mhslink
     
   
   
  Reading Links
  Wide Reading
  MHS Library
  Reading Links
  Literature Reading List
  Classic Films
     
  Wide Reading  
     
   
     
spacer
FILM

DIRECTOR

COMMENTS

1900

Bernardo Bertolucci
(Italy
)

Epic tracks the history of Italy in the twentieth century through the lives of two friends, a nobleman and a peasant.

2001: A Space Odyssey

Stanley Kubrick
(U.S.)

Trippy sci-fi epic.

Alien

Ridley Scott
(U.S.)

First and by far the best in the Alien series

Apocalypse Now

Francis Ford Coppola
(U.S.)

Re-telling of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness set during the Vietnam war. Probably the best Vietnam war movie but much more than that.

Alexander Nevsky

Sergei Eisenstein
(Russia)

Great leader (mediaeval) fends off the Germanic hordes. Beautiful movie with a powerful score by Prokofiev.

Babette’s Feast

Gabriel Axel
(Denmark)

A French chef introduces the pleasures of the table to dour coastal Lutherans. Gorgeous.

Battleship Potemkin

Sergei Eisenstein
(Russia)

Classic silent movie by one of the greatest masters of cinema – this movie has been hugely influential.

Ben Hur

William Wyler
(U.S.)

Sword and Sandal epic about an angry Hebrew who meets Jesus and wins a chariot race. The chariot race is cool.

The Birds

Alfred Hitchcock
(U.S. / U.K.)

Spooky stuff with Tippy Hedren being menaced by, um, some birds.

Breathless

Jean Luc Goddard
(France)

Nouveau Vague – a French ‘rebel without a cause’ with lots of atmospheric cigarette smoking.

The Bicycle Thief

Vittorio de Sica
(Italy)

‘A man and his son search for a stolen bicycle vital for his job.’ IMDB

Blue Velvet

David Lynch
(U.S.)

Denis Hopper being very very Denis Hopper and Isabella Rosellini being oh so Isabella Rosellini. Kyle McLachlan is confused. Not for the feint of heart.

Bonnie and Clyde

Arthur Penn
(U.S.)

Romanticized story of the famous bank robbing couple. Tag: ‘They're young... they're in love... and they kill people.’

Burnt by the Sun

Nikita Milkalkov
(Russia)

Russian.

Cabaret

Bob Fosse
(U.S.)

Musical about decadence and the growing violence in pre-war Berlin.

Casablanca

Michael Curtiz
(U.S.)

Film noir-ish in look. And it’s got Humphrey Bogart and Peter Lorre, which is almost essential for the genre. So much a classic, it almost didn’t get onto the list.

Chinatown

Roman Polanski
(U.S. / Poland)

Polanski’s homage to film noir – in colour.

Citizen Kane

Orson Welles
(U.S.)

A ground breaking movie that still looks avant garde. About the life of a newspaper tycoon. Based on the life of William Randolf Hearst (who sued).

City Lights

Charlie Chaplin
(U.S.)

Generally regarded as his greatest.

A Clockwork Orange

Stanley Kubrick
(U.S.)

Beethoven and ultra violence.

Come and See

Klimov
(Russia)

‘A boy is unwillingly thrust into the atrocities of war in WWII Byelorussia, fighting for a hopelessly unequipped resistance movement against the ruthless German forces. Witnessing scenes of abject terror and accidentally surviving horrifying situations he loses his innocence and then his mind.’ IMDB

The Conformist

Bernardo Bertolucci
(Italy)

A weak willed man sells his soul to the Fascists. Most memorable scene: Dominique Sanda and Stefania Sandrelli dancing the tango!

The Cook, the Thief, his Wife and her Lover

Peter Greenaway
(U.K.)

Very bent story of decadence, murder and cannibalism. Very visual.

Deliverance

John Borman
(U.S.)

Thriller? A dark story about some city guys canoeing through some seriously backward backwoods country. Famous for ‘Duelling Banjos’.

