It’s Not All Books: The Films I Love

A little twitter conversation with the delightful Janet Emson (if you haven’t discovered her book blog yet, it’s highly recommended, not just by me) had me uttering the words: ‘Dammit, Janet, I love you!’ This, in turn, led me to ponder which films I have really, really loved and watched again and again. The problem is, I love films (and books and songs) for different reasons.

For the subject matter and/or atmosphere:

The Department of (Mis)Information from Brazil.
The Department of (Mis)Information from Brazil.

Terry Gilliam’s Brazil – for the zany, frenetic way it makes fun of dictatorships and the inability to acknowledge any mistakes

Ridley Scott: Blade Runner – for its despairing and visually unforgettable view of the future

Tarkovsky: Stalker and Andrei Rublyev – for showing like no other the pain of creativity and of a demanding God/or authority figure or simply the fear of the Unknown (and self) – we must have had endless discussions about what these films actually mean when we were students (having watched them on pirated copies, as they were banned at the time)

Kieslowski: Three Colours: Blue – for its lyrical depiction of grief and loss

Pretty much all of Hitchcock, with a penchant for Vertigo, North-by-Northwest and Rear Window

rashomonKurosawa: Rashomon – such a revolutionary way of showing different points of view, but also for the expressive face of Toshiro Mifune

Carol Reed: The Third Man – Vienna, black-and-white, whom can you trust and that zither… need I say more?

Robert Mulligan: To Kill a Mockingbird – did anyone not want a father like Gregory Peck?

Michael Curtiz: Casablanca – ties for one of the best end lines in films (see below), plus the luminous glow of Ingrid Bergman and the wit throughout is just wonderful

richardbeymerWest Side Story – no matter how many times I see it, it still makes me dance, sing along and cry – plus I wanted to be Natalie Wood and Tony (Richard Beymer) looked uncannily like my first boyfriend

For the male lead:

The English Patient- Ralph Fiennes to look after me when I am dying in the desert

plein-soleil-delonLe Samourai and Plein Soleil – Alain Delon as ruthless and dangerous to know (Plein Soleil is the French version of Ripley)

La Beauté du Diable – Gérard Philippe to sell his soul for me

judelawThe Talented Mr. Ripley – Jude Law steals the show as Dickie Greenleaf and makes us condone what Matt Damon is about to do next…

For sheer fun:

Rocky Horror Picture Show – my coming of age film

Some Like It Hot – I can still quote more than half of it, plus the best end line in all of film history (tied with Casablanca)

Bringing Up Baby – absurd but the wittiest dialogue between two of my favourite actors: Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant

The Ladykillers and Kind Hearts and Coronets – the darkest, funniest Ealing comedies, I merely have to see Alec Guiness’ eyes to start laughing (not so much in his more serious roles later on)

The Time Warp from Rocky Horror Picture Show - besides, I've got relatives in Transylvania, so there!
The Time Warp from Rocky Horror Picture Show – besides, I’ve got relatives in Transylvania, so there!

And there are so many others, too many to mention. So, which films have you loved? Which films can you watch over and over again? Or are there any films that you only watched once but which left an indelible impression on you?

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20 thoughts on “It’s Not All Books: The Films I Love”

  1. Oh, I’m completely with you on Hitchcock’s work, Marina Sofia. And your other choices are awfully good, too. I’d have to think about my own list (I appreciate the ‘food for thought.’). And now, to work. It’s just a jump to the left… 😉

  2. In no particular order: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly; Lord of the Rings 1-3 (books are still millions of miles ahead, but P.Jackson did a very good job); Der Untergang (Bruno Ganz just perfect as AH); La Grande Vadrouille; Les Tontons Flingueurs; The Usual Suspects. North by Northwest, Most Bonds with Sean Connery. If I have to mention Tarantino then ‘From Dusk tii Dawn’.

    1. I want to see Les Tontons Flingueurs again – it’s been simply ages and I can’t remember much! I haven’t seen Der Untergang, but it’s tempting if a bit grim.

