Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, and Ed Burns in Steven Spielberg's World War II platoon drama

‘Saving Private Ryan’ – Spielberg, Hanks, and WWII on Hulu

Saving Private Ryan (1998) was the first major World War II film made by Hollywood in decades and the timing was right. The 50th Anniversary of D-Day in 1994 brought the cultural conversation back to the sacrifice of American soldiers. After a generation of films revisiting Vietnam, Steven Spielberg steered Hollywood back to the pride […]

Harold Russell, Dana Andrews, and Fredric March in William Wyler's 1946 drama

‘The Best Years of Our Lives’ – Coming home on FilmStruck

By all rights, the homecoming drama The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) should have been another well intentioned film left to the dated dustbins of history, but World War II vet William Wyler (working from an original Robert Sherwood script) put more soul into this picture than anything else in his career. Clocking in […]

Rod Steiger and Marlon Brandon in the Oscar-winning film by Elia Kazan

Marlon Brando in ‘On the Waterfront’ on VOD and Blu-ray/DVD

On the Waterfront (1954) –”I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am.” Marlon Brando won his first Academy Award as Terry Malloy, the former prize fighter turned longshoreman on the mob-dominated docks of New York. Directed by Elia Kazan and starring Karl Malden, Rod Steiger, […]

‘The Red Shoes’ on FilmStruck and Criterion Channel

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressberger’s The Red Shoes (1948) has been called the greatest ballet film ever made. To girls of a certain age and a predisposition to the romance and beauty of ballet, this film is a touchstone that remains an impassioned favorite long after their invitation to the dance is over. To me, […]

Arletty, Marcel Herrand, Pierre Brasseur, and Jean-Louis Barrault star in Marcel Carné's classic of French cinema

‘Children of Paradise’ – The theatre of love and crime on FilmStruck and Criterion

Children of Paradise (France, 1945), Marcel Carné’s legendary drama of love, theater, and crime in 19th Century Paris, is an epic in every sense of the word. It opens and ends on a stage curtain, which rises to reveal the Boulevard of Crime, the theater district of 1830s Paris, where street performers and pickpockets alike ply […]

Judy Garland is Dorothy Gale in the beloved screen adaptation of Frank L. Baum's fantasy

‘The Wizard of Oz’ – Over the rainbow on Amazon Prime

When gingham-clad farm girl Dorothy Gale rode the tornado out of the somber, sepia-tinged black and white of her Kansas dustbowl farm and into the sparkling Technicolor fantasy land somewhere over the rainbow, she changed the lives of her audiences (both then and now) as assuredly as she changed her own. The Wizard of Oz […]

Paul Newman, Piper Laurie, George C. Scott, and Jackie Gleason, directed by Robert Rossen

Paul Newman is ‘The Hustler’ on VOD and Vlu-ray/DVD

The Hustler (1961) – Paul Newman is cocky poolroom hustler “Fast” Eddie Felson, a swaggering pool shark punk who works his trade in dingy bars and seedy poolrooms, in Robert Rossen’s atmospheric adaptation of the Walter Tevis novel. Crashing into a pit of self-pity after losing big to king of the poolroom Minnesota Fats (a […]