Films to See Before I Die

Film4 relaunches as a free Freeview channel tonight with the wonderful Lost in Translation. I didn’t watch 50 Films to see Before You Die last night because the Radio Times said it was full of spoilers, but I’ve looked at the list to see how I’m doing…. not too well, by the look of it, I’m not even half way there and I don’t suppose they’d stop making films while I catch up?

29 Films I Haven’t Seen (Though I’m Not Dead Yet)

  1. A Bout de Souffle
  2. Aguirre, the Wrath of God
  3. All About Eve
  4. Apartment, The
  5. Badlands
  6. Black Narcissus
  7. Boyz N the Hood
  8. Brazil
  9. Breakfast Club, The
  10. City of God
  11. Come and See
  12. Dawn of the Dead
  13. Fanny and Alexander
  14. Heavenly Creatures
  15. Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India
  16. Manhattan
  17. Manhunter
  18. Mulholland Drive
  19. Pink Flamingos
  20. Princess Mononoke
  21. Scarface
  22. Searchers, The
  23. Secrets and Lies
  24. Sexy Beast
  25. Shawshank Redemption, The
  26. This Sporting Life
  27. Three Colours Blue
  28. Touch of Evil
  29. Trainspotting

In my defence, six of these are already on my must see list and indeed two of those I already have on video. Less promisingly, I haven’t even heard of five of them.

But let’s look at the ones I have seen…

10 Films I’m Glad I Watched Before I Died (That Are on C4’s List)

  1. 2001: A Space Odyssey
  2. Chinatown
  3. Donnie Darko
  4. Fight Club
  5. Ipcress File, The
  6. Ladykillers, The
  7. Lost in Translation
  8. Night at the Opera
  9. North by Northwest
  10. Royal Tenenbaums, The

To be honest I’d rather see Funeral In Berlin than The Ipcress File before I died, but I don’t want to quibble here (especially as I’ve already seen both, and there are bigger arguments to pick with C4).

11 Films I Didn’t Actually Really Need to Have Seen Before I Die

  1. Alien
  2. Apocalypse Now
  3. Cabaret
  4. Erin Brockovich
  5. Hero
  6. King of Comedy, The
  7. Player, The
  8. Pulp Fiction
  9. Raising Arizona
  10. Terminator 2: Judgement Day
  11. Walkabout

Although I’d be pretty disappointed to find myself dead and having not watched some of the films on that list, if we’re limited to 50, we’re going to need some space for

11 Films I’d Be Pretty Pissed Off Not To Have Seen Because Channel 4 Missed Them Off

  1. Brighton Rock
  2. Bullitt
  3. Casablanca
  4. Fargo
  5. Heathers
  6. The Life of Brian
  7. Out of Sight
  8. The Thomas Crown Affair
  9. To Have and to Have Not
  10. The Wedding Banquet
  11. Withnail & I

And yes, I know I’m chucking out “heavyweights” like Apocalypse Now and Walkabout to include fluff like Out of Sight or The Thomas Crown Affair, but we don’t have to be too grave just because it ends in death, do we? Besides, the first 6 of the “glad I watched” list keep up the “darkness” quotient…

But should I trust Channel 4 on the 29 I haven’t seen, when they got so many of the others wrong? Why don’t they think I should see Citizen Kane, Doctor Strangelove or The Third Man, films I can’t quite believe I haven’t seen? Can all the 29 films I haven’t seen really be better than Kind Hearts and Coronets, La Haine, Memento, Richard III (1996) or Taxi Driver which are amongst those (can you believe it?) which have had to be relegated to the reserve list?

About Simon Wood

E-learning officer, lapsed mathematician, Doctor Who fan and garden railway builder. See simonwood.info for more...

7 thoughts on “Films to See Before I Die

  1. Of the 29, I’ve seen these:

    1 A Bout de Souffle

    Jean Seberg!!!!!

    4 Apartment, The

    My favourite film. I’ve got it on DVD.

    15 Lagaan: Once Upon a Time in India

    There are better Bollywoods than this, but it’s the one everyone has seen.

    16 Manhattan

    Wonderful. Ronnie’s got it.

    18 Mulholland Drive

    Standard David Lynch

    23 Secrets and Lies

    Not my favourite Mike Leigh

    25 Shawshank Redemption, The

    I enjoyed it a lot

    29 Trainspotting

    Very missable

  2. Thank you for that!

    A Bout de Souffle has been on my list for about 8 years.

