Movies

TV

That's All Folks!

The Young Ones

1982-1984

If you find a stuffed rat telling the joke ‘Euripides these trousers, Eumenides trousers’ before being clobbered by a guitar, funny, then this show is for you.

8.2

8.2

Stars: Rik Mayall, Adrian Edmondson, Nigel Planer

Synopsis: The crazy and sometimes surreal comedic adventures of four very different students in Thatcher’s Britain.

Information courtesy of IMDb (https://www.imdb.com). Used with permission.

Joker

2019

Atypical Hollywood superhero movie that’s a haunting psychological drama.

8.4

8.4

Director: Todd Phillips

Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz

Synopsis: A mentally troubled stand-up comedian embarks on a downward spiral that leads to the creation of an iconic villain.

Information courtesy of IMDb (https://www.imdb.com). Used with permission.

Clerks

1994

You should identify with the protagonists if you have ever worked in a shop, and you will get a laugh out of their antics, anyway.

7.7

7.7

Director: Kevin Smith

Stars: Brian O’Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Marilyn Ghigliotti

Synopsis: A day in the lives of two convenience clerks named Dante and Randal as they annoy customers, discuss movies, and play hockey on the store roof.

Information courtesy of IMDb (https://www.imdb.com). Used with permission.

Zulu

1964

Although not strictly true, credited as ‘and Introducing Michael Caine’. Given his performance, subsequent stardom was unsurprising. A beautifully crafted movie.

7.7

7.7

Director: Cy Endfield

Stars: Stanley Baker, Jack Hawkins, Ulla Jacobsson

Synopsis: Outnumbered British soldiers do battle with Zulu warriors at Rorke’s Drift.

Information courtesy of IMDb (https://www.imdb.com). Used with permission.

Withnail & I

1987

Great acting and script make this one of the best, if not the best, British movie comedies. Withnail: We’ve gone on holiday by mistake…

7.5

7.5

Director: Bruce Robinson

Stars: Richard E. Grant, Paul McGann, Richard Griffiths

Synopsis: In 1969, two substance-abusing, unemployed actors retreat to the countryside for a holiday that proves disastrous.

Information courtesy of IMDb (https://www.imdb.com). Used with permission.

Metropolis

1927

Grounbreaking Sci-Fi from the age of silent-cinema that still looks futuristic.

8.3

8.3

Director: Fritz Lang

Stars: Brigitte Helm, Alfred Abel, Gustav Fröhlich

Synopsis: In a futuristic city sharply divided between the working class and the city planners, the son of the city’s mastermind falls in love with a working-class prophet who predicts the coming of a savior to mediate their differences.

Information courtesy of IMDb (https://www.imdb.com). Used with permission.

Citizen Kane

1941

A box-office flop that became a classic of the cinema and deservedly so.

8.3

8.3

Director: Orson Welles

Stars: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Dorothy Comingore

Synopsis: Following the death of publishing tycoon Charles Foster Kane, reporters scramble to uncover the meaning of his final utterance: ‘Rosebud.’

Information courtesy of IMDb (https://www.imdb.com). Used with permission.

Zabriskie Point

1970

Controversial epic portrait of 60s America that divides opinion.

6.9

6.9

Director: Michelangelo Antonioni

Stars: Mark Frechette, Daria Halprin, Paul Fix

Synopsis: At a time of chronic civil unrest in late 1960s America, a young idealist and an anthropology student cross paths at Zabriskie Point in Death Valley, California. They start an unrestrained relationship by making love on the dusty terrain.

Information courtesy of IMDb (https://www.imdb.com). Used with permission.

The Blues Brothers

1980

Brimming with memorable one-liners, great music, and as funny as hell. They’re on a mission from God!

7.9

7.9

Director: John Landis

Stars: John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Cab Calloway

Synopsis: Jake Blues rejoins with his brother Elwood after being released from prison, but the duo has just days to reunite their old R&B band and save the Catholic home where the two were raised, outrunning the police as they tear through Chicago.

Information courtesy of IMDb (https://www.imdb.com). Used with permission.

Battleship Potemkin

1925

Worth the price of admission just for the famous Odessa steps montage sequence.

7.9

7.9

Director: Sergei Eisenstein

Stars: Aleksandr Antonov, Vladimir Barskiy, Grigoriy Aleksandrov

Synopsis: In the midst of the Russian Revolution of 1905, the crew of the battleship Potemkin mutiny against the brutal, tyrannical regime of the vessel’s officers. The resulting street demonstration in Odessa brings on a police massacre.

Information courtesy of IMDb (https://www.imdb.com). Used with permission.

Spirited Away

2001

From the acclaimed Studio Ghibli, Spirited Away, is Hayao Miyazaki animation masterpiece.

8.6

8.6

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Stars: Daveigh Chase (English version), Suzanne Pleshette (English version), Miyu Irino (voice)

Synopsis: During her family’s move to the suburbs, a sullen 10-year-old girl wanders into a world ruled by gods, witches, and spirits, and where humans are changed into beasts.

Information courtesy of IMDb (https://www.imdb.com). Used with permission.

Fawlty Towers

1975-1979

The funniest TV series ever made?

8.8

8.8

Stars: John Cleese, Prunella Scales, Andrew Sachs

Synopsis: Hotel owner Basil Fawlty’s incompetence, short fuse, and arrogance form a combination that ensures accidents and trouble are never far away.

Information courtesy of IMDb (https://www.imdb.com). Used with permission.

American Gothic

1995-1998

A wonderfully quirky and dark series that should have had a wider audience.

8.1

8.1

Creator: Shaun Cassidy

Stars: Gary Cole, Lucas Black, Paige Turco

Synopsis: A quiet, seemingly-quaint small town is ruled over by its charming yet evil sheriff who uses his demonic powers to remove anyone who dares to stand in his way. The only one he fears is a young boy he fathered through rape.

Information courtesy of IMDb (https://www.imdb.com). Used with permission.

Brideshead Revisited

1981

A very classy adaptation of Evelyn Waugh novel.

8.6

8.6

Stars: Jeremy Irons, Anthony Andrews

Synopsis: Two young men meet at Oxford. Charles Ryder, though of no family or money, becomes friends with Sebastian Flyte when Sebastian throws up in his college room through an open window. He then invites Charles to lunch after his teddy bear Aloysius “refuses to talk to him” unless he is forgiven. Charles becomes involved with Sebastian’s family, Catholic peers of the realm in Protestant England. The story is told in flashback as Charles, now an officer in the British Army, is moved with his company to an English country house that he discovers to be Brideshead, Sebastian’s family home where Charles has a series of memories of his youth and young manhood, his loves, life, and a journey of faith and anguish.

Information courtesy of IMDb (https://www.imdb.com). Used with permission.

The Third Man

1949

Classic British film noire.

8.1

8.1

Director: Carol Reed

Stars: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli

Synopsis: Pulp novelist Holly Martins travels to shadowy, postwar Vienna, only to find himself investigating the mysterious death of an old friend, Harry Lime.

Information courtesy of IMDb (https://www.imdb.com). Used with permission.

Diva

1981

My favourite movie.

7.2

7.2

Director: Jean-Jacques Beineix

Stars: Wilhelmenia Fernandez, Frédéric Andréi, Richard Bohringer

Synopsis: Two tapes, two Parisian mob killers, one corrupt policeman, an opera fan, a teenage thief, and the coolest philosopher ever filmed all twist their way through an intricate and stylish French-language thriller.

Information courtesy of IMDb (https://www.imdb.com). Used with permission.

Run Lola Run

1998

After standing in a queue for an hour at the Cambridge Arts Picturehouse to see the first screening, I was lucky to get the last ticket.

7.7

7.7

Director: Tom Tykwer

Stars: Franka Potente, Moritz Bleibtreu, Herbert Knaup

Synopsis: After a botched money delivery, Lola has 20 minutes to come up with 100,000 Deutschmarks.

Information courtesy of IMDb (https://www.imdb.com). Used with permission.

The Prisoner

1967-1968

The village of Portmeirion, Wales provides the picturesque backdrop for the surrealistic exploits of Number Six in The Village.

8.5

8.5

Creator: Patrick McGoohan

Stars: Patrick McGoohan, Angelo Muscat, Peter Swanwick

Synopsis: After he resigns, a secret agent is abducted and taken to what looks like an idyllic village, but is really a bizarre prison. His warders demand information. He gives them nothing; he only tries to escape.

Information courtesy of IMDb (https://www.imdb.com). Used with permission.

Leon

1995

Luc Besson’s masterpiece is slick, sad, touching and violent all at the same time.

8.5

8.5

Director: Luc Besson

Stars: Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, Natalie Portman

Synopsis: 12-year-old Mathilda is reluctantly taken in by Léon, a professional assassin, after her family is murdered. An unusual relationship forms as she becomes his protégée and learns the assassin’s trade.

Information courtesy of IMDb (https://www.imdb.com). Used with permission.

Raiders Of The Lost Ark

1981

Pure entertainment and escapism.

