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Tim Bradstreet

Bradstreet's Film Vault

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OK, I'm not pretending to be a film know-it-all. I've still got miles to go before I'll have seen everything worth seeing.

But I've done a lot of homework over the years as a certified film-nut. I very often get calls at any hour from friends who are trolling through the vid store looking for a good movie to rent. I love turning people on to stuff they have never seen before. When you are tired of the blockbusters and new releases, or you've already seen all the new stuff and you are stuck for something interesting to entertain you . . . Check this list before you hit the Hollywood Video store.

Also, if you are a younger film fan who desires to expand your love of film, this list will get you on the right path. When you are ready to graduate beyond The Matrix Trilogy or the newest comic book film adaptation . . . When you've figured out that there is more out there than new films and you're ready to start widening your viewing palette . . . If you want to skip the crap and go straight to the good stuff. This is the list for you. I'll be adding to it periodically. I couldn't possibly give an all-inclusive account in the little time I have here presently. But let me get you started.

 

Check back from time to time. This will be updated.

I also highly recommend that you check out the Non-Mainstream Film thread.

 

Here goes . . .

 

Drama

 

1. Naked (1993) - Directed by Mike Liegh, starring David Thewlis. An incredible film, and incredible actor in an incredible performance.

2. Red Belt (2008) - Directed by David Mamet, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor. Awesome.

3. The Conversation (1974) - Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, starring Gene Hackman. Brilliant.

4. The Constant Gardener (2005) - Directed by Fernando Meirelles, starring Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz. Heartbreaking. Brilliant.

5. The Mission (1986) - Directed by Roland Joffé, starring Jeremy Irons and Robert DeNiro. A masterpiece.

6. The Day Of The Dolphin (1973) - Directed by Mike Nichols, starring George C. Scott. A classic thriller.

7. Marty (1955) - Directed by Delbert Mann, starring Earnest Borgnine (Best Actor). Touching and beautiful.

8. The Pawnbroker (1964) - Directed by Sidney Lumet, starring Rod Steiger. Brilliant character study.

9. Seven Days In May (1964) - Directed by John Frankenheimer, starring Kirk Douglas. Prophetic excellence.

10. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) - Directed by Robert Mulligan, starring Gregory Peck. THE classic.

11. Bird (1988) - Directed by Clint Eastwood, starring Forest Whitaker. Eastwood proves his mettle as a director. Whitaker hits all the notes.

12. Birdman Of Alcatraz (1962) - Directed by John Frankenheimer, starring Burt Lancaster. Sterling film in every way.

13. Islands in the Stream (1977) - Directed by Franklin J. Schaffner, starring George C. Scott. Not a perfect film. But perfect for me.

14. Glengarry Glen Ross (1992) - Directed by James Foley, starring Al Pacino and Jack Lemmon. Cast is incredible, script is even better.

15. Lonely Are the Brave (1962) - Directed by David Miller, starring Kirk Douglas. Douglas' favorite of his films, with good reason.

16. Inside Moves (1980) - Directed by Richard Donner, starring John Savage and David Morse. Almost off the radar now. A soulful masterpiece.

17. The Duelists (1977) - Directed by Ridley Scott, starring Keith Carradine and Harvey Keitel. Gorgeously shot, powerfully acted action drama.

18. The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962) - Directed by Tony Richardson, starring Tom Courtenay. Compelling, little remembered classic.

19. Five Easy Pieces (1970) - Directed by Bob Rafelson, starring Jack Nicholson. 70's character study of the highest degree.

20. Walkabout (1971) - Directed by Nicholas Roeg, starring Jenny Agutter. Beautiful, mysterious, hypnotic. Roeg is one of a kind.

21. Nil By Mouth (1997) - Directed by Gary Oldman, starring Ray Winstone. Razor sharp. An awesome achievement for first-time director Oldman who also wrote the screenplay.

22. The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) - Directed by Martin Scorcese, starring Willem Defoe. Fascinating.

