The Pendragon Society’s 1000 Greatest Films (2020) 800-781


800. Death in Venice (1971) Dir. Luchino Visconti, 130 mins.

Based on a novel by Thomas Mann, Death in Venice stars Dirk Bogarde as a German composer who is terrified that he has lost all vestiges of humanity. While visiting Venice, he falls in love with a beautiful young boy (Bjorn Andresen). Most notable for the remarkable imagery, lyrically stunning final scene and the music of Gustav Mahler.

799. Blade Runner 2049 (2017) Dir. Denis Villeneuve, 163 mins.

Set thirty years after the first film, K (Ryan Gosling), a blade runner, uncovers a secret that threatens to instigate a war between humans and replicants. While it lacks the strong dialogue and iconic supporting characters of the original, the film works thanks to an excellent lead performance from Gosling and stunning visual work from British cinematographer Roger Deakins who finally won an Oscar after thirteen previous nominations.

798. Requiem For a Dream (2000) Dir. Darren Aronofsky, 102 mins.

The film depicts different forms of addiction, leading to the characters’ imprisonment in a dream world of delusion and reckless desperation that is subsequently overtaken and devastated by reality.

797. Django Unchained (2012) Dir. Quentin Tarantino, 165 mins.

Set in the South two years before the Civil War, Django Unchained stars Jamie Foxx as Django, a slave whose brutal history with his former owners lands him face-to-face with German-born bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz). Schultz is on the trail of the murderous Brittle brothers, and only Django can lead him to his bounty. Honing vital hunting skills, Django remains focused on one goal, finding and rescuing Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), the wife he lost to the slave trade long ago.

796. Toy Story 3 (2010) Dir. Lee Unkrich, 102 mins.

The plot focuses on the toys Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and their friends dealing with an uncertain future as their owner, Andy, prepares to leave for college.

795. Patton (1970) Dir. Franklin J. Schaffner, 172 mins.

Patton is an epic biographical war film about U.S. General George S. Patton during World War II. George C. Scott wins the plaudits for his turn as the General.

794. Life of Brian (1979) Dir. Terry Jones, 94 mins.

The film tells the story of Brian Cohen (Graham Chapman), a young Jewish man who is born on the same day as, and next door to, Jesus Christ, and is subsequently mistaken for the Messiah.

793. Laura (1944) Dir. Otto Preminger, 88 mins.

Laura Hunt (Gene Tierney), has been murdered and tough New York detective Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews) investigates the killing, methodically questioning the chief suspects. These are waspish columnist Waldo Lydecker (Clifton Webb), wastrel socialite Shelby Carpenter (Vincent Price) and Carpenter’s wealthy “patroness” Ann Treadwell (Judith Anderson). The deeper McPherson gets into the case, the more fascinated he becomes by the enigmatic Laura, literally falling in love with the girl’s painted portrait.

792. The Marriage of Maria Braun (1979) Dir. Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 120 mins.

The first of Fassbinder’s so-called ‘Federal Republic of Germany trilogy’, provides a despondent picture of West German misery considering the subjugation of emotions to mercenary material greed in the reconstruction years. The film shows the inevitable conflicts that arose from a collective denial of the past and ends with annihilation.

791. That Obscure Object of Desire (1977) Dir. Luis Bunuel, 102 mins.

Set in Spain and France against the backdrop of a terrorist insurgency, the film conveys the story told through a series of flashbacks by an ageing Frenchman, Mathieu, played by Fernando Rey, who recounts falling in love with a beautiful young Spanish woman, Conchita, played interchangeably by two actresses, Carole Bouquet and Angela Molina, that repeatedly frustrates his romantic and sexual desires.

790. Whiplash (2014) Dir. Damien Chazelle, 106 mins.

It depicts the relationship between an ambitious jazz student (Miles Teller) and an abusive instructor (J. K. Simmons).

789. Up (2009) Dir. Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, 96 mins.

An elderly widower named Carl Fredricksen flies to South America in a house suspended by balloons. Its outstanding, moving opening and the marvellous animation, make up for it’s more bland and frenetic parts.

788. 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.

787. Shame (2011) Dir. Steve McQueen, 99 mins.

An intelligent examination of sex addiction with an outstanding lead performance from Michael Fassbender.

786. Stagecoach (1939) Dir. John Ford, 96 mins.

Notable at the very least for John Wayne’s debut, the film follows a group of strangers riding on a stagecoach through dangerous Apache territory.

785. The New World (2005) Dir. Terrence Malick, 150 mins.

The film depicts the founding of the Jamestown, Virginia, settlement and tells the stories of historical figures Captain John Smith, Pocahontas and John Rolfe. More beautiful imagery from Malick.

784. 12 Years a Slave (2013) Dir. Steve McQueen, 133 mins.

An adaptation of the 1853 slave memoir Twelve Years a Slave, the film follows the book’s author Solomon Northup, a New York State-born free African-American man, who was kidnapped in Washington, D.C. by two conmen in 1841 and sold into slavery where he is put to work on plantations in the state of Louisiana for 12 years before being released.

783. Last Tango in Paris (1972) Dir. Bernardo Bertolucci, 127 mins.

Last Tango in Paris is a controversial Franco-Italian erotic drama directed by Bernardo Bertolucci which portrays a recently widowed American (Marlon Brando) who begins an anonymous sexual relationship with a young Parisian woman.

782. The Wrestler (2008) Dir. Darren Aronofsky, 111 mins.

Mickey Rourke plays an ageing professional wrestler who, despite his failing health and waning fame, continues to wrestle in an attempt to cling to the success of his 1980s heyday. Rourke delivers a career defining performance.

781. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) Dir. David Hand, 83 mins.

One of independent cinema’s great prestige pictures of the 1930s, Walt Disney began work on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the first feature length animation, in 1934 and employed hundreds of background artists and animators. Based on the German fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, the film tells the story of Snow White, a princess living with her stepmother, a vain and wicked witch known only as the Queen. While in production the Hollywood movie industry referred to the film derisively as “Disney’s Folly”, but the production was a huge critical and commercial success. It was praised by notable filmmakers such as Sergei Eisenstein and Orson Welles and is considered by many as among American cinema’s few genuine artistic achievements.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *