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BOT's Top 100 Movies of All Time - Hindsight is 2020 Edition

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49 minutes ago, TalismanRing said:

 

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Orgasmic

 

 

BINGO! 
 

Not only in the excessive but in he took time to figure out her likes and then gave her a thoughtful gift!!!

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"Here's Johnny!"

 

 

About the Movie

 

Synopsis

 

"Haunted by a persistent writer's block, the aspiring author and recovering alcoholic, Jack Torrance, drags his wife, Wendy, and his gifted son, Danny, up snow-capped Colorado's secluded Overlook Hotel after taking up a job as an off-season caretaker. As the cavernous hotel shuts down for the season, the manager gives Jack a grand tour, and the facility's chef, the ageing Mr Hallorann, has a fascinating chat with Danny about a rare psychic gift called "The Shining", making sure to warn him about the hotel's abandoned rooms, and, in particular, the off-limits Room 237. However, instead of overcoming the dismal creative rut, little by little, Jack starts losing his mind, trapped in an unforgiving environment of seemingly endless snowstorms, and a gargantuan silent prison riddled with strange occurrences and eerie visions. Now, the incessant voices inside Jack's head demand sacrifice. Is Jack capable of murder?" - IMDb

 

Its Legacy

 

"May 23 marks the 40th anniversary of Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining,” and while today it may be hard to dispute its masterpiece status, the Stephen King adaptation did not satisfy critics in 1980. Sure, the movie has spawned countless imitations and parodies, the sequel “Doctor Sleep,” and even an entire documentary centered on its many obsessives and their far-fetched close reads with “Room 237.” But its legacy wasn’t certain when Warner Bros. opened the movie, which went on to earn two Razzie Awards at the first ceremony in 1981. Author King has famously derided the Kubrick adaptation as “misogynistic” and “cold,” but he did give his stamp of approval for “Doctor Sleep” last year. Here’s a sample of what first reviews for “The Shining” had to say in 1980.

 

“Though we may admire the effects, we’re never drawn in by them, mesmerized. When we see a flash of bloody cadavers or observe a torrent of blood pouring from an elevator, we’re not frightened, because Kubrick’s absorption in film technology distances us,” wrote The New Yorker’s Pauline Kael.

 

“I can’t help thinking that the Stephen King original, with its spook-ridden, other-worldly junketings, gets in the way of Kubrick’s grim vision, finally cheapening and distorting it,” wrote Derek Malcolm for The Guardian. “The genre within which the film is cast exerts too great a price. Nicholson’s performance, even if deliberately over the top, still shouldn’t encourage as much laughter as fear. Nor should the final twists of the plot look so illogical. If ‘The Shining’ isn’t trivial, it certainly encourages one to think that it is.”

 

This pan from Variety, meanwhile, is just plain rude: “The crazier Nicholson gets, the more idiotic he looks. Shelley Duvall transforms the warm sympathetic wife of the book into a simpering, semi-retarded hysteric.”

 

And here’s this one from Kevin Thomas for the Los Angeles Times: “There are moments so visually stunning only a Kubrick could pull them off, yet the film is too grandiose to be the jolter that horror pictures are expected to be. Both those expecting significance from Kubrick and those merely looking for a good scare may be equally disappointed.”

 

Still, despite pessimistic reviews, “The Shining” opened big for Warners, grossing $626,000 in just 10 theaters in its first four days, according to the AFI Catalog. That’s the equivalent to about $2 million today. While it mystified many critics at first — a phenomenon Kubrick was never a stranger to — even Roger Ebert, initially dismissive of the movie, came back around with a four-star Great Movies review in 2006.""

- Ryan Lattanzio, IndieWire

 

From the Filmmaker

 

 

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Why It's the Greatest

 

Critic Opinion

 

"The Shining is in the public consciousness quite prominently at the moment due to Mike Flanagan’s new film Doctor Sleep, both an adaptation of Stephen King’s sequel novel and a continuation of the story from Kubrick’s film. The Shining’s story is a classic haunted house one, in which recovering alcoholic Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson), his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and their young son Danny (Danny Lloyd) move into the ominous Overlook Hotel where Torrance takes a job as the winter caretaker while trying to work on his novel, but the hotel has a dark past and the ghosts that reside there take a liking to young Danny and his psychic abilities.  The film is considered by many a benchmark of horror cinema and has given way to people seeing absolutely everything in it that they can. There is a film documentary about the film called Room 237 that examines the various theories about what the film may mean and may not be about. The film might appear crazy to some, with people coming up with ideas that it could be about Kubrick’s apology for faking the moon landing (Danny wears an Apollo 11 sweatshirt), the holocaust, the death of the natural world or a retelling of the Minotaur myth.

 

Perhaps the most likely theory around the film’s meaning is about the genocide of the Native American culture. The hotel itself is said to be built on an Indian burial ground, and that the owners were forced to fight off protests from Native Americans as a result. Stuart Ullman (Barry Nelson) lays this out at the beginning of the film, and the fact that all of the art and carpeting is based on Native American art work and their culture, the soup and the products in the pantry that Jack wakes up in all have Native American logos.  Many interpret the opening of the elevator doors that then reveal as river of blood to be the way in which the blood of the Native American people coming out into the open, no longer hidden from history.  Further into this, the Imperialism of America is alluded to in the final shot, as the hotel finally takes Jack’s soul (or spirit, or perhaps he was never free of the hotel at all) he is seen in a photograph of the Overlook on the July 4th weekend in 1921. For the Native Americans Independence Day was not that, but instead another example of the White Man taking from them, and massacre of their people. The Hotel is finally taking Jack’s soul has claimed one more white man for it’s collection of suffering as revenge, forever trapped on a date that will never be seen for the horror it was.

 

Moreover, The Shining is known for it revolutionary use of a steady cam. Kubrick wanted to follow Danny through the halls of the hotel on his big wheel bike without cutting, since a dolly track would show tracks, a new system was created for this, and the steady cam was built as a result, this gives his trails an off kilter feeling.  The Shining is also so famous it has given birth to popculture memes. Of course people will remember The Simpsons’ lampooning of the film, but also in films like Passengers which make direct references to Lloyd the bartender in it’s robot butler.  Perhaps the fact that it is well put together, and has an enigmatic nature is why we’re still revisiting the film years after, and with Doctor Sleep out there, it’ll continue to be looked at and watched for many years.  Or maybe, just maybe, anyone who visits the Overlook is doomed to stay there forever."

