Here’s part two of “10 Movies That Changed My World”. Again, I’m not recommending these as classics or as family viewing fun or even movies you’ll enjoy. But these 10 movies have profoundly impacted my life in a way that I feel deep, deep down inside.
I’m taking a chance of losing any shred of credibility I’ve ever had in sharing these titles. If you’ve seen any, share your thoughts or the movies that made your list!
6. Shawshank Redemption (1994) Tim Robbins / Morgan Freeman
IMDB Plot Summary: “Two imprisoned men bond over a number of years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency.”
Great performances, clever plot, and so many insights into being human that it’s almost too much for one story. Andy’s ‘baptism’ after crawling to freedom through the sewer is an iconic image. Bob Gunton and Clancy Brown create two pathetic villains that we realize are bigger prisoners than everyone else in Shawshank. Truly a brilliant movie.
Red: [narrating] I have no idea to this day what those two Italian ladies were singing about. Truth is, I don’t want to know. Some things are best left unsaid. I’d like to think they were singing about something so beautiful, it can’t be expressed in words, and makes your heart ache because of it. I tell you, those voices soared higher and farther than anybody in a gray place dares to dream. It was like some beautiful bird flapped into our drab little cage and made those walls dissolve away, and for the briefest of moments, every last man in Shawshank felt free.
The IMDB memorable quotes page for this movie is incredibly full. That’s the kind of movie this is.
7. Fiddler On The Roof (1971)
IMDB Plot Summary: “Tevye the Milkman is a Jewish peasant in pre-Revolutionary Russia, coping with the day-to-day problems of ‘shtetl’ life, his Jewish traditions, his family (wife and daughters), and state-sanctioned pogroms.”
First time I saw this movie I wanted to be Jewish in the worst way. (Um, that sounds kind of *wrong* somehow) Tevye becomes this bridge between the past and the present, the real ‘fiddler on the roof’, perched in the precarious position of what his culture was and what it is becoming. It’s his over powering love for his family that inspires me most in this film. His prayer life is the kind of prayer life we should all aspire to.
Tevye: I know, I know. We are Your chosen people. But, once in a while, can’t You choose someone else?
8. The Razor’s Edge (1984) Bill Murray as Larry Darrell
IMDB Plot Summary: “He had everything and wanted nothing. He learned that he had nothing and wanted everything. He saved the world and then it shattered. The path to enlightenment is as sharp and narrow as a razor’s edge.”
I can’t begin to describe what this movie did to me. I’ll just say simply that it provoked me to ask bigger questions and look for more meaning and not settle for pre-packaged truth. Murray is fantastic. The story diverges from the book which is likewise good but in an entirely different way.
Larry Darrell: It’s easy to be a holy man on top of a mountain.
9. It’s A Wonderful Life (1946) Jimmy Stewart / Donna Reed
IMDB Plot Summary: “An angel helps a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman by showing what life would had been like if he never existed.”
That summary is for the last 20 minutes of the movie. The strength of this movie is that the majority of the movie is about a normal man, living a fairly normal life with joy and sorrow, friendships and conflict. He is us. And the last few minutes of this movie reveals that an ordinary life lived with others in mind rather than self makes us the richest people in the world. I’ve always wanted to change the world. Seriously. But this movie made me realize that if all I get to do is change the world of a few people in my little community that’ll be a life well-lived.
I started to cry as I read through the quotes for this. I’m such a girl.
George Bailey: Just a minute – just a minute. Now, hold on, Mr. Potter. You’re right when you say my father was no businessman. I know that. Why he ever started this cheap, penny-ante Building and Loan, I’ll never know. But neither you nor anyone else can say anything against his character, because his whole life was – why, in the twenty-five years since he and Uncle Billy started this thing, he never once thought of himself. Isn’t that right, Uncle Billy? He didn’t save enough money to send Harry to school, let alone me. But he did help a few people get out of your slums, Mr. Potter, and what’s wrong with that? Why – here, you’re all businessmen here. Doesn’t it make them better citizens? Doesn’t it make them better customers? You – you said – what’d you say a minute ago? They had to wait and save their money before they even ought to think of a decent home. Wait? Wait for what? Until their children grow up and leave them? Until they’re so old and broken down that they… Do you know how long it takes a working man to save five thousand dollars? Just remember this, Mr. Potter, that this rabble you’re talking about… they do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community. Well, is it too much to have them work and pay and live and die in a couple of decent rooms and a bath? Anyway, my father didn’t think so. People were human beings to him. But to you, a warped, frustrated old man, they’re cattle. Well, in my book he died a much richer man than you’ll ever be.
10. French Postcards (1979)
IMDB Plot Summary: “An American group of exchange students come to Paris to study the language and culture for a year.”
I changed this last listing twice before I decided to be honest. This is definitely not a classic, more like a guilty pleasure but it came at such a perfect time in my life. I was just graduating high school when I saw it on cable for the first time. It filled my mind with ideas about travel, romance, adventure and the power of friendship. It also got me hooked on “Do You Believe In Magic?” and I can’t hear that song today without flashing back on this film. Besides a fine young cast, including Debra Winger and Mandy Patinkin in tiny but memorable parts, it doesn’t have much to offer as stories go. But it has Paris and romance and for me, that was enough. Again, it was a movie that made me want more and sparked something that’s probably why I live on an island now rather than being surrounded by cornfields.
Alex: [recalling his trip] I spent a week in Grenada mostly watching the famous rain in Spain. All in all the trip was incredibly – it was – lonely. But don’t tell Joel that, ok. I just told him the trip was great.
Laura: Yeah, I was going to say that about my trip. But it’s hard when they bring you back in an ambulance.
Well, that’s it, thanks for reading! Make some comments and one of these fine films could be yours (or the set of steak knives – your choice)!