    – I’ll borrow The Apartment if I may.

    – Hadn’t heard of Lagaan nor have I seen much Bollywood.

    Manhattan is on my list. If it’s any good I probably should have watched it before various other Allens which have diminished any enthusiasm I previously had for his work.

    – I don’t think I’ve seen any David Lynch.

    – So what is your favorite Mike Leigh?

    The Shawshank Redemption has been on my list for ages.

    Trainspotting – don’t think I’ll bother then

  3. Thank you for that!

    A Bout de Souffle has been on my list for about 8 years.

    – I’ll borrow The Apartment if I may.

    – Hadn’t heard of Lagaan nor have I seen much Bollywood.

    Manhattan is on my list. If it’s any good I probably should have watched it before various other Allens which have diminished any enthusiasm I previously had for his work.

    – I don’t think I’ve seen any David Lynch.

    – So what is your favorite Mike Leigh?

    The Shawshank Redemption has been on my list for ages.

    Trainspotting – don’t think I’ll bother then

    • – Ronnie bought me The Apartment, but now she thinks it’s hers. I’ll sneak it away from her DVD folder.

      – Don’t take my word for Manhattan; you know I like Woody (at least that – middle? – period).

      – I’m not personally a big David Lynch fan, but some people see more in them than I do.

      – Mike Leigh, hmmm…, I haven’t seen any for ages apart from Vera Drake (wasn’t that with you?) Thinking back, I’d probably go for Life is Sweet, but I might be wrong.

      – On the way back from Australia a few years ago, I saw Shawshank and The Cinncinatti Kid for the first time (as well as Finding Nemo and Rebel Without a Cause). All flights should be like that.

      BTW, how do you make italics? Command-I opens Mail!

    • – Ta

      – I like Sleeper. You’re not the only person who’s recommended Manhattan.

      Twin Peaks?

      – I’ve seen Life Is Sweet. Everyone was raving about Secrets and Lies; I never saw it. I’d like to see Vera Drake but it wasn’t with me you saw it! I presume Topsy Turvey is worth missing. Life Is Sweet was…unforgettable. I’d be surprised if Secrets and Lies is as good.

      – Agree. Shawshank is £2.99 in the HMV sale. Shall I get it? Haven’t seen the Cinncinatti Kid but it’s on the list (I think it’s on the computer, or a DVD I burned). Haven’t seen Rebel, either. Come to think of it, that should be on the list of films I can’t believe Channel 4 don’t think I should see.

      Italics: simplest way is to use HTML: (the challenge here is to make the tags appear rather than making my text italic…if it doesn’t work, hang on, I’ll edit it till it does) em and /em (oh, bugger it, just put a on each side of those). If you edit your comment with certain browsers (eg. Firefox) there’s a toolbar with buttons for styles including italics.

    • – Ta

      – I like Sleeper. You’re not the only person who’s recommended Manhattan.

      Twin Peaks?

      – I’ve seen Life Is Sweet. Everyone was raving about Secrets and Lies; I never saw it. I’d like to see Vera Drake but it wasn’t with me you saw it! I presume Topsy Turvey is worth missing. Life Is Sweet was…unforgettable. I’d be surprised if Secrets and Lies is as good.

      – Agree. Shawshank is £2.99 in the HMV sale. Shall I get it? Haven’t seen the Cinncinatti Kid but it’s on the list (I think it’s on the computer, or a DVD I burned). Haven’t seen Rebel, either. Come to think of it, that should be on the list of films I can’t believe Channel 4 don’t think I should see.

      Italics: simplest way is to use HTML: (the challenge here is to make the tags appear rather than making my text italic…if it doesn’t work, hang on, I’ll edit it till it does) em and /em (oh, bugger it, just put a on each side of those). If you edit your comment with certain browsers (eg. Firefox) there’s a toolbar with buttons for styles including italics.

    • Twin Peaks, yes.

      – Jackie says ‘s good. Other people say it’s long. Not mutually exclusive.

      – For £2.99 it can go to Oxfam if you don’t like it.

      BTW, talking of The Cinncinatti Kid and A Bout de Souffle, which we nearly were, I was watching the video of Absent Friends by The Divine Comedy (at http://www.thedivinecomedy.com/innercircle/index.html) and noticed that it features Jean Seberg and Steve McQueen, along with Oscar Wilde and Woodbine Willy.

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