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Movies and TV Shows That are Great

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The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974)

 

Four men hijack a subway car in New York.  The film is the perfect mix of tension and humor.  Robert Shaw is the leader of the hijackers, and Walter Matthau is the Transit Police Lieutenant who through happenstance ends up negotiating with them.

 

 

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Charlie's Angels (1976-1981)

 

Three Beautiful Girls went to the police academy, and now work for an unseen employer as Private Investigators.  The TV show that introduced us to Farrah Fawcett-Majors, Jaclyn Smith, Kate Jackson, Cheryl Ladd, Shelley Hack, and Tanya Roberts.  Lighthearted with some dramatic moments that never got in the way of the fun.  We liked the characters and David Doyle was the luckiest man in the world to work with such beauties. 

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Batman The Animated Series (1992-1995)

 

The Batman Legend is brought to live in the best cartoon series that led to Superman and Justice League animated series, and numerous animated movies.  The best stories from the past are retold with present day elements.  Kevin Conroy has become the voice of Batman for nearly three decades, and Mark Hamil will be remembered as the voice of the Joker, rather then just a cautionary tale about one's career choices.

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Batman: The Brave and The Bold (2008-2011)

 

The Silver Age is all it's glory was highlighted in this delightful series.  The Birds of Prey sing their praises of the Dark Knight, Neal Patrick Harris as the Music Man, and Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman fighting Cheetah, Lex Luthor, and Joker respectively are highlights.  The final episode was about jumping the shark with Henry Winkler voicing the Ambush Bug, and with Ted McGinley replacing the voice of actor who played Aquaman.

 

 

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The Magnificent Seven (1960)

 

Based on the Japanese film The Seven Samurai and set in Mexico where Calvera (Eli Wallach) leads a group of bandits prey on a Mexican village. The villagers send a group North to get weapons but instead they get men. Yul Brynner recruits and leads an all star cast with Steve McQueen, James Coburn, Charles Bronson, Brad Dexter, Robert Vaughan and Horst Buckholz who journey South of the border. It has a great music score and is poignant as the gunmen get involved in the lives of the poor Mexican farmers and die for them. 

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The Dollars Trilogy which is A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More and The Good, The Bad an the Ugly.

In the first, Clint Eastwood plays The Man With No Name who drifts into a village where two families are at war, one American and one Mexican. He works for both ultimately taking down both. An unofficial remake of the Yojimbo.

In the second Clint Eastwood returns as The Man With No Name with Lee Van Cleef joining in as a fellow bounty hunter. They are after Indio (Gian Maria Volante returning after the first film) who has been released from prison.and then intends to commit a robbery in El Paso. The two bounty hunter team up to take down Indio and his gang. Lee Van Cleef has a personal reason for going after Indio which you do not discover until the end of the film. A recurring musical theme played from a watch is the key.

In the last of the trilogy three men are introduced as The Good (Clint), the Bad (Lee Van Cleef) and the Ugly (Eli Wallach) as the credits roll. The film is set during the American Civil War and has the three battling each other before a final climatic shootout as they try and get their hands on gold that is buried in a cemetery. The signature blanket worn by Eastwood in the previous films is introduced in this one.

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    All  five of these examples so far were remakes of something else.  If that’s the list I’ve got to include Battlestar Galactica. 

                                                    ————————————————————————————————————————
    If on the other hand you’re looking for perfection that should never be screwed with,  I’ll go get my trusty board with a nail thru it and defend with my life our last, best hope.....Babylon 5.

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The Great Escape (1963)

Based on the true story of a mass escape from a German POW camp in World War 2, this has an all star cast. Steve McQueen, James Coburn, Charles Bronson, Gordon Jackson, Richard Attenborough, Donald Pleasence, James Garner, David McCallum and Tom Addams as well as a few other faces.

Fed up with persistent escapes the Germans put all their rotten eggs in one basket. The POWs obviously then all work together to get not just one person out but plot to get the entire camp out. The film shows how the prisoners build tunnels, prepare disguises, learn itineries and work at distracting the guards before the final breakout. Over 70 escape but most are recaptured with several being shot in the process. As in real life 50 of the prisoners are executed, a few get away to neutral countries but the others are returned to the camp. One of Steve McQueen's most iconic movies with the motorcycle escape and stunt really memorable.

