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

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20 minutes ago, lorddemaxus said:

@The Panda Do you know how many people had Before Sunset in their top 15 (I know its at least 1)? It doesn't say it on movie's post.

Two of them did, on the first two entries Top 12 should say Top 15, that was a typo on my part I caught later!

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Fantastic start to the list. I'm already loving the benefits that have come through a fewer amount of lists. I really love how all of the films that have made it so far are newcomers to the list.

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Of the first 10 movies, only 2 of them had appeared on lists before (TLJ and Totoro), and both only appearing on one list each in the past.

 

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"What have I done?"

 

About the Movie

 

Synopsis

 

"During WW II, allied POWs in a Japanese internment camp are ordered to build a bridge to accommodate the Burma-Siam railway. Their instinct is to sabotage the bridge, but under the leadership of Colonel Nicholson they're persuaded the bridge should be built to help morale, spirit. At first, the prisoners admire Nicholson when he bravely endures torture rather than compromise his principles for the benefit of Japanese Commandant Colonel Saito, but soon they realise it's a monument to Nicholson, himself, as well as a form of collaboration with the enemy."

 

Its Legacy

 

"I’ve been a classic movie fan for as long as I can remember.  Whether watching screwball comedies or romantic dramas with my mother, or learning all about The Marx Brothers, Charlie Chaplin, and W.C. Fields courtesy of my father, some of my fondest childhood memories revolve around enjoying these wonderful films. As time went on, it became second nature for me to watch these films over and over again. I sought out new classics to enjoy, but it was only on rare occasion when I would step out of my genre ‘comfort zone’ and purposely watch a war film.  That said, I distinctly remember the first time I watched The Bridge On The River Kwai. It just so happened to be on television one night as I was flipping through the channels, so I dutifully decided to watch it for no other reason than to simply cross if off the list of movies that I hadn’t seen yet. I was fully aware of the film’s reputation and accolades, so I was relatively sure that I’d appreciate it in some capacity – but I really wasn’t prepared at all for the impact it would have on me. It’s hard for me to put it into words except to say that I still think about the conflicts and implications of the film, and I was absolutely stunned by the unfolding of the final events. Perhaps The New York Times said it best in their original review of the film on December 19, 1957: “Brilliant is the word, and no other.”

 

The Bridge On The River Kwai was the first of David Lean’s five epic films and the third of six movies that he made with Alec Guinness. It was released in the US on December 14, 1957, taking in a reported $17M+, which made it the highest-grossing film of 1957.  It was nominated for eight Academy Awards, wining seven — including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Alec Guinness), Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, and Best Music, Scoring. It won Best Screenplay for author Pierre Boulle, although the actual screenwriters were Carl Foreman and Michael Wilson who unfortunately were blacklisted at the time; however, they were both awarded their Oscars posthumously in December 1984 and their screenwriting credits were restored by the WGA in 2000. Sessue Hayakawa received his only Academy Award nomination for this film (for Best Supporting Actor), but lost out to Red Buttons for Sayonara.  In 1997, the film was inducted into the National Film Registry by the US Library of Congress.  As much as I love this film, I am sure I am grossly understating its impact on film history and artistry. I will simply sum things up by, once again, quoting that New York Times review (and I couldn’t agree more): “Here is a film we guarantee you’ll not forget.”"

- Annmarie Gatti, Classic Movie Hub

 

From the Filmmaker

 

"Lean said, “’I told Sam I would do The Bridge on the River Kwai on the condition that he threw out this terrible script he had by Carl Foreman… The whole thing started in an American submarine that was being depth-charged. It had nothing to do with the story at all, and I said, ‘Look, Sam, this is hopeless’” (Silverman 118).  Spiegel had Foreman do a rewrite, but Lean disliked the new version as well, so Lean decided to do it himself. Lean and Norman Spencer went to Ceylon to write a new treatment. Lean liked to write in the location that the film would be made so that he can use the surroundings as inspiration to write (Making).

 

In a BBC Radio interview, Lean discussed his writing process…  David Lean: “What happens is that I sit down at my typewriter and I start at the beginning and I make a complete blueprint and I try to imagine what the finished movie is going to look like on the screen—with cuts and everything in it. I do it as I hope I’ll see it. I know this is against a lot of the new school, but I’m personally very weary of improvisation.”  Lean said, “I wrote it all, start to finish… the beginning, the entrance to the camp, the men whistling as they came in. I had trouble with the part of the American, which wasn’t in the book, so I said to Sam, ‘Look, you must get me some help’” (Silverman 119).

 

The job went to Michael Wilson—who, like Foreman, was also blacklisted. Since both Foreman and Wilson were blacklisted and their involvement in writing the film was kept secret, the sole writing credit went to the original author of the novel—Pierre Boulle.  Boulle went on to win the Academy Award for screenwriting despite having nothing to do with writing the screenplay and not speaking a word of English, which is probably why he didn’t accept the award in person (Wiki).  Dorris Day: “Pierre Boulle: The Bridge on the River Kwai.”  In an interview, Lean recounts the Academy Awards ceremony. He says: “Comes the Oscars… and the award for Best Screenplay is being announced. The winner? Pierre Boulle! And who gets up to accept it? Sam Spiegel!’ Soon after, Lean would receive the award for Best Director and when he was talking to the press afterwards, they asked him about the screenwriting credit. He replied, “You tell me that… and you’ve answered the sixty-four-million-dollar question.” Spiegel overheard and took offense to Lean’s comment and the two apparently got into a physical altercation using their Oscars as weapons (Silverman 119, 120)."