- Paul Klein, No Majesty

 

User Opinion

 

"Best horror film of all time. I love this movie, it is thrilling, suspenseful, Nicholson does a great job in my opinion it his best performance.  I can't say how much I love this film, it is in my top 10 of all time." - @Kvikk Lunsj

 

The Panda's Haiku

 

Stalk through Overlook

 

Knife in hand, ready to stab

 

Knock, knock.  Here's Johnny!

 

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Factoids

 

Placement on Prior Lists

 

2012 - 70, 2013 - 46, 2014 - Unranked, 2016 - 89, 2018 - 48

 

Director Count

 

Stanley Kubrick - 4, Richard Linklater - 3, The Russo Brothers - 3, Lee Unkrich - 3, Alfonso Cuaron - 2, Alfred Hitchock - 2, John McTiernan - 2, Andrew Stanton - 2, Roger Allers - 1, John G. Avildsen - 1, Brad Bird - 1, Ash Brannon - 1, Mel Brooks - 1, Frank Capra - 1, James Cameron - 1, John Carpenter - 1, Damien Chazelle - 1, Ron Clements - 1, Clint Eastwood - 1, David Fincher - 1, Terry Gilliam - 1, Michel Gondry - 1, Rian Johnson - 1, Terry Jones - 1, David Lean - 1, Sergio Leone - 1, David Lynch - 1, Katia Lund - 1, Akira Kurosawa - 1, John Lasseter - 1, Fernando Meirelles - 1, Rob Minkoff - 1, Hayao Miyazaki - 1, Adrian Molina - 1, John Musker - 1, Christopher Nolan - 1, Bob Persichetti - 1, Jan Pinkava - 1, Sam Raimi - 1, Peter Ramsey - 1, Rodney Rotham - 1,   Martin Scorsese - 1, Steven Spielberg - 1, Quentin Tarantino - 1, Gary Trousdale - 1, Orson Welles - 1, Billy Wilder - 1, Kirk Wise - 1, Kar-Wai Wong - 1

 

Franchise Count

 

Pixar - 6, Marvel Cinematic Universe - 3, WDAS - 3, Before Trilogy - 2, Spider-Man - 2,  Toy Story - 2, Cameron - 1, Die Hard - 1, Indiana Jones - 1, Monty Python - 1, Nolan - 1, Predator - 1, Rocky - 1, Scorsese -1, Star Wars - 1, Studio Ghibli - 1, Terminator - 1

 

Decade Count

 

1940s - 2, 1950s - 3, 1960s - 4, 1970s - 4, 1980s - 8, 1990s - 6, 2000s - 12, 2010s - 11

 

 

 

Edited by The Panda
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Just now, The Stingray said:

Both 2001 (arguably the greatest sci-fi of all time) and Once Upon a Time in the West (arguably the greatest Western of all time) are criminally low.

 

 

Add The Shining to that...

 

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I don't have the Shining in my top 100, but looking at some of the films on the bottom of my list, I think I should.  

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"I think I must have one of those faces you can't help believing."

 

About the Movie

 

Synopsis

 

"Phoenix office worker Marion Crane is fed up with the way life has treated her. She has to meet her lover Sam in lunch breaks, and they cannot get married because Sam has to give most of his money away in alimony. One Friday, Marion is trusted to bank forty thousand dollars by her employer. Seeing the opportunity to take the money and start a new life, Marion leaves town and heads towards Sam's California store. Tired after the long drive and caught in a storm, she gets off the main highway and pulls into the Bates Motel. The motel is managed by a quiet young man called Norman who seems to be dominated by his mother."

 

Its Legacy

 

"The 45-second shower murder in Psycho is possibly the most famous scene in cinema history.  David Thomson, author of The Moment of Psycho: How Alfred Hitchcock Taught America to Love Murder, has said it still ranks "legitimately among the most violent scenes ever shot for an American film". According to the book Story of the Scene, by Roger Clarke, it "changed cinema forever".  For the film's first three-quarters of an hour the audience has followed Janet Leigh's Marion Crane, building engagement with the film's supposed central character.  Then in an electrifyingly brutal scene, as Marion readies herself for bed with a shower in the decrepit Bates Motel, she is hacked to death by a barely-glimpsed old woman.  "They [audiences] had never seen anything quite like it before - the total shock of killing off a lead character a third of the way in, and just the complete feeling of disorientation," says Michael Brooke, Screenonline curator at the British Film Institute.  Psycho was filmed in black and white - unusual for Hitchcock by that stage of his career - partly to cut costs, but also to manage the graphicness of this scene. Hitchcock knew he would not get shots of red blood splattering the wall and floor past the censors of the time.  "The shower scene in colour in 1960 would have just been unshowable," says Mr Brooke.  Psycho "opened the floodgates" for screen violence, says Mr Brooke, paving the way for the slow-motion bloodshed of Bonnie and Clyde and The Wild Bunch in the late 60s, up to today's torture porn of Hostel and the Saw films.  Though "watching the film, you think it's a lot more graphically violent than it actually is".  It is a mark of the shift in levels of violence in cinema that Psycho, given an adults-only "X" certificate in the UK in 1960, now carries a relatively tame "15" rating.

 

The effect was to toy with audiences' sympathies in a way mainstream thrillers hadn't done before.  Psycho is considered the first modern horror film and credited with launching the "slasher" sub-genre. But Paul Duncan, author of The Pocket Essential Alfred Hitchcock, argues its greatest legacy is the shifting point of view that became a common device of the slashers.  Most of Hitchcock's peers worked in the "third person", positioning their camera as a detached, neutral observer of the film's events, says Mr Duncan, whereas Hitchcock's "first person" camera allied his audience inescapably to key characters.  "That, I think, is probably the most copied aspect of Hitchcock's movies," he says.  John Carpenter's 1978 film Halloween, whose considerable debt to Psycho is emphasised by the presence of Leigh's daughter Jamie Lee Curtis in the lead role, is a "very good example of point of view camera being used brilliantly", he adds.

