The Silence of the Lambs

  • Directors: Jonathan Demme
  • Producers: Kenneth Utt, Edward Saxon, Ron Bozman
  • Writers: Ted Tally
  • Genres: Crime, Thriller
  • Actors: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn, Ted Levine, Anthony Heald, Brooke Smith, Frankie Faison, Harry Northup

Promising student Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) is pulled from her training at the FBI Academy at Quantico, Virginia by Jack Crawford (Glenn) of the Bureau’s Behavioral Science Unit. Crawford tasks her with interviewing the notorious Hannibal Lecter (Hopkins), the brilliant psychiatrist and incarcerated cannibalistic serial killer, believing Lecter’s insight might be useful in the pursuit of vicious serial killer Buffalo Bill. Starling travels to the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, where she is led by Dr. Frederick Chilton (Heald) to Hannibal Lecter, the sophisticated, cultured man restrained behind thick glass panels and windowless stone walls.

Although initially pleasant and courteous, Lecter grows impatient with Starling’s attempts at “dissecting” him and viciously rebuffs her. As Starling departs, another patient flings fresh semen onto her face, enraging Lecter, who calls Starling back and suggests she consult one of his former patients. Starling interprets the patient’s name as a riddle. It leads her to a storage lot where she discovers a man’s severed head. She returns to Lecter, who tells her that the man is Benjamin Raspail, who is linked to Buffalo Bill. Though Lecter denies killing Raspail, he offers to profile Buffalo Bill if he is transferred away from the venomous, careerist Dr. Chilton.

Days later at the FBI Academy graduation party, Starling receives a phone call from Hannibal Lecter who is at an airport in Bimini. Lecter assures Starling he has no plans to pursue her and asks her to show him the same courtesy, which she says she will not do. He then excuses himself, remarking that he’s “having an old friend for dinner”. He hangs up the phone and casually follows Dr. Chilton through the village.

The Usual Suspects

  • Directors: Bryan Singer
  • Producers: Michael McDonnell, Bryan Singer
  • Writers: Christopher McQuarrie
  • Genres: Crime, Mystery, Thriller
  • Actors: Gabriel Byrne, Chazz Palminteri, Kevin Spacey, Stephen Baldwin, Kevin Pollak, Benicio del Toro, Giancarlo Esposito, Pete Postlethwaite, Dan Hedaya, Suzy Amis

On the deck of a ship in San Pedro, California, a figure identified as “Keyser” speaks with an injured man called Keaton (Gabriel Byrne). The two talk briefly, then Keyser appears to shoot Keaton before setting the ship ablaze. The next day, FBI Agent Jack Baer (Giancarlo Esposito) and U.S. Customs special agent Dave Kujan (Chazz Palminteri) arrive in San Pedro separately to investigate what happened on the boat. There appear to be only two survivors: a crippled man named Roger “Verbal” Kint (Kevin Spacey), and a hospitalized Hungarian criminal. Baer interrogates the Hungarian, who claims that Keyser SГ¶ze, a Turkish criminal mastermind with a nearly mythical reputation, was in the harbor “killing many men.” The Hungarian begins to describe SГ¶ze while a translator interprets and a police sketch artist draws a rendering of SГ¶ze’s face. Meanwhile, “Verbal” Kint has testified at length about the incident in exchange for near-total immunity. Police Sergeant Jeffrey Rabin (Dan Hedaya) comments that Verbal must have powerful protection to get such a favourable deal, and that high-ranking officials including “the governor” have made inquiries on Verbal’s behalf. After making his statement to the district attorney and while waiting to post bail on a relatively minor weapons charge, Verbal is placed in Rabin’s cluttered office where Kujan requests to hear the story again, from the beginning. Verbal’s tale starts six weeks earlier:

Verbal meantime walks away from the police station, dropping his feigned cerebral palsy, and gets into a waiting car driven by “Mr. Kobayashi”, pulling away just as Kujan comes outside, searching in vain. The final moment of the film is a repeat of Verbal’s earlier statement about SГ¶ze: “And like that… he’s gone.”

