In cinema history, there have been hundreds of films that have emerged as classics; titles which have defined – or redefined – their respective genres. All of you reading this will no doubt have your own personal favourites, just as I have mine.
They will vary from person to person, as we all have our own unique tastes, but there are always those which find their way into our DVD players time and time again. They are the films which have become regular sources of entertainment and a benchmark against which all other movies in that genre must be judged.
If you don’t know what I mean, check out some of my personal favourites below. They represent my top picks of movies that meet this criteria – however as I’m sure some of you will disagree with my choices, or will have additional titles to add to the list, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below and share your opinions!
1. War Genre – Saving Private Ryan
Poignant, powerful, thought provoking and awe inspiring, films about war never fail to provide riveting viewing. One which achieved a certain degree of critical recognition upon its release (although not as much as I feel it deserved) and which has gone on to portray D-Day in many people’s collective consciousness is Spielberg’s epic ‘Saving Private Ryan’.
A representation far grittier and more visceral than the likes of ‘The Longest Day’, ‘Saving Private Ryan’ chronicles the Allied invasion of Normandy from the perspective of a fictional group of American GIs. As they traverse the sprawling French battlefield, dodging bunkers, machine gun nests and snipers, they cover terrain ranging from hostile beaches to shelled out cities. Along the way they face a diverse number of physical, mental and emotional challenges, including the unavoidable psychological stress of seeing their friends wounded and killed, but they continue on to achieve their mission and earn their ‘ticket home’.
In terms of visuals, ‘Saving Private Ryan’ presents the events of 1944 in a burnt out, monochromatic style, made possible through the fitting of ‘stripped out’ lenses to the cameras. This gives the entire film a similar aesthetic quality to the documentaries shot at the time, adding immeasurably to the film’s atmosphere and sense of authenticity. Likewise the script, which communicates feelings of joy, of hope, of pain, of suffering and of bitter reflection, keeps the viewer enthralled in the story without intruding or feeling unnecessarily forced. Lastly, the attention to detail afforded by the uniforms, the weapons, the vehicles and the locales (after visiting Omaha beach myself I can say that the beach in Ireland where the scenes were shot is pretty convincing) all help to immerse the viewer and make them feel like they were actually there.
After initial screenings of ‘Saving Private Ryan’, many veterans who attended commented on how the only thing missing was the smell; the rest remained as true as possible to the reality of war. It’s for this reason that it makes it to the top of my list, meaning that if you’re a fan of military history, or would just like something engaging and thought provoking to watch on a Sunday afternoon, buy the DVD, sit back and enjoy.
Other top picks: ‘Pearl Harbour’, ‘Jarhead’, ‘The Hurt Locker’, ‘Full Metal Jacket’, ‘Tears of the Sun’
Click “next” below for the Crime & Gangster genre…