90. Bicycle Thieves
Story: A man and his son search for a stolen bicycle vital for his job (released under the name The Bicycle Thief in the United States). Details: Director – Vittorio De Sica, release – 1948, starring Lamberto Maggiorani.
Did You Know? The movie director Sergio Leone worked as an assistant for Vittorio De Sica during the filming of this movie. He also has a short appearance as one of the priests that are standing next to Bruno and Antonio during the rainstorm. And also, there’s a scene later in the movie where Bruno is nearly run over twice while crossing the street. This was absolutely unrehearsed – it was filmed on location and the two cars happened to pass by at that time.
Story: The incredible story of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, told by his peer and secret rival Antonio Salieri – now confined to an insane asylum. Details: Director – Milos Forman, release – 1984, starring Tom Hulce.
Did You Know? Several professors of music stated, after studying all of the musical keys struck on pianos throughout the film, that not one key is struck incorrectly when compared to what is heard at the exact same moment. In other words, what you see is exactly what you hear. And also, when the movie won Best Picture at The 57th Annual Academy Awards (1985), Sir Laurence Olivier was presenting the award. He went up to the podium, opened the envelope and said “Amadeus.” The problem was he forgot to read the nominees first.
88. The Sting
Story: In Chicago in September 1936, a young con man seeking revenge for his murdered partner teams up with a master of the big con to win a fortune from a criminal banker. Details: Director – George Roy Hill, release – 1973, starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford.
Did You Know? Robert Redford didn’t see the movie until June 2004. The movie was filmed on the backlot of Universal studios and the diner in which Hooker meets Lonnegan is the same diner interior used in Back to the Future (1985) in which Marty McFly first meets his father and calls Doc Brown.
87. Full Metal Jacket
Story: A pragmatic U.S. Marine observes the dehumanizing effects the U.S.-Vietnam War has on his fellow recruits from their brutal boot camp training to the bloody street fighting in Hue. Details: Director – Stanley Kubrick, release – 1987, starring Matthew Modine and Adam Baldwin.
Did You Know? The videotape demonstration was not the only factor which got R. Lee Ermey the role as the drill instructor. Ermey went to Stanley Kubrick and asked for the part, as the actors on the set were, in his opinion, not up to snuff. When Kubrick declined, Ermey barked an order for Kubrick to stand up when he was spoken to, and the director instinctively obeyed. That sealed the matter, and Ermey won the part as Gunnery Sgt. Hartmann.
86. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Story: When their relationship turns sour, a couple undergoes a procedure to have each other erased from their memories. But it is only through the process of loss that they discover what they had to begin with. Details: Director: Michel Gondry, release – 2004, starring Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet.
Did You Know? When Joel is in his head and is visiting his session of the erasing process, no special effects were used to show the two Joels in the one scene. Jim Carrey had to take off his hat and jacket when he was not in shot and had to quickly sit down in the chair and visa-versa when he has to stand up.
85. Lawrence of Arabia
Story: Follows a brilliant, flamboyant and controversial British military figure and his conflicted loyalties during wartime service. Details: Director – David Lean, release – 1962, starring Peter O’Toole and Alec Guinness.
Did You Know? The late King Hussein of Jordan lent an entire brigade of his Arab Legion as extras for the film, so most of the “soldiers” are played by real soldiers. Hussein frequently visited the sets and became enamored of a young British secretary, Antoinette Gardiner, who became his second wife in 1962. Their eldest son, Abdullah II King Of Jordan, ascended to the throne in 1999.
84. To Kill a Mockingbird
Story: Atticus Finch, a lawyer in the Depression-era South, defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge, and his kids against prejudice. Details: Director – Robert Mulligan, release – 1962, starring Gregory Peck.
Did You Know? The first scene that Gregory Peck shot showed him returning home from his character’s law office while his children ran to greet him. Author Harper Lee was a guest on the set that day, and Peck noticed her crying after the scene was filmed. “Why are you crying?” Peck asked. Peck had looked just like her late father, the model for Atticus, Lee explained; Peck even had a little round pot belly like her father’s. “That’s not a pot belly, Harper,” Peck told her, “That’s great acting.”
83. Requiem for a Dream
Story: The drug-induced utopias of four Coney Island people are shattered when their addictions become stronger. Details: Director – Darren Aronofsky, release – 2000, starring Jared Leto, Ellen Burstyn and Jennifer Connelly.
Did You Know? During Ellen Burstyn’s impassioned monologue about how it feels to be old, cinematographer Matthew Libatique accidentally let the camera drift off-target. When director Darren Aronofsky called “cut” and confronted him about it, he realized the reason Libatique had let the camera drift was because he had been crying during the take and fogged up the camera’s eyepiece. This was the take used in the final print.
82. Double Indemnity
Story: An insurance representative lets himself be talked into a murder/insurance fraud scheme that arouses an insurance investigator’s suspicions. Details: Director – Billy Wilder, release – 1944, starring Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck.
Did You Know? Author James M. Cain later admitted that if he had come up with some of the solutions to the plot that screenwriters Billy Wilder and Raymond Chandler did, he would have employed them in his original novel. And also, the scene where Neff and Dietrichson can’t get their car started after the murder was added by Wilder after his car wouldn’t start at the end of a shooting day.
81. Taxi Driver
Story: A mentally unstable Vietnam war veteran works as a night-time taxi driver in New York City where the perceived decadence and sleaze feeds his urge for violent action, attempting to save a pre-adolescent prostitute in the process. Details: Director – Martin Scorsese, release – 1976, starring Robert De Niro.
Did You Know? Robert De Niro worked fifteen hour days for a month driving cabs as preparation for this role. He also studied mental illness. Jodie Foster was 12 years old when the movie was filmed, so she could not do the more explicit scenes. (Her character was also 12 years old.) Connie Foster, Jodie’s 19-year-old sister when the film was produced, was cast as her body double for those scenes.
We couldn’t include all 100 best movies on a single page… So they’re split into a few pages.