The Devil’s Playground

Fred Schepisi
(Australia)

A tale of sexual repression in an Australian minor seminary.

The Discrete Charm of the Bourgeoisie

Luis Bunuel
(France)

Surreal and amusing. A satire on the Middle Class capacity to take anything in its stride for the sake of being polite.

Double Indemnity

Billy Wilder
(U.S.)

Film noir. An insurance man plots with a woman to do away with her husband.

Down by Law

Jim Jarmusch
(U.S.)

Tom Waits, Roberto Benigni and someone else on the run from the law in the bijoux of Louisiana. Funny and gritty. Like the phrase ‘kitty litter’.

The Draughtsman’s Contract

Peter Greenaway
(U.K.)

Another bent story about a draughtsman employed to draw pictures of an 18th century nobleman’s estate – or is that all?

Dr. Strangelove

Stanley Kubrick
(U.S.)

Black comedy about nuclear destruction. Very funny, very black.

The Duellists

Ridley Scott
(U.S.)

Scott’s first feature – a gem of a movie, beautiful to look at with an atmospheric score. Two soldiers in Napoleon’s army fight an obsessive duel against the backdrop of the Emperor’s rise and fall.

Elephant Man

David Lynch
(U.S.)

True story about, well, a Man who looks like an Elephant.

Enter the Dragon

Robert Clouse
(U.S. / China)

Bruce Lee’s best and better than I remembered it. Bruce enters a very camp martial arts contest and beats the baddies but not before getting some very famous scratches.

The Fireman’s Ball

Milos Forman
(Czechoslovakia)

Comedy.

Fist of Legend

Gordon Chan Car-Seung
(China)

Kung Fu action – Jet Li’s master is killed by a Japanese karate sensei so Jet takes lots of bone crunching revenge. Best martial arts action, best villain.

Full Metal Jacket

Stanley Kubrick
(U.S.)

A bunch of marine recruits are brutalized and the survivors sent to Vietnam.

Gilda

Charles Vidor
(U.S.)

Film noir. Famous strip scene.  Don’t get too excited though; not much comes off. It’s just how it comes off.

Gloria

John Cassavetes
(U.S.)

Thriller.

The Godfather

Francis Ford Coppola
(U.S.)

Epic story of the Corleone’s, a Mafia family.

Gojira (a.k.a. Godzilla)

Ishiro Honda
(Japan)

The classic mutant horror movie. You can watch the 1998 remake after you see the original.

Gone with the Wind

Victor Fleming
(U.S.)

Classic epic of the U.S. Civil War.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Sergio Leone
(U.S. / Italy)

Spaghetti Western. Tag : ‘For Three Men The Civil War Wasn't Hell. It Was Practice!’

Good Fellas

Martin Scorsese
(U.S.)

Gangster movie.

The Graduate

Mike Nichols
(U.S.)

Young guy’s relationship with an older woman.

Grand Illusion

Jean Renoir
(France)

About a group of French POWs during WWI.

The Great Escape

John Sturges
(U.S.)

If there had to be at least one WWII movie in here (and there did), this would have to be it. 

Henry V

Laurence Olivier
(U.K.)

A version of Shakespeare’s play.

The Hidden Fortress

Akira Kurosawa
(Japan)

Inspiration for Star Wars, only with samurai.

High Society

Charles Walters
(U.S.)

A musical with music by Cole Porter, based on the play The Philadelphia Story.

His Girl Friday

Howard Hawks
(U.S.)

Classic screwball comedy.

Iphigenia

Michael Cacoyannis
(Greece)

Powerful retelling of the Greek myth.

The Killers

Robert Siodmak
(U.S.)

A thriller; from a story by Hemingway.

Kiss me Kate

George Sidney
(U.S.)

Musical reworking of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. Cole Porter’s music. Bob Fosse’s (Cabaret) big break. So I’m a straight guy who likes musicals. There’s no law against it!

