Established by the National Film Preservation Act of 1988, the National Film Preservation Board works to ensure the survival, conservation and increased public availability of America's film heritage, including: advising the Librarian on its recommendations for annual selections to the National Film Registry, apprising the Librarian of changing trends and policies in the field of film preservation, and counseling the Librarian on ongoing implementation of the National Film Preservation Plan. The National Film Registry selects 25 films each year showcasing the range and diversity of American film heritage to increase awareness for its preservation. Here are 50 films that have not but should be included!
Ghostbusters is a 1984 American science fantasy comedy film directed and produced by Ivan Reitman and written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. It stars Bill Murray, Aykroyd, and Ramis as three eccentric parapsychologists in New York City who start a ghost-catching business. Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis co-star as a client and her neighbor. The Ghostbusters business booms after initial skepticism, eventually requiring a fourth Ghostbuster, played by Ernie Hudson; but, when an uptown high-rise apartment building becomes the focal point of spirit activity linked to the ancient god Gozer, it threatens to overwhelm the team and the entire world. The American Film Institute ranked Ghostbusters 28th in its AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs list of film comedies.
2. The Birds
The Birds is a 1963 suspense/horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, loosely based on the 1952 story "The Birds" by Daphne du Maurier. It depicts Bodega Bay, California, which is, suddenly and for unexplained reasons, the subject of a series of widespread and violent bird attacks over the course of a few days.
The film features the screen debut of Tippi Hedren. It also starred Rod Taylor, Jessica Tandy, Suzanne Pleshette, and Veronica Cartwright.
The film was written by Evan Hunter. Hitchcock told him to develop new characters and a more elaborate plot, keeping du Maurier's title and concept of unexplained bird attacks. The film received a Rotten Tomatoes approval rating of 96%, with the consensus: "Proving once again that build-up is the key to suspense, Hitchcock successfully turned birds into some of the most terrifying villains in horror history. The eminent film critic David Thomson refers to it as Hitchcock's "last unflawed film"
3. East of Eden
East of Eden is a 1955 film, directed by Elia Kazan, and loosely based on the second half of the 1952 novel of the same name by John Steinbeck. It is about a wayward young man who, while seeking his own identity, vies for the affection of his deeply religious father against his favored brother, thus retelling the story of Cain and Abel.
The film stars Julie Harris, James Dean (in his first major screen role), and Raymond Massey. It also features Burl Ives, Richard Davalos and Jo Van Fleet, and was adapted by Paul Osborn.
Although set in early twentieth century Monterey, California, much of the film was actually shot on location in Mendocino, California. Some scenes were filmed in the Salinas Valley.
Of the three films in which James Dean played the male lead, this is the only one to have been released during his lifetime and the only one Dean personally viewed in its entirety.
The film, along with Rebel Without a Cause and Giant, has been named by the American Film Institute as one of the best 400 American films of all time
4. It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
t's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World is a 1963 American epic comedy film produced and directed by Stanley Kramer and starring Spencer Tracy with an all-star cast, about the madcap pursuit of $350,000 in stolen cash by a diverse and colorful group of strangers. The ensemble comedy premiered on November 7, 1963. The cast features Edie Adams, Milton Berle, Sid Caesar, Buddy Hackett, Ethel Merman, Mickey Rooney, Phil Silvers, Terry-Thomas and Jonathan Winters.
The film marked the first time that Kramer had directed a comedy; though he had produced the comedy So This Is New York in 1948, he's best known for producing and directing drama films about social problems (e.g. The Defiant Ones, Judgment at Nuremberg and Inherit the Wind). His first attempt at a comedy film paid off immensely, as It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World became a stunning critical and commercial success in 1963 and went on to win an Academy Award and be nominated for five additional Academy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards. Despite all of it, the film had gone through severe edits from its distributor, United Artists, resulting in a shorter running time for its general release against Kramer's wishes. The lost footage had been severely deteriorated and damaged throughout the decades and it was once thought that it was too destroyed to ever be rescued.
On October 15, 2013, however, it was announced that The Criterion Collection had collaborated with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, United Artists, and film restoration expert Robert A. Harris to reconstruct and restore It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World to as close as possible to the original 197-minute version envisioned by Kramer. It was released in a 5-disc "Dual Format" Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack on January 21, 2014. It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World had occasionally been recognized by the American Film Institute, most significantly when the Institute had named the film as one of the greatest American comedy films ever made.
5. Mighty Joe Young
Mighty Joe Young is a 1949 RKO Radio Pictures black and white feature film made by the same creative team responsible for King Kong (1933); actor Robert Armstrong appears in both films.
Written and produced by Merian C. Cooper (who provided the story) and Ruth Rose (who wrote the screenplay) the film was directed by Ernest B. Schoedsack. It tells the story of a young woman, 'Jill Young', played by Terry Moore, living on her father's farm in Africa, who ends up bringing the title character, a giant gorilla, to Hollywood. The movie co-stars Ben Johnson, as 'Gregg', in his first major Hollywood role.
6. The Breakfast Club
The Breakfast Club is a 1985 American coming-of-age comedy-drama film written, produced, and directed by John Hughes and starring Emilio Estevez, Paul Gleason, Anthony Michael Hall, John Kapelos, Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald and Ally Sheedy. The storyline follows five teenagers, each a member of a different high school clique, who spend a Saturday in detention together and come to realize that they are all more than their respective stereotypes, while facing a villainous principal.
Critics consider it one of the greatest high school films, as well as one of Hughes' most memorable and recognizable works. The media referred to the film's five main actors as members of a group called the "Brat Pack"
7. Foul Play
Foul Play is a 1978 American comic mystery/thriller film written and directed by Colin Higgins, and starring Goldie Hawn, Chevy Chase, Dudley Moore, Burgess Meredith, Eugene Roche, Rachel Roberts, Brian Dennehy and Billy Barty. In it, a recently divorced librarian is drawn into a mystery when a stranger hides a roll of film in a pack of cigarettes and gives it to her for safekeeping. It has the honor of being the first film to star a member of Saturday Night Live beating National Lampoon's Animal House by two weeks. The film was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy but lost to Heaven Can Wait. Other Globe nominations included Best Actress in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy (Goldie Hawn), Best Actor in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy (Chevy Chase), Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture (Dudley Moore), Best Screenplay, and Best Original Song (Charles Fox and Norman Gimbel). The film tied Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and The Godfather Part III for most nominations without a win at the Globes. Foul Play is an homage to director Alfred Hitchcock, several of whose films are referenced during the film. The premise of an innocent person becoming entangled in a web of intrigue is one common in Hitchcock films such as The 39 Steps, Saboteur, North by Northwest and, most notably, The Man Who Knew Too Much, which inspired the opera house sequence in Foul Play. When Gloria is attacked in her home, she reaches inside her knitting basket and almost chooses a pair of scissors to defend herself -- a reference to Dial M for Murder. Other Hitchcock films which receive a nod from screenwriter/director Colin Higgins include, Notorious, Vertigo, and Psycho. In addition, the plot includes a MacGuffin—an object that initially is the central focus of the film but declines in importance until it is forgotten and unexplained by the end—in the form of the roll of film concealed in the pack of cigarettes. Hitchcock popularized the term MacGuffin and used the technique in many of his films.