 

These first moments are almost a statement of intent from Hitchcock. "He was quite deliberately testing the waters as far as the censors were concerned with the film," says Mr Brooke.  "It took what had previously been only suggestive sexual undercurrents and made them absolutely upfront."  At that time most US studio films were constrained by the puritanical Production Code, which dated from the 1930s and restricted depictions of sex, drug use, drinking, offensive language and anything else that could "lower the moral standards of those who see it". When he was unable to secure financing for Psycho from studios fearful of the film's potential for controversy, prompting him to put up 60% of a scaled-down budget of less than $1m himself, the director found himself with an opportunity to work outside the restrictions of the studio system and deliver an exploitation film Hitchcock-style.  The overt sexuality of the film's sightings of Leigh in her underwear, the shocking violence - even a shot of a flushing toilet - were radical in commercial cinema at the time."

- Stephen Robb, The BBC

 

From the Filmmaker

 

 

 

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Why It's the Greatest

 

Critic Opinion

 

"The great filmic talents of Alfred Hitchcock, his superb artistry, technical mastery, skill and planning are very much in evidence in Psycho, his new Paramount release which opened here yesterday in a special engagement prior to its general release in August. This is a first-rate mystery thriller, full of visual shocks and surprises which are heightened by the melodramatic realism of the production. It is certain to be one of the big grossers of the summer.  Hitchcock's insistence on secrecy concerning the plot during production and in the "blind selling" and exploitation campaign is completely justified by the surprise macabre ending. And, because of the nature of the film, with a key character being murdered in the first 20 minutes, the exhibition policy banning admissions after the start of the picture is appropriate to a complete understanding and enjoyment of the film. Paramount has used these factors to very good advantage in its merchandising.   The film opens with a typical Hitchcock touch, a long slow pan shot, over the town of Phoenix, Arizona, swinging down to a hotel window to reveal a torrid love scene typical of the French "new wave" school. The main story is laid against the background of an isolated motel and an adjoining eerie mansion. As in all Hitchcock films, the camera effects and explorations here are a vital and exciting element, establishing a weird realistic quality, sharpening the terror, building the suspense. 

 

Maybe it's not cricket to give away the ending, but since hardly anyone plays cricket and since the picture's playing here you might as well know that Perkins' psychotic split has him assuming the dual roles of himself and his mother. And, as Hitchcock says, the mother is a homicidal maniac.  Joseph Stefano's screenplay from the novel by Robert Block gives Hitchcock an opportunity to use all his considerable talents in the building of a shocker which makes brilliant use of John L. Russell's outstanding photography, Bernard Herrmann's highly effective musical score, the wonderfully atmospheric settings of George Milo and the fine art direction of Joseph Burly and Robert Clatworthy.   Paramount won't let anyone enter theatres where Psycho is playing after the picture starts. No one will want to leave before it is over."

- THR 1960

 

User Opinion

 

"I've just finished watching this at long last. Yes there's bits that haven't aged well, the score as an example smacks you in the face harder than Hans Zimmer tries to. But it's still superb. The characters are all great, as are the performances. Espescially the guy who plays Norman Bates, he's scary, creepy, vulnerable, everything. One of the great performances. I do wish I could have been there on original release, when it was so fresh, so shocking, when you were forced by Hitchcock himself to watch it from the beginning, but even so, it's still a brilliant film today." - @SchumacherFTW

 

The Panda's Haiku

 

Walk to Bates Motel

 

Steadily move toward the bath

 

And a Woom! Woom! Woom!

 

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Factoids

 

Placement on Prior Lists

 

2012 - 52, 2013 - 54, 2014 - Unranked, 2016 - 78, 2018 - 73

 

Director Count

 

Stanley Kubrick - 4, Alfred Hitchock - 3, Richard Linklater - 3, The Russo Brothers - 3, Lee Unkrich - 3, Alfonso Cuaron - 2,  John McTiernan - 2, Andrew Stanton - 2, Roger Allers - 1, John G. Avildsen - 1, Brad Bird - 1, Ash Brannon - 1, Mel Brooks - 1, Frank Capra - 1, James Cameron - 1, John Carpenter - 1, Damien Chazelle - 1, Ron Clements - 1, Clint Eastwood - 1, David Fincher - 1, Terry Gilliam - 1, Michel Gondry - 1, Rian Johnson - 1, Terry Jones - 1, David Lean - 1, Sergio Leone - 1, David Lynch - 1, Katia Lund - 1, Akira Kurosawa - 1, John Lasseter - 1, Fernando Meirelles - 1, Rob Minkoff - 1, Hayao Miyazaki - 1, Adrian Molina - 1, John Musker - 1, Christopher Nolan - 1, Bob Persichetti - 1, Jan Pinkava - 1, Sam Raimi - 1, Peter Ramsey - 1, Rodney Rotham - 1,   Martin Scorsese - 1, Steven Spielberg - 1, Quentin Tarantino - 1, Gary Trousdale - 1, Orson Welles - 1, Billy Wilder - 1, Kirk Wise - 1, Kar-Wai Wong - 1

 

Franchise Count

 

Pixar - 6, Marvel Cinematic Universe - 3, WDAS - 3, Before Trilogy - 2, Spider-Man - 2,  Toy Story - 2, Cameron - 1, Die Hard - 1, Indiana Jones - 1, Monty Python - 1, Nolan - 1, Predator - 1, Rocky - 1, Scorsese -1, Star Wars - 1, Studio Ghibli - 1, Terminator - 1

 

Decade Count

 

1940s - 2, 1950s - 3, 1960s - 5, 1970s - 4, 1980s - 8, 1990s - 6, 2000s - 12, 2010s - 11

 

 

 

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"Intelligence. Nothing has caused the human race so much trouble as intelligence."

 

 

About the Movie

 

Synopsis

 

"Professional photographer L.B. "Jeff" Jefferies breaks his leg while getting an action shot at an auto race. Confined to his New York apartment, he spends his time looking out of the rear window observing the neighbors. He begins to suspect that a man across the courtyard may have murdered his wife. Jeff enlists the help of his high society fashion-consultant girlfriend Lisa Freemont and his visiting nurse Stella to investigate."

