Greatest Movies Through 1960

Best Movies Compiled From Many Sources

Archive for the ‘Foreign’ Category

Breathless (1960) French

Posted by Technoheaven on January 1, 1960

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(French: A bout de souffle)

90 min – view video trailer

Director: Jean-Luc Godard

Genres: Foreign, Crime, Drama, Romance

IMDB 7.9 / Amazon 4.3 / MRQE 86% / Tomatometer 96%

Oscars: none

Ranked #85 Greatest Movies Through 1960

A young car thief kills a policeman and tries to persuade a girl to hide in Italy with him. IMDB 7.9 rating from over 29,460 users

The movie that heralded the French New Wave movement, this lean and exciting 1959 film directed by Jean-Luc Godard (A Woman Is a WomanWeekend) broke new ground not only in its unorthodox use of editing and hand-held photography, but in its unflinching and nonjudgmental portrayal of amoral youth. Amazon 4.3 stars from over 93 users

Breathless uses the famous techniques of the French New Wave: location shooting, improvised dialogue, and a loose narrative form. In addition Godard uses his characteristic jump cuts, deliberate “mismatches” between shots, and references to the history of cinema, art, and music.  Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer 96% Audience 89%

MRQE 86% from over 80 reviews

Madison Public Library

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The 400 Blows (1959) French

Posted by Technoheaven on January 1, 1959

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(French: Les Quatre cents coups)

99 min – view video trailer

Director: Francois Truffaut
Starring: Jean-Pierre Leaud, Albert Remy, Claire Maurier

Genres: Crime, Drama, Foreign

IMDB 8.2 / Amazon 4.5 / MRQE 93% / ReelViews 4 stars

Oscars: nominated for 1, won 0 (Best Writing)

Ranked #32 Greatest Movies Through 1960, a Zagat Top Movie, included in 13 of 37 lists of Greatest Movies

Intensely touching story of a misunderstood young adolescent who left without attention, delves into a life of petty crime. IMDB rating 8.2 from over 35,277 users

Zagat summary snippet: Anyone who survived adolescence can relate to thie French coming-of-age filme which depicts the pain and joy of growing up. The movie earned its place in film history by breaking a lot of rules whie demonstrating a true love of movies. Zagat Ratings: Overall 27 / Acting 26 / Story 25 / Production 24 / Total 102

The 400 Blows sensitively recreates the trials of Truffaut’s own difficult childhood, unsentimentally portraying aloof parents, oppressive teachers, petty crime, and a friendship that would last a lifetime. The film marks Truffaut’s passage from leading critic of the French New Wave to his emergence as one of Europe’s most brilliant auteurs. Amazon 4.5 stars from over 111 users

There’s no question that The 400 Blows stands out when compared to other coming-of-age dramas. Even though more than forty years have elapsed since the film’s release, its effect has neither faded nor been duplicated. The 400 Blows remains a remarkable film. As with all of the great classics, the passage of time only causes us to appreciate it more. ReelViews highest 4 star rating

MRQE gave it 93% rating with links to more than 65 reviews

Madison Public Library

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Seven Samurai (1954) Japanese

Posted by Technoheaven on January 1, 1954

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207 min – view video trailer

Director: Akira Kurosawa

Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama

IMDB 8.8 / Amazon 4.7 / ReelViews 4 stars

Oscars: nominated for 2, won 0 (Best Art, Costume)

Ranked #11 Greatest Movies Through 1960, in 23 of 41 lists of best movies, a Zagat Top Movie

A poor village under attack by bandits recruits seven unemployed samurai to help them defend themselves.  IMDB 8.8 rating from over 131,982 users

Hailed as the greatest film in the history of Japanese cinema, Seven Samurai is director Akira Kurosawa’s undisputed masterpiece. Arguably the greatest of all jidai-gecki (or historical swordplay films), Kurosawa’s classic 1954 action drama has never been surpassed in terms of sheer power of emotion, kinetic energy, and dynamic character development. Amazon 4.7 stars from over 513 users

