The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

  • Directors: Peter Jackson
  • Producers: Peter Jackson, Barrie M Osborne, Tim Sanders, Fran Walsh
  • Writers: Novel, J R R Tolkien, Screenplay, Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
  • Actors: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin, Cate Blanchett, John Rhys Davies, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Orlando Bloom, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Sean Bean, Ian Holm, Andy Serkis

The foreword, spoken by Galadriel, shows the Dark Lord Sauron forging the One Ring in order to conquer the lands of Middle-earth. A Last Alliance of Elves and Men is formed to counter Sauron’s forces at the foot of Mount Doom, but Sauron kills Elendil, the High King of Men. His son, Prince Isildur grabs Elendil’s broken sword Narsil, and slashes at Sauron’s hand, separating him from the Ring and vanquishing his army. However, because Sauron’s “life force” is bound to the Ring, he is not completely defeated until the Ring itself is destroyed. Isildur takes the Ring and succumbs to its temptation, refusing to destroy it. He is later ambushed and killed by orcs, and the Ring is lost in a river. The Ring is found by the creature Gollum thousands of years later, who takes it underground for five centuries, giving him “unnaturally long life.” Since the Ring is bound to Sauron, it has a will of its own and wants to be found. Therefore, the Ring consciously leaves Gollum in its quest to be reunited with Sauron. However, it is instead found by the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, much to the despair of Gollum. Bilbo returns to his home in the Shire with the Ring, and the story jumps forward in time sixty years.

After landing at Parth Galen, Boromir tries to take the Ring from Frodo, believing that it is the only way to save his realm. Frodo manages to escape by putting the Ring on his finger and vanishing. Aragorn encounters Frodo, but unlike Boromir, Aragorn chooses not to take the Ring. Knowing that the Ring’s temptation will be too strong for the Fellowship, Frodo decides to leave them and go to Mordor alone. Meanwhile, the rest of the Fellowship are attacked by Uruk-hai, who Saruman had ordered to hunt down the Fellowship and take back the Ring. Merry and Pippin, realizing that Frodo is leaving, distract the orcs allowing Frodo to escape. Boromir rushes to the aid of the two hobbits but is mortally wounded by the orc commander Lurtz. Before he can finish Boromir, however, Aragorn arrives and slays Lurtz after a brief fight. Boromir regrets having attempted to steal the Ring, but is forgiven by Aragorn, who promises him that he will not allow Gondor to fall into ruin. Heartened by Aragorn’s words, Boromir accepts Aragorn as his king before he dies. Merry and Pippin are captured prompting Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas to begin their pursuit of the orcs with the intent of rescuing the hobbits, leaving Frodo to his fate. Before Frodo departs, Sam decides to join him and together they head off to Mordor.

Raiders of the Lost Ark

  • Directors: Steven Spielberg
  • Producers: Frank Marshall, George Lucas, Howard Kazanjian
  • Writers: Story, George Lucas, Philip Kaufman, Screenplay, Lawrence Kasdan
  • Genres: Action, Adventure
  • Actors: Harrison Ford, Karen Allen

In 1936, in the Peruvian jungle, archaeologist/treasure hunter Indiana Jones braves several booby traps to retrieve the Golden Idol from an ancient temple. After escaping, he finds rival archaeologist RenГ© Belloq waiting outside with a group of Hovitos, the local indigenous people. Surrounded and outnumbered, Jones is forced to give up the artifact to Belloq. Jones escapes from Belloq and the Hovitos after a jungle pursuit, and flies away on a waiting seaplane.

At the American college where he teaches archaeology, Jones meets with two Army intelligence agents who reveal that the Nazis, in their quest for occult power, are searching for Abner Ravenwood, Jones’ former mentor. Ravenwood is the foremost expert on the ancient Egyptian city of Tanis, rediscovered by the Nazis and believed to be where the Pharaoh Shishaq brought the Ark of the Covenant, a chest the Israelites built to contain the fragments of the Ten Commandments. Jones deduces that the Nazis seek Ravenwood because he possesses the headpiece to the Staff of Ra, an artifact essential to pinpoint the Ark’s current location. According to legend, the headpiece would reveal the exact location of the Well of Souls, the chamber containing the Ark, by focusing daylight through a crystal in the center of the headpiece, which would project a beam of light onto a miniature of the city at a certain time of day. Jones’ colleague, Marcus Brody, further explains the legendary power of the Ark to render invincible any army it precedes, explaining the Nazis’ interest in it.