Goodfellas

  • Directors: Martin Scorsese
  • Producers: Irwin Winkler
  • Writers: Book, Nicholas Pileggi, Screenplay, Nicholas Pileggi, Martin Scorsese
  • Genres: Biography, Crime, Drama
  • Actors: Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco, Paul Sorvino

In the opening scene, main character Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) admits, “As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster,” referring to his idolizing the Lucchese crime family gangsters in his blue-collar, predominantly Italian neighborhood in East New York, Brooklyn in 1955. Feeling the connection of being a part of something, Henry quits school and goes to work for them. His father, knowing the true nature of the Mafia, tries to stop Henry after learning of his truancy, but the gangsters ensure that his parents no longer hear from the school by threatening the local postal carrier with dire consequences should he deliver any more letters from the school to Henry’s house.

Henry is soon taken under the wing of the local mob captain, Paul “Paulie” Cicero (Paul Sorvino, based on the actual Lucchese mobster Paul Vario) and Cicero’s close Irish associate Jimmy Conway (Robert De Niro, based on Jimmy Burke). They help to cultivate Henry’s criminal career, and introduce Henry to the entire network of Paulie’s crime syndicate. Henry and his friends soon become successful, daring, and dangerous. Jimmy loves hijacking trucks, and Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci, based on Tommy DeSimone) is an aggressive psychopath with a hair-trigger temper. Henry commits the Air France Robbery and it marks his debut into the big time of organized crime. Enjoying the perks of their criminal activities, the friends spend most of their nights at the Copacabana night club with countless women. Around this time, Henry meets and later marries a no-nonsense Jewish girl from the Five Towns named Karen (Lorraine Bracco). Karen at first is troubled by Henry’s criminal activities, but when a neighbor assaults her for refusing his advances, Henry pistol-whips him in front of her, displaying all of the viciousness and confidence of proven gangsters. She feels vindicated, intrigued, and aroused by the fact, especially when Henry leaves her the gun he used on the culprit.

The film ends with title cards that tell us that Henry has been clean since 1987; Paul Cicero died in Fort Worth Prison of respiratory illness in 1988 at 73 and Jimmy is serving a 20-year-to-life sentence in a New York State prison, not being eligible for parole until 2004. (Jimmy died of lung cancer in 1996, but this was six years after the film was released and thus not listed.)

The Dark Knight

  • Directors: Christopher Nolan
  • Producers: Christopher Nolan, Charles Roven, Emma Thomas
  • Writers: Screenplay, Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan, Story, David S Goyer, Christopher Nolan, Comic Book, Bob Kane, Bill Finger
  • Genres: Action, Crime, Thriller
  • Actors: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Heath Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Gary Oldman, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Morgan Freeman

In Gotham City, the Joker robs a mob bank with his accomplices, whom he tricks into killing one another, ultimately killing the last one himself. That night, Batman and Lieutenant James Gordon contemplate including new district attorney Harvey Dent in their plan to eradicate the mob. However, Batman wonders if Dent can be trusted. Bruce runs into Rachel Dawes and Dent, who are dating, and after talking to Dent, he realizes Dent’s sincerity and decides to host a fundraiser for him. Mob bosses Sal Maroni, Gambol, and the Chechen meet with other underworld gangsters to discuss both Batman and Dent, who have been cracking down on the mobster’s operations. Lau, a Chinese mafia accountant, informs them that he has hidden their money and fled to Hong Kong in an attempt to preempt Gordon’s plan to seize the mobsters’ funds and hide from Dent’s jurisdiction.

In Hong Kong, Batman captures Lau and delivers him to the Gotham City police, where Lau agrees to testify against the mob. In retaliation, the mobsters hire the Joker to kill Batman and Lau. The Joker issues an ultimatum to Gotham, stating that people will die each day until Batman reveals his identity. When Commissioner Gillian B. Loeb and Judge Surillo are murdered by corrupt police, the public blames Batman, prompting Bruce to decide to reveal his identity. Before Bruce can turn himself in, Dent announces at a press conference that he himself is Batman and is arrested as part of a plan to draw the Joker out of hiding. The Joker attempts to ambush the police convoy carrying Dent, but Batman and Gordon intervene and capture him. In recognition of his actions, Gordon is appointed the new police commissioner.

