Superman

  • Directors: Richard Donner
  • Producers: Alexander Salkind, Ilya Salkind, Pierre Spengler, Richard Lester, Michael Thau
  • Writers: Screenplay, Mario Puzo, David Newman, Leslie Newman, Robert Benton, Creative Consultant, Tom Mankiewicz, Story, Mario Puzo, Comic Book, Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster
  • Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Romance, Sci-Fi, Thriller
  • Actors: Christopher Reeve, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder, Marlon Brando

On the planet Krypton, using evidence provided by scientist Jor-El, the Ruling Council sentences three insurrectionists, General Zod, Ursa and Non, to “eternal living death” in the Phantom Zone for attempting a totalitarian rebellion. Although the Council widely respects him, Jor-El is unable to convince them of his belief that the Kryptonian sun will shortly explode and destroy their planet. As a result, Jor-El launches a spacecraft containing his infant son, Kal-El, towards Earth, a distant planet with a suitable atmosphere, and where Kal-El’s dense molecular structure will give him superhuman powers (since all Kryptonian life-forms gain superpowers from exposure to a yellow sun, such as Earth’s sun). Shortly after the ship launches, Krypton is destroyed.

Three years later, the ship reaches Earth, crashing near an American farming town, Smallville, Kansas, where Kal-El is found by Jonathan and Martha Kent and raised as their own son, Clark. Eighteen years later, after the death of Jonathan, Clark hears a psychic “call”, discovering a glowing green crystal in the ship. Compelled to travel north, Clark heads to the Arctic Circle, where the crystal builds the Fortress of Solitude, resembling the architecture of Krypton. Activating a control panel inside the fortress, a vision of Jor-El explains Clark’s origins, educating him in his powers and responsibilities. After twelve years, with his powers fully developed, Clark leaves the Fortress and finds a job at The Daily Planet in Metropolis. He meets and develops a romantic attraction to reporter Lois Lane, but the feelings are not returned: she regards him as merely a friend. Lois becomes involved in a helicopter accident where conventional means of rescue are impossible, requiring Clark to use his powers in public for the first time in order to save her.

Teschmacher is horrified because her mother lives in Hackensack, but Luthor does not care and leaves Superman to a slow death. Teschmacher rescues Superman on the condition that he will deal with the New Jersey missile first. He is consequently too late to stop the second impact, causing a massive earthquake which he battles to correct. While he is busy saving others, Lois’ car falls into the ground as a result of an aftershock, and quickly begins to fill with dirt and debris, which suffocates her to death. Distraught at being unable to save Lois, Superman ignores Jor-El’s warning not to interfere with human history, preferring to remember Jonathan Kent’s advice that he must be here for “a reason”, and travels back in time in order to save Lois, altering the historical timeline so that her car is never caught in the aftershock. Superman then delivers Luthor and Otis to prison, where he knows they will be secure until they receive a fair trial.

A Streetcar Named Desire

  • Directors: Elia Kazan
  • Producers: Charles K Feldman
  • Writers: Tennessee Williams
  • Genres: Drama
  • Actors: Vivien Leigh, Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter, Karl Malden

As in the play, the film presents Blanche DuBois, a fading but still-attractive Southern belle whose pretensions to virtue and culture only thinly mask delusions of grandeur and alcoholism. Her poise is an illusion she presents to shield others, but most of all herself, from her reality, and an attempt to make herself still attractive to new male suitors. Blanche arrives from their hometown of Auriol, Mississippi (Laurel, Mississippi in the play) at the apartment of her sister Stella Kowalski in the Faubourg Marigny of New Orleans, on Elysian Fields Avenue; the local transportation she takes to arrive there includes a streetcar route named “Desire”. The steamy, urban ambiance is a shock to Blanche’s nerves. Explaining that her ancestral southern plantation, Belle Reve in Auriol, Mississippi, has been “lost” due to the “epic fornications” of her ancestors, Blanche is welcomed with some trepidation by Stella, who fears the reaction of her husband Stanley. Blanche explains to them how her supervisor told her she could take time off from her job as an English teacher because of her upset nerves, when in fact, she has been fired for having an affair with a 17-year-old student. This turns out not to be the only seduction she has engaged in—and, along with other problems, has left Auriol to escape. A brief marriage scarred by the suicide of her spouse, Allen Grey, has led Blanche to live in a world in which her fantasies and illusions are seamlessly mixed with her reality.

Devastated with her sister’s fate, Stella weeps and rejects Stanley’s intention to comfort her and pushes him away. As he cries her name once more (“Stella! Hey Stella!”), Stella clings to her child and vows that she will never return to Stanley again. She goes upstairs to once again seek refuge with her neighbor.