8.4

8.4

Director: Steven Spielberg

Stars: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen, Paul Freeman

Synopsis: Archaeology professor Indiana Jones ventures to seize a biblical artefact known as the Ark of the Covenant. While doing so, he puts up a fight against Renee and a troop of Nazis.

Information courtesy of IMDb (https://www.imdb.com). Used with permission.

Three Colours: Blue

1993

The first movie in the Three Colours trilogy. Blue representing freedom.

7.9

7.9

Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski

Stars: Juliette Binoche, Zbigniew Zamachowski, Julie Delpy

Synopsis: A woman struggles to find a way to live her life after the death of her husband and child.

Information courtesy of IMDb (https://www.imdb.com). Used with permission.

Three Colours: White

1994

The second movie in the Three Colours trilogy. White representing equality.

7.6

7.6

Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski

Stars: Zbigniew Zamachowski, Julie Delpy, Janusz Gajos

Synopsis: After his wife divorces him, a Polish immigrant plots to get even with her.

Information courtesy of IMDb (https://www.imdb.com). Used with permission.

Three Colours: Red

1994

The last movie in the trilogy and the last film the director made. Red representing brotherhood.

8.1

8.1

Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski

Stars: Irène Jacob, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Frédérique Feder

Synopsis: A model discovers a retired judge is keen on invading people’s privacy.

Information courtesy of IMDb (https://www.imdb.com). Used with permission.

Shooting The Past

1999

Superb acting and production for this intelligent mini series written by Stephen Poliakoff.

8.5

8.5

Stars: Lindsay Duncan, Timothy Spall, Liam Cunningham

Synopsis: A US property developer realises that he has a battle on his hands when he tries to renovate a London building containing a vast photographic collection and discovers that the library employees will resort to anything to thwart him.

Information courtesy of IMDb (https://www.imdb.com). Used with permission.

Back To The Future

1985

A fun, feel good movie that doesn’t put a foot wrong.

8.5

8.5

Director: Robert Zemeckis

Stars: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson

Synopsis: Marty McFly, a 17-year-old high school student, is accidentally sent 30 years into the past in a time-traveling DeLorean invented by his close friend, the maverick scientist Doc Brown.

Information courtesy of IMDb (https://www.imdb.com). Used with permission.

Breaking Bad

2008-2013

If you don’t mind continually having to change the volume on your remote control, then this could be the best TV series ever.

9.5

9.5

Creator: Vince Gilligan

Stars: Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, Anna Gunn

Synopsis: A chemistry teacher diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer turns to manufacturing and selling methamphetamine with a former student in order to secure his family’s future.

Information courtesy of IMDb (https://www.imdb.com). Used with permission.

The Professionals

1977-1983

Gritty crime series that’s violent, politically incorrect and disliked by most critics, who missed the point… it’s just great fun.

8.0

8.0

Creator: Brian Clemens

Stars: Gordon Jackson, Martin Shaw, Lewis Collins

Synopsis: Bodie and Doyle, top agents for Britain’s CI5 (Criminal Intelligence 5), and their controller, George Cowley fight terrorism and similar high-profile crimes. Cowley, a hard ex-MI5 operative, hand-picked each of his men. Bodie was a cynical ex-SAS paratrooper and mercenary whose nature ran to controlled violence, while his partner, Doyle, came to CI5 from the regular police force, and was more of an open-minded liberal. Their relationship was often contentious, but they were the top men in their field, and the ones to whom Cowley always assigned to the toughest cases.

Information courtesy of IMDb (https://www.imdb.com). Used with permission.

Numb3rs

2005-2010

A unique crime series that makes maths entertaining.

6.9

6.9

Creators: Nicolas Falacci, Cheryl Heuton

Stars: Rob Morrow, David Krumholtz, Judd Hirsch

Synopsis: Working for the F.B.I., a mathematician uses equations to help solve various crimes.

Information courtesy of IMDb (https://www.imdb.com). Used with permission.

Miami Vice

1984-1989

Great memories of evenings in the 80s watching this with my mate Lionel and impersonating Crockett and Tubes…

7.5

7.5

Creator: Anthony Yerkovich

Stars: Don Johnson, Philip Michael Thomas, Saundra Santiago

Synopsis: Resplendent with authentic 1980s music, fashion, and vibe, “Miami Vice” follows two undercover detectives and their extended team through the mean streets of Miami, Florida.

Information courtesy of IMDb (https://www.imdb.com). Used with permission.

Life On Mars

2006-2007

Brilliantly written clash of characters with the hilarious clash of cultures between 2006 and 1973.