 

Its Legacy

 

"Alfred Hitchcock can be an intimidating filmmaker. He made 53 feature films. About a third of those are stone cold classics, and the rest are immensely watchable, influential, and surprising. The thing is, where does one start? Psycho, his most well-known film? Start at the beginning? Because so much of Hitchcock has been paid homage to, parodied, and merely absorbed through pop culture osmosis, it’s a little hard to find a good starting point. In my opinion, the best film to start with is the 1954 film Rear Window.  Alfred Hitchcock’s career spanned almost fifty years. My favorite period in his career is the 1950s. The films in this period were his most glamorous, with the best stars, and some of his most delicately crafted sequences. Rear Window is probably Hitchcock’s most accessible film—it’s suspenseful, romantic, and funny, and boasts such memorably characters. The film stars James Stewart as adventure photographer L.B. Jeffries or “Jeff,” who is laid up at home with a broken leg. To pass the time, he watches his neighbors act out the little dramas in their lives. He’s visited by his fashion model girlfriend, Lisa Carol Fremont (Grace Kelly), and a wise-aleck insurance nurse, Stella (Thelma Ritter). When Jeff witnesses a murder across the courtyard, he becomes obsessed with solving it—bringing in Lisa and Stella as well.

 

Alfred Hitchcock scored an Oscar nomination for Best Director (he lost to Elia Kazan for On the Waterfront), and the Oscar-nominated screenplay by John Michael Hayes is adapted from the short story “It Had to Be Murder” by Cornell Woolrich. Hayes and Hitchcock worked together an additional three times (To Catch a Thief, The Trouble with Harry, and The Man Who Knew Too Much). Rear Window is perhaps their best collaboration. The duo made numerous changes to the short story, including adding the romantic element between Jeff and Lisa, and making Jeff a photographer. Both of these changes really add layers to the film. Hitchcock isn’t just making a simple thriller. Through the film, Hitchcock is making a commentary on the experience of watching films itself. Jeff’s obsession with his neighbors recalls an audience member peering into lives of film characters, and his investigation into a murder is like someone trying to figure out the mystery at home (seems like Hitchcock predicted the Westworld “mystery box” becoming a cultural phenomenon).  The love story between Jeff and Lisa is also rife with social commentary. They are somewhat mismatched, but Lisa is head over heels for Jeff. The neighbors play out Jeff and Lisa’s romantic tension: Jeff thinks Lisa is like Miss Torso, a sexy dancer who entertains men at home. Lisa feels like Miss Lonelyhearts, a woman unlucky in love. Jeff’s stalled career reflects the songwriter with writer’s block. There are two married couples: one just married, unable to keep their hands off each other; one older, who bicker but have affection. Finally the Thorwalds, with an invalid wife driving a fed up husband to murder. Jeff is laid up, and his unwillingness to commit to Lisa drives her mad, so he sees himself as Mrs. Thorwald. But Jeff also fears that marriage to Lisa could only lead to her being nagging and shrewish, so maybe Lisa is the Mrs. Thorwald. Hitchcock allows for these interpretations to play out through his elegant plotting and rich characterization.

 

Alfred Hitchcock had a fear of the police after being “locked in jail” by his father as a child, so incompetent policemen or heroes on the run from the police are often recurring motifs in his films. In Rear Window, we have Wendell Corey as Det. Lt. Doyle, a friend of Jeff’s who assists in the investigation. Doyle is often skeptical of Jeff and Lisa’s theories. Modern viewers might find him a tad sexist when talking to Lisa. Objectively, he might have reason to doubt foul play; within the film he is essentially spoiling the party. It’s a thankless role, with little to do and few memorable lines.  For me, Rear Window provides an accessible entry point into the Hitchcock canon. It’s crowd-pleasing, and thematically rich. The film offers some dazzling performances from James Stewart and Grace Kelly, and skillful work behind the camera. Alfred Hitchcock doles out the clues to the mystery with restraint and glee, and throws in some social commentary, comedy, and romance to spice it up even further. Rear Window is a major Hitchcock classic, and it provides a solid glimpse into his legacy as a filmmaker."

- Manish Mathur, Talk Film Society

 

From the Filmmaker

 

 

 

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Why It's the Greatest

 

Critic Opinion

 

"By maintaining the voyeuristic point of view from the rear window of Jefferies’ apartment, the audience views the same events that Jefferies stumbles upon from the same limited perspective. Hitchcock is the renowned “master of suspense” because of his expert use of revealing just enough information to the audience to keep them on the edge of their seat as events unfold in the movie’s narrative. Because the viewer knows as much as Jefferies does, they are forced to make their own conclusions regarding this mysterious murder plot. They must decide if they will believe Jefferies, in which case Lars’ apartment across the courtyard lurks ominously as a scene of a gruesome murder, or follow the advice of Doyle and believe the entire story is the figment of a stagnant imagination.

 

Hitchcock is known for using the thematic element of mistaken or misguided identities in his film to create twists and turns as well as suspense in his narratives. In his eerie psychological thriller, Psycho, he portrays Norman Bates as a polite, reserved individual. As we know Norman turns out to be quite the opposite: a deranged psychopath. In North by Northwest the main character is mistaken for a government agent and becomes the target of both the government and spies. Rear Window is no different; Lars is identified quite quickly as a murderer, but that identity is what is in question throughout the film. It is this idea that pushes the plot of the movie forward and creates conflicting theories among the characters as well as the audience viewing the film.  The historical context of the film brings up another intriguing aspect of Hitchcock’s vision for Rear Window. Between 1950 and 1955 the age of Mccarthyism was in full swing. The United States was in a communist scare. Friends threw friends under the bus to save their own skin, neighbors turned on neighbors; suspicion ran rampant. It seems reasonable to assume Hitchcock was inspired by the social strife in America during this period as he directed Rear Window. One neighbor speculating about another committing terrible actions is very reminiscent of the attitude of many Americans during the early 1950’s.

 

The closing scene of the film directly corresponds with the series of shots from the introduction. The camera zooms to the edge of the windowsill in Jefferies’ apartment to view the complex. The shot cuts to a close-up of the thermometer, this time it reads around seventy degrees. This tolerable temperature signifies a cooling of the tension in the film as it comes to a close and the ending of the summer. The camera cuts to a pan of the complex to show us the same characters we followed during the film. Each narrative is given it’s own closure: a new dog is introduced, Miss Lonely hearts is visiting with the songwriter, Miss Torso’s boyfriend comes home from the army, and Lars’ apartment is being painted over to get ready for new tenants. The final shot of the film shows the blinds of the rear window closing, hiding the cinematic world as the film draws to a close.  Hitchock created something very special with Rear Window. He takes the notion of narrative perspective and exaggerates it by creating an invalid character without the ability to leave his apartment. We see what Jefferies sees, nothing more or less. Hithcock’s artful approach to what information the viewers should or should not be given shows his mastery of suspense and ability to make an audience identify with his characters but it also shows his ability to make an audience question even their own notion of the truth."

