Dustin Hoffman and Steve McQueen in the 1973 escape drama from director Franklin J. Schaffner

Steve McQueen is ‘Papillon’ on FilmStruck

Ten years after Steve McQueen made his name in the most famous prison break thriller of them all—The Great Escape—he stepped into the role of Henri ‘Papillon’ Charriere, the real-life French safecracker convicted of murder (unjustly, he maintained) and sentenced to the prison colony in French Guyana and, later, Devil’s Island. Directed by Franklin J. […]

Sissy Spacek stars in Brian De Palma's adaptation of the Stephen King novel.

The original ‘Carrie’ on Amazon Prime Video

Carrie (1976) launched a number of careers. It was the first screen adaptation of Stephen King’s work and the first hit movie from director Brian De Palma, and it featured young actors John Travolta, Amy Irving, Nancy Allen, and P.J. Soles their first substantial roles. Sissy Spacek made a powerful impression as Carrie, bringing a […]

Arch Oboler's 1951 nuclear holocaust classic

‘Five’ – the last people on Earth on Amazon Prime Video

Arch Oboler’s Five (1951) is not the first end-of-the-world film, but it is the first to end it by nuclear holocaust: it opens on the familiar mushroom cloud and Oboler proceeds to scrubs the wonders of the world and the landmarks of civilization free of human habitation with a few simple visual effects and the […]

John Travolta and Jonathan Rhys Meyers in the Euro-action film from producer Luc Besson and director Pierre Morel

‘From Paris With Love’ on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu

From Paris With Love (2009), starring John Travolta as a cowboy of an American agent and Jonathan Rhys Meyers as an ambitious but untrained low-level agent assigned to assist, is another of Luc Besson’s English language Euro-action films, the contemporary equivalent to the drive-in action movie of decades past. Besson has perfected the formula in […]

Orson Welles is Harry Lime on Carol Reed's classic

Continental noir: ‘The Third Man’ on Netflix

Carol Reed’s continental film noir The Third Man (1949), written by Graham Greene and starring Joseph Cotten as a cynical American pulp novelist playing detective in the rubble-strewn underworld of post-war Vienna and Orson Welles as a charming but ruthless black marketeer, is one of the true classics. The film is directed by Reed but […]

Angie Dickinson in the thriller by Brian De Palma with Angie Dickinson, Keith Gordon and Nancy Allen

Brian De Palma’s ‘Dressed to Kill’ on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu

Dressed to Kill (1980), Brian De Palma’s signature thriller and one of his best films ever, has been called De Palma’s take on Hitchcock’s Psycho and the parallels are undeniable: a sexually independent heroine (Angie Dickinson) who is murdered in the opening act, the amateur detectives (Keith Gordon and Nancy Allen) who team up to […]

Al Pacino is Cuban thug turned Miami drug lord Tony Montana in Brian De Palma's 'Scarface'

‘Scarface’ – Say hello to my little friend on Netflix

Brian De Palma’s Scarface (1983), ostensibly a remake of the Howard Hawks gangster classic, moves the iconic rise and fall crime opera from the tommy-gun gangster street battles of the prohibition era to the cocaine wars of Florida in the eighties. In the process, De Palma, screenwriter Oliver Stone, and star Al Pacino carved out […]

Humphrey Bogart and Lizbeth Scott star in the 1947 film noir directed by John Cromwell

Humphrey Bogart in ‘Dead Reckoning’ on Amazon Prime Video

Any resemblance between Dead Reckoning (1947) and classic hard-boiled Humphrey Bogart classics The Maltese Falcon and The Big Sleep is anything but coincidental (“A guy’s buddy gets killed, he oughta do something about it,” Bogie explains in an line from the Sam Spade playbook) in this murder mystery of deception and double crosses. Narrating in […]

Johnny Depp and Frank Langella in the 1999 thriller directed by Roman Polanski

Johnny Depp searches for ‘The Ninth Gate’ on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu

The horror of Roman Polanski is not about spectacle and shock, but a goose-pimply sense of something evil lurking just outside the frame and hidden behind the faces of its slightly unsettling characters. At times The Ninth Gate (1999), adapted from the novel The Club Dumas by Arturo Perez-Reverte, recaptures the beautiful uneasiness of such […]