Starring: Ben Kingsley, Candice Bergen, Martin Sheen
Director: Richard Attenborough
Runtime: 3 hrs 11 mins
Is It Any Good?: This is an incredible film. In what is the first of a now-iconic two-piece of autobiographies. I couple this with Chaplin. Sir Ben Kingsley gives an unbelievable performance. He’s the heart and soul of the film and really understands the pathos of the man he’s portraying. Attenborough controls this whole film with some sort of gladiatorial effort. There are some fantastic films that easily could’ve taken the throne from this biopic (more on that later). One thing about this film that should be quite obvious is that it suffers from the same fate as Lawrence of Arabia. This film is far too long. That length does tend to weigh on you as you go but happily, it never overstays it’s welcome. But is it the film that should’ve won? Well, no. E.T. (more on this) and Tootsie are both far more iconic in the grand scheme.
Memorable Quote: Gandhi: An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.
How’s the Competition: Stupendous. So with E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Steven Spielberg shows us when a friendly, gentle alien becomes stranded on our planet. A young boy named Elliott becomes an instant friend to the otherworldly visitor. Spielberg becomes a next level director here and the remainder of the ’80s and ’90s would belong to the talented auteur. An emotional piece and one so iconic Spielberg uses the flying bike as his logo for his production company Amblin Entertainment. In Missing an American businessman (Jack Lemmon) travels to Chile in order to find his son Charles who’s a journalist. Jack Lemmon received another Oscar nomination as did the wonderful Sissy Spacek. This Palm d’Or winner is a deserving and underrated film. In Tootsie actor Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman) is a perfectionist and a pain in the ass. This has led to his agent being unable to find him work. When he auditions for a soap opera…it doesn’t go well. After this Michael invents himself as Dorothy Michaels. Hoffman is great in what now seems like a problematic film. Still, it remains an iconic comedy. So The Verdict has Sidney Lumet directing a script written by David Mamet. You’ve sold me. Paul Newman as a lawyer seeking his shot at redemption. James Mason as a powerful corporate lawyer. This absolute heavyweight title fight. Lumet’s work is absolutely fantastic here and he probably would’ve won Best Director if not for Attenborough’s genius in the Best Picture winner.