"Audiences love to be scared and at the same time they love to laugh," said Higgins. "It is tongue in cheek realism. The audience is in on the joke but the actors must carry on as if they were unaware."
8. The Poseidon Adventure
The Poseidon Adventure is a 1972 American action-adventure disaster film, directed by Ronald Neame, produced by Irwin Allen, and based on Paul Gallico's novel of the same name. The film features an ensemble cast, including five Academy Award winners: Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine, Jack Albertson, Shelley Winters, and Red Buttons. The cast also includes Carol Lynley, Stella Stevens, Roddy McDowall, Leslie Nielsen, and Pamela Sue Martin. It won a Special Achievement Academy Award for Visual Effects and an Academy Award for Best Original Song (for "The Song from the Poseidon Adventure" - aka "The Morning After"). Shelley Winters won the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role. It also received a nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama.
The plot centers on the SS Poseidon, an aged luxury liner on her final voyage from New York City to Athens before being sent to the scrapyard. On New Year's Eve, she is overturned by a tsunami. Passengers and crew are trapped inside, and a rebellious preacher attempts to lead a small group of survivors to safety.
Parts of the movie were filmed aboard the RMS Queen Mary, whose encounter with a rogue wave in 1942 inspired the book upon which the film is based.[cit
Boxoffice magazine reported The Poseidon Adventure was the #1 Box Office Champ of 1973. By the end of 1974, it ranked among the six most successful features in film history, along with Gone with the Wind (1939), The Godfather (1972), Love Story (1970), Airport (1970), and The Sound of Music (1965). It is in the vein of other all-star disaster films of the 1970s such as Airport and later ones like Earthquake (1974) and The Towering Inferno (1974). The Poseidon Adventure was remade twice, first as a television special in 2005 with the same name, and as a theatrical release titled Poseidon in 2006.
9. The Bad News Bears
The Bad News Bears is a 1976 comedy film directed by Michael Ritchie. It stars Walter Matthau and Tatum O'Neal. The film was followed by two sequels, The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training in 1977 and The Bad News Bears Go to Japan in 1978, a short-lived 1979–80 CBS television series, and a 2005 remake titled Bad News Bears.
In his 1976 review, critic Roger Ebert called the film "an unblinking, scathing look at competition in American society".
Speaking about the popularity of the movie and her character on MLB Network’s Costas at the Movies in 2013, Tatum O’Neal said, "It’s so funny because I have a group of 48-year-old men, like Vince Vaughn…who have posters of 'Bad News Bears,' Jason Patric, Quentin Tarantino. There’s a group of people, mostly men, who think that character of Amanda Whurlitzer is the most appealing little girl at that age…It must be a toughness with a little femininity."
Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 96% based on reviews from 26 critics.
10. Body Heat
Body Heat is a 1981 American neo-noir film written and directed by Lawrence Kasdan. It stars William Hurt, Kathleen Turner and Richard Crenna, and features Ted Danson, J.A. Preston, and Mickey Rourke. The film was inspired by Double Indemnity and Out of the Past.
The film launched Turner's career—Empire magazine cited the film in 1995 when it named her one of the "100 Sexiest Stars in Film History".The New York Times wrote in 2005 that, propelled by her "jaw-dropping movie debut [in] Body Heat ... she built a career on adventurousness and frank sexuality born of robust physicality.
The film was the directorial debut of Kasdan, screenwriter of Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Empire Strikes Back.
11. One Hundred and One Dalmatians
One Hundred and One Dalmatians, often abbreviated as 101 Dalmatians, is a 1961 American animated adventure film produced by Walt Disney based on the novel The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith. The 17th in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series, the film was originally released to theaters on January 25, 1961 by Buena Vista Distribution.
The film stars Rod Taylor and Cate Bauer as respectively, the voices of Pongo and Perdita, the film's canine protagonists, and Betty Lou Gerson as the voice of Cruella de Vil, the film's antagonist. The plot centers on the fate of the kidnapped puppies of Pongo and Perdita. After the very expensive Sleeping Beauty (1959) failed at the box-office there was some talk of closing down the animation department at the Disney studio. During the production of Sleeping Beauty, Walt told animator Eric Larson: "I don't think we can continue, it's too expensive". Despite this Disney still had deep feelings towards animation because he had built the company upon it.
Ub Iwerks, in charge of special processes at the studio, had been experimenting with Xerox photography to aid in animation.By 1959 he had modified a Xerox camera to transfer drawings by animators directly to animation cels, eliminating the inking process, thus saving time and money while still preserving the spontaneity of the penciled elements. However, because of the new technology's limitations, the Xerox was unable to deviate from a black scratchy outline and lacked the fine lavish quality of hand inking.
One of the benefits of the Xerox however, was that it was a great help towards animating the spotted dogs. According to Chuck Jones, Disney was able to bring the movie in for about half of what it would have cost if they'd had to animate all the dogs and spots. To achieve the spotted Dalmatians, the animators used to think of the spot pattern as a constellation. Once they had one "anchor spot", the next was placed in relation to that one spot, and so on and so on until the full pattern was achieved.All total, 101 Dalmatians featured 6,469,952 spots, with Pongo sporting 72 spots, Perdita 68, and each puppy having 32
12. What's Up Doc?
What's Up, Doc? is a 1972 screwball comedy film released by Warner Bros., directed by Peter Bogdanovich and starring Barbra Streisand, Ryan O'Neal, and Madeline Kahn in her first feature film role (for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe). It was intended to pay homage to comedy films of the 1930s, especially Bringing Up Baby, as well as old Bugs Bunny cartoons (another WB product).
The film was a success, and became the third-highest grossing film of 1972. The film won the Writers Guild of America 1973 "Best Comedy Written Directly for the Screen" award for writers Buck Henry, David Newman and Robert Benton. It was ranked number 61 on the list of the 100 greatest comedies published by the American Film Institute, and ranked number 68 on 100 Years... 100 Passions.
13. The Evil Dead
The Evil Dead is a 1981 American horror film written and directed by Sam Raimi and executive produced by Raimi and Bruce Campbell, who also stars alongside Ellen Sandweiss and Betsy Baker. The Evil Dead focuses on five college students vacationing in an isolated cabin in a remote wooded area. After they find an audiotape that releases a legion of demons and spirits, members of the group suffer from demonic possession, leading to increasingly gory mayhem. Raimi and the cast produced the short film Within the Woods as a "prototype" to build the interest of potential investors, which secured Raimi US$90,000 to produce The Evil Dead. The film was shot on location in a remote cabin located in Morristown, Tennessee, in a difficult filming process that proved extremely uncomfortable for the majority of the cast and crew.
The low-budget horror film attracted the interest of producer Irvin Shapiro, who helped screen the film at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival. Horror author Stephen King gave a rave review of the film, which helped convince New Line Cinema to serve as its distributor. Though a meager commercial success in the United States, the film made its budget back through worldwide distribution, and grossed $2.4 million during its theatrical run. Both early and later critical reception were both universally positive and in the years since its release, The Evil Dead has developed a reputation as one of the largest cult films and has been cited among the greatest horror films of all time. The Evil Dead launched the careers of Campbell and Raimi, who would collaborate on several films together throughout the years, including Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy.
