I am hoping my readers are enjoying this blog so far. In the last segment, I went over more wonderful cinematic achievements such as “Dog Day Afternoon,” “Psycho,” “All About Eve,” and others.
Are you ready for some more?
Here we go with 30-21:
30. Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (1939) directed by Frank Capra
Synopsis: A very naive young man, William Jefferson Smith, (Jimmy Stewart) is selected to sit in the seat of a deceased Senator in his state. Smith decides to come up with a bill, and engages the help of his secretary ( Jean Arthur), but is up against a political machine which unbeknownst to Smith, involves his fellow Senator (Claude Rains) and a man that Smith looked up to.
My Analysis: This is one of the best political based dramas ever. The film’s themes of patriotism, honesty, and exposing political corruption was relative back then , and especially relative today. Stewart is totally amazing in this film. The filibuster scene is something to watch. Arthur, and Rains are awesome. Highly recommended.
The Filibuster scene (long but Jimmy Stewart is awesome)
29. Easy Rider (1969) directed by Dennis Hopper
Synopsis: Two motorcycle riders (Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper) go out on their motorcycles and search for freedom in America.
The Movie’s Trailer:
28. Ben Hur (1959) directed by William Wyler
Synopsis: A Jewish prince, Ben Hur (Charlton Heston) is betrayed and sold to slavery, and returns for revenge against his Roman friend who was behind it all.
My Analysis: This is one of the great “epic films.” It is long, about three and a half hours in length. Charlton Heston does a good job as Ben Hur. Heston, who in my opinion, is decent as an actor, is known for his roles in these epic Biblical films such as “The Ten Commandments,” when he played Moses. It still is a spectacle when one watches it today. The highlight of the film is the chariot race. The film is important as it is one of the great Biblical epic films, and it won 11 Oscars, a record at the time, only to be matched by 1997’s “Titanic,” including Best Picture, Director, and Actor (Heston).
The Chariot Scene (9 minutes, and NO horses got hurt in the filming so enjoy)
27. Network (1976) directed by Sidney Lumet
Synopsis: A TV Network led by an overambitious TV executive (Faye Dunaway) takes advantage of a deranged TV anchor (Peter Finch) just to increase the Network’s sagging ratings.
My Analysis: This gem of a film is as relevant today as it was when it first came out. Faye Dunaway is amazing as Diana Christensen, the executive of the Network. She does all she can, despite the obvious fact that Howard Beale (Finch) should not be on the air, to pop a rating. Max Schumacher (William Holden) does his best to look after Beale’s interests, but to no avail, and is eventually fired. The film is famously known for Beale’s inspiring viewers to go outside and shout, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take it anymore.” The film still holds up today as a reminder that even today’s media, be it MSNBC, Fox News, ESPN, CNN, etc will exploit a story just to get people to watch. These networks will take a story (deaths of Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Tebow Mania, etc) and run them into the ground just to get ratings, so the movie holds up a lot. Dunaway won Best Actress, and Peter Finch won Best Actor.
The famous “Mad As Hell” scene: (could not find one without subtitles for some reason)
26. The Caine Mutiny (1954) directed by Edward Dmytryk
Synopsis: Based on the Pulitzer Prize winning Book of the same name by William Fauk, two officers (Van Johnson and Robert Francis) are court martialed for mutiny aboard a fictitious minesweeper during WWII.
My Analysis: Superb film. The acting by Humphrey Bogart as Captain Queeg is top notch, and garnered him a Best Actor Oscar nomination. Jose Ferrer is great as Barney Greenwald, the Naval Lawyer who defends Major Maryk (Johnson) in the court martial. Great supporting performances by Johnson , and in particular , Fred MacMurray as Officer Keefer who eggs on Maryk as an amateur psychologist trying to say that Captain Queeq’s rather overly strict behavior was bordering on being mentally unstable. It still stands as one of the best military court films in movie history.
The famous “Strawberries” scene:
25. Rebecca (1940) directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Synopsis: A young bride (Joan Fontaine) whose name we never know marries an aristocrat widower, Maxim de Winter (Lord Laurence Olivier), and both are haunted by de Winter’s deceased wife, Rebecca. The film is based on the Daphne du Maurier novel of the same name.
