The Pendragon Society’s 1000 Greatest Films (2020) 180-161


180. Double Indemnity (1944) Dir. Billy Wilder, 107 mins.

The film stars Fred MacMurray as an insurance salesman, Barbara Stanwyck as a provocative housewife who wishes her husband were dead, and Edward G. Robinson as a claims adjuster whose job is to find phony claims.

179. On the Waterfront (1954) Dir. Elia Kazan, 108 mins.

The film focuses on union violence and corruption amongst longshoremen on the waterfronts of Hoboken, New Jersey. Marlon Brando makes a huge impact as a dockworker and once promising boxer whose brother is the right hand man of a mob connected union boss.

178. Nosferatu (1922) Dir. F.W. Murnau, 81 mins.

F. W. Murnau’s landmark vampire film begins in the Carpathian mountains, where real estate agent Hutter has arrived to close a sale with the reclusive Herr Orlok. Despite the feverish warnings of the local peasants, Hutter journeys to Orlok’s sinister castle and soon discovers that Orlok is no ordinary mortal.

177. Scenes From a Marriage (1973) Dir. Ingmar Bergman, 169 mins.

Spanning a period of 10 years, the story explores the disintegration of a marriage between Marianne, a family lawyer specialising in divorce, and Johan, a college professor. Buy

176. McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971) Dir. Robert Altman, 120 mins.

In a small American frontier village, a stranger named McCabe (Warren Beatty) builds a brothel with the help of experienced madame Mrs. Miller (Julie Christie). The town soon prospers, and success brings the jealous, and potentially deadly, attentions of a wealthy mining company.

175. Fitzcarraldo (1982) Dir. Werner Herzog, 158 mins.

It portrays would-be rubber baron Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald (Klaus Kinski), who has to pull a steamship over a steep hill in order to access a rich rubber territory.

174. High and Low (1963) Dir. Akira Kurosawa, 142 mins.

Toshirô Mifune is unforgettable as Kingo Gondo, a wealthy industrialist whose family becomes the target of a cold-blooded kidnapper in Akira Kurosawa’s highly influential crime drama.

173. Yi Yi: A One and a Two (2000) Dir. Edward Yang, 173 mins.

The film’s theme centres around the emotional struggles of an engineer named NJ (Wu Nien-jen) and three generations of his middle-class Taiwanese family who reside in Taipei.

172. Manhattan (1979) Dir. Woody Allen, 96 mins.

Woody Allen’s love letter to cinema, Manhattan sees him co-star as a twice-divorced 42-year-old comedy writer who dates a 17-year-old girl (Mariel Hemingway) but falls in love with his best friend’s mistress (Diane Keaton). Watch

171. Le trou (1960) Dir. Jacques Becker, 132 mins.

The film is based on a true event concerning five inmates in La Santé Prison in France in 1947.

170. A Separation (2011) Dir. Asghar Farhadi, 123 mins.

It focuses on an Iranian middle-class couple who separate, the disappointment and desperation suffered by their daughter due to the egotistical disputes and separation of her parents, and the conflicts that arise when the husband hires a lower-class caregiver for his elderly father, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease.

169. Memories of Underdevelopment (1968) Dir. Tomas Gutierrez Alea, 97 mins.

With international revolutionary fervour at its height, Alea made this subtle and complex political drama that looks at the alienation of a bourgeois intellectual within the revolution. It follows the indecisive Sergio (Sergio Correri) who even though he refuses to flee Cuba in the wake of the Bay of Pigs invasion, is seemingly happy to see his wife, parents and friends leave for Miami. He is sceptical of the ability of the Revolution to make a real change to Cuban life, observing that it is only the latest passion for an ever-changing society. Teeming with originality, Memories of Underdevelopment intelligently portrays the end of an old Cuba and the struggle to bring in a new one.

168. Jules and Jim (1962) Dir. Francois Truffaut, 105 mins.

Set around the time of World War I, it describes a tragic love triangle involving French Bohemian Jim (Henri Serre), his shy Austrian friend Jules (Oskar Werner), and Jules’s girlfriend and later wife Catherine (Jeanne Moreau).

167. The Forgotten Ones (1950) Dir. Luis Bunuel, 85 mins.

The story concerns a gang of juvenile delinquents, whose sole redeeming quality is their apparent devotion to one another. Watch

166. Cinema Paradiso (1988) Dir. Giuseppe Tornatore, 155 mins.

The story begins in the present as a Sicilian mother pines for her estranged son, Salvatore, who left many years ago and has since become a prominent Roman film director who has taken the advice of his mentor too literally. He finally returns to his home village to attend the funeral of the town’s former film projectionist, Alfredo, and, in so doing, embarks upon a journey into his boyhood just after WWII when he became the man’s official son.

165. Full Metal Jacket (1987) Dir. Stanley Kubrick, 116 mins.

Its storyline follows a platoon of U.S. Marines through their training, primarily focusing on two privates, Joker and Pyle, who struggle to get through camp under their foul-mouthed drill instructor, Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, and the experiences of two of the platoon’s Marines in the Tet Offensive during the Vietnam War. Becomes somewhat disjointed when it reaches Vietnam but that’s probably to do with war being just that.

164. Day of Wrath (1943) Dir. Carl Theodor Dreyer, 97 mins.

After his  previous film, Vampyr was badly received, Dreyer spent a decade on failed projects and had even returned to his former career as a journalist before he was able to direct Day of Wrath. The film tells the story of a young woman who is forced into a marriage with an elderly pastor after her late mother was accused of witchcraft. She falls in love with the pastor’s son and also comes under suspicion of the dark arts. Stark and restrained, its style pushing towards abstraction and enhanced by high contrast photography, Day of Wrath is a powerful statement on faith, superstition and religious intolerance.

163. 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.

162. Sans Soleil (1983) Dir. Chris Marker, 100 mins.

Recognised as one of the major films of the 1980s, Chris Marker’s documentary, with a narrative concerning time travel, is a meditation on the nature of human memory, showing the inability to recall the context and nuances of memory, and how, as a result, the perception of personal and global histories is affected. With haunting images from Tokyo and Guinea Bissau, Sans Soleil is an eloquent melancholic take on the perishable ideological certainties of the 1960s.

161. Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980) Dir. Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 894 mins.

Originally broadcast in 1980, as a 14-part West German television miniseries, Berlin Alexanderplatz was adapted and directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder from the Alfred Döblin novel of the same name.


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