Film viewing is often viewed as a recreational activity that adds to the value of entertainment in our lives. In generalized terms, “going for a movie” is deemed rather as a pastime than a pursuit born out of passion. However, behind the production of every movie that we get to see today, there lies the cumulative effort of many – the filmmaker, the writer, the actors, the producers, and so on. Taking note of that said effort; the following is a list of 5 must-watch English language films which will help everyone appreciate the art of filmmaking.
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
“Get busy living, or Get busy Dying”. Based on the eponymous novel by Stephen King and directed by Frank Darrabont, Shawshank in essence centres on the aforementioned lines. The film is one of the most widely acclaimed films of all time. It is a story of a man, his willpower, and his yearning for liberty. The film is also one of the finest instances of literature to film adaptation and has paved the way for future works.
Citizen Kane (1941)
Widely regarded as the “Greatest Film of All Time’, Citizen Kane is a milestone in the era of Classical Hollywood. Debutant Orson Welles exhibits immense artistic capacity not only in terms of storytelling but also in the fields of shot-taking and cinematography. While one can learn significantly from the film, technique-wise, there also remains a plethora of knowledge to gain when it comes to analyzing the theme of the film. The story of Kane is that of success and failure – two important tenants in this lesson called life. It is thus desirable that one includes this in their list of must-watch films.
The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
One of the primary things that people tend to notice when it comes to this Will Smith starrer is the apparent yet deliberate error in spelling “Happyness”. The fundamental idea of the film is that happiness does not require perfection. One must always push through the darkness in pursuit of the light in the end. This light is what Pursuit of Happyness stands for. For moments of encouragement in times of need, no other film can serve a purpose better than this.
Coming back to Classical Hollywood, Casablanca is the stuff of legends. Set in the background of the French occupation of Casablanca, the story of Rick Blaine and Elsa Lund sets the stage for a love story, revered by film enthusiasts worldwide. This timeless story of love set in the backdrop of a raging war symbolizes the power of human emotions above all other evil. Considered to be a cult classic, this film imbibes some of the greatest filmmaking techniques known to man.
12 Angry Men (1957)
“Innocent until proven guilty” – Director Sidney Lumet takes this simple phrase and successfully incorporates elements of filmmaking into it. The film centres on the step-by-step procedure, which goes into proving whether a suspect is guilty of a crime. Up, close and personal – this is how the viewer gets to observe the 11 jury members up against one member in particular who tries to prove the innocence of the man in concern. All this unfolds while the audience nervously remains attached to their screens.
Even though it is an upending task to shortlist 5 films from the ever-increasing list of fine movies being made each year, and effort can always be made. This list in particular does not cater to any specific genre or timeline but rather takes into account the essence of each of the films listed above. While film viewing can always carry diverse meanings to different individuals, it can always be asserted with higher regard in terms of artistic practice and endeavour.