Welcome to the latest What’s on Netflix top 50 movies currently streaming on Netflix for October 2019. Our selection covers a mix of the best comedy, action, romantic, sci-fi and animated movies currently streaming on Netflix. We update this list every month with the new movies that have been added to Netflix.
We shall shortly do our Halloween offerings as a special list, but in the meantime try he Heretics, Spookley, Goosebumps or The Dark Crystal for a bit of seasonal fare. Otherwise there hasn’t been much change this month, especially in our top ten. Of the new arrival watch The Bucket List and Trainspotting. Let us know what you think.
- 1 50. (50) The Water Horse – 2007
- 2 49. (49) The Pink Panther – 2006
- 3 48. (48)The Heretics – 2017
- 4 47. (47) Mona Lisa Smile – 2003
- 5 46. (-) Charlie’s Angels – 2000
- 6 45. (-) Men in Black II – 2002
- 7 44. (45) First Kill – 2017
- 8 43. (44) 9 – 2009
- 9 42. (43) Spookley the Square Pumpkin – 2005
- 10 41. (42) Tears of the Sun – 2003
- 11 40. (41) Dante’s Peak – 1997
- 12 39. (-) Along Came a Spider – 2001
- 13 38. (40) Swordfish – 2001
- 14 37. (39) Open Season – 2006
- 15 36. (38) Layer Cake – 2004
- 16 35. (37) Goosebumps – 2015
- 17 34. (36) Wet Hot American Summer – 2001
- 18 33. (-) The Bucket List – 2007
- 19 32. (34) The Aviator – 2004
- 20 31. (33) The Lake House – 2006
- 21 30. (32) Billy Elliot – 2000
- 22 29. (31) Stripes – 1981
- 23 28. (29) About a Boy – 2002
- 24 27. (28) Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back – 2001
- 25 26. (27) My Sister’s Keeper – 2009
- 26 25. (26) Beasts of No Nation – 2015
- 27 24. (25) Saving Mr. Banks – 2013
- 28 23. (24) American Psycho – 2000
- 29 22. (23) Philadelphia – 1993
- 30 21. (22) The Dark Crystal – 1982
- 31 20. (21) War Horse – 2011
- 32 19. (20) John & Yoko: Above Us Only Sky – 2018
- 33 18. (-) Trainspotting – 1996
- 34 17. (19) 300 – 2006
- 35 16. (18) The Hateful Eight – 2015
- 36 15. (16) Superbad – 2007
- 37 14. (14) Black Hawk Down – 2001
- 38 13. (13) Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon – 2000
- 39 12. (12) The King’s Speech – 2010
- 40 11. (11) The Theory of Everything – 2014
- 41 10. (10) The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers – 2002
- 42 9. (9) The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King – 2003
- 43 8. (8) The Boy in the Striped Pajamas – 2008
- 44 7. (7) 3 Idiots – 2009
- 45 6. (6) Monty Python and the Holy Grail – 1975
- 46 5. (5) Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark – 1981
- 47 4. (4) Rain Man – 1988
- 48 3. (3) Taxi Driver – 1976
- 49 2. (2) Pulp Fiction – 1994
- 50 1. (1) Schindlers List – 1993
50. (50) The Water Horse – 2007
Directed by: Jay Russell
Starring: Emily Watson, David Morrissey, Alex Etel
Running time: 1hr 52min
Have you been missing the Loch Ness Monster? We have. Thankfully, it’s been brought to life. This is a family movie with an endearing story and fine CGI. Set before WWII, the period attitudes add to the romance of the movie and add a depth that might be missed by the kids but will be appreciated by an older audience.
49. (49) The Pink Panther – 2006
Directed by: Shawn Levy
Starring: Steve Martin, Kevin Kline, Jean Reno
Running time: 1hr 33min
Inspector Clouseau was the creation of the comedic genius Peter Sellers. The original was released in 1963 and, arguably, didn’t really need a remake. Having said that, Steve Martin is great comedy actor and makes the movie work. If you are a fan of slapstick (the original was nothing if not great British slapstick) The Pink Panther will work for you. And you can watch it with the kids which is always nice.
