Favourites: Films, Documentary, TV, Animation

Following themes of wonder, redemption, spirituality, heritage, justice, pathos and beauty. Away from the noise of conventional Hollywood and internet conspiracies, I hope the titles presented here will enlighten and enrich, as we walk on the shoulders of giants....
View:
Log in to copy items to your own lists.
1.
The Tree of Life (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
The story of a family in Waco, Texas in 1956. The eldest son witnesses the loss of innocence and struggles with his parents' conflicting teachings. (139 mins.)
Director: Terrence Malick
 
2.
Samsara (2011 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
Filmed over nearly five years in twenty-five countries on five continents, and shot on seventy-millimetre film, Samsara transports us to the varied worlds of sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial complexes, and natural wonders. (102 mins.)
Director: Ron Fricke
 
3.
Baraka (1992 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
A collection of expertly photographed scenes of human life and religion. (96 mins.)
Director: Ron Fricke
 
4.
Seven Samurai (1954)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
A poor village under attack by bandits recruits seven unemployed samurai to help them defend themselves. (207 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
 
5.
The Seventh Seal (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A man seeks answers about life, death, and the existence of God as he plays chess against the Grim Reaper during the Black Plague. (96 mins.)
Director: Ingmar Bergman
 
6.
A Man for All Seasons (1966)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
The story of Thomas More, who stood up to King Henry VIII when the King rejected the Roman Catholic Church to obtain a divorce and remarriage. (120 mins.)
Director: Fred Zinnemann
 
7.
Andrei Rublev (1966)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
The life, times and afflictions of the fifteenth-century Russian iconographer. (205 mins.)
 
8.
Stalker (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A guide leads two men through an area known as the Zone to find a room that grants wishes. (163 mins.)
 
9.
Sacrifice (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
At the dawn of World War III, a man searches for a way to restore peace to the world and finds he must give something in return. (149 mins.)
 
10.
Ashes and Snow (2005 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
Exploring the shared language and poetic sensibilities of all animals. (63 mins.)
Director: Gregory Colbert
 
11.
The Color of Pomegranates (1969)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A super-stylized, surreal biography of Armenian troubadour Sayat Nova, whose life is depicted through non-narrative amalgamations of poetic images. (79 mins.)
 
12.
Pather Panchali (1955)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
Impoverished priest Harihar Ray, dreaming of a better life for himself and his family, leaves his rural Bengal village in search of work. (125 mins.)
Director: Satyajit Ray
 
13.
Aparajito (1956)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
Following his father's death, a boy leaves home to study in Calcutta, while his mother must face a life alone. (110 mins.)
Director: Satyajit Ray
 
14.
The World of Apu (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
This final installment in Satyajit Ray's Apu Trilogy follows Apu's life as an orphaned adult aspiring to be a writer. (105 mins.)
Director: Satyajit Ray
 
15.
Ivan's Childhood (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
In WW2, twelve year old Soviet orphan Ivan Bondarev works for the Soviet army as a scout behind the German lines and strikes a friendship with three sympathetic Soviet officers. (95 mins.)
 
16.
The Mirror (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A dying man in his forties remembers his past. His childhood, his mother, the war, personal moments and things that tell of the recent history of all the Russian nation. (108 mins.)
 
17.
A Man Escaped (1956)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
Captured French Resistance fighter Lieutenant Fontaine awaits a certain death sentence for espionage in a stark Nazi prison... (99 mins.)
Director: Robert Bresson
 
18.
Le Trou (1960)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
In prison four long-sentence inmates planning an elaborate escape cautiously induct a new inmate to join in their scheme which leads to distrust and uncertainty. (132 mins.)
Director: Jacques Becker
 
19.
Dersu Uzala (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
The Russian army sends an explorer on an expedition to the snowy Siberian wilderness where he makes friends with a seasoned local hunter. (144 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosava
 
20.
Yojimbo (1961)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A crafty ronin comes to a town divided by two criminal gangs and decides to play them against each other to free the town. (110 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
 
21.
Ikiru (1952)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A bureaucrat tries to find a meaning in his life after he discovers he has terminal cancer. (143 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
 
22.
High and Low (1963)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
An executive of a shoe company becomes a victim of extortion when his chauffeur's son is kidnapped and held for ransom. (143 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
 
23.
Harakiri (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
An elder ronin samurai arrives at a feudal lord's home and requests an honorable place to commit suicide. But when the ronin inquires about a younger samurai who arrived before him things take an unexpected turn. (133 mins.)
 