The film differs from reality as no Americans took part in the actual escape.

This tended to be on every Bank Holiday but once you started watching it you stayed with it until the end. 

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I'm going out on a limb and say that there are a number of films that will come up. Star Wars and the Empire Strikes Back, John Carpenter's The Thing, Jaws, the Godfather, The French Connection, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Schindler's List, Goodfellas, Silence of the Lambs, The Terminator, Lawrence of Arabia and Some Like it Hot.

 

Rififi. This is a French film noir from the 1950s and one of the crimes gone wrong type. The film does not have a star cast and is notable for a half hour sequence ith no dialogue or music as the gang break into a jewellers and rob the safe. It is well worth seeking out. 

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Them! This is a 1954 science fiction film where radiation leads to giant ants. The pulsating high pitched sound you hear when the ants are around still gives me the creeps every time I see the film. Part of a wave of classic science fiction from the 1950s (The Thing from Another World, Forbidden Planet, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Day the Earth Stood Still, It Came From Beneath the Sea, Quatermass, Quatermass 2, The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, This Island Earth and War of the Worlds amongst them). 

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Once Upon a Time in the West 1968. Sergio Leone Western that begins with three men waiting for a train in the middle of nowhere . Two of them are recognisable Woody Strode and Jack Elam. Te train arrives and there is no-one getting off but as the men leave a haunting melody is played on a harmonica by Charles Bronson. The resulting gunfight leaves the three men dead and Bronson wounded. An Irish family are then seen getting ready for a meal outside and they are waiting on the arrival of a woman. The family are then gunned down by hidden gunmen leaving a sole young boy as the killers appear and they are wearing the same kind of duster coats as those who awaited Bronson. The leader of the killers is revealed to be Henry Fonda and when one of his cohorts refers to him by name he cold bloodedly kills the child.

Claudia Cardinale arrives by train and is taken to where the family are as they are not at the station to meet her. On the way she runs into both Bronson and Jason Robards who was under arrest. Bronson points out that the men he killed all wore the same dusters as Robards men, a claim that Robards denies.

It turns out that Fonda is working for a man named Morton who is building a railway. He needed the land the family were on as there is water there. Fonda killed them instead of intimidating them and framed Robards gang. Bronson it turns out had a brother who Fonda killed and is after him for revenge which leads to the climatic gunfight.

It was a major success in Europe but a flop in America. It played for years in a Paris cinema.

I would say you should see other Westerns first and then see Once Upon a Time in the West  as it will then carry impact..   

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The Battle of Britain 1969

 

This is about the battles over England during the Summer and Autumn of 1940 when the RAF took on the Luftwaffe and inflicted a strategic defeat on them forcing the cancellation of Operation Sealion the invasion of England.

he film used real Spitfires, Hurricanes, Messerchmitt 109s and Heinkel 111s. The German aircraft came from Spain. Part of the filming was done by using a converted American bomber as the camera plane which allowed the pilots to manouevre around it.

The Germans speak German (and are subtitled) and the Polish speak Polish (and are subtitled).

The film used a number of well known British actors as the pilots with older actors playing the senior staff. The latter included Trevor Howard as Group Captain Park, Michael Redgrave, Kenneth More and Lord Olivier as Air Chief Marshall Dowding. The pilots included Robert Shaw, Michael Caine, Ian McShane and Barry Foster. Christopher Plummer (Canadian) played a squadron leader.

If you are used to the models in earlier films like Angels One Five and Reach for The Sky, the use of real planes gives the film a real advantage.

Some of the incidents are factual such as the bomber which crashes into Victoria Station near the end of the film. It was not actually shot down but rammed to stop it bombing Buckingham Palace. As I used to work in the vicinity of both I can testify to their proximity.

Survivors of the battle served as advisers on the film including Adolf Galland who told Goering to his face that he wanted a squadron of Spitfires. This was to shut him up more than anything. None of the major aces on either side are mentioned by name but actions they performed are included as just illustrated.

The performance of the Polish airmen who had fled to Britain is shown as they were activated partway through the battle and represent other foreign nationals such as the Czechs.