8.4

8.4

Creators: Matthew Graham, Tony Jordan, Ashley Pharoah

Stars: John Simm, Philip Glenister, Liz White

Synopsis: After being involved in a car accident in 2006, DCI Sam Tyler wakes up to find himself in 1973.

Information courtesy of IMDb (https://www.imdb.com). Used with permission.

The X Files

1993-2018

The truth is out there… probably?

8.6

8.6

Creator: Chris Carter

Stars: David Duchovny. Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi

Synopsis: Two F.B.I. Agents, Fox Mulder the believer and Dana Scully the skeptic, investigate the strange and unexplained, while hidden forces work to impede their efforts.

Information courtesy of IMDb (https://www.imdb.com). Used with permission.

The IT Crowd

2006-2013

RTFM!

8.5

8.5

Stars: Chris O’Dowd, Richard Ayoade, Katherine Parkinson

Synopsis: The comedic misadventures of Roy, Moss and their grifting supervisor Jen, a rag-tag team of IT support workers at a large corporation headed by a hotheaded yuppie.

Information courtesy of IMDb (https://www.imdb.com). Used with permission.

Six Feet Under

2001-2005

The ultimate black comedy?

8.7

8.7

Creator: Alan Ball

Stars: Peter Krause, Michael C. Hall, Frances Conroy

Synopsis: A chronicle of the lives of a dysfunctional family who run an independent funeral home in Los Angeles.

Information courtesy of IMDb (https://www.imdb.com). Used with permission.

A Very Peculiar Practice

1986-1988

A wonderful 80s satirical black comedy.

8.4

8.4

Stars: Peter Davison, Graham Crowden, Barbara Flynn

Synopsis: The various misadventures of Stephen Daker, a young doctor who works for the health centre of a modern British university.

Information courtesy of IMDb (https://www.imdb.com). Used with permission.

Trainspotting

1996

Unfortunately, I first saw this in the full, recently opened, sterile Cambridge Warner Brothers Vue cinema. Surroundings that were completely at odds with what I was watching.

8.1

8.1

Director: Danny Boyle

Stars: Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller

Synopsis: Renton, deeply immersed in the Edinburgh drug scene, tries to clean up and get out, despite the allure of the drugs and influence of friends.

Information courtesy of IMDb (https://www.imdb.com). Used with permission.

The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover

1989

A film to divide opinions. I’m just divided between this and A Zed & Two Noughts as Greenaway’s best movie. A sumptuous art-house classic or self-indulgent, disgusting, pretentious rubbish, you decide.

7.5

7.5

Director: Peter Greenaway

Stars: Richard Bohringer, Michael Gambon, Helen Mirren

Synopsis: At Le Hollandais gourmet restaurant, every night is filled with opulence, decadence and gluttony. But when the cook, a thief, his wife and her lover all come together, they unleash a shocking torrent of sex, food, murder and revenge.

Information courtesy of IMDb (https://www.imdb.com). Used with permission.

Fitzcarraldo

1982

A marvellous melting pot of eccentricity.

8.0

8.0

Director: Werner Herzog

Stars: Klaus Kinski, Claudia Cardinale, José Lewgoy

Synopsis: The story of Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald, an extremely determined man who intends to build an opera house in the middle of a jungle.

Information courtesy of IMDb (https://www.imdb.com). Used with permission.

Cinema Paradiso

1988

Love film? Love Cinema Paradiso!

8.5

8.5

Director: Giuseppe Tornatore

Stars: Philippe Noiret, Enzo Cannavale, Antonella Attili

Synopsis: A filmmaker recalls his childhood when falling in love with the pictures at the cinema of his home village and forms a deep friendship with the cinema’s projectionist.

Information courtesy of IMDb (https://www.imdb.com). Used with permission.

The Shining

1980

An adaptation of a Stephen King novel by, who I believe to be, the greatest director of all time.

8.4

8.4

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Stars: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd

Synopsis: A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where a sinister presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from both past and future.

Information courtesy of IMDb (https://www.imdb.com). Used with permission.

Psycho

1960

Others have written so much about this film, I don’t think I need to add anything more. Just watch it.

8.5

8.5

Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Stars: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles

Synopsis: A Phoenix secretary embezzles $40,000 from her employer’s client, goes on the run and checks into a remote motel run by a young man under the domination of his mother.

Information courtesy of IMDb (https://www.imdb.com). Used with permission.

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

1975

After watching this, it will be impossible to read Ken Kesey’s novel without Jack Nicholson’s face appearing in your head.