D.O.A. (1980)

D.O.A. (1980)

“I’m not shocked by punk — I’m shamed by it.”

Synopsis:
The Sex Pistols and other punk bands perform and are interviewed by documentarian Lech Kowalski in the late 1970s.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Documentary
  • Punk Rock

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary writes that this “haphazardly constructed” documentary of the “seminal English punk group, The Sex Pistols, with extensive footage of their 1978 U.S. tour” is “nevertheless an arresting, upsetting social document about the punk scene at its peak.”

He notes that “the young fans who show up for Sex Pistols concerts are society’s and mothers’ worst nightmare” — and while “their make-up and wild clothing won’t bother anyone who has been to The Rocky Horror Picture Show… it’s disturbing to witness the pins through their cheeks, their mindless f**k-the-world hostility and rudeness (especially toward the cameraman), and their violence.”

He adds that the “music by the Sex Pistols (Johnny Rotten, Sid Vicious, Steve Jones, Paul Cook) and other famous punk groups should please fans and, for those like [him – i.e., non-fans], satisfy curiosity,” and he concludes his review by noting that “surely the film’s most famous, most depraved scene is an interview with catatonic Vicious (wearing a swastika T-shirt) and spaced-out girlfriend Nancy Spungen” before they both died shortly thereafter.

This film also offers some drolly amusing commentary from various folks who are, shall we say, not especially pleased about the impact of punk music on society.

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • A time capsule glimpse at a unique period in music history

Must See?
No, though it’s worth a look as a cultural document.

Links:

Golden Voyage of Sinbad, The (1973)

Golden Voyage of Sinbad, The (1973)

“There is a third part still to be found; it must be found!”

Synopsis:
Shortly after finding a mysterious gold amulet, Sinbad (John Phillip Law) encounters an evil magician (Tom Baker) desperate for the amulet, and is launched on an adventure involving a beautiful slave girl (Caroline Munro), a disfigured Vizier (Douglas Wilmer), and several magical creatures.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Fantasy
  • Ray Harryhausen Films
  • Search
  • Witches and Wizards

Response to Peary’s Review:
As Peary writes, this “tenth collaboration of Charles H. Schneer and model-animation genius Ray Harryhausen” — “the second of three Sinbad movies” — was made “17 years after The 7th Voyage of Sinbad” and while it’s “not as enjoyable as that classic, it still is quite entertaining.” He points out that although the “picture is a bit slow,” “it contains five excellent Harryhausen creations: a six-armed, dancing, sword-wielding statue”:

… “the Siren figurehead on Sinbad’s ship that Koura [the magician] brings to life”:

… “a tiny, ugly, winged Homunculus that serves as Koura’s spy”:

… “and a centaur and griffin, whose battle is a highlight.”

The final sword battle between Sinbad and his nemesis Koura — involving a “shield of darkness” — is also nicely handled.

I’m essentially in agreement with Peary’s assessment. This escapist fantasy is a little slow at times, but it’s creatively filmed, and Harryhausen’s unique creations are always worth watching. Meanwhile, Munro is gorgeous eye candy:

… and Baker is effectively evil as a magician whose very life is predicated upon locating the mythical fountain of youth.

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • Fine performances by the cast
  • Ray Harryhausen’s creature effects
  • Magical sets
  • Ted Moore’s cinematography

Must See?
Yes, for Harryhausen’s effects, and as an overall good show.

Categories

  • Good Show

Links:

Purple Noon (1960)

Purple Noon (1960)

“All is vanity; nothing exists.”

Synopsis:
When conman Tom Ripley (Alain Delon) is hired to bring his acquaintance (Maurice Ronet) back home to his father in America, Ripley finds himself caught up in a sticky triangle with Ronet’s dissatisfied girlfriend (Marie Laforet), and soon moves into even more dangerous territory involving murder and identity theft.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Con-Artists
  • French Films
  • Mistaken or Hidden Identities
  • Psychopaths
  • Rene Clement Films

Review:
Nearly 40 years before Anthony Minghella gave us The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), French director Rene Clement helmed this adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s 1955 novel of the same name, albeit with a new title. (It was released as Plein Soleil — or Full Sun — in French, which seems to make a bit more sense than the inscrutable English translation; what is a “purple noon”?) Regardless of what it’s called, this early version remains a top-notch thriller in every way, with the cast, sets (in Italy), cinematography, and storyline all coming together to provide the type of classy suspense entertainment one expects from Highsmith (author of the novel upon which Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train was based).

It was interesting watching this movie shortly after revisiting Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’Avventura (1960), given that they were released the same year, and both begin by showing privileged individuals out on a recreational boating trip in Italy that turns tragic — though the two storylines take completely different trajectories from there. Unlike L’Avventura, Purple Noon is heavily plot-driven, showing us the various steps Tom Ripley — one of literature’s best-known sociopaths — takes to try to secure his own fortunes at the ruthless expense of others.

Ripley (Delon is perfectly cast) may think he has a full-proof plan, but naturally, there are hiccups — including the inconvenient re-emergence of an American friend (Bill Kearns) first introduced to us in opening scenes.


Saying more about the details of this film may take away from the enjoyment of simply watching it, so I’ll leave my analysis somewhat succinct. Suffice it to say that this film remains gripping from beginning to end — and be prepared for a final surprise once you think all has resolved.

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • Alain Delon as Tom Ripley
  • Marie Laforet as Marge
  • Maurice Ronet as Philippe Greenleaf
  • Henri Decaë’s cinematography

Must See?
Yes, as a foreign gem.

Categories

  • Foreign Gem
  • Important Director

Links:

Sergeant Rutledge (1960)

Sergeant Rutledge (1960)

“White women only spell trouble for any of us.”

Synopsis:
A Black Cavalry soldier (Woody Strode) falsely accused of raping and murdering a young White woman (Toby Michaels) is defended in court by a White lieutenant (Jeffrey Hunter) and his love interest (Constance Towers), who both believe in Strode’s innocence.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • African-Americans
  • Cavalry
  • Courtroom Drama
  • Falsely Accused
  • Jeffrey Hunter Films
  • John Ford Films
  • Juano Hernandez Films
  • Westerns
  • Woody Strode Films

Review:
John Ford attempted to atone for his previously demeaning depictions of African-Americans on screen — see Judge Priest (1934) and The Sun Shines Bright (1954) — in this earnest, historically groundbreaking western featuring a humanized Black protagonist, and portraying “Buffalo Soldiers” (Black Cavalry members) for the first (?) time.

The movie is told as a courtroom drama, in which we’re first led to believe Towers will portray a stereotypical White damsel-in-distress at the mercy of a “dangerous” Black man.

Soon, however, we learn that Strode has saved her life from an Apache raid, and Towers is actually a reasonable, non-bigoted female protagonist who is justifiably indignant about the claims made against Strode. The rest of the storyline — who did rape and kill “Miss Lucy”, and who shot wounded Strode? — is effectively handled, as we’re kept in suspense about various potential culprits for each crime until the very end.

Meanwhile, we’re shown non-stereotyped Black soldiers interacting and carrying out their duties in a way that should have been much better represented in cinema of the era, but — of course — wasn’t. (Watch for Juano Hernandez in a key supporting role.)

Ford’s film remains a critical step in the direction towards more authentic racial representation on screen, and is thus must-see viewing for its historical significance in cinema.

Note: Strode and Ford remained real-life friends until his death.

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • Woody Strode as Sgt. Rutledge
  • Jeffrey Hunter as Lt. Cantrell
  • Bert Glennon’s cinematography

Must See?
Yes, for its historical significance.

Categories

  • Historically Relevant
  • Important Director

Links:

Walk on the Wild Side (1962)

Walk on the Wild Side (1962)

“Did you ever hear of bread? I butter yours.”

Synopsis:
After hitching a ride with a teenage runaway (Jane Fonda), a Texas farmer (Laurence Harvey) lands in New Orleans and receives support from a widowed cafe owner (Anne Baxter) before searching for his former lover (Capucine), who is now a prostitute working for a lesbian madam (Barbara Stanwyck).

