14. Stand By Me (1986, Rob Reiner)
Friendship is never as innocent as pure, as it is in childhood. Yet it’s also often the case, that such childhood friendships don’t last and so what remains are purely memories.
“Stand By Me” is a film that perfectly encapsulates exactly that. It tells the story of 4 boys, who are all outsiders in some way. When they find out, about a dead body apparently somewhere in the countryside they decide to go and find it. The film lives of it’s talented young cast ad the way these friends interact and care for each other.
The kids are all believably written, which is also something far too rare in films about children. it’s a sweet film about childhood, that doesn’t sugarcoat the darker aspects of growing up and the confusion and anger such children can also have. The ending then tells us what happened to this group of friends and gives all the events just witnessed the bittersweet note of a distant memory.
13. Heat (1995, Michael Mann)
Now “Heat” might be considered an odd pick for this list, since the “friendship” in it isn’t really direct at all. Instead, what connects the two main characters is a strange respect, that they have for each others codes.
Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro play a cop and a bank robber, who find a deep respect for each other, although they find themselves on different sides of the law. Of course the tension finally gets unleashed, when the two meet for the first time, in this film (and funnily enough it was also the first time these two acting legends met on the screen) in the by now legendary coffee scene.
As one might expect in a film by Michael Mann, things don’t exactly end well and so the film ends tragically, but also beautifully. When the hunt is over, and one of the men has to die, the other one doesn’t leave him alone, it’s a great way of showing the subtly built up friendship and a beautiful way to end the film.
12. The Killer (1989, John Woo)
John Woo’s film “The Killer” has been somewhat accused of having homosexual undertones, that many audiences have missed and seeing the movie its simple to see why that claim is sometimes made.
John Woo portrays male friendship with a wide eyed naivety and direct emotion, that is rarely if never seen especially in western cinema. When the two main characters of the film interact, they look at each other and speak to each other in such obvious joy of each other’s company, that respect just isn’t the word to describe it and sometimes it really seems like moe than just friendship.
But one doesn’t need to see the film like that to enjoy it: “The Killer” is one of the most spectacular and entertaining action films to come out of Hong Kong (and that’s saying a lot!). The film is cheesy and relentlessly stylish, but exactly therein lies the joy of watching it.
11. The Lord Of The Rings (2001 – 2003, Peter Jackson)
“The Lord Of The Rings” is a fantastic epic and truly one of a kind. It’s likely one of those spectacles that will actually stand the test of time (also in film form) and go on to inspire tons of people. Explaining the plot and characters here would be pretty unnecessary probably and also would take far too long, so instead I’ll look more into the theme this list is centered on: friendship.
With Lord Of The Rings you don’t have to do much digging or analyzing to see the theme of friendship. It’s everywhere in the film and has such wonderful examples of friends who go to extreme lengths to make sure the other is safe. Sam & Frodo, Gimli & Legolas and Pippin & Merry are just some of the various friendships we see evolving throughout the trilogy.
Like a real friendship in an extreme situation they all go through conflicts and tensions, but Tolkien (and Peter Jackson) believe in true friendship and let us see these characters succeed and with each other’s help triumph.
10. The Untouchables (1987, Brian DePalma)
One of Brian DePalma’s most unusual films, this is a picture where the right collaborators came together to make, not exactly revolutionary cinema, but an utterly entertaining and endearing film, that is surely cheesy, but also wonderful. Kevin Costner, Sean Connery, Andy Garcia and Charles Martin Smith play the name giving quartet of characters, who try to bring down Al Capone (a wonderfully hammy Robert DeNiro).
We watch them grow as characters through failure and success, and in the end earn each other’s respect after being somewhat at odds in the beginning. It’s a nice classic story, with clear morals and great dialogue by David Mamet.
The other unforgettable contribution is being delivered by Ennio Morricone, who composed a great stylish score, with an opening theme that’s become a classic in it’s own right.
9. Jules & Jim (1962, Francois Truffaut)
One of the most romantic films to ever be made is also one of the liveliest portrayals of friendship to have ever blessed the screen. Unlike many films of this list, the two men here aren’t too cool to really reveal their feelings.
This friendship isn’t one we its glimpse at through the way they act, it’S celebrated by the film and themselves. it’s like Truffaut decided to make a film about all the things he cherished in life: arts, love and friendship.
And while the camera (and director) are clearly quite enamored with Jeanne Moreau, the romance doesn’t lose the bond of Jules and Jim out of sight. This makes the emotions more complex and the ending more dramatic, but it also makes the beautiful moments eve more beautiful.
8. The Deer Hunter (1978, Michael Cimino)
In the last months a lot has been written about all of Michael Ciminio’s films. “Heaven’s Gate” and “Thuderbolt And Lightfoot” are getting appreciation and recognition, that they weren’t granted while Cimino was still alive. Yet “The Deer Hunter” seems to exist in this strange void being popular enough while he was alive, but not obscure enough right now to be praised in the same way dos other films are right now.
Sure the film won several Oscars, but it still isn’t such a mainstream effort and in no way a selling out. Camino doesn’t go softer in this film, it’s a relentless watch and nobody who watched it just forgets the Russian Roulette scene. Yet this isn’t only a film about the brutality of war: it’s very much also a film about friendship.
The soldiers we follow through the film don’t just meet because of the war, they are long time friends and that’s the reason they stick together so much. It’s what makes the tragedy so much more heavy. It shows just how much friends will stick together in even the wirst moments, but also shows us, that sometimes even a friend can’t save you anymore.