The next morning, a Nazi U-boat commanded by Belloq and Nazi officer Dietrich stops the ship. Marion and the Ark are removed, while Jones covertly boards the U-boat. He follows Belloq and the Ark to an isolated island, where they plan to test the power of the Ark before presenting it to Adolf Hitler. Threatening to destroy the Ark with a Panzerschreck, Jones demands that the Nazis free Marion. Belloq calls his bluff, claiming that Jones, as an archaeologist, wants to see it opened as badly as Belloq; Jones is forced to surrender. Marion and Jones are tied up while Belloq performs a ceremonial opening of the Ark. Spirits emerge from within; Jones, aware of the supernatural danger of looking at the opened Ark, warns Marion to close her eyes. The Nazis, Belloq, Toht, and Dietrich, who do not look away, are all killed by the Ark’s supernatural powers. The Ark closes itself once more, accompanied by a crack of thunder. Back in Washington, D.C., two Army intelligence men tell a suspicious Jones that “top men” are carefully studying the Ark. In reality, the Ark is sealed in a wooden crate and stored in a giant government warehouse filled with countless similar crates.

Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back

  • Directors: Irvin Kershner
  • Producers: Gary Kurtz, George Lucas, Rick McCallum
  • Writers: Screenplay, Leigh Brackett, Lawrence Kasdan, Story, George Lucas
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Thriller
  • Actors: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels

Despite their victory over the Galactic Empire with the destruction of the Death Star, the Rebel Alliance was driven out of their base and forced to establish a new base on the remote ice planet Hoth. Darth Vader, having become obsessed with finding Luke Skywalker, now a commanding officer within the Rebellion, has multiple probe droids dispatched throughout the galaxy, one of which lands on Hoth. While patrolling near the base, Luke is attacked and knocked unconscious by an indigenous predator. Back at the base, Han Solo announces his intentions to leave the Rebellion to pay off a debt to Jabba the Hutt (much to Princess Leia’s displeasure), but stalls to search for Luke when he doesn’t return. Escaping from the creature’s lair, Luke nearly succumbs to the cold and has a vision of his late mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi, who instructs him to go to the planet Dagobah to train under Jedi Master Yoda.

Han finds Luke and provides shelter before they are rescued the following morning. Meanwhile, the Imperial probe droid locates the Rebel base on Hoth, and Vader orders an attack while the Rebels prepare to evacuate and disperse. The Imperial forces eventually overpower the Rebels and capture the base. Han and Leia escape on the Millennium Falcon, but are unable to enter hyperspace due to technical difficulties and evade pursuit in an asteroid field, where Han and Leia begin to grow closer to each other. Vader turns to several notorious bounty hunters, including Boba Fett, to assist in locating the Falcon. Meanwhile, Luke escapes from Hoth and crash lands on Dagobah, where he meets a wizened little green creature who reveals himself to be Yoda. While undergoing intensive training, Luke has a premonition of Han and Leia in danger and, against Yoda’s wishes, leaves to save his friends, promising to return to complete his training.

Meanwhile, Luke arrives in Cloud City and falls right into Vader’s trap. He and Vader engage in a lightsaber duel within the carbon-freezing facilities, eventually bringing them to the city’s central air shaft. Gaining an advantage, Vader cuts off Luke’s dueling hand along with his lightsaber. With Luke cornered and defenseless, Vader goads Luke to rule the galaxy alongside him, making the horrifying revelation that he is Luke’s father. Unwilling to join Vader, Luke casts himself into the air shaft and finds himself hanging on an antenna on the underbelly of the city. He makes a desperate call to Leia, who senses Luke’s distress aboard the Millennium Falcon and manages to get him to safety. Its hyperdrive finally functional, the Falcon escapes. Aboard a Rebel medical frigate, Luke is fitted with an artificial hand while Lando sets out on the Falcon to locate Han.

Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo.