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Anne Baxter Films
  • Barbara Stanwyck Films
  • Capucine Films
  • Edward Dmytryk Films
  • Jane Fonda Films
  • Laurence Harvey Films
  • Prostitutes and Gigolos

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary writes that this “brooding, once shocking adaptation of Nelson Algren’s novel” is “very watchable” but he argues that “the actors, though good, are extremely stiff, as if they feared moving about and not being able to find the floor markers on the dark sets.” (Peary exaggerates; not that many scenes are darkly lit.) He notes that “only hip-swinging Jane Fonda, as a wildcat tamed by Stanwyck’s threats, projects any energy,” but “it’s difficult to tell if her performance is correct or completely wrong since her style is so much more expressive than that of the other stars.” (Is “correct” really the right term to use for a performance?)

Peary adds that while “it’s unusual to see a film with four solid female parts,” “so many of their feelings — those that explain who they are — are kept bottled inside, as if the many scriptwriters (including Clifford Odets and Ben Hecht) were either afraid or incapable of expressing them or unable to because of censorship problems.” Indeed, this movie is often cited as a classic example of everything wrong with studio filmmaking before the Production Code was finally loosened; it was lambasted thusly by Bosley Crowther in The New York Times:

Everything in this sluggish picture… smacks of sentimentality and social naïveté. It is incredible that anything as foolish would be made in this day and age.

Meanwhile, the film’s production was infamously challenging and heated as well; as described in TCM’s article:

Needless to say, the shoot was something of a pitched battle. Feldman had promised Dmytryk that he would leave the country during filming so that he wouldn’t interfere. Then he hung around anyway, sending in his unwanted script revisions and insisting that Capucine be dressed in the latest Pierre Cardin designs, even though the film was set and costumed in the ’30s. Harvey quarreled with Dmytryk incessantly. When the actor stalked off the set and held up production for over an hour, Stanwyck tore into him so vehemently, he was never late again. At least they both could agree on their dislike of Capucine. When the former model complained that Harvey’s kisses weren’t manly enough for her, he countered, “Perhaps if you were more of a woman, I would be more of a man. Honey, kissing you is like kissing the side of a beer bottle.”

Ouch! Speaking of Stanwyck, her character’s thinly veiled “interest” in Capucine at least keeps things a little intriguing, even if her role is underdeveloped.

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • Jane Fonda’s enthusiastic performance as Kitty Twist
  • Barbara Stanwyck as Jo
  • Anne Baxter as Teresina
  • Joseph MacDonald’s cinematography

Must See?
No, though fans of the stars will likely be curious to check it out.

Links:

Spartacus (1960)

Spartacus (1960)

“When just one man says, ‘No, I won’t,’ Rome begins to fear.”

Synopsis:
After watching a fellow gladiator (Woody Strode) being killed by an arrogant Roman senator (Laurence Olivier), a slave named Spartacus (Kirk Douglas) helps spark a rebellion and is soon leader of a growing army of former slaves fighting back against their Roman captors.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Ancient Greece and Rome
  • Charles Laughton Films
  • Folk Heroes
  • Historical Drama
  • Jean Simmons Films
  • John Dall Films
  • John Ireland Films
  • Kirk Douglas Films
  • Laurence Olivier Films
  • Peter Ustinov Films
  • Rebellion
  • Slavery
  • Stanley Kubrick Films
  • Tony Curtis Films
  • Woody Strode Films

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary writes that “director Stanley Kubrick was disappointed in this epic about the legendary hero… who led a slave revolt against Rome in 71 B.C.,” feeling like “he didn’t have the freedom to develop the story as he wanted.” However, as Peary points out, “it has come to be regarded as [among the] best of the historical epics,” given that “it contains a spirited, emotionally charged performance by Douglas (who also produced)”:

… “a superlative supporting cast headed by Jean Simmons as the slave girl Varinia (Spartacus’s lover)”:

… “andLaurence Olivier as the Roman Crassus (Spartacus’s mortal enemy), [and] an outstanding battle sequence.” He notes that “this is one of the few epics in which we’re not bored when characters are talking,” adding that “the palace-bath chats between Olivier, John Gavin (as Julius Caesar), Charles Laughton, and the other shrewd Romans are amusing not only because they reveal political motives for wanting Spartacus and his memory destroyed but also because there are strong intimations of homosexuality.”

