Apocalypse Now

Perhaps more directors should go completely nutty and drug-addled while making movies (unless they are Fantastic Four, right Josh Trank?). Mirroring the mental disintegration of its lead character as well as the creeping insanity of US strategy during the Vietnam War, the increasingly unhinged Francis Ford Coppola and his similarly affected cast and crew turned in a masterpiece, fueled in no small part by the excesses of its creation.


Lawrence of Arabia

David Lean's WWI adventure epic first sticks in the mind with its golden, 70mm Panavision vistas of the Arabian Peninsula. Then there's Peter O'Toole's performance as British diplomat T.E. Lawrence. Then there's the virtuoso staging of battle scenes and desert treks. And then there's the ideas - Lawrence's ego, arrogance, compassion and all the contradictions in between. Lawrence of Arabia's production design and storytelling inspired a generation of filmmakers - Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Ridley Scott among them.



Ostensibly a crime movie, the homicides strung throughout Fargo may be sometimes shocking, but exist primarily as a means for the Coens to indulge an accent-specific regional fixation. Affectionately comedic, Fargo pokes gentle fun at Minneapolis while still being deeply in love with all the characters contained within, not to mention their eccentricities and faults. If William H. Macy has ever been more pathetic, that would really be saying something.


The Lion King

Disney Animation Studios must have felt a heap of pressure following up the massively successful Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. At the time, veteran Disney animators were backing Pocahontas as that successor, leaving this weird African wildlife musical to the rookies. Little did they know that The Lion King would not only be way better than that Avatar prequel, it would become a cinematic cultural phenomenon that defined childhoods.



Star Wars fans may consider this heresy, but there are plenty of folks who praise Aliens as the best sequel of all time. That’s not to diss The Empire Strikes Back as much as acknowledge James Cameron’s superlative work in taking the pure horror of Alien and fashioning something very different to it, yet unmistakably in the same universe. With the franchise stumbling ever since, his men- (and women) on-a-mission ensemble war film maybe just can’t be beat.


Citizen Kane

There’s a snarky dislike for Orson Welles’ classic. Often dubbed as ‘The Greatest Movie of All Time’, Citizen Kane is the original victim of overhype, causing many to turn their nose up at it. That doesn’t stop it from being a hellishly absorbing deconstruction of a powerful – yet lonely – man, using a wealth of cinematic innovation that is invisible to the eye but essential to the storytelling.



Spielberg used primal fear and Hitchcockian suspense to turn a monster movie into the highest grossing film ever (at the time), create the blockbuster and change the way movies are made. Co-screenwriter Carl Gottlieb says, "That notion of selling a picture as an event, as a phenomenon, as a destination, was born with that release."

When you watch it now the fakeness of that big 'ol rubber shark is hard to ignore, but it's a testament to the quality of filmmaking that you it doesn't detract from your engagement, or the scares.