Seven Samurai was influential not only in Japan and for foreign film enthusiasts, but it led to a popular and reasonably faithful remake, The Magnificent Seven. And, although Japanese critics during the ’50s were dismissive of the picture, it has since achieved an almost mythical status and was recently selected by a group of ’00 critics as the Best Japanese Movie of All-Time. ReelViews 4 stars

MRQE has links to over 70 reviews

Madison Public Library

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Diary of a Country Priest (1951) French

Posted by Technoheaven on January 1, 1951

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(French:  Journal d’un cure de campagne)

115 min – view video trailer

Director: Robert Bresson
Starring: Claude Laydu, Nicole Ladmiral, Jean Riveyre

Genres: Drama, Mystery

IMDB 7.9 / Amazon 4.4 / Decent Films A+

Oscars: none

Ranked #83 Greatest Movies Through 1960

A young priest taking over the parish at Ambricourt tries to fulfill his duties even as he fights a mysterious stomach ailment. IMDB rating: 7.9 from over 3,916 users

The film locks in to the mind of a sickly, ineffective young priest trapped in an unfriendly rural area. Bresson charts the priest’s collapse with a series of brief scenes, a minimalist style that makes the slightest touch of a hand or far-off sound of a dog barking seem magnified in importance. (This is a movie that must be watched and listened to–it is not a casual experience.) Amazon 4.4 stars from over 31 users

Faithfully adapting its source material, Catholic novelist Georges Bernanos’ fictional autobiography of a soul, the film profoundly contemplates the spiritual meaning of suffering and persecution, conversion and incorrigibility, and the dark night of the soul with a rigor and insight evocative of Augustine’sConfessions or Thérèse’s Story of a Soul. Read full Decent Films review: rated A+, Superior artistic-entertainment for Teens & Up

MRQE – over 29 review links

Madison Public Library

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Rashomon (1950) Japan

Posted by Technoheaven on January 1, 1950

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88 min – view video trailer

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Starring: Toshiro Mifune, Machiko Kyo, Masayuki Mori

IMDB 8.4 / Amazon 4.5 / MRQE 93% / Tomatometer 100%

Genres: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Foreign

Oscars: nominated for 2, won 1 honary award (most outstanding foreign language film)

Ranked #33 Greatest Movies Through 1960

A heinous crime and its aftermath are recalled from differing points of view. IMDB 8.4 rating from over 55,424 users

Brimming with action while incisively examining the nature of truth, Rashomon is perhaps the finest film ever to investigate the philosophy of justice. Through an ingenious use of camera and flashbacks, Kurosawa reveals the complexities of human nature as four people recount different versions of the story of a man’s murder and the rape of his wife. Amazon 4.5 stars from over 158 users

This landmark film is a brilliant exploration of truth and human weakness. It opens with a priest, a woodcutter, and a peasant taking refuge from a downpour beneath a ruined gate in 12th-century Japan. The priest and the woodcutter, each looking stricken, discuss the trial of a notorious bandit for rape and murder. Rotten Tomatoes tomatometer 100% Audience 93%

MRQE 93% from over 58 reviews

Madison Public Library

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Bicycle Thieves (1948) Italian

Posted by Technoheaven on January 1, 1948

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(Italian: Ladri di biciclette -English dubbed)

93 min – view video trailer

Director: Vittorio De Sica
Starring: Lamberto Maggiorani

Genres: Crime, Drama, Foreign

IMDB 8.4 / Amazon 4.6 / MRQE 90% / Decent Films A

Oscars: nominated for 1, won 0

Ranked #25 Greatest Movies Through 1960, a Zagat Top Movie

A man and his son search for a stolen bicycle vital for his job. IMDB 8.4 ranking from over 43,107 users

