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


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