Rick's Flicks

So Many Movies, So Little Time

Here are some movies that one would enjoy seeing if one wanted to be more aware of the scope of movies, what movies can be at their best and worst.  

What are those old-timers ranting about when they say that "They don't make 'em like they used to?"  Not all of these are old, of course.  There are future classics being made today, movies that are really breakthroughs or the peak of their genre, movies that changed the scope of moviedom from that point forward.  Flicks like Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Wars.  They're here, too.  But many of the breakthroughs -- inventing a new type of movie or setting a new standard for epic scope, vision, violence, ordering, symbolism, evil, humor, slapstick, parody, dystopia, and such -- many breakthroughs happen early in the life of a medium. Sure, new ones are happening now, especially with respect to computer graphics and "photographing" scenes that can't really be seen.  But, well, for example, even the new style of action flicks, where everything goes fast and then blows up, started decades ago with films like Bullitt, which I think invented the insane city car chase, and the early James Bond films that blew up everything.  

And there are a number of cases where the same plot gets recycled into another movie a decade or two later.  And we won't even mention the remakes of older movies, very few of which come near the standard of the originals.  

Please remember that this is not intended as a "best of" list, but as a list of, well, hard to say, sort of milestones, cultural shared experiences, cinemahhhhh vocabulary.  Like Joe Bob's list but with a bigger scope.  And I'm sure I have erred in not including a couple of his choices in there, because he really was going for the milestone-breakthrough-things-can-never-be-the-same-again-who-let-the-nitrate-genie-out-of-the-bottle high spots.  Saturday reaction: "Jesus H!  How could they do that?  In public!"  Monday reaction: "But, C. B., our next project has to leap over that new bar!"

Your help is requested in editing it into a saner format, with perhaps more clear distinction between cinema history and "cultural literacy."  Currently, they are divided into three categories: 

Happy viewing!  


Title Genre Actors, Directors Comments  
2001 A Space Odyssey sci fi Keir Dullea, Stanley Kubrick (dir) Book by Arthur C. Clarke. The first realistic sci fi movie. Images you'll never forget. must see
8-1/2 drama Marcello Mastroianni, Federico Fellini (dir) Second of the Italian decadence and ennui movies, with male mid-life crisis added. must see
African Queen, The drama Humphrey Bogart, Katharine Hepburn Grungy boatman and prissy schoolmarm go down the river. must see
Agony and the Ecstasy, The bio Charlton Heston, Rex Harrison Michelangelo paints the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, and paint drips on the Pope. must see
Airplane comedy Leslie Nielsen Every possible slapstick device around a thin plot. must see
Alien sci fi Sigourney Weaver First you eat it, then it eats you. In the future, everything looks dirty. must see
All That Jazz musical Roy Scheider, Bob Fosse (dir) Choreographer's fantasy of death. Bob Fosse's sort of story of his own life. must see
Annie Hall comedy Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Tony Roberts Woody gets an Oscar for best picture. must see
Apartment, The comedy Jack Lemmon For company execs to hold afternoon assignations. must see
Apocalypse Now war Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Francis Ford Coppola (dir) Heart of Darkness (Conrad) retold in Vietnam. Apparently a near-disaster to make, but what a result. must see
Arsenic and Old Lace comedy Cary Grant, Raymond Massey, Peter Lorre Great, funny movie of famous play. must see
Awful Truth, The comedy Cary Grant, Irene Dunne Couple really don't want to get divorced. must see
Bad Seed, The drama dunno Little girl likes to get her way, whatever it takes. must see
Becket drama Richard Burton, Peter O'Toole Henry II vs St. Thomas Becket. Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest? must see
Bedazzled (old) comedy Peter Cook, Dudley Moore Faust, with a hip Mephistopheles and a schlemiel. must see
Ben Hur biblical, Roman Charlton Heston Indy with chariots. One of the great Biblical epics. must see
Birds, The horror Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedrin, Alfred Hitchcock (dir) Seagulls' revenge on the beautiful people in Bodega Bay. must see
Blazing Saddles comedy Gene Wilder, Cleavon Little, Mel Brooks (dir) Black sheriff saves town in typical Mel Brooks insanity. must see
Bonnie and Clyde crime Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway Famous for its ultra-violent ending. must see
Boys from Brazil, The drama Laurence Olivier, Gregory Peck, James Mason Nazis in the late 1970s, the SS still plotting to take over. Book by Ira Levin. must see