Shot in the streets and alleys of Rome, De Sica uses the real-life environment of contemporary life to frame his moving drama of a desperate father whose new job delivering cinema posters is threatened when a street thief steals his bicycle. Too poor to buy another, he and his son take to the streets in an impossible search for his bike. Amazon 4.6 stars from over 139 users

A defining landmark of Italian neorealism and a haunting fable of want and desperation, Vittorio De Sica’s Ladri di Biciclette, tells a story of such simplicity and power that one could sum up the key events in a single sentence — as in fact many reviews of the film do, though this one will not — and someone who had never seen the film might read the sentence and remember the premise forever. Read full Decent Films review (rated A, Superior artistic-entertainment for Teens & Up)

MRQE 90% from over 54 reviews

Notes: An honest, non-corporate portrait of the struggle for life and self-respect… one of the finest films ever made.

Madison Public Library

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The Rules of the Game (1939) French

Posted by Technoheaven on January 1, 1939

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110 min – view video trailer

(in French, title: La regle du jeu)

Director: Jean Renoir
Starring: Marcel Dalio, Nora Gregor, Paulette Dubost

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Foreign

IMDB 8.0 / Amazon 4.4 / MRQE 96 / Tomatometer 100%

Oscars: none

Ranked #19 Greatest Movies Through 1960, a Zagat Top Movie

Renoir’s look at bourgeois life in France at the onset of World War II. An assorted cast of characters – the rich and their poor servants – meet up at a French chateau.  IMDB 8.0 rating from over 12,546 users

Consistently cited by critics worldwide as one of the greatest films ever made, Jean Renoir’s bittersweet drama of life, love, class, and the social code of manners and behavior (“the rules of the game”) is a savage critique undertaken with sensitivity and compassion. Renoir’s catch-phrase through the film, “Everyone has their reasons,” develops a multilayered meaning by the conclusion. Amazon 4.4 stars from over 72 users

Now often cited as one of the greatest films ever made, Jean Renoir’s La Règle du jeu/Rules of the Game was not warmly received on its original release in 1939: audiences at its opening engagements in Paris were openly hostile, responding to the film with shouts of derision, and distributors cut the movie from 113 minutes to a mere 80. It was banned as morally perilous during the German occupation and the original negative was destroyed during WWII. Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer 100% (audience 90%)

MRQE 96% from over 45 reviews

Madison Public Library

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L’Atalante (1934) French

Posted by Technoheaven on January 1, 1934

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89 mins – view video trailer

Director: Jean Vigo
Starring: Dita Parlo, Jean Daste, Michel Simon

Genres: Drama, Foreign, Romance

IMDB 7.9 / Amazon 4.6 / MRQE 97% / Tomatometer 100%

Oscars: none

Ranked #67 Greatest Movies Through 1960

Bored by life on the river, Juliette slips off to see the nightlife when they come to Paris. Angered by this, Jean (her husband) sets off, leaving her behind. Overcome by grief and longing for his wife, Jean falls into a depression and Pere Jules (second mate on their boat) goes and tries to find Juliette. IMDB 7.9 rating from over 6,133 users

This intoxicatingly inventive masterpiece- a perennial entry on best-of-all-time lists- is one of the world’s great films. Jean Vigo’s innovative style transforms a simple and engaging plot of a young woman’s stormy initiation into married life on a river barge, into a kaleidoscope of dazzling digressions and offbeat characterizations complete with tour-de-force scenes that still seem fresh and startling. Amazon 4.6 stars from over 29 users

Jean becomes jealous of a flirtation between Juliette and a peddler, and when she leaves the ship again later, Jean casts off from the port. This dark love story is also peppered with hallucinations and unusual camerawork. Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer 100% Audience 89%

MRQE 97% from over 35 reviews

Madison Public Library

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The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) French

Posted by Technoheaven on January 1, 1928

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(French: La passion de Jeanne d’Arc)

110 min (with English subtitles and optional music track) – view video trailer

Director: Carl Theodor Dreyer
Writers: Carl Theodor Dreyer, Joseph Delteil
Starring: Renee Maria Falconetti, Eugene Silvain, Andre Berley

Genres: Biography, Drama, History, Foreign

IMDB 8.2 / Amazon 4.8 / MRQE 98% / Decent Films A+

Oscars: ??