48. (48)The Heretics – 2017
Directed by: Chad Archibald
Starring: Nina Kiri, Ry Barrett, Jorja Cadence
Running time: 1hr 27min
We haven’t had a good horror movie for a while. The Heretics has plenty of twists and turns even if they are, arguably, rather predictable. For fans of the genre, this won’t disappoint. Produced in Canada on a relatively low budget, it isn’t a slave to any particular influence. Lot’s of gore and special effects.
47. (47) Mona Lisa Smile – 2003
Directed by: Mike Newell
Starring: Julia Roberts, Kirsten Dunst, Julia Stiles
Running time: 1h 57min
The idea of a progressive and adventurous teacher is hackneyed in the movies. That Julia Roberts should give it a go is little surprise. The good news is that the performances, without exception, are excellent. The characters draw us in and it’s easy to empathize. Roberts puts in a considerably better delivery than her Erin Brockovich for which she won her Oscar
46. (-) Charlie’s Angels – 2000
Directed by: McG
Starring: Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu
Running time: 1hr 38min
You’re probably wondering why Joseph McGinty Nichol wants to be known as McG. So are we. Answers on a postcard please. Charlie’s Angel started life as a successful TV series in the 1970s starring Kate Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Jaclyn Smith. It was, perhaps, inevitable that a movie would be made but the 20 wait tells something of a story about the desperate search for material around then. This is an easy watch that won’t tax the little grey cells.
45. (-) Men in Black II – 2002
Directed by: Barry Sonnenfeld
Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith, Rip Torn
Running time: 1hr 28min
We had to do it. Best watched back to back with the original, MIIB is a simple continuation of the infinitessimal story. The comedy is gentle and the special effects are fine. And as a retread, it works better than many. The conceit that aliens have been living on Earth for a while and not all of them are bad is a pleasant look at what is almost certainly a true story. Well it just is.
44. (45) First Kill – 2017
Directed by: Steven C. Miller
Starring: Bruce Willis, Hayden Christensen, Ty Shelton
Running time: 1hr 37min
There are many movies which are vehicles for Bruce Willis to be Bruce Willis and First Kill in is that long list. Willis fans won’t mind that this is far from his greatest performance. The script is fine, the story is good and the father son relationship is well delivered. The question that will keep you hooked is how high does the corruption go?
43. (44) 9 – 2009
Directed by: Shane Acker
Starring: Elijah Wood, Jennifer Connelly, Crispin Glover
Running time: 1h 19min
It would be easy to dismiss 9 as animation for animations sake. That would be wrong. While the concept is pretty surreal and the story rather indifferent, the delivery is very good. The bad guys are pleasantly bad and the good guys pleasantly endearing. This one draws you in and holds you. Against the backdrop of some exceptional artwork and great animation, this is probably not one for the kids. And therein lies the message. An animated movie for grown-ups has got be something special.
42. (43) Spookley the Square Pumpkin – 2005
Directed by: Bernie Denk
Starring: Sonja Ball, Craig Francis, Rick Jones
Running time: 0hr 45min
Spookley the Square Pumpkin is short enough to keep your kids attention but long enough to deliver it’s message. Never judge a pumpkin by it’s looks! Actually, the message is important and a good one for kids to learn. There are very few films aimed at the under 5s and this movie deals with the spooky idea of halloween with no fear factor at all.
41. (42) Tears of the Sun – 2003
Directed by: Antoine Fuqua
Starring: Bruce Willis, Cole Hauser, Monica Bellucci
Running time: 2h 1min
Tears of the Sun is a vehicle for Bruce Willis to do what he does best. The tough action-man expressionless hero delivering a deep morality story. There is nothing sanitized here. The movie is brutal and there’s plenty of action. The premise that “grunts” might have minds of their own and a healthy disregard for the Geneva convention is really rather refreshing.
