This hasn't been seen by as many people as it should be - but evidently it has been seen by the majority of the 90s American independent directors - its influence on films like Rushmore is obviously huge. It is a beautiful and touching story with a wonderful Cat Stevens soundtrack, and the pinnacle of Hal Ashby's run of truly great films from 1970-79.
Harold And Maude
(1971) Starring:Ruth Gordon, Bud Cort, Vivian Pickles Director:Hal Ashby Certificate:
Hal Ashby's cult black-comedy. Harold (Bud Cort) is a death-obsessed teenager who hangs around in cemeteries and drives a hearse. When he attends a funeral and meets his polar opposite Maude (Ruth Gordon), a life-loving 79-year-old, a strange love affair ensues. However, the offbeat nature of their ..read more »
The two main performances are perfect, as are the compassionate direction and the score. Along with Withnail & I, it's one of the best films about male friendship.
(1969) Starring:Bob, Jon Voight, Dustin Hoffman Director:John Schlesinger Certificate:
Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight star in John Schlesinger's Oscar-winning drama based on the novel by James Leo Herlihy. Texan dishwasher Joe Buck (Voight) dreams of making it big in New York. Convinced that he can make his fortune providing sexual favours for wealthy women, he makes the move to the ..read more »
My favourite Scorsese and my favourite De Niro performance. It's a classic tragi-comedy in the very truest sense.
The King Of Comedy
(1982) Starring:Jerry Lewis, Diahnne Abbott, Tony Randall Director:Martin Scorsese Certificate:
Robert De Niro plays a nerd with a mission, a fantasist who is determined to get himself on television, namely the Jerry Langford Show. But when Langford (Jerry Lewis) gives him the cold shoulder, De Niro hatches a banal kidnap plan.
Way ahead of its time in how it handles the fantasy scenes. Also very funny thanks to Tom Courtenay's performance as Billy, and heartwrenching too.
(1963) Starring:Ethel Griffies, Rodney Bewes, Gwendolyn Watts Director:John Schlesinger Certificate: Watch now: Unavailable
Billy Fisher (Tom Courtenay) is known to his blue-collar British mates as Billy Liar because of his vivid imagination. This film version of the Keith Waterhouse-Willis Hall stage play visualizes some of Billy's more outrageous fabrications. He periodically escapes the drudgery of his job at a ..read more »
I only saw this recently but I wished I'd seen it a long time ago. Sans Soleil is unlike anything else I've seen, being a kind of documentary detailing the travels of an unknown person. The photgraphy is perfect. La Jetee is great too, being the short film that influenced Terry Gilliam's Twelve Monkeys. It's composed entirely of stills with a narration over the top.
La Jetee / Sans Soleil
(1962) Starring:Jacques Ledoux, Helene Chatelain Director:Chris Marker Certificate:
A Chris Marker double bill. 'La Jetee' is a science fiction short that takes a man from the future back to his childhood in pre-apocalypse Paris. His ability to make contact with a woman he once glimpsed may be humanity's last hope. The film makes use of still pictures to tell almost the entire ..read more »
See the performance of one of the greats and wonder what he would've become had he lived past 24. Nicholas Ray's film is great too though on its own merits being quite radical for its time in how it handled the problem of youth violence and its causes.
Rebel Without a Cause
(1955) Starring:James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo Director:Nicholas Ray Certificate: Watch now: Unavailable
Nicholas Ray's juvenile-delinquent film (originally a vehicle for Marlon Brando) opened after the death of its star James Dean in a car crash and made Dean into an icon of rebellion. The storyline takes place over a 24-hour period and follows Jim Stark (Dean), a restless teenager always in trouble ..read more »
In my opinion one of the greatest British films ever made; a look at revenge and its consequences. Considine and Kebbell are brilliant.
Dead Man's Shoes
(2004) Starring:Gary Stretch, Toby Kebbell, Paddy Considine Director:Shane Meadows Certificate: Watch now: Unavailable
A blend of horror, the supernatural, comedy and social realism. Richard (Paddy Considine) has always protected his simple-minded younger brother, Anthony (Tony Kebbell), but when Richard leaves his rural Midlands' village to join the army, Anthony is taken in by Sonny (Gary Stretch), a vicious ..read more »
Perfect. The acting, cinematography, score, direction, script. I can find absolutely nothing wrong with it.
(1996) Starring:William H. Macy, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare Director:Joel Coen Certificate: Watch now: Unavailable
A pregnant police chief is investigating a series of homicides across the frozen tundra. Against a sprawling Minnesota landscape, a car salesman hires two criminals to kidnap his wife. But when the scheme goes sour, and wood chippers get involved, the haphazard kidnapping plot turns deadly serious.
Another great British film. Much darker than typical Mike Leigh, but worth enduring. It makes you question the nature of evil and your sympathies with the main character constantly shift. The minimal cello score is very atmospheric. And Thewlis' performance is epochal.
(1993) Starring:David Thewlis, Lesley Sharp, Katrin Cartlidge Director:Mike Leigh Certificate:
David Thewlis is Johnny the ultimate anti-hero of the nineties - cold, cynical and immoral, yet at times both caring and passionate. His complex existence is sketched with the hand of a master, as violence and gentleness, comedy and tragedy go hand in hand through a landscape inhabited by the sort ..read more »
When I try to pick my favourite Coens film, even though my head tells me it's Fargo my heart tells me it's this. It doesn't have the same kind of haunting and sinister tone as Fargo but it makes up for it in how purely funny it is. It's a totally different film, but that just shows you how versatile the Coens are. I could've picked at least four more of their films for this list.
The Big Lebowski(1997) Starring:Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julianne Moore Director:Joel Coen Certificate:
The Coen brothers' seventh film is a typically bizarre mix of mistaken identity, hippy philosophy and ten-pin bowling. Jeff 'the Dude' Lebowski (Jeff Bridges) is a bowling buff, laid-back to the point of horizontal, who gets mixed up in a blackmail plot involving a millionaire namesake. Roped into ..read more »