24.
After the Rain (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
During a downpour, a generous ronin and his supporting wife are stranded at a country inn. The ronin comes to the attention of a lord who wants to hire him as an instructor for his men, who treat the ronin with disrespect. (91 mins.)
Director: Takashi Koizumi
 
25.
The Pianist (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
A Polish Jewish musician struggles to survive the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto of World War II. (150 mins.)
Director: Roman Polanski
 
26.
The New World (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
The story of the English exploration of Virginia, and of the changing world and loves of Pocahontas. (135 mins.)
Director: Terrence Malick
 
27.
The Thin Red Line (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Terrence Malick's adaptation of James Jones' autobiographical 1962 novel, focusing on the conflict at Guadalcanal during the second World War. (170 mins.)
Director: Terrence Malick
 
28.
The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A poor Midwest family is forced off of their land. They travel to California, suffering the misfortunes of the homeless in the Great Depression. (129 mins.)
Director: John Ford
 
29.
Contact (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Dr. Ellie Arroway, after years of searching, finds conclusive radio proof of intelligent aliens, who send plans for a mysterious machine. (150 mins.)
Director: Robert Zemeckis
 
30.
Good Will Hunting (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Will Hunting, a janitor at M.I.T., has a gift for mathematics, but needs help from a psychologist to find direction in his life. (126 mins.)
Director: Gus Van Sant
 
31.
The Fountain (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
As a modern-day scientist, Tommy is struggling with mortality, desperately searching for the medical breakthrough that will save the life of his cancer-stricken wife, Izzi. (96 mins.)
 
32.
Slam (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Slam tells the story of Ray Joshua, an original, gifted young MC trapped in a war-zone housing project known as Dodge City... (100 mins.)
Director: Marc Levin
 
33.
Medea (1969)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
To win the kingdom his uncle took from his father, Jason must steal the golden fleece from the land of barbarians... (110 mins.)
 
34.
Russian Ark (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A 19th century French aristocrat, notorious for his scathing memoirs about life in Russia, travels through the Russian State Hermitage Museum and encounters historical figures from the last 200+ years. (99 mins.)
 
35.
John Adams (2008 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
The life of one of the USA's Founding Fathers, its second President, and his role in the nation's first 50 years. (71 mins.)
 
36.
Longitude (2000 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Parallel stories: 18th century Harrison builds the marine chronometer for safe navigation at sea; 20th century Gould is obsessed with restoring it. (200 mins.)
 
37.
Gulliver's Travels (1996 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
An Englishman returns after a long time abroad and tells his strange stories about the lands he visited which are allegories about the real world. (186 mins.)
 
38.
Black Mirror (2011 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
A television anthology series that shows the dark side of life and technology. (60 mins.)
 
39.
Visions of Light (1992 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Cameramen and women discuss the craft and art of cinematography and of the "DP" (the director of photography)... (92 mins.)
 
40.
Voyage in Time (1983 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Like the Russian poet of 'Nostalghia', who, accompanied by his Italian guide and translator, traveled... (62 mins.)
 
41.
The Road to Bresson (1984 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
(54 mins.)
 
42.
The Making of 'The Lord of the Rings' (2002 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Documentary of the making of Peter Jackson's adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic work of fantasy.
Director: Costa Botes
 
43.
Al-Ghazali: The Alchemist of Happiness (2004 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Exploring the life and impact of the greatest spiritual and legal philosopher in Islamic history, this... (80 mins.)
 
44.
The Yogis of Tibet (2002 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
For the first time, the reclusive and secretive Tibetan monks agree to discuss aspects of their philosophy and allow themselves to be filmed while performing their ancient practices.
Director: Jeffrey M. Pill
 
45.
A Human Search: The Life of Father Bede Griffiths (1993 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
(55 mins.)
Director: John Swindells
 
46.
Amongst White Clouds (2005 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A journey exploring the practices of Chinese hermits living in the Zhongnan Mountains. (86 mins.)
 
47.
Temple Grandin (2010 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A biopic of Temple Grandin, an autistic woman who has become one of the top scientists in the humane livestock handling industry. (107 mins.)
Director: Mick Jackson
 
48.
Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats & Rhymes (2006 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats & Rhymes provides a riveting examination of manhood, sexism, and homophobia in hip-hop culture. (61 mins.)
Director: Byron Hurt
 
49.
The Ascent of Man (1973 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.0/10 X  
An account of man's development through his scientific and technological achievements. (50 mins.)
 
50.
Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth (1988 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
Mythologist Joseph Campbell presents his ideas about comparative mythology and the ongoing role of myth in human society. (360 mins.)
 
51.
Civilisation (1969 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
(50 mins.)
 
53.
Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance (2004 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
(220 mins.)
 
54.
180° South (2010 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
The film follows adventurer Jeff Johnson as he retraces the epic 1968 journey of his heroes Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins to Patagonia. (85 mins.)
Director: Chris Malloy
 
55.
Threads (1984 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Documentary-style account of a nuclear holocaust and its effect on the working class city of Sheffield, England, and the eventual long-term effects of nuclear war on civilization. (112 mins.)
Director: Mick Jackson
 
56.
The Corporation (2003 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Documentary that looks at the concept of the corporation throughout recent history up to its present-day dominance. (145 mins.)
 
