Here is the last half of the movies that I remember the most. Each touched a nerve and affected me emotionally in one way or another.
Surely there must have been others that were outstanding, but my memory has become a bit limited.
A few of these got an Oscar or two, but it was the impact on me that kept the memory alive, not the awards.
The Godfather – Part II (1974) – This continuation of the original parallels the young Vito Corleone’s rise with his son Michael’s spiritual fall. In the early 1900’s, young Vito flees his Sicilian village for America after the local mafia kill his family. Vito tires of trying to make a living while constantly paying off the local mafia boss. Finally, he plots and kills the boss, takes over, and becomes the godfather. The outstanding cast in this mesmerizing tale included: Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Robert DeNiro, Robert Duvall and Diane Keaton.
Rocky (1976) – A not-so-sharp amateur boxer from Philadelphia’s tough neighborhood gets a surprise shot at fighting for the heavyweight championship and at the same time finds love with the shy, reclusive girl in the pet shop. He gets the shot because no one thinks he has a chance. Stars Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young and Burgess Meredith. It’s a great underdog story moved along with terrific music.
Star Wars (1977) – George Lucas released this futuristic fable which became the biggest money maker of all time and changed the shape of the film industry. Harrison Ford led the outstanding cast. It was a great new innovation in technological film making and a true popcorn delight.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) – Steven Spielberg brought us this epic science fiction adventure about a desperate group of people who attempt to contact alien intelligence. Richard Dreyfuss is an electric lineman who witnesses an unidentified flying object (UFO). His wife and family are skeptical when he refuses to accept a logical explanation for his sighting. He is determined to find out the truth about the UFO he saw. Thoughtful and intriguing.
The Grey Fox (1982) – Here’s an eclectic, low-key tale about real life bandit Bill Miner that became a classic of Canadian cinema. Released from prison in 1901, Bill (Richard Farnsworth) finds himself living in a totally changed world. No more stagecoaches to rob, he goes to live with his sister in Washington state. He soon gets restless and tries to rob trains with a bumbling partner. As you might expect, it doesn’t work out too well. Great story! Well done!
The Right Stuff (1983) – Covering the 15-year formation of America’s space program, the film portrays the interaction of the original Mercury astronauts. The film relates the dangers and frustration facing these young tigers, their various personal crises involving their families, and the schism between their squeaky-clean public images. It stars Sam Shepherd, Ed Harris and Dennis Quaid. It was a heartwarming, patriotic, feel-good flick.
Philadelphia (1993) – At the time of its release, this was the first big budget Hollywood film to tackle the medical, political and social issues of AIDS. Tom Hanks is the young, talented lawyer at a stodgy old law firm who has to confront these issues head one. He is assisted by Denzel Washington, who reluctantly takes on his defense. What a searing portrait of a real-life drama.
Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) – This is the applause-driven adaptation of Queen, their music, and their extraordinary lead singer, Freddie Mercury, who defied stereotypes and shattered conventions to become one of the most beloved entertainers on the planet. The film traces the meteoric rise of the band through their iconic music and revolutionary sound, their near implosion as Mercury’s lifestyle spirals out of control, and their triumphant reunion on the eve of Live Aid, where Mercury, facing a life-threatening illness, leads the band in one of the greatest performances in the history of rock music. Rami Malek was outstanding as the outrageous Freddie Mercury. It was touching, entertaining and a soaring musical treat.
It’s interesting to note that I have a 15-year gap between 1993 and 2018 when there were no movies that touched me like the others. Wonder why?
Hope there are still more to come.