Dr. Strangelove

Stanley Kubrick

Peter Sellers dons many roles with aplomb in this dark comedy and political satire by Stanley Kubrick about Cold War shenanigans between the U.S. and Russia. He earned an Academy award nomination for his portrayal of three roles as the U.S. President, a RAF Captain and the titular wheel chair bound Nazi-like nuclear scientist Dr. Strangelove. The movie ends tragically in a nuclear holocaust. It is shot in black and white to keep with the underlying dark theme. A critics’ favourite, this is one of Kubrick’s masterpieces.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Sergio Leone

Arguably the best of spaghetti westerns and progenitor of our Sholay, this Civil War era movie has three bounty hunters outwitting each other for lost gold. Excellent acting by ‘The Ugly’ Eli Wallach and great sceneries of Western locales with a score by Ennio Morricone makes this a must-watch for movie buffs. Leone worked with Clint Eastwood for many of his cowboy sagas.

Blood Simple

Ethan and Joel Coen

The Coen brothers announced their arrival in filmdom with this stylish movie. This limited budget neo-noir crime film depicts how greed and lust leads to escalating horror. The movie is a tightly woven tale in which a bar owner hires a private detective to snoop on his wife and things go out of hand when he double crosses. The movie has a Hitchcockian feel to it and the director keeps you on the edge of the seat with the film’s unpredictable twists and turns.

Lord Of The Rings trilogy

Peter Jackson

Rarely do movies outdo their book versions. Peter Jackson’s astounding silver screen rendering of JRR Tolkien’s good vs evil adventure fantasy comes alive with extraordinary fight scenes and grand vistas of middle Earth. It is a tale of heroes bound by friendship and brought alive with CGI. Adventures don’t get better than this.

To Kill A Mockingbird

Robert Mulligan

This coming of age story is told through the eyes of a girl child in the American south where her upright lawyer father fights against pervasive bigotry and injustice. Gregory Peck as her father Atticus Finch (won an Oscar for the role) defends a black man accused of raping a white woman. But what is central to the story is the subjective experience of children amid such events, their bonding and their preoccupations.

Those that almost made it

Pulp Fiction: Quentin Tarantino

Papillon: Franklyn Schaffner

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels: Guy Ritchie

Annie Hall: Woody Allen

Srinivasan Narayanan works in a multi-national company in Chennai. He loves watching films in his spare time.