He’s back! The splendid Cillian Donnelly returns, he who some time ago presented his first list of 100 Movies To Be Seen Before You Die. Enjoy his latest thrilling installment!
101. Orpheé (1950)
Post-war retelling of the Orpheus legend, featuring a dominatrix Angel of Death, Nazified celestial dispatch riders and poetic fragments broadcast over short-wave radio.
102. Once Upon a Time In The West (1968)
Epic, operatic masterpiece from Sergio Leone. Something to do with death, indeed.
103. Into The Night (1985)
Largely plotless genre-hopping oddity from John Landis (a kind of mix of An American Werewolf in London (1981) and The Blues Brothers (1980)) in which the director wildly overdoes his habit of indulging in movie-folk cameos.
104. Nashville (1975)
Politics and country music collide in over one weekend in Robert Altman’s cast-heavy epic.
105. Barbarians at the Gate (1993)
The battle for Big Tobacco, based on the real-life takeover of Nabisco at the tale-end of the eighties, featuring a brilliant central performance from James Garner.
106. The Naked City (1948)
Influential city-set policer, which spawned a famous TV show and one of the most iconic taglines of all time.
107. Local Hero (1983)
US oil exec travels to the Scottish Highlands to buy the place up, but then finds himself falling in love with it. Sentimental, funny, and even a little bit foreboding.
108. The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
James Whale has a ball laying on the humour, but never forgets the chills, in this sequel to his own, classic original.
109. The Bank Dick (1940)
Stop sniggering at the back. This is, in fact, a frequently hilarious WC Fields comedy about a security guard at a bank (what else?).
110. My Favourite Year (1982)
Errol Flynn-like movie star is chaperoned around New York by Neil Simon-like writer as he prepares to appear on a TV variety show. Meanwhile, the Sid Caesar-like host is having off-screen problems from a Jimmy Hoffa-like union leader.
111. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Eerie, low-budget zombie flick with political overtones; probably the most influential post-war American movie.
112 McCabe and Mrs Miller (1971)
Brown and orange anti-Western from Altman, featuring the most pointless death in cinema history.
113. God Told Me To (1976)
Jesus, aliens, weird conspiracies, lashings of Catholic guilt and a weird alternative to incestuous anal sex. Welcome to the world of Larry Cohen.
114. The Offence (1972)
Angry copper in a British new town beats suspect to death during an interrogation. Sean Connery stars.
115. The Small Back Room (1949)
This low-key, little seen film about a wounded, self-pitting bomb disposal expert saw director Michael Powell returning to earth after a series of glorious technicolour spectacles. Referenced by Martin Scorsese in Taxi Driver (1976), no less.
116. The Lady Vanishes (1938)
Top-notch Hitchcock comedy thriller set aboard a transeuropean train journey. Featuring sinister spies, sweet old ladies, a damsel in distress a couple of true bumbling arses.
117. When We Were Kings (1996)
Documentary surrounding the infamous Ali-Foreman Rumble in the Jungle in Kinshasa, featuring appearances from Norman Mailer, Spike Lee and, of course, mad Mobutu.
118. The Verdict (1946)
The last screen pairing of Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre is this atmospheric Victorian penny dreadful set in a permanently fog-bound London.
119. The Verdict (1982)
Alckie lawyer Paul Newman gets chance of redemption in medical malpractice case, but has to go against blacker-than-black opposing counsel James Mason.
120. Comfort and Joy (1984)
MOR Disc Jockey gets involved in a Glaswegian mafia turf war involving ice cream in Bill Forsythe’s somewhat intangible drama.
121. All That Jazz (1979)
Semi-autobiographical musical in which Bob Fosse comes clean about his pill-popping, womanising ways. Worryingly, his most coherent relationship is with the Angel of Death.
122. Matewan (1987)
Coalmining epic set around a prolonged strike in 1920s Virginia, featuring noble leftie agitators, bad corporate strikebreakers and religious fundamentalists.
123. Z (1969)
A political murder in an (ahem!) unnamed Mediterranean country ushers in a military dictatorship in Costa-Gavras’ impassioned political thriller.
124. The Wages of Fear (Le salaire de la peur) (1953)
Nitro and Glycerine. They don’t mix, but someone’s still got to take the Yankee dollar and transport them across the Andes. Peerless actioner.