 

Crime

 

1. Point Blank (1967) - Directed by John Boorman, starring Lee Marvin. Brutally badass.

2. The Long Good Friday (1980) - Directed by John Mackenzie , starring Bob Hoskins. Outstanding.

3. Dark Passage (1947) - Directed by Delmer Davies, starring Humphrey Bogart. Film Noir masterpiece.

4. Get Carter (1971) - Directed by Mike Hodges, starring Michael Caine. Brutal Tour de force.

5. Stormy Monday (1988) - Directed by Mike Figgis, starring Melanie Griffith, Tommy Lee Jones, Sean Bean, and Sting. Modern day Noir.

6. One False Move (1992) - Directed by Carl Franklin, starring Bill Paxton, Billy Bob Thornton (also screenplay), and Cynda Williams. A GEM.

7. A Simple Plan (1998) - Directed by Sam Raimi, starring Bill Paxton and Billy Bob Thornton. Dark, twisted modern classic.

8. In Cold Blood (1967) - Directed by Richard Brooks, starring Robert Blake and Scott Wilson. Capote's masterpiece, and a masterpiece of cinematography from the eye of Conrad Hall.

9. Johnny Handsome (1989) - Directed by Walter Hill, starring Mickey Rourke. Not Hill's finest, yet an undeniably badass film.

10. The Seven-Ups (1973) - Directed by Philip D'Antoni, starring Roy Scheider. Tough, gritty, 70's brilliance.

11. Mona Lisa (1986) - Directed by Neil Jordan, starring Bob Hoskins. Exceptional, complex, delicious.

12. The Limey (1999) - Directed by Steven Soderbergh, starring Terrence Stamp. Stylish crime thriller anchored by Stamp.

13. State Of Grace (1990) - Directed by Phil Joanou, starring Gary Oldman and Sean Penn. Little known masterpiece.

14. Sexy Beast (2000) - Directed by Jonathan Glazer, starring Ben Kingsley and Ray Winstone. Fascinatng, dynamite.

 

Action/Adventure

 

1. The Eiger Sanction (1975) - Directed by Clint Eastwood, starring Clint Eastwood. Damn good movie.

2. Master And Commander - The Far Side Of The World (2003) - Directed by Peter Weir, starring Russell Crowe. Brilliant.

3. The Wind And The Lion (1975) - Directed by John Milius, starring Sean Connery. Bloody good fun.

4. The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1981) - Directed by W.D. Richter, starring Peter Weller and John Lithgow. Utterly offbeat and original.

5. El Cid (1961) - Directed by Anthony Mann, starring Charlton Heston. Classic epic awesomeness.

6. Assault on Precinct 13 (1976) - Directed by John Carpenter, starring Austin Stoker and Darwin Joston. John Ford and Howard Hawks LIVE through the eyes of Carpenter.

7. Knightriders (1981) - Directed by George A. Romero, starring Ed Harris. Ren Faire on speed. One of my comfort films.

8. Ronin (1998) - Directed by John Frankenheimer, starring Robert DeNiro and Jean Reno. Action with a brain. A great director returning to form.

9. Léon (The Professional) (1994) - Directed by Luc Besson, starring Jean Reno and Gary Oldman. What else do I need to say?

10. Bullitt (1968) - Directed by Peter Yates, starring Steve McQueen. The king of cool in his coolest film.

11. Papillon (1973) - Directed by Franklin J. Schaffner, starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman. Brilliant, powerful, and amazing.

12. The Bounty (1984) - Directed by Roger Donaldson, starring Mel Gibson and Anthony Hopkins. Stunning film, classic score by Vangelis.

13. The Last Of The Mohicans (1992) - Directed by Michael Mann, starring Daniel Day Lewis. Just goddamn good.

14. Rob Roy (1995) - Directed by Michael Caton-Jones, starring Liam Neeson and Tim Roth. Great period action, great performances.

15. Kingdom Of Heaven (The Director's Cut) (2005) - Directed by Ridley Scott, starring Orlando Bloom. The theatrical was so-so, the director's cut is a masterpiece.

 

Sci-Fi

 

1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) - Directed by Stanley Kubrick, starring Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood.

2. The Time Machine (1960) - Directed by George Pal, starring Rod Taylor. The classic.

3. The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951) - Directed by Robert Wise, starring Michael Rennie. The one and only.

