My Nominations: Star Wars. Airport 77. A Bridge Too Far. Sorcerer. The Duellists.
I mean, I have to pick Star Wars again here, surely? You may say the cast don’t deliver the best individual or group performances of the year, but has there ever been a cast of performers creating a cast of more iconic characters in movie history? Every generation there’s a film which pulls the same trick, but in most cases those characters are based of an existing property. In any case, you have Mark Hamill perfecting the young man thrust into a huge adventure trope, Harrison Ford bringing the rugged space cowboy charm, Fisher as the feisty Princess, and Alec Guinness as the wise teacher – and that’s me being as simplistic as possible – and not mentioning James Earl Jones, Peter Cushing, Daniels, Baker, or Prowse.
Airport 77 brings together another sparkling cast – James Stewart, Jack Lemmon, Christopher Lee, Lee Grant, Olivia De Havilland, Joseph Cotten – just a pity the film isn’t great. Similarly, A Bridge Too Far brings the stars without quite hitting the heights – Sean Connery, James Caan, Laurence Olivier, Anthony Hopkins, Robert Redford, Gene Hackman, Michael Caine, Max Schell, Ryan O’Neal, Liv Ullman – it’s a ridiculous cast. Sorcerer pits the always reliable Roy Scheider alongside a still little known cosmopolitan cast including Amidou, Bruno Cremer, Ramon Bieri, Paco Rabal, and Joe Spinell. Finally, The Duellists is more condensed in terms of casting, but exceeds in terms of quality – with Keith Carradine, Harvey Keitel, Stacey Keach, Albert Finney, Tom Conti, Cristina Raines, and Diana Quick all contributing.
My Winner: Star Wars