The Joker’s plan to destroy the ferries fails after the passengers on both decide not to destroy each other. Batman locates and subdues the Joker, preventing him from destroying both ferries. When Batman refuses to kill the Joker, the Joker acknowledges that Batman is truly incorruptible, but that Dent was not, and that he has unleashed Dent upon the city. Leaving the Joker for the SWAT team, Batman searches for Dent. At the remains of the building where Rachel died, Batman finds Dent holding Gordon and his family at gunpoint. Dent judges the innocence of Batman, himself, and Gordon’s son through three coin tosses. As the result of the first two flips, he shoots Batman in the abdomen and spares himself. Before Dent can determine the boy’s fate, Batman, who was wearing body armor, tackles him over the side of the building. Gordon’s son is saved, but Dent and Batman fall to the ground below resulting in Dent’s death.[5] Knowing that the citizens of Gotham will lose hope and all morale if Dent’s rampage becomes public news, Batman convinces Gordon to hold him responsible for the murders. Gordon smashes the Bat-Signal, and a manhunt for Batman begins.

Pulp Fiction

  • Directors: Quentin Tarantino
  • Producers: Lawrence Bender
  • Writers: Quentin Tarantino, Roger Avary
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: John Travolta, Samuel L Jackson, Uma Thurman, Bruce Willis, Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Amanda Plummer, Maria de Medeiros, Ving Rhames, Eric Stoltz, Rosanna Arquette, Christopher Walken

“Pumpkin” (Tim Roth) and “Honey Bunny” (Amanda Plummer) are having breakfast in a diner. They decide to rob it after realizing they could make money off not just the business but the customers as well, as occurred during their previous heist. Moments after they initiate the hold-up, the scene breaks off and the title credits roll.

As Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) drives, Vincent Vega (John Travolta) talks about his experiences in Europe, from where he has just returned—the hash bars in Amsterdam; the French McDonald’s and its “Royale with Cheese.” The dress-suited pair are on their way to retrieve a briefcase from Brett (Frank Whaley), who has transgressed against their boss, gangster Marsellus Wallace. Jules tells Vincent how Marsellus had someone thrown off a fourth-floor balcony for giving his wife a foot massage. Vincent says that Marsellus has asked him to escort his wife while Marsellus is out of town. They conclude their banter and “get into character,” which involves executing Brett in dramatic fashion after Jules recites a baleful “biblical” pronouncement.

In a virtually empty cocktail lounge, aging prizefighter Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis) accepts a large sum of money from Marsellus (Ving Rhames), agreeing to take a dive in his upcoming match. Butch and Vincent briefly cross paths as Vincent and Jules—now inexplicably dressed in T-shirts and shorts—arrive to deliver the briefcase. The next day, Vincent drops by the house of Lance (Eric Stoltz) and Jody (Rosanna Arquette) to score some high-grade heroin. He shoots up before driving over to meet Mrs. Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) and take her out. They head to Jack Rabbit Slim’s, a 1950s-themed restaurant staffed by lookalikes of the decade’s pop icons. Mia recounts her experience as an actress in a failed television pilot, “Fox Force Five.”

As Jules and Vincent eat breakfast in a Hawthorne coffee shop the discussion returns to Jules’s decision to retire. In a brief cutaway, we see “Pumpkin” and “Honey Bunny” shortly before they initiate the hold-up from the movie’s first scene. While Vincent is in the bathroom, the hold-up commences. “Pumpkin” demands all of the patrons’ valuables, including Jules’s mysterious case. Jules surprises “Pumpkin” (whom he calls “Ringo”), holding him at gunpoint. “Honey Bunny,” hysterical, trains her gun on Jules. Vincent emerges from the restroom with his gun trained on her, creating a Mexican standoff. Reprising his pseudo-biblical passage, Jules expresses his ambivalence about his life of crime. As his first act of redemption, he allows the two robbers to take the cash they have stolen and leave, pondering how they were spared and leaving the briefcase to be returned to Marsellus, finishing the hitman’s final job for his boss.

