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My Favourite Films (in rough alphabetical order)

As Good As It Gets, Breakfast At Tiffany's, The Blues Brothers, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, City Lights, For The Love Of Ada, Get Carter (Michael Caine version), Giant, The Godfather, Goldeneye, The Gold Rush, The Great Escape, The Italian Job, Jane Eyre (Orson Welles version), The Kid, Laurel & Hardy, Lawrence Of Arabia, The Long Good Friday, Love Actually, The Lucky Star, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, M, The Magnificent Seven, Mary Poppins, Melody, Mr Mom, Natural Born Killers, Nicholas and Alexandra, Oliver!, Oliver Twist (Alec Guinness version), On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Pardon Mon Affaire, Patton, Pretty Woman, Psycho (1960's version), The Prince Of Central Park, Reservoir Dogs, Schindler's List, Scarface (Brian De Palma's version), The Seven Samurai, Silence of the Lambs, Silent Running, Somewhere In Time, The Sound of Music, Strictly Ballroom, 10 Rillington Place, The Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Titanic, To Sir With Love, War of the Worlds, The Warriors, What's Good For The Goose, The Wicker Man, The Wild Bunch, The Wizard of Oz, Zardoz, Zulu

My top 18 films In order of favouritism:

Melody / The Wizard Of Oz, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Godfather, Mary Poppins, The Magnificent Seven, The Party, Scarface,

Nicholas and Alexandra, As Good As It Gets, Get Carter, The Wild Bunch, Natural Born Killers, The Long Good Friday,

The Wicker Man, What's Good For The Goose, The Fisher King, The Blues Brothers.

My thoughts are below...

Updated Sunday 4th May 2014


As Good As It Gets

'As Good As It Gets' is an intelligent, witty, brilliantly directed, absolutely lovely and perfectly cast film. It stars Jack Nicolson, Helen Hunt and Greg Kinnear as three people with differing problems who between them manage to help each other out. Nicholson's character Melvin is an obsessive compulsive who can't help being rude to people, Helen Hunt is Carol who has a sickly son and Greg Kinnear is Simon, an artist who loses his confidence, his apartment and hope.

The act of looking after a neighbour's despised dog begins to turn around Melvin's life, and his liking for waitress Carol also helps to awaken Melvin's human side. Burdell is the dog owned by Simon and this helps bring the two antagonistic neighbours together...over the course of  time.

Between them all, as they all support each other, there forms a close, tightly knit bond.

See my As Good As It Gets page.

As Good As It Gets Poster - Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt, Greg Kinnear, Jill the dog as Verdell

Breakfast at Tiffany's

Excellent performances by Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard and Buddy Ebsen in particular.

The Blues Brothers

Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi (as Elwood and Jake) are outstanding in this amazing film. I wasn't so keen on it when I first saw it back in 1982 and it took me a while to get around to watching it again. When I did so I realised just how good it was: it's one of the most anarchic films I've ever seen and the scale of it is vast. Great music, great characters, and everything is BIG.

The Blues Brothers - Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi (as Elwood and Jake)

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

The first film I ever saw at the cinema and it's still a very good film even though I've seen it more times than most other films. Dick Van Dyke is an underrated actor in my opinion, he is always likeable and can play a serious moment as expertly as he plays the buffoon, or sing as well as he dances. He's one of those actors who effortlessly takes to what he does.

The film is good fun and is very well cast. I particularly like the song 'Hushabye Mountain' (although I found it dull when a child). Dick Van Dyke also appears in another of my all-time favourite movies, 'Mary Poppins'.

City Lights

Charlie Chaplin's masterpiece, with my all-time favourite movie moment. This is in the scene where the (previously blind) woman touches the hands of the tramp and realises he was the kind benefactor who helped her see again. An exquisite moment in movie history which has never been rivalled or repeated. Breathtaking and wonderful, a film of intense pathos.

The Fisher King

Possibly the only Terry Gilliam film I like. It's a beauty, Robin Williams is great and the rest of the cast is well-placed. A modern-day, poetic, fairy tale

For The Love Of Ada

Follow-on from likeable1970's ITV series. An astonishingly underrated film which tells the simple story of the wedding anniversary of an elderly couple (played by Irene Handl & Wilfrid Pickles). A gentle ride in sentimentality and gentle humour make this an adorable film with an adorable cast.

Get Carter (Michael Caine version)

Very well cast in all parts. John Osborne excells even with the few lines he has. Caine is superb.

Giant

An epic which must have partly inspired the original production team for "Dallas". James Dean is excellent, while Hudson rocks.

The Godfather

Forget the sequels, this is the best. The most atmospheric gangster movie ever. A film that encompasses menace.

Goldeneye

An intelligently crafted Bond movie with characters that have depth. Clearly a lot of effort went into this film and it shows.  With the next film, 'Tomorrow Never Dies', the production team went back to the lazy, unimaginative this-is-a-successful-franchise-so-we-don't-have-to-try-too-hard scripts used in former years.