Bride of Frankenstein sci fi Elsa Lanchester She's alive! Alive! Love the gray lightning bolts in the hair. must see
Bridge on the River Kwai war Alec Guiness Prisoners build the Bridge of Death in Burma. Maybe not quite historically accurate but compelling. must see
Bringing up Baby comedy Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn Hysterically funny madcap comedy. must see
Bullitt crime Steve McQueen Great San Francisco hill car chase. Became a cliche. must see
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid western Paul Newman, Robert Redford Western crime duo made pretty. must see
Cabaret musical Lisa Minelli, Bob Fosse (dir) 1930s decadence in Berlin during the rise of the Nazis. Watch the kids sing Tomorrow Belongs to Me. must see
Captain Blood swashbuckler Errol Flynn Leaping from deck to deck with sword and knife! must see
Casablanca drama Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman Play it, Sam. If this boy-loses-girl doesn't choke you up, you have no soul. must see
Charade mystery Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, James Coburn, Walter Matthau Sort of like Ten Little Indians. Which crook did it? They die off one by one. must see
Chinatown crime Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston Nicholson as PI in corrupt LA. Nicholson is tough and bumbling. Huston is wonderfully slimy. must see
Citizen Kane bio Orson Welles, Joseph Cotton Welles's triumph as enfant terrible first-time director. must see
Clockwork Orange, A sci fi Malcolm MacDowell Anthony Burgess novel about ultra-violence. Lock your door. must see
Cocoanuts, The comedy Marx Brothers Why a duck? The brothers run a hotel in Florida. must see
Crying Game, The crime Forrest Whitaker IRA kidnapping goes wrong, but that's not the real story. must see
Dark Passage noir Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall Innocent man escapes from San Quentin, then is helped by woman, pursued by everyone else. must see
Day the Earth Stood Still, The sci fi Michael Rennie Flying saucer lands in D.C. Klaatu barada nikto, dude. must see
Dead of Night drama Ensemble cast. Weekend guests at country house tell weird stories, recurring nightmares. must see
Death Wish crime Charles Bronson Vigilante fighting street crime in New York. must see
Desperate Hours (old), The crime Humphrey Bogart, Fredrick March Escaped convicts hold family hostage. must see
Dial M for Murder noir Ray Milland, Grace Kelly, Robert Cummings, Alfred Hitchcock (dir) Let's kill her. Oops. That didn't work. Okay, let's frame her. must see
Dirty Harry crime Clint Eastwood The first of five (?) so far, San Francisco cop tough guy. Do you want to know? Well, do ya, punk? must see
Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet drama Edward G. Robinson German doctor discovers many good things, but is still reviled. must see
Dr. Strangelove black comedy Peter Sellers, Peter Sellers, Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden, Slim Pickens, James Earl Jones, Stanley Kubrick (dir) How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. You will laugh all the way to the end of the world. (Sellers plays three roles.) must see
Dracula (old old) horror Bela Lugosi First talkie vampire flick. Atmospheric, and scary as hell. must see
Duck Soup comedy Marx Brothers You're accused of not paying your taxes. Hey, I have an uncle who lives in Taxes. No, I mean money, dollars. Yeah, that's where he lives: Dollars, Taxes. must see
Easy Rider drama Dennis Hopper, Peter Fonda, Choppers and doobies. must see
Exorcist, The horror Max von Sydow Truly horrifying flick from the famous novel, much quoted and parodied. must see
Fail Safe sci fi Henry Fonda, Walter Matthau The not-at-all-funny reality version of Dr. Strangelove. Glitch nukes Moscow. Eeeeeeeeeeeee. How do you stop World War III? must see
Fantasia (old) animation (Disney) Many short music pieces set to animation, or short cartoons set to classical music. Gotta see the dancing hippos in tutus. must see
Fargo crime William H. Macy, Steve Buscemi, the Coen brothers (dir) Fake kidnapping by massively incompetent criminals. Yah. must see
Forbidden Planet, The sci fi Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis, Leslie Nielsen, Robby the Robot Highest budget sci fi flick up to its time. The real Robby. must see
Frankenstein (old old) horror Boris Karloff, Colin Clive Yes, that monster. The original one. must see
French Connection, The crime Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider Frogs try to smuggle heroin into NYC. must see
From Russia with Love spy Sean Connery, Robert Shaw, Lotte Lenya The first (decent) James Bond movie. must see
Godfather, The crime Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, Francis Ford Coppola (dir) The beginning of a mob legend and film dynasty. must see
Godzilla (old) sci fi Raymond Burr, the guy in the rubber suit The Burr scenes were shot separately in the US and editing into the Japanese movie. must see
