Desert Island Discs

Picture the scene….. The FED EX plane you’re travelling in has been struck by lightning, causing it to plunge into the ocean. You get washed up on the beach of a nearby island which is apparently without habitants. Instead of a football for company you find a 50 inch plasma TV with attached DVD player which was miraculously wrapped in waterproof packaging. Somehow you discover a power supply and are delighted that 10 movies have escaped unscathed in the over the shoulder folder holder you had on your person at the time of the tragedy.

These are the 10 films that will prevent you going insane whilst you wait for McDonalds to discover this is the one place they don’t have a restaurant….

My picks are:


REAR WINDOW, Alfred Hitchcock (1954)


THE BIG LEBOWSKI, Joel & Ethan Coen (1998)


2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, Stanley Kubrick (1968)


HEAVEN CAN WAIT, Ernst Lubitsch (1943)


MEAN STREETS, Martin Scorsese (1973)


MANHATTAN, Woody Allen (1979)


RASHOMON, Akira Kurosawa (1950)


RIFIFI, Jules Dassin (1955)


IF…., Lindsay Anderson (1968)


PAN’S LABYRINTH, Guillermo Del Toro (2006)

This was a really hard thing to do, and the selections could well change as I think about it more. There’s no Welles, Antonioni, Bergman, Ozu, Lynch, Powell & Pressburger…. God, the list is huge. These are the 10 films that tick as many boxes as possible whilst being infinitely watchable. I also think that each of these 10 films gives you something very different, from the half an hour of silence during the robery scene in Rififi to the technicolor joy of HEAVEN CAN WAIT. Although there are many other top ten lists that could be made, these movies would keep me going for a LONG time.

Although this post could be considered cliche, arbitrary or even downright lazy, there are rules…..

Trilogies are allowed, maximum of 4 (no more than a trilogy though, so you can’t select the POLICE ACADEMY series, not that you would…. I hope)
TV shows aren’t.
Box sets aren’t (unless it’s specifically a trilogy)
I say DVD, this of course includes blu ray. (That’s for Matt, the high def philistine )

So over to you good people. The ten movies that would keep you happy in times of hardship, let’s have it.

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19 responses to “Desert Island Discs

  1. Ok, now we’ve established the ground rules my ten movies would be (in no particular order)

    The LOTR trilogy (Spec Eds, 12+ hours of middle earth goodness)

    The Godfather Trilogy (as discussed the third disc could come in handy as an impromptu frisbee/coaster/weapon/tool)

    It’s a Wonderful Life (every movie list needs some Jimmy Stewart)

    The Star Wars Trilogy (duh!)

    The Shawshank Redemption

    Rio Bravo

    Alien Trilogy (Really don’t care for Resurrection)

    The Sting

    The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

    The Princess Bride

    As always this is subject to revision but they’re all movies I love which I can quite happily watch over and over again.

  2. Some good shouts there.

    Rio Bravo is a great selection, as is the Jimmy Stewart choice. I’d maybe lean more towards MR SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (with the all American monologue) or THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER, which is another nice little festive film. Of course VERTIGO could be thrown in too… So much great Jimmy Stewart stuff to choose from.

    4 trilogies I see, that’s verging on greedy. 🙂

    As for STAR WARS, I assume you mean the REAL films and not the horrible prequels?

  3. Hey, you made the rules not me :o)

    I figured I needed at least 1 Marion movie in there (I inherited a love of his films from me mum) and it was a difficult choice, but it was Dean Martin that swayed it, almost went for Big Jake.

    As for the Star Wars trilogy you should know better than to even ask that question!!

  4. Too true, could watch THE SEARCHERS until my eyes bleed.

    I recently saw Dean Martin in SOME CAME RUNNING, the picture he did with Frank Sinatra and Shirley MacLaine immediately before RIO BRAVO. In this film he plays a drunk gambler and I’ll tell you what, you’d swear he lived the part!……

    Not seen BIG JAKE, checking IMDB has made me realise just how much of John Wayne’s stuff I’ve not seen.

    Yep, I think the panning of every Star Wars release now is pretty much universal. I’d rather go see High School Musical than that Clone Wars cartoon.

  5. I’ve gone for a mix of serious and sentimental, grim and uplifting.

    The Godfather
    Mean Streets
    I.D.
    The Boys From Brazil
    Home Alone
    Serpico
    Sideways
    Breakin’
    Trainspotting
    Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (Gene Wilder version, not the Johnny Depp catastrophe).

    I expect vilification for at least two entries but this is my desert island.

  6. HONESTLY??

    Ghostbusters (can I take both if I have the slime edition double pack??)

    Back to the Future (same as above..)

    The Godfather (umm, yeah ditto [i watched Ghost last night], MAN I like series/trilogies)

    Indiana Jones (yikes)

    Jurassic Park

    The Breakfast Club

    10 Things I Hate About You

    The 40 Year Old Virgin

    Shaun of the Dead

    Goodfellas

    I’M NOT EVEN JOKING. I’m basing this on (nearly, I was clutching at straws towards the end) what I watch more. More often than not I want a comfort film. I have about 15 ‘art’ or ‘real’ films in a pile next to my DVD player that I can never seem to get round to watching because I can’t get myself in the mood..