4. THX 1138 (1971) - Directed by George Lucas, starring Robert Duvall. Not for everyone. Genius.

5. A Boy And His Dog (1975) - Directed by L.Q. Jones, starring Don Johnson. The Hugo Award winning classic.

6. ZARDOZ (1974) - Directed by John Boorman, starring Sean Connery. One of my comfort films.

7. Outland (1981) - Directed by Peter Hyams, starring Sean Connery. High Noon in space. Another comfort film.

8. Solaris (2002) - Directed by Steven Soderbergh, starring George Clooney. Remake of the classic. Powerful, metaphysical, not for the Star Wars crowd.

9. Soylent Green (1973) - Directed by Richard Fleischer, starring Charlton Heston. The classic.

10. Fahrenheit 451 (1966) - Directed by François Truffaut, starring Oskar Werner. The classic Bradbury tale. Visionary brilliance.

11. Dark City (1998) - Directed by Alex Proyas, starring Rufus Sewell, William Hurt, Jennifer Connelly, and Kiefer Sutherland. See the Director's cut on DVD.

 

Horror

 

1. The Thing (1982) - Directed by John Carpenter, starring Kurt Russell. The Carpenter Classic.

2. Dead And Buried (1981) - Directed by Gary Sherman, starring James Farentino. Low budget fun.

3. Let's Scare Jessica To Death (1971) - Directed by John D. Hancock, starring Zohra Lampert. Lurid and creepy as fuck.

4. Shock Waves (1977) - Directed by Ken Wiederhorn, starring Brooke Adams. Low Budge fun, zombie Nazi's.

5. The Devil's Backbone (2001) - Directed by Guillermo Del Toro, starring Eduardo Noriega. A masterpiece.

6. Near Dark (1987) - Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, starring Bill Paxton and Lance Henriksen. This movie, Bill and Lance, were the staple of my life for a long while.

7. Frailty (2001) - Directed by Bill Paxton, starring Bill Paxton, Matthew McConaughey, and Powers Boothe. Gothic and haunting.

8. The Changeling (1980) - Directed by Peter Medak, starring George C. Scott. Classic, spot-on horror yarn splendidly acted and taut.

9. Audrey Rose (1977) - Directed by Robert Wise, starring Anthony Hopkins and Marsha Mason. Suspenseful with great performances.

10. Gothic (1986) - Directed by Ken Russell, staring Gabriel Byrne. Twisted suspense masterpiece.

 

Western

 

1. Wild Bill (1995) - Directed by Walter Hill, starring Jeff Bridges. Bridges is AMAZING.

2. Tom Horn (1980) - Directed by William Wiard, starring Steve McQueen. Excellent film.

3. The Grey Fox (1982) - Directed by Phillip Borsos, starring Richard Farnsworth. Under the radar, a fantastic movie.

4. The Long Riders (1980) - Directed by Walter Hill, starring the Carradine's, Keach's, and Quaid's. Peckinpah would be proud.

5. The Professionals (1966) - Directed by Richard Brooks, starring Lee Marvin and Burt Lancaster. Goddamn good.

6. Unforgiven (1992) - Directed by Clint Eastwood, starring Clint Eastwood. The legend returned to the genre that made him a star, and knocked it out of the park.

7. The Wild Bunch (1969) - Directed by Sam Peckinpah, starring William Holden. Perhaps the greatest Western ever made.

 

War

 

1. Paths Of Glory (1957) - Directed By Stanley Kubrick, starring Kirk Douglas - A masterpiece. (WWI)

2. The Big Red One (1980) - Directed by Samuel Fuller, starring Lee Marvin. (WWII)

3. Gallipoli (1981) - Directed by Peter Weir, starring Mel Gibson and Mark Lee. One of my favorites. (WWI)

4. Breaker Morant (1980) - Directed by Bruce Beresford, starring Edward Woodward, Jack Thompson, and Bryan Brown. Brilliant. (WWI)

5. The Sand Pebbles (1966) - Directed by Robert Wise, starring Steve McQueen. Epic. (1927 Chinese conflict)

6. The Thin Red Line (1998) - Directed by Terrence Malick, starring James Caviezel, Nick Nolte, and Sean Penn. Powerful, unforgettable. (WWII)