Gold Rush, The comedy Charlie Chaplin This steak is as tough as leather. must see
Goldfinger spy Sean Connery The best early James Bond. must see
Gone with the Wind drama Clark Gable, Vivian Leigh Civil War epic. Frankly, I don't give a damn. must see
Graduate, The comedy Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, Mike Nichols (dir) Every boy's dream, then nightmare. Here's to you, Mrs. Robinson. must see
Grapes of Wrath, The drama Henry Fonda, John Ford (dir) Gritty, honest rendering of John Steinbeck novel. must see
Great Escape, The war Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough Escape from Nazi POW camp. Large ensemble cast. must see
Harvey comedy Jimmie Stewart He's not a rabbit, he's a puka. must see
High Noon western Gary Cooper Bad guys coming and no one to help. must see
His Girl Friday comedy Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell Hysterically funny madcap comedy. Remade several times. must see
Horse's Mouth, The comedy Alec Guiness Brilliant but nutso artist. must see
How Green Was My Valley drama Walter Pidgeon, Maureen O'Hara, Roddy McDowall Poor but noble coal miners in Wales. must see
How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying musical Robert Morse, Rudy Vallee Broadway musical on film. must see
Hustler, The crime Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason Pool player hits the skids. must see
In the Heat of the Night crime Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger Black northern cop in southern town. must see
Incredible Shrinking Man, The sci fi dunno Radiation or something. must see
Inherit the Wind courtroom Spencer Tracy, Fredric March The Scopes "monkey trial" of Clarence Darrow vs William Jennings Bryan. must see
Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The (old) sci fi Kevin McCarthy Pod people in Santa Rosa. must see
Invisible Man, The (old) sci fi Claude Rains Footprints in the snow. must see
Ipcress File, The spy Michael Caine Using psychological stress to break and brainwash. must see
It's a Wonderful Life drama Jimmie Stewart How different would the world be without him? must see
Jaws horror Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfus, Steven Spielberg (dir) Don't eat the tourists, please. The shark is too damned smart. must see
Key Largo drama Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall Bad guys take over resort hotel in hurricane. must see
Killing, The crime Sterling Hayden, Stanley Kubrick (dir) How to rob a race track. must see
King Kong (old) sci fi Clyde Beatty ' Twas beauty killed the beast. must see
La Dolce Vita drama Marcello Mastroianni, Federico Fellini (dir) First of the Italian decadence and ennui movies. must see
La Strada drama Anthony Quinn, Federico Fellini (dir) Incredibly touching story of circus strong man and mute girl. must see
Laura crime Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Vincent Price, Otto Preminger (dir) Murder investigator falls in love with his idea of the victim. must see
Little Shop of Horrors, The (old) black comedy Jack Nicholson, Roger Corman (dir) Feed me! Hungry plant from space becomes a sensation. Old B&W. must see
Lodger, The (medium-old) noir George Sanders, Merle Oberon, Cedric Hardwicke Jack the Ripper, maybe. must see
Lost Weekend, The drama Ray Milland Alcoholism long before the Days of Wine And Roses must see
Love and Death comedy Woody Allen, Diane Keaton Woody in Russia fighting Napoleon. must see
Loved One, The black comedy Robert Morse, Jonathan Winters, Jonathan Winters, Rod Steiger, Robert Morley Hysterical send-up of Hollywood funerals and Forest Lawn. Evelyn Waugh novel. must see
M.A.S.H. black comedy Elliott Gould, Donald Sutherland, Robert Altman (dir) Hijinks in Korean War. The original. must see
Ma and Pa Kettle comedy dunno Dogpatch slapstick. Whole series. must see
Magnificent Seven, The western Yul Brynner, Eli Wallach, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn, lots of others American version of the Seven Samurai. One-stop shopping for Western cliches. must see
Maltese Falcon, The noir Humphrey Bogart, Sidney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, John Huston (dir) Jon Huston's first movie as boy wonder director. must see
Man for All Seasons, A drama Paul Scofield, Robert Shaw Henry VIII vs Thomas More. must see
Man Who Fell to Earth, The sci fi David Bowie Alien illegal alien. must see
Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The western Jimmie Stewart, John Wayne, Lee Marvin Extremely bad guy, extremely good killing. must see
Manchurian Candidate, The spy Frank Sinatra, Angela Lansbury Soldier brainwashed to be assassin. must see
Manhattan comedy Woody Allen (dir), Diane Keaton, Mariel Hemingway B&W Woody. must see
Matrix, The sci fi Keanu Reeves, Lawrence Fishburn, the Wachowski brothers Reality is going bye-bye. must see