The Godfather: Part II

  • Directors: Francis Ford Coppola
  • Producers: Francis Ford Coppola
  • Writers: Novel, Mario Puzo, Screenplay, Mario Puzo, Francis Ford Coppola
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, Robert De Niro, John Cazale, Talia Shire, Lee Strasberg

The Godfather Part II presents two parallel storylines. One involves Mafia chief Michael Corleone following the events of the first movie from 1958 to 1963; the other is a series of flashbacks following his father, Vito Corleone, from his childhood in Sicily (1901) to his founding of the criminal Corleone Family in New York City while still a young man (1917–1925).

In 1958, Michael Corleone, Godfather of the Corleone Family, deals with various business and family problems at his Lake Tahoe, Nevada compound during an elaborate party celebrating his son’s First Communion. He meets with Nevada Senator Pat Geary, who despises the Corleones, but has shown up with his wife to accept a large endowment to the state university. Senator Geary demands a grossly exaggerated price for a new gaming license and a monthly payment of 5% of the gross profits from all of the Corleone Family’s Nevada gaming interests, to which Michael responds with a counter-offer of “nothing … not even the fee for the gaming license, which I would appreciate if you would put up personally.”

Michael also deals with his sister Connie, who, although recently divorced, is planning to marry a man with no obvious means of support, and of whom Michael disapproves. He also talks with Johnny Ola, the right hand man of Jewish gangster Hyman Roth, who is supporting Michael’s move into the gambling industry. Finally, Michael meets with Frank “Five Angels” Pentangeli, who took over Corleone caporegime Peter Clemenza’s territory after his death, and now has problems with the Rosato Brothers, who are backed by Roth. Michael refuses to allow Pentangeli to kill the Rosatos, due to his desire to prevent interruption of his business with Roth. Pentangeli leaves abruptly, after telling Michael “your father did business with Hyman Roth, your father respected Hyman Roth, but your father never trusted Hyman Roth.”

The film ends with a final flashback depicting Vito and a young Michael leaving Corleone by train, and Michael sitting in the Lake Tahoe compound, alone in silence.

The Godfather

  • Directors: Francis Ford Coppola
  • Producers: Albert S Ruddy
  • Writers: Novel, Mario Puzo, Screenplay, Mario Puzo, Francis Ford Coppola, Robert Towne,
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Richard S Castellano, Robert Duvall, Sterling Hayden, John Marley, Richard Conte, Diane Keaton

In late summer 1945, guests are gathered for the wedding reception of Don Vito Corleone’s daughter Connie and Carlo Rizzi. Vito (Marlon Brando), the head of the Corleone Mafia family – who is known to friends and associates as “Godfather” – and Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall), the Corleone family lawyer and consigliere (counselor), are hearing requests for favors because “no Sicilian can refuse a request on his daughter’s wedding day”. Meanwhile, the Don’s youngest son Michael (Al Pacino), a decorated Marine war hero returning from World War II service, tells his girlfriend Kay Adams (Diane Keaton) anecdotes about his family, attempting to inform her about his father’s criminal life; he reassures her that he is different from his family. Among depicting the marriage of Connie and Carlo, the wedding scene also serves as a critical exposition scene for the remainder of the film, as Michael figuratively introduces the main characters to Kay.

Among the guests at the celebration is the famous singer Johnny Fontane (Al Martino), Corleone’s godson, who has come from Hollywood to petition Vito’s help in landing a movie role that will revitalize his flagging career. Jack Woltz (John Marley), the head of the studio, denies Fontane the part, but Don Corleone explains to Johnny: “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.” Hagen is dispatched to California to fix the problem, but Woltz angrily tells him that he will never cast Fontane in the role, for which he is perfect and will make him an even bigger star, because Fontane seduced and “ruined” a starlet that Woltz favored. Woltz is persuaded otherwise, however, when he wakes up early the next morning and feels something wet in his bed. He pulls back the sheets, and finds himself in a pool of blood with the severed head of his prized $600,000 stud horse, Khartoum, in the bed with him, and screams in horror.[5]

The book’s ending differs from the movie: whereas in the film Kay suddenly realizes that Michael has become “like his family”, the drama is toned down in the book. She leaves Michael and goes to stay with her parents. When Tom Hagen visits her there, he lets her in on family secrets for which, according to him, he would be killed should Michael find out what he has revealed. This is then followed by Kay’s visit to the church, where she prays for her husband’s soul.

No Country for Old Men

  • Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
  • Producers: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, Scott Rudin
  • Writers: Novel, Cormac McCarthy, Screenplay, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller, Western
  • Actors: Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Woody Harrelson, Kelly Macdonald

West Texas in June 1980 is desolate, wide-open country, and Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) laments the increasing violence in a region where he, like his late father before him, has risen to the office of sheriff.

Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) strangles a sheriff’s deputy with his own handcuffs, steals his patrol car, pulls over another vehicle and murders the driver with a cattle gun.

Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin), hunting near the Rio Grande, discovers a group of corpses, vehicles and a lone dying Mexican, the aftermath of a heroin deal gone awry. He also finds two million dollars in a satchel not far from the massacre and drives home. Moss cannot sleep and returns with water for the dying man, but he’s set upon by a pair in a jeep who chase him into the river. Moss barely escapes, his boots lost and his truck abandoned.

Chigurh tours the crime scene with a pair of well-dressed gangsters. He grabs Moss’s truck’s registration plate, receives their transponder, and kills them.

Moss fears the money’s owners will trace his truck in the morning and insists that his wife Carla Jean (Kelly Macdonald) stay with her mother in Odessa, Texas. Chigurh arrives as predicted and breaks into the Moss trailer using his cattle gun, finding nothing of use but a bottle of milk and the latest phone bill.

Now retired, Bell shares with his wife Loretta (Tess Harper) two disquieting dreams. In the first, he lost “some money” that his late father had given him; in the second, his father rode past him on a snowy mountain pass, going ahead to make a fire in the surrounding cold darkness. Whenever Bell got there, he knew his father would be waiting.

The Green Mile

  • Directors: Frank Darabont
  • Producers: Frank Darabont, David Valdes
  • Writers: Novel, Stephen King, Screenplay, Frank Darabont
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Fantasy
  • Actors: Tom Hanks, David Morse, Bonnie Hunt, Michael Clarke Duncan, James Cromwell, Michael Jeter, Graham Greene, Doug Hutchison, Sam Rockwell, Barry Pepper, Jeffrey DeMunn, Patricia Clarkson, Harry Dean Stanton

The Green Mile is a story told in flashback by an elderly Paul Edgecomb (Dabbs Greer, later by Tom Hanks in the younger version of the character) in a nursing home who is talking to his lady friend Elaine about the summer of 1935 when he was a corrections officer in charge of Death Row inmates in Louisiana’s Cold Mountain Penitentiary. His domain was called the “Green Mile” because the condemned prisoners walking to their execution are said to be walking “the last mile”; here it is on a stretch of green linoleum to the electric chair.

One day, a new inmate arrives, John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan), a 7-foot-tall black male convicted of raping and killing two young white girls. Upon being escorted to his cell, he immediately demonstrates “gentle giant” character traits: keeping to himself, fearing darkness, and being moved to tears on occasion. Soon enough, Coffey reveals extraordinary healing powers by healing Edgecomb’s urinary tract infection and resurrecting a mouse. Later, he would heal the terminally ill wife of Warden Hal Moores (James Cromwell), who suffered from a large brain tumor. When Coffey is asked to explain his power, he merely says that he “took it back.”

In the present, Edgecomb’s friend questions his statement that he had a fully-grown son in 1935. He explains that he was 44 years old at the time of Coffey’s execution and that he is now 108 and still in excellent health. This is apparently a side effect of the life-giving power of Coffey’s touch: a significantly lengthened lifespan. Mr. Jingles, Del’s mouse resurrected by Coffey, is also still alive — but Edgecomb believes his outliving all of his relatives and friends to be a punishment from God for having Coffey executed. Edgecomb explains he has deep thoughts about how “we each owe a death; there are no exceptions; but, Oh God, sometimes the Green Mile seems so long.”