7. Hell Is For Heroes (1962) - Directed by Don Siegal, starring Steve McQueen. Brutal for it's time, riveting. (WWII)

8. Stalag 17 (1953) - Directed by Billy Wilder , starring William Holden. A classic for all times. (WWII)

9. Kelly's Heroes (1970) - Directed by Brian G. Hutton, starring Clint Eastwood. Classic WWII caper comedy.

10. The Hill (1965) - Directed by Sidney Lumet, starring Sean Connery. Brutal badassery. Lumet is the master. (WWII)

11. Johnny Got His Gun (1971) - Directed by Dalton Trumbo, starring Timothy Bottoms. Haunting. (WWI)

12. The Train (1964) - Directed by John Frankenheimer, starring Burt Lancaster and Paul Scofield. Gripping. (WWII)

13. The Bedford Incident (1965) - Directed by James B. Harris, starring Richard Widmark and Sidney Poitier. Bold cold-war thriller done in a non Hollywood style. (Cold War)

 

Comedy

 

1. Stripes (1981) - Directed by Ivan Reitman, starring Bill Murray. CLASSIC

2. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) - Directed by Stanly Kubrick, starring Peter Sellers. Satire at it's finest.

3. Planes, Trains, And Automobiles (1987) - Directed by John Hughes, starring Steve Martin and John Candy. Priceless.

4. Bob Roberts (1992) - Directed by Tim Robbins, starring Tim Robbins. Satire in the jugular vein.

5. Repo Man (1984) - Directed by Alex Cox, starring Emilio Estevez and Harry Dean Stanton. The absurdist punk rock sci fi classic!

6. Lost In America (1985) - Directed by Albert Brooks, starring Albert Brooks, and Julie Hagerty. Life on the road was never more hair-pullingly fun.

7. Meatballs (1979) - Directed by Ivan Reitman, starring Bill Murray, and Chris Makepeace. 70's raunch with a heart. One of my long-time "comfort" movies.

8. The Big Lebowski (1998) - Directed by The Coen Bros, starring Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, and Steve Buscemi. Already a classic, already a cult film. Genius.

 

Classic Film

 

1. The Asphalt Jungle (1950) - Directed by John Huston, starring Sterling Hayden. Film Noir at it's tough, gutty best.

2. Night Of The Hunter (1955) - Directed by Charles Laughton, starring Robert Mitchum. Stylistically rich, still relevant gothic suspense.

3. 12 Angry Men (1957) - Directed by Sidney Lumet, starring Henry Fonda. A true classic.

4. The Third Man (1949) - Directed by Carol Reed, starring Joseph Cotten. Revolutionary Film Noir

5. Detective Story (1951) - Directed by William Wyler, starring Kirk Douglas. Outstanding in it's genre.

 

Foreign Vault

 

1. A Very Long Engagement (2004) - Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, starring Audrey Tautou. Wow.

2. Romper Stomper (1992) - Directed by Geoffrey Wright, starring Russell Crowe. Powerful. Put Crowe on the map.

3. Once Were Warriors (1994) - Directed by Lee Tamhori, starring Temuera Morrison. Powerfully moving.

4. Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (1979) - Directed by Werner Herzog, starring Klaus Kinski. Perfection.

5. Zentropa (Europa) (1991) - Directed by Lars von Trier, starring Jean-Marc Barr. Kafkaesque, utterly fascinating and unique. Not for everyone.

6. Nikita (La Femme Nikita) (1990) - Directed by Luc Besson, starring Anne Parillaud. Besson's masterpiece.

7. Le Pacte Des Loups (Brotherhood Of The Wolf) (2001) - Directed by Christophe Gans, starring Samuel Le Bihan. Flawed but cool and gorgeous.

8. El Topo (The Mole) (1970) - Directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky, starring Alejandro Jodorowsky. Unique and Brutal, not for everyone.

9. Il Gattopardo (The Leopard) (1963) - Directed by Luchino Visconti, starring Burt Lancaster. An extraordinary masterpiece.