  7. JESUS who is the genius that put Home Alone on their list. That’s so good it should’ve been on mine (get that High Fidelity ref.?).

    PLEASE REMOVE 10 Things or something and add Home Alone (1 & 2 double pack OBV.)

  8. It’s tough innit? I can honestly say those 10 I picked would keep me more than happy.

    Good shouts from Big Al. THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL is an inspired pick, TRAINSPOTTING is an interesting selection. I got pig sick of it, in saying that, when it came out we were watching it EVERY DAY.

    Mike: I was gonna go for BACK TO THE FUTURE, it was first on my subs bench. If you’re gonna remove anything, surely it should be THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN? …..

    I know what you’re saying about comfort cinema (see the BLADES OF GLORY post) but it’s more an exception to the rule.

  9. Ok this has proven to be nigh on impossible but today the list is:

    1/ Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid (favourite movie of all time!)

    2/ The Shawshank Redemption

    3/ The Indy Jones Trilogy

    4/ The Godfather Trilogy

    5/ Hamlet (the Branagh version it’s the most beautifully shot movie I’ve ever seen)

    6/ Blade Runner (the new “final” cut)

    7/ Star Wars Trilogy

    8/ Harvey

    9/ Benny & Joon

    10/ Alien Trilogy (because somtimes you just need to see stuff blow up!)

  10. Ok I knew that was too easy when it only took 4 days!

    Having lived with my list for a few hours I have decided that I can’t live without Se7en, Rocky, THX11738 or Apocalypse Now. Lawrence of Arabia, Goodbye, Mr Chips or What’s Eating Gilbert Grape are must haves as are The Seven-per-Cent Solution, Manhunter, Dogma & The Hustler.

    I might get by for a few months without access to Cool Hand Luke, The Great Escape, Pan’s Labirynth, Devil’s Backbone, The Princess Bride, Chasing Amy, Taxi Driver, The Exorcist, The Omen 1 & 2, The Bourne Trilogy, The Bond Franchise, The Trek Movies (except the odd numbered ones), Rain Man, The Deer Hunter, Fight Club, Ed Wood, Reservoir Dogs & Pulp Fiction.

    But knowing I won’t get to see The Hobbit, Inglourious Basterds, The Lovely Bones, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Burn After Reading and especially the Branagh directed Thor (Branagh Directing bloody Thor!!) is just too much for me to bear!!

    Just let me go down with the plane! Otherwise it’s all just too much!

  11. Haha.

    Just as a matter of interest, how much are you paying for that Bond box set?

    Yep, going down with the plane would be the easy option. failing that I’d be diving into to the wreckage to retrieve RESERVOIR DOGS, TSOTSI, FARGO, SOME LIKE IT HOT, SUNSET BOULEVARD, LOST IN TRANSLATION, JAY & SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK, DOGVILLE, ETRE ET AVOIR, DOG DAY AFTERNOON, RAGING BULL, LIFT TO THE SCAFFOLD, THE DARK KNIGHT (It’d be out on dvd by then)……

    I think we’re losing the point of this post now 🙂

    IT WASN’T SUPPOSED TO BE EASY!!!

  12. By the way mate, your second list is WAY better than your first…..

  13. The Workplace Adversary

    Which one of the lists 🙂
    Even now I’m feeling like the list is broken without Millers Crossing, Barton Fink, 12 Monkeys, Altered States, Annie Hall (I know, I know) American Werewolf in London, Stripes, Grosse Point Blank and The Sting.
    It’s like Sophie’s Choice!

  14. …… ANNIE HALL????? My my…. *bites tongue*

    12 Monkeys was on council TV last night but the hour was late and I couldn’t keep my eyes open. How GOOD is Brad Pitt in that movie. It sickens me to admit I’ve STILL not seen it end to end. talking of Gilliam, no one’s mentioned BRAZIL yet. Another must have. And of course there’s still FULL METAL JACKET, DO THE RIGHT THING, THE BIRDS….. Gah, I give up.

  15. The first few that pop into my head, Im pretty sure I could work on this list for a lifetime and still not be satisfied with it. Good topic mr Condy…

    The Departed
    Shallow Grave
    The Last Samurai
    The Mask
    Donnie Darko
    Pulp Fiction
    A Life Less Ordinary
    City of God
    Dead Man
    Superbad

  16. Dead Man is a great choice, if only for that Neil Young score.

    What version of THE MASK are you talking about by the way? Is it the Jim Carrey comedy romp, this horror from 1961 CLICK, or the film about that guy with the deformed head starring Cher and a young Eric Stoltz?

  17. Jim Carrey’s masterpience. I feel like I now want to change most of them. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind needs to be in there somewhere…..

  18. Did you ever rate Memento as a film? Quite liked it the first time I watched it, kept you guessing the whole way through but now Im not so sure…..

  19. Yeah, Memento is one of those “only good once” films as the revelation at the end is such a huge part of the experience. THE SIXTH SENSE and even THE USUAL SUSPECTS fall into this catagory.

    Decent movie though.

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