40. (41) Dante’s Peak – 1997
Directed by: Roger Donaldson
Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Linda Hamilton, Jamie Renée Smith
Running time: 1hr 48min
We got to thinking. Is there a disaster movie that does not involve natural causes? Dante’s Inferno – sorry Dante’s Peak, not to be confused with The Towering Inferno – looks at the impact of an active volcano on a small country town. Given the capacity for the various cast members to be rather wooden, their performances here are really quite good. The tension builds well as the relationships develop. Of particular note is the excellent score by James Newton Howard but the true highlight of the movie is the volcano. It’s the best movie volcano ever.
39. (-) Along Came a Spider – 2001
Directed by: Lee Tamahori
Starring: Morgan Freeman, Michael Wincott, Monica Potter
Running time: 1hr 44min
From the enoromously successful pen of James Patterson comes one of several screen portrayals of his detective Alex Cross. The clue (sorry) is in the word detective. Along Came a Spider is a crime thriller and a good one. There’s plenty of suspense in a very credible storyline and the movie moves at a pace. Without trying to offer a spoiler, the twist at the end is most satisfying.
38. (40) Swordfish – 2001
Directed by: Dominic Sena
Starring: John Travolta, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry
Running time: 1hr 39min
If for no other reason, the opening sequences of Swordfish make this a hugely watchable movie. Having said that, a couple of other points come out quite nicely later in the movie. The cast is stacked with both American and British stars which is a fairly transparent attempt to make the movie popular on both sides of the Atlantic. Frankly, they needn’t have bothered. The movie has got sufficient going on to make it work. Deep and meaningful it ain’t but the special effects more than makeup for that.
37. (39) Open Season – 2006
Directed by: Roger Allers, Jill Culton
Starring: Ashton Kutcher, Martin Lawrence, Debra Messing
Running time: 1hr 26min
With shades of Shrek’s Donkey in the fast talking mule deer Elliot, Open Season is definitely one for the kids. The animation is good and the side characters bring plenty of humor. This is far from ground breaking stuff but that’s OK. There’s more than enough charm to the movie and the songs are easily remembered. Despite the theme, there’s no violence. Don’t try and analyze it, just sit back and enjoy.
36. (38) Layer Cake – 2004
Directed by: Matthew Vaughn
Starring: Daniel Craig, Sienna Miller, Michael Gambon
Running time: 1h 45min
Layer Cake is another of the powerful British gangster movies. The world has changed and the rules are that there are no rules. Retiring from a business that won’t let you retire is the problem. There’s a strange type of humour to this movie but it doesn’t set out looking for laughs. Its just story telling again a dark background done well.
35. (37) Goosebumps – 2015
Directed by: Rob Letterman
Starring: Jack Black, Dylan Minnette, Odeya Rush
Running time: 1h 43min
Off Netflix and almost immediately back again, Goosebumps is a family friendly monsters movie with some nice special effects and quality performances from a largely unknown supporting cast. Jack Black in the lead role is his usual competent self. Based loosely on the series of Shivers children’s books (Black’s character is rather shamelessly called Shivers) which were, in turn, a “rip off” of the earlier series of Goosebumps books. This is the end of a procession of, er, recycled material that actually works.
34. (36) Wet Hot American Summer – 2001
Directed by: David Wain
Starring: Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, Michael Showalter
Running time: 1h 37min
Wet Hot American Summer crams a summers worth of unfinished business into 24 hours in a romcom that really does help you with a suspension of reality. We’re talking Talking Vegetable Can suspension of reality. This is a parody spoof of many many summer camp movies from the 70s and 80s and mirrors some of the finer moments. And look out for the Netflix Original spinoffs.
33. (-) The Bucket List – 2007
Directed by: Rob Reiner
Starring: Jack Nicholson, Morgan Freeman, Sean Hayes
Running time: 1hr 37min
When two of our greatest actors set out to do a feel good movie, the end result can only be great. Alright, this was never going to be Oscar winning material, comedies rarely are, but it ticks an awful lot of boxes. There’s a great script perfectly delivered, real comedy and some moments of true pathos. Wouldn’t it be nice to have the odd million lying around to be able to set off on a journey like this. Without the cancer of course.
