The Pendragon Society’s 1000 Greatest Films (2020) 500-481


500 Barren Lives (1963)

499. The Sting (1973) Dir. George Roy Hill, 129 mins.

The Sting is set in September 1936 and involves a complicated plot by two professional grifters (Paul Newman and Robert Redford) to con a mob boss (Robert Shaw).

498 Cremator (1969)

497. Late Autumn (1960) Dir. Yasujiro Ozu, 128 mins.

Late Autumn follows the attempts of three older men to help the widow of a late friend to marry off her daughter. The daughter is less than happy at the proposals, mainly because of her reluctance to leave her mother alone.

496 The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On (1987)
495 4 Little Girls (1997)

494. Ninotchka (1939) Dir. Ernst Lubitsch, 110 mins.

Frivolous perhaps, but Lubitsch’s satirical romance was acclaimed at the time of release as a poignantly balanced comedy. The film opens in Paris during the aftermath of the Russian revolution. A trio of Russian delegates (Sig Rumann, Felix Bressart, and Alexander Granach) are sent to the French capital to sell the Imperial Jewels for ready cash. After some problems the Russians dispatch no-nonsense diplomat, Nina Ivanovna “Ninotchka” Yakushova (Greta Garbo) to ensure the sale of the jewels. While still notable for its wit and the marvellous performance of Garbo, for some the film now looks contrived and surprisingly heavy-handed for a director such as Lubitsch.

493 Threads (1984)

492. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) Dir. David Lean, 161 mins.

Based on the novel Le Pont de la Rivière Kwai by Pierre Boulle, the film is a work of fiction, but borrows the construction of the Burma Railway in 1942–1943 for its historical setting.

491. Let the Right One In (2008) Dir. Tomas Alfredson, 115 mins.

The story centres on the relationship between a 12-year-old boy, Oskar, and a vampire child, Eli.

490. Red River (1948) Dir. Howard Hawks, Arthur Rosson, 133 mins.

John Wayne revealed unsuspected depths in his portrayal of stoic patriarchal Texas rancher Tom Dunson. The film follows Dunson and his adopted adult son (Montgomery Clift), who are on the first cattle drive from Texas to Kansas along the Chisholm Trail. Directed and produced by Howard Hawks, the film’s dramatic tension stems from a growing feud over the management of the drive, between Wayne’s character and Clift’s.

489 The Big Parade (1925)

488. Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003) Dir, Quentin Tarantino, 111 mins.

The film stars Uma Thurman as the Bride, who swears revenge on a team of assassins and their leader Bill (David Carradine) after they try to kill her and her unborn child.

487 Syndromes and a Century (2006)
486 Bob Dylan: Dont Look Back (1967)

485. Love Me Tonight (1932) Dir. Rouben Mamoulian, 104 mins.

It stars Maurice Chevalier as a tailor who poses as a nobleman and Jeanette MacDonald as a princess with whom he falls in love.

484 The Hunt (2012)

483. Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988) Dir. Terence Davies, 85 mins.

The first section, ‘Distant Voices’, chronicles the early life of a working-class Catholic family living under a domineering father. The second section, ‘Still Lives’, sees the children grown up and emerging into a brighter 1950s Britain, only a few years from rock and roll and The Beatles, yet somehow still a lifetime away.

482. Eraserhead (1977) Dir. David Lynch, 89 mins.

It tells the story of Henry Spencer (Jack Nance), who is left to care for his grossly deformed child in a desolate industrial landscape. Throughout the film, Spencer experiences dreams or hallucinations, featuring his child and the Lady in the Radiator.

481 Pain and Glory (2019)

The Pendragon Society’s 1000 Greatest Films (2019) 200-181


200. Rome, Open City (1945) Dir. Roberto Rossellini, 100 mins.

A harrowing drama about the Nazi occupation of Rome and the brave few who struggled against it. Watch

199. The Passenger (1975) Dir. Michelangelo Antonioni, 126 mins.

Written by Mark Peploe, Peter Wollen and Antonioni, the film is about an Anglo-American journalist, David Locke (Jack Nicholson) who assumes the identity of a dead businessman while working on a documentary in Chad, unaware that he is impersonating an arms dealer with connections to the rebels in the current civil war. Buy

198. WALL-E (2008) Dir. Andrew Stanton, 98 mins.

The story follows a robot named WALL-E, who is designed to clean up a waste-covered Earth far in the future. Watch

197. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) Dir. George Miller, 120 mins.