Midnight Cowboy drama Jon Voight, Dustin Hoffman Cowboy gigolo in New York. must see
Miracle on 34th Street comedy Maureen O'Hara, Edmund Gwenn Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. must see
Mirage noir Gregory Peck, Walter Matthau Traumatic amnesia from seeing something horrible. Why is everyone trying to kill me? must see
Moby Dick (old) drama Gregory Peck Herman Melville would not be unhappy. must see
Mr. Roberts comedy Henry Fonda, Jack Lemmon, Jimmy Cagney WW2 merchant marine ship. must see
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington drama Jimmie Stewart Trying to do good in D.C.? Filibuster. must see
Mutiny on the Bounty (old old) drama Charles Laughton, Clark Gable Hard captain, soft babes in Tahiti. must see
My Favorite Year comedy Peter O'Toole Kid is assigned as handler for an old time swashbuckler star. Insane. must see
My Little Chickadee comedy Mae West, W. C. Fields Quadruple entendre galore. must see
Network comedy Fay Dunaway, Albert Finney Backroom insanity in network TV. must see
Never on Sunday drama Melina Mercouri Hooker with heart of joy. must see
Night at the Opera comedy Marx Brothers You can't fool me. There ain't no sanity clause. must see
Nightmare Before Christmas, The comedy Tim Burton (dir) Astonishing piece of animation by the Anti-Pixar. A concept you can't imagine until you see it. must see
Ninotchka comedy Greta Garbo, Melvyn Douglas, Bela Lugosi Bolsheviks need to sell czar's old jewelry to fund the government. Hysterically funny. must see
North by Northwest spy Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, Martin Landau, Alfred Hitchcock (dir) Innocent man caught in web of spies by mistaken identity. Ends up at Mt. Rushmore. Earlier drafts of this plot: The 39 Steps and Saboteur. Third time's the charm. must see
Nosferatu (old) horror Max Schreck Probably the original vampire flick. Chilling. Hard to find a good copy, but there are some. must see
Odd Couple, The comedy Walter Matthau, Jack Lemmon Want a brown sandwich or a green sandwich? must see
Of Mice and Men (old old) drama Burgess Meredith, Lon Chaney, Jr. Tragic John Steinbeck story. must see
Oklahoma musical Gordon MacRae, Shirley Jones, Rod Steiger Wonderful movie of Hammerstein play. must see
Omega Man, The sci fi Charlton Heston End of the world, by virus this time. Remaining man against mutants. must see
On the Waterfront crime Marlon Brando, Lee J. Cobb I coulda been a contender. must see
Our Man in Havana comedy Alec Guiness Vacuum cleaner salesman becomes reluctant spy, from Graham Greene novel. must see
Pat and Mike comedy Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn Woman athlete and her manager. must see
Paths of Glory war Kirk Douglas, Adolphe Menjou, Stanley Kubrick (dir) The French general staff finds scapegoats to execute for a failing of the chain of command. Horrifying. must see
Philadelphia Story, The comedy Katharine Hepburn, Jimmie Stewart, Cary Grant Reporters come to cover society wedding. must see
Planet of the Apes sci fi Charlton Heston Musical chairs for primates. Apes replace Man. must see
Play It Again, Sam comedy Woody Allen (dir), Diane Keaton The classic Woody Allen as schlemiel flick. must see
President's Analyst, The comedy James Coburn, Godfrey Cambridge Why is everyone trying to kidnap me? Or kill me? must see
Producers, The comedy Zero Mostel, Gene Wilder, Mel Brooks (dir) Springtime for Hitler on Broadway. must see
Psycho crime Anthony Perkins, Alfred Hitchcock (dir) Mommy made me do it. must see
Public Enemy crime James Cagney The bad brother goes really bad. must see
Pulp Fiction crime John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, Harvey Keitel, Quentin Tarantino (dir) Miracles and weirdness in the life of two hoods. must see
Putney Swope comedy Robert Downey, Sr. (dir) A new take on advertising. must see
Pygmalion comedy Leslie Howard, Wendy Hiller George Bernard Shaw play, precursor to My Fair Lady musical. must see
Raiders of the Lost Ark swashbuckler Harrison Ford Every adventure cliche imaginable. Non-stop and frenetic. must see
Rear Window crime Jimmie Stewart, Alfred Hitchcock (dir) Did he really slice up his wife into little pieces? must see
Rebecca crime dunno Daphne DuMaurier novel. must see
Repulsion drama Catherine Deneuve The rabbit in the purse. must see
Richard III (Olivier) Shakespeare Laurence Olivier, Cedric Hardwicke, John Gielgud, Ralph Richardson Creepily good. must see
Road Warrior (Mad Max), The sci fi Mel Gibson The end of the world with mutants and no gasoline. must see
Rocky Horror Picture Show, The comedy Tim Curry, Susan Sarandon, Barry Bosworth Let's do the Time Warp again! Cult flick for midnight shows. must see
Rosemary's Baby horror Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes Ira Levin novel of a Devil dad in the Dakota. must see
Run Silent, Run Deep war Clark Gable, Burt Lancaster WW2 submarine conflict, outside and inside. must see
