80. A Clockwork Orange
Story: In future Britain, charismatic delinquent Alex DeLarge is jailed and volunteers for an experimental aversion therapy developed by the government in an effort to solve society’s crime problem – but not all goes according to plan. Details: Director – Stanley Kubrick, release – 1971, starring Malcolm McDowell.
Did You Know? Alex performing “Singing in the Rain” as he attacks the writer and his wife was not scripted. Stanley Kubrick spent four days experimenting with this scene, finding it too conventional. Eventually he approached Malcolm McDowell and asked him if he could dance. They tried the scene again, this time with McDowell dancing and singing the only song he could remember. Kubrick was so amused that he swiftly bought the rights to “Singing in the Rain” for $10,000. When McDowell met Gene Kelly at a party several years later, the older star turned and walked away in disgust. Kelly was deeply upset about the way his signature from Singin’ in the Rain (1952) had been portrayed in A Clockwork Orange.
79. Toy Story 3
Story: The toys are mistakenly delivered to a day-care center instead of the attic right before Andy leaves for college, and it’s up to Woody to convince the other toys that they weren’t abandoned and to return home. Details: Director – Lee Unkrich, release – 2010, starring Tom Hanks.
Did You Know? For Big Baby’s one line for the entire movie (“Mama”), the crew had a lot of babies audition by recording them saying the line. The baby that was chosen was named Woody. In fact, the director joked that was the reason why they chose that baby. And also, Ken wears 21 different outfits.
Story: When his secret bride is executed for assaulting an English soldier who tried to rape her, William Wallace begins a revolt and leads Scottish warriors against the cruel English tyrant who rules Scotland with an iron fist. Details: Director – Mel Gibson, release – 1995, starring Mel Gibson.
Did You Know? “Braveheart” was actually the nickname of Robert the Bruce, not William Wallace. And another nice story: One of the film’s weary extras reportedly mistook one of Gibson’s children on the set for an errand boy, and asked him to bring a cup of tea. Gibson was within earshot, and nodded and whispered to his son, “Go get it.”
77. Reservoir Dogs
Story: After a simple jewelery heist goes terribly wrong, the surviving criminals begin to suspect that one of them is a police informant. Details: Director – Quentin Tarantino, release – 1992, starring Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Chris Penn and Steve Buscemi.
Did You Know? Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen)’s real name is Vic Vega. This is the same surname as Vince (John Travolta) from Quentin Tarantino’s other film, Pulp Fiction (1994). Tarantino has revealed that Vic and Vince are brothers. He also intended to do a prequel to both films called “Double V Vega”, which would star the Vega Brothers, but Madsen and Travolta eventually got too old to reprise their roles, and Tarantino has since abandoned it.
76. Witness for the Prosecution
Story: Leonard Vole is arrested on suspicion of murdering an elderly acquaintance. He employs an experienced but aging barrister as his defense attorney. Details: Director – Billy Wilder, release – 1957, starring Tyrone Power and Marlene Dietrich.
Did You Know? Marlene Dietrich was so certain she would be nominated for an Academy Award for her performance as Christine Vole that she recorded a new introduction to her Las Vegas show mentioning her nomination. She was not nominated, and was crushed. And also, the film was shown in London for a Royal Command Performance, but beforehand the Royal Family had to promise not to reveal the surprise ending to anyone else.
Story: Amelie is an innocent and naive girl in Paris with her own sense of justice. She decides to help those around her and, along the way, discovers love. Details: Director – Jean-Pierre Jeunet, released – 2001, starring Audrey Tautou.
Did You Know? Audrey Tautou doesn’t know how to skip stones; the stone-skipping scenes were made with special effects. Whenever this film was shot on location, Jean-Pierre Jeunet and the crew would clean the area of debris, grime, trash and graffiti, so that the film would match his fantasy more so. This was an especially difficult task when it came time to shoot at the huge train station.
74. Once Upon a Time in America
Story: A former Prohibition-era Jewish gangster returns to the Lower East Side of Manhattan over thirty years later, where he once again must confront the ghosts and regrets of his old life. Details: Director: Sergio Leone, release – 1984, starring Robert De Niro and James Woods.
Did You Know? According to James Woods, a critic dubbed the film (in its 144-minute version) the worst of 1984; years later that same critic watched the original 229-minute version and called it the best of the 1980s. And also, Robert De Niro requested a private meeting with renowned crime boss Meyer Lansky to prepare for his role as Noodles. The request was denied.
Story: When the police in a German city are unable to catch a child-murderer, other criminals join in the manhunt. Details: Director – Fritz Lang, release – 1931, starring Peter Lorre.
Did You Know? Fritz Lang’s cruelty to his actors was legendary. Peter Lorre was thrown down the stairs into the cellar over a dozen times. When Lang wanted to hire Lorre for Human Desire (1954) over two decades later, the actor refused. Lang asserts that he cast real criminals for the court scene in the end. According to biographer Paul Jensen, 24 cast members were arrested during filming.
72. Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi
Story: After rescuing Han Solo from the palace of Jabba the Hutt, the rebels attempt to destroy the second Death Star, while Luke struggles to make Vader return from the dark side of the Force. Details: Director – Richard Marquand, release – 1983, starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher.
Did You Know? When Leia gets wounded, if you look closely you can spot Han Solo accidentally grab her breast before correcting himself. Harrison Ford suggested that Han Solo sacrifice his life to save his friends, but George Lucas disagreed with him, as he wanted Han to play a heroic part at the end.
71. Das Boot
Story: The claustrophobic world of a WWII German U-boat; boredom, filth, and sheer terror. Details: Director – Wolfgang Petersen, release – 1981, starring Jürgen Prochnow and Herbert Grönemeyer.
Did You Know? To simulate the storm in the Atlantic, a model of the tower was splashed with water from a large tank. Actor Jan Fedder lost his grip on the railing and was washed off the model, breaking a few ribs in the fall, one of the other actors instantly shouted “Man Overboard”. At first Petersen didn’t realize it was an accident but enthusiastically yelled “Good idea, Jan. We’ll do that one more time!”. Peterson still kept the scene and rewrote Jan Fedder’s part in the film, so that his character spent a short portion of the movie in bed. The painful expression on his face is real and not acted.
We couldn’t include all 100 best movies on a single page… So they’re split into a few pages.