Koyaanisqatsi

Godfrey Reggio
(U.S.)

Powerful movie employing visuals and the music of Philip Glass to explore the state of the world. This is radical cinema. No plot, no characters; simply sight and sound.

Lagaan: Land Tax (Once upon a time in India)

Ashutosh Gowariker
(India)

Bollywood extravanganza – a village of all singing all dancing peasants beat the English oppressor at his own game (with the help of the oppressor’s gorgeous sister who learns Hindi in a week).

The Leopard

Lucino Visconti
(Italy)

Gorgeous movie about a magnificent nobleman in the dying days of aristocracy. One of my personal favourites.

Lolita

Stanley Kubrick
(U.S.)

Vladimir Nabokov’s classic tale of a middle aged writer’s obsessive love for a teenage girl, again. 1960s version, with James Mason and oddly Peter Sellars as a nasty type.

Lolita

Adrian Lyne
(U.S.)

Vladimir Nabokov’s classic tale of a middle aged writer’s obsessive love for a teenage girl. With Jeremy Irons. Much hated by so-called ‘morals’ campaigners.

M

Fritz Lang
(Germany)

German Expressionist. Some vigilantes try to track down a serial killer. Peter Lore – who later became Hollywood’s favourite all-purpose sleazy foreigner. (See Casonova and The Maltese Falcon.)

The Magnificent Seven

John Sturges
(U.K.)

Classic Western remake of Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai.

Man of Flowers

Paul Cox
(Australia)

‘An eccentric elderly man tries to enjoy the three things in life that he considers real beauty: collecting art, collecting flowers, and watching pretty women undress.’ IMDB

The Man Who Knew Too Much

Alfred Hitchcock
(U.S. / U.K.)

The son of an American couple vacationing in Morocco is kidnapped. Featured the award winning song “Que Sera Sera". Doris Day shines!

The Maltese Falcon

John Huston
(U.S.)

One of the first and greatest of the genre, it has the classic film noir look, atmosphere and story line.

Metropolis

Fritz Lang
(Germany)

German Expressionism. One of the most influential movies ever made. A dystopic vision of the future.

The Misfits

John Huston
(U.S.)

Character driven piece. Last movie for both Clark Gable & Marilyn Monroe.

Modern Times

Charlie Chaplin
(U.S.)

Charlie Chaplin.

The Night of the Hunter

Charles Laughton
(U.S.)

A very scary preacher man stalks two children across the deep South. Sort of film noir.

North by Northwest

Alfred Hitchcock
(U.S. / U.K.)

Classic Hitchcock with Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint clambering over Mount Rushmore. Grant’s character gets caught up in something devious. Can’t remember what exactly but it involves someone trying to run him down in a plane in a cornfield.

On the Waterfront

Elia Kazan
(U.S.)

“Charlie, I coulda been someone. I coulda been a contender. Instead of a bum, which is what I am.” Marlon Brando and Rod Steiger.

Once Upon a Time in America

Sergio Leone
(U.S. / Italy)

Gangster epic by the Godfather of Spaghetti Westerns.

Once Upon a Time in China

Hui Tsark
(China)

Jet Li as the legendary 19th century master Wong Fei Hung – lots of Kung Fu action. You might also watch Once Upon A Time in China 2 and 3.

Patton

Franklin J. Shaffner
(U.S.)

George C. Scott is a mad but brilliant U.S. general during WWII.

The Philadelphia Story

George Cukor
(U.S.)

Screwball Comedy based on a Broadway Play of the same name.

Picnic at Hanging Rock

Peter Weir
(Australia)

Atmospheric movie about some nineteenth century school girls who go missing.

Powaqqatsi

Godfrey Reggio
(U.S.)

Like Koyaaniqatsi, except that the visuals focus on the developing world rather than the U.S.

The Producers

Mel Brooks
(U.S.)