57.
Home (2009 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
With aerial footage from fifty-four countries, 'Home' is a depiction of how Earth's problems are all interlinked. (120 mins.)
 
58.
The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil (2006 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
The documentary, "The Power of Community - How Cuba Survived Peak Oil," was inspired when Faith Morgan... (53 mins.)
Director: Faith Morgan
 
59.
Manufactured Landscapes (2006 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Photographer Edward Burtynsky travels the world observing changes in landscapes due to industrial work and manufacturing. (86 mins.)
 
60.
Watermark (2013 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A documentary on how water shapes humanity. (92 mins.)
 
61.
Proteus: A Nineteenth Century Vision (2004 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
The animated documentary Proteus explores the nineteenth century's engagement with the undersea world through science, technology, painting, poetry and myth. The central figure of the film is biologist and artist Ernst Haeckel, who found in the depths of the sea an ecstatic and visionary fusion of science and art. (97 mins.)
Director: David Lebrun
 
62.
Inside Job (2010 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Takes a closer look at what brought about the 2008 financial meltdown. (105 mins.)
 
63.
Chasing Ice (2012 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Follow National Geographic photographer James Balog across the Arctic as he deploys time-lapse cameras designed for one purpose: to capture a multi-year record of the world's changing glaciers. (75 mins.)
Director: Jeff Orlowski
 
64.
Rivers and Tides: Andy Goldsworthy Working with Time (2001 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Portrait of Andy Goldsworthy, an artist whose specialty is ephemeral sculptures made from elements of nature. (90 mins.)
 
65.
Natural World (1983 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Through changing seasons, Satish Kumar walks the moor and explores ancient woods and rivers, which are home to a wealth of wildlife including red deer...
Director: Brian Leith
 
66.
Cosmos (1980 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.3/10 X  
Astronomer Carl Sagan leads us on an engaging guided tour of the various elements and cosmological theories of the universe. (60 mins.)
 
67.
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey (2014 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.3/10 X  
A documentary series that explores how we discovered the laws of nature and found our coordinates in space and time. (557 mins.)
 
68.
The Secret Life of Chaos (2010 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
Chaos theory has a bad name, conjuring up images of unpredictable weather, economic crashes and science gone wrong... (60 mins.)
Director: Nic Stacey
 
69.
Planet Earth (2006 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.5/10 X  
Emmy Award-winning, 11 episodes, 5 years in the making, the most expensive nature documentary series ever commissioned by the BBC, and the first to be filmed in high definition. (533 mins.)
 
70.
Human Planet (2011 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.1/10 X  
Like all life forms, humanity partially adapts to types of natural environment, yet also tends to change them... (50 mins.)
Stars: John Hurt
 
71.
Wild China (2008 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
An in-depth look at some of China's most impressive natural sites such as the ancient Han kingdom, the Mongol steppes, the Silk Road and the Tibetan Plateau. (60 mins.)
 
72.
Sky Blue (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Civilization has been destroyed by war and pollution, but the survivors have built the last city of Ecoban... (86 mins.)
Director: Moon-saeng Kim
 
73.
Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005 TV Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.2/10 X  
In a war-torn world of elemental magic, a young boy reawakens to undertake a dangerous mystic quest to fulfill his destiny as the Avatar, and bring peace to the world. (23 mins.)
 
74.
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Warrior/pacifist Princess Nausicaä desperately struggles to prevent two warring nations from destroying themselves and their dying planet. (117 mins.)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
 
75.
Spirited Away (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
During her family's move to the suburbs, a sullen 10-year-old girl wanders into a world ruled by gods, witches, and spirits, and where humans are changed into beasts. (125 mins.)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
 
76.
Howl's Moving Castle (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
When an unconfident young woman is cursed with an old body by a spiteful witch, her only chance of breaking the spell lies with a self-indulgent yet insecure young wizard and his companions in his legged, walking castle. (119 mins.)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
 
77.
The Man Who Planted Trees (1987 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
The story of a shepherd's single handed quest to re-forest a barren valley. (30 mins.)
Director: Frédéric Back
 
78.
Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
A young boy and his little sister struggle to survive in Japan during World War II. (89 mins.)
Director: Isao Takahata
 
79.
The Bead Game (1977 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
To a percussive soundtrack, a succession of more complex animals forms and is consumed by their successors (all formed from beads). Finally, We reach man, who develops ever more sophisticated forms of war. (6 mins.)
Director: Ishu Patel
 
80.
Hedgehog in the Fog (1975 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A little hedgehog, on the way to visit his friend the bear, gets lost in thick fog, where horses, dogs... (11 mins.)
Director: Yu. Norshteyn