- Video Essay from Tyler Knudsen

 

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Why It's the Greatest

 

Critic Opinion

 

"The Bridge on the River Kwai is David Lean’s last film not to succumb to bloat. Despite its grand, Oscar-bait stature, the 1957 epic subtly develops its themes about the irrationality of honor and the hypocrisy of Britain’s class system without ever compromising its thrilling war narrative. Whereas Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago feel more pictorial than cinematic, The Bridge on the River Kwai carefully builds its psychological tension until it erupts in a blinding flash of sulfur and flame.

 

At its heart, The Bridge on the River Kwai is a study of human will. In the stuffy British army officer Col. Nicholson (Alec Guinness), Lean creates the perfect embodiment of irrational willpower. Captured by the Japanese in western Thailand, Nicholson leads his men to the labor camp where they’ll be forced to work on the construction of a bridge the Japanese need for their railroad. When the Japanese commander, Col. Saito, orders that even the officers must work on the project, Nicholson protests. Under the Geneva Convention, officers are protected from being forced into manual labor. Saito objects and considers gunning down Nicholson and the officers in front of their men. When he relents, due to the presence of too many witnesses, he makes them stand out in the blazing sun the whole day, then places Nicholson in a sweatbox. Surely, this must be a greater physical torment than actually working, but that’s beside the point for Nicholson. There is no greater dishonor for the aristocracy, of course, than manual labor!

 

It’s a testament to the script that The Bridge on the River Kwai doesn’t ever try to explain Nicholson’s counter-intuitive motives. Today a character like this would surely fall victim to the kneejerk psychoanalysis inherent in so much of contemporary cinema—think of Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood—and his obscure motivation would be explained in easy to comprehend terms.  Neither does Lean find it necessary to underline his film’s provocative themes with blaring music to signify dramatic import. The nature sounds Lean relies on instead prove a lot more powerful. When Nicholson is locked in the sweatbox, the incessant screeching of cicadas provides the perfect sonic expression for his sweltering misery—and the indifference of nature to his quest for honor. And during the final sequence, when former POW Shears (William Holden) returns to blow up the bridge, the slowly mounting tension feels all the more palpable without any musical accompaniment. Instead, the sound of Nicholson’s footsteps echoing off the wooden planks of the bridge, the subtle rush of the river flowing below, and the percussive rumble of the train in the distance provide a deep, suspenseful awareness of this jungle environment and Shears’s critical mission within it.  The Bridge on the River Kwai is an easy film to take for granted, but it’s the last time Lean challenged his audience with characters possessing obscure motivations without the window dressing of flat, Freddie Young cinematography and a Maurice Jarre music-box score. With the possible exception of Ryan’s Daughter, Lean would never again match this achievement."

- Christian Blauvelt, Slant Magazine

 

User Opinion

 

"Overall a very good movie. Great performances and story. There is a reason it won 7 Academy Awards that year." - @75Live

 

The Panda's Haiku

 

Colonel Bogey March

 

Boom goes the bridge on the river

 

Whistle, boys, whistle

 

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Factoids

 

Placement on Prior Lists

 

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

 

Director Count

 

Mel Brooks - 1, Rian Johnson - 1, David Lean - 1, Adrian Molina - 1, Akira Kurosawa - 1, Richard Linklater - 1, Bob Persichetti - 1, Peter Ramsey - 1, Rodney Rotham - 1, The Russo Brothers - 1,  Lee Unkrich - 1, Kar-Wai Wong - 1

 

Franchise Count

 

Before Trilogy - 1, Marvel Cinematic Universe - 1, Pixar - 1, Spider-Man - 1, Star Wars - 1, Studio Ghibli - 1 

 

Decade Count

 

1950s - 1, 1970s - 1, 1980s - 2, 2000s - 2, 2010s - 4

 

 

Edited by The Panda
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Will do mini-write ups for the honorable mentions when we get down to the top 150, but here's the next batch of list missers

 

201.    Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey
202.    Notorious
203.    Margaret
204.    When Harry Met Sally
205.    Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl
206.    Ocean’s Eleven
207.    Frozen (2011)
208.    To Kill a Mockingbird
209.    Close Encounters of the Third Kind
210.    1917
211.    8 ½
212.    Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
213.    Police Story
214.    Black Swan
215.    Fantasia
216.    A Night at the Opera
217.    Paths of Glory
218.    X-Men: Days of Future Past
219.    Planes, Trains and Automobiles
220.    West Side Story
221.    The Conjuring
222.    The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
223.    Malcolm X
224.    Minority Report
225.    Sicario

 

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201.    Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey New
202.    Notorious 248
203.    Margaret New
204.    When Harry Met Sally New
205.    Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl 130
206.    Ocean’s Eleven 220
207.    Frozen (2014- I see your shit Panda and I'm not taking it 137
208.    To Kill a Mockingbird 131
209.    Close Encounters of the Third Kind 196
210.    1917 New
211.    8 ½ New
212.    Dawn of the Planet of the Apes 239
213.    Police Story New
214.    Black Swan 161
215.    Fantasia New
216.    A Night at the Opera New
217.    Paths of Glory 233
218.    X-Men: Days of Future Past 194
219.    Planes, Trains and Automobiles New
220.    West Side Story New
221.    The Conjuring New
222.    The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford New
223.    Malcolm X New
224.    Minority Report New
225.    Sicario New

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