Ranked #53 Greatest Movies Through 1960

A chronicle of the trial of Jeanne d’Arc on charges of heresy, and the efforts of her ecclesiastical jurists to force Jeanne to recant her claims of holy visions. IMDB 8.2 rating from over 16,008 users

Dreyer’s film is most devastating in its central performance by Falconetti (née Renee Falconetti), a French stage actress who made her only screen appearance here–one critic Pauline Kael has suggested “may be the finest performance ever recorded on film.” Through Falconetti, Joan’s spiritual devotion, simple dignity, and suffering become utterly real; even without a dialogue track and only sparse inter-titles, the film achieves a fevered eloquence. Amazon 4.8 stars from over 168 users

To witness Carl Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc is to glimpse the soul of a saint in her hour of trial. The film is more than a dramatization, more than a biopic, more than a documentary: It is a spiritual portrait, almost a mystical portrait, of a Christ-like soul sharing in the sufferings of Christ… The key to the film’s sense of authenticity, though, is the haunting face of Maria Falconetti, whose transcendent evocation of the Maid of Orleans has been called the greatest performance ever filmed. Read full Decent Films review (rated A+, Superior artistic-entertainment for Kids & Up)

MRQE 98% from over 50 reviews (the highest rating of any movie)

Notes: This was a silent film with French text screens.  The DVD includes a music track that is excellent in itself and also includes English subtitles.

Madison Public Library

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Metropolis (1927)

Posted by Technoheaven on January 1, 1927

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153 min – View video trailer

Director: Fritz Lang
Starring: Brigitte Helm, Alfred Abel, Gustav Frohlich

Genres: Drama, Sci-Fi

IMDB 8.4 / Amazon 3.7 / MRQE 93 / Decent Films A
Zagat Overall 27, Acting 22, Story 24, Production 28

Ranked #58 Greatest Movie Through 1960, a Zagat Top Movie, included in 15 of 41 lists of greatest movies

In a futuristic city sharply divided between the working class and the city planners, the son of the city’s mastermind falls in love with a working class prophet who predicts the coming of a savior to mediate their differences. IMDB rating 8.4 from over 58,564 users

Zagat summary snippet: A visionary film of magnitude, imagination and depth. A sci-fi social commentary about oppression and uprising set in a futuristic city that still retains its visual impact and remains revolutionary in every sense of the word. A movie everybody should watch at least once.

Metropolis takes place in the year 2026, when the populace is divided between workers, who must live in the dark underground, and the rich who enjoy a futuristic city of splendor. The tense balance of these two societies is realized through images that are among the most famous of the 20th century, many of which presage such sci-fi landmarks as 2001: A Space Odyssey and Blade Runner. Lavish and spectacular, with elaborate sets, heart-pounding action and modern science fiction style, Metropolis stands today as the crowning achievement of classic science fiction cinema. Amazon 3.7 stars from over 373 users

More important than the story are the unforgettable images: the endless columns of workers marching in nightmarish synch to and from their terrible labor; the monstrous “M” Machine, revealed in a visionary moment to embody the spirit of Moloch, the bloodthirsty deity of Old-Testament Canaan; Freder agonizingly laboring at the clock machine looking like Christ crucified; the mecha-Maria’s lacivious striptease seducing the privileged fathers of Metropolis into the Seven Deadly Sins; the immense gothic cathedral in which the final showdown occurs. Decent Films A rating with 4 stars for Artistic/Entertainment Value

MRQE gave it 93% rating with links to more than 102 reviews

Madison Public Library

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