32. (34) The Aviator – 2004
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, Kate Beckinsale
Running time: 2hr 50min
Many have heard of Howard Hughes but not everyone is aware of what a complete OCD weirdo he was. The Aviator goes a long way towards correcting that. Nominated for 11 Oscars and winner of 5, it plumbs the depths of Hughes mind with enormous sensitivity. Hughes inherited his fathers tool company (and therewith substantial wealth) at a young age. This allowed him to indulge his passion for aviation. The great story comes from the Outlaw where he engaged his aircraft designers in the creation of a new concept in bras for Jane Russell.
31. (33) The Lake House – 2006
Directed by: Alejandro Agresti
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, Christopher Plummer
Running time: 1hr 39min
There are three characters in The Lake House: Alex, Kate and The Lake House. This is a romance in the purest sense of the word but the need to understand the roots of that romance provides an extraordinarily strong story. Whatever you thing of Reeves and Bullock, this arguably both their strongest performances; perhaps because it’s a major departure from their usual sort of stuff. The movie is unusual for a romance because it benefits hugely from multiple viewings.
30. (32) Billy Elliot – 2000
Directed by: Stephen Daldry
Starring: Jamie Bell, Julie Walters, Jean Heywood
Running time: 1hr 50min
Set against a background of the UK miners strikes in the 1980s, Billy Elliot is a true feel good movie. As stereotypes break down, the young Billy’s passion for dance takes over in a difficult family situation. The characterisation in this movie is perfect, especially as it’s loosely based on a true story. The inspiration for the story was actually an opera singer. That doesn’t matter. This movie works on every level.
29. (31) Stripes – 1981
Directed by: Ivan Reitman
Starring: Bill Murray, John Candy, Harold Ramis
Running time: 1hr 46min
Ghostbusters meets Full Metal Jacket meets Bilko meets Shakespeare. Yes, Shakespeare. The premise of joining the army for a bit of fun is, of course, ridiculous; but that’s what you need for comedy. Stripes moves from contived situation to contrived situation seamlessly and the end result is the sort of easy comedy you’d expect from Reitman, Murray, Ramis et al. Unlike many army movies, there’s no great message here and it’s more the better for that. Hands up everyone who wants an urban assault vehicle.
28. (29) About a Boy – 2002
Directed by: Chris Weitz, Paul Weitz
Starring: Hugh Grant, Nicholas Hoult, Toni Collette
Running time: 1hr 41min
Unusually for a top British light-hearted comedy, About a Boy does not come from the pen of Richard Curtis; rather it is an adaptation of a Nick Hornby novel. Also, Chris and Paul Weitz move seamlessly between the quintessentially US comedy of American Pie to a quintessentially British setting. In reality, the Boy is the “Peter Pan” grown up rather than the child actor. This is a nice family movie.
27. (28) Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back – 2001
Directed by: Kevin Smith
Starring: Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, Ben Affleck
Running time: 1h 44min
Jay and Silent Bob have appeared in several movies involving Kevin Smith. If you haven’t seen it, Dogma is probably the best. Through their multiple appearances, the two protagonists have developed a considerable back story including the idea that his first word as a child was the F bomb. These are fine comedy creations and we hope to see them appear again in the future.
26. (27) My Sister’s Keeper – 2009
Directed by: Nick Cassavetes
Starring: Cameron Diaz, Abigail Breslin, Alec Baldwin
Running time: 1hr 49min
For a movie that addresses many emotional issues, My Sister’s Keeper is neither overly melodramatic nor unduly predictable. It is, however, both sensitive and objective. The relationships in the movie that are amplified and complicated by the leukemia of the child are well handled and grow through the story. You are constantly asked to question what your attitudes would be in each persons situation and this makes the movie very rewarding.
