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Member Lists

Joe Leydon's "Movies You Must See"
List creator: dwhudson
Created on: December 20, 2004 - 4:55 AM PST
Description: 65 titles to accompany our interview. All quotes from Joe's book.

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list
average rating MPAA rating watch rent buy
The Great Train Robbery: 100th Anniversary Special Edition (1903)
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Not Rated
  "Arguably the first, and definitely most influential, to fully exploit storytelling devices exclusive to cinema."
The Birth of a Nation (1915)
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Not Rated
  "A virtual textbook of innovative techniques." (More.)
Nosferatu (1922)
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Not Rated
  "Expressionistic intermingling of light and shadow, style and substance, modern psychology and ancient myth."
The General (Special Edition) (1927)
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  "The hilarious dichotomy between stillness of form and fluidity of movement - that is his hallmark as a comic artist."
City Lights (Chaplin Collection) (1931)
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  Joe quotes Truffaut: "Chaplin means more to me than the idea of God."
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
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Not Rated
  "Capra didn't realize what a subversive piece of work he had concocted."
Gone with the Wind (Disc 1 of 2) (1939)
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  "Now and forever a thrilling romantic melodrama on the grandest imaginable scale."
Citizen Kane (1941)
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  "A whoopee cushion slipped under the seats of those grim-faced academics who would insist that art is serious stuff."
Rocky (1976)
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  "Most folks have forgotten its humble origins" and may be "shocked by how grubby and gritty much of it seems."
All the President's Men (1976)
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  "Incontrovertibly, a must-see movie... Should be mandatory viewing at every journalism school."
Taxi Driver (1976)
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  "More than a generation [later, it] remains every bit as profoundly discomforting and bleakly fascinating."
Smokey and the Bandit (1977)
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  "Some have credited its phenomenal popularity [at the time] to its subversive allure as fantasy fulfillment... Others... to the once-in-a-lifetime matching of player and character."
Do the Right Thing (Criterion Collection) (1989)
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  "As vast and full of teeming energy and emotional contradictions as life itself."
His Girl Friday (1940)
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  "Indelibly established the stereotype of reporters as rudely sarcastic iconoclasts... Among the finest and funniest screwball comedies."
Dark Victory (1939)
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  "It sometimes comes a shock to be reminded of the unconventionally beautiful and uniquely charismatic superstar that [Bette] Davis was in her prime."
Casablanca (Special Edition) (1942)
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  "More than a classic movie, more than a paradigm of Old Hollywood artistry... the stuff that dreams are made of."
Pillow Talk (1959)
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Not Rated
  "Remains inexplicably irresistible as a lavishly produced, campily retrograde guilty pleasure."
42nd Street (1933)
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Not Rated
  "Widely viewed as the mother of all backstage musicals."
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
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  "Even grumpy middle-aged film critics can't help falling under its spell."
Singin' in the Rain (1952)
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  "One of the more decisive exceptions to the auteur theory... Producer [Arthur] Freed... lays claim to the title of Most Valuable Collaborator."
Cabaret (1972)
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  "At the center of its razzle-dazzle dynamism is a performance that is the stuff of showbiz legend."
Stagecoach (Criterion) (1939)
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  "The first significant Western of the talking-pictures era, the paradigm that cast the mold, set the rules and firmly established the dramatis personae for all later movies of its kind."
High Noon (1952)
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  "Appreciably more complex than conventional wisdom suggests."
Shane (1953)
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Not Rated
  "Melancholy emerges as primary color in the movie's romanticized portrait of the gunfighter as tragic hero."
The Searchers (1956)
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  "An epic Western that expands and transcends the limitations of its genre by offering a darkly powerful counterpoint to the reassuring clichés of standard-issue horse operas."
Rio Bravo (1959)
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Not Rated
  "A triumph of distinctive style over commonplace substance."
A Fistful of Dollars (1964)
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  "Left movie audiences of the 60s gaping incredulously and gasping: 'Just what the hell kind of Western is this?'"
The Wild Bunch (1969)
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  "The most affecting American movie ever made about men who remain loyal to a private code of honor, and to each other, even as they engage in the most reprehensible criminal acts."
Metropolis (The Complete Restored Edition) (1927)
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Not Rated
  "The crowning achievement of German silent cinema, it survives and thrives as the visual and thematic template for hundreds, maybe thousands, of films, comic books, teleplays - and MTV clips."
Frankenstein: The Legacy Collection (Disc 1 of 2) (1935)
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Not Rated
  Karloff's "iconographic portrayal has become the measure for all imperfect products of hubristic scientists, on screen and off."
Plan 9 from Outer Space (1956)
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Not Rated
  "Must be seen to be disbelieved... Wood actually did achieve a kind of immortality... though not quite the kind he no doubt craved."
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
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  "Retains its mythic resonance - an optimistic prediction of first contact with other, presumably wiser, life forms."
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)
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  "One of the most splendiferous patchworks ever to gain near-universal acceptance as a classic motion picture."