125. Seven Days in May (1964)
Wholly credible tale of military plot to overthrow the US President from John Frankenheimer, featuring a top-notch cast.
126. Ninotchka (1939)
Joyless Soviet emissary, Greta Garbo, travels to Paris to check up on some wayward diplomats, and finds herself falling for the smooth charms of Melvin Douglas. Sparking adult comedy from Ernst Lubisch, whose tagline was “Garbo Laughs”. Billy Wilder had a hand in the script.
127. Paths of Glory (1957)
War as terminally unjust, the army as enforced class conflict, in Stanley Kubrick’s grim World War One drama.
128. The Dead (1987)
Subtle, simple version of the James Joyce story. Easily, the greatest directorial swansong in cinema history.
129. Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973)
Elegiac masterpiece from Sam Peckinpah, randomly featuring Bob Dylan.
130. The Invisible Man (1933)
James Whale again balances laughs and frights in this atmospheric version of the famous tale. Includes a pair of trousers running on their own.
131. Medium Cool (1969)
The cameraman’s dilemma: to engage or stand back; the central question of Haskell Wexler’s somewhat dated, groovy late 60s movie happening. The climax was filmed at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago. Expect head-cracking.
132. The Day of the Locust (1975)
Religious fervour comes to 1930s Hollywood in John Schlesinger’s apocalyptic drama.
133. A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
The eye of the storm as a popular rhythm-beat combo head to London in a whirlwind of activity.
134. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
Terrific, first animated feature from Disney, full of comic charm, really scary witches and a great soundtrack.
135. The Wicker Man (1973)
Artfully elevated hokum as virginal, devout Christian police officer travels to Scottish island to investigate the disappearance of a local girl. Needless to say, nothing is what it seems. Edward Woodward’s second best screen performance…
136. Callan (1974)
…after this. Downbeat, grey espionage thriller with Woodward as a marked agent, who is as likely to get shot by his superiors, as he is his quarry.
137. O Lucky Man! (1973)
Wildly surreal semi-musical follow-up to If… (1968) Former teen rebel Mick Travis meets the military-industrial complex.
138. I’m Alright, Jack (1959)
Broad, quintessential Boulting Brothers satire on the languid upper class and bolshie trade unions, featuring a magnificent performance by Peter Sellers as shop steward Fred Kite.
139. Slap Shot (1977)
Ice hockey coach Paul Newman revives his team, and his town’s, fortunes when he decides to add a touch of violence to the proceedings.
140. Defence of the Realm (1985)
British conspiracy thriller that examines government cover-ups and media mismanagement.
141. Blue Collar (1978)
Conservative filmmaker makes Marxist union flick. We didn’t see that coming.
142. The Wild Geese (1978)
Thick ear, Boy’s Own actioner in which a group of sozzled veterans liberate political prisoner from fictional African country. Dearly loved by boys of all ages.
143. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
What would happen if we were never born? James Stewart finds out in this surprisingly dark Frank Capra perennial.
144. The Wild Bunch (1969)
‘Them days is over’ as William Holden and Co go out in a blaze of Mexican gunfire.
145. The Swimmer (1968)
Burt Lancaster swims to his New England home via his neighbours’ swimming pools. Allegorical tale that examines the hollow, materialist side of the American Dream.
146. Wise Blood (1979)
Odd addition to the John Huston cannon. Brad Dourif starts the Church Without Christ, but cannot escape the domineering shadow of his fire and brimstone preacher grandfather.
147. Winter Kills (1979)
Thinly veiled look at the Kennedy assassination. Jeff Bridges investigates the death of his former-President brother in this adaptation of the Richard Condon novel, featuring a wordless cameo from Elizabeth Taylor. Warning: may feature John Huston in a pair of red swimming trunks.
148. The Gunfighter (1950)
Gregory Peck wants to mend his ways and settle down, but his past, as the gunfighter of the title, just keeps on catching-up.
149. Attack (1956)
Politicised war drama from Robert Aldrich in which blue collar GI Jack Palance finds he’s had enough of the cowardly, manoeuvring officer class.
150. Sunset Boulevard (1950)
Deeply cynical examination of Hollywood fringe-players, narrated by a dead guy in a swimming pool.
151. Poor Cow (1967)
Unrelentingly bleak feature from Ken Loach, as small time crime mingles with social housing to a backdrop of ironic Donavon music. Terence Stamp’s first foray into arthouse.
