The New World

  • Directors: Terrence Malick
  • Producers: Sarah Green, Terrence Malick
  • Writers: Terrence Malick
  • Genres: Adventure, Biography, Drama, History, Romance
  • Actors: Colin Farrell, Q Orianka Kilcher, Christopher Plummer, Christian Bale

The film begins with a young Native American woman offering a prayer to Mother Earth. While never referred to by name, she is understood to be Pocahontas. The woman and others from her tribe witness the arrival of three ships. It is Virginia, the year 1607, and the ships are part of the Jamestown Expedition, sent by English royal charter to found a colony in the “New World.” Aboard one of the ships we see a man, later identified as Captain John Smith, below decks, in chains. While initially sentenced to death by hanging for his mutinous remarks, once ashore, Smith is pardoned by Captain Christopher Newport, the leader of the expedition.

While the prospects for the settlement are initially bright, disease, poor discipline, supply shortages, and tensions with the local Native Americans (who Newport calls “the naturals” rather than “the savages” used by Radcliffe in the 1995 Disney film) place the expedition in jeopardy. Smith is given the opportunity to restore his reputation by taking a small group of men up river to seek trade while Newport returns to England for supplies. While on this mission, Smith is captured by a group of Native Americans and brought before their chief. After being questioned, the captain is nearly executed but is spared when one of the chief’s daughters (the same young woman from the beginning of the film) throws herself across his body, saving his life.

Embracing her husband, Pocahontas and Rolfe make arrangements to return to Virginia. However, on the outward passage, she falls ill and suddenly dies. The film ends with images of Pocahontas and her young son playing in the gardens of their English estate as Rolfe, in a voice over, reads a letter, addressed to their son about his deceased mother. In the film’s closing moments, Pocahontas says “Mother, now I know where you live”, having found peace through her strength to grow past her wounds, the film ends with images of nature.

Dirty Harry

  • Directors: Don Siegel
  • Producers: Don Siegel
  • Writers: Story, Harry Julian Fink, R M Fink, Screenplay, Harry Julian Fink, R M Fink, Dean Riesner, Uncredited, John Milius, Terrence Malick
  • Genres: Action, Crime, Mystery, Thriller
  • Actors: Clint Eastwood, Harry Guardino, Reni Santoni, John Vernon, Andy Robinson

A serial killer who calls himself “Scorpio” (Andy Robinson) murders a young woman in a San Francisco high-rise rooftop swimming pool using a high-powered sniper rifle from the top of the 555 California Street skyscraper. The spent shell casing is found on the roof of another high-rise across the street by Inspector Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood); it’s accompanied by a ransom message from the Scorpio Killer, promising more deaths if the city does not pay him $100,000. The chief of police, with the agreement of the Mayor (John Vernon), assigns Harry to the case and arranges for extra support.

As he waits for his lunch in a local cafe, Harry notices a robbery is taking place and tells the cafe owner to call the police and report an armed robbery in progress. While he waits for reinforcements, the robbers emerge from the bank, shooting wildly into the bank, forcing Harry to act. He confronts a robber in the street, who fires a shotgun at him. Harry returns fire, sending the robber sprawling to the ground. Another robber makes it into the getaway car, which the driver aims at Harry as he pulls away. Harry fires at the car, causing the driver to lose control and crash into a fire hydrant. Harry turns back to the robber he shot earlier, approaches the wounded man (Albert Popwell), and utters his famous line:

Harry watches as Scorpio’s body floats on the surface of the water. He takes out his inspector’s badge, and hurls it into the water, walking away.

Badlands

  • Directors: Terrence Malick
  • Producers: Terrence Malick
  • Writers: Terrence Malick
  • Genres: Adventure, Crime, Drama, Romance, Thriller
  • Actors: Martin Sheen, Sissy Spacek, Warren Oates

Badlands is narrated from the perspective of Holly (Spacek), a teenaged girl living in a dead-end South Dakota town. One day she meets Kit (Sheen), a rebellious young greaser who sweeps her off her feet and takes her as his accomplice on a cross-country killing spree. Holly’s narration, describing her adventures with Kit with romantic clichés, is juxtaposed with the grim reality of Kit’s sociopathic appetite for grisly violence. This use of voice-over to create a dialectic between sound and image has become a dominant feature of Malick’s work.