However, “the film’s major distinction is that its script, adapted from Howard Fast’s novel by Dalton Trumbo” (in his first credited post-blacklist film) “has a genuine revolutionary spirit, reflected in Douglas’s speeches to his followers” — and “Trumbo also establishes, through Crassus, the nature of a fascist.”

Peary notes numerous highlights from the film, including “Douglas being forced by his Roman captors to fight to the death with fellow slave Woody Strode”:

… “Laughton and slave dealer Peter Ustinov having a gluttonous meal together”:

… “Simmons’s nude swim”:

… “the fireballs being shot at the beginning of the great battle”:

… “and the fictional final scene in which the Romans try to determine which of the captured revels is Spartacus (they all claim to be).”

I’m essentially in agreement with Peary’s review, though the film feels a bit long at 3+ hours, and one definitely misses (or at least wonders about) the lack of Kubrick’s distinctive touch. However, the battle sequences are truly impressive, and the storyline effectively portrays Ancient Rome from multiple perspectives — not just those in power.

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • Laurence Olivier as Crassus
  • Peter Ustinov as Batiatus
  • Charles Laughton as Gracchus
  • Russell Metty’s cinematography (aided significantly by Kubrick)
  • The impressively crafted battle sequences

Must See?
Yes, for its historical significance. Nominated as one of the Best Pictures of the Year in Alternate Oscars.

Categories

  • Historically Relevant
  • Important Director
  • Oscar Winner or Nominee

(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)

Links:

Hell is For Heroes (1962)

Hell is For Heroes (1962)

“Lady, the whole world is full of trouble.”

Synopsis:
During World War II, an embittered private (Steve McQueen) joins a battalion run by a tough sergeant (Harry Guardino) and his even-keeled next-in-command (Fess Parker). Soon the men — including a hustler (Bobby Darin), a mechanically minded corporal (James Coburn), a naive young kid (Bill Mullikin), a Polish-born private (Mike Kellin) who looks after a displaced Polish soldier (Nick Adams), and a clerk (Bob Newhart) — are told they must return to battle despite being severely outnumbered by the Germans; will they find a way to survive?

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Don Siegel Films
  • Fess Parker Films
  • James Coburn Films
  • Soldiers
  • Steve McQueen Films
  • World War II

Review:
Don Siegel directed and Robert Pirosh scripted this “anti-war” wartime battle flick, based on a real-life squad of men from the 95th Infantry Division tasked with holding off the Germans at the Siegfried Line. It features McQueen as a typically stoic tough guy:

… and Bob Newhart (in his film debut) as a bumbling outsider tasked with faking a phone call to his superiors in order to make spying Germans believe his team is doing just fine.

There are a few other mild attempts at humor, but for the most part, this is a bleak film that pulls no punches in depicting how relentlessly brutal war is.

SPOILERS AHEAD

Particularly hair-raising scenes include a few of the men snake-crawling across the ground while feeling with their fingers for landmines (tragically, Coburn misses one):

… Guardino screaming that his guts have been blown out while being carried off the battlefield:

… and a brutally graphic ending for McQueen. Indeed, “The End” appears on screen almost immediately after several major characters have been killed, thus denying the viewer any further closure or sense of what happens to the remaining men. This harsh film has a minor cult following given taut direction by Siegel and plenty of authentic-seeming fighting, but it’s not my personal cup of tea.

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • Several gut-wrenching sequences

Must See?
No, though it’s worth a look.

Links:

Avventura, L’ (1960)

Avventura, L’ (1960)

“How can it take so little time to change, to forget?”

Synopsis:
After her best friend Anna (Lea Massari) mysteriously disappears during a boating trip in the Mediterranean, a young woman named Claudia (Monica Vitti) unexpectedly falls in love with her friend’s fiance, Sandro (Gabriele Ferzetti).

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Italian Films
  • Michelangelo Antonioni Films
  • Mysterious Disappearance

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary writes that this “slow, enigmatic work by Michelangelo Antonio” — which “many critics consider infuriatingly shallow and others think is fraught with insight into the psyche of the rich” — is a “pessimistic film… about the tenuous nature of modern relationships, the inability of people to communicate verbally, the lack of joy in lovemaking, the meaningless and alienated lives of the rich, the realization that we’ll all disappear from the face of the earth and that life, such as it is, will continue (and we will fade from memory).”

