OWF Father's Day Blu-ray Gift Guide

Stuck for something last-minute to buy your beloved Dad this coming Sunday? Well, fear not, for below are a few suggestions from us to show your cinephile pops exactly how much he means to you on Father's Day.

We know that finding those coveted gifts for dad are hard to find, so hopefully we can lead you down the right path.

And even better, they're all pretty much brand spanking new, so chances are he won't have already bought them for himself. Warning, the following post contains way too much testosterone, and adheres to various stereotypes of masculinity. I can practically smell the stubble from here...

Apocalypse Now

It had to get a high-definition release treatment that matched the Herculean effort that it took to make the film in the first place, and in this superior special edition package that achievement has been realised in some style. The film itself is epic, and includes too many brilliant performances to count off - but most notably Martin Sheen and Marlon Brando - and the visuals are jaw-dropping. Bursting with extras, in a gorgeous, beautifully crafted case, this edition should be an essential purchase for everyone, and not just for a stand-out Father's Day gift. Seriously, just go and buy it, and we can discuss how good it is afterwards - oh, but you'll need to set a weekend aside to watch everything on the package. Includes Apocalypse Now, Apocalypse Now Redux and Heart of Darkness. Not cheap at Amazon at a pricey £17.93.


Like father, like son (I'll take applause for that tie-in to the theme later), Charlie Sheen's magnum opus is another modern war film classic, which shares the openly critical vision of war that runs through Apocalypse Now. Platoon is far more openly outraged at the heinous acts of men committed in the name of war, and offers the uneasy juxtaposition of camaraderie in battle with those inhuman acts within the same scenes. The acting on show, particularly from a fresh-faced Sheen, and snarling vets like Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe and John C McGinley is uniformly brilliant, but then this is an Oliver Stone project, and the usually politicised film-maker always seems to be able to encourage defining performances from his actors. It's new to blu-ray, and thanks to the iconic nature of the film it's pretty much an essential purchase for you or for Pops.

The Thin Red Line

Terrence Malick makes ridiculously grand, astonishingly good-looking films with a profound sense of meaning beneath their shiny surface, that much is undeniable. What is less of a given is that sometimes, he even manages to match his more pretentious aspirations with conventional story-telling prowess as well. The overall result is a war film that packs more than a little philosophical punch, with a cast of probably hundreds of the most recognisable acting faces of the time and some impressive, and incredibly immersive action sequences. And then there are those visuals, which look phenomenal in high-definition, so fork out that little bit more for the blu-ray and you're father will love you a little bit more for the effort. Tigerland Four war films in a row, but Dad's love war films, and that is scientifically proven fact right there. Tigerland is somewhat different to the open warfare of the other three however, and a little more explicit about its anti-war preoccupation. What results is a surprisingly engaging and authentically moving experience, hinged on a very impressive performance by a just-starting-out Colin Farrell as our anti-hero lead. One of the film's greatest successes is that it tells an aspect of the war story that is not often seen: the relationships and strains between men on the final step before full-on war, and in Joel Schumacher's hands, the film ends up looking great, while the director manages for once not to neglect the minutiae of his human characters. Obviously, pick it up on blu-ray for some added enjoyment of its visuals.

The Hustler

Every Dad loves sports. It's sort of in their contract. But some aren't exactly the "active" types, thanks to high-impact diet consisting of the staple food groups of beer, oies and anything pickled in vinegar, so they tend to gravitate towards Pub Sports like darts, dominos and pool. Now, I'm not really aware of many films about darts or dominoes, but I do know that the greatest film about the Table Sport of Kings is The Hustler (swiftly followed by its sequel The Color of Money and Cool Hand Luke of course), which has just been released on blu-ray in time for Father's Day. Paul Newman is about as charismatic a screen actor as there has ever been, and here he pulls of the perfect anti-hero opposite an equally brilliant Jackie Gleason. It feels tangibly and wonderfully of another time, and it looks bloody gorgeous as well.

Midnight Cowboy

Probably the least macho of all the titles included on this list, but no less of an absolute classic. Featuring an outstanding soundtrack (by Dad-favourite Harry Nilson), and two breath-takingly good central performanes from Jon Voigt and Dustin Hoffman, Midnight Cowboy is both an ingenious cult gem and a hugely successful mainstream classic all rolled into one. The off-kilter, odd-couple romance between Hoffman and Voigt is just irresistible, and there are moments of tragedy mixed in that would completely floor even the most stonily manly of men. Not too badly priced either.

True Grit

A modern Western to end them all, or hopefully to reinvigorate the genre. the Coen Bros' latest is an epic retelling from Charles Portis' novel, rather than a remake of the John Wayne classic movie. Oh and if you can ignore the fact that he is unintelligible for about 80% of the time, Jeff Bridges will rock your boots off as Rooster Cogburn, the gnarled, near-redundant old cowboy, tasked with bringing Josh Brolin's murderous bad guy to justice. Excellent new-comer Hailee Steinfeld and the ever-brilliant Matt Damon make up the cast, and I can safely say this one comes with the OWF seal of approval. Want further testimony of the film's awesomeness? Check out our full review.

Le Mans

Released on blu-ray just in time for lazy hacks to draw redundant comparisons with the artful and astounding Senna, Le Mans remains the best motor-racing movie of all time (admittedly in a very small pond of talent), and combines the thrills of the race track with the superhuman cool of Steve McQueen. A high-octane, hugely charismatic classic.


Rather than making the hotly-anticipated finale to their Blood and Cornetto trilogy, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost instead took to the road for Hollywood and made this geeky sci-fi road movie for director Greg Mottola with the uber-popular Seth Rogen. Definitely one for the dorkier Dads out there, given the nerd credentials of having Pegg, Frost and Rogen together in one film, and the subject matter, but the comedy and the bromance element are definitely broad enough to appeal to a wider audience. Want more help deciding? Read our full cinematic review.

Taxi Driver

A bona-fide classic, finally available in high-definition, and a must for all film fans. Simple as that really. It's as odd as it is iconic, and Robert De Niro is mesmerising as the anti-hero lead to end all anti-hero leads. Need any further proof? Read our full review of the 35th anniversary re-release. Or read our 50 Reasons Why It's The Best Film Of All Time if you are still not yet convinced.

Foo Fighters: Back and Forth

Easily one of the best rock biopics of recent years, though it is perhaps far more appropriate to consider Back and Forth as a tribute to the Foos. The documentary charts the history of the band, from before its earliest beginnings to the recording in Dave Grohl's garage of latest album Wasting Light. There are some pearls in there, including Grohl talking candidly about some of his more difficult decisions (including sacking members) and his relationship with Kurt Cobain, and the live footage of the band from throughout their career is a brilliant feature for fans like myself.

The True Adventures of the World's Greatest Stuntman

Autobiographies are generally one of two breeds - they're either a superfluous exercise in ego-massaging (like 99% of sports biogs) or very occasionally (and sadly quite rarely these days) they are an engaging portrait of an important figure like Vic Armstrong, a power-house of the stunt world whose rap sheet includes some of Hollywood's most iconic shots. The book crucially is written frankly and with an engaging and entertaining tone, with testimonies from some of his famous and infamous co-stars and co-workers in the industry. An excellent read for any one with even half an interest in the film industry, and an immersive autobiography in more general terms. Right so that's war, aliens, psychos, cowboys, race cars, pool sharks, stuntmen and rock music. I think my work here is done. Oh, and while I'm at it, here's one you probably shouldn't buy him. It might lead to him questioning a "change of lifestyle", as recently happened when I confessed my own enjoyment of this particular show...


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