7. Blow-Up (1966)
Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni gives us an art house mystery drama in the influential ‘Blow-Up’.
David Hemmings plays the lead role of a pretentious, hollow fashion photographer who thinks he may have discovered a corpse in one of his photos of two lovers in a park. With Vanessa Redgrave playing one of the lovers, Antonioni leaves us guessing what exactly her motives are and is she part of a murder that may not have even happened in the first place? With the film climax leaving you with more questions than answers, we are left to distinguish reality and the subconscious.
Blow-Up has admittedly been the inspiration behind several films, most notably De Palma’s ‘Blow-Out’ and Francis Ford Copolla’s ‘The Conversation’.
6. Withnail & I (1987)
Bruce Robinson’s extremely quotable script brings us a gem of a film with a superb screenplay written by Robinson himself from his novel.
Withnail and his friend I, find themselves unemployed actors in late 60’s London. I, determined to try to get back to some sort of normal existence, away from the excesses of drugs and drink that Withnail has embraced, drives them both out to Uncle Monty’s cottage in the country. Uncle Monty arrives unexpectedly and hilarity ensues.
The film is most remembered for its tragic final scene when the two part company forever and Withnail is left behind, presumably to drink him to death.
5. Stalker (1979)
This 1979 film by Andrei Tarkovsky is a post-apocalyptic art-house psychological masterpiece. Based on the novel Roadside Picnic, the film shows how ‘Stalker’, played by Alexander Kaidanovsky, is hired as a guide to lead 2 men to ‘The Zone’, a restricted and guarded area that is said to grant the wishes of those that enter.
Can the three men make it to their destination, penetrating military barricades and evading traps? And what exactly can they expect when they reach ‘The Room in The Zone’?
With Tarkovsky using near trademark long takes and an aura of dread throughout the film, Stalker challenges you to think outside The Zone.
4. Fight Club (1999)
Edward Norton stars as a sleep-deprived, unhinged young man, who in looking for the meaning to life and fed up with his near perfect IKEA apartment is set down a path by his subconscious. Accompanied by an all-star cast of Brad Pitt, Helena Bonham Carter and Meat Loaf we are introduced to a world of violence, rebellion and insomnia. This is Fight Club.
David Fincher brings us a darkly comic tale of social satire and generation x masculine melancholy.
3. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Welcome to the world of Quentin Tarantino. This nonlinear diamond heist-gone-wrong movie is hard hitting, violent and extremely entertaining. Whether it be the dialogue, the visuals, or the fast paced editing, you wont be able to take your eyes of this thriller.
Tarantino ensembles a motley crew of gangsters including Harvey Keitel as Mr White, Michael Madsen as Mr Blonde, Steve Buscemi as Mr Pink and Tim Roth as Mr Orange. With each actor giving incredible performances, (especially Madsen as the psychotic but calm ex-con). Reservoir Dogs is one of the greatest debut feature films ever directed.
An excellent soundtrack is the icing on the cake in what would become the first of many outstanding films from Tarantino.
2. 12 Angry Men (1957)
A young migrant boy faces probable death at the hands of the state if proven guilty, with 12 men deciding his fate, in Sydney Lumet’s excellent drama from 1957. Henry Fonda plays Juror#8. He has the unenviable task of fighting for the possibility of a reasonable doubt to save the life of the stranger on trial. He has 11 foes at the beginning.
A wonderfully snapping script and simply brilliant acting add to this wonderful classic that got 100% on rotten tomatoes.
1. The Man With No Name Trilogy
A Fistful of Dollars (1964)
Clint strides into town, San Miguel, surveying the horizon and silently smoking his trademark cigar. He is warned of the death surrounding the town, death or fortune. The latter persuades him to continue.
Two warring families believe him to be under their control and these two warring families will feel the hot lead from this sharpshooter’s pistol. Sergio Leone’s first in the epic ‘Man with no name’ trilogy.
For A Few Dollars More (1965)
In Sergio Leone’s second of his ‘man with no name trilogy’, Eastwood teams up with a fellow bounty hunter (Van Cleef) in order to claim the reward in exchange for El Indio, a ruthless gang leader. However, as the movie continues with all sorts of twists and turns, we wonder, do both men have the same intentions?
With an excellent little cameo appearance from cult favourite Klaus Kinski, A Few Dollars More brings us onto the best of the West…..
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
In the final instalment of Leone’s epic spaghetti western trilogy, Clint Eastwood is joined by Tuco and Angel Eyes as they each bid to find stolen gold worth £200,000. In what is considered to be not only the best of the trilogy but one of the best westerns ever, the film contains all sorts of twists and turns that leave you unsure of which character is in face good, bad or ugly.
With an incredible score by Ennio Marricone and the wonderful direction of Sergio Leone, this certainly makes a case for the best trilogy of all time.
Author Bio: Andrew Lowry lives in Bangor, Northern Ireland. He is a government worker by day, and cinephile by night.