  • Directors: Sergio Leone
  • Producers: Alberto Grimaldi
  • Writers: Story, Sergio Leone, Luciano Vincenzoni, Screenplay, Age amp Scarpelli, Sergio Leone, Luciano Vincenzoni
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Western
  • Actors: Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Eli Wallach

In a desolate ghost town, bandit Tuco (“The Ugly,” Eli Wallach) narrowly shoots his way past three bounty hunters to freedom. Miles away, Angel Eyes (“The Bad,” Lee Van Cleef) interrogates a former soldier Stevens (Antonio Casas) about a missing man named Bill Carson (Antonio Casale) and a cache of Confederate gold, shooting the soldier and his son (Antonio Ruiz) after the interrogation; Angel Eyes also collects a bounty given to him by the soldier Stevens to kill Angel Eyes’ employer; Angel Eyes then collects his bounty for the killing from his employer and then shoots him. Meanwhile, Tuco’s journey across the desert leads him into a group of bounty hunters, who prepare to capture him when they are approached by Blondie (“The Good,” Clint Eastwood), a mysterious lone gunman who challenges the hunters to a draw, which he wins with lightning speed. Initially elated, Tuco is enraged when Blondie delivers him to the local authorities for the reward money. Hours later, as Tuco awaits his execution, Blondie surprises the authorities and frees Tuco, the two later meeting to split the reward money, revealing their lucrative money-making scheme. The two repeat the process at another town before Blondie, weary of Tuco’s incessant complaints, abandons him in the desert. A livid Tuco rearms himself in a nearby town and surprises Blondie in his hotel room in the middle of a skirmish between Union and Confederate troops. As Tuco prepares to kill Blondie by fashioning a noose and forcing Blondie to put it around his neck, a cannonball demolishes the room, allowing Blondie to escape.

The three stare each other down, calculating alliances and dangers in a famous five-minute Mexican standoff before suddenly drawing. Blondie shoots Angel Eyes, rolling him into an open grave, while Tuco discovers that Blondie unloaded his gun the night before. Blondie directs Tuco to the grave marked “Unknown” next to Arch Stanton’s. Tuco digs and is overjoyed to find bags of gold inside, but is shocked when he turns to Blondie and finds himself staring at a noose. Seeking a measure of revenge for what Tuco has done to him, Blondie forces Tuco atop a grave marker and wraps the noose around his neck, binding Tuco’s hands before disappearing with his share of the gold. As Tuco screams for mercy, Blondie’s silhouette returns on the horizon, aiming a rifle at Tuco. As Tuco screams in rage, Blondie fires and severs the noose rope, dropping Tuco face-first onto his share of the gold. Blondie smiles as Tuco screams at him. Blondie turns and rides into the frontier.

Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi

  • Directors: Richard Marquand
  • Producers: Howard Kazanjian, George Lucas, Robert Watts, Rick McCallum,
  • Writers: Screenplay, George Lucas, Lawrence Kasdan, Story, George Lucas
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Thriller
  • Actors: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels

Luke Skywalker, having fashioned himself as a Jedi Knight, initiates a plan to rescue the frozen Han Solo from the vile crime lord Jabba the Hutt. Princess Leia infiltrates Jabba’s palace on Tatooine disguised as a bounty hunter and releases Han from his carbonite prison, but is caught and forced to serve as Jabba’s slave girl. Luke arrives the next morning and allows himself to be captured. Jabba sentences Luke and Han to be fed to the monstrous Sarlacc. As he is about to be put to death, Luke breaks free and a large battle erupts; in the ensuing chaos, Leia strangles Jabba to death with her slave chains, Han inadvertently knocks Boba Fett, the bounty hunter who captured him, into the gaping maw of the Sarlacc, and Luke destroys Jabba’s sail barge, escaping with his allies. As Han and Leia rendezvous with the other Rebels, Luke returns to Dagobah where he finds that Yoda is dying. With his last breaths, Yoda confirms that the evil Darth Vader is Luke’s father, Anakin Skywalker, and that Luke must confront him again to become a true Jedi Knight. He and the spirit of Obi-Wan Kenobi also reveal that Luke has a twin sister, whom Luke deduces to be Leia.

