Lights, Camera, Action . . .
. . . Adventure, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
A Film Reviews page of the best
Action, Adventure, Drama, Mystery and Suspense Movies
Table of Contents
* Introduction * Action/Drama Film Reviews * Wolf's Recommended Films List *
* AFI Top 100 Movies Not Listed * I Disagree With the Critics * End of the Page *

This is the fifth and final film reviews page to be created on this web site.  These are the type of films that are known for winning the Academy Awards and they are usually the genre of films that rate on everyone's list of greatest movies of all time.  As I have done on the other film reviews pages, this page will reflect my own personal choices in movies of action, adventure, drama, mystery and suspense.  Throughout these reviews, I sometimes reference the AFI (American Film Institute) rating of a particular movie on it's list of the 100 Greatest Movies, as I have also done on the other film reviews pages.

At this time, on this page, I review a few movies in this category.  Would I argue that they are the best select action/drama movies ever made?  No! . . . although a good many of them may very well be!  But I would boldly say that they are some real dandies and they are the select few movies in action, adventure, drama, mystery and suspense that I would like to bring to the special attention of the readers of this web page.

The first question I'm going to take on is this:  "Is Casablanca and Gone With the Wind really the great movies that the critics have said they are?"  My answer to that question is a resounding "YES!"  Each movie is an intricate love story that has so many twists and turns.

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Wolf's Action/Drama
Film Reviews

Casablanca (1942-AFI #2) shows a man named Rick (Humphrey Bogart) who has been badly hurt in the past by a woman (Ingrid Bergman); who one day just happens to show up in his joint--Rick's Cafe--of all the places in the world to show up!  The interaction between all the characters is marvelous--including a superb performance by Claude Rains as the head of the local police in Casablanca, which is occupied by the Nazis.  Rick appears to be the most self-centered man on the face of the earth, but "As Time Goes By", we come to find that he is in a position capable of a great personal sacrifice, if he is only willing to execute the sacrifice.  You'll have to watch this film to find the answer to that question.  On an aside, Bogart never says, "Play it again, Sam."  If you listen carefully, Ingrid Bergman says, "Play it, Sam. Play 'As time Goes By'".  Bogart later says, "You played it for her, you can play it for me."  RENT AND PLAY THIS MOVIE AS SOON AS YOU CAN. If you don't love it the first time you play it, you weren't paying attention . . . PLAY IT AGAIN!

In Gone With the Wind (1939-AFI #4), Vivien Leigh (as Scarlet O'Hara) tries to make everyone think that she is selfless, helpless and innocent; when in fact, we see on the screen, one of the most self-centered characters cinema has ever offered up for our examination.  Not that Rhett Butler (played by a cool Clark Gable) is any more concerned for others over his own selfish interests, but he is totally up front about his ego-centric world view.  Leslie Howard and Olivia de Havilland (a contrast of two of the most caring and giving personalities) accompany Leigh and Gable to create what many feel is the greatest and most beautifully filmed movie of all time.

Producer David O. Selznick ended up directing this movie himself after going through two directors; the first one was fired and the second one quit.  The music "Tara's Theme" plays throughout this motion picture and can literally lift the viewer off the floor.  The famous Max Steiner composed the lovely score to this film.  The film shows the collapse of the old American South during its conflict with the North, and the end of a way of life that is glamorized in the early parts of this movie.  Margaret Mitchell's blockbuster best-seller is second only to the Bible in sells.  Rhett Butler's famous final line in the movie is understood after watching 3 hours and 42 minutes of TOLERATING Scarlet O'Hara.  Frankly, Rhett Butler no longer gives a damn!  DON'T MISS THIS MASTERPIECE.

 It's A
The Last
Picture Show
 The Ninth

In 1946, James Stewart got together with a beautiful and charming Donna Reed and a ruthless & mean spirited Lionel Barrymore to create a holiday classic that plays on television so much each year that you would think that everyone in the country would have seen it by now.  But not everyone has seen It's A Wonderful Life (AFI #11).  Imagine coming to the conclusion that the world would have been a better place if you had never been born and wishing that you had never been born.  Then imagine that an angel appears and is able to show you what the world would have been like if you had your wish.  This movie has lifted spirits up since it debuted many years ago.  You will laugh and you will cry while watching this timeless classic--unless you are as ruthless and mean spirited as Barrymore.

Doctor Zhivago (1965--AFI #39) is a big picture.  It is a love story about a man and a woman and the same man and another woman--a very familiar theme.  Dr. Zhivago (Omar Sharif) loves his wife Tonya (Geraldine Chaplin--daughter of Charlie Chaplin).  But as this epic film progresses, he finds that he also loves Lara (Julie Christie).  The background setting for this triangle is the outbreak of the Russian Revolution.  Zhivago is not a political man, as such.  He is only a practicing Russian doctor and a poet.  But his poetry expresses feelings of an individual nature and the revolution against the Tzar by the red forces (read Communists) and the white forces (read Bolsheviks) are ushering in the collective man who is to be void of individualistic feelings.

Alec Guinness plays Zhivago's brother and guides us through this story; while Rod Steiger plays an opportunistic Russian named Komarovsky with political connections that we slowly learn about as the drama unfolds.  Director David Lean was coming off of Lawrence of Arabia and Bridge On the River Kwai (two grand slam movies to his credit) when he worked out Doctor Zhivago for the big screen.  The music by Maurice Jarre is some of the finest background music ever played in the movies.  Lara's Theme from Doctor Zhivago is absolutely haunting!  This movie focuses on the love story (or love stories); but the political background is hard to ignore.

