It’s 55 years since…
South Pacific, March 19th, 1958
This Roger and Hammerstein musical was music to our ears when it was successfully adapted for the big screen back in the late 50s. A US navy nurse is tasked with convincing a French planter, Emile de Becque, into working as a scout on the nearby Japanese occupied islands. The budding romance blossoms on the backdrop of war and features some of the most classic musical hits in history.
It’s 50 years since…
Sword and the Stone, Dec 25th, 1963
As the 18th full-length animated feature by Disney, this fantastical classic tells the story of a young King Arthur as he stumbles his way from pauper to prince. When young Arthur bumps into famous wizard Merlin while on a hunting trip, he is taken under the wing of the amnesiac conjurer and realises his true potential, which, as it turns out, centres entirely on him being in the right place at the right time.
Jason and the Argonauts, Aug 15th, 1963
The ancient Greek tale got the big screen treatment in this iconic fantasy epic. With a team of intrepid adventurers at his side, the Greek legend Jason sets out on his quest to find The Golden Fleece. This film is most notable for its impressive stop animation monsters, including the now famous scene in which Jason takes on a bunch of angry skeletons. The hulking stop-motion Talos was rated second best movie monster by Empire magazine, second only to King Kong.
The Birds, May 30th, 1963
One of Hitchcock’s finest, The Birds is the quintessential British thriller. When a San Francisco socialite chases a would-be boyfriend to a town in Northern California, bizarre bird attacks are reported as more and more citizens sustain injuries from ornithological outrages. Hitchcock’s mastery of suspense extends to the musical score – a sparse, synthesised series of sound effects that still keep moviegoers on the edges of their seats 50 years on. It’s also the 55th anniversary of another Hitchcock classic this year: Vertigo.
It’s 45 years since…
2001: A Space Odyssey April 4th, 1968
Directed by Stanley Kubrick and co-written by sci-fi scribe Arthur C. Clarke, this science fiction masterpiece follows the discovery of black monoliths, their effect on human evolution and the mystery behind them. With the calm, controlled and sinister sentient computer HAL 9000 controlling the lead characters’ space ship, 2001: A Space Odyssey is a grim reminder that sometimes technological advancements can go very wrong.
Yellow Submarine, July 17th, 1968
On the back of their musical success and following their films, the Beatles branched out into animation with this, shall we say, rather odd 60s offering. The surreal animation coupled with what would become timeless Beatles classics – like ‘When I’m Sixty-Four’ and ‘Eleanor Rigby’ – showcases the band at the height of their popularity.
It’s 40 years since…
Enter the Dragon, July 26th, 1973
Bruce Lee’s flagship film is one of the most iconic and recognised martial arts films in cinema history. With fists, feet and an array of weaponry flying across the screen at all times, it’s a breathless classic often referred to as the martial arts flick. Lee didn’t want the film to be just any old action flick, though. Revising the script and direction sections of the film himself, Lee celebrated the beauty and flair of the Chinese culture and kicked some tail along the way.
The Exorcist, Dec 26th, 1973 (US release)
Terrifying movie-goers across the world, The Exorcist has its own creepy story to tell behind the scenes. Based on an actual exorcism in 1949, The Exorcist is tarnished by many an urban legend. According to many involved in the production, the set itself was cursed. Setbacks included a mysterious studio fire, bringing a priest in constantly to bless the set and lead actress Ellen Burstyn sustained a good few injuries. Creepy stuff.
It’s 35 years since…
Watership Down Oct 19th, 1978
This animated take on a children’s classic featured some gritty and shocking scenes that proved too much for those expecting a flick about cuddly bunnies. Featuring beautiful, watercolour animation and some real tear-jerking moments, this cartoon about the trails of a group of rabbits will have even the buffest bloke sniffling.
It’s 30 years since…
Jaws 3D, July 22nd, 1983
The toothy terror of Jaws took another bite at the big screen with this third instalment of Jaws. Using the relatively new (at the time) technology of 3D films, Jaws thrilled moviegoers once again, just when they thought it was safe to go back in the water.
Scarface, Dec 9th, 1983 (US release)
Gun-toting Tony Montana (Al Pacino) is a drug lord with a lot of enemies. This remake of a 1932 classic documents the struggle of Montana and his best friend Manny Ray, as they try to patch together a strong drug empire in the gangster-packed city of Miami. Often cited for its violence and drug use, it’s certainly not one to watch with the kids.