The film is set in a post apocalyptic desert wasteland where gasoline and water are scarce commodities. It follows Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy), who joins forces with Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) to flee from cult leader Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) and his army in an armoured tanker truck, which leads to a lengthy road battle. Watch

196. The Last Emperor (1987) Dir. Bernardo Bertolucci, 160 mins.

The Last Emperor is a visually stunning epic biographical film about the life of Puyi, the last Emperor of China, whose autobiography was the basis for the screenplay written by Mark Peploe and Bertolucci. Watch

195. Dog Day Afternoon (1975) Dir. Sidney Lumet, 125 mins.

Based on a true 1972 story, Sidney Lumet’s drama chronicles a unique bank robbery on a hot summer afternoon in New York City. Shortly before closing time, scheming loser Sonny (Al Pacino) and his slow-witted buddy, Sal (John Cazale), burst into a Brooklyn bank for what should be a run-of-the-mill robbery, but everything goes wrong, beginning with the fact that there is almost no money in the bank. Watch

194. Belle de jour (1967) Dir. Luis Bunuel, 101 mins.

Séverine Serizy, a young, beautiful housewife who has masochistic fantasies about elaborate floggings and bondage, decides to spend her days as a prostitute while her husband, with whom she has no physical intimacy, is at work. Watch

193. Breaking the Waves (1996) Dir. Lars von Trier, 153 mins.

Set in the Scottish Highlands in the early 1970s, von Trier’s devastating drama is about an unusual young woman, Bess McNeill, and of the love she has for Jan, her husband, who asks her to have sex with other men when he becomes immobilised from a work accident. Watch

192. La jetee (1962) Dir. Chris Marker, 28 mins.

Constructed almost entirely from still photos, it tells the story of a post-nuclear war experiment in time travel. Watch

191. Let the Right One In (2008) Dir. Tomas Alfredson, 115 mins.

The story centres on the relationship between a 12-year-old boy, Oskar, and a vampire child, Eli.

190. Three Colors: Red (1994) Dir. Krzysztof Kieslowski, 99 mins.

A beautiful model named Valentine crosses paths with a retired judge, whose dog she runs over with her car. The lonely judge, she discovers, amuses himself by eavesdropping on all of his neighbours’ phone conversations. Near Valentine’s apartment lives a young man who aspires to be a judge and loves a woman who will betray him.

189. Sherlock Jr. (1924) Dir. Buster Keaton, 45 mins.

Keaton plays the floor sweeper and projectionist of a small-town movie theatre, who in his free time studies to be a detective.

188. Werckmeister Harmonies (2000) Dir. Bela Tarr, Agnes Hranitzky, 145 mins.

Shot in black-and-white and composed of thirty-nine languidly paced shots, the film describes the aimlessness and anomie of a small town on the Hungarian plain that falls under the influence of a sinister travelling circus.

187. Woman in the Dunes (1964) Dir. Hiroshi Teshigahara, 123 mins.

When entomologist Jumpei (Eiji Okada) travels to sand dunes on an expedition, he is met by a group of people who offer him a place to spend the night. They soon lead him to a house at the bottom of a sandpit. Upon climbing into the pit, he finds a young widow (Kyoko Kishida) living alone. Placed there by the villagers, her task is to dig sand out of the pit, not only so that they can avoid getting buried, but so that the locals can use it for construction.

186. The Sacrifice (1986) Dir. Andrei Tarkovsky, 149 mins.

Starring Erland Josephson, it centres on a middle-aged intellectual who attempts to bargain with God to stop an impending nuclear holocaust.

185. Black Narcissus (1947) Dir. Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger, 100 mins.

It is a psychological drama about the emotional tensions of jealousy and lust within a convent of nuns in an isolated valley in the Himalayas.

184. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) Dir. Steven Spielberg, 115 mins.

It tells the story of Elliott (Henry Thomas), a lonely boy who befriends an extraterrestrial, dubbed “E.T.”, who is stranded on Earth. Elliott and his siblings help E.T. return to his home planet, while attempting to keep him hidden from their mother and the government.

183. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) Dir. Robert Wiene, 72 mins.

Considered the quintessential work of German Expressionist cinema, it tells the story of an insane hypnotist (Werner Krauss) who uses a somnambulist (Conrad Veidt) to commit murders.

182. Do the Right Thing (1989) Dir. Spike Lee, 120 mins.

Mookie (Spike Lee) is living in a black and Puerto Rican neighbourhood in Brooklyn with his sister, Jade and works as a pizza delivery man for a local pizzeria. Sal (Danny Aiello), the pizzeria’s Italian-American owner, has been in the neighbourhood for 25 years, but his older son Pino (John Turturro) intensely dislikes blacks, and does not get along with Mookie. Because of this, Pino is at odds with both his father, who refuses to leave the increasingly African-American neighbourhood, and his younger brother Vito (Richard Edson), who is friendly with Mookie. The simmering racial tension culminates in tragedy on a hot summer day.

181. Children of Men (2006) Dir. Alfonso Cuaron, 109 mins.

The film shows a future in which global infertility has left humanity with less than a century to survive.