25. (26) Beasts of No Nation – 2015
Directed by: Cary Fukunaga
Starring: Abraham Attah, Emmanuel Affadzi, Ricky Adelayitor
Running time: 2h 17min
Beasts of No Nation was the movie that Netflix had in its inventory to change cinema forever. While it didn’t quite cause the revolution they were hoping for, it did leave Netflixers with one of the best movies of 2015. Thought-provoking and moving, the movie starred Idris Elba and followed the civil conflict in Africa.
24. (25) Saving Mr. Banks – 2013
Directed by: John Lee Hancock
Starring: Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Annie Rose Buckley
Running time: 2h 5min
When Walt Disney agreed to bring Mary Poppins to the big screen in 1964 (55 years ago, can you believe it?), his relationship with the author of the book – P.L. Travers – was nothing if not strained. She felt she knew more about the movies than Disney! The Mr Banks of the title is the father of the family and saving him references the fact that the 5 Oscar winning movie was very nearly never made. This true story is, arguably, better than the underlying story.
23. (24) American Psycho – 2000
Directed by: Mary Harron
Starring: Christian Bale, Justin Theroux, Josh Lucas
Running time: 1hr 41min
If black comedic, satiric and classy social commentary is your thing, then look no further than American Psycho. Christian Bale delivers a soaring indictment of the world where nothing but material values matter. As he decends into complete depravity, his obvious screams for help go completely ignored. An undoubted problem in modern society. That the movie is approcahing it’s 20th anniversary doesn’t matter. It remains entirely relevant today.
22. (23) Philadelphia – 1993
Directed by: Jonathan Demme
Starring: Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Roberta Maxwell
Running time: 2hr 5min
Back when AIDS was headline news, it was only a matter of time before an important movie examined the stigma that the disease carried. Philadelphia earned Tom Hanks the first of his two back to back Oscars (Forrest Gump was next) and is as relevant today as it was when it was made.
21. (22) The Dark Crystal – 1982
Directed by: Jim Henson, Frank Oz
Starring: Jim Henson, Kathryn Mullen, Frank Oz
Running time: 1h 33min
Jim Henson was the genius creator of the Muppets and Sesame Street. The Dark Crystal is set in an imaginary world a long time ago (sound familiar?) and, while a strong movie in it’s won right, has enjoyed added credibility after the Success of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. At the highest level, it’s a story of Good versus Evil but there is plenty of depth beyond that. Since puppets don’t age – unlike real actors – this movie has stood the test of time and will continue to do so.
20. (21) War Horse – 2011
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson, David Thewlis
Running time: 2h 26min
World War II has been brought to the movies many, many times. World War I far less so. Spielberg is no stranger to historical movies and delivers once again. Having said that, War Horse is a good rather than great movie. Looking at the horrors of war through the role of the horse is a fascinating spin and the story is helped by an able cast. We get a taste of the great things to come from Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hiddlestone. And John Williams delivers another of his huge music scores.
19. (20) John & Yoko: Above Us Only Sky – 2018
Directed by: Michael Epstein
Starring: Yoko Ono, Julian Lennon, David Bailey
Running time: 1h 30min
We haven’t had a documentary in our list for a while and John & Yoko: Above Us Only Sky is a welcome inclusion. This is the story of the making of the seminal album Imagine and it includes a wealth of previously unseen footage and interviews. Imagine was the only piece of solo work that matched the heights of the Beatles after their break-up. Yoko Ono’s influence of Lennons creative genius was clearly as strong as Paul McCartneys in the earlier years.
18. (-) Trainspotting – 1996
Directed by: Danny Boyle
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller
Running time: 1hr 33min
The cast alone should be tempting enough to warrant a watch of this movie but in case it doesn’t let’s fill you in. Starring Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller and a lot of other hot British actors at the time, the 1996 movie takes you into the heart of the drug trade in Edinburgh. The movie is directed by Danny Boyle which probably explains why we can’t stop watching this movie two decades later.
