Back at the first of the year, I started this series of Essential Movies. Since then I have grouped movies by genres, discussing them – or actually mainly just listing all of the movies I have enjoyed watching multiple times within that week’s genre.
This week’s list is all the remaining movies that didn’t really fit (in my view) within the arbitrary boundaries I created for the others. A couple of these could have fit in War Movies or Spies but I elected to not include them there as I felt the movies were more than just War stories. Some of these can be called “dramedies.” A couple of black comedies. A couple of action or adventure. Some Oscar winning blockbusters and some small independent films. But all are movies that I find worth watching multiple times.
Of course, as often happens, I find there are three Humphrey Bogart movies here. Casablanca is at the top of many folks’ list of all time great movies, including mine. Why I’m shocked, Shocked! at this. The African Queen and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre are also here. Note to Blazing Saddles fans: The Treasure of the Sierra Madre is where the line, “Badges? We don’t need no stinkin’ badges” originates.
Gone With the Wind is another of the all time great blockbuster movies. While offering a stylized and totally unrealistic view of life before and after the Civil War, it is still a well acted movie with a great cast.
Paul Newman also is here with two movies that could almost be considered bookends for his career in a sense. While he did movies before The Long Hot Summer (with Orson Welles and Joanne Woodward) and after Nobody’s Fool (with Jessica Tandy, Bruce Willis, and Melanie Griffith), both movies showed Newman’s range as an actor and abilities to become the characters he played.
Class war and Labor issues are well represented for me with Norma Rae (Sally Field), Matewan (Chris Cooper, James Earl Jones, Mary McDonnell), Milagro Beanfield War (Ruben Blades, Sonia Braga, Christopher Walken) , and Good Will Hunting (Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Robin Williams).
Various scenes of people with broken hearts can be seen in Scent of a Woman (Al Pacino), Prince of Tides (Nick Nolte, Barbra Streisand, Blythe Danner), Random Hearts (Harrison Ford, Kristen Scott Thomas), Upside of Anger (Joan Allen, Kevin Costner), and An Unfinished Life (Robert Redford, Morgan Freeman, Jennifer Lopez).
I think it was the title that got me to first watch Bad Day at Black Rock but a cast that includes Spencer Tracy, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan, Lee Marvin, Dean Jagger, and Walter Brennan makes it very re-watchable.