The film has spawned a media franchise, beginning with two sequels written and directed by Raimi, Evil Dead II (1987) and Army of Darkness (1992), as well as video games and comic books. The film's protagonist Ash Williams (Campbell) is regarded as a cult icon. The fourth film, serving as both a reboot and a remake, was titled Evil Dead and was released in 2013. Raimi co-produced the film alongside Campbell and the franchise producer, Robert Tapert.
Spellbound is a 1945 American psychological mystery thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It tells the story of the new head of a mental asylum who turns out not to be what he claims. The film stars Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck, Michael Chekhov and Leo G. Carroll. It is an adaptation by Angus MacPhail and Ben Hecht of the novel The House of Dr. Edwardes (1927) by Hilary Saint George Saunders and John Palmer (writing as "Francis Beeding"). pellbound caused major contention between Alfred Hitchcock and producer David O. Selznick. Hitchcock's contract with Selznick began in March 1939, but only resulted in three films: Rebecca (1940) and The Paradine Case (1947) being the other two. (Notorious was sold to RKO in mid-production.) Selznick wanted Hitchcock to make a movie based upon Selznick's own positive experience with psychoanalysis. Selznick even brought in his therapist, May Romm M.D., who was credited in the film as a technical adviser. Dr. Romm and Hitchcock clashed frequently.
Further contention was caused by the hiring of surrealist artist Salvador Dalí to conceive certain scenes in the film's key dream sequence. However, the sequence conceived and designed by Dalí and Hitchcock, once translated to film, proved to be too lengthy and too complicated, so the vast majority of what was filmed was cut from the film during editing. About two minutes of the dream sequence appear in the final film, but Ingrid Bergman said that the sequence had been almost 20 minutes long before it was cut by Selznick.
The cut footage apparently no longer exists, although some production stills have survived in the Selznick archives. Eventually Selznick hired William Cameron Menzies, who had worked on Gone With the Wind, to oversee the set designs and to direct the sequence. Hitchcock himself had very little to do with its actual filming.
Carrie is a 1976 American supernatural horror film based on Stephen King's 1974 novel of the same name. The film was directed by Brian De Palma and written by Lawrence D. Cohen.
The film received two Academy Award nominations, one for Sissy Spacek in the title role and one for Piper Laurie as her abusive mother. The film featured numerous young actors – including Nancy Allen, William Katt, Amy Irving, and John Travolta – whose careers were launched, or escalated, by the film. It also relaunched the screen and television career of Laurie, who had not been active in show business since 1961.
Carrie was the first of more than 100 film and television productions adapted from, or based on, the published works of Stephen King. Carrie was the first Stephen King novel to be published and the first to be adapted into a feature film. In an interview in Port Charlotte, Florida at a public appearance near his home on the Gulf coast on March 20, 2010, King said he was 26 years old at the time and was paid just $2,500 for the film rights, but added "I was fortunate to have that happen to my first book."
Magnolia is a 1999 American drama film written, produced, and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, narrated by Ricky Jay, and starring Jeremy Blackman, Tom Cruise, Philip Baker Hall, Philip Seymour Hoffman, William H. Macy, Julianne Moore, John C. Reilly, Jason Robards in his last feature film appearance, and Melora Walters. The film is a mosaic of interrelated characters in search of happiness, forgiveness, and meaning in the San Fernando Valley.
Magnolia was a critical success. Of the ensemble cast, Tom Cruise was nominated for Best Supporting Actor at the 72nd Academy Awards, and won the award in that category at the Golden Globes of 2000. Anderson once said: "I really feel... That Magnolia is, for better or worse, the best movie I'll ever make." Roger Ebert included it in his "Great Movies" list in November 2008 saying "As an act of filmmaking, it draws us in and doesn't let go."
Total Film magazine placed it at number 4 in their list of 50 Best Movies in Total Film's lifetime.
In 2008, it was named the 89th greatest movie of all time by Empire magazine in its issue of The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time.
Shampoo is a 1975 American satirical romantic comedy-drama film written by Robert Towne and directed by Hal Ashby. It stars Warren Beatty, Julie Christie and Goldie Hawn, with Lee Grant, Jack Warden, Tony Bill and in an early film appearance, Carrie Fisher.
The film is set on Election Day 1968, the day Richard Nixon was first elected as President of the United States, and was released soon after the Watergate scandal had reached its conclusion. The political atmosphere provides a source of dramatic irony, since the audience, but not the characters, are aware of the direction the Nixon presidency would eventually take. However, the main theme of the film is not presidential politics but sexual politics; it is renowned for its sharp satire of late-1960s sexual and social mores.
The lead character, George Roundy, is reportedly based on several actual hairdressers, including Jay Sebring and film producer Jon Peters, who is a former hairdresser. Sebring was brutally murdered by the Charles Manson family in 1969. According to the 2010 book Star: How Warren Beatty Seduced America by Peter Biskind, the screenwriter Towne based the character on Beverly Hills hairdresser Gene Shacove. Commercially, Shampoo was a great success, taking $49,407,734 at the box office in 1975. It was the fourth most successful film in 1975 by box office takings, beaten only by Jaws, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
The year after its release saw a blaxploitation send-up, Black Shampoo.
JFK is a 1991 American historical conspiracy legal thriller film directed by Oliver Stone. It examines the events leading to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and subsequent cover-up through the eyes of former New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner).
Garrison filed charges against New Orleans businessman Clay Shaw (Tommy Lee Jones) for his alleged participation in a conspiracy to assassinate the President, for which Lee Harvey Oswald (Gary Oldman) was found responsible by two government investigations: the Warren Commission, and the House Select Committee on Assassinations (which concluded that there could have been another assassin shooting with Oswald).
The film was adapted by Stone and Zachary Sklar from the books On the Trail of the Assassins by Jim Garrison and Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy by Jim Marrs. Stone described this account as a "counter-myth" to the Warren Commission's "fictional myth."
The film became embroiled in controversy. Upon JFK 's theatrical release, many major American newspapers ran editorials accusing Stone of taking liberties with historical facts, including the film's implication that President Lyndon B. Johnson was part of a coup d'état to kill Kennedy. After a slow start at the box office, the film gradually picked up momentum, earning over $205 million in worldwide gross. JFK was nominated for eight Academy Awards (including Best Picture) and won two for Best Cinematography and Best Film Editing.
19. Murder By Death
Murder by Death is a 1976 American mystery comedy film with a cast featuring Eileen Brennan, Truman Capote, James Coco, Peter Falk, Alec Guinness, Elsa Lanchester, David Niven, Peter Sellers, Maggie Smith, Nancy Walker, and Estelle Winwood, written by Neil Simon and directed by Robert Moore.
The plot is a spoof of the traditional country-house whodunit, familiar to mystery fiction fans of classics such as Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None. The cast is an ensemble of British and American actors playing send-ups of well-known fictional sleuths, including Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, Charlie Chan, Nick and Nora Charles, and Sam Spade.
It also features a rare acting performance by In Cold Blood author Truman Capote. The film was presented at the Venice International Film Festival in 1976.
20. Thelma & Louise
Thelma & Louise is a 1991 American drama film, written by Callie Khouri and directed by Ridley Scott. It stars Geena Davis as Thelma and Susan Sarandon as Louise, two friends who embark on a road trip with disastrous consequences. It also stars Harvey Keitel, Michael Madsen and Brad Pitt (in his major motion picture debut) in supporting roles.
The film became a critical and commercial success, receiving six Academy Award nominations and winning one for Best Original Screenplay (Khouri). Both Sarandon and Davis were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress. The film was a critical success. Metacritic lists a composite critical score of 88 out of 100. Rotten Tomatoes rates Thelma & Louise 83% "Fresh". Janet Maslin of The New York Times had only praise for the film in her review: "Mr. Scott's Thelma and Louise, with a sparkling screenplay by the first-time writer Callie Khouri, is a surprise on this and many other scores. It reveals the previously untapped talent of Mr. Scott (best known for majestically moody action films like Alien, Blade Runner and Black Rain) for exuberant comedy, and for vibrant American imagery, notwithstanding his English roots. It reimagines the buddy film with such freshness and vigor that the genre seems positively new. It discovers unexpected resources in both its stars, Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis, who are perfectly teamed as the spirited and original title characters."
Grease is a 1978 American musical romantic comedy film directed by Randal Kleiser and produced by Paramount Pictures. It is based on Warren Casey and Jim Jacobs' 1971 musical of the same name about two lovers in a 1950s high school. The film stars John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Stockard Channing, and Jeff Conaway. It was successful both critically and at the box office. Its soundtrack album ended 1978 as the second-best selling album of the year in the United States, behind the soundtrack of Saturday Night Fever, another film starring Travolta. Commercially, Grease was an immediate box office success. In its opening weekend, the film grossed $8,941,717 in 862 theaters in the United States and Canada, ranking at No. 2 (behind Jaws 2) at the box office. Grease has grossed $188,755,690 domestically and $206,200,000 internationally, totaling $394,955,690 worldwide. In the United States, it is the No. 1 highest-grossing musical, to date. Vincent Canby called the film "terrific fun", describing it as a "contemporary fantasy about a 1950s teen-age musical—a larger, funnier, wittier and more imaginative-than-Hollywood movie with a life that is all its own"; Canby pointed out that the film was "somewhat in the manner of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, which recalls the science-fiction films of the '50s in a manner more elegant and more benign than anything that was ever made then, Grease is a multimillion-dollar evocation of the B-picture quickies that Sam Katzman used to turn out in the '50s (Don't Knock the Rock, 1956) and that American International carried to the sea in the 1960s (Beach Party, 1963).
22. After Hours
After Hours is a 1985 American black comedy film directed by Martin Scorsese, written by Joseph Minion, and starring an ensemble cast, including Rosanna Arquette, Griffin Dunne, Linda Fiorentino, Teri Garr, and John Heard. Paul Hackett (Dunne) experiences a series of misadventures as he tries to make his way home from SoHo. The film is based on a screenplay that Joseph Minion wrote as part of an assignment for a film course at Columbia University. He was 26 years old at the time the film was produced. It was originally titled "Lies" after the 1982 Joe Frank monologue that inspired the story. The original title of the circulating screenplay that was read by Scorsese and the producers was "Surrender Dorothy."
The film was originally to be directed by Tim Burton, but Scorsese read the script at a time when he was unable to get financial backing to complete The Last Temptation of Christ, and Burton gladly stepped aside when Scorsese expressed interest in directing. After Hours was the first film of fiction directed by Scorsese in a decade not starring Robert De Niro.
The dialogue between Paul and the doorman at Club Berlin is adapted from Kafka's "Before the Law", a short story that is part of his novel The Trial.
British director Michael Powell was around quite a lot while the film was being made (Powell and editor Thelma Schoonmaker married soon afterwards). Nobody was sure how the film should end. Michael Powell said, "He must finish up back at work", but this was initially dismissed as too unlikely and difficult. They tried many other endings, and a few were even filmed. But the only one that everyone felt really worked was to have Paul finish up back at work just as the new day was starting. It currently holds an 90% rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.Prominent film critic Roger Ebert gave After Hours a positive review and a rating of four out of four stars. He praised the film as one of the best in the year, and said it "continues Scorsese's attempt to combine comedy and satire with unrelenting pressure and a sense of all-pervading paranoia." He later added the film to his "Great Movies" list.
Arthur is a 1981 comedy film written and directed by Steve Gordon. The film stars Dudley Moore as the eponymous Arthur Bach, a drunken New York City millionaire who is on the brink of an arranged marriage to a wealthy heiress, but ends up falling for a common working-class girl from Queens. It was the first and only film directed by Gordon, who died in 1982 of a heart attack at age 44.
Arthur earned nearly $96 million domestically, making it the fourth highest grossing film of 1981. It was notable for its title song, "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)", co-written by Christopher Cross, Burt Bacharach, Carole Bayer Sager and Peter Allen, and performed by Christopher Cross. The film was nominated for a total of four Academy Awards. Sir John Gielgud won Best Supporting Actor and the theme song won Best Original Song.
24. The War of the Roses
The War of the Roses is a 1989 American black comedy film based upon the 1981 novel The War of the Roses by Warren Adler. The film follows a wealthy couple with a seemingly perfect marriage. When their marriage begins to fall apart, material possessions become the center of an outrageous and bitter divorce battle.
This is the third film to co-star Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, and Danny DeVito, after Romancing the Stone and its sequel, The Jewel of the Nile. DeVito directed the film, which also had producer James L. Brooks and actor Dan Castellaneta working on a project outside of The Simpsons. The opening title sequence was created by Saul Bass.
In both the novel and the film, the married couple's family name is Rose, and the title is an allusion to the battles between the Houses of York and Lancaster at the end of the Middle Ages.
Poltergeist is a 1982 American supernatural thriller film, directed by Tobe Hooper and co-written and produced by Steven Spielberg. It is the first and most successful entry in the Poltergeist film series. Set in a California suburb, the plot focuses on a family whose home is invaded by malevolent ghosts that abduct the family's younger daughter.
The film was ranked as #80 on Bravo's 100 Scariest Movie Moments and the Chicago Film Critics Association named it the 20th scariest film ever made. The film also appeared at #84 on American Film Institute's 100 Years...100 Thrills, a list of America's most heart-pounding movies. Poltergeist was nominated for three Academy Awards.
The Poltergeist franchise is believed by some to be cursed due to the premature deaths of several people associated with the film, a notion that was the focus of an E! True Hollywood Story.
Titanic is a 1997 American epic romantic disaster film directed, written, co-produced, and co-edited by James Cameron. A fictionalized account of the sinking of the RMS Titanic, it stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet as members of different social classes who fall in love aboard the ship during its ill-fated maiden voyage.
Cameron's inspiration for the film came from his fascination with shipwrecks; he felt a love story interspersed with the human loss would be essential to convey the emotional message of the disaster. Production began in 1995, when Cameron shot footage of the actual Titanic wreck. The modern scenes on the research vessel were shot on board the Akademik Mstislav Keldysh, which Cameron had used as a base when filming the wreck. Scale models, computer-generated imagery, and a reconstruction of the Titanic built at Playas de Rosarito in Baja California were used to recreate the sinking. The film was partially funded by Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox; at the time, it was the most expensive film ever made, with an estimated budget of $200 million.
Upon its release on December 19, 1997, Titanic achieved critical and commercial success. Nominated for fourteen Academy Awards, it tied All About Eve (1950) for the most Oscar nominations, and won eleven, including the awards for Best Picture and Best Director, tying Ben Hur (1959) for the most Oscars won by a single film. With an initial worldwide gross of over $1.84 billion, Titanic was the first film to reach the billion-dollar mark. It remained the highest-grossing film of all time until Cameron's 2009 film Avatar surpassed it in 2010. A 3D version of Titanic, released on April 4, 2012 to commemorate the centennial of the sinking, earned it an additional $343.6 million worldwide, pushing the film's worldwide total to $2.18 billion. It became the second film to gross more than $2 billion worldwide (after Avatar).
27. Who Framed Roger Rabbit
Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a 1988 American live-action/animated fantasy-comedy film directed by Robert Zemeckis. The screenplay by Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman is based on Gary K. Wolf's 1981 novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit?, which depicts a world in which cartoon characters interact directly with human beings and animals.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit stars Bob Hoskins as private detective Eddie Valiant, who investigates a murder involving the famous cartoon character, Roger Rabbit. The film co-stars Charles Fleischer as the eponymous character's voice; Christopher Lloyd as Judge Doom, the villain; Kathleen Turner as the voice of Jessica Rabbit, Roger's cartoon wife; and Joanna Cassidy as Dolores, the detective's girlfriend.
Walt Disney Productions purchased the film rights to the story in 1981. Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman wrote two drafts of the script before Disney brought in executive producer Steven Spielberg, with his Amblin Entertainment becoming the production company. Zemeckis was brought on to direct the film. Canadian animator Richard Williams was hired to supervise the animation sequences. Production was moved from Los Angeles to Elstree Studios in England to accommodate Williams and his group of animators. While filming, the production budget began to rapidly expand and the shooting schedule ran longer than expected.
Disney released the film through its Touchstone Pictures division on June 22, 1988 to financial success and largely positive reviews. Who Framed Roger Rabbit spurred a renewed interest in the Golden Age of American animation and spearheaded the modern era of American animation, especially the Disney Renaissance.
28. L.A. Confidential
L.A. Confidential is a 1997 neo-noir crime film based on James Ellroy's 1990 novel of the same title, the third book in his L.A. Quartet series. Like the book, the film tells the story of a group of LAPD officers in the year 1953, and the intersection of police corruption and Hollywood celebrity. The title refers to the 1950s scandal magazine Confidential, portrayed in the film as Hush-Hush. The film adaptation was produced and directed by Curtis Hanson and co-written by Hanson and Brian Helgeland.
At the time, Anglo-Australian actor Guy Pearce and New Zealand actor Russell Crowe were relatively unknown in North America, and one of the film's backers, Peter Dennett, was worried about the lack of established stars in the lead roles. However, he supported Hanson's casting decisions and this gave the director the confidence to approach Kevin Spacey, Kim Basinger and Danny DeVito.
Critically acclaimed, the film holds a 99% rating at Rotten Tomatoes, as well as an aggregated rating of 90 on Metacritic. It was nominated for nine Academy Awards, winning two: Basinger for Best Supporting Actress and Hanson and Helgeland for Best Adapted Screenplay.
29. True Grit
True Grit is a 1969 American western Technicolor film written by Marguerite Roberts and directed by Henry Hathaway. The picture is the first adaptation of Charles Portis' 1968 novel True Grit. John Wayne stars as U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn and won his only Academy Award for his performance in this film. Wayne reprised his role as Cogburn in the 1975 sequel Rooster Cogburn. Historians believe Rooster was based on deputy U.S. marshal Heck Thomas, who brought in some of the toughest outlaws. The supporting cast features Glen Campbell, Kim Darby, Robert Duvall, Dennis Hopper and Strother Martin. The cast and crew were initially skeptical about the film. John Wayne, in particular, was disappointed with the finished result. He hated Kim Darby's performance, saying that they hardly spoke off-camera and that she behaved inappropriately on the set. For his part, Henry Hathaway hated the casting and performance of Glen Campbell, whom he felt had been pushed on him by the studio to get a hit with the film's title song. Both Wayne and Hathaway had difficulties with Robert Duvall, with the director having constant shouting matches with his supporting actor and Duvall and Wayne nearly coming to blows.
The film earned an estimated $11.5 million in rentals at the North American box office during its first year of release. As of May 2014, the film maintains a rating of 90% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 48 reviews.
30. Paper Moon
Paper Moon is a 1973 American comedy-drama film directed by Peter Bogdanovich and released by Paramount Pictures. Screenwriter Alvin Sargent adapted the script from the novel Addie Pray by Joe David Brown. The film, shot in black-and-white, is set in Kansas and Missouri during the Great Depression. It stars the real-life father and daughter pairing of Ryan and Tatum O'Neal, as Moze and Addie, who may be father and daughter. Tatum O'Neal won the 1973 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Addie, making her, at age 10, the youngest competitive winner in the history of the Academy Awards. Co-star Madeline Kahn was also nominated for the same award. The film itself was nominated for Best Sound (Richard Portman, Les Fresholtz) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Alvin Sargent). Tatum O'Neal was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, and Ryan O'Neal was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.
31. Ed Wood
Ed Wood is a 1994 American comedy-drama biopic directed and produced by Tim Burton, and starring Johnny Depp as cult filmmaker Ed Wood. The film concerns the period in Wood's life when he made his best-known films as well as his relationship with actor Bela Lugosi, played by Martin Landau. Sarah Jessica Parker, Patricia Arquette, Jeffrey Jones, Lisa Marie, and Bill Murray are among the supporting cast.
The film was conceived by writers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski when they were students at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Irritated at being thought of solely as writers for family films with their work on Problem Child and its sequel, Alexander and Karaszewski struck a deal with Burton and Denise Di Novi to produce the Ed Wood biopic, and Michael Lehmann as director. Due to scheduling conflicts with Airheads, Lehmann had to vacate the director's position, which was taken over by Burton.
Ed Wood was originally in development at Columbia Pictures, but the studio put the film in 'turnaround' over Burton's decision to shoot in black-and-white. Ed Wood was taken to the Walt Disney Studios, who released the film under their Touchstone Pictures banner. The film was released to huge critical acclaim, but it would prove to be a box office disappointment, making only $5.9 million against an $18 million budget. It won two Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actor for Landau and Best Makeup for Rick Baker (who designed Landau's prosthetic makeup), Ve Neill and Yolanda Toussieng.
32. Shall We Dance
Shall We Dance is the seventh of the ten Astaire-Rogers musical comedy films. It was released in 1937. The idea for this film originated in the studio's desire to exploit the successful formula created by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart with their 1936 Broadway hit On Your Toes, which featured an American dancer getting involved with a touring Russian ballet company, and which featured the famous "Slaughter On Tenth Avenue" satirical ballet created by the Russian émigré choreographer George Balanchine. In a major coup for RKO, Pan Berman managed to attract the Gershwins (George Gershwin wrote the symphonic underscore and Ira Gershwin the lyrics) to score this, their second Hollywood musical (their first had been Delicious).
33. Terms of Endearment
Terms of Endearment is a 1983 comedy-drama film adapted from the novel of the same name by Larry McMurtry, directed, written, and produced by James L. Brooks and starring Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Jeff Daniels, and John Lithgow. The film covers 30 years of the relationship between Aurora Greenway (MacLaine) and her daughter Emma (Winger).
The film received 11 Academy Award nominations and won five. Brooks won the Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay) while MacLaine won the Academy Award for Best Actress and Nicholson won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. In addition, it won four Golden Globes: Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Actress in a Drama (MacLaine), Best Supporting Actor (Nicholson), and Best Screenplay (Brooks).
34. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947) is a romantic fantasy film starring Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison. It is based on a 1945 novel written by Josephine Leslie under the pseudonym of R. A. Dick. In 1945, 20th Century Fox bought the film rights to the novel, which had been published only in the United Kingdom at that time. It was shot entirely in California. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir received a 1947 Academy Award nomination for Cinematography.
American Film Institute Lists
AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions – #73
AFI's 100 Years of Film Scores – Nominated
AFI's 10 Top 10 – Nominated Fantasy Film
Ghost and Mrs. Muir was adapted as an hour-long radio play on the December 1, 1947 broadcast of Lux Radio Theater with Charles Boyer and Madeleine Carroll, and was also adapted on the August 16, 1951 Screen Director's Playhouse with Boyer and Jane Wyatt.
From 1968 to 1970, a TV series titled The Ghost & Mrs. Muir, starring Hope Lange and Edward Mulhare, aired on NBC and then ABC. It had the same premise and main characters as the book and film, but was a sitcom, downplaying the romantic fantasy elements and focusing on broad humor.
35. The Defiant Ones
The Defiant Ones is a 1958 black and white film which tells the story of two escaped prisoners, one white and one black, who are shackled together and who must co-operate in order to survive. It stars Tony Curtis, Sidney Poitier, Theodore Bikel, Cara Williams, Charles McGraw, and Lon Chaney, Jr.. Ivan Dixon was a stunt double for Sidney Poitier. When the film was first released, Bosley Crowther, film critic for The New York Times, lauded the production and the acting in the film, writing, "A remarkably apt and dramatic visualization of a social idea—the idea of men of different races brought together to face misfortune in a bond of brotherhood — is achieved by producer Stanley Kramer in his new film, The Defiant Ones... Between the two principal performers there isn't much room for a choice. Mr. Poitier stands out as the Negro convict and Mr. Curtis is surprisingly good. Both men are intensely dynamic. Mr. Poitier shows a deep and powerful strain of underlying compassion...In the ranks of the pursuers, Theodore Bikel is most impressive as a sheriff with a streak of mercy and justice, which he has to fight to maintain against a brutish state policeman, played by Charles McGraw." Likewise, Variety magazine, praised the acting and discussed the film's major theme, writing, "The theme of The Defiant Ones is that what keeps men apart is their lack of knowledge of one another. With that knowledge comes respect, and with respect comradeship and even love. This thesis is exercised in terms of a colored and a white man, both convicts chained together as they make their break for freedom from a Southern prison gang. The performances by Tony Curtis and Sidney Poitier are virtually flawless. Poitier captures all of the moody violence of the convict, serving time because he assaulted a white man who had insulted him. It is a cunning, totally intelligent portrayal that rings powerfully true...Curtis delivers a true surprise performance. He starts off as a sneering, brutal character, willing to fight it out to-the-death with his equally stubborn companion. When, in the end, he sacrifices a dash for freedom to save Poitier, he has managed the transition with such skill that sympathy is completely with him."
36. Die Hard
Die Hard is a 1988 American action film directed by John McTiernan and written by Steven E. de Souza and Jeb Stuart, based on the 1979 novel Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp. Die Hard follows off-duty New York City Police Department officer John McClane (Bruce Willis) as he takes on a group of highly organized criminals led by Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman), who perform a heist in a Los Angeles skyscraper under the guise of a terrorist attack using hostages, including McClane's wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia), to keep the police at bay.
Die Hard is based on Nothing Lasts Forever, the sequel to Thorp's 1966 novel The Detective, which itself had been adapted into a 1968 film of the same name starring Frank Sinatra. Fox was contractually obliged to offer Sinatra the lead role in Die Hard, but he turned it down and the film was instead pitched as a sequel to the 1985 action film Commando starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. When Schwarzenegger also turned it down, the film was pitched to, and rejected by, a host of the era's action stars before Willis was chosen. The studio did not have faith in Willis' action star appeal, as at the time he was known for his comedic role on television.
Made on a $28 million budget, Die Hard went on to gross over $140 million theatrically worldwide, and received a positive reception from critics. The film turned Willis into an action star, became a frequent comparison for other action films featuring a lone hero fighting overwhelming odds, and is now widely considered one of the greatest action movies ever made!
37. The Princess Bride
The Princess Bride is a 1987 American romantic comedy fantasy adventure film directed and co-produced by Rob Reiner. It was adapted by William Goldman from his 1973 novel of the same name. The story is presented in the film as a book being read by a grandfather (Peter Falk) to his sick grandson (Fred Savage), thus effectively preserving the novel's narrative style. This film is number 50 on Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies", number 88 on The American Film Institute's (AFI) "AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions" list of the 100 greatest film love stories, and 46 in Channel 4's 50 Greatest Comedy Films list. In the United States, The Princess Bride has developed into a cult film. The Princess Bride was not a major box-office success, but after its release to the home video market, it became a cult classic. The film is widely regarded as eminently quotable and has been referred to as "The Wizard of Oz of our time!
38. Fight Club
Fight Club is a 1999 film based on the 1996 novel of the same name by Chuck Palahniuk. The film was directed by David Fincher and stars Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, and Helena Bonham Carter. Norton plays the unnamed protagonist, an "everyman" who is discontented with his white-collar job. He forms a "fight club" with soap maker Tyler Durden, played by Pitt, and they are joined by men who also want to fight recreationally. The narrator becomes embroiled in a relationship with Durden and a dissolute woman, Marla Singer, played by Bonham Carter.
Palahniuk's novel was optioned by 20th Century Fox producer Laura Ziskin, who hired Jim Uhls to write the film adaptation. Fincher was one of four directors the producers considered, and was selected because of his enthusiasm for the film. Fincher developed the script with Uhls and sought screenwriting advice from the cast and others in the film industry. The director and the cast compared the film to Rebel Without a Cause (1955) and The Graduate (1967). Fincher intended Fight Club 's violence to serve as a metaphor for the conflict between a generation of young people and the value system of advertising. The director copied the homoerotic overtones from Palahniuk's novel to make audiences uncomfortable and keep them from anticipating the twist ending.
