The Pendragon Society’s 1000 Greatest Films (2020) 140-121


140. Viridiana (1961) Dir. Luis Bunuel, 90 mins.

A woman visits her rich uncle before taking her vows as a nun. When he dies, he leaves his estate to her and his son. She becomes a nun and opens up the estate to house some wretched derelicts. Watch

139. Hiroshima mon amour (1959) Dir. Alain Resnais, 90 mins.

An extramarital affair between a Japanese architect and a French film maker recalls the horrors of the atomic bomb and the prospects for world peace.

138. Yojimbo (1961) Dir. Akira Kurosawa, 110 mins.

It tells the story of a rōnin, portrayed by Toshiro Mifune, who arrives in a small town where competing crime lords vie for supremacy. The two bosses each try to hire the newcomer as a bodyguard.

137. Gone with the Wind (1939) Dir. Victor Fleming, 238 mins.

Set in the American South against the backdrop of the American Civil War and the Reconstruction era, the film tells the story of Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh), the strong-willed daughter of a Georgia plantation owner, from her romantic pursuit of Ashley Wilkes, who is married to his cousin, Melanie Hamilton, to her marriage to Rhett Butler (Clark Gable).

136. The Big Lebowski (1998) Dir. Joel & Ethan Coen, 117 mins.

It stars Jeff Bridges as Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski, a Los Angeles slacker and avid bowler. He is assaulted as a result of mistaken identity, after which The Dude learns that a millionaire also named Jeffrey Lebowski was the intended victim. The millionaire Lebowski’s trophy wife is kidnapped, and he commissions The Dude to deliver the ransom to secure her release.

135. Playtime (1967) Dir. Jacques Tati, 155 mins.

Mr. Hulot tries to function in an unrecognisable Paris of modernistic glass-and-steel skyscrapers.

134. 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

133. Nights of Cabiria (1957) Dir. Federico Fellini, 117 mins.

Based on a story by Fellini, the film is about a prostitute in Rome who searches for true love in vain.

132. Night and Fog (1956) Dir. Alain Resnais, 32 mins.

The documentary features the abandoned grounds of Auschwitz and Majdanek while describing the lives of prisoners in the camps.

131. 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.

130. 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.

129. 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.

128. The Empire Strikes Back (1980) Dir. Irvin Kershner, 127 mins.

Set three years after Star Wars, the Galactic Empire, under the leadership of the villainous Darth Vader and the Emperor, is in pursuit of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and the rest of the Rebel Alliance. While Vader relentlessly pursues Han Solo, Princess Leia Organa, and otheir companions, Luke studies the Force under Jedi Master Yoda preparing to go to aide of his friends. Arguably the best of the Star Wars franchise and featuring one of cinema’s most famous plot twists. Watch

127. The Wizard of Oz (1939) Dir. Victor Fleming, 101 mins.

The Wizard of Oz stars the legendary Judy Garland as Dorothy, an innocent farm girl whisked out of her mundane earthbound existence into a land of pure imagination. Dorothy’s journey in Oz will take her through emerald forests, yellow brick roads, and creepy castles, all with the help of some unusual but earnest song-happy friends.

126. The Conversation (1974) Dir. Francis Ford Coppola, 113 mins.

The plot revolves around a surveillance expert and the moral dilemma he faces when his recordings reveal a potential murder.

125. Parasite (2019) Dir. Bong Joon-ho, 132 mins.

The first non-English language film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture, it follows the members of a poor family who scheme to become employed by a wealthy family by infiltrating their household and posing as unrelated, highly qualified individuals.

124. The Great Dictator (1940) Dir. Charles Chaplin, 125 mins.

During World War I, a Jewish barber (Chaplin) in the army of Tomania saves the life of high-ranking officer Schultz (Reginald Gardiner). While Schultz survives the conflict unscathed, the barber is stricken with amnesia and bundled off to a hospital. Twenty years pass and Tomania has been taken over by dictator Adenoid Hynkel (Chaplin again) and his stooges Garbitsch (Henry Daniell) and Herring (Billy Gilbert).

123. The Spirit of the Beehive (1973) Dir. Victor Erice, 97 mins.

The film focuses on a young girl Ana and her fascination with the 1931 American horror film Frankenstein, as well as exploring her family life and schooling.

122. Hoop Dreams (1994) Dir. Steve James, 170 mins.

It follows the story of two African-American high school students in Chicago and their dream of becoming professional basketball players. Watch

121. A Man Escaped (1956) Dir. Robert Bresson, 99 mins.

It is based on the memoirs of André Devigny, a member of the French Resistance held in Montluc prison by the occupying Germans during World War II.


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