On TV Tonight takes a fantastic ride back in time to check out the best retro classics currently streaming on Disney+.
10. CHARIOTS OF FIRE
What we think: Vangelis’s Oscar winning score must be one of the most recognised film soundtracks ever. The true story of two British runners who brought glory to their country in the Olympic Games of 1924 in Paris. Harold Abrahams and Eric Liddell are both naturally gifted fast sprinters, but approach running and how it fits into their lives differently. Abrahams uses being the fastest to overcome what he sees as the obstacles he faces in life as a Jew despite that privilege. Liddell sees running as a win-win in that the notoriety of being fast gives him an added outlet to spread the word of God. The film won Oscars for Best Picture, Screenplay and Costume Design. A memorable cinema experience.
Director: DAVID PUTTMAN
Cast: BEN CROSS, IAN CHARLESON, NICHOLAS FARRELL, NIGEL HAVERS, IAN HOLM, CHERYL CAMPBELL, ALICE KRIGE
What we think: One of the most-loved films of the ’90s and winner of 11 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director for James Cameron, Original Score, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Song for My Heart Will Go On. Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet will forever be Jack and Rose who fell in love aboard the Titanic. The story is told from the perspective of 100-year-old Rose DeWitt Bukater as she tells the whole story from departure until the death of the Titanic on its first and last voyage on 15 April, 1912 at 2:20am. Coming up to 110 years on, this story still resonates with people all over the world.
Director: JAMES CAMERON
Cast: LEONARDO DICAPRIO, KATE WINSLET, BILLY ZANE, KATHY BATES, FRANCES FISHER, GLORIA STUART, BERNARD HILL, BILL PAXTON
8. THE FRENCH CONNECTION
What we think: This much anticipated film from 1971 garnered Oscars which included Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Director for William Friedkin and Best Screenplay. The story is the slightly fictionalised account of a real smashing of a heroin‐smuggling ring in 1962. The film version dramatises the flamboyant side of the story, which in real life ended with two rather routine seizures in Brooklyn and the Bronx. An interesting contrast is established between ‘Popeye’ Doyle, a short-tempered alcoholic bigot who is nevertheless a hard-working and dedicated police officer, and his nemesis Alain Charnier, a suave and urbane gentleman who is nevertheless a criminal and one of the largest drug suppliers of pure heroin to North America. The film is also acclaimed for one of the most memorable car chase sequences ever attempted.
Director: WILLIAM FRIEDKIN
Cast: GENE HACKMAN, ROY SCHEIDER, FERNANDO REY, TONY LO BIANCO, BILL HICKMAN, MARCEL BOZZUFFI
7. DEAD POETS SOCIETY
What we think: The wonderful Robin Williams starred in some exceptional films, but I think he will most be remembered for his role as the inspirational John Keating, and the words “O Captain, my Captain” and “Carpe diem” became part of film vernacular. The story tells of Todd Anderson who has been sent to the school where his popular older brother was valedictorian. His roommate, Neil Perry, although exceedingly bright and popular, is very much under the thumb of his overbearing father. The two, along with their other friends, meet Professor Keating, their new English teacher, who tells them of the Dead Poets Society, and encourages them to go against the status quo. Each does so in his own way and is changed for life. Peter Weir directed Tom Schulman’s Oscar winning Screenplay. A number of young actors in this film went on to become much admired in their profession.
Director: PETER WEIR
Cast: ROBIN WILLIAMS, ROBERT SEAN LEONARD, ETHAN HAWKE, JOSH CHARLES, KURTWOOD SMITH
6. THE FULL MONTY
What we think: This film caused quite a stir back in 1997, not only because it was something completely out of the ordinary, but we were also seeing Robert Carlyle in a totally different light after his turn in Trainspotting the previous year. In the decaying steel mill town of Sheffield, friends Gaz and Dave, are both unemployed and on the dole after the closure of most of the town’s steel mills. When Gaz sees women clamouring to get in to see a Chippendales styled dance troupe, he decides to solve his financial and thus custody problems by forming his own male exotic dance troupe with some of his fellow unemployed ex-mill workers. The soundtrack for the film is memorable, especially Hot Chocolate’s You Sexy Thing and Donna Summer’s Hot Stuff. Both will forever be aligned with The Full Monty. It won the Oscar for Best Original Score for Anne Dudley and BAFTAs for director Uberto Pasolini, Robert Carlyle and Tom Wilkinson. The cast was the very best of British thespians.
Director: UBERTO PASOLINI
Cast: ROBERT CARLYLE, TOM WILKINSON, MARK ADDY, HUGO SPEER, LESLEY SHARP, PAUL BARBER, STEVE HUISON, EMILY WOOF
5. AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER
What we think: Those who love this film and have the opportunity to visit New York will always look up at the Empire State Building and hear the words, “I was looking up… it was the nearest thing to heaven! You were there…”. Cary Grant stars as Nickie Ferrante who is returning to New York to marry a rich heiress. But on board his ship he meets nightclub singer Terry McKay who is also on her way home to her long-time boyfriend. She sees him as just another playboy and he her as stand-offish but they soon find they’ve fallen in love. They agree that they will meet again in six months atop the Empire State building. This will give them time to deal with their current relationships. On the agreed date, Nickie is waiting patiently for Terry who is racing to join him. Fate intervenes however resulting in misunderstanding and heartbreak and only fate can save their relationship. You’ll need the tissues for this one, even if you’ve watched it a thousand times!
Director: LEO MCCAREY
Cast: CARY GRANT, DEBORAH KERR, RICHARD DENNING, NEVA PATTERSON, CATHLEEN NESBITT
4. THE THIN RED LINE
What we think: It all started for Terrence Malick with Badlands in 1973. Since then he has only made eight films, but you are always in for a treat when his films appear. This war film, adapted from James Jones’ autobiographical 1962 novel, focuses on the conflict at Guadalcanal during the second World War. Everyone is in this film, albeit for a few minutes! U.S. Jim Caviezel stars as Army Private Witt (AWOL) who is found and imprisoned on a troop carrier by his company First Sergeant, Welsh (Sean Penn). The men of C Company,1st Battalion,27th Infantry Regiment,25th Infantry Division have been brought to Guadalcanal as reinforcements in the campaign to secure Henderson Field and seize the island from the Japanese. They arrive near Hill 210, a key Japanese position. Their task is to capture the hill at all costs. What happens next is a story of redemption and the meaninglessness of war.
Director: TERRENCE MALICK
Cast: JIM CAVIEZEL, SEAN PENN, NICK NOLTE, ADRIEN BRODY, BEN CHAPLIN, GEORGE CLOONEY, JOHN CUSACK, WOODY HARRELSON
3. GREAT EXPECTATIONS
What we think: The first version of Charles Dickens’ timeless tale was in 1946. There have been 11 adaptations of this story of the love of a man for an unreachable woman. This version is updated to modern-day New York City and concerns a man of modest background who falls in love with a rich girl. But when a mysterious benefactor greenlights the man to make his dreams come true, everything done has the ultimate goal of making Estella fall in love with him. The wonderful Anne Bancroft as Ms. Dinsmoor is the stand-out performance here.
Director: ALFONSO CUARON
Cast: ETHAN HAWKE, GWYNETH PALTROW, HANK AZARIA, CHRIS COOPER, ANNE BANCROFT, ROBERT DE NIRO, JOSH MOSTEL
What we think: Boxes of tissues will be required for this viewing! It must be the saddest film of all time or at least up there with Imitation of Life (1959) and Madame X (1966). The story is of New York child performer CC Bloom and San Francisco rich kid Hillary who meet in a holiday resort in Atlantic City, which marks the start of a lifetime friendship between them. The two keep in touch through letters until Hillary, now a successful lawyer moves to New York to stay with struggling singer CC. The movie shows the various stages of their friendship and their romances including their love for the same man. Wind Beneath My Wings would have to be one of THE songs of the Eighties.
Director: GARRY MARSHALL
Cast: BETTE MIDLER, BARBARA HERSHEY, MAYIM BIALIK, JOHN HEARD, LAINIE KAZAN, SPALDING GRAY, JAMES READ
What we think: What a prolific career Val Kilmer has had. He did make an impact in Top Gun in 1986, but it was in 1988’s Willow that he really came to our attention. A film that the whole family could watch together, it is still a firm favourite. The story is of a baby girl who is discovered in a river by Ranon and Mims, the children of Willow Ufgood, a dwarf farmer and the baby is taken into the care of Willow’s family. But Willow soon learns the baby is Elora Danan, the baby girl destined to bring about the downfall of the evil sorceress Queen Bavmorda. Joined by his allies: swordsman Madmartigan, sorceress Fin Raziel and the Brownies Franjean and Rool, Willow takes it upon himself to protect Elora from Queen Bavmorda, who intends to kill Elora and prevent Elora from fulfilling her destiny. Willow is portrayed by the wonderful Warwick Davis. Ron Howard aka Richie Cunningham directs.
Director: RON HOWARD
Cast: WARWICK DAVIS, VAL KILMER, JOANNE WHALLEY, JEAN MARSH, PATRICIA HAYES, KEVIN POLLAK, RICK OVERTON