The Pendragon Society’s 1000 Greatest Films (2020) 860-841


860. Carol (2015) Dir. Todd Haynes, 118 mins.

Set in New York City during the early 1950s, Carol tells the story of a forbidden affair between an aspiring female photographer (Rooney Mara) and a glamorous older woman (Cate Blanchett) going through a difficult divorce. An elegantly restrained melodrama with lush visuals that features superb performances from Blanchett and Mara.

859. Fellini Satyricon (1969) Dir. Federico Fellini, 128 mins.

The film is divided into nine episodes, following the scholar Encolpius and his friend Ascyltus as they try to win the heart of the young boy Gitón, whom they both love, within the film’s depiction of a surreal and dreamlike Roman landscape and culture.

858. 2046 (2004) Dir. Wong Kar-Wai, 129 mins.

The film follows the aftermath of Chow Mo-wan’s unconsummated affair with Su Li-Zhen in 1960s Hong Kong.

857. Frankenstein (1931) Dir. James Whale, 71 mins.

Based on the nineteenth century novel, the film follows a scientist, Dr. Frankenstein (Colin Clive) and his assistant who dig up corpses to build a man animated by electricity (Boris Karloff), but his assistant accidentally gives the creature an abnormal, murderer’s brain.

856. The Butcher (1970) Dir. Claude Chabrol, 93 mins.

Chabrol’s thriller follows a confident, slightly naive young teacher who meets a butcher at a wedding ceremony, and they strike up a close but platonic relationship. The young woman then grows suspicious of the butcher when a series of women in their small town fall victim to an unknown murderer. With something of a nod to a Hitchcockian thriller, The Butcher builds into a gripping and compelling film.

855. Five Easy Pieces (1970) Dir. Bob Rafelson, 98 mins.

The film tells the story of surly oil-rig worker Bobby Dupea, whose seemingly rootless blue-collar existence belies his privileged youth as a piano prodigy. When Bobby learns that his father is dying, he goes home to see him, taking along his waitress girlfriend.

854. Dead Ringers (1988) Dir. David Cronenberg, 116 mins.

Based on the true story of identical twin gynaecologists (both played by Jeremy Irons), Cronenberg’s distressing urban horror follows the doctors as they frequently sub for each other professionally, capriciously share one another’s lovers and pride themselves on that fact that their subterfuge has never been detected. Enter Genevieve Bujold, playing a internationally famous infertile actress, who is courted by both twins, but selects the shyer of the two leading to the psychological disintegration of the brothers. Whilst Cronenberg begins to veer away from the horror genre proper, Dead Ringers retains the hallucinatory and horrifying atmosphere of his earlier films.

853. Rocky (1976) Dir. John G. Avildsen, 119 mins.

A slightly dimwitted working class Italian American amateur boxer from Philadelphia’s tough neighbourhood is working as a debt collector for a loan shark. Out of the blue he gets a surprise shot at fighting for the heavyweight championship, while at the same time he finds love in the arms of a shy, reclusive girl who works in the local pet store. Perhaps the plot is a bit gimmicky and predictable but writer/lead actor Sylvester Stallone delivers a star making performance in what is an entertaining and engaging rags to riches tale.

852. Fury (1936) Dir. Fritz Lang, 90 mins.

Having escaped Nazi Germany after Hitler’s request that he become head of the fascist regime’s film industry, Lang signed a contract with MGM and convinced the studio to let him make a film about an ordinary man (Spencer Tracey) mistakenly arrested on suspicion of kidnapping and possibly murdering a child. When a frenzied mob of town residents set fire to the jail the man is presumed wrongly to be dead. He then sacrifices his relationships with his family and sweetheart, becoming obsessed with taking revenge on his accusers. Lang’s powerful film shows how the quest for revenge dehumanises the man in much the same way as it did the lynch mob.

851. Tootsie (1982) Dir. Sydney Pollack, 119 mins.

Pollack’s comedy drama tells the story of a talented but volatile actor (Dustin Hoffman) whose reputation for being difficult forces him to adopt a new identity as a woman in order to land a job. With a pertinent look at the role of women in the industry, and society in general, and an amusing parody of US soaps, the film is much more than just Hoffman’s clever performance.

850. District 9 (2009) Dir. Neill Blomkamp, 112 mins.

Wikus van de Merwe (Sharlto Copley), an Afrikaner bureaucrat is assigned to relocate a race of extraterrestrial creatures unexpectedly stranded on Earth, from District 9, a military-guarded slum in Johannesburg.

849. Caché (2005) Dir. Michael Haneke, 117 mins.

The film follows an upper-class French couple, Georges and Anne, who are terrorised by anonymous tapes that appear on their front porch and hint at Georges’s childhood memories. A creepy Hitchcockian thriller skillfully directed by Haneke.

848. American History X (1998) Dir. Tony Kaye, 119 mins.

The film tells the story of two brothers from Venice, Los Angeles who become involved in the neo-Nazi movement. The older brother (Edward Norton) serves three years in prison for voluntary manslaughter, changes his beliefs and tries to prevent his younger brother (Edward Furlong) from going down the same path. A flawed film maybe, but one that has plenty of power and a stunning Academy Award nominated performance from Norton.

847. Johnny Guitar (1954) Dir. Nicholas Ray, 110 mins.

Strong-willed saloon-casino owner Vienna squares off against her nemesis, the shrieking Emma Small, who wrongly blames Vienna for her brother’s death.

846. Beauty and the Beast (1991) Dir. Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise, 84 mins.

With music and songs by Alan Menken and lyrics by Howard Ashman, Beauty and the Beast focuses on the relationship between the Beast (voiced by Robby Benson), a prince who is magically transformed into a monster (while his servants are turned into household objects) as punishment for his arrogance, and Belle (voiced by Paige O’Hara), a young woman whom he imprisons in his castle. To become a prince again, Beast must learn to love Belle and earn her love in return before the last petal from the enchanted rose that the enchantress who cursed the Beast had offered falls, or else the Beast will remain a monster forever. Beautifully crafted animation fairy-tale that was nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars.

845. Batman Begins (2005) Dir. Christopher Nolan, 140 mins.

The film reboots the Batman film series, telling the origin story of the character and begins with Bruce Wayne’s initial fear of bats, the death of his parents, and his journey to becoming Batman.

844. Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2004) Dir. Quentin Tarantino, 136 mins.

The second volume begins with a depiction of the events leading up to the wedding chapel massacre.

843. Veronika Voss (1982) Dir. Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 104 mins.

Once the toast of Germany, Veronika had allegedly been an intimate of Joseph Gobbels. But the Third Reich is dead…and Veronika may as well be. Playing to an increasingly diminishing fan following, Veronika turns to drugs to cushion her against the cruelties of life. Her self-destruction is accelerated by her “Doctor Feelgood” Annemaire Duringer, who plys Veronika with morphine in order to gain control of the actress’s money and property.

842. Harold and Maude (1971) Dir. Hal Ashby, 91 mins.

The plot revolves around the exploits of a young man named Harold Chasen (Bud Cort) who is intrigued with death. Harold drifts away from the life that his detached mother (Vivian Pickles) prescribes for him, and slowly develops a strong friendship, and eventually a romantic relationship, with a 79-year-old woman named Maude (Ruth Gordon).

841. Amour (2012) Dir. Michael Haneke, 127 mins.

The narrative focuses on an elderly couple, Anne and Georges, who are retired music teachers with a daughter who lives abroad. Anne suffers a stroke which paralyses her on the right side of her body.


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