13 great films you may have missed!

I know what you are thinking. Why thirteen films, instead of a regular ten? The reason is simple. I don't play by society's rules. Also, this has allowed me to avoid the problem of whether to include comedies in a list of great films, by adding three of them at the end.

More to the point, amongst countless lists of great films there is more often than not a great oversight. Truly great films that are not in top ten lists are unfortunately missed by the general public. I am always surprised by friends who have not seen classics. Films such as Goodfellows, Raging Bull, The Good the Bad and the Ugly, Silence of the Lambs, The Graduate, Deer Hunter, Apocalypse Now, Pulp Fiction, Jaws, Rain Man, The African Queen, and Spinal Tap. Fortunately, the notorious status of these films means that they will be seen eventually. However, there are truly great films that do not receive as much publicity as, for instance, The Godfather trilogy. This article will highlight some of the greatest and most memorable films that every person should watch at some point.

There are many who have seen all of the films on this list. However, you, the girl that was only allowed to watch Disney as a child, the bookworm who resisted the temptations of the couch, the poor shepherd boy who had to spend the whole day watching out for wolves, you, are in for a treat.

Dustin Hoffan and Steve McQueen in Pappion
Dustin Hoffan and Steve McQueen in Pappion
Sean Connery and Christian Slater in The Name of the Rose
Sean Connery and Christian Slater in The Name of the Rose

1- Papillon

Papillon (Steve McQueen) is wrongly convicted of murder and sentenced to life in a French penal colony in South America. He is determined to escape but his attempts fail resulting in eventual recapture. He continues his efforts, despite incarcerations in solitary confinement as punishment. In the end, unable to control him, the authorities send Papillon to Devil's Island, where there are no guards as the rough water surrounding the island stops any escape attempt. On the way to the prison, he meets another convict, Louis Dega (Dustin Hoffman), who gives a great performance as Papillon's friend and accomplice. Exploration of friendship and human struggle makes this film is an absolute classic!

2- The Name of the Rose

Sean Connery plays a Franciscan friar investigating a murder at a monastery, along with his apprentice, a Benedictine novice, played by a young Christian Slater. As the investigation unfolds, several deaths occur and the plot thickens. Refusing to accept demonic possession as the answer, the friar has to rely on his extraordinary powers of logic and deduction. Interesting topics like the Inquisition and Demonology along with the setting give this film a great sense of atmosphere.

Harrison Ford in Witness
Harrison Ford in Witness
Whoopi Goldberg in The Colour Purple
Whoopi Goldberg in The Colour Purple

3- Witness

The film revolves around a young Amish boy, who witnessed a brutal murder of a policeman in the toilets of a railway station. Detective John Book (Harrison Ford) is assigned to the kid. By chance, the boy notices a press photograph displayed at the police station of Lieutenant James McFee (Danny Glover). After telling the police chief of the boys positive identification, Book is shot at by Mcfee on his way home. Realising that only the chief knew about McFee's identification, Ford destroys the records of the case and flees with the boy and mother back to their Amish community. Wounded, Book is grudgingly accepted into the community to recover fully. He follows on to fit into their society as an amateur carpenter, whilst planning to expose the corrupt policemen. However, unable to stand by whilst an Amish family is harassed in town, and going against their strict adherence to pacifism, he risks exposing his cover. A great thriller, which with focus on corruption and cultural collision, makes for a great watch.

4- The Colour Purple

This film tells the story of the life of a young black girl in the southern states of America in the 1900s. By the time she is fourteen, Celie (Whoopi Goldberg) already had two children by her father, who took them away at birth, and forced her to marry a local widower called Albert, (Danny Glover). She is beaten, treated like a slave, and bullied into submission. Eventually, getting away she finds her self-worth in two friends. The end of the film shows a kind side to Albert, who realises that he has been a terrible person most of his life, and gives this very emotional film an equally emotional ending. Whoopi Goldberg is brilliant, and the film as a whole is unforgettable. I would particularly recommend this film to any racists, sexists or selfish rich people out there.

Richard Dreyfuss in Close Encounters
Richard Dreyfuss in Close Encounters
Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep in Kramer v Kramer
Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep in Kramer v Kramer

5- Close Encounters of the Third Kind

After coming in contact with a space ship, an Indiana electrical linesman becomes obsessed with UFOs, and particularly a strange mountain shape. The film is full of images that fascinate, terrify, and completely consume the viewer with the desire to discover the secret that is eating away at the characters. Spielberg's awe-inspiring sci-fi has held well due to its sharp imagery and effects, engaging story and characters, as well as decent acting, by Richard Dreyfuss in particular.

6- Kramer v Kramer

Hoffman plays a workaholic advertising executive, who is given the biggest new account. On returning home, he finds out that his wife (Meryl Streep) is leaving him to raise their son by himself. A mutual resentment grows between the father, who no longer has time for the increased workload, and the boy, who misses his mother. Gradually, they get used to it and their relationship strengthens. However, a custody battle ensues when the mother returns over a year later. In court, brutal character assassinations follow, and the child is given back to his mother, based on the notion that any child belongs with its mother. Realising that the child has already made a home with the father, she tells her distressed husband that she will not be taking him away. Overall, the film used a very common story to tackle the subject of equality and parental dilemmas. What makes this film very watchable is the brilliant acting, which rightfully led to Oscars for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress, on top of Best Picture.

7- The Untouchables

This terrific crime drama follows Elliot Ness's autobiographical account of efforts to bring down Al Capone during the Prohibition era. Great costumes and picture make it very watchable, along with a great cast, including Kevin Costner, Robert de Niro, Sean Connery and Andy Garcia. Despite having a terrible accent, Connery managed to pick up the Best Supporting Actor award at the Oscars.

