6. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
The giveaway: If you are in any doubt as to whether Private Ryan will be saved, the title has a big hint.
Learning that three brothers from the same family called Ryan have all been killed in the same week, Army Chief of Staff General Marshall orders Captain Miller to go behind enemy lines and locate the surviving brother.
As Captain Miller takes his men to recover Private Ryan, he realises that the area is still thick with the enemy and that the mission will be harder than they ever imagined. Meanwhile, his men question the ethics of whether one man is worth all this trouble.
Considered by some to be one of the greatest war films of all time, Saving Private Ryan received universal acclaim upon its release. At the 71st Academy Awards, it received eleven nominations and won five awards. It was also a box office success, earning over $480 million against a budget of $70 million.
Trivia: Saving Private Ryan is often thought to be based on the Sullivan brothers, a group of five brothers who were all killed whilst serving in the U.S Navy during World War II. However, the film is actually based on the Niland brothers. The Nilands were four brothers who all served in the U.S Army during the second World War.
Three of the brothers, Robert, Preston and Edward were all thought to have been killed in action. This caused the final brother Fritz to be shipped back to America so that the family would not lose all of their sons. Later, Edward who was originally thought to have died, was actually later found alive after he escaped from a Japanese prison camp in Burma. Thus, the Niland family was left with two surviving brothers.
7. The Virgin Suicides (1999)
The giveaway: Though the film has a suicide very early on, you could be forgiven for not realising that several more will follow – the title gives a big clue.
In the mid-1970s in a normal middle-class suburb, live the Lisbons. Outwardly successful and wealthy, the Lisbons have five beautiful daughters who the neighbourhood boys are obsessed with. When thirteen-year-old Cecilia commits suicide, the family isolates the remaining daughters. But the family’s strategy backfires when the girls’ seclusion makes the neighbourhood boys’ obsession even greater.
Based on the 1993 best selling novel of the same name by Jeffrey Eugenides, The Virgin Suicides was the feature debut of director Sofia Coppola. It was released to largely critical praise and marked the beginning of many collaborations between Coppola and actress Kirsten Dunst. The film earnt $10.4 million at the box office against a budget of $6.1 million.
Trivia: A photograph taken of the sisters before homecoming foreshadows their deaths. Bonnie’s arm appears to be scratching her back, which also resembles a hanging and that is how she dies.
Lux is holding her hand out which resembles holding a cigarette and when she dies her hand is seen hanging out of the running car in the garage, holding a cigarette. And Theresa’s eyes are closed in the photograph and she dies from an overdosage of sleeping .
8. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
The giveaway: When Aragorn is finally crowned as the King of Gondor, it’s supposed to be a bit unexpected – not if you’ve read the title.
The third and final instalment in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Return of the King presents the final battle for Middle Earth as Frodo and Sam reach the final part of their dangerous mission to the fires of Mount Doom and destroy the one ring.
Not only considered to be one of the most successful fantasy films of all time, but one of the most critically and commercially successful films of all time, The Return of the King grossed over $1 billion at the box office and was nominated for eleven Academy Awards of which it won all eleven including Best Picture.
Trivia: The Battle of the Black Gate scene needed so many extras that members of the New Zealand army were called in to make up the extras quota. The New Zealand army were so enthusiastic about their roles that they kept breaking the props that they were given in playfights.
9. There Will be Blood (2007)
The giveaway: A long time is spent on building the tension between Daniel Plainview and Eli Sunday, but thanks to the title, we all know what’s coming.
When silver miner Daniel Plainview moves to oil rich California, he soon turns into a ruthless and dangerous oil prospector, determined to get local landowners to sell him their valuable properties and in turn paying them a pittance. When local preacher Eli Sunday begins to question Plainview’s motives, a slow burning feud turns into something more deadly.
Loosely based upon Upton Sinclair’s novel Oil!, There Will be Blood is widely regarded as one of the best films of the twenty-first century. At the 80th Academy Awards, it was nominated for eight awards and won two for Best Cinematography and Best Actor for Daniel Day Lewis. It was also a box office success, earning $76 million against its budget of $25 million.
Trivia: Mark Bridges, director Paul Thomas Anderson’s long-time costume designer, gave Daniel Day Lewis three different hats to choose from for his costume. Ever the method actor, he took them all home and lived with them for days, creating mini worlds in which he wore them.
Then he settled on the one that he felt most comfortable with. He knew that he was fully in character once his hat went on. Consequently, the sweat stains on the hat were real.
10. 500 Days of Summer (2009)
The giveaway: Thanks to the title, we know exactly how long Tom and Summer will be together.
Greeting card writer Tom falls hopelessly in love with his boss’ new secretary Summer and after discovering that the pair have loads in common, is convinced that they are soulmates. When Summer suddenly dumps him, Tom tries desperately to figure out what went wrong.
500 Days of Summer was a sleeper hit and eventually went on to earn $60.7 million, exceeding its budget of $7.5 million several times over. 500 Days of Summer is often referenced on best romantic comedy lists. It was well received critically upon its release and won several awards.
Trivia: There is quite a lot of underlying symbolism in the film. Firstly, the soundtrack features songs by a lot of bands that ended up breaking up. The colouring of the scenes mirrored how each day was going. On sad days, it was drearier and duller and on good days, it was brighter and more colourful. And talking of colours, the colour red only appears twice in the film. This is done on purpose, since red is associated with love and passion.