He points out that the “film is very slow-paced, has no real storyline, [and] uses dull dialogue to express the dullness of the uncommunicative characters.” He notes that while he personally finds “the film fascinating,” he now knows “better than to recommend it to the casual moviegoer.” Finally, Peary highlights the “mesmerizing photography by Aldo Scavarda.”

I agree that it’s easy to see how this “challenging” film would divide audiences. It’s gorgeous and provocative, but requires patience and some intentional analysis to appreciate the points its director seems to be making. According to Geoffrey Nowell-Smith’s essay for Criterion:

From the moment that Sandro’s pursuit of Claudia is suddenly converted into mutual passion, the film’s momentum changes. Anna recedes into the background, but her absence continues to haunt the narrative, right until the very end. This absence — which is also a presence — is a key to the film. It inevitably brings to mind Hitchcock, who plays with a similar motif in Rebecca (1940) and Vertigo (1958), and also dispatches his heroine early in a film exactly contemporary with L’AvventuraPsycho.

However, Nowell-Smith points out a crucial difference between Antonioni and Hitchcock’s approach: Antonioni did not provide easily discernible reasons or motivations for anything that happens (or doesn’t happen) to his characters; they simply exist and (inter)act. Antonioni followed up this film with three others also starring Vitti: La Notte (1961), L’Eclisse (1962), and Red Desert (1964); I’ll be reviewing and comparing those soon.

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • Monica Vitti as Claudia
  • Aldos Scavarda’s cinematography

Must See?
Yes, for its historical relevance as “Antonioni’s breakthrough film.”

Categories

  • Foreign Gem
  • Historically Relevant
  • Important Director

(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)

Links:

Atlantic City (1980)

Atlantic City (1980)

“Now it’s all so goddamn legal.”

Synopsis:
When an aspiring croupier (Susan Sarandon) in Atlantic City is visited by her estranged husband (Robert Joy) and pregnant sister (Hollis McLaren), she unexpectedly finds herself caught up in an adventure involving her elderly neighbor (Burt Lancaster), a former low-level gangster caring for an aging moll (Kate Reid).

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Burt Lancaster Films
  • Casinos
  • Drug Dealers
  • Gangsters
  • Has-Beens
  • Louis Malle Films
  • May-December Romance
  • Susan Sarandon Films

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary writes that “there is much in this film” — which he considers to be director “Louis Malle’s best English-language film” — “to appreciate,” including “the seedy [title] city itself.” He argues that “even if you’ve never been there, you’ll feel nostalgia for the pre-casino days.”

Peary writes that playwright “John Guare’s exceptional, witty script is full of believable, interesting types — all hoping for that one shot at happiness.” He notes that Guare and Malle’s “major theme is reflected in the coupling of Lancaster and Sarandon,” whose “union serves as a metaphor for the present-day mixing of the old and new in Atlantic City”; he points out they “make a dynamic screen couple.” Finally, Peary notes that the film features “a nice choice of locations,” with “Malle’s eye for detail… as usual, impeccable.”

Peary doesn’t specifically call out performances in his GFTFF review, but he does nominate both Lancaster and Sarandon as Best Actor and Actress in his Alternate Oscars book. They’re perfectly cast, nicely complementing one another in terms of personality, grit, and desire for the finer things in life.

Speaking of this, when we first see Sarandon re-encountering her low-life husband — who not only cheated on her, but impregnated her impressionable sister! — we wonder what it says about Sarandon that she’s come to this sorry place in her personal life.

However, we soon learn that she made bad choices given few choices in her small Canadian town, and is now on a self-determined path to correct that. Meanwhile, seeing shabby but elegant Lancaster ordered around by a shrewish old woman:

… makes his accidental turn towards increased cash flow seem hopeful, despite our knowing it can’t end well given the involvement of brutal drug dealers.

The supporting cast nicely rounds out the story, with Joy and McLaren — once again playing a pregnant young woman, as she did in Outrageous! (1977) — believable as the clueless and hopelessly naive young couple who set the plot in motion; Reid — perhaps best known for her role as Dr. Ruth Leavitt in The Andromeda Strain (1977) — rather hilarious in a role that allows her to morph from nag to caretaker:

… and Michel Piccoli in a small role as Sarandon’s worldly instructor.