Studio executives did not like the film and they restructured Fincher's intended marketing campaign to try to reduce anticipated losses. Fight Club failed to meet the studio's expectations at the box office and received polarized reactions from critics. It was cited as one of the most controversial and talked-about films of 1999. However, the film found critical and commercial success with its DVD release, which established Fight Club as a cult film.
Victor Victoria is a 1982 film released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and starring Julie Andrews, James Garner, Robert Preston, Lesley Ann Warren, Alex Karras, and John Rhys-Davies. The film was produced by Tony Adams, directed by Blake Edwards, and scored by Henry Mancini, with lyrics by Leslie Bricusse. It was adapted in 1995 as a Broadway musical. The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards and won the Academy Award for Original Music Score. It is a remake of the 1933 German film Viktor und Viktoria. Victor/Victoria currently holds a 96% 'fresh' rating on review aggregate website Rotten Tomatoes, with the consensus "Driven by a fantastic lead turn from Julie Andrews, Blake Edwards' musical gender-bender is sharp, funny and all-round entertaining."
Victor/Victoria won the Academy Award for Best Original Song Score and its Adaptation or Adaptation Score. It was also nominated for:
Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Robert Preston)
Best Actress in a Leading Role (Julie Andrews)
Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Lesley Ann Warren)
Best Art Direction-Set Decoration (Rodger Maus, Tim Hutchinson, William Craig Smith, Harry Cordwell)
Best Costume Design
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium
American Film Institute recognition
2000: AFI's 100 Years... 100 Laughs − #76
40. The King of Comedy
The King of Comedy (1983) is an American black comedy film starring Robert De Niro and Jerry Lewis and directed by Martin Scorsese. The subject of the movie is celebrity worship and the American media culture. After Raging Bull was completed, Scorsese was keen to do a pet project of his, The Last Temptation of Christ, and wanted De Niro to play Jesus Christ. De Niro was not interested and preferred their next collaboration to be a comedy. He had purchased the rights of a script by a film critic, Paul D. Zimmerman.Scorsese pondered whether he could face shooting another film, particularly with a looming strike by the Writers Guild of America. Producer Arnon Milchan knew he could do the project away from Hollywood interference by filming entirely on location in New York and deliver it on time with the involvement of a smaller film company. Scorsese's first choice for talk show host Jerry Langford was Johnny Carson. Carson refused the role, claiming "you know that one take is enough for me."The entire Rat Pack was also considered—specifically Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin—before a decision was made to select Martin's old partner, Jerry Lewis.
41. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is a 1974 American slasher film, directed and produced by Tobe Hooper, who cowrote it with Kim Henkel. It stars Marilyn Burns, Paul A. Partain, Edwin Neal, Jim Siedow and Gunnar Hansen, who respectively portray Sally Hardesty, Franklin Hardesty, the hitchhiker, the proprietor, and Leatherface, the main antagonist. The film follows a group of friends who fall victim to a family of cannibals while on their way to visit an old homestead. Although it was marketed as a true story to attract a wider audience and as a subtle commentary on the era's political climate, its plot is entirely fictional; however, the character of Leatherface and minor plot details were inspired by the crimes of real-life murderer Ed Gein.
Hooper produced the film for less than $300,000 and used a cast of relatively unknown actors drawn mainly from central Texas, where the film was shot. The limited budget forced Hooper to film for long hours seven days a week, so that he could finish as quickly as possible and reduce equipment rental costs. Due to the film's violent content, Hooper struggled to find a distributor. Louis Perano of Bryanston Pictures eventually purchased the distribution rights. Hooper limited the quantity of onscreen gore in hopes of securing a 'PG' rating, but the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rated it 'R'. The film faced similar difficulties internationally.
Upon its October 1974 release, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre was banned outright in several countries, and numerous theaters later stopped showing the film in response to complaints about its violence. While it initially drew a mixed reception from critics, it was enormously profitable, grossing over $30 million at the domestic box office. It has since gained a reputation as one of the best horror films in cinema history. It is credited with originating several elements common in the slasher genre, including the use of power tools as murder weapons and the characterization of the killer as a large, hulking, faceless figure. The popularity of the film led to a franchise that continued the story of Leatherface and his family through sequels, remakes, one prequel, comic books and video games.
42. The Sugarland Express
The Sugarland Express is a 1974 American neo-noir drama film co-written and directed by Steven Spielberg in his theatrical feature film directorial debut. It stars Goldie Hawn, Ben Johnson, William Atherton, and Michael Sacks.
It is about a husband and wife trying to outrun the law and was based on a true story. The event partially took place, the story is partially set, and the movie was partially filmed in Sugar Land, Texas. Other scenes for the film were filmed in San Antonio, Lone Oak, Floresville, Pleasanton, Converse and Del Rio, Texas.
The Sugarland Express marks the first collaboration between Spielberg and composer John Williams. Williams has scored all but two of Spielberg's directed films since (Twilight Zone: The Movie and The Color Purple being the only two exceptions). Film characters Lou Jean Poplin and Clovis Michael Poplin are based on the lives of Ila Fae Holiday and Robert Dent, respectively. The character Patrolman Slide is based on Trooper J. Kenneth Crone.
In real life, Ila Fae Holiday did not break Robert Dent out of prison. Dent had been released from prison two weeks before the slow-motion car chase began.
Steven Spielberg persuaded co-producers Richard Zanuck and David Brown to let him make his big-screen directorial debut with this true story. A year later, Spielberg's next project for Zanuck and Brown was 1975's blockbuster hit Jaws. The film won the award for Best Screenplay at the 1974 Cannes Film Festival.
43. Sweet Bird of Youth
Sweet Bird of Youth is a 1962 film starring Paul Newman, Geraldine Page, Shirley Knight, Madeleine Sherwood, Ed Begley, Rip Torn and Mildred Dunnock. Based on the play by Tennessee Williams, it focuses on the relationship between a drifter and a faded movie star. The film was adapted and directed by Richard Brooks.
It won the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Ed Begley), and was nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role (Geraldine Page) and Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Shirley Knight).
Handsome, young Chance Wayne returns to his hometown of St. Cloud, Florida, accompanied by a considerably older movie star, Alexandra Del Lago. She is needy and depressed, particularly about a film she has just finished making, and speaks of retiring from the acting world forever.
44. Donnie Darko
Donnie Darko is a 2001 American supernatural drama film written and directed by Richard Kelly and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Drew Barrymore, Patrick Swayze, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Noah Wyle, Jena Malone, and Mary McDonnell. The film depicts the adventures of the title character as he seeks the meaning and significance behind his troubling Doomsday-related visions.
Budgeted with $4.5 million and filmed over the course of 28 days, it grossed just under $7.7 million worldwide. Since then, the film has received favorable reviews from critics and has developed a large cult following, resulting in the release of a director's cut on a two-disc special edition DVD in 2004.
The limited release of the film occurred during the month after the September 11 attacks. It was subsequently held back for almost a year for international release.
45. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a 1939 American film starring Charles Laughton as Quasimodo and Maureen O'Hara as Esmeralda. Directed by William Dieterle and produced by Pandro S. Berman, the film was based on Victor Hugo's 1831 novel and was a remake of the more famous 1923 silent film version starring Lon Chaney.
