Greetings, Glancers! Welcome back to my half-assed destruction of so call Essential movies as we look at which ones can truly be given such a moniker. Check out my explanation post for more info, and have a look at my 1965 Oscars posts if you have additional time to waste. Onwards!
Why Is It Considered Essential: Jean Luc Godard. Influential.
Why Could It Not Be Considered Essential: Old. Black and White. Foreign. Weird.
What I Think: Has a great look and is a good introduction to Godard’s style. Only Godard fans, Critics, Wannabees should consider it Essential, though Film Nerds will want to see what’s up.
Why Is It Considered Essential: Jane Fonda. Lee Marvin. 5 Oscar Nominations, 1 win. Top 10 Grossing film.
Why Could It Not Be Considered Essential: Westerns are typically tough men movies for tough men. Musicals are not. Musical Westerns? That’s a tough sell.
What I Think: It’s enough of a curiosity to bring in fans of both genres. Film Nerds will want to see what the fuss is about, but not Essential for anyone else. I actively dislike Musicals, and Westerns as a whole are not my thing. This manages to have a certain charm and Marvin and Fonda are strong.
Why Is It Considered Essential: Top 20 Grossing. Nominated for 5 Oscars, won 3. John Schlesinger. Julie Christie. Dirk Bogarde. Laurence Harvey.
Why Could It Not Be Considered Essential: Old, Black and White, doesn’t feature one of the true big stars of the era which modern audiences would know.
What I Think: I love how groundbreaking it is at looking at certain lifestyles and human relationships, and there’s no doubting the talent involved. Is there enough to make it essential for a modern viewer? Wannabees will get to it due to the Oscar success, fans of the cast should see it, I doubt anyone beyond that will.
Why Is It Considered Essential: 2nd Highest Grossing movie of the year and one of most successful ever. Nominated for 10 Oscars, won 5. Julie Christie. Omar Sharif. David Lean. Alec Guinness.
Why Could It Not Be Considered Essential: It’s over three hours. It’s incredibly dense, though basically a romance.
What I Think: It’s one of those movies I tend to avoid – sprawling historical epics based on literary epics based on real world events – feels too much like school than Cinema. You’re sucked in though by the visuals and as a technical feat there are fewer filmmakers more essential than David Lean. Essential for Critics, Wannabees, Film Nerds, Fans should see it once, but likely overlong for anyone else.
Faster Pussycat Kill Kill
Why Is It Considered Essential: I’m not sure it actually is considered Essential, but in the annals of Cult Movies it’s definitely one of the most Essential. Influential to many later artists on many fronts and peppered with quotable dialogue. If you watch one Russ Meyer movie – it’s this.
Why Could It Not Be Considered Essential: Old, Black and white, cheap, tacky, violent. It was a box office failure even though it’s budget was under 50K.
What I Think: If you like Cult Movies or Exploitation Film, it’s a must. Modern critics note it for its gender politics and influence. Essential down to Film Nerds, Film Fans should give it a try, and any Casuals who enjoy action, violence, and boobs will enjoy it.
Why Is It Considered Essential: Beatles. Top 20 Grossing.
Why Could It Not Be Considered Essential: Not as good as A Hard Day’s Night so if you’re only going to watch one Beatles movie, it won’t be Help!
What I Think: The music is better than A Hard Day’s Night, at least to me, but the film isn’t as strong. Still, it’s The Beatles and as cultural icons go they don’t come bigger. Essential all the way down to Casuals, and anyone should give it a try.
The Ipcress File
Why Is It Considered Essential: Cemented Michael Caine’s place on the map. One of the most successful and highly regarded British movies ever. Interesting counterpoint to 007. Also scored by John Barry. 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Why Could It Not Be Considered Essential: Given the choice between this and a Bond movie, most will go with Bond. More quintessentially English, which may distance viewers.
What I Think: A great film as worthy of watching as any Bond. Casual British viewers of a certain age should enjoy it and Essential for anyone higher on the scale.
A Patch Of Blue
Why Is It Considered Essential: Top 20 Grossing. 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. Nominated for 5 Oscars, won one. Sidney Poitier. Shelly Winters. Breaking down racial boundaries.
Why Could It Not Be Considered Essential: Dated, old.
What I Think: Yeah, it’s dated but still relevant, and must have been shocking at the time with all the stuff about prostitution, rape, and mixed race fun. Fans of cast should see it, not sure if it’s Essential for Film Nerds, and Wannabees will get to it and some point.
Why Is It Considered Essential: Polanski. Deneuve. 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Why Could It Not Be Considered Essential: Old, Black and White. Weird.
What I Think: One of the finest horror movies of the era, one of the best psychological horror movies ever. Due to its expressionist nature it’s not one you can simply dip into, so likely not Essential for Casuals or below. Essential for everyone above.
The Sound Of Music
Why Is It Considered Essential: Highest grossing movie of year and one of most successful films ever. Nominated for 10 Oscars, won 5. If you ask people to name a Musical, this will be one of the top 5 answers.
Why Could It Not Be Considered Essential: It’s a Musical. There’s too much smiling and singing and all of the other stuff I can’t stand about the genre. Sickly, simple, silly, showy.
What I Think: As much as I’m not a fan of the genre, there’s no getting away from the cultural impact. The film looks incredible, the songs are part of Western life. I think everyone has to see this at some point, right?
For A Few Dollars More
Why Is It Considered Essential: Top 15 Grossing film. Clint. Leone. Van Cleef. Morricone.
Why Could It Not Be Considered Essential: Too violent. Some people don’t like Spaghetti Westerns.
What I Think: A strong entry in the best Western Trilogy ever. If you watch one Spaghetti Western though, it’s not going to be this. Essential for Wannabees, Nerds, Western Fans.
The Greatest Story Ever Told
Why Is It Considered Essential: Top 15 Grossing Film. Huge cast. Jesus? Nominated for 5 Oscars.
Why Could It Not Be Considered Essential: Well over 4 hours long. Massive commercial flop. Not critically well received.
What I Think: If you’re going to watch one Biblical epic, it may as well be this one. It’s not good, but for the sheer number of Stars it’s interesting. Wannabees should get to it. Nerds will want to see what it’s all about. Essential for Christian types?
Why Is It Considered Essential: 3rd Highest Grossing Film of year. Bond.
Why Could It Not Be Considered Essential: As Bond films go, as Connery films go – it’s a lesser entry. Most people will go with Dr. No or Goldfinger.
What I Think: I consider the Bond franchise as a whole essential viewing – there’s much for critics to think through, and general movie fans continue to gobble them up. Thunderball isn’t a personal favourite and if you don’t care for the series then I’d consider skipping it.
Which films of 1965 would you consider Essential, and who do you break down that categorization?
“The Slender Thread” directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Anne Bancroft and Sidney Poitier.
While the suicide theme is a bit of a downer, the movie itself holds up rather well, aided immeasurably by fine acting from the two lead actors. Often overlooked, it is essential viewing for Bancroft / Poitier / Pollack fans.