It’s 25 years since…
Who Framed Roger Rabbit Dec 2, 1988
Who Framed Roger Rabbit was a bit of a film first. While there had been many before it in which live action actors interacted with cartoon characters, there weren’t so many in which cartoon characters actually stepped into live action rather than actors stepping into a cartoon world. This 1988 film broke new ground with much more realistic interaction between actors and cartoon characters. With newer technology, Roger Rabbit was able to be handcuffed to Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins), cartoon siren Jessica Rabbit was able to blow kisses and countless toon favourites were able to pile into the real warehouse for the film’s finale.
Die Hard, July 15th, 1988
Life’s tough for John McClane. Just ‘two steps from being an alcoholic’, the maverick cop, played by Bruce Willis, just wants to spend Christmas with his family. Unfortunately, after he arranges to meet his estranged wife at a party, it all kicks off while he’s unwittingly changing his clothes in another room. Now it’s just him and his witty catchphrases against a building full of terrorists and their leader Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) is about to really put him through his paces. Now that the fifth Die Hard offering has been released this year, it’s hard to believe 25 years on that John McClane’s life is just as action-packed as ever.
Willow, Dec 9th, 1988
Starring an 18-year-old Warwick Davis, Willow is a fantasy film packed with swords, sorcery and good vs. evil struggle. Willow, a farmer, is cast into adventure when he reluctantly becomes the ward for a special baby – a baby prophesised to overthrow the queen. Armed only with his aspiring sorcery skills and with the help of the brash, mercenary swordsman Madmartigan (played by Val Kilmer), Willow finds trials and tribulations at every turn in this fantastical classic.
It’s 20 years since…
Philadelphia, Feb 25th, 1993
Philadelphia was the first mainstream Hollywood film to address the issues of homophobia, homosexuality and the taboo of AIDS. When Andrew Beckett (Tom Hanks) is assigned an important case, his co-workers don’t know about his sexuality. However, when a document is misplaced which eventually leads to him losing his job, Beckett suspects he was framed. It’s down to the admitted homophobe Joe Miller (Denzel Washington) to prepare his case against the firm; that is, if he agrees to accept it. Netting Hanks an Academy Award for Best Actor, Philadelphia proved that the quirky actor could play drama just as well as comedy.
Jurassic Park, July 16th, 1993
Twenty years on and this cretaceous classic has long since proved its prehistoric prowess. It’s the main go-to for any dinosaur lover and a thriller that has lasted the decades. On the island of Isla Nubar, chaos lets loose when a billionaire philanthropist and a team of genetic scientist accidently unleash titanic terrors while trying to create a theme park packed with living dinosaurs. Stamping out a landmark for computer-generated imagery and some incredible animatronics, the film grossed $900 million during its release.
It’s 15 years since…
Blade, Nov 13th, 1998
Fifteen years ago, a new kind of vampire hit the big screen. A far cry from Bela Lugosi’s charming Dracula, Wesley Snipe’s moody and mysterious Blade paved the way for some kick-ass supernaturals. Infected with the strength, speed, regenerative healing and blood lust of vampires while still in the womb, Blade grows into a powerful vampire hunter with none of the weaknesses of his fellows. Aiming to foil a plot to create a race of super vampires, Blade hacks and shoots his way through villain vampire Frost’s defences with the help of the determined Dr. Karen Jenson (N’Bushe Wright).
A Bug’s Life, Feb 5th, 1998
It’s true that big things come in small packages with Pixar’s A Bug’s Life. Plucky would-be inventor Flick is lost. He just can’t find his place in the colony; he wants to be unique, different. That’s when he’s unwittingly dragged into an epic feud between ants and grasshoppers. Employing brand new innovations to their computer animation, Pixar deliver some beautiful graphics and a charming film that’s fun for kids and adults alike.
Its 10 years since…
Finding Nemo Oct 10th, 2003
It’s hard to believe that this gorgeous film is already a decade old. Packed with great voice acting, charming characters and some of the freshest-looking, colourful graphics, Finding Nemo has already proven the test of time. Little Nemo is an only surviving child of the neurotic clownfish Marlin, who has concerns over his son’s capabilities because of Nemo’s tiny right fin. When he goes missing, Marlin pulls out all the stops to ensure this adorable flick has a happy ending.
Terminator 3, Aug 1st, 2003
As if the time-travelling plotlines in the previous Terminator films weren’t difficult enough, T3 features yet more of the future-past mash-up. Since Skynet was unsuccessful in killing Sarah Connor before her son was born, the self-aware AI system sends back yet another Terminator – a lady Terminator this time, portrayed by Kristanna Loken – to once again try to prevent the future human uprising. Arnie steps in to save the day and hopefully save the earth from the perils of the future once and for all.