On the Waterfront

  • Directors: Elia Kazan
  • Producers: Sam Spiegel
  • Writers: Budd Schulberg
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Romance
  • Actors: Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Lee J Cobb, Eva Marie Saint, Rod Steiger

This classic story of Mob informers was based on a number of true stories and filmed on location in and around the docks of Hoboken, New Jersey. Mob-connected union boss Johnny Friendly (Lee J. Cobb) gloats about his iron fisted control of the waterfront. The police and the Waterfront Crime Commission know that Friendly is behind a number of murders, but witnesses play deaf and dumb (“D&D”), submitting to their oppressed position rather that risk the danger and shame of informing. Terry Malloy (Marlon Brando) is a dockworker whose brother Charley (Rod Steiger) is Friendly‘s lawyer. Some years earlier, Terry had been a promising boxer until Friendly had Charley instruct Terry to deliberately lose a fight that he could have won, so that Friendly could win money betting on the weaker opponent. As the film begins, simpleminded Terry is used to coax a popular dockworker out to an ambush, preventing him from testifying against Friendly before the Crime Commission. Terry resents being so used in the murder but is still willing to remain D&D. Terry meets and is smitten by the murdered dockworker’s lovely sister, Edie (Eva Marie Saint), who has shamed “waterfront priest” Father Barry (Karl Malden) into fomenting action against the union/mob. Soon both Edie and Father Barry are urging Terry to testify. Another dockworker who agrees to testify after Father Barry’s promise of unwavering support, but Friendly arranges for him to be crushed by a load of whiskey in staged accident.

As Terry, tormented by his awakening conscience increasingly leans toward testifying, Friendly decides that Terry must be killed unless Charley can coerce him to keep quiet. Charley tries bribing Terry with a plum job, and finally threatens him, but recognizes he has failed to sway Terry, who places the blame for his own downward spiral on his well-off brother. In one of the most famous scenes in movie history, Terry reminds Charley that if it had not been for the fixing of the fight, “I coulda been a contender.” Charley gives Terry a gun and advises him to run. Friendly has been spying on the situation, so has Charley murdered, his body hung in an alley as bait to get at Terry. Terry sets out to shoot Friendly, but Father Barry obstructs that course of action and finally convinces Terry to fight Friendly by testifying. In a final face-to-face confrontation with Friendly, Terry is finally getting the upper hand in a vicious brawl but is beaten nearly to death by Friendly’s goons. The dockworkers declare support of Terry, and only commence work when Terry forces himeself to enter the dock. Friendly is defeated as the controller of the longshoremen.

Apocalypse Now

  • Directors: Francis Ford Coppola
  • Producers: Francis Ford Coppola
  • Writers: Novel, Joseph Conrad, Screenplay, John Milius, Francis Ford Coppola
  • Genres: Action, Drama, War
  • Actors: Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Frederic Forrest, Sam Bottoms, Laurence Fishburne, Albert Hall, Harrison Ford

It is 1969 and the war is at its height. CPT Benjamin L. Willard (Martin Sheen) has returned to Saigon; a seasoned veteran, he is deeply troubled and apparently no longer adjusted to civilian life. Two intelligence officers, LTG Corman (G. D. Spradlin) and COL Lucas (Harrison Ford), as well as a government man (Jerry Ziesmer), approach him with a special mission: journey up the fictional Nung River into the remote Cambodian jungle to find COL Walter E. Kurtz (Marlon Brando), a former member of the United States Army Special Forces.

They state that Kurtz, once considered a model officer and future general, has allegedly gone insane and is commanding a legion of his own Montagnard troops deep inside the forest in neutral Cambodia. Their claims are supported by very disturbing radio broadcasts and/or recordings made by Kurtz himself. Willard is ordered to undertake a mission to find Kurtz and terminate the Colonel’s command “with extreme prejudice.”

Willard studies the intelligence files during the boat ride to the river entrance and learns that Kurtz, isolated in his compound, has assumed the role of a warlord and is worshipped by the natives and his own loyal men. Willard learns much later that another officer, Colby (Scott Glenn), sent earlier to kill Kurtz, may have become one of his lieutenants.

While bound outside in the pouring rain, Willard is approached by Kurtz, who places the severed head of Chef in his lap. Coppola makes little explicit, but we come to believe that Willard and Kurtz develop an understanding nonetheless; Kurtz wishes to die at Willard’s hands, and Willard, having subsequently granted Kurtz his wish, is offered the chance to succeed him in his warlord-demigod role. Juxtaposed with a ceremonial slaughtering of a Water Buffalo, Willard enters Kurtz’s chamber during one of his message recordings, and kills him with a machete. This entire sequence is set to “The End” by The Doors, as is the sequence at the very beginning of the film. Lying bloody and dying on the ground, Kurtz whispers “The horror… the horror,” a line taken directly from Conrad’s novella. Willard drops his weapon as in turn the natives do in a symbolic act of laying down of arms,he walks through the now-silent crowd of natives and takes Johnson (who is now fully integrated into the native society) by the hand. He leads Johnson to the PBR, and floats away as Kurtz’s final words echo in the wind as the screen fades to black.

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.