The Gold Rush

Charlie Chaplin once again excels in a marvelous movie containing some wonderful acting, comic moments and a realism rarely seen in the days of silent comedy (or now).

The Great Escape

Very good escapism, based on a true story. With added Americans.

The Italian Job

A very relaxing enjoyable romp with Michael Caine staging a unique robbery.

Jane Eyre (Orson Welles version)

An excellent romantic novel becomes an excellent movie with Welles in his best role.

The Kid

An excellent Charlie Chaplin film which has probably provided the best movie poster ever. A very touching film about a tramp who takes care of an abandoned child and strives to keep him out of the hands of the supposedly righteous authorities.

Laurel & Hardy

Notable films are: Way Out West, Babes In Toyland, Sons Of The Desert, Below Zero & The Music Box.

Lawrence Of Arabia

David Lean's magnificent account of the uniting of Arab tribes to overthrow the Turkish occupation.  Peter O'Toole gives the performance of his career, he is mesmerisingly excellent in the role of Lawrence.   Omar Sharif gives his greatest performance too, and like Peter O'Toole's, that performance ranks amongst the best ever seen in the entire history of cinema/film.   The scale of the film is truly epic and truly deserves it's highly respectful reputation.

The Long Good Friday

A British gangster movie that still stands tall with the best of them. Gritty, violent, exciting.

Love Actually

One of those feel-good movies that has immense humour, charm and romance. An extremely likeable set of characters make this an immense pleasure to watch. Excellent script, excellent cast. Richard Curtis ('Blackadder', 'The Vicar Of Dibley', 'Four Weddings & A Funeral', 'Notting Hill') excels himself with this one: the guy is a genius. The soundtrack superbly complements a superb movie.

The Lucky Star

A jewish boy hiding from the Nazis imagines he's a sheriff with the Star of David as his badge.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Crazy, eccentric, mad, funny, insane, and darn good.

M

Peter Lorre as real-life murderer Peter Kurten in a chilling movie which is more psychological than visual.

The Magnificent Seven

Well cast, well directed western.

Mary Poppins

Watching/listening to 'Feed The Birds' was the first time I remember being stunned by a movie. Beautiful.

A very charming movie with lots of fun and an excellent set of characters. Julie Andrews simply *is* Mary Poppins and Dick Van Dyke plays with gusto.


Melody

My favourite film. It stars Mark Lester & Jack Wild (of "Oliver!" fame) and Tracy Hyde as Melody. It's a lovely story of young love set in and around a school. The supporting cast are extremely well chosen (both kids and adults): Roy Kinnear, although cast in a small role as Melody's father, nevertheless provides his most endearing and sensitive performance of his whole career. The whole film is superbly directed by Warris Hussein, a very creditable director who adds many visual details in the background of the movie. A very touching film that gives a nostalgic feel for younger days.


Mr Mom

Michael Keaton in an underrated film about a man who is made unemployed and has to stay home. Funny, clever, nice.

Natural Born Killers

Stylised anti-media epic which was portrayed in the media as exploiting violence. Something about the film must have scared them.

Nicholas and Alexandra

A deeply affecting film portraying the last years of the Romanovs.  The last twenty minutes or so have a dreadful sense of foreboding evil and the ending itself remains one of the most horrific and shocking of all time.  The appalling decision to slaughter Tsar Nicholas II and his family makes this an uncomfortable film to watch, but it also makes it unmissable.

The lead performances from Michael Jayston and Janet Suzman are flawless, absolutely perfect.  The casting is excellent throughout and with effective direction also this film is, quite simply, magnificent.  I raise my hat to everybody who was involved with it.

Oliver!

A rousing, perfectly cast musical starring Mark Lester, Jack Wild, Ron Moody, Oliver Reed, Shani Wallis and Harry Secombe. Not quite as atmospheric as the b/w film, but excellent nonetheless. Ron Moody's Fagin is just as good as the Alec Guiness version from the earlier film.

Oliver Twist (Alec Guinness version)

Very nearly as good as the book from which it came.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service

Highly underrated Bond movie sporting one of the very best soundtracks.

Pardon Mon Affaire

Classic French film that still makes me laugh.

Patton

George C Scott thoroughly deserved the Oscar he won for his captivating performance as General George Patton in this engaging film.

Pretty Woman

Julia Roberts, yummmmmmmmmm.

Psycho (1960's version)

Still creepy after 40 years.

The Prince Of Central Park

Nice story of kids who hide in Central Park.

Reservoir Dogs

Great script, great direction.

Schindler's List

Horrifying.

Scarface (Brian De Palma's version)

Seen it many, many times. Superb.

The Seven Samurai

Took me a long time to get around to seeing this Japanese classic, but it was well worth waiting for. The best western that isn't.

Silent Running

Intelligent sci-fi with a message. And three cute robots.

Somewhere In Time

A romantic story set across time.