For this production RKO Radio Pictures built on their movie ranch a massive medieval city of Paris and Notre Dame Cathedral, one of the largest and most extravagant sets ever constructed.
Aliens is a 1986 American science-fiction action horror film written and directed by James Cameron, produced by his then-wife Gale Anne Hurd, and starring Sigourney Weaver, Carrie Henn, Michael Biehn, Paul Reiser, Lance Henriksen, William Hope, and Bill Paxton. It is the sequel to the 1979 film Alien and the second installment of the Alien franchise. The film follows Weaver's character Ellen Ripley as she returns to the planet where her crew encountered the hostile Alien creature, this time accompanied by a unit of space marines.
Brandywine Productions was interested in a follow-up to Alien as soon as its 1979 release, but the new management at 20th Century Fox postponed those plans until 1983. That year Brandywine picked Cameron to write after reading his script for The Terminator, and once that film became a hit in 1984, Fox greenlit Aliens, that would also be directed by Cameron, with a budget of approximately $18 million. The script was written with a war film tone influenced by the Vietnam War to contrast the horror motifs of the original Alien. It was filmed in England at Pinewood Studios and at a decommissioned power plant in Acton, London.
Aliens was a critical and commercial success, with positive reviews that considered it an entertaining film that despite the tonal shift still served as a worthy sequel to Alien, and grossed $180 million worldwide. The movie was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including a Best Actress nomination for Sigourney Weaver, winning both Sound Effects Editing and Visual Effects. It won eight Saturn Awards, including Best Science Fiction Film, Best Actress for Weaver and Best Direction and Best Writing for Cameron. Aliens is frequently considered one of the best action films ever released.
47. Straw Dogs
Straw Dogs is a 1971 psychological thriller directed by Sam Peckinpah and starring Dustin Hoffman and Susan George. The screenplay by Peckinpah and David Zelag Goodman is based upon Gordon M. Williams's 1969 novel The Siege of Trencher's Farm. The film's title derives from a discussion in the Tao Te Ching that likens the ancient Chinese ceremonial straw dog to forms without substance.
The film is noted for its violent concluding sequences and a complicated rape scene. Released theatrically the same year as A Clockwork Orange, The French Connection, and Dirty Harry, the film sparked heated controversy over the perceived increase of violence in cinema.
The film premiered in U.S. cinemas on December 29, 1971. Although controversial in 1971, Straw Dogs is considered by many to be one of Peckinpah's greatest films
48. The Last Detail
The Last Detail is a 1973 American comedy-drama film directed by Hal Ashby and starring Jack Nicholson, with a screenplay adapted by Robert Towne from a 1970 novel of the same name by Darryl Ponicsan. The film became known for its frequent use of profanity. It was nominated for three Academy Awards.
When the film was released for a week in Los Angeles, it received very positive reviews. In his review for The New York Times, Vincent Canby wrote, "It's by far the best thing he's ever done", referring to Nicholson's performance. Variety magazine also praised Nicholson, writing that he was "outstanding at the head of a superb cast". Andrew Sarris praised Ashby's "sensitive, precise direction". Time magazine's Richard Schickel wrote, "there is an unpretentious realism in Towne's script, and director Ashby handles his camera with a simplicity reminiscent of the way American directors treated lower-depths material in the '30s".
It was shown as part of the Cannes Classics section of the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. he Last Detail was nominated for the Palme d'Or at the 1974 Cannes Film Festival and Nicholson was awarded Best Actor. It was also nominated for three Academy Awards – Jack Nicholson for Best Actor in a Leading Role, Randy Quaid for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, and Robert Towne for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium with none of them winning.In addition, The Last Detail was nominated for two Golden Globes Awards – Nicholson for Best Motion Picture Actor – Drama and Quaid for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture. Nicholson did win a BAFTA award for his role in the film. Nicholson won the Best Actor awards from the National Society of Film Critics and the New York Film Critics Circle. However, he was disappointed that he failed to win an Oscar for his performance. "I like the idea of winning at Cannes with The Last Detail, but not getting our own Academy Award hurt real bad. I did it in that movie, that was my best role".
49. A Nightmare on Elm Street
A Nightmare on Elm Street is a 1984 American supernatural slasher horror film written and directed by Wes Craven, and the first film of the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. The film stars Heather Langenkamp, John Saxon, Ronee Blakley, Amanda Wyss, Jsu Garcia, Robert Englund, and Johnny Depp in his feature film debut. Set in the fictional Midwestern town of Springwood, Ohio, the plot revolves around several teenagers who are stalked and killed in their dreams (and thus killed in reality) by Freddy Krueger. The teenagers are unaware of the cause of this strange phenomenon, but their parents hold a dark secret from long ago.
Craven produced A Nightmare on Elm Street on an estimated budget of just $1.8 million, a sum the film earned back during its first week. An instant commercial success, the film went on to gross over $25 million at the United States box office. A Nightmare on Elm Street was met with rave critical reviews and went on to make a very significant impact on the horror genre, spawning a franchise consisting of a line of sequels, a television series, a crossover with Friday the 13th, beyond various other works of imitation; a remake of the same name was released in 2010.
The film is credited with carrying on many tropes found in low-budget horror films of the 1970s and 1980s, originating in John Carpenter's 1978 horror film Halloween, including the morality play that revolves around sexual promiscuity in teenagers resulting in their eventual death, leading to the term "slasher film". Critics and film historians argue that the film's premise is the question of the distinction between dreams and reality, which is manifested in the film through the teenagers' dreams and their realities. Critics today praise the film's ability to transgress "the boundaries between the imaginary and real", toying with audience perceptions.
50. Nine to Five
9 to 5 is a 1980 American comedy film written by Patricia Resnick and Colin Higgins, directed by Higgins, and starring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton, and Dabney Coleman. The film concerns three working women living out their fantasies of getting even with, and their successful overthrow of, the company's autocratic, "sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot" boss.
9 to 5 was a hit, grossing over $3.9 million in its opening weekend in the U.S. and is the 20th highest-grossing comedy film. As a star vehicle for Parton -- already established as a successful singer and songwriter -- it launched her permanently into mainstream popular culture. Although a television series based on the film was less successful, a musical version of the film (also titled 9 to 5), with new songs written by Parton, opened on Broadway on April 30, 2009.
9 to 5 is number 74 on the American Film Institute's "100 Funniest Movies"
The three leads were already cast before Colin Higgins came on board as director. Part of his job was to make room for all three in the script. Higgins says Jane Fonda was a very encouraging producer, who allowed him to push back production while the script was being rewritten.n a TV interview broadcast on BBC1 in the UK in 2005, the movie's stars Fonda, Tomlin and Dolly Parton all expressed interest in starring in a sequel. Fonda said if the right script was written she would definitely do it, suggesting a suitable name for a 21st-century sequel would be 24/7. Parton suggested they had better hurry up before they reach retirement age. In the DVD commentary, the three reiterate their enthusiasm; Fonda suggests a sequel should cover outsourcing and they agree Frank Hart would have to return as their nemesis.