Last Man Standing

  • Directors: Walter Hill
  • Producers: Walter Hill, Arthur M Sarkissian
  • Writers: Ryuzo Kikushima, Akira Kurosawa, Walter Hill
  • Genres: Action, Crime, Drama, Thriller
  • Actors: Bruce Willis, Bruce Dern, William Sanderson, Christopher Walken, David Patrick Kelly

In Prohibition Era Texas, a mysterious character (later identifying himself as “John Smith”) drives into Jericho, a town mere miles from the Mexican border. Gang violence between the resident Irish gang (headed by Doyle) and Italian gang (headed by Strozzi) has decimated the town and left few legitimate citizens remaining, aside from the bartender Joe Monday, an undertaker and a corrupt sheriff, all of whom make their living by catering to Jericho’s criminal elements. Smith immediately establishes a reputation by outdrawing and killing Doyle’s top shooter, a brazen act that gets the attention of both gangs. Smith promptly hires himself out to Strozzi’s gang for what Strozzi predicts is an upcoming gang war following the impending dissolution of an uneasy ceasefire. He dispatches Smith to oversee an operation where the corrupt Mexican soldiers guarding Doyle’s illegal alcohol smuggling change alliances mid-operation and murder Doyle’s men, stealing the product and trucks in the process.

Amidst constant bickering and accusations by Strozzi’s hotheaded cousin Giorgio and unwanted attempts at investigating his past, Smith quits Strozzi’s gang. Doyle returns to Jericho and immediately asks Smith to join his gang, which Smith politely declines. Smith later tells Strozzi a rumor about the Mexican soldiers returning to Doyle’s ranks, forcing Strozzi to send Giorgio down to smooth things over. Later, Hickey (Christopher Walken) returns to Jericho and informed of the Mexican soldiers’ betrayal, travels to Mexico and ruthlessly guns down the soldiers, several of Strozzi’s men and an American police officer. Hickey leaves Giorgio alive as a hostage. An exchange is arranged between the two gangs, where Giorgio will be exchanged for money. At the swap, Hickey shoots Strozzi’s bagman, revealing the contents of the suitcase to be newspaper. When Doyle threatens to kill Giorgio unless Strozzi surrenders and leaves Jericho, Strozzi pulls out Felina, Doyle’s mistress whom he previously abducted and demands a clean exchange for Giorgio. The exchange is made and the two gangs scatter, leaving Smith standing alone over the discarded body of Strozzi’s bagman and newspaper blowing in the desert wind.

Two days later the Sheriff arrives at the church, informing Smith that Doyle has discovered the bartender’s complicity in Smith’s escape and will probably torture him to death to find him. Smith re-arms himself with a large bread-knife. The Sheriff gives him his dual 1911 Colt semi-automatic pistols instead. Smith goes back to the Red Bird Saloon, collects his hat and extra magazines then storms Doyle’s mansion, gunning down a dozen men before freeing the bartender. He mounts a tommy gun onto the shattered remains of the mansion, signaling Doyle and Hickey to meet him at Slim’s Roadhouse at sunset. In the final scene, Doyle, Hickey and Bob the Deputy meet Smith and the bartender. Doyle, happy with his victory over Strozzi, is despondent over the loss of Felina and begs Smith to tell him where to find her. The bartender promptly shoots Doyle and Smith shoots Bob before he can retaliate. Hickey raises his hands and asks if Smith is going to have the bartender shoot him too. The bartender lays his gun down and watches how Smith and Hickey will react. Hickey expresses no desire to die in Texas (“Chicago maybe”) before turning back on Smith. With lightning speed he quickdraws a pistol from his holster (just as he had done before when he killed the Border Patrol officer), but Smith is faster, and kills Hickey. With all the gangs dead, Smith slides holster’s his gun, steps into his car, and drives off into the sunset.