Other than science fiction you would be hard pressed to find better examples of aerial combat.

The film is also sympathetic in its treatment of the Germans particularly when a stricken bomber returns home and one of the crew has to be physically extracted from his seat and a little later when the German fighter pilots are sitting around a table with lots of empty chairs.

The film also follows the orthodox view that the Luftwaffe changed tactics and attacked London after British bombers attacked Berlin following German bombers missing their real target and hitting London by mistake.

Part of what became the Blitz is shown as London is hit by day and night raids.

  

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Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003). Horror, humor, pathos...it had it all. Add in the good acting and excellent writing (although there was some decline as the years went on), and you get a very enjoyable show.

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17 hours ago, Tjack said:

    All  five of these examples so far were remakes of something else.  If that’s the list I’ve got to include Battlestar Galactica. 

                                                    ————————————————————————————————————————
    If on the other hand you’re looking for perfection that should never be screwed with,  I’ll go get my trusty board with a nail thru it and defend with my life our last, best hope.....Babylon 5.

 

JMS has wanted to redo B5. He wants to cast Boxleitner as Clarke.

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21 minutes ago, Greywind said:

 

JMS has wanted to redo B5. He wants to cast Boxleitner as Clarke.


     Unfortunately, I’ll still have to stand on my “Don’t screw with it” opinion.  The last B5 project he did with the two episodes glued together and sold as a straight to video were just a couple of his old scripts from when he was writing Twilight Zone.

    Part one was about an exorcism being done at the station and the second was an “if you knew that child would grow up to be Hitler, would you kill them?” thing.

   The last non-B5 thing he did I know of was Changeling, the Angelina Jolie “based on a true story”movie that he was nominated for an Oscar for.  I would love to see some more great work from him, but I have no interest watching him bang away on a cash register made of something I loved.

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The Day the Earth Stood Still -- not the Keanu Reeves remake 😣, but the classic 1951 original directed by the great Robert Wise. A spaceship carrying an alien emissary arrives in Washington D.C. to give humanity a warning, but will only speak to representatives of the whole world. The humans attack and try to imprison him, but the alien escapes and goes undercover among them to try to understand their mistrust and fear.

 

The first Hollywood film to treat aliens as benevolent rather than invaders, this movie was ahead of its time in its themes and imagery, as it uses the classic sci-fi device of an alien outsider's perspective to comment on humanity. The excellent cast is led by Michael Rennie's outstanding performance as the relatable, charismatic but subtly "alien" alien, and Patricia Neal as an exceptionally strong woman character for that era in Hollywood.

 

Besides the acting and Robert Wise's haunting black-and-white imagery, the film is highlighted by Robert Herrmann's eerie theremin-based score. It also introduced one of the genre's iconic robots, and gave us one of the most famous lines in sci-fi history: "Klaatu barada nikto." :thumbup:

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18 hours ago, death tribble said:

The Great Escape (1963)

 

This movie was so good, it served as the inspiration for two pretty good animated movies: Toy Story 3 and Chicken Run.

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With appropriate respect to Neil deGrasse Tyson, Carl Sagan's 1980 PBS series Cosmos was a masterpiece that I don't believe will ever be equaled. I was about12 years old at the time, and I'd been watching Star Trek reruns for years. But this was something completely different. This was science fact. Beautiful visuals, amazing music, and Carl Sagan unfolding the mysteries of the universe to my eager young mind. This TV series literally changed my life. I don't know if I would be a science teacher had I not seen this when I was young.

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Batman (1966 film)

 

The camp TV series led into the film which was used to sell the series overseas. Lots of lines which are funny but played straight and like the series no laugh track which is a bonus. Four of Gotham's most notorious criminals join forces Riddler, Catwoman, Joker and the Penguin. While Burgess Meredith, Frank Gorshin and Cesar Romero had been in the series, Lee Meriwether was new to the role of Catwoman. The expanded budget gave the makers the opportunity to use a helicopter and a boat as well. The logic of the riddles and how there can only be one answer (however ludicrous it may seem).

Includes the legendary deathless line 'Some days you just can't get rid of a bomb !'

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