The Pendragon Society’s 1000 Greatest Films (2020) 680-661


680. The End of Summer (1961) Dir. Yasujiro Ozu, 103 mins.

Manbei Kohayagawa (Ganjiro Nakamura) is the head of a small sake brewery company that is in difficulties. As the family patriarch he also has to deal with daughter problems, one, a widow, needs help in finding a new mate and the other needs help making the right choice in a future spouse. Whilst some have dismissed The End of Summer as boring, others admire the beautiful cinematography and witty script.

679. The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara (2003) Dir. Errol Morris, 107 mins.

The documentary is about the life and times of former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara illustrating his observations of the nature of modern warfare.

678. Spies (1928) Dir. Fritz Lang, 178 mins.

Rudolf Klein-Rogge plays a master criminal aiming for world domination.

677. The Very Same Munchhausen (1979) Dir. Mark Zakharov,

Zakharov’s tongue-in-cheek satire of the Soviet Stagnation-Era society follows the story of the baron’s life after the adventures portrayed in the Baron Munchausen stories, particularly his struggle to prove himself sane. Münchhausen is portrayed as a multi-dimensional, colourful, non-conformist man living in a grey, plain, dull and conformist society that ultimately tries to destroy his personality.

676. Turtles Can Fly (2004) Dir. Bahman Ghobadi, 97 mins.

Set in a Kurdish refugee camp town on the Turkish border of Iraq, the film focuses on a group of children who are trying to survive in extreme circumstances.

675. Chimes at Midnight (1965) Dir. Orson Welles, 115 mins.

The film’s plot centres on William Shakespeare’s recurring character Sir John Falstaff and the father-son relationship he has with Prince Hal, who must choose between loyalty to his father, King Henry IV, or Falstaff.

674. Hedgehog in the Fog (1975) Dir. Yuriy Norshteyn, 11 mins.

Norshteyn’s classic animation short follows a little hedgehog (voiced by Maria Vinogradova), who, while on the way to visit his friend the bear cub, gets lost in thick fog, where horses, dogs and even falling leaves take on a terrifying new aspect. A visually dazzling and poetic interpretation of a Russian folk tale.

673. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) Dir. George Roy Hill, 110 mins.

The film tells the story of bank robbers Butch Cassidy (played by Paul Newman) and his partner Harry Longabaugh, the “Sundance Kid” (played by Robert Redford), which is based loosely on historical fact.

672. The Truman Show (1998) Dir. Peter Weir, 103 mins.

The film stars Jim Carrey as Truman Burbank, adopted and raised by a corporation inside a simulated television show revolving around his life, until he discovers it and decides to escape. Weir’s media satire feels even more pertinent twenty years on than when it was released.

671. The Missing Picture (2013) Dir. Rithy Panh, 92 mins.

Approximately half the film uses clay figurines to dramatise what happened in Cambodia when Pol Pot came to power, while the other half is made up of news and documentary footage,

670. The Hidden Fortress (1958) Dir. Akira Kurosawa, 139 mins.

The jidaigeki adventure film follows two bedraggled peasants, who, having been wrongly taken for soldiers, escape an invading army and find a gold bar while hiding out in the woods. With a mood that changes back an forth between brutality and humour, some have dismissed The Hidden Fortress as nothing more than well shot entertainment or at least not on a par with Kurosawa’s most acclaimed work. However, it does feature some of the filmmaker’s most visually stunning and arresting sequences (particularly notable is the striking use of composition in depth), fast paced action, witty characters and an intriguing narrative that was later recycled by George Lucas for Star Wars.

669. 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.

668. 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.

667. Fires on the Plain (1959)
666 Let’s Get Lost (1988)
665 Hearts and Minds (1974)

664. Mouchette (1967) Dir. Robert Bresson, 81 mins.

A coming-of-age story, Mouchette is set in a rural French village and follows the daughter of a bullying alcoholic father and ailing mother. Buy

663 Poetry (2010)

662. High Noon (1952) Dir. Fred Zinnemann, 85 mins.

Zinnemann’s unbearably tense western tells in real time the story of a town marshal, Will Kane, who is forced to face a gang of killers by himself. Watch

661. 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.

The Pendragon Society’s 1000 Greatest Films (2019) 300-281


300. To Be or Not to Be (1942) Dir. Ernst Lubitsch, 99 mins.

Directed by Ernst Lubitsch, the audacious film is about a troupe of actors in Nazi-occupied Warsaw who use their abilities at disguise and acting to fool the tyrannical occupying troops.

299. Boogie Nights (1997) Dir. Paul Thomas Anderson, 156 mins.

Set in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley, the film focuses on a young nightclub dishwasher who becomes a popular star of pornographic movies, chronicling his rise in the Golden Age of Porn of the 1970s through to his fall during the excesses of the 1980s.

298. Being There (1979) Dir. Hal Ashby, 130 mins.

Hailed as a genius for his simplistic approach to life, an ageing gardener with a childlike naivete rises, by accident, into the game of politics. The man is soon presented as a possible Presidential candidate although no one knows his true background.