17. (19) 300 – 2006
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Starring: Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, David Wenham
Running time: 1hr 57min
300 is a true story but since all that is really known is that the Battle of Thermopylae happened during the Persian Wars, the movie has a free licence in the telling of the story. This is a great sand, swords and sandals movie with action scenes that are realistic and a strong storyline. The Spartans were a tough bunch and were let down by a traitor who went over to the Persians. That 300 men held out for three days against an enemy well in excess of 100,000 speaks volumes.
16. (18) The Hateful Eight – 2015
Directed by: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh
Running time: 3h 7min
The Hateful Eight takes over 3 hours to earn its Oscar and that was for the music. As Tarantino movies go, there’s plenty of gore and violence but the dialogue really isn’t up to his usual standard. Also, the story is virtually non-existent; its just people killing other people. The movie was much hyped before its release and the script was leaked adding to the hype. If you’re a Tarantino fan, give it a go. If you’re a western fan, don’t expect a lot of glorious scenery.
15. (16) Superbad – 2007
Directed by: Greg Mottola
Starring: Michael Cera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse
Running time: 1hr 53min
Superbad is a coming of age comedy movie. It was critically acclaimed and rightly so. It has far more depth than the oft compared American Pie and better comedy moments. The cast click and the relationships are entirely believable. This is unusual in a contrived situation movie. And let’s face it, we all enjoy a laugh at the expense of some dumb cops.
14. (14) Black Hawk Down – 2001
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Starring: Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, Tom Sizemore
Running time: 2h 24min
Collecting two Oscars, Black Hawk Down is the true story of a disastrous American operation in Somalia. This is brutal realism (slightly unusual for Ridley Scott) with no undercurrents. No love story, no contrived dialogue, no happy ending. War is gruesome and the movie pulls no punches. This is not one for the faint-hearted. And ask yourself, what were the Americans doing in Somalia in the first place?
13. (13) Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon – 2000
Directed by: Ang Lee
Starring: Yun-Fat Chow, Michelle Yeoh, Ziyi Zhang
Running time: 2h
Shunned in China and warmly received in the west, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is as much a romantic adventure as a kung fu spectacular. The movie actually panders to west tastes. Director Ang Lee described the film to star Michelle Yeoh as Sense and Sensibility with martial arts. Lee had, of course, directed Sense and Sensibility in 1995.
12. (12) The King’s Speech – 2010
Directed by: Tom Hooper
Starring: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter
Running time: 1h 58min
When the British knock out a great movie, they don’t hang around. The King’s Speech collected 4 Oscars from it’s 12 nominations. There is an enduring respect if not love for the British royal family around the world and there seems to be and enduring appetite for stories about them. Reference, of course, the Netflix Original drama The Crown. Events surrounding the abdication are well know but this is a nice look at what was going on from a completely different angle.
11. (11) The Theory of Everything – 2014
Directed by: James Marsh
Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Tom Prior
Running time: 2hr 3min
The number of biopic movies that have won the best actor Oscar in the last 30 years is disproportionate. Stephen Hawking was an extraordinary man and Eddie Redmayne, an extraordinary actor delivers an extraordinary performance in the story of his life. There’s no great hidden depth or message here; just a story of a life well lived. Inspirational? Definitely. Moving? Very. Will you end up understanding black holes? Almost certainly not.
10. (10) The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers – 2002
Directed by: Peter Jackson
Starring: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen
Running time: 2hr 59min
If you were looking forward to a good 8 hour binge of the Lord of The Rings trilogy, bad luck. For reasons that are entirely unclear, only the second and third are currently streaming on Netflix. While each movie stands on it’s own two feet, the whole is massively greater than the sum of the parts; Tolkein did not write three books. Well actually he did; but it’s one story spread over three volumes. This is, of course, the follow on from The Hobbit.
9. (9) The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King – 2003
Directed by: Peter Jackson
Starring: Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen
Running time: 3hr 21min
Tolkein always maintained that The Lord of The Rings was written for children. If this is the case, what’s all the fuss about? From a cinematic point of view the answer is simple; the trilogy is vast in concept and delivery. From a story point of view, this is the ultimate tale of good versus evil. You could search for religious analogies and under currents but there’s really not necessary for a full appreciation of this masterpiece. This last movie in the trilogy cracked 11 Oscars, a feat only achieved by Ben Hur and Titanic.
8. (8) The Boy in the Striped Pajamas – 2008
Directed by: Mark Herman
Starring: Asa Butterfield, David Thewlis, Rupert Friend
Running time: 1h 34min
A deeply moving movie about the friendship between two young boys through the wire of a holocaust concentration camp, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is an examination of the devastating effect of war on two innocents. The holocaust is one of the indictments of the Germans during this desperate period of their history – “We were only following orders” – but that it should have been imposed on young children who knew nothing of the concept is beyond comprehension.
7. (7) 3 Idiots – 2009
Directed by: Rajkumar Hirani
Starring: Aamir Khan, Madhavan, Mona Singh
Running time: 2hr 50min
We haven’t featured a movie from the sub-continent for a long while; shame on us. With the word idiot in the title, you can be sure that 3 Idiots is a comedy. This movie is at #83 in the IMDB top 250 which speaks volumes. A romp through a voyage of rediscovery, this is loosely Bollywood because of the songs but it’s a lot more. The nearly 3 hour running time will seem like a few minutes and the hidden depths and poignant moments do nothing but entertain.
6. (6) Monty Python and the Holy Grail – 1975
Directed by: Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones
Starring: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle & many more
Running time: 1h 31min
Monty Python and the Holy Grail has been described as one of the funniest movies ever made. Anyone familiar with the Pythons irreverent and surrealistic view of the world can only agree. This is loosely a romp through the history of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Since the story is largely myth and legend, the Pythons have a free rein to shred it. And they do.
5. (5) Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark – 1981
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman
Running time: 1h 55min
Archaeology eh! Now there’s a dull subject. Except when the reward is priceless riches and power. Odd since Indiana Jones isn’t particularly interested in either. This a Spielberg adventure with plenty of comedy, action and one-liners which will come round time and time again. Get yourself a whip and a homburg why don’t you?
4. (4) Rain Man – 1988
Directed by: Barry Levinson
Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise, Valeria Golino
Running time: 2hr 13min
It is sometimes difficult to understand how an actor can win the Best Actor Oscar and his co-star misses out on the best supporting actor award. Rain Man is a classic example of this. Tom Cruise, who puts in an excellent performance, wasn’t even nominated. Rain Man is an emotional and yet amusing movie that will register as a classic over time.
3. (3) Taxi Driver – 1976
Directed by: Martin Scorsese
Starring: Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Cybill Shepherd
Running time: 1hr 54min
Both Jodie Foster – 14 at the time – and Robert De Niro were nominated for their performances in the hugely powerful Taxi Driver. This is a timeless and, frankly, important movie which has a view of society that has changed little in over 40 years. The “You talking to me?” scene has become one of the most quoted scenes over the years and the final scene will leave a lasting impression on you.
2. (2) Pulp Fiction – 1994
Directed by: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Samuel L. Jackson
Running time: 2h 34min
Pulp Fiction moves seamlessly between 4 simultaneous story lines with plenty of trademark Tarantino violence and humour. The big unanswered question is what is in the briefcase? There have been many speculations over the years but no definitive answers. Our favourite explanation is that it’s Marcellus’ soul and the band-aid on his neck is where it was taken out. But the way it shines, it could just be gold. The performances in Pulp Fiction are as good as it gets, Tarantino’s choice of music is superb, and the screenplay is a masterpiece. This movie works on every level.
1. (1) Schindlers List – 1993
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley
Running time: 3h 15min
Another classic from the great Steven Spielberg, Schindlers List is the true story of the efforts of a conscientious German businessman to help Jews avoid the Nazi concentration camps. Oskar Schindler was not a particularly likeable person which makes this story even more remarkable. This is a long movie at over 3 hours but the 7 Oscars it won explain why it’s a must watch. Let’s hope it’s lessons have been learned for all time.