A Man for All Seasons (1966) A film based on the play about Sir Thomas More by Robert Bolt. Directed by Fred Zinnemann, the film won 6 Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Actor. The movie concerns King Henry VIII's desire to have his marriage to his first wife, Catherine of Aragon annulled so that he can marry Ann Boleyn. Sir Thomas Moore refused to assist the King in this endeavor and resigned his office rather than take the "Oath of Supremacy" declaring King Henry the VIII the "Supreme Head of the Church of England". More is portrayed as a man of principle, devoted to his roman catholic faith, his family and the people of his country.
Elizabeth (1998) Directed by Shekhar Kapur and starring Cate Blanchett in the title role with Geoffrey Rush and Joseph Fiennes as well as 12-year old Lily Allen! This movie is loosely based on the life of Protestant Queen Elizabeth I of England who takes the throne after the death in 1558 of her half-sister Roman Catholic Mary I of England who dies from a cancerous tumor. Elizabeth had been jailed for supposedly conspiring to murder Mary but was released for her coronation! There is a sequel to this movie Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007)
Bobby (2006) directed by Emilio Estevez and starring a very large cast including Anthony Hopkins, Harry Belafonte, Sharon Stone, Helen Hunt William H. Macy, Laurence Fishburne, Lindsay Lohan, Ashton Kutcher. This is a fictionalized account of the hours prior to the assassination of U.S. Senator Robert Kennedy at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles after he won the California Democratic Party primary.
Good Night and Good Luck (2005) this is a black & white movie directed by George Clooney about broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow's campaign in the 1950's to bring down the Senator of Wisconsin, Joseph McCarthy particularly regarding his anti-Communist actions and use of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. This movie has a terrific cast and received 6 Academy Award Nominations.
Driving Miss Daisy (1989) this movie stars Jessica Tandy as a 72-year-old Jewish widow living in Atlanta, GA in the late 1940s Her son hires a chauffeur for her, played by Morgan Freeman. She is determined not to like or trust the African-American man.. He is a kind and gentle man with a good sense of humor who isn't easily offended. During the course of their time together they, which spans many years, they come to rely on each other become very good friends. This movie won an Academy Award for Best Picture, the last PG-rated movie to do so!
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) an adventure film directed by Joel & Ethan Coen loosely based on Homer's "The Odyssey". This movie is set in 1930's Mississippi during the great depression and stars George Clooney as Everett Ulysses McGill. It details his adventures with his buddies Pete and Delmar O'Donnell played by John Turturro and Tim Blake Nelson when they escape a chain gang and go in search of lost treasure. Everett claims to have stolen $1.2 million from an armored car which he buried prior to his arrest. They have just 4 days to find and retrieve the money before the valley it's buried in is flooded to create a new lake for a hydroelectric project. On the way, they encounter a host of interesting characters including 3 sirens, the KKK, the notorious bank robber George "Baby face" Nelson and blues guitarist Tommy Johnson. For easy money they record the song "Man of Constant Sorrow" at a radio broadcast station and name themselves "The Soggy Bottom Boys"! This is a wonderful, funny, unique movie with a fantastic soundtrack!
Beethoven's Nephew (Le Neveu de Beethoven) (1985) a costume drama, this movie, directed by Paul Morrissey, is about the last years of the composer Ludwig van Beethoven's life when he became embroiled in several nasty court battles with his sister-in-law over the custody of his nephew, Karl the son of his brother, Karl Caspar. Beethoven is somewhat obsessed with Karl, a musical genius, who he snatched away from his "demon" mother. The movie stars Wolfgang Reichmann as Beethoven and Dietmar Prinz as his nephew, Karl and Jane Birkin who plays Karl's very unhappy mother.
The Remains of the Day (1993) a Merchant Ivory Film directed by James Ivory, based on the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro, stars Anthony Hopkins as Stevens, a butler and Emma Thompson as Miss Kenton with Christopher Reeves and Hugh Grant included in the cast. The movie is set in England in the 1950s but much of it is a flashback to the days prior to WWII when Stevens and Miss Kenton worked together as servants of Darlington Hall where Stevens still works. Miss Kenton left Darlington Hall just before WWII broke out and married. Twenty-years later and no longer married, Miss Kenton has contacted Stevens who tries to persuade her to return to her former job.
Surviving Picasso (1996) another Merchant Ivory production, this movie loosely based on the biography, Picasso: Creator and Destroyer by Arianna S. Huffington. It stars Anthony Hopkins as Picasso. He meets a woman named Francoise (Natascha McElhone) in Paris during the Nazi occupation of the city. She always wanted to be a painter but her father beat her when she told him she didn't want to be a lawyer. She and Picasso become lovers but she discovers that Picasso cares little about other people's feelings and is a wanton womanizer who feels he can sleep with anyone he wants. The movie is told through Francoise eyes and she is one of the few of Picasso's women who stood up to his cruelty and went on with her life. The producers were unable to get permission to show Picasso's works in the film so it's more about his personal life than his creative side. And, unfortunately the movie didn't fare too well with viewers or critics.
Full Metal Jacket (1987) directed by Stanley Kubrick this movie is based on the novel The Short-Timers by Gustav Hasford. Set during the Vietnam War, this movie follows a squad of U.S. Marines during their United States Marine Corps Recruit Training on Parris Island and shows some of what two of them experience during the Tet Offensive. The cast includes Arliss Howard, Vincent D'Onofrio, Matthew Modine and R. Lee Ermey.
Where the Buffalo Roam (1980) directed by Art Linson and starring Peter Boyle, Bruno Kirby and Bill Murray as Hunter S. Thompson, Tthe movie chronicles many of Hunter S. Thompson's experiences on the campaign trail in 1972 and his rise to fame in the 1970s as a Gonzo journalist.
And my final entry in keeping with Molly's great choice:
Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979) in this comedy film written, directed and mostly performed by the Monty Python comedy team, Graham Chapman plays Brian Cohen, a young Jewish man born on the same day as Jesus Christ and in the same location, a few doors down. This confuses the wise men, among others when they come to visit and they end up praising Brian Cohen as the King of the Jews. Suddenly Brian Cohen is mistaken for the Messiah!