Malle’s action-packed yet character-driven drama has held up well, and remains well worth a look.

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • Burt Lancaster as Lou
  • Susan Sarandon as Sally
  • Fine supporting performances
  • Richard Ciupka’s cinematography
  • Excellent use of location shooting

Must See?
Yes, as a fine drama by a master director. Nominated as one of the Best Movies of the Year in Alternate Oscars.

Categories

  • Good Show
  • Important Director
  • Oscar Winner or Nominee

(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)

Links:

Apocalypse Now (1979)

Apocalypse Now (1979)

“I don’t see… any method… at all, sir.”

Synopsis:
During the Vietnam War, a captain (Martin Sheen) is assigned the task of finding and assassinating a mad lieutenant colonel (Marlon Brando) who has become a god-like figure for natives living deep in the jungle.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Assassination
  • Dennis Hopper Films
  • Francis Ford Coppola Films
  • Frederic Forrest Films
  • Harrison Ford Films
  • Jungles
  • Marlon Brando Films
  • Martin Sheen Films
  • Robert Duvall Films
  • Scott Glenn Films
  • Vietnam War

Response to Peary’s Review:
Peary argues that while “Francis Coppola’s epic about the madness – ‘the horror!’ – of the Vietnam War is considered controversial,” “there is really no volatile material,” and he adds that “the only cause for debate among people interested in the war itself is Coppola’s best, most authentic sequence: stoned, leaderless soldiers fight continuously behind enemy lines while headquarters has forgotten about them.” He writes that “many visuals are exciting, but the picture is annoyingly self-conscious,” and “too often Coppola seems to be calling attention to his artistry and imagination.” He asserts that “the boat trip comes across like a ride at Disneyland, where the special-effects men have prepared tableaux on the banks at every turn of the river”:

… and he concludes his review by noting that “the scene in which Sheen and Brando lie around philosophizing while Coppola gets super-pretentious with his camera and character placement recalls the similarly shot, ultra-boring scene of Liv Ullmann and Ingrid Bergman in Ingmar Bergman’s Autumn Sonata.”

While it’s not a personal favorite, I’m a bigger fan of this wartime flick than Peary. Coppola was nothing if not forthright about his own concerns with the film not making sense (see the must-see documentary Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse [1991] for more on this), which makes it doubly impressive that the film actually does cohere. Sure, it’s more of a mood piece than a “rational” or straightforward adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s 1899 novella Heart of Darkness — but it works on its own terms as a surreal immersion piece. Coppola and his team set out to tell a tale of the Vietnam War that would highlight its deep absurdity and lasting impact on everyone involved, and in this, he succeeds.

We see characters ranging from an already-damaged captain (Sheen) who is shaken from an alcohol-fueled fugue to head out on a new mission:

… to the team of bureaucrats (including Harrison Ford) who cooly task Sheen with assassinating a member of his own military:

… to megalomaniac, helicopter-riding Lt. Colonel (Robert Duvall) who “loves the smell of napalm in the morning” and repeatedly insists to a California surfer named Lance (Sam Bottoms) that the war-ridden waters surrounding them are just fine to head out onto.

We also meet the other members of Sheen’s river patrol boat crew, including CPO Phillips (Albert Hall), “Clean” (14-year-old Laurence Fishburne), and “Chef” (Frederic Forrest):

… and eventually encounter a hopped up photojournalist (Dennis Hopper) who takes Sheen to see the mysterious Captain Kurtz (Brando).

The final half-hour — taking place deep in the “heart of darkness” in the jungle — evokes all sorts of problematic issues related to colonialism and exoticism of native peoples, but it’s palatable given that this is precisely the film’s point: we went in to “help” a country we knew little to nothing about, and emerged more confused and damaged than ever.

Note: Watch for a brief “cameo” by Scott Glenn as a member of Brando’s cult.

Notable Performances, Qualities, and Moments:

  • Fine performances by the entire cast

  • Vittorio Storaro’s cinematography
  • Good use of an eclectic score

Must See?
Yes, as a powerful classic.

Categories

  • Genuine Classic
  • Important Director

(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)

Links: