Prayers for Bobby

  • Directors: Russell Mulcahy 2
  • Producers: Stanley M Brooks 3, David Permut 3, Daniel Sladek 3, Chris Taaffe 3, Damian Ganczewski 1
  • Writers: Katie Ford 1, Leroy F Aarons
  • Genres: Biography, Drama
  • Actors: Sigourney Weaver, Henry Czerny, Ryan Kelley

Mary Griffith is a devout Christian who raises her children with the conservative teachings of the Presbyterian Church. However, when her son Bobby confides to his older brother he may be gay, life changes for the entire family after Mary learns about his secret. Bobby’s father and siblings slowly come to terms with his homosexuality, but Mary believes that God can “cure” him. She takes him to a psychiatrist and persuades Bobby to pray harder and seek solace in church activities in hopes of changing him. Desperate for his mother’s approval, Bobby does what is asked of him, but through it all, the church’s disapproval of homosexuality causes him to grow increasingly withdrawn and depressed.

Stricken with guilt, Bobby moves away with his cousin, hoping that some day, his mother will accept him. He moves to Oregon, giving up on his hopes of defeating homosexuality. He finds a boyfriend, David, at a gay bar. His subsequent depression and self-loathing intensifies as he blames himself for not being the “perfect” son, and he jumps off a freeway bridge into the path of an oncoming eighteen-wheeler truck, killing him instantly.

Faced with their tragedy, Mary begins to question herself and her church’s interpretation of Scripture. Through her long and emotional journey, Mary slowly reaches out to the gay community and discovers unexpected support from a very unlikely source. She becomes acquainted with a local gay reverend, who convinces her to attend a meeting of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). It is there that she realizes that she knew Bobby was different from conception, and that God did not heal him because there was nothing wrong with him.

She becomes an advocate for gay rights and eventually gives a speech in a town council meeting in support of a local “gay day”. She urges people to think before they say voice or support homophobia because “a child is listening”. The measure is rejected, but she and her family travel to San Francisco with fellow PFLAG members and march in a gay pride parade, during which she sees another young man just like Bobby observing the parade. She walks over and hugs him, finally coming to terms with her son’s death and vowing to work hard for the rights of gays and lesbians.[2]

The Aviator

  • Directors: Martin Scorsese
  • Producers: Michael Mann, Sandy Climan, Graham King, Charles Evans Jr
  • Writers: John Logan, Michael Mann
  • Genres: Biography, Drama
  • Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, John C Reilly, Ian Holm, Kate Beckinsale, Jude Law, Alec Baldwin, Alan Alda, Brent Spiner, Frances Conroy, Willem Defoe

The Aviator has no opening credits other than the title. The film begins in 1914 with nine-year-old Hughes being bathed by his mother, who warns him of disease: “You are not safe.”

The film next shows him in 1927, as a 22-year old preparing to direct Hell’s Angels. Hiring Noah Dietrich (John C. Reilly) to run Hughes Tool Company, while he oversees the flight sequences for the film, Hughes becomes obsessed with shooting the film realistically, even re-shooting the dogfight himself. By 1929, with the silent film finally complete, Hughes realizes the premiere of the The Jazz Singer, which was the first part-talking film, means that sound films would soon become the industry standard. Hughes re-shoots Hell’s Angels with sound, costing another year and $1.7 million. Hell’s Angels released as a sound film in 1930 is a huge hit, and Hughes also produces Scarface (1932) and The Outlaw (1943). However, there is one goal he relentlessly pursues: aviation. During this time, he also pursues Katharine Hepburn (Cate Blanchett). The two go to nightclubs, play golf and fly together, and as they grow closer, move in together as well. During this time Hepburn becomes a major supporter and confidant to Hughes, and helps alleviate the symptoms of his obsessive-compulsive disorder. As Hughes’ fame grows, he is seen with more starlets.

Hughes successfully test flies the flying boat himself. After the flight, he talks to Dietrich and his mechanic, Glenn Odekirk (Matt Ross), about a new jetliner for TWA (the Avro C102 Jetliner) and makes a date with Gardner at a celebration party on the Long Beach shoreline. Hughes seems free of his inner demons until he sees three attendants in business suits and white gloves edging towards him, which triggers an obsessive-compulsive fit as he begins repeating “The way of the future.” Dietrich and Odekirk take Hughes in a bathroom and hide him there, while Dietrich fetches a doctor and Odekirk stands outside guarding the door. Alone inside, Howard has a flashback to his boyhood, being washed by his mother and resolving he will fly the fastest aircraft ever built, make the biggest movies ever and become the richest man in the world. As the film ends he mutters “the way of the future… the way of the future” into a darkened mirror.


  • Directors: Franklin J Schaffner
  • Producers: Ted Richmond
  • Writers: Dalton Trumbo
  • Genres: Adventure, Biography, Crime, Drama
  • Actors: Steve McQueen, Dustin Hoffman

A man makes friends with a fellow in-mate while they are serving sentence on a notorious island prison and he plots his hellish escape.

The petty criminal known as Papillon is unjustly convicted of murder in the 1930s and sentenced to life improsonment in a French penitentiary on Devil’s Island in French Guiana. He tries several escapes which result in many punishments but after a decade he eventually succeeds.

A Man for All Seasons

  • Directors: Fred Zinnemann
  • Producers: Fred Zinnemann
  • Writers: Robert Bolt
  • Genres: Biography, Drama
  • Actors: Paul Scofield, Wendy Hiller, Leo McKern, Orson Welles, Robert Shaw, Susannah York, John Hurt, Nigel Davenport

Sir Thomas More was the 16th-century Lord Chancellor of England who refused to sign a letter asking the Pope to annul the King’s marriage and resigned rather than take an Oath of Supremacy declaring the King the Supreme Head of the Church of England. The King is Henry VIII of England and his wife is Catherine of Aragon, the first of an eventual six wives. Both the play and the film portray More as a man of principle, motivated by his devout Roman Catholic faith and envied by rivals such as Thomas Cromwell. He is also deeply loved by the common people and by his family.


  • Directors: Jon Amiel
  • Producers: Jeremy Thomas
  • Writers: John Collee
  • Genres: Biography, Drama
  • Actors: Paul Bettany, Jennifer Connelly, Jeremy Northam, Toby Jones, Benedict Cumberbatch

Following the death of his eldest daughter Annie in 1851, English naturalist Charles Darwin has a crisis of faith. Having returned from his expedition in the Galapagos Islands fifteen years earlier he has yet to compile his findings from his notebooks.

Darwin has an unshakeable illness and cannot write, though his friends Joseph Dalton Hooker and Thomas Henry Huxley encourage him to finish his book, having read his 230 page synopsis. Darwin’s depression is also the cause of a rift with his wife, Emma, whose devout faith contrasts with Darwin’s own loss of faith. Darwin explains her refuge in religion as her reaction to Annie’s death.

To provide evidence for his theory Darwin breeds pigeons. Darwin is stopped when he is sent a letter by Alfred Russel Wallace in 1855, which details the same findings as Darwin in twenty pages. He sees the discovery as a good thing, as he will not have to write his book and the strife with Emma will dissipate.

He subsequently visits Malvern to “take waters” and visit the guesthouse where Annie died. Cured of his illness after addressing his grief, Darwin finishes his manuscript and hands it to Emma to read, leaving the decision to publish in her hands. She reads it and packages it to send to the publishers.

Darwin dispatches the manuscript, and it is published on 24 November, 1859.

Seven Years in Tibet

  • Directors: Jean Jacques Annaud
  • Producers: Jean Jacques Annaud, Iain Smith, John H Williams
  • Writers: Heinrich Harrer, Becky Johnston
  • Genres: Adventure, Biography, Drama, History, War
  • Actors: Brad Pitt, David Thewlis, Danny Denzongpa

The introduction shows the young Dalai Lama receiving gifts from Tibetan monks. One gift he receives, an ornate music box, has special meaning to him, as he is still a young child.

The progress of Heinrich Harrer through India and Tibet on his trek across the high plateau to Lhasa is interwoven with the story of the young Dalai Lama growing into an 8 year old boy who becomes the spiritual leader of Tibet, with a thirst for western knowledge and later into an adolescent. The Dalai Lama is portrayed by three different actors as he grows up.

Harrer (Pitt) and his pregnant wife Ingrid (Ingeborga Dapkunaite) are briefly shown being driven to the train station in Graz, for Harrer’s departure on an expedition to Nanga Parbat. It becomes evident that Ingrid resents his departure. At the station, Harrer barges through the crowds, dragging his wife by the hand and showing his resentment of Peter Aufschnaiter’s selection as leader of the expedition.

Harrer at the train station in 1939 appears hostile to the Nazi Party, taking their flag with reluctance. The real-life Heinrich Harrer admitted he had Nazi sympathies at the time which he later regretted. Harrer’s arrogance and self-sufficiency become apparent as he sits by himself on the train journey to India.

Harrer bids farewell to Aufschnaiter and Pema and returns to Austria in 1951 to visit his son Rolf, now a young boy. Although his son initially refuses to see him, Harrer leaves the musical box as a gift for him and watches him lovingly from the crack in the door. In the film finale, Harrer gradually comes to know the son he has thought about all the years while he was in Tibet and trains him like himself in the art of climbing mountains. Having reached the top of a mountain, Harrer is shown with a Tibetan flag planted beside him at the peak.

Viva Knievel

  • Directors: Gordon Douglas
  • Producers: Stanley Hough
  • Writers: Norman Katkov
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Biography, Comedy, Crime, Drama
  • Actors: Evel Knievel, Gene Kelly, Lauren Hutton, Red Buttons, Leslie Nielsen, Cameron Mitchell, Frank Gifford, Dabney Coleman, Marjoe Gortner

Daredevil motorcycle rider Evel Knievel stars as himself in this fictional story. The film opens with Knievel sneaking into an orphanage late at night to deliver presents: Evel Knievel action figures. One of the boys casts away his crutches, telling Knievel that if he could walk after his crashes, then he (the boy) can, too.

Knievel then prepares for another of his stunt jumps. We are introduced to his alcoholic mechanic Wil Atkins (Gene Kelly), who was a former stunt rider himself before his wife died, driving him to drink. While signing autographs, Knievel is ambushed by feminist photojournalist Kate Morgan (Lauren Hutton), who has been sent to photograph the jump: if Knievel is killed, it will be a great story.

As it happens, Evel does crash while attempting the stunt (shown using footage from one of Knievel’s real jumps), and though badly injured, survives. He berates Morgan, announces his retirement, and is taken to the hospital.

While rehabilitating, Knievel resists all attempts to get back on the horse, including those from Jessie (Marjoe Gortner), a former protegé with mysterious backers who want Evel to do a jump in Mexico. Eventually, though, Knievel relents and agrees.

A subplot develops when Will’s estranged son Tommy shows up from boarding school, and asks to join the tour. Will, who is reminded of his dead wife, is cold to Tommy, leaving Knievel to show the boy kindness. Likewise, Kate reappears, apologetic for her previous motives, and now wishes that he will never stop jumping.

The end jump is stopped in a freeze-frame shot and a color matte, similar to that of the one that appears in the opening credits, appears over Evel in mid-air. The song that plays over the opening credits also plays over the film’s end credits.

Mishima A Life in Four Chapters

  • Directors: Paul Schrader
  • Producers: Mataichiro Yamamoto, Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, Tom Luddy, Leonard Schrader, Mata Yamamoto
  • Writers: Leonard Schrader, Paul Schrader, Chieko Schrader, Yukio Mishima
  • Genres: Biography, Drama
  • Actors: Ken Ogata, Masayuki Shionoya, Junkichi Orimoto, Kenji Sawada

The film is drawn into four chapters: Beauty, Art, Action, and Harmony of Pen and Sword. Each chapter features black and white flashbacks from Mishima’s life, highly stylized, theatrical scenes from three Mishima novels (The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, Kyoko’s House, and Runaway Horses), and a realistic docudrama-style story of Mishima’s final day (the soundtrack follows this by accompanying the black-and-white flashbacks with a string quartet, the theatrical scenes with a string orchestra and synthesizers, and the “docudrama” scenes with a full symphonic orchestra). In the end, the protagonists of all three novels are shown achieving their destructive and/or suicidal objectives as Mishima himself commits seppuku.

Ip Man

  • Directors: Wilson Yip
  • Producers: Raymond Wong
  • Writers: Edmond Wong
  • Genres: Action, Biography, History
  • Actors: Donnie Yen, Simon Yam, Lynn Hung, Hiroyuki Ikeuchi, Lam Ka Tung

Ip Man is based on the life Ip Man, the grandmaster of Wing Chun martial arts and master of martial arts film superstar Bruce Lee. This film is the first important record of Ip Man’s life. [1]

The film is set in the 1930s in Foshan, a hub of Chinese martial arts, where various schools actively recruit disciples and compete against each other. Although the Wing Chun expert Ip Man is the most accomplished martial artist in Foshan, he is unassuming and keeps a low profile. As an independently wealthy man, he feels no need to accept any disciples and instead spends his days training, meeting with friends, and spending time with his family–although his wife is often resentful of the time he spends on training and discussing martial arts with friends and colleagues. Though not a professional martial artist, Ip is respected due to skills he displays in friendly, closed-door competitions with local masters. Ip Man further enhances his reputation in the beginning of the movie when he defeats an aggressive, rude, but highly skilled Northern master, Jin Shanzhao, thus upholding the regional pride of fellow Southern Chinese stylists and others in Foshan.

The Japanese invasion in 1937 adversely affects the life of everyone in Foshan. Ip Man’s house is overtaken by the Japanese and used as their headquarters in Foshan. Ip Man and his family lose their wealth and are forced to live in a decrepit house. Desperate to earn money, he accepts work as a coolie at a coal mine to support his family. The Japanese leader Colonel Miura turns out to be an enthusiastic martial artist and sets up an arena for Chinese martial artists to compete with his Karate military trainees. Rice is offered as a reward if the contestant wins. When one of his friends goes missing, Ip Man investigates and discovers the matches. At first disturbed by the spectacle, he is further enraged when he sees a Chinese martial artist executed after he loses such a match. In response, he demands a match with 10 Japanese martial artists at once, and defeats them with ease. His skill arouses the interest of Miura, seeks to learn more about Ip Man and see him fight again.

The Japanese soldiers eventually find Ip Man at the cotton mill. Miura tells Ip Man that his life will be spared if he agrees to instruct the Japanese troops in martial arts. Ip Man refuses and challenges Miura to a match instead, which Miura gladly accepts–both because of his love for the martial arts and because he realizes that refusing the challenge will mean a loss of face for the Japanese and an enormous boost of morale for the occupied Chinese. The match between Ip Man and Miura is a public one in the town square. After an intense fight, Ip Man defeats Miura. Just then, Miura’s deputy Sato opens fire at him. This sparks off a scuffle between the Chinese citizens watching the match and the Japanese soldiers. Ip Man is taken away amidst the chaos. It is later revealed that Ip Man survives and manages to escape to Hong Kong with his family. Ip Man sets up a martial arts school later and teaches Wing Chun to several students, among whom include martial arts film superstar Bruce Lee.


  • Directors: Clint Eastwood
  • Producers: Clint Eastwood, Lori McCreary, Robert Lorenz, Mace Neufeld
  • Writers: Screenplay, Anthony Peckham, Book, John Carlin
  • Genres: Biography, Drama
  • Actors: Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon

A look at Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) from the fall of apartheid. The story is about Mandela’s release from prison, his election as President of South Africa and his attempts to use the 1995 Rugby World Cup as a vehicle to bring his people together, after the fall of apartheid. Led by their captain Francois Pienaar (Matt Damon), the South African team wins the tournament, upsetting the favourites New Zealand 15–12 in the final.