- Greg Beamish, The Artifice

 

User Opinion

 

"my favorite Hitchcock so far and possibly one of the best films I have ever watched.  Hitchcock biggest strength are the characters, Jeff and Lisa relationship is what makes the movie so great imo. He understands what makes an interesting and likeable character, he understands the human nature. And they still are compelling even afer 60 years."  - @Goffe

 

The Panda's Haiku

 

A glimpse at her there

 

Through the camera I, voyeur

 

Watching, waiting. Creep.

 

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Factoids

 

Placement on Prior Lists

 

2012 - 72, 2013 - 20, 2014 - 45, 2016 - 41, 2018 - 64

 

Director Count

 

Alfred Hitchock - 4, Stanley Kubrick - 4, Richard Linklater - 3, The Russo Brothers - 3, Lee Unkrich - 3, Alfonso Cuaron - 2,  John McTiernan - 2, Andrew Stanton - 2, Roger Allers - 1, John G. Avildsen - 1, Brad Bird - 1, Ash Brannon - 1, Mel Brooks - 1, Frank Capra - 1, James Cameron - 1, John Carpenter - 1, Damien Chazelle - 1, Ron Clements - 1, Clint Eastwood - 1, David Fincher - 1, Terry Gilliam - 1, Michel Gondry - 1, Rian Johnson - 1, Terry Jones - 1, David Lean - 1, Sergio Leone - 1, David Lynch - 1, Katia Lund - 1, Akira Kurosawa - 1, John Lasseter - 1, Fernando Meirelles - 1, Rob Minkoff - 1, Hayao Miyazaki - 1, Adrian Molina - 1, John Musker - 1, Christopher Nolan - 1, Bob Persichetti - 1, Jan Pinkava - 1, Sam Raimi - 1, Peter Ramsey - 1, Rodney Rotham - 1,   Martin Scorsese - 1, Steven Spielberg - 1, Quentin Tarantino - 1, Gary Trousdale - 1, Orson Welles - 1, Billy Wilder - 1, Kirk Wise - 1, Kar-Wai Wong - 1

 

Franchise Count

 

Pixar - 6, Marvel Cinematic Universe - 3, WDAS - 3, Before Trilogy - 2, Spider-Man - 2,  Toy Story - 2, Cameron - 1, Die Hard - 1, Indiana Jones - 1, Monty Python - 1, Nolan - 1, Predator - 1, Rocky - 1, Scorsese -1, Star Wars - 1, Studio Ghibli - 1, Terminator - 1

 

Decade Count

 

1940s - 2, 1950s - 4, 1960s - 5, 1970s - 4, 1980s - 8, 1990s - 6, 2000s - 12, 2010s - 11

 

 

 

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"If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself."

 

 

About the Movie

 

Synopsis

 

"A veteran samurai, who has fallen on hard times, answers a village's request for protection from bandits. He gathers 6 other samurai to help him, and they teach the townspeople how to defend themselves, and they supply the samurai with three small meals a day. The film culminates in a giant battle when 40 bandits attack the village." - IMDb

 

Its Legacy

 

"When Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai premiered in Japan on 26 April 1954, it was the most expensive domestic production ever, costing 125 million Yen (approximately $350,000), almost five times the then 26 million Yen ($63,000) average for a typical Japanese studio picture.  The troubled year-long location shoot was the stuff of legend before the film had even opened, and Kurosawa’s dictatorial approach towards his cast and crew on set and his stance towards his employers, Toho, back in Tokyo, saw him drawing considerable flak from critics.  Donald Richie, in his book The Films of Akira Kurosawa (published in 1965), reported the director’s exasperated response to such attacks: “You try to give a film a little pictorial scope and the journalists jump on you for spending too much money. That is what I really hate about them – they are only an extended form of advertising.” Kurosawa also pointed out that the expenditure on Seven Samurai was but a fraction of the means available to directors in the west, claiming that Japanese films were made too cheaply.  Richie states that the film was a significant commercial success upon its original release. Indeed, it was Toho’s biggest hit of the year, grossing 268 million Yen (approximately $744,500) within its first 12 months, and was the second highest domestic earner of 1954, positioned behind Shochiku’s release of the third part of Hideo Oba’s romantic saga What Is Your Name?

 

Kurosawa had been the first Japanese director to win a major prize at an international film festival, with his receipt of the Golden Lion at Venice for Rashomon in 1951 leading to a rush of western interest in the country’s cinema. This film, nevertheless, was neither a commercial or critical success at home, and by all accounts, when Kenji Mizoguchi’s Ugetsu Monogatari (1953) was awarded a mere Silver Lion at the same festival two years later, the older director’s nose was put quite out of joint. After all, Mizoguchi had begun his directing career in 1923, two decades before Kurosawa, and been a major presence during Japanese cinema’s first golden age, which had passed by largely unnoticed overseas.  When Mizoguchi’s Sansho Dayu jointly shared the Silver Lion with Seven Samurai in 1954, the older director may have felt at least slightly appeased – although following Teinosuke Kinugasa’s Palme d’Or victory for Gate of Hell at Cannes earlier that year, no doubt as bemused as Japanese critics, not to mention that film’s own director, at western tastes for his country’s cinema.

 

Nevertheless, while much of Japanese cinema’s attraction overseas rested on its surface exoticism, the Variety review filed from Venice on 31 August 1954 after the first foreign screening of Seven Samurai points towards the more universal appeal of Kurosawa’s epic, exclaiming “High adventure and excitement are stamped all over this solid-core film”, and that “Besides the well-mannered battle scenes, the pic has a good feeling for characterization and time which makes this sort of pic not only strong for arty houses but possibly good in the actioner market.”  In the final assessment, Variety claimed Seven Samurai’s “lone drawback is its length, which can be sheered.” The irony is that the 160-minute international version screened at Venice had already undergone considerable pruning down from Kurosawa’s original 207-minute cut (which itself had only screened in a few principal cities in Japan, with a slightly shortened version circulated by Toho to second- and third-run theatres in Japan). Nevertheless, sheered again it was, so that when Kurosawa’s longest ever film reached UK shores in April 1955, distributed by Films de France, a further five minutes had gone.