297. Beau Travail (1999) Dir. Claire Denis, 93 mins.

The film follows a former French Foreign Legion officer, Galoup as he recalls his once happy existence with the Legion serving in Dijibouti. However, things sour with the arrival of a promising young recruit who induces feelings of Jealousy in Galoup. Poetic, exhilarating and totally unforgettable.

296. The Lion King (1994) Dir. Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff, 89 mins.

Based on Shakespeare’s King Lear, The Lion King tells the story of Simba, a young lion who is to succeed his father, Mufasa, as King of the Pride Lands. However, after Simba’s uncle Scar (Mufasa’s jealous younger brother), murders Mufasa, Simba is manipulated into thinking he was responsible and flees into exile. He ends up living with two wastrels until he reaches adulthood, when he is given some valuable perspective from his childhood friend, Nala, and his shaman, Rafiki, before returning to challenge Scar to end his tyranny and take his place in the Circle of Life as the rightful King. Recognised as the peak of Disney’s renaissance, The Lion King is a stunningly animated and compelling film, further enhanced by the music of Elton John.

295. A City of Sadness (1989) Dir. Hsiao-hsien Hou, 157 mins.

The most overtly historical of Hou’s films, It tells the story of an extended family embroiled in the tragic “White Terror” that was wrought on the Taiwanese people by the Kuomintang government (KMT) after their arrival from mainland China in the late 1940s, during which thousands of Taiwanese were rounded up, shot, and/or sent to prison. An ambitious film that won the Golden Lion at Venice, it cemented Hou’s reputation as a world class filmmaker.

294. My Night at Maud’s (1969) Dir. Eric Rohmer, 110 mins.

Over the Christmas break in a French city, the film shows chance meetings and conversations between four single people, each knowing one of the other three.

293. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) Dir. Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, 91 mins.

It parodies the legend of King Arthur’s quest to find the Holy Grail. Marvellous exuberant comedy.

292. Out of the Past (1947) Dir. Jacques Tourneur, 97 mins.

Private eye Jeff Bailey (Robert Mitchum) is hired by notorious gangster Whit Sterling (Kirk Douglas) to find his mistress, Kathie Moffett (Jane Greer), who shot him and ran off with $40,000. Jeff traces Kathie to Mexico, but when he meets her he falls in love and willingly becomes involved in an increasingly complicated web of double-crosses, blackmail, and murder.

291. Scarface (1983) Dir. Brian De Palma, 170 mins.

The film tells the story of ambitious Cuban refugee Tony Montana (Al Pacino) who arrives in 1980s Miami with nothing and rises to become a powerful drug kingpin.

290. The Thing (1982) Dir. John Carpenter, 109 mins.

It tells the story of a group of American researchers in Antarctica who encounter the eponymous “Thing”, a parasitic extraterrestrial life form that assimilates other organisms and in turn imitates them. The group is quickly overcome by paranoia and conflict as they learn that they can no longer trust each other and that any one of them can be the Thing.

289. 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.

288. The Truman Show (1998) Dir. Peter Weir, 103 mins.

The film stars Jim Carrey as Truman Burbank, adopted and raised by a corporation inside a simulated television show revolving around his life, until he discovers it and decides to escape. Weir’s media satire feels even more pertinent twenty years on than when it was released.

287. Naked (1993) Dir. Mike Leigh, 131 mins.

A British black comedy-drama written and directed by Mike Leigh and starring David Thewlis as Johnny, a motor-mouthed intellectual and conspiracy theorist.

286. The Exorcist (1973) Dir. William Friedkin, 122 mins.

The film is based on the exorcism case of Robbie Mannheim, dealing with the demonic possession of a young girl and her mother’s desperate attempts to win her back through an exorcism by two priests.

285. Akira (1988) Dir. Katsuhiro Otomo, 124 mins.

Set in a dystopian 2019, Akira tells the story of Shōtarō Kaneda, a leader of a local biker gang whose childhood friend, Tetsuo Shima, acquires incredible telekinetic abilities after a motorcycle accident, eventually threatening an entire military complex amidst chaos and rebellion in the sprawling futuristic metropolis of Neo-Tokyo. A stunning game changer for anime.

284. Brief Encounter (1945) Dir. David Lean, 86 mins.

Laura Jesson, a suburban housewife in a dull but affectionate marriage, tells her story in the first person while at home with her husband, imagining that she is confessing her affair to him. Returning home from a weekly excursion, she meets a doctor called Alec Harvey.

283. Bringing Up Baby (1938) Dir. Howard Hawks, 102 mins.

The film tells the story of a palaeontologist in a number of predicaments involving a scatterbrained heiress and a leopard named Baby.

282. The Music Room (1958) Dir. Satyajit Ray, 100 mins.

Based on a novel by Tarashankar Banerjee, it is the story of the decline of the aristocracy by following a wealthy man who slowly loses his wealth, his position, his family and his sanity while he watches life go on as normal for all of his friends and neighbours.

281. For a Few Dollars More (1965) Dir. Sergio Leone, 132 mins.

It stars Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef as bounty hunters on the trail of a ruthless psychopath, Maria Volontè.