8- Unforgiven

This is a great Western often overlooked, starring Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Richard Harris and a great performance from Gene Hackman. After a group of prostitutes offer a big reward to any gunslinger who can kill two cowboys who disfigured one of them, Eastwood is approached by an inexperienced young cowboy. An infamous bandit and killer in his youth, he initially refuses, having retired a long time ago to look after his two children at his pig farm. In need of dollars, he reconsiders, and after picking up another old gunfighter, Ned Logan (Freeman), sets off on the hunt. Their biggest obstacle is Little Bill Dagget(Hackman), the local sheriff and former gun fighter, who does not allow guns or assassins in his town. The film won Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor for Hackman.

9- Midnight Cowboy

Hilarious and emotional, this film is a must watch. A Texan country boy called Joe Buck(Jon Voight)(Angelina Jolee's dad) puts on his cowboy outfit and moves to New York with hope and expectation of being a gigolo. After many failed attempts, he finally manages to bed a middle aged woman, however, when mentioning payment, she starts to cry, resulting in him paying her $20 instead. He soon meets a crippled, coughing con-man, Enrico Rizzo (Dustin Hoffman), known as Ratso, who initially cons him out of $20. After finding him again later, and with a depleted bankroll, he is offered a place to stay by Ratso. They form a friendship over a period of pick pocketing, stealing and attempts to get desperate women. Ratzo gets sick gradually, and refuses his friends attempts to get him a doctor. Instead, he wants to leave New York and go to Miami. Worried for his friend, Joe gets coach tickets and they set off with disturbing consequences. Dustin Hoffman is clearly the king of films that end on buses. This film is certainly in the must watch category, with one of the most emotional endings ever made, and a great sound track.

Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman in Midnight Cowboy
Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman in Midnight Cowboy
Tom Cruise in Magnolia
Tom Cruise in Magnolia
Jack Nickolson, Susan Sarandon, Cher and Michele Pfeiffer in The Witches of Eastwick
Jack Nickolson, Susan Sarandon, Cher and Michele Pfeiffer in The Witches of Eastwick

Steve Martin about to operate

Which of the films in this list is your favourite?

  • Papillon
  • Name of the Rose
  • Witness
  • The Colour Purple
  • Close Encounters Of the Third Kind
  • Kramer v Kramer
  • The Untouchables
  • Unforgiven
  • Midnight Cowboy
  • Magnolia
  • The Witches of Eastwick
  • The Man with Two Brains
  • The Big Lebowski
See results without voting

10- Magnolia

There is a great introduction to the film describing three urban legends, which will immediately grab your attention. The film involves a host of unique characters going through events and crises, which reveal a mutual loneliness. The complex nature of the inter connections between all the characters begins to reveal itself towards the end of the film. The number of mesmerizing performances in this film is incredible, including John C Reilly, Julianne Moore, Phillip Seymor Hoffman, William h. Macy and Jeremy Blackman. In addition, Tom Cruise plays an unusual role of a motivational speaker, or men's sex guru, with the memorable line "Respect the Cock!". A role for which he was nominated for an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor. Overall, another very interesting film, pleasant on the eye, that can be watched over and over again.

11- The Witches of Eastwick

Jack Nicholson stars as the devil, in a role that seems perfect for him. A mysterious, eccentric stranger, Daryl Van Horne, appears in a small town and sets about seducing three local women. As the women succumb to his charms and start spending more and more time at his mansion, gossip spreads through the community. Realising they have to break away from him, the women decide to use the powers he taught them. A very well made film that's sure to entertain.

12- The Man with Two Brains

Dr. Hfuhruhurr (Steve Martin) is a brilliant brain surgeon well known for his cranial screw-top method of brain surgery, which he uses to save the life of Delores Benedict (Kathleen Turner), after he accidentally runs her over in his car. He falls in love with her while she is recovering, and they marry, but he is soon driven crazy when she refuses to consummate the marriage by pretending to be ill. He realises that she is a gold-digger on their honeymoon, at the same time discovering he can communicate telepathically with a brain in a jar at the laboratory of another brain doctor. He immediately falls in love with the brain, Anne Uumellmahaye, and schemes to transplant her brain into another woman's body. This is without doubt the funniest Steve Martin film ever and it is very surprising how many people have never seen it.

13- The Big Lebowski

Jeff Lebowski (Jeff Bridges), aka 'The Dude', is an unemployed slacker in California, who enjoys White Russians, bowling and smoking weed. His peaceful life is interrupted by a case of mistaken identity, which results in him getting jumped at his apartment by two guys who urinate on his rug before realising they have the wrong guy. The dude goes to the other Lebowski's house to claim compensation for the rug, at which point their worlds get more mixed up. Encountering a kidnapping ransom along with a host of entertaining characters, The Dude struggles to get through the situation, with the help of his eccentric friends. The cult classic status this film enjoys is well deserved. Jeff Bridges is great in a comedy role, alongside John Goodman, Steve Buscemi and John Turturro.

Disillusionment with the lack of originality, average acting and reliance on computer generated effects are regular themes in modern film making. Of course, there are recent examples of good original films, such as There Will Be Blood, The Departed, Gran Torino, or Requiem for a Dream. On a similar note, I hope there will be a stop to the modern trend of remaking great films like the Italian Job, Planet of the Apes, The Hitcher and countless others. Instead, the future could hold memorable and original films, which will once again conquer the mainstream.

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Comments 2 comments

BrightMeadow profile image

BrightMeadow 5 years ago from a room of one's own

I have seen about half of the films here. As it seems a pretty good list, I may have to check out the other half.

Laken Garver profile image

Laken Garver 4 years ago

Great list! Love some of these movies and some of them I need to see!

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