 

Tony Richardson, in the Spring 1955 issue of Sight & Sound, similarly observed that “Kurosawa is a virtuoso exponent of every technique of suspense, surprise, excitement, and in this he gives nothing to his Western masters. Only in his handling of the series of battles is there a hint of monotony.”  Richardson’s general tone was of a man impressed yet unmoved by the overall spectacle. “For all the surface conviction of the period, the perceptive observation, the raging vitality and the magnificent visual style, the film doesn’t quite succeed. All the elements are there except the depth and the generosity of life”, he claimed, concluding that the film was “a triumph of rage and artifice; and one’s final acknowledgement is not of the intrinsic fascination of the material but the wrested skill of the artificer.”

 

Throughout the following decades, viewers of the Japanese original saw it only in its heavily truncated export version, and most assumed it a typical example of Japan’s popular jidaigeki (historical drama) genre. Most were unaware of just how revolutionary Kurosawa’s approach to historical realism actually was, with the film’s action sequences shot using multiple-camera setups, meticulously researched sets and costumes, and masterful deployment of natural lighting and weather conditions to enhance the drama.  During its domestic release, Kurosawa had claimed that “the jidaigeki faces a dead-end, there are no talented jidaigeki producers”, and to some extent, he was right. While he would push the envelope with mould-breaking historical pictures such as Throne of Blood (1957), The Hidden Fortress (1958), Yojimbo (1961) and Sanjuro (1962), all of which (unlike many of his contemporary dramas) were sold overseas, the local industry ultimately did not have the resources to support the kind of epics Kurosawa liked to make.  Tellingly, Seven Samurai’s own producer, Motoki Sojiro, saw the way the land lay throughout the 1960s, wholeheartedly pitching himself into the nascent ‘pink film’ genre in 1962 and directing a hundred or so films in this field under a host of pseudonyms.

 

Upon its original American release, Bosley Crowther had questioned “whether this picture is any more authentic to its period or culture than is the average American western film”. At the end of the day, the humanism and potency of Seven Samurai’s theme and message have spoken for themselves, with a host of films produced across the world that were either directly modelled on it, referenced it, or acknowledged its archetypal plot setup, in which a team of disparate characters are grouped to undertake a specific mission. These range from The Dirty Dozen (Robert Aldrich, 1967), the Bollywood classic Sholay (Ramesh Sippy, 1975), George Lucas’s own Star Wars (1977), Battle beyond the Stars (Jimmy T. Murakami, 1980), Savalan (Yadollah Samadi, 1990) from Iran, and, returning full circle to Japan, the 26-episode TV anime series Samurai 7 (2004).  Seven Samurai is now by far the best known and influential film ever to hail from Japan. After all, what do critics know?"

- Jasper Sharp, British Film Institute

 

 

From the Filmmaker

 

"“Japanese films all tend to be rather bland in flavor, like green tea over rice,” Kurosawa remarked in an interview, making a knowing dig at his staid rival, Yasujiro Ozu (one of whose films was actually called The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice). “I think we ought to have richer foods, and richer films. So I thought I would make this kind of film entertaining enough to eat.”

 

The dish Kurosawa set before audiences was certainly different from what they had tasted up until then—particularly as far as period filmmaking was concerned. Instead of the slow, ritualistic, and highly theatrical style of the typical sixteenth-century saga, Seven Samurai moved with the sure swiftness of a Hollywood action epic, like Gunga Din or Stagecoach. The characters may inhabit historical settings, but their manner and bearing were, often as not, strikingly contemporary—particularly in the case of the buffoonish Kikuchiyo, the high-spirited would-be samurai played with great gusto by Toshiro Mifune. Most important of all was the visual style of the film which, thanks to Kurosawa’s use of multiple cameras, lent itself to many unusual editing techniques.  In the atmospheric opening scene, for example, the camera cuts closer and closer to a group of cowering villagers, dramatically underscoring their situation with deft simplicity. An audacious use of slow motion in the sword fight scenes of Chapters four and seven give them a highly sophisticated dramatic charge. And that’s not to mention the climactic battle scenes (Chapters 23, 25, and 28), whose brilliant staging and heart-stopping pace rival the finest work of Griffith, Gance, and Eisenstein.  But over and above these select bits of brilliance stands Kurosawa’s storytelling style. The film may be over three hours in length, but the pace never flags because the director at the helm has an uncanny sense of assurance in varying the action’s flow. We’re never retracing old dramatic ground, rather, we’re always moving forward."

David Ehrenstein, Criterion Collection

 

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Why It's the Greatest

 

Critic Opinion

 

"The clarity and simplicity of Kurosawa’s plot belie Seven Samurai’s elemental grandeur. Clocking in at nearly three and a half hours long, the film is an epic in every sense: Its $500,000 budget made it the most expensive film ever produced in Japan up until that point, and filming took 148 days, far longer than initially planned. The extended final fight between the samurai and the bandits was shot in the depths of winter, with the sandaled cast slogging painfully through nearly frozen mud.  The difficulty of the shoot, and the sheer will it took to make it through, is evident in the final film, which plows through its extended running time with an intensity that is both brutal and measured.

 

Along the way, Kurosawa carves out space to explore themes of love and loyalty, justice and vengeance, individualism and community identity. As he prepares the village to defend itself against the bandit assault, Kambei tells residents that the “nature of war” is that “by protecting others, you save yourselves.”  At the end, after the final battle, one of the surviving samurai surveys the carnage and declares that “in the end, we lost this battle too. Victory belongs to these peasants.” The movie, itself a product of an arduous and exhausting production process by Kurosawa and his crew, acts as a parable about the triumph of community and collective action.  Kurosawa packed Seven Samurai with solemn themes, but the structure ensures that it never loses its momentum. The threat of violence hangs over every scene, the coming conflict with the bandits looming inevitably in the background. Despite its running time, the movie is masterfully paced — a long, slow build to a chaotic, bloody, and inevitable showdown. Once set on track, its narrative engine never derails.

