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The 50 Greatest Films Of All Time (50-41)
On February 26, 2012, the 84th Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars will be handed out for the highest achievement in film. The ceremony will be held at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, and Billy Crystal will be hosting it, and the show will air on ABC at 7pm EST. Part of the charm of the Oscars is seeing many of the nominees, and other celebrities walking down the red carpet, and hearing the fans going nuts over seeing them. The stars give interviews to various entertainment outlets, and another fun aspect is to criticize the stars’ apparel.
Of course, what is supposed to be important is the celebration of the on screen accomplishments of the actors, directors, screenwriters, and the movies, etc. Lately, at least in my opinion, Oscar has become less important as far as who wins. I have seen films, actors, directors win the prestigious awards for stuff that I really didn’t think was all that good when I saw it. Even way back when, Oscar didn’t get it right, but would “make up” by giving the person the Oscar later.
For example, Al Pacino FINALLY won Best Actor for 1992’s “A Scent of a Woman.” Now, he was very good. However, he should have won it years ago for “Godfather II” in 1974 (winner was Art Carney in “Harry and Tonto,” a movie about an old man and a cat!!!!) , and other movies. I also think Oscar has gone political also. I just have not gotten into the Oscars as far as who wins. I am at the point of “Who cares.”
This list will be broken down into five parts, so let’s get rolling as Bette Davis’ character in “All About Eve” says “It’s going to be a bumpy night.”
A little WARNING before I start: Some of the videos MAY have: Cursing, and Violence, so be warned. IF that upsets you, do NOT click on the video. I will describe the scene the best I can.
Honorable Mentions: “Wuthering Heights” (1939) “North by Northwest” (1959), “Shane” (1953), “All Quiet on the Western Front” (1930), and “Auntie Mame” (1958)
50. Oklahoma (1955) directed by Fred Zinnemann
Synopsis: Film based on the Oscar and Hammerstein hit musical “Oklahoma” about cowboys in pursuit of the women they love, and in the mean time, the ranch hands have to do battle with this mean ranch hand and this dopey peddler for the womens’ charms.
My Analysis: Fantastic film adaptation of the Broadway smash. People had never seen what life was like in the area of Oklahoma, hence the reason why the original musical was a smash hit. It took several years before it got onto the silver screen. However, Rod Steiger chews the scenery as Jud Fry, the evil ranch hand who is hell bent on getting Laurey (well played by Shirley Jones) who Curly (Gordon MacRae) loves. Watching it today, it is a fun movie, and the songs still hold up. The performances are still pretty good. The film is also preserved.
The group singing “Oklahoma:”
49. Tootsie (1982) directed by Sydney Pollack
Synopsis: A highly difficult, and temperamental actor (Dustin Hoffman) goes to extreme lengths to land a job,
My Analysis: This film was so funny when I saw it in the movies when it came out. Hoffman is great in it. Jessica Lange, who won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar, was great. The film is still funny. The message it sends that women deserve better treatment still rings true today. The film received 10 Academy Award nominations as well. Congress has this film listed as “culturally significant,” and the film is preserved in the National Film Registry, as it should be. Great film then, and excellent to this day.
Mike Dorsey (Hoffmann) fighting with agent (Pollack)
48. Twelve Angry Men (1957) directed by Sidney Lumet
Synopsis: Twelve men on a jury must decide on the guilt or innocence of a young man accused of killing his father.
My Analysis: What a great film. If I didn’t have a lot of other great films ahead, this film would be a lot higher. With all the high profile cases that have been going on lately, this is one film that needs to be seen. There is just about everything in this film. Great acting by people like Henry Fonda, Edward Binns, Jack Klugman, and Lee J Cobb, etc. There is a lot of consensus building, and personal agendas as to why the jurors feel the way they do. Great stuff. I saw the film recently, and the film still holds up. Everything that went on in that jury room, could easily go on in today’s jury rooms.
Juror #8 (Fonda) proving there was another knife
47. Psycho (1960) directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Synopsis: A suspense and horror film based on the Robert Bloch novel of the same name about the ecounter between a secretary who is embezzling money (Janet Leigh), and a psychotic motel manager, Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins).
My Analysis: Classic horror film by Alfred Hitchcock. The film holds up today, as I don’t feel you need a ton of blood and guts like in a lot of today’s horror films. The film’s performers, Perkins and Leigh do great jobs in the film. It is a very suspenseful, and a creepy film. It definitely makes one think twice about getting into the shower.
The infamous “Shower Scene”:
46: Cat On A Hot Tin Roof (1958) directed by Richard Brooks
Synopsis: Based on the Tennessee Williams play of the same name, the film is about Brick Pollitt (Paul Newman) who drinks away his issues, and resists his wife Maggie (Elizabeth Taylor) on the day of the 65th birthday of Big Daddy Pollitt (Burl Ives) who unknowingly is dying of cancer.
