While the actual boxing is terrible, the movie itself is one of the all-time greats. It’s a classic underdog story. Where “Rocky” really shines though, is in it’s characters. That and a story that is all too real-life based, propel it into legendary status. Bar none, Sylvester Stallone IS Rocky.
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
What Michael Jordan is too basketball, Hannibal Lecter is to movie serial killers. There’s him…and then there’s everyone else. I think a lot of times, we as viewers, see movie serial killers as mere madmen or women, without significant intellectual prowess. With that in mind, Lecter is a true-blue genius, which is what makes him so intriguing and dangerous. Not only is he a nut, who might or might not eat your liver (probably dependent on your alcohol consumption), but he’ll also outsmart you at every turn. This leads the viewer to both fear and respect Lecter. …But mostly fear him.
Gone with the Wind (1939)
What can really be said about “Gone with The Wind” that already hasn’t been? The film is one of the first cinematic epics, with remarkable special effects and cinematography, and changed the industry forever. Despite all the flash, this is exceptional love story.
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
“Lawrence” is one of the greatest cinematic achievements of all-time. Peter O’Toole is absolutely amazing in the title role, playing the pedantic, yet charismatic Lawrence. Like “Gone with the Wind,” this film featured some remarkable cinematography and ridiculously good storytelling.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
People love to clamor about the shock value and the social commentary inherent in this one. Both are more than valid, but there’s something else to take away from watching this film. That is, the significance of authenticity and living life on your own terms. It may not always work out the best for you, but are you willing to take that chance if it means true freedom?
The Godfather (1972)
In my opinion, Marlon Brando is the greatest and most versatile actor in the history of film. Early in his career, he had a number of iconic performances, but in the mid-1960’s, Brando hit the skids. There’s no way an actor as talented as this should struggle for decent roles, but thats’s exactly what happened. Thankfully for Brando and movie-lovers everywhere, there was this little movie called “The Godfather” that was kind of a big deal, reviving Brando’s career. Mario Puzo’s book is wonderful, but Brando and his fellow cast members take the story to another level.
Simply put, this movie is absolutely perfect. From the incredible performances to the spot-on writing, the film is one of the very few in history that is flawless. Humphrey Bogart’s screen magic is on full display in this one, as he plays a conflicted hero who must make a significant sacrifice. In an era of remakes, this one should not be touched.
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Nothing you’ve ever seen or read can prepare you for the Normandy beach landing scene. The action is frenetic, savage, and chaotic. Saving Private Ryan shows us the true horrors of war and the incredible courage it takes to face them head-on. You can’t help but come away with an exponentially greater appreciation for the sacrifice and bravery of the soldiers who invaded France 70 years ago today. The film is incredible and the acting is top-notch. If you’ve never seen this one, do yourself a favor, and see it today!
Schindler’s List (1993)
This is obviously one of Spielberg’s best, but I’m not sure the occasional heavy-handedness holds up nearly as well today. Schindler’s List is obviously well-sculpted, with a riveting story and excellent acting, but it lacks some of the subtleties that make similar films (i.e. The Pianist) shine a bit more. I also think that the artistic licensing taken with some of the true-life events, leaves educated viewers a bit jaded. Still a great film, nevertheless.
The Thin Red Line (1998)
You’d be hard-pressed to find films more cinematically beautiful than those authored by Terrence Malick. While Malick has made only a handful of films, each are magical in different ways. The director often examines human nature as it conflicts or isn in-sync with spirituality. “Days of Heaven” might be the most beautiful film ever shot, but “The Thin Red Line” and “The Tree of Life” are his best.