      1. Der Untergang is highly recommended. Bruno Ganz is a breathtaking Hitler. Grim ? What could you expect other. End of April ’45 in the bunker. You can find it on Youtube, so it’s there whenever you have the time. Les Tontons j’en ai en DVD, La grande Vadrouille aussi. de Funes comme Herr Kapellmeister à mourir de rire

  3. Bladerunner is one of my all-time favourite films. I’m a film addict:
    anything Fassbinder
    Picnic at Hanging Rock
    The Big Heat
    Colonel Chabert
    All About My mother
    Claire’s Knee
    Shanghai Triad
    Crimes and Misdemeanors
    to name just a few..

  4. Great selections! I’m a big fan of screwball comedies (though not BUB), heist films, and noir. Also, many westerns. I’ve done a blog series on the former and you’ve reminded me I really need to do one on the latter. Besides those you list above that I adore (particularly Hitchcock and Kieślowski), I’d add Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Lubitsch, Powell & Pressburger, and Tarantino. Specific desert island films would probably include Charade, Funny Face, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, His Girl Friday, Laura, My Man Godfrey, The Thin Man, the Matrix, Ocean’s 11, and Out of Sight. In short, I hope the island has a big film library!

    1. I used to watch black and white films nearly every day after school (and doing my homework), so I love that classic feel. I hesitated between His Girl Friday and Bringing Up Baby, actually, as both are such outstanding examples of ‘screwball comedies’ – or The Philadelphia Story. And I didn’t even mention any Audrey Hepburn films (I like her very much, as well as Katharine Hepburn).

  5. Ooh, so many goodies there! Love almost anything Hitchcock and West Side Story is fabulous – the movie I most often sing the songs from while washing the dishes! Don’t know most of the ‘foreign’ ones, being so insular (my island includes the US, of course, filmwise) but yes, yes, to The Third Man and Mockingbird… and Casablanca. Got to add in The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the great Jimmy Cagney in almost anything. Plus some of the big Hollywood musicals – On the Town, Singin’ In the Rain, High Society etc etc. So… was that a little hint that you’re a vampire?!?

    1. Well, it seems everyone believes that Romanians are related to vampires anyway… I love myself a good musical too, was going to put todwn Singin’ In the Rain and pretty much all Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire films… but then the list would never have stopped! What I love to sing to when doing the dishes is Bertolt Brecht/Kurt Weill’s Three Penny Opera… marvellously dark and macabre. But yes, I know all the lines to West Side Story songs – and My Fair Lady.

  6. Great choices. I’d have to throw in a few Betty Davis films – Now, Voyager and All About Eve. The film I watch when I have flu is Tootsie and I do have a soft spot for La Cage aux Folles.

  7. I really am not much of a film lover – not that I don’t enjoy the ones I see just that I’ve never been someone who goes to the movies much or watches them on TV – growing up it was all boys’ films in my house due to older brothers/father having control of the TV and I just never got into the habit (boy films for me are things with John Wayne and so-called comedies featuring slapstick humour).

    I do like Hitchcock movies though – and Jimmy Stewart – so Rear Window is a favourite. Mr Smith Goes to Washington is also something I’ve re-watched many times.

    My favourite escapist movies are disaster movies – like Towering Inferno and the Poseidon Adventure – and I think I know all the lines in Monty Python’s Holy Grail

    1. I’ve never been a huge Western fan, although there was a time when we all played cowboys and Indians at school (it was always cooler to be the Indians, perhaps because we were all heavily influenced by the TV films of Winnetou and Old Shatterhand – and the beautiful Pierre Brice as Winnetou).

  8. I like all of the ones you mention, MS, although I’m not a great one myself for choosing lists of favorites: as you imply somewhere would be the same in your own case, the list would likely be completely different if I were to repeat the exercise tomorrow.

    1. Yes, no sooner had I published this list, then I remembered at least a dozen more I should have/could have included… plus it depends what mood you are in. It’s the same with choosing favourite books. Or favourite children.

  9. I can’t make this kind of list, my film culture isn’t wide enough.

    PS: For the male lead? In the Mood for Love.

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