Saboteur spy Robert Cummings, Alfred Hitchcock (dir) Nazis in New York. Unforgettable cliffhanger at Statue of Liberty. must see
Saturday Night Fever drama John Travolta Disco fever. Widely parodied. must see
Scarlet Pimpernel, The drama Leslie Howard British aristocrats save French aristocrats. must see
Seventh Seal, The drama Max von Sydow, Ingmar Bergman (dir) Soldier plays chess with Death. must see
Shaft (old) crime Richard Roundtree, Gordon Parks (dir) Black private eye kicks butt. must see
Shane western Alan Ladd Ex-gunfighter saves family. must see
Shot in the Dark, A comedy Peter Sellers, Walter Pidgeon The funniest of the Inspector Clouseau flicks. must see
Silence of the Lambs, The crime Anthony Hopkins, Jodie Foster, Scott Glenn Wonderfully creepy psycho murderers. must see
Singin' in the Rain musical Gene Kelly Dancin' in the rain. must see
Sleeper comedy Woody Allen Man reawakens in far future, where hot fudge sundaes are health food. must see
Sleuth crime Laurence Olivier, Michael Caine Two-character play about what really happened. must see
Some Like It Hot comedy Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis Hiding from the mob, in drag. must see
Sound of Music, The musical Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer Almost-nun becomes Maria von Trapp. must see
South Pacific musical Mitzi Gaynor, Rosanno Brazzi, Ray Walston WW2 Navy on (Tonkinese) island must see
Spartacus (old) biblical, Roman Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, Jean Simmons, Charles Laughton, Peter Ustinov, Stanley Kubrick (dir) Huge ensemble cast. Script by Dalton Trumbo, who had been blacklisted. must see
Spirit of St. Louis drama Jimmie Stewart Charles Lindbergh story. must see
Stalag 17 war William Holden, Gritty Nazi prison camp. must see
Star Wars sci fi Harrison Ford, Alec Guiness, George Lucas (dir) Hard to believe it was done with hand animation, compared with modern computer-generated imagery. must see
Sting, The crime Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Robert Shaw A con game, but the mark can never know that he was conned. must see
Stranger, The noir Orson Welles, Ida Lupino, Edward G. Robinson Nazis in Connecticut. Love the alarm clock. must see
Strangers on a Train crime Farley Granger, Ruth Roman, Leo G. Carroll Let's trade murders, then we'll both have alibis. must see
Sunset Boulevard drama William Holden, Gloria Swanson I'm ready for my close-up now, Mr. DeMille. must see
Taxi Driver crime Robert DeNiro, Harvey Keitel, Jodie Foster You talkin' to me? must see
Ten Commandments, The biblical Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner Charlton parts the Red Sea. must see
Terminator, The sci fi Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton The first of the series, one of the best B movies. must see
The 39 Steps spy Robert Donat, Alfred Hitchcock (dir) Seems like first draft of Saboteur and North by Northwest. must see
Them sci fi James Whitmore, Edmund Gwenn Giant ants eat cities. must see
Thin Man, The crime William Powell, Myrna Loy Decadent drunks solve murder. must see
Thing (old), The sci fi James Arness (remember Sheriff Dillon?) The vegetable bites back. must see
Third Man, The noir Orson Welles, Joseph Cotton Welles's version of Graham Greene novel. Wonderful music. Watch it down to the last second. must see
To Kill a Mockingbird drama Gregory Peck Lawyer defends black man in the South. must see
Tom Jones comedy Albert Finney, Susannah York Ladykiller with humor. must see
Topkapi caper Melina Mercouri, Peter Ustinov, Maximillian Schell, Robert Morley Heart-stopping museum burglary. must see
Topper comedy Cary Grant May the ghosts be with you. must see
Touch of Evil noir Orson Welles, Charlton Heston Corrupt cop frames another cop's wife. must see
Toy Story comedy Pixar Studios First Pixar animated feature film. must see
Treasure of the Sierra Madre western Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston, John Huston (dir) Gold fever makes men mad. We don't need no stinkin' badges. must see
Twelve Angry Men (old) courtroom Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb Eleven guilty votes, one not guilty, hours of argument. Gripping. must see
Unforgiven western Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Richard Harris The West much closer to the way it actually was. Oscars for best picture and director. must see
Usual Suspects, The noir Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne The Devil's best trick was convincing was convincing people he doesn't exist. must see
Village of the Damned (old) sci fi George Sanders Perfect little blond space kids, monsters all, conceived on the same day. must see
Viva Zapata bio Marlon Brando, Anthony Quinn The zealous peasant leader of the Mexican revolution. must see
Wait Until Dark crime Audrey Hepburn, Alan Arkin Blind woman versus really bad guys. must see
War of the Worlds sci fi Gene Barry Scary version of H. G. Wells's scary story. must see
