The B+ Movie Guide: The New List (Part XXIX)
I gave Colin a giant list of 500 movies, and he finished it. Of course I’m gonna come up with another list.
This one is for everyone, though. Not specifically for Colin. This is raw material for everybody, should they choose, to go out and see more movies. Not all of them are essential. Most of them are just awesome. I told Colin that once he finished this list, I’d give him another one that was more fun than work. Geared toward cool stuff that he’d enjoy.
I went through and found 1,000 more movies that I think either need to be seen (leftover “essential” films) or are just really great and would be enjoyed by most who see them. Here they are:
Pierrot le fou (1965)
Godard. One of his most entertaining. Very colorful. He runs off with a woman on the run from hitmen. There’s not much of a plot here, it’s very episodic but really entertaining. Jean-Paul Belmondo and Anna Karina. Treat it as essential.
Promise Her Anything (1965)
Romantic comedy. Arthur Hiller directs. Warren Beatty and Leslie Caron. She’s a widow who moves into an apartment building where he shoots pornos in his apartment. He’s attracted to her, but she’s more interested in a child psychologist. Thing is, the psychologist hates kids. So she hides the kid with Beatty while she sees him. And Beatty uses the kid in his movies. Hilarity ensues. The title song of the picture was written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David and performed by Tom Jones. Warren Beatty always makes good movies, and Leslie Caron is the best. Keenan Wynn, Hermione Gingold and Lionel Stander are also in this, as well as an appearance by a young Donald Sutherland.
Western. Jimmy Stewart. He’s a widow with a bunch of kids. He forbids them from fighting in the Civil War. One of his sons gets captured because he’s thought to be a soldier. And Stewart has to go and save him. It’s a really great movie.
The Shop on Main Street (1965)
What a movie. A Czech man during the war is put in charge of an old Jewish woman’s shop. She doesn’t understand what’s going on, though, and thinks he’s there looking for work. So she hires him. And it becomes a nice little movie for a while, until you realize what’s eventually going to happen to the Jews, and realize the guy’s gonna have a major decision to make once that eventuality happens. It’s one of the great foreign films of all time. You should consider this essential.
The Slender Thread (1965)
I didn’t know what this movie was when I watched it. It’s all but forgotten now. But it’s incredible. Sydney Pollack’s first movie. It’s incredible. You’ll recognize the plot, because it was essentially repeated for a short that won an Oscar this past year. Sidney Poitier is a college student working at a crisis hotline. He works the midnight shift, so he’s used to getting bullshit calls from drunk people or idiots. He gets a call from Anne Bancroft, who says she took a bunch of pills and will be dead within the hour. So he has to keep her on the phone and talking and figure out where she is in time to save her. It’s a gripping drama. One of the best of 1965, and no one remembers it. You should see this.
The Sons of Katie Elder (1965)
If you saw the movie Four Brothers, with Mark Wahlberg, this is the movie they were remaking. Katie Elder has her husband murdered and her farm is taken from her. Her sons go out for revenge. John Wayne, Dean Martin, Michael Anderson Jr. and Earl Holliman. Martha Hyer, George Kennedy and Dennis Hopper are also in this, and Henry Hathaway directs. Solid western.
36 Hours (1965)
Love this movie. It’s a nice war thriller. The Americans are planning D-Day and are keeping all the info top secret. James Garner is privy to this info, and is captured by the Germans. He wakes up, and they tell him the war is over, and the Allies lost. They set everything up to look like it’s months in the future, even though we are (inset title here) to D-Day. And all Garner has to do is hold up until that happens and everything will be okay. Because the Germans know it’s going to happen, just not where. So he has to not say anything, while they try to break him. It’s a great movie. Really terrific. You should see this.
A Thousand Clowns (1965)
What a great movie. I don’t even know what the hell it’s supposed to be about, but I love it. Jason Robards is a TV writer who doesn’t have a job. He used to write for a kid’s show but quit. He lives with his nephew, who was left with him by his sister years earlier. Every day, he and the boy go and watch all the people in business suits as they go to work. And he talks about how they’re all suckers. And he gives the kid all this crazy life advice that you wouldn’t normally give a kid. For instance, the kid writes an essay about how great it is to collect unemployment. This of course alerts everyone and they send a social worker to the house to see if Robards is a fit guardian. It’s a really funny movie. I laughed quite a bit at this one. It was nominated for Best Picture and won Supporting Actor for Martin Balsam. really enjoyed this one a lot.
This is the movie that made Michael Caine a star. He’d been building toward it, but this is the one where he blew up. And this one crossed over. Got a bunch of Oscar nominations including Best Picture. Alfie is a limo driver (who likes to talk to the camera. Which they used for Ferris Bueller) who bangs a lot of women. He explains his philosophy on everything and lives it up until he finds out he’s got a touch of TB and has a nervous breakdown. And we follow him as he spends time recovering and ultimately growing as a person. It’s a really great movie. Shelley Winters, Vivien Merchant (who was also nominated), Denholm Elliott. Lewis Gilbert directs. Because of this movie, he got You Only Live Twice, and then went on to direct The Spy Who Loved Me and Moonraker. He was the go-to space/missile guy for Bond. But anyway — see this movie. It’s a classic and is essential.
Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, Batman!
But seriously though — it’s Adam West. This is iconic. Also the movie that includes the “Some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb” scene. Just see it. It’s so much fun. Sometimes movies are just easy and fun.
The Battle of Algiers (1966)
One of the most famous and well-directed foreign films of all time. Essential. Also has the distinct quality of being the only film to be nominated in separate (non-consecutive) years at the Oscars. It was nominated for Best Foreign Film in 1966 and Gillo Pontecorvo was nominated for Best Director and Screenplay in 1968. It’s a great movie. It’s about Algerian Independence. You need to see it.
A Big Hand for the Little Lady (1966)
One of my favorite 60s hidden gems. A western comedy. There’s a poker game with the five richest men in the territory — Charles Bickford, Jason Robards, Kevin McCarthy, Robert Middleton and John Qualen. They play in the back room of a saloon. Meanwhile, Henry Fonda and Joanne Woodward come into town to repair their wagon. They’re off to purchase some land. Fonda is a compulsive gambler, and ends up in the game, putting all the family’s money at stake. And, as you can guess (and as the title suggests), amusing things ensue. It’s a really great movie. Loads of familiar faces (including Burgess Meredith!), and just a great all-around movie. You’ll enjoy this one.
Born Free (1966)
Everyone knows the title song (even if they don’t think they do). It’s about a guy who kills a lion and takes its orphaned cubs into his house. And it’s mainly about one of those lions, Elsa, who lives with the guy and his wife, until they have to reintroduce her into the wild. It’s a combination of all of those lion videos you’ve seen on Youtube. It’s a famous movie, and is really well made and entertaining. Way different from another lion movie that’ll appear on this list a little later.
Fantastic Voyage (1966)
Everyone knows this story. One of the most famous sci fi stories ever told. A diplomat is almost killed and, in order to save him, a bunch of scientists shrink down and go into his bloodstream. You’ve seen some version of this story before. Hell, if you watched The Magic School Bus (fuck yeah!), you’ve seen a version of this story. This is the film version, and it’s essential viewing.
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966)
There’s no way you haven’t at least heard the title. It’s a musical. Set in Ancient Rome. Starring Zero Mostel. And Buster Keaton is in it too, in his final performance. Zero Mostel is a slave who has to get his master together with the virgin from the whorehouse next door. So he has to do all sorts of blackmail and deals in order to make this happen, and hilarity ensues. It’s a sex comedy musical starring Zero Mostel. How can you go wrong?
How to Steal a Million (1966)
William Wyler directs. It’s a heist comedy starring Audrey Hepburn and Peter O’Toole. She has to steal a statue from a museum so her father (an art forger) doesn’t get in trouble, and he’s a thief who helps her. Eli Wallach, Hugh Griffith and Charles Boyer also star. But really, heist comedy, William Wyler, Audrey Hepburn and Peter O’Toole should be enough. I mean, really now. Priorities.
Heist movie. Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine. And Herbert Lom for good measure. It’s a really well put together movie. It knows it’s a lot of fun. There’s a moment early on that lets you know the movie isn’t taking itself very seriously. It’s a lot of fun, and everything you want a heist movie to be. You’ll enjoy this a lot.
Georgy Girl (1966)
The theme song is very famous. It’s about a plain girl in the swinging 60s who wants to live the party life but just isn’t that type of person. She has no idea about sex or anything like that, and is prone to fantasies. Meanwhile, her parents’ friend, James Mason, hits on her, even though he’s like 25 years older than she is. And then there’s her roommate, who bangs a lot of guys all the time. And that’s who she wants to be. And it’s a coming of age kind of story, where this girl comes into her own. In a… well, it’s not clean. It’s British, so it’s not as tidy as a clean-cut American story would be. Which is nice. Lynn Redgrave was nominated for Best Actress here and Mason was nominated for Supporting Actor.
The Oscar (1966)
One of the great campy films of all time. This movie is played very seriously, but it’s so over the top. It’s about a self-serving actor who becomes even more of an asshole when he’s nominated for Best Actor, and basically steps over everyone he knows in order to win. LOADED with famous people. Stephen Boyd is your main character. Also in the movie are: Elke Sommer, Milton Berle, Eleanor Parker, Joseph Cotten, Jill St. John, Tony Bennett, Edie Adams, Ernest Borgnine, Ed Begley, Walter Brennan, Broderick Crawford, James Dunn, Peter Lawford, and, playing themselves, Edith Head, Hedda Hopper, Merle Oberon, Nancy Sinatra, Joan Crawford, Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra. The key to enjoying this movie is to realize it’s ridiculous. It’s not meant to be funny, which is what makes it funny.
Hilarious movie. Arthur Hiller directs, Natalie Wood stars. She’s a crazy housewife who is also a kleptomaniac who devises a scheme to rob her husbands bank, just because. Meanwhile, she’s confessing all these crimes to her psychiatrist, and the police are looking for her. It’s hilarious. Great movie. Ian Bannen, Dick Shawn, Peter Falk, Jonathan Winters, Lila Kedrova and Lou Jacobi are also in it.
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