10. Insomnia (1997) - Directed by Erik Skjoldbjærg, starring Stellan Skarsgård. Brilliant.

 

Mystery/Thriller/Suspense

 

1. The Ninth Gate (1999) - Directed by Roman Polanski, starring Johnny Depp.

2. Don't Look Now (1973) - Directed by Nicolas Roeg, starring Donald Sutherland. Creepy

3. Blow Out (1981) - Directed by Brian De Palma, starring John Travolta and John Lithgow. Excellent

4. Touch Of Evil (1958) - Directed by Orson Welles, starring Charlton Heston, Orson Welles. Genius.

5. Seconds (1966) - Directed by John Frankenheimer, starring Rock Hudson. Mind-blowing.

6. The Ipcress File (1965) - Directed by Sidney J. Furie, starring Michael Caine. Spy game with class and style.

7. The Tenant (1976) - Directed by Roman Polanski, starring Roman Polanski. Brilliant psychological horror.

8. Apartment Zero (1989) - Directed by Martin Donovan, starring Colin Firth and Hart Bochner. Neglected masterpiece.

9. Devil In A Blue Dress (1995) - Directed by Carl Franklin, starring Denzel Washington. Another overlooked modern noir. Awesome.

10. Eye Of The Needle (1981) - Directed by Richard Marquand, starring Donald Sutherland and Kate Nelligan. WWII suspense at it's best, and a Miklos Rosza score too!

11. The Manchurian Candidate (1962) - Directed by John Frankenheimer, starring Frank Sinatra and Lawrence Harvey. The original, the masterpiece

12. Vertigo (1958) - Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Jimmy Stewart. Hitchcock's masterpiece.

13. The Collector (1965) - Directed by William Wyler, starring Terrence Stamp. Ahead of it's time masterpiece.

14. Dead Man's Shoes (2004) - Directed by Shane Meadows, starring Paddy Considine. A haunting morality tale.

15. The Spanish Prisoner (1997) - Directed by David Mamet, starring Campbell Scott and Steve Martin. Complex, smart and fun.

16. House Of Games (1987) - Directed by David Mamet, starring Lindsay Crouse and Joe Montegna. Classic Mamet. Brilliant film. And Ricky Jay too!

17. Cutter's Way (1981) - Directed by Ivan Passer, starring Jeff Bridges and John Heard. A under-appreciated gem. Heard was robbed of an Oscar nom.

18. Spartan (2004) - Directed by David Mamet, starring Val Kilmer. Damn I love this film.

 

Fantasy

 

1. Powder (1995) - Directed by Victor Salva, starring Sean Patrick Flannery. Magical.

2. What Dreams May Come (1998) - Directed by Vincent Ward, starring Robin Williams. Gorgeous.

3. Ladyhawke (1985) - Directed by Richard Donner, starring Rutger Hauer. Beautiful, heartbreaking, wonderful.

4. Brazil (1985) - Directed by Terry Gilliam, starring Jonathan Pryce. Mind blowing auteur filmmaking.

5. Truly Madly Deeply (1990) - Directed by Anthony Minghella, starring Alan Rickman. Unbelievably touching. Acting is superb.

6. Excalibur (1981) - Directed by John Boorman, starring Nigel Terry and Nicol Williamson. Absolutely gorgeous.

7. The Fountain (2006) - Directed by Darren Aronofsky, starring Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz. The big screen is Aronofsky's canvas, and he is a master painter.

 

Avant-garde Cinema (films which are hard to classify)

 

1.The Blue Iguana (1988) - Directed by John Lafia, starring Dylan McDermott. Quirky Noir send-up. Check the cast.

2. Siesta (1987) - Directed by Mary Lambert, starring Gabriel Byrne. Strange and somehow glorious.

3. Walker (1987) - Directed by Alex Cox, starring Ed Harris. Cox's Cult masterpiece. Not for everyone.

4. Straight To Hell (1987) - Directed By Alex Cox, starring Joe Strummer. Insanity.

5. Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (1990) - Directed by Tom Stoppard, starring Gary Oldman and Tim Roth. Absolute genius.

6. Miami Blues (1990) - Directed by George Armitage, starring Alec Baldwin, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Fred Ward. Equal parts crime movie, drama, black humor, and action.

 

More to come.

- TB

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