West Side Story musical Natalie Wood, Rita Moreno Romeo and Juliet in New York, by Leonard Bernstein. must see
White Heat crime Jimmy Cagney, Edmund O'Brien Classic Jimmy Cagney gangster flick. Top of the world, Ma! must see
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? drama Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor Marital discord from hell. must see
Witness for the Prosecution courtroom Charles Laughton, Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich, Alfred Hitchcock (dir) Fun with double jeopardy. Twisty, twisty. must see
Wizard of Oz, The musical Judy Garland Follow the yellow brick road. must see
Wolfman, The sci fi Lon Chaney, Jr. A cane ... with a silver handle ... in the shape of a wolf. must see
Young Frankenstein comedy Gene Wilder, Terry Garr, Mel Brooks (dir) Following in granddad's oversized footsteps. must see
Zorba the Greek drama Anthony Quinn Dance with me. must see
Adventures of Robin Hood, The swashbuckler Errol Flynn Leaping from tree to tree with bow and arrow! should see
Alfie (old) drama Michael Caine Ladykiller with no soul. should see
Beau Geste war Gary Cooper, Ray Milland Three brothers in the Foreign Legion. should see
Birth of a Nation drama 1915 silent, D. W. Griffith (dir) The Civil War and the Klan during Reconstruction, unfortunately makes the Klan look heroic and useful. should see
Blow-up crime David Hemmings, Vanessa Redgrave, Michelangelo Antonioni (dir) What really did happen? Where's the proof? should see
Bus Stop drama Marilyn Monroe A crime in a storm always goes wrong. should see
Day of the Jackal, The (old) spy Edward Fox, Derek Jacobi The most exciting spy/crime novel I have ever read, and a pretty good movie, too. should see
East of Eden drama James Dean, Julie Harris, Raymond Massey Dysfunctional family before the term was coined. should see
Grand Hotel drama ensemble The first of the many-story ensemble cast movies. should see
Great Dictator, The comedy Charlie Chaplin The Little Tramp does Hitler should see
Gunga Din war Cary Grant, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. Kipling story. should see
It Happened One Night drama Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert Runaway socialite befriended by reporter. should see
It Takes a Thief crime Cary Grant, Grace Kelly Jewel robberies on the Riviera. 'There's hills in them thar gold.' should see
Last Picture Show drama Timothy Bottoms, Jeff Bridges, Cybill Shepherd Larry McMurtry novel. should see
Lawrence of Arabia epic Peter O'Toole Sand epic. 'If he were any prettier, it would have been Florence of Arabia.' should see
Lust for Life bio Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn Van Gogh and Gaugin. should see
M crime Peter Lorre Criminals hunt one of their own. should see
Marty drama Ernest Borgnine Whatever it is women want, I ain't got it. should see
Metropolis sci fi 1927 silent, Fritz Lang (dir) Class warfare in far future. should see
Play Misty for Me crime Clint Eastwood Sadistic female stalker flick. should see
Rebel without a Cause drama James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo New kid in town proves himself. Others die. should see
Red River western John Wayne Cattle drive. should see
Roman Holiday comedy Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn Runaway princess befriended by reporter. should see
Searchers, The western John Wayne, Natalie Wood Said to be the best of the genre. Father searches for daughter taken by indians years ago. should see
Seven Year Itch, The comedy Marilyn Monroe Family away, sexy neighbor. should see
Snake Pit, The drama Olivia de Havilland How did I get into this asylum? I don't belong here! should see
Tale of Two Cities, A drama dunno The Dickens novel of the French Revolution. should see
Twentieth Century, The comedy John Barrymore Show biz types on a train ride. should see
Z drama Yves Montand A reform politician is murdered and the government covers it up. should see
48 Hours crime Nick Nolte, Eddie Murphy Cop-buddy-bad-partner flick. fun to see
Absolute Power crime Clint Eastwood, Gene Hackman, Ed Harris, Scott Glenn Mere burglary turns into major political intrigue. fun to see
Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai, The comedy John Lithgow, Jeff Goldblum Doc Savage updated for the next generation. fun to see
American History X drama Edward Norton Skinhead learns about life, how unfair the system really is, reforms. fun to see
Arthur comedy Dudley Moore, Lisa Minelli, John Gielgud Poor little rich kid drinks and drinks. Where's the rest of that moose? fun to see
Bad Day at Black Rock drama Spencer Tracy Man comes to small town to find who killed his friend. He is not welcomed. fun to see
Barabbas biblical, Roman Anthony Quinn You have the privilege to be the property of the Emperor Tiberius. fun to see
Basic Instinct crime Michael Douglas, Sharon Stone Murders that may have been written about long before. fun to see
Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, The sci fi dunno Dinosaur attacks roller coaster. fun to see
Big Easy, The crime Dennis Quaid, Ellen Barkin Cops brawlin' in Nawlins. fun to see
Blade Runner sci fi Harrison Ford Future cops vs androids in one of the original punk future flicks. fun to see
Blob, The sci fi Steve McQueen Crazy goo. It eats you. fun to see
Body Heat crime Kathleen Turner, William Hurt Smart woman outsmarts attorney. fun to see
Bound crime Jennifer Tilly, Gina Gershon, Joe Pantoliano, Wachowski brothers (dir) Laundering money, literally, and then stealing it. fun to see
Brazil comedy Terry Gilliam (dir) Hard to classify. fun to see
Contact sci fi Jodie Foster, Matthew McConaughey Good movie from book by Carl Sagan about first SETI message from the stars. fun to see
Conversation, The drama Gene Hackman Who bugs the bugger. Sort of an intro to Enemy of the State. fun to see
Demolition Man sci fi Sylvester Stallone, Sandra Bullock, Wesley Snipes Cops and robbers in a future kinder, gentler, and very campy LA. fun to see
Devil's Own, The drama Brad Pitt, Harrison Ford The IRA, and attendant violence, comes to New York. This is not an American story with a happy ending. fun to see
Die Hard action Bruce Willis Eventually, *every*thing blows up. First of at least three movies in the series, all fun. fun to see
Do the Right Thing comedy Spike Lee (dir) Tough neighborhood to run a business in. fun to see
Dogma comedy Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Kevin Smith (dir) Theology can be funny. Jay and Silent Bob help save the Universe. And imagine Alanis Morissette as God. fun to see
Earth Girls Are Easy comedy Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, Jim Carrie, Damon Wayans Spaceship lands in bimbo's swimming pool. Carrie's and Wayans's first movie exposure. fun to see
Enter the Dragon action Bruce Lee, John Saxon The high-budget kung-fu movie up to its time. Amazing fight scenes. Much copied. fun to see
F/X crime Bryan Brown, Brian Dennehy, Jerry Orbach Use Hollywood-style special effects to commit a crime, then rub out the f/x guy fun to see
Fame drama Irene Cara NY high school for the performing arts. fun to see
Fatal Instinct comedy Armand Assante, Sherilyn Fenn Parody of Fatal Attraction and Basic Instinct put together. fun to see
Father Goose comedy Cary Grant, Leslie Caron Goody Two-Shoes and the Filthy Beast meet on WW2 Pacific island. fun to see
Five Million Years to Earth sci fi dunno Ancient spacecraft dug up in London subway. fun to see
Giant Behemoth, The sci fi dunno Dino eats roller coaster. fun to see
Good Will Hunting drama Matt Damon, Robin Williams, Ben Affleck Very smart but very damaged kid can't connect with real people. fun to see
Hard Day's Night, A musical John, Paul, George, and Ringo Delightful farce. But if you can't name all four beatles in less than two seconds, you might not care much. fun to see
Heaven Can Wait drama Warren Beatty, Jack Warden, Julie Christie, Dyan Cannon, Buck Henry Man accidentally killed before his time, gets another chance. Remake of Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison fun to see
High Sierra crime Humphrey Bogart Atmospheric crime drama. fun to see
History of the Wold, Part I comedy Mel Brooks (writer and director, too), Dom DeLuise, Madeline Kahn, Harvey Korman, et al. Insanely funny Mel Brooks romp from Biblical times thru Rome. fun to see
House of Games crime Joe Mantegna, Lindsay Crouse, David Mamet (author and director) Incredibly complicated con game plot turns too real. fun to see
I, Claudius historical drama Derek Jacobi, Brian Blessed (TV) Dozen-hour-long BBC production, wonderful, from the Robert Graves novels. fun to see
I'm Gonna Get You, Sucka comedy Keenan Ivory Wayans, Isaac Hayes, Jimmy Brown, Spike Lee (dir) An urban hero needs his own theme music. Black heros go after The Man. fun to see
In the Line of Fire crime Clint Eastwood, John Malkovich, Rene Russo Ex-assassin wants to assassinate the President. fun to see
Jeremiah Johnson western Robert Redford Frontier man vs indians, incredible mountain scenery. fun to see
L.A. Confidential crime Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Kim Basinger, Danny DeVito LA cops, corruption and violence, surprise surprise. fun to see
Last Action Hero sci fi Arnold Schwarzenegger Movie as reality, reality as movie, great fun. fun to see
Last Seduction, The crime Linda Fiorentino, Bill Pullman Incredibly sexy heartless bitch screws, robs, kills, great fun. fun to see
Millenium sci fi Kris Kristofferson From the story by John Varley. The most plausible time travel story, complicated. fun to see
Moon over Parador comedy Richard Dreyfus, Raul Julia, Sonia Braga Actor impersonates dead Latin American dictator for a while. Dave in a banana republic. fun to see
Moonstruck comedy Cher, Nicholas Cage, Olympia Dukakis, Vincent Gardenia Cher as accountant with boring life meets madman Cage for affair. fun to see