My Analysis: This film is fantastic as it deals in themes of deceiving, sex, sexism, and homosexuality. Thanks to the Hays Code (a code at the time that dictated how sexual situations were portrayed), a lot of Williams’ themes in the play were watered down, such as Brick’s love for his deceased friend Skipper. In the film, there is the symbolism of a crutch , as Brick uses a crutch for his broken ankle, but there is the understood theme that his missing Skipper is a “crutch.” The theme of deception or “mendacity” is strong throughout the film.The film is still strong with great performances by Taylor, Newman, and Burl Ives. The film was nominated for several Oscars as well. I do feel that had the film had more of Williams’ actual dialogue, it would have had much more impact.
A great confrontation between Brick and Big Daddy
45. Pulp Fiction (1994) by Quentin Tarantino
Synopsis: This classic is a crime film intersected with three different, but related storylines. It featured Tarantino’s nonlinear style of screenwriting.
My analysis: I just loved the film. I found the Vega character (John Travolta) and the Jules Winnfield character (Samuel L Jackson) really cool. I loved the conversation about McDonald’s in french. I thought the film was pretty groundbreaking in its being written out of order, but at the same time, the film made sense. Seeing Travolta dancing with Uma Thurman was great. One of my favorite scenes. The film is STILL a classic. It was nominated for seven Oscars with one going for Best Original screen play. I still think Jackson should have gotten the Best Supporting Actor Oscar, but oh well. Great film to this day.
The “Divine Intervention Scene” (about the cleanest scene I could find)
44. Witness for the Prosecution (1957) directed by Billy Wilder
Synopsis: Based on the Agatha Christie story (later play) of the same name about an ailing London Barrister (Charles Laughton) who takes on the case of a young man (Tyrone Power) who is accused of the murder of an elderly woman who had left him money, and is dependent on the testimony of his wife (Marlene Dietrich) as his sole alibi.
My Analysis:This is a superb film Wilder gets great performances by everyone involved. Tyrone Power, who back then was considered a “sex symbol” (and would give some of these “hot” guys a run for their money, in my opinion), gives a powerful performance as the defendant, Leonard Vole. Charles Laughton is at his very best as the Barrister who really believed in his client. Marlene Dietrich is great in the film as the wife. I am not going to go much into the story as there are a lot of twists and turns, and I don’t want to spoil the surprise ending. The film still holds up. It is a great courtroom thriller, in my opinion.
Leonard Vole being cross examined by the Prosecution
43. West Side Story (1961) directed by Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise
Based on the Broadway Musical (music by Leonard Bernstein) which takes place in New York City, and is a story about rival gangs, based on William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” the movie features the great songs, and dancing.
My Analysis: Great film. Natalie Wood plays “Maria” whose brother is a member of the Sharks’ Puerto Rican gang. Richard Beymer plays “Tony” whose best friend Riff is a member of the Jets. The film is over 50 years old, and is still great. The music, by Leonard Bernstein still makes me want to dance, and sing along. Stephen Sondheim’s words are still clever after all these years, especially in the song, “Gee,Officer Krupke.” Rita Moreno, and George Chakiris each won Supporting Actress/Actor Oscars. George’s Oscar win is a bit perplexing, but nonetheless, the film won 8 other Oscars, including Best Picture. It still stands as one of the best musical movies ever. The film also holds up as a lot of the issues (racism, juvenile delinquency, etc) are still issues we are still dealing with today.
42. Hamlet (1948) directed by Lord Laurence Olivier
Synopsis: Film adaptation of Shakespeare play about Prince Hamlet from Denmark who avenges the death of his Father by the sitting King of Denmark who is married to Hamlet’s mother the Queen.
My Analysis: Olivier’s Hamlet is the definitive Hamlet. When the film was originally released, he got a lot praise, but did get a bit of criticism as he eliminated Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in the production to save time, who were two major characters. Olivier produced, and directed the movie. He became the only actor to direct himself to a Best Actor Oscar for portraying a Shakespeare play. The film won Best Picture as well. I have seen Kenneth Branagh’s version and some of Mel Gibson’s, and they don’t measure up to Olivier’s Hamlet. At least that is how I feel.
To be, or Not to Be Speech:
Synopsis: A local Philadelphia boxer (Sylvester Stallone) gets a chance to fight against the World Championship (Carl Weathers).
My Analysis: Not only did this film feature a fairly unknown actor, Sylvester Stallone, and turn him into a superstar, but this film spawned an industry, with several sequels. The film is extremely memorable, and still stands up today as a symbol for the underdog. It is still an incredible film after all these years. The movie won three Oscars, including Best Picture, and is still an influence. I just watched it a few weeks ago, and I still was cheering for Rocky, even though I knew the outcome.
The last round in “Rocky:”
Well, that is 50-41. I hope you enjoyed it. More to come.
Terri Bey currently blogs for CamelClutchBlog.com about Wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture related subjects. Her work has appeared in BleacherReport and for F4WOnline.com. Terri can be found here at Facebook- http://www.facebook.com/TerriBey and at Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/missedgehead