My analysis: This is a classic. It won the Oscar for Best Picture, and it was Hitchcock’s first American project. Why Hitchcock did not get the Best Director Oscar, I have no idea as this was one of his best. The film is extremely suspenseful, one of Hitchcock’s trademarks. Throughout the film, you are never allowed to forget about “Rebecca.” Judith Anderson’s outstanding performance as Mrs. Danvers, Rebecca’s former personal maid will make your skin crawl as she terrorizes the young bride, and constantly hounds the bride (Fontaine). Olivier is magnificent as Maxim de Winter. The film still holds up as an all time Hitchcock classic.
The Opening Ten Minutes of the film:
24. All The President’s Men (1976) directed by Alan J Pakula
Synopsis: Based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, the two journalists (Robert Redford as Woodward, and Dustin Hoffman as Bernstein) investigate the Watergate Break in.
My Analysis: One of the greatest political thrillers of all time. The acting by Hoffman and Redford is terrific. The supporting work by Jason Robards (Ben Bradlee), Jack Walden (Harry M Rosenfeld), Hal Holbrook (Deep Throat), and others is awesome. Even Frank Harris, the actual guard who discovered the door at the Watergate Hotel that was kept unlocked with tape and called the police reprises his role. In my opinion, Harris (in real life) should have gotten better treatment after the break in. He should have at least gotten a raise after what he did.
Anyway, the film is great at showing the frightening political atmosphere of the times, hence why during the film it was hard for both Woodward and Bernstein to get anyone to cooperate, especially considering the lengths the Nixon campaign would go to keep that man in power. The interview with Donald Segretti (Donald Walden) showed a lot of what I mean. The film still holds up today as well. Robards won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar.
Movie Trailer for the film:
23. Bonnie and Clyde (1967) directed by Arthur Penn
Synopsis: An American crime drama based on the lives of Clyde Barrow (Warren Beatty) and Bonnie Parker (Faye Dunaway), who were a couple who were bank robbers.
My Analysis: This was , and is still an incredible film. The film broke a lot of taboos when released in 1967 for its showing of sexual situations, and especially for its violence. The deaths of both Bonnie and Clyde in particular rank amongst the most violent, and the most bloodiest in film history. The performances by Beatty, Dunaway, Gene Hackman (Buck Barrow), and Estelle Parsons (in her Oscar winning role as Blanche Barrow) are amazing. Beatty, and Dunaway were nominated for Best Actor and Actress respectively, and the film was nominated for Best Picture, amongst other Oscars. Gene Wilder has a small part as one of the gang’s first hostages as his movie debut as well.
The Trailer for “Bonnie and Clyde”
22. From Here to Eternity (1953) directed by Fred Zinnemann
Synopsis: Based on the James Jone novel of the same name, the movie is about problems that soldiers deal with leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor.
My Analysis: This is a fantastic film, that resonates to this day. The film deals with soldiers who do battle with a lot of problems that regular civilians back then, and even today deal with every day. Private Robert Lee Prewitt (Montgomery Clift ) has to deal with constant peer pressure to fight, even though he doesn’t want to (he blinded a man he was friends with). There are issues of infidelity between Captain Holmes and his wife Karen (Deborah Kerr) who has an affair with First Sergeant Warden (Burt Lancaster) who is Holmes’ underling. Frank Sinatra nearly steals the movie as Private Maggio, who is Private Prewitt’s best friend. The film won 8 of the 13 Oscars it was nominated for, including Best Picture, and a Supporting Actor Oscar for Sinatra. Classic film.
Karen meets First Sergeant Warden on their date:
The famous beach/kissing scene between Karen and First Sergeant Warden (a must see):
Synopsis: An American Epic film based on the life of Jack Reed (Warren Beatty) who chronicled the 1918 Russian Revolution, in his book, “The Ten Days that Shook the World.”
My Analysis: Great film. Warren Beatty produced, directed, and played Jack Reed in this masterpiece about the Russian Revolution. I loved this film, and I still think it should have won Best Picture over “Chariots of Fire.” It was good that the film did make a profit considering the subject matter, and the fact that Reagan just took office. However, Beatty, Diane Keaton (Louise Bryant), Jack Nicholson (Eugene O’Neill) and Maureen Stapleton (Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner as Emma Goldman) are awesome. It still is a great film, and to this day is the only film to have actors nominated in all four major acting categories in one year. The interviews with people who knew Reed or knew of him enhance the film, and give it a documentary feel as well.
The Train Station Scene:
Well, that is all for this part. I hope you are enjoying the ride I am taking you on. I hope you will enjoy part 4.
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