152. Top Secret! (1984)
The Airplane! (1980) Boys crank up the sight gags, bad puns and general silliness in this take on Elvis movies and the French Resistance. The Mel Tormé gag is the best joke in all 80s cinema.
153. City of Hope (1991)
One man wants in, another wants out of the system in John Sayles’ cross-cutting political drama.
154. The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953)
Reawakened by an atomic explosion a rhedosaurus (sic) goes on the rampage throughout East Coast USA, but comes a cropper against the mighty Lee Van Cleef.
155. The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939)
Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce make the best screen Holmes and Watson is in this cracking version of Arthur Conan Doyle’s enduring story. ‘Watson, the needle!’
156. Johnny Guitar (1954)
Wildly over the top, high camp western with Joan Crawford and Mercedes McCambridge going at it as rival saloon owners in Nicholas Ray’s headache inducing full colour spectacle. The title character (Sterling Hayden) is distinctly secondary.
157. Crossfire (1947)
GI Robert Mitchum investigates a racially motivated killing in Edward Dmytrych’s night bound thriller. A much more satisfying examination of anti-Semitism than the same year’s earnestly liberal Gentleman’s Agreement.
158. Force of Evil (1948)
Business is a crime in this film noir from soon-to-be blacklisted Abraham Polonsky.
159. The Innocents (1961)
Repressed governess Deborah Kerr suspects spooky goings on in this version of Henry James’ Victorian ghost story The Turn of the Screw. Real fears, or a mind finally cracking up?
160. Track of the Cat (1954)
Strange, colour-drained western drama in which a tense family conflict plays out against a dangerous panther hunt during a snowstorm.
161. Wisconsin Death Trip (1999)
Black River Falls in the 1890s: a hotbed of suicide, murder, insanity and window smashing. Thought-provoking docu-drama based around contemporary news reports.
162. The Missouri Breaks (1976)
Outlaw Jack Nicholson just wants to settle down with a ranch of his own but faces serious trouble from eccentrically accented, cross-dressing bonkers bounty hunter Marlon Brando.
163. Threads (1984)
Examination of what would happen if a nuclear attack struck the UK. An unflinchingly realistic look at post-fallout Britain from the pen of Barry Hines.
164. They Live (1988)
Special sunglasses reveal depths of alien conspiratorial takeover of the world’s power structures in John Carpenter’s satirical sci-fi. Features the longest, most pointless punch-up in all cinema. Which is no bad thing.
165. Insignificance (1985)
A professor, an actress, a ballplayer and a senator converge in a New York hotel. Again, the phrase ‘thinly-veiled’ springs to mind.
166. Taxi Driver (1976)
The first screen collaboration between director martin Scorsese and screenwriter Paul Schrader may have attracted the wrong kind of audience on its original release, but it still stands as a powerful testament to the unhinged reasoning of the urban vigilante and uninformed media spectator alike.
167. Chinatown (1974)
Classic modern noir as power, corruption and lies become the bedrock of modern Los Angeles.
168. The Beast Must Die (1974)
Hammer meets blaxploitation as Calvin Lockhart tries to uncover the identity of murderous lycanthrope. Contains William Castle-esque ‘werewolf break’ so you can work things out for yourselves.
169. Touch of Evil (1958)
The last of the great films noir, as corpulent, corrupt sheriff Orson Welles goes up against principled (if miscast) Mexican narcotics officer Charlton Heston. Make sure to watch the Welles approved version.
170. Night Moves (1975)
“Who’s winning?” “Nobody. One side is just losing slower than the other”. Nothing so perfectly captures the sense of post-Watergate disillusionment than this piece of dialogue from Arthur Penn’s slow-burning private eye flick.
171. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
Brando burns the screen in Elia Kazan’s searing adaptation of the overheated Tennessee Williams classic. Whither talent?
172. Dawn of the Dead (1978)
The undead lay siege to giant shopping mall in George A Romero’s gory attack on consumerism.
173. The Werewolf of Washington (1973)
No-budget satirical horror as White House press aide to Nixon-esque President succumbs to lycanthropy. Watergate climax is just one of many political in-jokes.
174. There Will Be Blood (2007)
Everyone says this is the best film of the noughties, so why disagree? Daniel Day Lewis gives a towering performance on just the right side of hammy.
