Authors Top 100: 61-80

#61 U.S. MARSHALS (1998)

Tommy Lee Jones – Wesley Snipes – Robert Downey Jr

Action-packed ‘chasing down the bad guy’ movie with a couple of twists along the way. There are some terrific stunts, too, and one of the most convincing airliner crashes you will see

#62 SKIN GAME (1971)

James Garner – Lou Gossett Jr – Susan Clark

Today, this picture would probably be considered politically incorrect, but in the 1970s it was popular, as was its star James Garner. Making a comedy-caper film around the slave trade does not happen often, but both Garner and Gossett carry it off with aplomb.

#63 ZULU (1964)

Michael Caine – Stanley Baker – Jack Hawkins

The iconic British Army movie set in the 1879 Zulu Wars and based on a true life battle, the defense of the mission station at Rorke’s Drift, Natal, South Africa. The only sour note is the over the top, whining, rambling preacher character portrayed by Jack Hawkins. Fortunately, he disappears early in the film – but not nearly early enough. This is the movie that made Michael Caine a star at the age of 30.

#64 THELMA & LOUISE (1991)

Susan Sarandon – Geena Davis – Harvey Keitel

The ultimate ‘women’s power’ movie sees the two female leads embark upon a cross country trip that snowballs into a crime spree that gathers in momentum and seriousness as the film progresses.

#65 A PERFECT MURDER (1998)

Gwyneth Paltrow – Michael Douglas – Viggo Mortensen

A remake of the Hitchcock thriller Dial ‘M’ for Murder, and a pretty good one at that. This version does not have the spectacular Grace Kelly to look at, but Mortensen’s role is far better than Anthony Dawson’s in the original, and there are a couple of added twists here that maintain pace and interest.

#66 FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL (1994)

Hugh Grant – Andie MacDowell – Kristin Scott Thomas

This romantic comedy made more money than any other British film of the 90s and rightly so. It is both funny and moving. John Hannah’s eulogy at the funeral is a highlight.

#67 BEAU GESTE (1939)

Gary Cooper – Ray Milland – Robert Preston

P C Wren’s classic novel has been filmed a few times, but this black and white version from 1939 is easily the best. The only negative note is sounded by Brian Donlevy’s over the top portrayal of Markoff. For some reason the Geste’s protagonist was named Lejaune in the book, Markoff here, and Dagineau in the 1966 version. Why?

#68 ENEMY OF THE STATE (1998)

Will Smith – Gene Hackman – Jon Voight

A fast-paced, high tech thriller with a strong cast and excellent script. Voight plays a good villain these days and Hackman is a class act all his own

#69 THE RIGHT STUFF (1983)

Ed Harris – Dennis Quaid – Sam Shepard

A terrific look at how the Mercury astronauts were chosen, trained, and sent on their missions into space. It took a lot of courage to sit atop a rocket not knowing if it would take off or blow up. Genuine heroes.

#70 SIX DAYS, SEVEN NIGHTS (1998)

Harrison Ford – Anne Heche – Jacqueline Obradors

A lightweight, adventure-comedy that abounds in humorous moments and breathtaking scenery. There is nothing brilliant about this movie. It is simply an exercise in escapism. Fun entertainment.

#71 RED RIVER (1948)

John Wayne – Montgomery Clift – Joanne Dru

One of many very good westerns starring John Wayne. In this he ages to a 60 year-old man, and most convincingly, too, but his performance was, as usual, overlooked by the academy. Clift is excellent also. Gorgeous Joanne Dru simply could not act.

#72 HOTEL RWANDA (2004)

Don Cheadle – Sophie Okonedo – Nick Nolte

When genocide erupted in Rwanda in 1994 the world more or less stood by and watched. This harrowing tale describes the terrible situation in that country when Hutus took the law into their own hands and butchered nearly a million Tutsis as the UN chose to focus its attentions on the Balkans instead.

#73 TOMBSTONE (1993)

Kurt Russell – Val Kilmer – Powers Boothe

A very stylish western (everybody and everything is so clean), but there are so many brilliant set pieces that the lack of gritty realism doesn’t seem to matter. It also sticks quite rigidly to the facts (unlike My Darling Clementine and Gunfight at the O.K. Corral), so the showy stuff is forgiven. Stephen Lang’s memorable portrayal of outlaw Ike Clanton is worthy of special mention, as is Powers Boothe’s Curly Bill Brocius.

#74 BROKEN LANCE (1954)

Spencer Tracy – Richard Widmark – Robert Wagner

Westerns were so prolific in the 1950s that every now and then a real gem emerged. This one enjoyed the services of Tracy and Widmark, the latter much under-rated, and a wide screen presentation typical of that period when competition from TV was beginning to challenge the industry.

#75 SPARTACUS (1960)

Kirk Douglas – Laurence Olivier – Charles Laughton

This is a monumentally superior picture compared to Ben-Hur, yet the latter was showered with awards and accolades while Spartacus was deemed to be ‘OK’ by most critics. Dalton Trumbo’s magic screenplay was a huge plus, thanks to Douglas having the courage to ignore the blacklist and employ him. The casting of Tony Curtis as a slave, however, was inexcusable.

#76 THE FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX (1965)

James Stewart – Hardy Kruger – Peter Finch

This survival drama sports as good a cast of character actors (and leads) as you would find anywhere. Everybody is good. The story tends to go on a little too long, but the screenplay and the performances, especially by Kruger, are first class.

#77 SOME LIKE IT HOT (1959)

Marilyn Monroe – Tony Curtis – Jack Lemmon

A truly hilarious comedy that showcases Lemmon’s comedic skills and again demonstrates the range Curtis had. He was brilliant in the dramatic Sweet Smell of Success and The Boston Strangler, and very funny here. His choice of material at times was incredibly poor, however, (Spartacus, The Black Shield of Falworth), which tended to severely damage his reputation as a serious actor. Marilyn is equally beautiful in black and white or color.

#78 PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL (2003)

Johnny Depp – Geoffrey Rush – Orlando Bloom

The first of the ‘Pirates’ series of movies was a refreshing blast with Depp stealing the show in almost every scene. I loved the score, too. Since then, however, the follow-ups have gotten darker and darker, and sillier and sillier until they killed the whole idea stone dead. Enough already.

#79 DAVE (1993)

Kevin Kline – Frank Langella – Sigourney Weaver

The premise is about as far-fetched as it gets – a ‘nobody’ who happens to be a dead ringer for the US President is chosen by unscrupulous White House politicians to impersonate the man after he suffers a stroke. Kline is always good and Langella can be very, very sinister when he chooses to be, so they manage to carry off an entertaining picture, albeit one with an unbelievable premise.

#80 SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE (1998)

Gwyneth Paltrow – Geoffrey Rush – Colin Firth

A most enjoyable romantic comedy spoiled only by Joseph Fiennes who is not one hundredth the actor that his brother is. Paltrow’s greatest moment in filmdon, although scarcely worth a Best Actor Oscar. Beautiful score.

Authors Top 100: 81-100