cruelty of war. Watch
998. 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.
997. The Thief of Bagdad (1940) Dir. Ludwig Berger, Michael Powell, Tim Whelan, 106 mins.
Many of producer Alexander Korda’s films were known for their vigour and sweeping exuberance of conception, which is certainly 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.
996. Anatomy of a Murder (1959) Dir. Otto Preminger, 160 mins.
Anatomy of a Murder stars James Stewart as seat-of-the-pants Michigan lawyer Paul Biegler. Through the intervention of his alcoholic mentor, Parnell McCarthy (Arthur O’Connell), Biegler accepts the case of one Lt. Manion (Ben Gazzara), an unlovable lout who has murdered a local bar owner. Manion admits that he committed the crime, citing as his motive the victim’s rape of the alluring Mrs. Manion (Lee Remick).
995. Short Term 12 (2013) Dir. Destin Daniel Cretton, 96 mins.
The film stars the excellent Brie Larson (in her first leading performance) as Grace Howard, a young supervisor of a group home for troubled teenagers. Director/writer Cretton based Short Term 12 on his own experience working in a group facility. Watch
994. Pandora’s Box (1929) Dir. Georg Wilhelm Pabst, 133 mins.
Louise Brooks’ portrays a seductive, thoughtless young woman whose raw sexuality and uninhibited nature bring ruin to herself and those who love her.
993. Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) Dir. Blake Edwards, 115 mins.
The film features Audrey Hepburn’s most iconic role as Holly Golightly the naive and eccentric socialite. The future A-Team star George Peppard plays the lonely neighbour and writer who becomes enchanted with her. The overall charm (particularly the cat named ‘Cat’) will allow most viewers to forgive the dafter parts.
992. Brokeback Mountain (2005) Dir. Ang Lee, 134 mins.
The film depicts the complex emotional and sexual relationship between Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist in the American West from 1963 to 1983.
991. Blue Is the Warmest Colour (2013) Dir. Abdellatif Kechiche, 179 mins.
The film follows Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos), a French teenager who discovers desire and freedom when an aspiring painter (Lea Seydoux) enters her life. The film charts their relationship from Adele’s high school years to her early adult life and career as a school teacher. Watch
990. Shane (1953) Dir. George Stevens, 118 mins.
Stevens’s deliberately mythologised western follows a mysterious drifter (Alan Ladd) who rides into a tiny homesteading community and accepts the hospitality of a farming family. Patriarch Joe Starrett is impressed by the way Shane handles himself when facing down the minions of land baron Emile Meyer, though he has trouble placing his complete trust in the stranger, as his wife is attracted to Shane in spite of herself, and his son Joey flat-out idolises him. Watch
989. 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.”
988. 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.
987. 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.
986. The Executioner (1963) Dir. Luis Garcia Berlanga, 91 mins.
In this black comedy, a mortician’s assistant wants to marry an executioner’s daughter. Her father wants to change professions but cannot, as he will lose his new government-sponsored apartment. The young man is persuaded to take over the job, but he swears he will quit before he must kill someone.
985. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) Dir. Henry Selick, 76 mins.
Produced and conceived by Tim Burton this stop-motion classic is as magical for adults as it is for little people. The film follows Jack Skellington who leaves his home in Halloween Town and goes through a portal to Christmas Town. Humour, romance and great Danny Elfman songs produce a fabulous and original entertainment.
984. Ratatouille (2007) Dir. Brad Bird, 111 mins.
The plot follows a rat named Remy, who dreams of becoming a chef and tries to achieve his goal by forming an alliance with a Parisian restaurant’s garbage boy.
983. A Place in the Sun (1951) Dir. George Stevens, 112 mins.
It tells the story of a working-class young man (Montgomery Clift) who is entangled with two women: one who works in his wealthy uncle’s factory, and the other a beautiful socialite.
982. All the President’s Men (1976) Dir. Alan J. Pakula, 138 mins.
Directed by Alan J. Pakula with a screenplay by William Goldman, the film is based on the 1974 non-fiction book of the same name by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, the two journalists investigating the Watergate scandal for The Washington Post.
981. 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.