Mr Saturday Night comedy Billy Crystal Old comic's comic tells several jokes per minute. fun to see
My Fair Lady musical Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison Pygmalion with music. Broadway play. fun to see
Narrow Margin crime Gene Hackman How do you hide from the bad guys on a train for more than a few minutes? fun to see
Nashville drama Robert Altman (dir) Crazy country music business. fun to see
No Way Out spy Kevin Costner, Gene Hackman Politician accidentally kills his mistress, covers up, blames innocent man. Sorta. fun to see
Noises Off comedy Michael Caine, Carol Burnett Little-known but hysterically funny play within a play. fun to see
Parallax View, The spy Warren Beatty Lone reporter tracking down assassins. Great paranoia. fun to see
Pillow Book, The drama dunno A novel written in a unique medium. fun to see
Repossessed comedy Leslie Nielsen Naked Gun does The Exorcist. fun to see
Ring, The horror Naomi Watts This movie should have a warning label for people with weak hearts. fun to see
Romeo is Bleeding crime Gary Oldman, Lena Olin Dirty cop versus the Bitch Queen of Hell. But boy is she gorgeous. fun to see
Run Lola Run sci fi? dunno What if...? Seconds can make a difference when you're really in a hurry. fun to see
Ruthless People comedy Bette Midler, Danny DeVito A plot so complicated, twisted, and insanely funny that it cannot be explained. See it. fun to see
Sabrina (old) drama Humphrey Bogart, William Holden, Audrey Hepburn Industrialist and the chauffeur's daughter. Better than the modern remake. fun to see
Scrooged comedy Bill Murray Insane modern Christmas Carol, and funny as the dickens. fun to see
Sea of Love crime Al Pacino, Ellen Barkin, John Goodman Who is killing off the few remaining straight single men in New York? fun to see
Seven Samurai war Toshiro Mifune Unemployed samurai save a village. Original version of The Magnificet Seven. fun to see
Sex, Lies, and Videotape drama James Spader, Andie MacDowell Everybody is having an affair with everybody else. fun to see
Shakespeare in Love drama Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Affleck, Tom Stoppard (author) Shakespeare has trouble writing the play, but succeeds. fun to see
Shampoo comedy Warren Beatty, Julie Christie Ladykiller with no soul. Hairdresser who listens to women, understands them to nail them all. fun to see
Silent Running sci fi Bruce Dern Tree-hugging in orbit around Saturn. fun to see
State and Main comedy William H. Macy, Philip Seymour Hoffman, David Mamet (author and director) Very funny Mamet craziness about trying to shoot a movie in a small town. fun to see
Striptease comedy Demi Moore, Armand Assante, Burt Reynolds Good movie version of great book by Carl Hiassen. Burt in Vaseline has to be seen. fun to see
They Live sci fi Meg Foster Guy finds special sunglasses that let him see the aliens among us and their subliminal messages. fun to see
Thousand Clowns, A comedy Jason Robards, Jr. Man hates the insipid, gosh 'n' golly, you betcha. fun to see
Three Days of the Condor spy Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Max von Sydow Accidental amateur spy. Everyone wants to kill him, of course. fun to see
Thunderheart crime Val Kilmer, Scott Glenn The Washington redskin (Indian FBI agent) goes west to investigate murder on the reservation. fun to see
Time Machine, The (old) sci fi Rod Taylor, Yvette Mimieux Good version of H. G. Wells's story. fun to see
Top Secret comedy dunno Sort of an early draft of Airplane. Not so pollished but funny. fun to see
Total Recall sci fi Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone Governor Arnie version of classi sci fi story We Can Remember It for You Wholesale. fun to see
Twelve Monkeys sci fi Bruce Willis, Andy MacDowell Time travel that sorta works, complete with paradoxes. fun to see
Two Jakes, The crime Jack Nicholson, Harvey Keitel Sequel to Chinatown. Much better than the average sequel. fun to see
Victor Victoria comedy Julie Andrews, James Garner, Robert Preston Gender confusion in the theatre, surprise, surprise. fun to see
Videodrome horror James Woods TV really does warp your mind. fun to see
Waking Life animation dunno Amazing combination of real film footage and various animation styles. fun to see
Walk like a Man comedy Howie Mandel Boy raised by wolves, returns to society. Insane. fun to see
Where the Buffalo Roam comedy Bill Murray, Peter Boyle Bill Murray does Hunter Thompson (Uncle Duke for you Doonesbury fans) wonderfully. fun to see
Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? comedy George Segal, Jaqueline Bisset, Robert Morley As advertised. Comedy-mystery. fun to see



Comments and flames to the author.  "Why use rational argument when there's a flame-thrower handy?"  Hey, go ahead. I didn't exactly leave the gloves on when I wrote this. 

Last edited 2004/05/24.

Copyright (C) 2003, 2004, Richard Landau.  All rights reserved.