The greatest silly movie of all time.

Psycho

Alfred Hitchcock
(U.S. / U.K.)

Of all the classic Hitchcocks, this is the classic Hitchcock. Shower scene, Anthony Perkins being very clean cut and creepy.

Raging Bull

Martin Scorsese
(U.S.)

The rise and fall of a boxer. Robert de Niro being brilliant.

Ran

Akira Kurosawa
(Japan
)

Bloody Japanese retelling of Shakespeare’s King Lear

Rear Window

Alfred Hitchcock
(U.S. / U.K.)

A photographer thinks he witnesses a murder in the apartments opposite. 

Rebel without a Cause

Nicholas Ray
(U.S.)

James Dean – the classic movie about teenager rebellion.

Sanjuro

Akira Kurosawa
(Japan)

Lone swordsman helps some retainers to defeat an unjust official.

The Seven Samurai

Akira Kurosawa
(Japan)

A motley crew of swordsman are hired by a village of farmers to protect them from bandits. John Sturges remade it as a classic Western.

The Seventh Seal

Ingmar Bergman
(Sweden)

A mediaeval knight tries to beat the Grim Reaper in a game of chess.

The Shining

Stanley Kubrick
(U.S.)

One of the first Stephen Kings to make it to the big screen. Jack Nicholson, deserted hotel in the mountains, Indian burial ground. “All work and no play make Homer something something.”

Spartacus

Stanley Kubrick
(U.S.)

Sword and Sandal epic about a slave rebellion. With Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis. Find out why the classic line “I’m Spartacus!” is funny.

Solaris

Andrei Tarkovski
(Russia)

Russian sci-fi.

Some Like it Hot

Billy Wilder
(U.S.)

Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis dress up as women and join an all girl band to escape the mob. With Marilyn Monroe.

A Streetcar named Desire

Elia Kazan
(U.S.)

Desire bubbles under the surface in New Orleans. Marlon Brando.

Sunset Boulevard

Billy Wilder
(U.S.)

Film noir with an odd twist at the end.

Taxi Driver

Martin Scorsese
(U.S.)

An unsettling story and a brilliant performance by Robert de Niro as one of the great cinematic freaks. “Are you looking at me?”

Throne of Blood

Akira Kurosawa
(Japan)

Bloody Japanese retelling of Macbeth.

Touch of Evil

Orson Welles
(U.S.)

Thriller. Haven’t seen it but from the IMDB listing, it sounds very good.

Trust

Hal Hartley
(U.S.)

‘When high school dropout Maria Coughlin announces her pregnancy to her parents, her father drops dead on the floor. Her mother kicks her out of the house and her boyfriend dumps her, so Maria is left alone and homeless.’ IMDB

Vertigo

Alfred Hitchcock
(U.S. / U.K.)

Classic Hitchcock – guy tries to remake his new love in the image of his old.

The Wild One

Laszlo Benedek
(U.S.)

Motorcycle gangs. Tag: ‘That ‘Streetcar’ man has a new desire!’

Wild Strawberries

Ingmar Bergman
(Sweden)

An old man takes stock of his life and loves.

Yojimbo

Akira Kurosawa
(Japan)

Lone swordsman enters a lawless town and plays two gangs off against each other – remade as a Western, A Fistful of Dollars, by Sergio Leone (with Clint Eastwood) and then as an execrable gangster movie with Bruce Willis (Last Man Standing). Look out for what the dog’s carrying in one of the opening scenes.

Young Frankenstein

Mel Brooks
(U.S.)

Very funny send up of Frankenstein movies.

Zorba the Greek

Michael Cacoyannis
(Greece)

Celebration of Greekness.

spacer
   
     
 
 
Last up-dated 12 November, 2012
Website originally designed and constructed by V. Karvelas, 2004
Up-dated and constructed and maintained by G. Marotous, 2007
© George Marotous. Melbourne High School English Faculty
 
     
mhslink