The Top 20 Films We Want Back On The Big Screen
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
I’ve given George Lucas a lot of stick lately (blinking Ewoks my eye!) but even I’m ready to admit that the classic Star Wars trilogy is pretty damn spectacular. My favourite, without a shadow of a doubt, is The Empire Strikes Back, in which all the DRAMA happens; “Luke, I am your father.” Nooooooooooo way?!!?! In fact, this film contains all the best elements of the great films; we have the tempestuous love story between Han Solo and Princess Leia (Pride and Prejudice), the rise of evil (any Nazi epic drama), the Jedi Master and his pupil (The Karate Kid) and the estranged father (Eastenders?). Either way, it’s brilliant. The opening credits alone deserve big screen status!
Notting Hill (1999)
Why? Because it has Julia Roberts AND Hugh Grant in it, both of whom are rom-com royalty (except I suppose Roberts, being from the US of A, would have to be President or something). The script is witty, the topic is age-old and, in a way, this classic is just as enchanting as any Disney fairytale. The princess and the pauper, as it were. Throw in the crazy Welshman and you have cinematic gold.
The Searchers (1956)
Moral ambiguity? A tireless search for a missing girl? Cowboys and frikkin Indians? The Searchers provides all of this and more; the epic tale stars the ultimate cowboy, John Wayne, a war veteran whom spends years searching for a young niece captured by Indians. Questionable motives mean that this flick actually tries to do something other than present the Native Americans as mere ‘noble savages’ which is oddly refreshing. Stunning visuals and plenty of fodder for Star Wars fans (this film provided much of the inspiration for A New Hope) means that this is a definite born-again-on-the-big-screen jobby.
DIE HARD (1988)
My main reason for popping Die Hard onto the list is that it stars Bruce Willis. Bruce ‘I’m A Legend’ Willis. Ahem. We follow the epic-cool John McClane, who has just hit L.A hoping to spend Christmas with his wife. Unfortunately, thanks to Alan Rickman and his scheming band of terrorists, getting to the Merry Christmas ain’t gonna be all that simple. They’ve got everyone in the Nakatomi Plaza building held hostage and, obviously, it’s up to McClane to stop them all. Because he’s a badass. “Now I have a machine gun. Ho ho ho.” AMAZING!
The Gold Rush (1925)
If you’re going to watch a silent movie, make it a Charlie Chaplin. The Gold Rush is cinematic gold, telling the tale of a lone prospector during the 1898 gold rush. Times are hard and yet, somehow, Chaplin makes them hilarious; the most iconic scene is, without a doubt, his dining on an old shoe and making it seem as if it were the most sumptuous meal ever made. And, thanks to this year’s hugely-anticipated movie The Artist, perhaps we’ll be treated to an era of classic silent films at the box office? One can only hope…
SPY / MYSTERY
If it’s going to be a spy film, it has to be James Bond. If it’s James Bond, it has to be Sean Connery. If it’s Sean Connery, it has to be Goldfinger, possibly the best spy film ever made. We get a character called Pussy Galore, for starters; all that needs is a plural to make it utterly American Pie worthy. We also get a rare case of Bond being realistically vulnerable; he can’t save all of his lovers, he is frustrated in the wake of M’s anger and he positively sweats as a laser inches closer to his strapped down crotch…
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Spielberg made a timeless epic with Saving Private Ryan; violent, emotional and utterly engaging to the very last, the film follows a group of US soldiers as they go behind enemy lines in search of a paratrooper whose brothers have been killed in action. “He better be worth it. He better go home and cure a disease, or invent a longer-lasting light bulb.” Tom Hanks leads the cast in, quite possibly, his greatest ever role, taking his men deep into Nazi-occupied France amongst panoramic battlescenes that will really leave you with your mouth hanging wide open. Numbing, mesmerising and brilliant; bring back Saving Private Ryan!
Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring (2001)
“Some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend; legend became myth…” Things like, for example, how epic The Fellowship Of The Ring was when we saw it on the big screen for the first time. Remember how amazing it was? The sheer joy of seeing a fantasy world look so tangible and so utterly amazing was like an intoxicating drug; we need hobbits in the cinema and we can’t wait for The Hobbit. It’s taking for-ever! Just… just for Christmas maybe? Bring back The Lord Of The Rings for Christmas? Please…
“Love between couples should be outlawed. Every act of love must include a third person.” Add that to the fact that it’s a stunning work of French erotica, with plenty of lady on beautiful lady action, and my attempts to persuade you that this should be back on the big screen would be utterly redundant. Sex is all about size, after all…
Ben Hur (1959)
11 Academy Awards. 11! That’s the same as Titanic got and do you see that on the list? No, you don’t. Because I HATE it. I really hate it. Ben Hur, on the other hand, I can really get on board with. It has Charlton Heston in it, for starters. This epic masterpiece really is one of the most memorable films of all time and, by God, there’s a lot going on; the seventeen minute chariot race alone deserves some much-needed oohing and aahing from a modern audience. If you bring it back to the masses, then there will be joy again in this cinema! We will celebrate! Among the dust and cobwebs…
The Shining (1980)
Horror films are all well and good in the comfort of your own home, but nothing beats a darkened cinema with the escalating fear of others around you. Popcorn flying into the air, synchronised shrieking, burying your face into your date’s shoulder… oh yes, the art of the horror movie lies in the fact that it’s best enjoyed as a collective experience. What better film than The Shining to reignite our love with the world of cinematic terrors? Claustrophobic and chilling, there’s nothing like Jack Nicholson slowly descending into murderous insanity to get the hairs rising up on the back of your neck…
What good is sitting alone in your room when you can go out and enjoy the darkest and most Nazi-ridden musical (even more so than The Sound Of Music) of all time? Or, at least, you could do that if only the cinemas would RE-RELEASE it! Liza Minnelli. Bisexuals. Sordid nightclubs. Adultery. NAZIS! This is a musical with some serious balls and it even packs in some mighty catchy tunes along the way; check out this the Hitler Youth anthem midway through, which parallels the darkly rising political power in pre-WW2 Germany. One lone voice joined by hundreds, as the baffled Englishmen look on; this is a power they can no longer control. Chilling.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is stunning. It’s just stunning. In fact, it puts the ART into Martial Arts. Twice. We get beautifully choreographed fight scenes, surreal instances of flying and a well-crafted script, all spearheaded by an absolutely amazing cast. Think how wonderful it would be to see Yun-Fat Chow do battle against the backdrop of Western China on a BIG screen? It’d be fantastic. Let’s DO this.
This one is a complete no-brainer. Direction, cinematography, acting, costumes… it’s all amazing. How can anybody fault a story about India’s struggle to free itself and the tireless efforts of Mahatma Gandhi? Well. Possibly folks from the extremist Hindu Mahasabha faction, but, hey, what do they know?
Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (2004)
Aha, but this is not your typical romance! This is the romantic film for the people who hate romance and it even tosses in some sci fi along the way. Meet Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet, a dysfuntional couple who, upon breaking up, undergo a procedure to erase each other from their memories. And, of course, it is only through the process of loss that they discover what they had to begin with. Amazingly psychedelic, this is like a backwards and grown-up Alice In Wonderland, laced with heroin and served up in a real-life scenario. The visuals are breathtaking, the concept is inspiring and the cast is absolutely top drawer. It’s just not the same on a little screen…
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)
“You’ll find a slight squeeze on the hooter an excellent safety precaution, Miss Scrumptious.” Gather the family around to marvel at Caractacus Potts (Dick Van Dyke), an eccentric professor who invents wacky machinery, but can’t seem to make ends meet. Mainly because, I hasten to add, all of his inventions are hopelessly flawed. However, when he invents a revolutionary flying car, he finds himself thrown headlong into adventure as he tries to rescue his father from the evil child-hating Baron Bomburst! Terrifying childcatchers, catchy tunes, cute children and an interesting allusion to the Holocaust (hiding children underground – hello!) there’s nothing like a magical flying car to get us hitting the cinemas.
The BFI pretty much has every Disney film covered for big-screen release right up until the end of 2011, so I figured I’d dust off the amazingly underrated Anastasia; ever so loosely based on the legend of the lost Romanov princess and the powerful Rasputin, the film boasts an all-star cast, headed by John Cusack, Meg Ryan, Kelsey Grammar and Angela Lansbury. Big names equals big talent, which means that this little gem really shines! Great music, stunning visuals and a fab story. Kudos to the Russians for having such amazing history…
The Sixth Sense (1999)
“I see dead people…” Ah, by now everybody knows the BIG TWIST of The Sixth Sense, but I’ll not mention it here, just in case someone reading this has been living under a rock since 1999. Welcome back to the real world by the way, you strange little hermit. This creepy and utterly gripping tale keeps you guessing right up until the end and, as always, the big jumps work far better when projected onto a big and beautiful canvas. We want to have our imaginations stretched and our logic taunted again; The Sixth Sense is well overdue its re-release.
Gremlins know all about the power of cinema; here they are enjoying Disney’s classic film Snow White as a gruesome green group. These guys need to get back on the silver screen for Halloween; the comedy horror tells of a teenage boy who inadvertantly breaks 3 important rules concerning his new pet, bought from a mysterious long-bearded Chinese man. Oh brother. He wasn’t supposed to get it wet (oops!) nor was he supposed to feed it after midnight (damn!). As it happens, he does both and unleashes a horde of malevolently mischievous monsters on a small town. The third rule, of not exposing them to sunlight (THEY DIE!), may just prove key in stopping these vicious critters in their tracks… it’s SO 80s that it just HAS to be retro cool by now. Bring Gremlins back to Odeon; it’s ‘fashionable’.
Gone With The Wind (1939)
What’s that? You think this is an obvious choice? Well, frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn. Gone With The Wind deserves to be shown on a big beautiful shining screen where we can admire Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable in all of their overwhelmingly attractive glory. This film isn’t just a classic, it’s THE classic; unparalleled drama, action and romance. A breathtaking spectacle, inspired acting by the greatest cast ever assembled and, without a shadow of a doubt, the most-talked about love story ever made.