The Sound of Music

Warm-hearted family film with an excellent cast, good songs and a happy ending. It's a film I never gave enough credit to when I was younger.

Strictly Ballroom

Wonderful film full of memorable characters.

10 Rillington Place

Horrific true-life tale of true human monster John Christie. Sublimely played by Richard Attenborough, this is a very chilling portrait of a real serial killer. Although it is often Anthony Hopkins, menacingly playing Hannibal Lecter, who gets all the popular attention, I believe Attenborough's performance in this movie is utterly realistic, compelling, mesmerising and worthy of greater attention.  A masterpiece of direction, acting and scripting, it is finally available on DVD. Buy it!

The Terminator

Intelligent crash-bang-wallop excitement.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day

An action movie which never forgets to tell a good story first and foremost.  It is utterly brilliant and stands up immaculately many years after it was made.

Having the first two 'Terminator' movies on this page, I've lost the will to fight temptation in saying what I think of the third one (Rise Of The Machines) so here we go:

It's a film that does not make sense and does not care to try and do so. If Judgment Day can't be stopped then nothing makes sense about any of this film and the two that came before it.

T3 is a lazily produced film encompassing a terrible script done on the very cheap ($180m spent on it? Where?). It comes with a minuscule (and poorly acted) cast as well as flat 'action' scenes.

T2 is still the best action film of all time as it never forgot that a detailed, imaginative, intelligent story (along with a credible script, excellent direction and editing) was more important than the action/effects.  Indeed, both action and effects in T3 are very poor compared to T2.

Titanic

James Cameron did a good job with this one, a fictitious love story set aboard the non fictitious and 'unsinkable' Titanic. Any good documentary on the subject conveys the absolute tragedy of the situation, this film conveys the tragedy of lost love. My one criticism of the film relates to the CGI used: it looked bad when I first saw it, it looks worse now. The CGI looks cartoon-ish and I'd like to see it replaced with a new version. It is the existing cartoon effects which diminish the impact of the disaster. On the major plus side, I've seen the film a loada times and 'that' scene with Kate Winslet (as Rose) is right up there with the best of 'em. Good old Kate.

Kate Winslet
To Sir With Love

Excellent performances from Sidney Poitier et al make this school drama rise miles above the rest.

War of the Worlds

1950's version. The effects are still astounding 50 years later.

The Warriors

A gripping study of youth gang warfare.

What's Good For The Goose

Norman Wisdom's last starring cinematic role (to date). This was a film I disliked a lot as a child because it was so different to every other Norman Wisdom film made prior to it. As an older person, I think it's brilliant, Norman is excellent as a middle-aged married man entering a mid-life crisis, and Sally Geeson is simply adorable as Nikki, the younger, lively  woman to who he becomes attracted.

It's touching in places, sad in others, and at times has shots of realism relating to what can only end up a bittersweet, failed relationship. Magnificent. Norman took a perhaps brave decision to make this film and it is often wrongly dismissed for being different to the slaptstick Wisdom films. It is all the better for being different and showed that Norman was capable of being more than the typecast slapstick comedian people wanted him to remain.

Unfortunately only a cut version of the film is available to buy. The releases represented by the covers below all have the same, irritating cut.

 

UK DVD Cover More recent UK DVD Cover US DVD Cover UK VHS Tape Cover Another UK VHS Tape Cover

What's Good For The Goose - Norman Wisdom and Sally Geeson

What's Good For The Goose - Norman Wisdom and Sally Geeson What's Good For The Goose - Norman Wisdom What's Good For The Goose - Norman Wisdom What's Good For The Goose - Norman Wisdom
The Wicker Man

Often classed as a horror film, this is one of the most beautiful and original films ever made.  Horrific ending aside, this is much more than a horror film, it's an immensely intelligent film. 

Christopher Lee is utterly convincing as Lord Summerisle in his greatest role.  Edward Woodward is also perfectly cast as Sergeant Howie.  All the characters in the film come across as perfectly natural and real and all serve a purpose.  This is not a film about horrific people but people who perform a horrific act in the belief that it is for the good of the people.  This is not good versus evil, simply belief versus belief.

Paul Giovanni's mesmerising soundtrack complements the quirky nature of the film and is one of the greatest to ever grace a film .

Although the director's cut has visual differences where scenes have been edited back in it, it is this version I recommend seeing: the more common, cut version lacks a sense of rhyme or reason, it's more disjointed.

This was a film treated badly for years by it's own film company but was, in many ways, way ahead of it's time.

The Wild Bunch

Sam Peckinpah's brutal western classic.

The Wizard of Oz

Probably still the best children's movie ever, it is timeless.

Zardoz

Fascinating sci-fi film that is almost as clever as it thinks it is.

Zulu

Well-made film of the Rourke's Drift incident.


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Art, Graphic & Photographic Gallery    Portmeirion Gallery    Oxford Gallery    Doctor Who    MISFITS Archive

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