Halloween (25th Anniversary Edition) (1978)
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  "Has lost none of its power to fascinate and frighten, even after a quarter-century of follow-ups and rip-offs."
Blade Runner (Director's Cut) (1982)
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  "Scott's extraordinarily vivid evocation of a noir-shadowed, rain-splattered, retro-futuristic metropolis... immediately established Blade Runner as one of the century's most influential movies."
Notorious (Criterion Collection) (1946)
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  "May well be the most perverse love story to have ever slipped past the old Hollywood Production Code."
Vertigo (Special Edition) (1958)
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  "Not so much a neo-gothic thriller as a moody meditation on sexual obsession."
North by Northwest (50th Anniversary Edition) (1959)
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Not Rated
  "A perpetual-motion machine geared to move faster than the speed of thought."
Psycho (Special Edition) (1960)
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  "Arguably [Hitchcock's] most amoral movie... the granddaddy of all slasher movies and one of the blackest comedies ever concocted."
M (Criterion Collection) (1931)
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  "Like many other influential classics of world cinema, Lang's masterwork is at once vividly evocative of its time and enduringly timeless."
The Public Enemy (1931)
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Not Rated
  "Cagney didn't merely become a star, he established himself as an icon in The Public Enemy."
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
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Not Rated
  "Very few of the shamuses in subsequent movies have ever seemed so unremorseful - so unhinged, really - as Bogart does at his fearsome best in Huston's masterwork."
Double Indemnity (1944)
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  "The most effective and indelible telling of the oft-told tale is Billy Wilder's cunningly well-crafted masterwork."
Detour (1946)
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Not Rated
  "A wide-awake nightmare of unforgiving fate and dead-end fatalism that may be the cruddiest great movie ever made."
Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
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  "It is the period drama's audacious commingling of style and substance that continues to amaze and unsettle viewers."
Goodfellas (1990)
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  "Remains - arguably, even more than Francis Ford Coppola's Godfather trilogy - the touchstone for all subsequent mob-scene movies."
The Killer (1989)
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Not Rated
  "Woomania didn't reach epic proportions until The Killer, arguably the greatest of his made-in-HK extravaganzas."
Flash Gordon's Trip to Mars (Disc 1 of 2) (1938)
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Not Rated
  "All it takes is a quick perusal of a few randomly chosen episodes for you to fully appreciate its enduring influence on later, more lavishly produced action-adventures."
Guadalcanal Diary (1943)
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Not Rated
  "One of the first and best of the flag-waving, crowd-pleasing WWII combat dramas designed to honor US soldiers, boost home-front morale, enhance America's image abroad - and, of course, attract masses to movie theaters."
Lawrence of Arabia (Limited Edition) (Disc 1 of 2) (1962)
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  "A larger-than-life spectacle that never loses sight of the singular life at its center."
48 Hrs. (1982)
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  "Set the standard for dozens of subsequent buddy-cop capers.... What is surprising... is the off-handedly blunt depiction of racially-charged animosity between the two lead characters."
Die Hard (1988)
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  "Stands head and shoulders, heart and soul, above its many, many imitators."
Duck Soup (The Marx Brothers Silver Screen Collection) (1933)
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Not Rated
  "The purest distillation of Marxian anarchy... just undiluted and uninhibited Marx madness."
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
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  "Unmistakably of its time and yet, for better and worse, undeniably timeless... Gravitates far beyond the level of the darkly comical to thrive in the rarified realm of the bleakly hilarious."
Annie Hall (1977)
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  "It has been said that one measure of a classic is how difficult it is to imagine a time when it didn't exist."
National Lampoon's Animal House (1978)
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  "A guilty-pleasure hangover from an age when hardly anyone making movies ever worried about the niceties of political correctness."
Open City (1945)
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  Quoting Martin Scorsese: "If you ever have any doubt about the power of movies to affect change in the world, to interact with life and fortify the soul, then study the example of neorealism."
Rashomon (Criterion Collection) (1951)
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  "Even now, the title is used to describe anything... in which a story is told from multiple, and often contradictory, points of view."
Seven Samurai (Criterion Collection) (1954)
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  "Even if you haven't, you may think you've seen it, given its strong influence on so many films and filmmakers."
The 400 Blows (Criterion Collection) (1959)
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  "Leads to one of the most famous and influential closing shots in movie history."
Day for Night (1973)
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  "The yardstick by which almost every film on the subject [of making movies] inevitably is measured."
Return of the Secaucus Seven (1980)
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  "Established [Sayles] as a founding father of American independent cinema... You become deeply involved with these vividly drawn characters."
Stranger Than Paradise (1984)
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  "A triumph of punk-minimalist chic, [it] influenced hundreds of indie wanna-bes who have dared to dream on microscopic budgets throughout the past two decades."
Blue Velvet (1986)
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  "Arguably the definitive David Lynch mindtrip and certainly one of the most influential films of the 1980s."
Reservoir Dogs (Widescreen) (1992)
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  "Unlike most of the guns-and-poses knock-offs that have appeared in its wake, [it] reinvented and reinvigorated the rules of the game."

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