Category Archive: Bil’s 100 Favourites

Dr. No

BBBBB (out of 5) The cinema’s longest running franchise got itself off to a fantastic start with this marvelous spy adventure.  Sean Connery made a cinematic landmark of himself as the famous James Bond,… Continue reading

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Forbidden Planet

BBBB.5 (out of 5) Here’s the Gone With The Wind of 1950s science-fiction. Based loosely on Shakespeare’s The Tempest, this fantastic, adventurous space opera starts off with a captain (Leslie Nielsen) landing his… Continue reading

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The Apartment

BBBBB (out of 5) Jack Lemmon excels as a low-level office worker who, on occasion, lends his bachelor apartment to philandering business superiors to use for trysts with their mistresses. Unbeknownst to him, one… Continue reading

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Sullivan’s Travels

BBBBB (out of 5) One of my favourite comedies ever made is this terrific Preston Sturges masterpiece. It tells the tale of a conscientious filmmaker (Joel McCrea) who decides that Depression-era audiences no… Continue reading

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The Lady Eve

BBBBB (out of 5) A simple-minded man, a conniving woman and a snake…where have I heard this one before? The age-old tale of Adam and Eve is given a hilarious modernization in this… Continue reading

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Mary Poppins

BBBBB (out of 5) After so many years, this film hasn’t aged a day: whether you’re a young tot or a full-grown adult it still retains its fresh charm and lively vigour. Julie… Continue reading

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All That Heaven Allows

BBBBB (out of 5) Widow Jane Wyman befriends her handsome young gardener (Rock Hudson) and finds an escape from her snooty society friends in his company. This upstairs-downstairs romance between two people with so… Continue reading

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Grand Illusion (La Grande Illusion)

BBBBB (out of 5) One of the most awe-inspiring war movies ever made is this Jean Renoir classic, one of the few war films not to feature a single battle scene. Instead it… Continue reading

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Hiroshima, Mon Amour

BBBB.5 (out of 5) An epic of intimate proportions, beautifully directed by Alain Resnais. It’s mostly conversations, post-lovemaking, between a Japanese businessman (Eiji Okada, who learned French phonetically for the film) and a… Continue reading

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Rebel Without A Cause

BBBB.5 (out of 5) The original teen angst masterpiece that made James Dean a movie star and later a permanent icon following his untimely death. Sal Mineo plays an awkward adolescent who can’t fit in… Continue reading

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Black Narcissus

BBBBB (out of 5) One of the best British films ever made is this pioneering effort by independent filmmakers Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. Shot entirely at Pinewood with painted matte backgrounds to… Continue reading

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Bunny Lake Is Missing

BBBB.5 (out of 5) A young American woman (Carol Lynley), newly arrived in England, drops her daughter off at a primary school for her first day of lessons. When she shows up at… Continue reading

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Tokyo Story (Tokyo Monogatari)

BBBBB (out of 5) Yasujiro Ozu at the very top of his form, displaying his understanding of the subtleties of human relationships with unparalleled skill. In it, an elderly couple travel from their… Continue reading

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Floating Weeds (Ukigusa)

BBBBB (out of 5) This Yasujiro Ozu masterpiece (remade from his own silent film A Story of Floating Weeds) is about a troupe of actors who travel from town to town performing theatrical… Continue reading

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My Man Godfrey

BBBBB (out of 5) Between this and The Awful Truth you can do no better for screwball comedy. During a rampantly wasteful ball in Depression-era New York City, a wealthy heiress (Carole Lombard)… Continue reading

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Rocco And His Brothers (Rocco E I Suoi Fratelli)

BBBBB (out of 5) This Visconti masterpiece tells the epic story of an Italian family’s struggles when they leave their poor, tiny village and move to the big city to be with their… Continue reading

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All About Eve

BBBBB (out of 5) Here’s perfect writing if ever a movie ever had it. Bette Davis plays famous and established actress Margo Channing, a self-centred but vulnerable woman who is pursued relentlessly by Eve… Continue reading

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The 400 Blows (Les Quatres Cents Coups)

BBBBB (out of 5) Classic coming-of-age masterpiece about a young boy (Jean-Pierre Léaud) growing up in Paris with a negligent mother and an assortment of charismatic friends.  He enjoys moments of childish fun… Continue reading

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Jules And Jim (Jules Et Jim)

BBBBB (out of 5) One of Francois Truffaut’s most beloved films, and probably his most famous after The 400 Blows. An Austrian scientist (Oskar Werner) and a French writer (Henri Serre) meet and… Continue reading

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The Heiress

BBBBB (out of 5) Much of the narrative and dialogue from Henry James’ novel Washington Square, upon which the play by Augustus and Ruth Goetz and this film were based, have been changed… Continue reading

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Pierrot Le Fou

BBBBB (out of 5) Jean-Paul Belmondo takes his fancy Italian wife to a party, leaving his maid’s niece (Anna Karina) to babysit their children. What we find out in a few short plot… Continue reading

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Duck Soup

BBBBB (out of 5) This is definitely one of the most popular, beloved comedies starring the Marx Brothers. In it, Groucho plays a citizen of Freedonia who is suddenly catapulted to national domination when… Continue reading

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Private Benjamin

BBBBB (out of 5) My favourite Goldie Hawn movie. All her life, Judy Benjamin (Hawn) has been pegged into the role of spoiled Jewish princess, and thus far she’s accepted it. After the death… Continue reading

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Meet Me In St. Louis

BBBBB (out of 5) The apex of good family viewing is this heartwarming and colourful musical, a career peak for director Vincente Minnelli. His soon-to-be-wife Judy Garland is Esther Smith, a teenaged girl… Continue reading