Back on Endor, the strike team finally destroys the shield generator, and the Rebel fleet, after a fierce battle in which they manage to destroy the Imperial flagship the Executor, the Imperial fleet breaks up and an opportunity to launch a final assault on the Death Star finally arises. Lando leads the remaining ships into the station and fires at the main reactor, causing it to collapse. Luke escapes on an Imperial shuttle with his father’s body before the Death Star explodes, and Lando escapes in the Millennium Falcon. On Endor, Leia reveals to Han that Luke is her brother, and they share a kiss. That evening, Luke returns to Endor and cremates his father’s armor on a funeral pyre. The entire galaxy celebrates the fall of the Empire. During the Rebels’ own celebration on Endor, Luke catches sight of the spiritual figures of Obi-Wan, Yoda, and his redeemed father, who watch over them with pride.

Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace

  • Directors: George Lucas
  • Producers: Rick McCallum, George Lucas
  • Writers: George Lucas
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
  • Actors: Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Jake Lloyd, Pernilla August, Frank Oz, Terence Stamp

The Galactic Republic is in a period of decline, its bureaucracy bloated and corrupt, its economy deteriorating. In response to a taxation on trade routes, the greedy Trade Federation organizes a blockade of battleships around the small planet of Naboo. Hoping to resolve the matter, the Supreme Chancellor dispatches two Jedi, Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice, Obi-Wan Kenobi, to negotiate with Trade Federation Viceroy Nute Gunray. Unbeknownst to them, the Trade Federation is in league with the evil Sith Lord Darth Sidious, who orders them to invade Naboo with an army of battle droids and kill the Jedi. Narrowly evading death, the two Jedi stow aboard landing crafts and escape to Naboo. There Qui-Gon saves local Gungan outcast Jar Jar Binks from being trampled by a Federation tank. Indebted to the Jedi, Jar Jar leads them to the underwater Gungan city of Otoh Gunga, where the Jedi unsuccessfully attempt to persuade the Gungans to help the people of Naboo, though they are able to obtain a transport to reach the city of Theed on the surface.

Queen Amidala of the Naboo is captured by the Federation droid invasion army, but is rescued by the Jedi. The Queen escapes Naboo with the Jedi on her personal starship, which is damaged on its way through the blockade surrounding the planet, forcing them to land on the nearby desert planet Tatooine for repairs. Qui-Gon ventures into the settlement of Mos Espa with PadmГ©, one of the Queen’s handmaidens, to a junk shop to purchase a new hyperdrive generator. There they meet a young slave child named Anakin Skywalker, who takes an immediate liking to PadmГ©. After spending time with Anakin and his mother, Qui-Gon senses a strong presence of the Force within him, and suspects he may be the Chosen One who will bring balance to the Force. Qui-Gon makes a bet with Anakin’s owner to enter him in a Podrace, and that if Anakin wins, he will be freed. With Qui-Gon’s guidance, Anakin manages to win the race and joins the group to be trained as a Jedi, but he is forced to leave his mother, who Qui-Gon was unable to release, behind. Before they leave, they are attacked by Darth Sidious’ apprentice, Darth Maul, who was dispatched to capture the Queen. After a brief fight, they manage to escape.

Back on Naboo, PadmГ© reveals herself to be Queen Amidala, the other “Queen” having been a decoy for her own protection. The Queen convinces the Gungan people to form an alliance against the Trade Federation. While the comically inept Jar Jar leads his people in a battle against the droid army and the Queen moves in to capture Viceroy Gunray in Theed, Anakin commandeers a vacant starfighter and joins the dogfight against the Federation droid control ship in space, using his skills with the Force to destroy it, which deactivates the entire droid army. The Jedi, meanwhile, encounter Darth Maul once more and engage him in a two-on-one lightsaber duel. Qui-Gon is mortally wounded in the battle, but Obi-Wan manages to kill the Sith once and for all. With his dying breaths, Qui-Gon tells Obi-Wan to train Anakin. Senator Palpatine is elected as the new Supreme Chancellor, Viceroy Gunray is sent to stand trial for his crimes, and the Jedi Council reluctantly allows Anakin to become Obi-Wan’s apprentice. At a grand ceremony, Queen Amidala presents a gift of appreciation and friendship to the Gungan people.