175. Cross of Iron (1977)
Even the Third Reich feel the class conflict sometimes, as world-weary Sergeant James Coburn and vainglorious Captain Maximilian Schell attempt to face down the Soviet army with typical Peckinpah aplomb.
176. Red Dawn (1984)
Fantastically ludicrous commie-bashing propaganda from John Milius, the alleged inspiration for Walter Sobchak from The Big Lebowski. Patrick Swayze and friends fend off Red invasion of the US with (unintentionally) hilarious results.
177. Out of the Past (AKA Build My Gallows High) (1947)
Dream-like detective thriller, with Robert Mitchum as the archetypal noir hero/sucker and Jane Greer as the archetypal femme fatal.
178. Farewell My Lovely (AKA Murder, My Sweet) (1944)
More noir, this time a darker-than-dark, tricksy adaptation of the Chandler novel starring crooner Dick Powell.
179. Farewell My Lovely (1975)
Competent remake, with an over-aged Robert Mitchum perfectly adding to the sense of time lost permeating the proceedings.
180. Apocalypse Now (Redux) (1979)
Loose adaptation of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness set during Vietnam. Martin Sheen travels upriver to ‘terminate’ mad Colonel Kurtz, played by mad Marlon Brando.
181. Bad Taste (1987)
Madly gory Peter Jackson splatterfest made before he defected to Hollywood. Easily his best.
182. Frenzy (1972)
Misogynistic serial killer stalks London in last great Hitchcock fling.
183. Harvey (1950)
Amiable drunk Elwood P Dowd has a friend – an invisible six-foot rabbit called Harvey. His sister, not without justification, thinks he’s mad. Oddly, we never see him take a drink throughout he entire film.
184. Bad Company (1972)
Brilliant, myth-defying western starring a young Jeff Bridges. Contains probably the most truthful shoot-out committed to film.
185. A Canterbury Tale (1944)
Real-life GI John Sweet stars as a Yank in Kent attempting to solve the mystery of the nighttime stalker who has been pouring glue over young women. Powell and Pressburger do their bit for the war effort.
186. Ghostbusters (1984)
Go on, you know you love it. Worth it just for Bill Murray catching his co-stars off guard with his unscheduled quips.
187. Raging Bull (1980)
Brutal, unconventional sporting biopic featuring fat and thin Robert De Niros.
188. The Seventh Seal (Det Sjunde Inseglet) (1957)
Sombre Bill and Ted inspiring flick about a chess playing knight and his opponent – Death.
189. The League of Gentlemen (1960)
Jack Hawkins recruits team of down-on-their luck English Gentlemen for big heist. Sadly, made in the ‘crime doesn’t pay’ days.
190. A Kind of Loving (1962)
Alan Bates settles into premature marriage and has to endure not only an indifferent wife, but his battleaxe of a mother-in-law stunningly played by the usually quite sweet Thora Hird.
191. The Candidate (1972)
Idealistic young lawyer runs for office determined not to sell out. He doesn’t – but his media team make sure that the public don’t know that.
192. Death Line (1972)
Working-class copper Donald Pleasence fights Whitehall bureaucrats on his latest case, investigating reports of cannibalism on the London Underground. Bitingly political, and in the end, oddly moving. ‘Mind the gap!’
193. Hustle (1975)
A cop. A hooker. An indifferent social system. Robert Aldrich.
194. The Lair of the White Worm (1988)
Magnificently tongue in-cheek horror as the great Ken Russell takes on the Bram Stoker story about snake-people living in Scotland. Best bit: a possessed police officer chasing a bagpipe player around a sundial.
195. The Human Factor (1979)
Low-level British intelligence worker faces disillusionment with the system, but finds nothing is better when he decides to defect. From the novel by Graham Greene.
196. Kiss Me Deadly (1955)
Stylistic, vicious detective thriller about stolen nuclear secrets from the Mickey Spillane novel, wryly directed by Robert Aldrich.
197. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
Quirky Wes Anderson feature about a family of geniuses.
198. Carry On up the Khyber (1968)
The title sounds a bit rude. Snigger.
199. Peeping Tom (1960)
Much reviled, now lauded, Michael Powell thriller about a voyeuristic serial killer on the loose in London.
200. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
Finally, and bowing to commercial pressure, the third instalment of the Potter franchise, featuring, magic, mystery and the odd werewolf.