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The Battle Of Algiers (La Battaglia Di Algeria)

BBBB.5 (out of 5) This marvelous political drama uses not one single frame of stock footage in its telling, and yet you would swear it was a documentary. It takes place in Algeria… Continue reading

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Alien

BBBBB (out of 5) In space, no one can hear you scream, but since most movie theatres are situated on the planet Earth, feel free to shriek your heart out.  Some of the… Continue reading

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Blade Runner

BBBBB (out of 5) Here it is, the Citizen Kane of science-fiction films (I think of 2001: A Space Odyssey as the Gone With The Wind of science-fiction films). Harrison Ford is appropriately dour as… Continue reading

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Pather Panchali

BBBBB (out of 5) Positively stunning debut by master filmmaker Satyajit Ray, whose career to follow was rich with films as subtly nuanced and painfully emotional as this one. Apu is the new… Continue reading

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Red Beard (Akahige)

BBBBB (out of 5) A towering achievement and one of Kurosawa’s very best films. A young upstart of a doctor graduates from a posh Nagasaki medical school and, rather than end up the… Continue reading

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The Official Story (La Historia Oficial)

BBBBB (out of 5) The cream of the crop when it comes to South American cinema, this Argentinian masterpiece is probably the greatest politically motivated film of the eighties. Norma Aleandro is outstanding… Continue reading

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Solaris (Solyaris)

BBBB (out of 5) Audience members who found the Steven Soderbergh remake of this film to be empty and slow need not even bother with the original, which makes the new version look… Continue reading

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Blue Velvet

BBBBB (out of 5) Despite already being an Academy Award nominee (for The Elephant Man) and popular among the art-house crowd (for Eraserhead), David Lynch’s career as master of the attractively strange began… Continue reading

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2001: A Space Odyssey

BBBBB (out of 5) Despite its long running time and some very slow scenes (don’t watch it if you’re the slightest bit sleepy) this Stanley Kubrick classic is never less than breathtaking every… Continue reading

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8 ½ (Otto E Mezzo)

BBBBB (out of 5) Following the huge success of La Dolce Vita, Fellini finds himself pressed to make another film but unable to find the inspiration. Instead, he makes a film about a… Continue reading

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La Dolce Vita

BBBBB (out of 5) The definitive Fellini masterpiece and possibly one of the best films to really capture the runaway creativity that dominated sixties cinema. Marcello Mastroianni shot to international stardom as a tabloid… Continue reading

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Nights Of Cabiria

BBBBB (out of 5) The best film from Fellini’s pre-Dolce Vita career is this scintillating comedy-drama that was the basis for the less impressive musical Sweet Charity. Cabiria (Giulietta Masina, in the best… Continue reading

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The Thomas Crown Affair (1999)

BBBBB (out of 5) Superior remake of Norman Jewison’s 1968 cheesefest, notable for featuring the female performance of the year from its star Rene Russo: displaying strength, vulnerability and everything in between, her… Continue reading

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The Mother And The Whore (La Maman Et La Putain)

BBBBB (out of 5) Four hours of three people having a conversation may not sound like a scintillating experience, but this classic is one hell of a surprise. At the centre of it… Continue reading

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The Spirit Of The Beehive (El Espiritu de la Colmena)

BBBB (out of 5) Touching, mellow film that is one of the most cherishable stories about children ever made. Ana Torrent is wonderful as a little girl who watches James Whale’s Frankenstein when it… Continue reading

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The Passion Of Joan Of Arc (La Passion de Jeanne D’Arc)

BBBBB (out of 5) Carl Theodor Dreyer’s silent masterpiece is considered by some to be the first film to prove that the medium could be an art form. Using a series of fascinating… Continue reading

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The Dead

BBBBB (out of 5) John Huston made this, his last film, in a wheelchair with a respirator to help him get through each day, but there’s no indication in the film that there… Continue reading

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Moonstruck

BBBBB (out of 5) This is the exemplary, perfectly acted, written and directed romantic comedy you’ve been looking for. It stars an outstanding Cher as a Brooklyn widow who has decided to remarry, this… Continue reading

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Hearts And Minds

BBBBB (out of 5) The best film ever made about Vietnam, period. This absorbing, fascinating and heartbreaking documentary chronicles the American political climate from the Communist witch hunt McCarthy/Hoover era when American awareness… Continue reading

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Working Girl

BBBBB (out of 5) One of the most polished and satisfying comedies of the eighties is this marvelous Cinderella romance starring a fantastic Melanie Griffith.  She plays a hardworking Wall Street clerk who wants… Continue reading

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The Graduate

BBBBB (out of 5) The classic coming-of-age film that is still just as fun and insightful after more than thirty years. Dustin Hoffman is the pinnacle of youthful angst as a college student who… Continue reading

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Postcards From The Edge

BBBBB (out of 5) Carrie Fisher published her novel of the same name to widespread acclaim, so it was only a matter of time before her thinly disguised autobiography would hit the movie… Continue reading

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Auntie Mame

BBBBB (out of 5) One of the funniest, most enjoyable romps ever to be produced is this hysterical comedy based on the popular Broadway play.  Rosalind Russell gives the signature performance of her career… Continue reading

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The Adventures Of Robin Hood

BBBBB (out of 5) It’s hard to think of a more exciting or enjoyable adventure film than this superior telling of the Sherwood Forest and his Merry Men! Errol Flynn is tailor-made for… Continue reading

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Casablanca

BBBBB (out of 5) Here’s another one of those rare classics that actually deserves its status among the greatest films ever made: in Casablanca, intrigue, romance and a colourful cast all conspire to… Continue reading

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