We have reached part five of thethrussellproject.com list of 100 movies to see before you die (100 Movies). Who will feature this week and do you agree with what has been listed already? Here we go…
#84 – A Beautiful Mind
A Beautiful Mind is a biopic of mathematician John Nash and his lifelong struggles with mental illness. We follow his time as a graduate at Princeton in 1948 where he is determined to discover an original mathematical formula and as a professor at MIT who then accepts secret work for the government in cryptography to decipher Soviet codes.
This film won 4 Academy Awards in 2002 including; Best Picture, Best Director (Ron Howard) and Best Adapted Screenplay. Jennifer Connolly won the award for supporting actress.
Russell Crowe really gives a standout performance as genius John Nash which could easily have won him a second successive Oscar after his 2001 win for Gladiator but unfortunately for him he was up against the equally brilliant Denzel Washington in Training Day.
This is an intriguing and powerful movie that will have you hooked from start to finish thanks to the strong acting abilities on show and the beautiful direction by Ron Howard and his team, you will definitely not want to switch off.
Year Released: 2001
Directed By: Ron Howard
Starring: Russell Crowe, Ed Harris, Jennifer Connelly, Christopher Plummer, Paul Bettany
#83 – Blood Diamond
In 1999 civil war-torn Sierra Leone, Danny Archer (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a smuggler of conflict diamonds, he meets fisherman Solomon Vandy (Djimon Hounsou) who wants to find his son who was taken by the rebels. Archer wants to use Solomon to find a huge pink stone he found whilst being forced to work in the diamond mines. Idealistic American journalist Maddy Bowen (Jennifer Connelly) joins the pair as she locates Solomon’s family and forms a connection with Archer.
One of the most engaging and hard-hitting films around, that captures Africa in all its contrasting beauty and isn’t afraid to show its violent history. Director Zwick has a track record for films including Glory and The Last Samurai and this does not disappoint, with incredible performances from DiCaprio and Hounsou as an unlikely duo and compelling action to rival any Hollywood Blockbuster, Blood Diamond sends a powerful message about conflict diamonds that flood our market today and how consumers are funding these political wars.
A movie I can’t recommend highly enough and with a surprising ending for a Hollywood picture this is one you do not want to miss out on.
Year Released: 2006
Directed By: Edward Zwick
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Djimon Hounsou, Jennifer Connelly
#82 – Schindler’s List
Possibly the most powerful and moving film of our time, Schindler’s List tells the true story of businessman Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson) who managed to save 1100 Jews from certain death at the hands of the Nazis. He used them as a labour force in his factory during the Second World War at the hope of making a fortune but he then becomes aware of their harrowing fate.
This film is beautifully shot entirely in black and white to reflect the era and tone of the time, the girl in the red coat is still one of the most memorable scenes in cinema ever. The cinematography (Janusz Kaminski) is flawless, the acting is superb and the score by John Williams is haunting.
Steven Spielberg refused a salary for this project, stating it would be “blood money”, this speaks volumes of the man who is one of the greatest directors of all time. Liam Neeson is perfect as Schindler, Ben Kingsley is fantastic and Ralph Fiennes plays one of cinemas most hated villain’s SS guard Amon Goeth.
The film won 7 Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor for Liam Neeson, but this film was not made to win awards, it was made to educate the world about one of the greatest travesties in human history.
Year Released: 1993
Directed By: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes
#81 – No Country For Old Men
In Rural Texas hunter Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) discovers dead drug runners in an exchange gone wrong, he takes the $2 million dollars instead of calling the police. In pursuit is ruthless killer Anton Chigurh (the brilliantly cold Javier Bardem) armed with a cattle gun, kills anybody in his way, Sheriff Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) is in charge of the case trying to track down both characters.
The Coen Brothers adaption of the 2003 novel by Connor McCarthy is absorbing and Javier Bardem’s performance rightfully won him an Academy Award for Supporting Actor. The sparse use of score music helps the suspense throughout the film as the climatic cat and mouse story comes to ahead.
Winner of 4 Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director(s), this is the Coen brothers at their best with wonderful cinematography and the three main leads firing on all cylinders in this violent, character driven story.
Year Released: 2007
Directed By: Joel & Ethan Coen
Starring: Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem and Tommy Lee Jones
#80 – Home Alone
As a kid we all wanted that opportunity to be home alone to do anything we wanted.
Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) is mistakenly left at home by his family who fly to France over christmas, at first Kevin makes the best of the situation until he discovers two burglars Harry and Marv are planning to target his neighbourhood. Kevin booby traps the whole house to stop the burglars as his mum tries in vain to make it back to Chicago.
The perfect family movie from director Chris Columbus is a christmas classic, the sequel was again brilliant but this original is a classic. Home Alone catapulted Culkin into stardom as one of the top child actors of his time, although his career has now faded he will always be remembered as the cheeky Kevin. The two bumbling criminals played by Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern are hilarious and make this film all the more entertaining, as they attempt to outwit 8 year-old Kevin.
As always John Williams creates a magical score to compliment the christmas feel and Chris Columbus truly demonstrates why he is regarded as one of the kings of the family film. Home Alone never gets old and this is why it takes a place in the 100 films to see before you die.
Year Released: 1990
Directed By: Chris Columbus
Starring: Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern