225. Goldfinger (1964)

“No Mr Bond. I expect you to die”.

Is there anyone who has not seen Goldfinger?
James Bond is ordered to Miami Beach (why doesn’t my job send me there?) to spy on bullion dealer, Auric Goldfinger. Bond notices him cheating at cards and so breaks into his apartment to stop his assistant giving him information. The assistant, Jill Masterson falls for Bond, but she ends up having the most infamous death by being painted from head to toe in gold paint.

Bond is then told to follow Goldfinger, who is suspected of smuggling large amounts of gold bullion into Europe, but he also has a daring plot to raise the value of his reserves…

A classic bank holiday film – it’s cool, sharply written and exciting, whilst not being as preposterous as later Bond movies.


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224. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Olive Hoover wins a chance to participate in the Little Miss Sunshine pageant held in Redondo Beach, California. However, due to family finances, it means taking the rundown camper van with all the dysfunctional Hoover family.

So all of them head out on a road trip from Albuquerque to California. Granddad teaches Olive her dance routine for the pageant whilst all the other members of the family deal with their problems.

It’s very sweet and funny. Though quite poignant at times, it’s a feel good movie without one ounce of schmaltz. A quirky, charming gem.


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223. The Castle of Cagliostro (1979)

Gentleman thief Lupin has just escaped from a Monte Carlo casino with a suitcase full of cash. However he soon realises that the money is counterfeit, so he goes on a trip to the Duchy of Cagliostro, where he suspects the fake cash has come from.

En route, he tries to rescue a young girl who is being attacked. He is knocked unconscious only to later discover that the girl is Clarisse, the Princess of Cagliostro. Lupin now decides to rescue the Princess and to get to the bottom of the counterfeiting operation, but things aren’t going to be easy…

I love anime and this is well-animated with a good story line, but I couldn’t put my finger on why I wasn’t particularly gripped by the film. Something was missing – maybe a little of the charm you get in later anime films. Maybe it’s now due for a remake?


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222. American Splendor (2003)

Harvey Pekar is a regular guy with an unusual way of documenting his life – in the comic book American Splendor. Using the book as a base, Paul Giamatti plays Pekar, whilst the real man watches on. As well as Pekar, his wife Joyce and work colleague Toby are also played by actors, with interspersed segments of the actual people and clips from the comic books, tell Harvey’s life story.

One of the most fascinating biographies I’ve seen – Pekar is an everyman, but also totally charming in his utter normality. The way his story is told – comic book, tv appearances, an actor playing him – are so unique that it makes for an incredibly intriguing movie. I loved it.


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221. The Guns of Navarone (1961)

Film 87 in C4 Top 100 War Films

Two thousand British troops are marooned on an island in the Aegean Sea. However, due to the enormous fortifications on the neighbouring island of Navarone, it is deemed to dangerous to rescue them. So a crack bunch of saboteurs are brought together to see if they can get onto Navarone and, using explosives, destroy the big guns there, allowing British destroyers the chance to mount a rescue of the troops.

Of course, there is double-crossing, in-fighting and sabotage. Who has betrayed them? Will they still get a chance to destroy the guns of Navarone?

Totally star-studded and constantly loud and exciting, it’s a classic war movie which deserves to be watched over and over again.


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220. Scott Pilgrim Vs The World (2010)

Scott is a bass guitarist in the band Sex Bob-omb and shares a one-room apartment with gay best friend, Wallace (played by the excellent Kieran Culkin, who also gets all the best lines).

At a party, he sees the girl of his dreams, Ramona Flowers, who initially shuns him, but once she accepts that Scott is serious, gives him her telephone number. Whilst Sex Bob-omb perform at a local Battle of the Bands, Scott is attacked by a man who states he is the first of Ramona’s seven evil exes, and that Scott now has to defeat all of them, in order to win Ramona…

Scott Pilgrim is quick-paced, offbeat and funny. You find yourself rooting for the good guys whilst being thoroughly entertained. It’s never going to win an Oscar, but I don’t think that was ever the intention.


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219. The White Ribbon (2009)

A doctor’s horse is tripped with wire, injuring it and its rider; a female farmer has a fatal accident in a barn; and a local baron’s son is physically assaulted, all within a small village.

When a disabled boy is nearly blinded, a local schoolteacher begins to suspect a few of his pupils, but the preacher, whose own children he bullies, with amongst other things, the humiliating use of a white ribbon, accuses the teacher of spreading malicious gossip.

As the incidents escalate, nothing is done to prevent them, even when a mother and child go missing. It’s dark, gothic and creepy, whist drawing parallels with the end of the First World War and the birth of national socialism. The White Ribbon is bitter, nasty, but ultimately thought-provoking.


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218. Ran (1985)

Film 86 in C4 Top 100 War Films

An old king in feudal Japan decides to abdicate in favour of his eldest son. His third son tries to warn him that this will cause in-fighting and that his older siblings will betray the king – but he ignores the warning, instead choosing to disown the third son. However, it doesn’t take long for the son’s prophesy to come true, and he endeavours to protect his father whilst bitter war is declared.

Ran is incredibly stunning with incredible battle scenes – the colours of the banners and pennants of the armies make for an amazing spectacle of a film. But my favourite bits by far are the utterly hilarious false eyebrows which everyone seemed to wear, except for the poor princess who has no eyebrows at all.

A classic Kurosawa – epic and visually beautiful.


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217. Hell in the Pacific (1968)

Film 85 in C4 Top 100 War Films

An American pilot and a Japanese officer are both marooned on a remote Pacific island. The Japanese man has become fairly self-sufficient – collecting drinking water and setting fishing traps, but the American views him as an enemy and destroys all these before realising that they have to work together the survive.

The language barrier that the pair experience is also as the viewer sees everything – the film is nearly silent and the Japanese is not subtitled, which actually adds a level of interest.  Lee Marvin is excellent as the twitchy US officer who slowly begins to trust his new neighbour and the film is more that a little funny at times, as well as very poignant. A pleasant surprise.


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216. Regeneration (1997)

Film 84 in C4 Top 100 War Films

Shell-shocked officers from the Great War are sent to Craiglockhart Hospital to recuperate. Of these men, poet Wilfred Owen meets fellow writer Siegfried Sassoon, where the latter encourages Owen to write truthfully about the horrors he has experienced.

Meanwhile, Billy Prior has lost the power of speech due to a traumatic event on the battlefield. Psychiatrist Dr Rivers tries to help him,  but Prior is bitter about the war and is desperate to leave the hospital, and lying about his mental state, goes into the local town to drink and meet women.  However, he is aware that as soon as he is fit, he will be expected to return to fighting. Dr Rivers has his own fears about the war – realising that he is sending men back to their possible deaths.

Regeneration is thought-provoking and beautifully acted, providing an insight into the trauma of war and the effects on the mind. More like a play than a film, it treats the viewer intelligently, and is an interesting change from the usual representations of the First World War.


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