2001 A Space Odyssey
Referred to as the ‘Big Bang’ of the 20th century Stanley Kubrick made this most revered and enigmatic science fiction film in 1968. Released as a 70 mm miracle and adopted from Arthur C. Clarke’s short story The Sentinel, 2001 A Space Odyssey tells the story of how mankind evolves from apes to a pure energy form star child all guided by an enigmatic alien race manifested as black monoliths throughout history. With breathtaking innovative special effects that stood across time, realistic depictions of space travel, as well as its distinctive four-act structure 2001 A Space Odyssey won Kubrick his only Academy Award for best visual effects.
Lawrence of Arabia
An epic cinematic masterpiece David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia revolves around the controversial life of T.E. Lawrence and his experiences in World War I. Starring an exceptional cast of Peter ‘O Toole as T.E. Lawrence, Alec Guinness and Omar Sharif it tells the story of how Lawrence was sent as an emissary to aid Prince Faisal played by Alec Guinness to fight against the Turks and eventually become a hero amongst the tribes of the desert and his involvement in the Arab National Council. Noted for its dazzling and spectacular 70 mm cinematography as well as exceptional performances from the cast Lawrence of Arabia went on to win seven Academy Awards and earned extreme positive reviews from critics and eminent filmmakers alike.
The Seventh Seal
All lists of great films ever made are incomplete without an Ingmar Bergman film. Released in 1957 this Swedish film set during the Middle Ages and the Black Death tells the story of a medieval knight and his encounter with death on a chess game manifested as a black hooded figure who has come to take his life. Extremely philosophical and poetic in content The Seventh Seal has been considered Bergman’s finest work amongst his numerous other films and has earned a reputation in world cinema as a true classic.
Hiroshima Mon Amour
A product of the influential Nouvelle Vague or French New Wave cinema movement Hiroshima Mon Amour is a 1959 drama film about an intense personal relationship between a Japanese architect played by Eiji Okada and a French actress portrayed by Emmanuelle Riva before being separated. Shot in a non-linear narrative style Alan Resnais portrays the love affair and separation with documented shots of the aftermath of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in a juxtaposed and synchronised manner. Hiroshima Mon Amour earned extreme positive reviews from critics winning numerous international awards.
An all-time classic example of science fiction Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner mesmerised people with its bleak depictions of a futuristic dystopian society. Adopted from the Philip. K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep Blade Runner is the story of a special police operative assigned with the task of hunting down genetically-engineered robots called replicants which are declared illegal on earth. Blade Runner generated a cult following due to the philosophical element that it encompasses and earned a new trademark in visual effects, neo noir cinematography as well as production design. Often regarded as Scott’s finest film Blade Runner was released to immense critical acclaim.
Those that almost made it
The Godfather Part I & II: Francis Ford Coppola
Raging Bull: Martin Scorsese
Munich: Steven Spielberg
One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest: Milos Forman
Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb: Stanley Kubrick
Sachin Krishna writes on contemporary cinema and literature. He lives in Aluva.