 

You can see how well the same structure works in a different environment in Sturges’s Western remake, released just six years later. At just over two hours long, The Magnificent Seven lacks the epic scale of Kurosawa’s film, but the bones of the movie, despite the change in setting, are almost exactly the same: It is the story of a community coming together to fight off an external threat with the aid of a band of lone warriors.  This time, the movie serves as a vehicle for Sturges’s razor-sharp action scenes and grand Western vistas, as well as a showcase for a handful of iconic American movie stars and stars-to-be, including Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, James Coburn, and Charles Bronson.

 

Part of the reason the new version feels so familiar is because the plot elements that drove the original pair of films have been recycled so frequently over the years: Pixar’s early animated feature A Bug’s Life relies on almost exactly the same story as Seven Samurai, with numerous scenes and shots replicated using CGI ants instead of actors. The 1980 Roger Corman production Battle Beyond the Stars was basically a cheap, cheesy sci-fi remake of The Magnificent Seven; it even starred one of the Sturges seven, Robert Vaughn.  But beyond the direct references, Seven Samurai’s team-building device, in which a leader gathers a diverse group of allies to go on a mission, is now an incredibly common trope: You can see versions of it in films like The Blues Brothers, Ocean’s Eleven, and Inglourious Basterds.  And this is far from over: Batman v Superman director Zack Snyder has said that his upcoming superhero feature Justice League — about a team of superheroes recruited by Batman to save the world — will borrow from Seven Samurai and The Magnificent Seven. It’s more evidence, not that we needed it, of the strength and infinite mutability of Kurosawa’s story structure, whether it’s applied to a samurai epic, a gunslinging Western, or a modern superhero adventure."

- Peter Suderman, Vox

 

User Opinion

 

"It may be apocryphal, but I remember hearing that this is the movie where Kurosawa "invented" the now-classic shot where a bunch of riders/enemies/whoever appear on horseback on the horizon of a hill or mountain. It had never been done before.

 

He's so brilliant with his framing, but so totally pragmatic too. There's a famous story that Sidney Lumet tells: "I once asked Akira Kurosawa why he had chosen to frame a shot in Ran in a particular way. His answer was that if he he’d panned the camera one inch to the left, the Sony factory would be sitting there exposed, and if he he’d panned an inch to the right, we would see the airport."

 

C'mon, that's just awesome." - @Plain Old Tele

 

The Panda's Haiku

 

Is there any film

 

which does not owe its thanks to

 

you, Kurosawa

 

seven-samurai-film.jpg

 

Factoids

 

Placement on Prior Lists

 

2012 - Unranked, 2013 - Unranked, 2014 - Unranked, 2016 - 43, 2018 - 52

 

Director Count

 

Alfred Hitchock - 4, Stanley Kubrick - 4, Richard Linklater - 3, The Russo Brothers - 3, Lee Unkrich - 3, Alfonso Cuaron - 2,  Akira Kurosawa - 2, John McTiernan - 2, Andrew Stanton - 2, Roger Allers - 1, John G. Avildsen - 1, Brad Bird - 1, Ash Brannon - 1, Mel Brooks - 1, Frank Capra - 1, James Cameron - 1, John Carpenter - 1, Damien Chazelle - 1, Ron Clements - 1, Clint Eastwood - 1, David Fincher - 1, Terry Gilliam - 1, Michel Gondry - 1, Rian Johnson - 1, Terry Jones - 1, David Lean - 1, Sergio Leone - 1, David Lynch - 1, Katia Lund - 1, John Lasseter - 1, Fernando Meirelles - 1, Rob Minkoff - 1, Hayao Miyazaki - 1, Adrian Molina - 1, John Musker - 1, Christopher Nolan - 1, Bob Persichetti - 1, Jan Pinkava - 1, Sam Raimi - 1, Peter Ramsey - 1, Rodney Rotham - 1,   Martin Scorsese - 1, Steven Spielberg - 1, Quentin Tarantino - 1, Gary Trousdale - 1, Orson Welles - 1, Billy Wilder - 1, Kirk Wise - 1, Kar-Wai Wong - 1

 

Franchise Count

 

Pixar - 6, Marvel Cinematic Universe - 3, WDAS - 3, Before Trilogy - 2, Spider-Man - 2,  Toy Story - 2, Cameron - 1, Die Hard - 1, Indiana Jones - 1, Monty Python - 1, Nolan - 1, Predator - 1, Rocky - 1, Scorsese -1, Star Wars - 1, Studio Ghibli - 1, Terminator - 1

 

Decade Count

 

1940s - 2, 1950s - 5, 1960s - 5, 1970s - 4, 1980s - 8, 1990s - 6, 2000s - 12, 2010s - 11

 

 

Edited by The Panda
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"Good morning, and in case I don't see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night!"

 

 

About the Movie

 

Synopsis

 

"Since birth, a big fat lie defines the well-organised but humdrum life of the kind-hearted insurance salesman and ambitious explorer, Truman Burbank. Utterly unaware of the thousands of cleverly hidden cameras watching his every move, for nearly three decades, Truman's entire existence pivots around the will and the wild imagination of the ruthlessly manipulative television producer, Christof--the all-powerful TV-God of an extreme 24/7 reality show: The Truman Show. As a result, Truman's picturesque neighbourhood with the manicured lawns and the uncannily perfect residents is nothing but an elaborate state-of-the-art set, and the only truth he knows is what the worldwide television network and its deep financial interests dictate. Do lab rats know they are forever imprisoned? " - IMDb

 

Its Legacy

 

"Two decades ago, The Truman Show seemed preposterous. “We would laugh about how unrealistic some of it seemed,” said co-star Laura Linney, remembering conversations the cast and crew would have on the film’s Seaside, Florida set. “We couldn’t quite believe that someone would want to tape themselves, so that people could tune in and watch what was considered at the time to be mundane, and see that as entertainment.”  “By no means did I think that this movie was going to be prescient,” agreed Sherry Lansing, who oversaw the production of over 200 films—including The Truman Show—during her tenure as C.E.O. of Paramount. “That suddenly, we were going to have all these reality shows—the Kardashians, The Real Housewives. When I watch reality television and people who live in front of the camera—there are many now who do—I wonder how much of this is real, how much of it is just because they’re in front of the camera. Do they really know themselves? But every time I watch one, I think of Truman.” Screenwriter Andrew Niccol echoed her: “When you know there is a camera, there is no reality,” he said. In that respect, Truman Burbank “is the only genuine reality star.”

