Two years of watching Movies You must See Before You Die
Listed in this post are my favorite films that I’ve watched since October 2014 from the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. You can read more about the first year, but I do have a couple of things I’d add to my initial commentary: In case you hadn’t noticed already, I place a heavy emphasis on cinematography. Also, I just realized that I don’t have a column for (the mostly useless) MPAA ratings. I’ll leave that up to you to research. More on the technical details after the list…
- Ugetsu Monogatari (1953, Japan) – Mizoguchi lays out this traditional 16th century ghost tale like an ancient scroll.
- A Man Escaped (1956, France) – A seemingly simple prison escape film, but every element is carefully crafted.
- Lawrence of Arabia (1962) – I was prepared to be bored, but the cinematography and more importantly the international and personal politics of this WWI true story were quite gripping.
- 8 1/2 (1963, Italy) – Fellini’s autobiographical hopes, dreams, and worries.
- Gaav (The Cow, 1969, Iran) – A fable about a man in a small village whose beloved cow dies.
- The Spirit of the Beehive (1973, Spain) – One of those films that has such a unique pathos that it’s nearly impossible to summarize in just a few words. A child’s response to Frankenstein. Compare to Pan’s Labyrinth.
- Network (1976) – Satirical take on the TV news industry. Not much has changed. Brilliant performances by all.
- Mad Max (1979) – You should know the basic idea on this one: gritty, unique, fast-paced, and great sound & visual design.
- A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) – So many iconic elements in this film. I love Freddy’s theme music – Wes Craven 80s music gold.
- Europa Europa (1990, Poland) – Dark humor, based on a true story about a Jewish orphan who becomes a part of the Hitler Youth.
- The Big Lebowski (1998)* – Bowling, Dudeism, classic music.
- All About My Mother (1999, Spain) – Totally engrossing film about love, loss, and caring for one another.
- Boyhood (2014)* – Director Richard Linklater explores a common theme in all of his movies: time. This one required a 12 year commitment for the entire cast (particularly noticeable is the young boy who goes from age 6 to 18), collapsed into 165 minutes. A first in cinematic history, but also a captivating story about how society and families change over the years.
In last year’s roundup, I mentioned that I had watched 110 movies on the list from October 2013 to October 2014. I’ve watched about 50 this year. It’s getting harder to find films on the list (a) that I have an interest in seeing and (b) that are available in high definition. I’ve about run out of the ones I want to see that are currently streaming on Netflix; Louisville’s beloved Wild and Woolly Video store closed in late March; and the Louisville Library does not carry Blu-rays.
Below is a simplified spreadsheet of the films from the past two years, or you can download my entire spreadsheet xlsx file which includes a “Favs from 1001 book” tab (details in my movie spreadsheet post).
|Title||My||Directors||AVG critic||Year||# of IMDb vote||Fem. dir.||Bech-del||LGBTQ Russo||Foreig.||JJ watched|
|The Adventures of Prince Achmed||8||Lotte Reiniger||82||1926||2510||Y||Germany||14review|
|The Wizard of Oz||9||Victor Fleming||82||1939||183475||3||14review|
|Dance, Girl, Dance||8||Dorothy Arzner||67||1940||805||Y||3||14review|
|Children of Paradise||9||Marcel Carné||91||1945||10974||2||France||14review|
|A Streetcar Named Desire||9||Elia Kazan||89||1951||57949||3||14review|
|Ugetsu Monogatari||9||Kenji Mizoguchi||90||1953||9728||2||Japan||15review|
|Night and Fog||10||Alain Resnais||93||1955||8717||0||France||14review|
|A Man Escaped||9||Robert Bresson||90||1956||7640||0||France||15review|
|Lawrence of Arabia||10||David Lean||94||1962||125284||0||15review|
|The House Is Black||9||Forugh Farrokhzad||89||1963||1393||Y||Iran||14review|
|Winter Light||9||Ingmar Bergman||79||1963||9133||1?||Sweden||14review|
|2001: A Space Odyssey||10||Stanley Kubrick||88||1968||274938||0||14review|
|The Cow (Gaav)||9||Dariush Mehrjui||86||1969||2860||Iran||15review|
|The Conformist||9||Bernardo Bertolucci||90||1970||11285||3||Italy||14review|
|Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory||10||Mel Stuart||78||1971||83710||2||14review|
|The Spirit of the Beehive||9||Víctor Erice||88||1973||7831||3||Spain||15review|
|Taxi Driver||9||Martin Scorsese||92||1976||308887||1||14review|
|Star Wars||9||George Lucas||88||1977||563201||1||14review|
|Mad Max||9||George Miller||70||1979||85086||15review|
|Blade Runner||9||Ridley Scott||83||1982||313190||1||14review|
|A Nightmare on Elm Street||9||Wes Craven||76||1984||95510||3||15review|
|Vagabond (Without Roof or Rule)||9||Agnès Varda||87||1985||2959||Y||3||Belgium||14review|
|Broadcast News||9||James L. Brooks||84||1987||16033||3||14review|
|The Princess Bride||10||Rob Reiner||81||1987||199210||2||14review|
|Grave of the Fireflies||9||Isao Takahata||90||1988||72633||Japan||14review|
|Rain Man||10||Barry Levinson||80||1988||264938||1||14review|
|Dances with Wolves||10||Kevin Costner||77||1990||127227||14review|
|Europa Europa||9||Agnieszka Holland||88||1990||9500||Y||2||Poland||15review|
|My Own Private Idaho||9||Gus Van Sant||77||1991||27076||3||14review|
|Terminator 2: Judgment Day||10||James Cameron||82||1991||460795||3||14review|
|The Silence of the Lambs||9||Jonathan Demme||88||1991||506266||3||14review|
|Groundhog Day||9||Harold Ramis||81||1993||270655||1||14review|
|The Big Lebowski||9||Ethan Coen, Joel Coen||77||1998||447351||1||15review|
|All About My Mother||10||Pedro Almodóvar||88||1999||51780||3||3||Spain||15review|
|The Matrix||10||The Wachowski Brothers, The Wachowski Brothers||82||1999||741159||3||?||14review|
|The Dark Knight||9||Christopher Nolan||90||2008||1009750||3||14review|
|In a Better World||9||Susanne Bier||72||2010||23161||Y||Denmark||14review|
|Nostalgia for the Light||10||Patricio Guzmán||73||2010||1606||Intl.||14review|
|A Separation||10||Asghar Farhadi||93||2011||102396||3||France||14review|
|Drive||9||Nicolas Winding Refn||83||2011||299385||3||14review|
|The Act of Killing||10||Joshua Oppenheimer, Anonymous, Christine Cynn||89||2012||6483||Y||0||14review|
|In a World||9||Lake Bell||81||2013||1514||Y||3||14review|
I think I’ll do a post soon about movies I love that are NOT in the 1001 Movies, like Virunga, The Babadook, Before Midnight, The Innocents, Paris Is Burning, and The Holy Mountain.
* Films I’d seen before last November but revisited in 2015.