 

Twenty years after Truman heroically exited the soul-deadening reality series that was his life . . . well, to quote co-star Holland Taylor, “Here we are.” In 2015 alone, there were roughly 750 reality series on television. Those of us without official series are essentially starring in and producing our own reality shows, via constant Twitter updates, Instagram Stories, Snapchats, Facebook videos, and YouTube videos. As an audience, we didn’t just blow past The Truman Show’s cautionary subtext; we’ve elected a reality star as our president. Added Linney, “The Truman Show is a very foreboding, dark movie—and, unfortunately, our world had gone even way beyond that.”

 

It wasn’t an easy production. One of the leads was fired and re-cast; Carrey suffered a traumatic incident while shooting that caused the studio to re-evaluate its safety standards. When producer Scott Rudin showed Lansing an early cut of the film, he joked that he should have an ambulance waiting outside the screening room—in case she had a heart attack after realizing an $80 million budget had been burned on what was, in its first cut, an art film. (“It’s not unusual to have a bad first cut [of a film]. It was unusual to have that bad [of] a first cut, I have to say,” said Lansing.) But 20 years after it premiered, the movie remains one of the modern age’s most hauntingly prophetic films.  “I have a very hazy crystal ball,” joked Niccol. “I certainly didn’t foresee the onslaught of so-called reality television. I doubt the film had much to do with it. If it did, I apologize.”

- Julie Miller, Vanity Fair

 

From the Filmmaker

 

 

 

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Why It's the Greatest

 

Critic Opinion

 

"A satire of Orwellian proportions, Peter Weir's The Truman Show is a cleverly conceived (by Andrew Niccol), masterfully executed cautionary tale that would have tickled late media guru Marshall McLuhan.

In many ways a logical extension of MTV's Real World — not to mention the groundbreaking '70s saga of the Loud Family — the show in question concerns one Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey in the breakout role he's been waiting for), the unwitting star of a 30-years-and-counting, 24-hour-a-day broadcast of his entire existence.  Like screen naifs George Bailey, Chance Gardner and Forrest Gump before him, Truman's a wide-eyed babe in the woods whose sheltered existence is about to receive a rude awakening.  The highly satisfying picture should emerge as one of Paramount's best-reviewed, higher-grossing releases of the year. But Weir's avoidance, however admirable, of playing up to audience emotions ultimately robs Truman of attaining Gump-sized results.

 

The film is also buoyed by a carefully measured, beautifully underplayed Carrey performance that finally reveals his long-suspected potential as a multidimensional comic actor with a Robin Williams/Tom Hanks future.  Also effective is Harris as Truman's calmly controlling creator, a man who can deliver the command "Cue the sun!" with casual aplomb. As faux people in Truman's real life, Linney, Taylor and Emmerich pull off a tricky, comedic balancing act, while Natascha McElhone is effective as a sympathetic "intruder" who unsuccessfully attempts to tell Truman the truth.  Yet there's something missing here: While Weir delivers both sharp wit and gentle poignancy, Truman's end catharsis needs greater emotional heft, given the enormity of the ultimate realization that his life has been one big Nielsen rating.  Production values are uniformly pristine, with kudos to Dennis Gassner for his perpetually sunny production design and Peter Biziou for his brisk, deliberately intrusive camerawork."

- Michael Rechstaffen, THR

 

User Opinion

 

"The Truman Show remains the peak of cinema. Everything in this movie is done to its smartest possibility. The camerawork is insane, Weir’s direction is pitch perfect, Carrey’s and Harris’s performances are all time greats. The story gets even better when you familiarize yourself with media; watching it now helps me realize how much television and films it’s re-contextualizing within its narrative. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with it, and it excels at everything it puts it mind to.  This summer, I plan on rewatching a lot of the films that have just sat at the top of my best of list for years. I started with my #1, and it stayed there after this watch. The Truman Show is remarkable in how absolutely perfect it is, proving to be the absolute crowning achievement of mainstream cinema, and for me, the absolute best film ever made." - @Blankments

 

The Panda's Haiku

 

Is this life, now, real?

 

Am I in someone else's dream

 

Why can't I leave here?

 

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Factoids

 

Placement on Prior Lists

 

2012 - 49, 2013 - 52, 2014 - 38, 2016 - 49, 2018 - 66

 

Director Count

 

Alfred Hitchock - 4, Stanley Kubrick - 4, Richard Linklater - 3, The Russo Brothers - 3, Lee Unkrich - 3, Alfonso Cuaron - 2,  Akira Kurosawa - 2, John McTiernan - 2, Andrew Stanton - 2, Roger Allers - 1, John G. Avildsen - 1, Brad Bird - 1, Ash Brannon - 1, Mel Brooks - 1, Frank Capra - 1, James Cameron - 1, John Carpenter - 1, Damien Chazelle - 1, Ron Clements - 1, Clint Eastwood - 1, David Fincher - 1, Terry Gilliam - 1, Michel Gondry - 1, Rian Johnson - 1, Terry Jones - 1, David Lean - 1, Sergio Leone - 1, David Lynch - 1, Katia Lund - 1, John Lasseter - 1, Fernando Meirelles - 1, Rob Minkoff - 1, Hayao Miyazaki - 1, Adrian Molina - 1, John Musker - 1, Christopher Nolan - 1, Bob Persichetti - 1, Jan Pinkava - 1, Sam Raimi - 1, Peter Ramsey - 1, Rodney Rotham - 1,   Martin Scorsese - 1, Steven Spielberg - 1, Quentin Tarantino - 1, Gary Trousdale - 1, Orson Welles - 1, Peter Weir - 1, Billy Wilder - 1, Kirk Wise - 1, Kar-Wai Wong - 1

 

Franchise Count

 

Pixar - 6, Marvel Cinematic Universe - 3, WDAS - 3, Before Trilogy - 2, Spider-Man - 2,  Toy Story - 2, Cameron - 1, Die Hard - 1, Indiana Jones - 1, Monty Python - 1, Nolan - 1, Predator - 1, Rocky - 1, Scorsese -1, Star Wars - 1, Studio Ghibli - 1, Terminator - 1

 

Decade Count

 

1940s - 2, 1950s - 5, 1960s - 5, 1970s - 4, 1980s - 8, 1990s - 7, 2000s - 12, 2010s - 11

 

 

 

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