Boris Pasternak's novel of romance and revolution was banned in Russia for many years after it first appeared in the west by being smuggled out in manuscript form.  Winning all kinds of awards in Europe, it was finally allowed to be read in the Soviet Union in the Eighties and the movie has been played there as well.  Boris Pasternak was a true Russian Patriot, loving his country.  It shows in this film adaptation of his book.  Every Russian is familiar with this novel/movie.  Running at just under 3 hours, it will be too long for some; but it is a very moving film.

The Last Picture Show (1971--AFI Top 400 Films) yielded Oscars to Cloris Leachman and Ben Johnson; while nominations went to Jeff Bridges and Ellen Burstyn.  The film also starred Timothy Bottoms, Cybill Shepherd, Eileen Brennan, and Randy Quaid.  This is a movie about a small Texas town in the early '50s and the romances and emotional experiences of the younger and older adults of such a community.  There are several sexual situations and some brief nudity in this picture; therefore it should only be viewed by married men and women of adult age!  This is a very intelligent and perceptive movie and obviously packs enough punch that I'm including it in my films review on this page.  Hank Williams lovers will think they are back in Anarene, Texas in a time capsule when they hear all the Williams tunes blaring on the radios throughout this film.  Hey good lookin', whatcha got cookin'?  Cybill Shepherd is very good lookin' in this one!  But her character is very ugly!!!  What a contrast.

The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982) with Anthony Andrews and the beautiful Jane Seymour (T.V.s Doctor Quinn) was a made for T.V. movie.  I caught this movie the first time around and loved every minute of it.  This version is superior, in my opinion, to the famous 1934 Leslie Howard version.  Not taking anything away from Leslie Howard, who is a fine actor, but the film is so much more engaging.  Andrews is leading a double life during the French Revolution between the the so-called underclass and the French aristocrats.  He is a foppish member of English society named Sir Percy immune from the revolutionists, who helps "convicted" aristocrats escape to England from madam guillotine, during the Reign of Terror, as the leader of an underground movement.  This is a very enjoyable love story between Andrews and Seymour and like Doctor Zhivago (reviewed above) makes you feel like you are seeing the French Revolution firsthand.  "Sink me . . . I enjoy it every time I watch it."

One of my all time favorite dramas is a movie called The Ninth Configuration (1979).  The movie was directed by William Peter Blatty (who wrote a novel by the title of "Twinkle, Twinkle Killer Kane" and later rewrote it as "The Ninth Configuration" to get it right--"perfect").  Blatty is better known as the writer of "The Exorcist" and later "Legion" which became the script for the movie "Legion: Exorcist III".  This movie is definitely not for everyone.  It stars Stacy Keach and Scott Wilson, along with a fine supporting cast.

Stacy Keach is a psychiatrist named Kane who arrives at an old castle, where he and others care for Vietnam War veterans who suffer from combat disorders that caused them to crack under pressure.  One of the patients of the old castle is Scott Wilson, an astronaut who failed to go on a launch mission just as he was about to board the rocket.  The patients in this movie are sometimes hilarious as they act out their own versions of reality.  As the story unfolds, we begin to suspect that Kane has a past that he is suppressing.

Near the end of the film, there is a bar room fight scene with a motorcycle gang that is very intense and hard to view the first time it is watched.  How far will a doctor go to try and cure his patient?   Why does God allow evil to exist if He is ultimately in control of every situation?  This is a very deep movie and very rewarding to watch if you totally follow what William Peter Blatty is saying with his writing and directing of THE NINTH CONFIGURATION.

While I'm reviewing "disturbing" movies, I'll say something about Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver (1976--AFI #47).  Taxi Driver, Starring a young Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel, Cybill Shepherd, a young Jodie Foster and Peter Boyle is another movie that will make you feel very uneasy throughout your viewing of it.  It is essentially about the life of a taxi driver, De Niro, his infatuation with a young political campaign worker (Shepherd) and his drive to "save" a young 12 year old prostitute (Foster) from her plight.  Keitel plays Foster's pimp and is very convincing in his role.

Shepherd sees only one side of Travis Bickle (De Niro) the cabbie as the movie progresses, but we see a Vietnam veteran who feels very alienated in New York City witnessing the low life scum of the city--the winos, pimps, whores and junkies who rule the night streets.  You might say Bickle finally breaks (an understatement!).  De Niro arms himself to the teeth and sets out to be a violent avenger, hero or psychopath.  ("Are you talking to me?  Are you talking to me?  Are you talking to me?")  The viewer of the film is left to make his or her own judgment of the evolving character.  Ronald Reagan's would-be assassin John Hinkley was said to have had a crush on Jodie Foster when he watched this movie and pretty much tried to imitate the Travis Bickle character in his own life.  After watching this movie, be sure to follow it by watching something more cheerful.

Just such a cheerful movie would be Friendly Persuasion (1956).  In this film, Gary Cooper plays a Quaker with his wife Dorothy McGuire along with Marjorie Main and Anthony Perkins.  Yes, the Pat Boone song "Friendly Persuasion" is heard while viewing this moving film.  Friendly Persuasion shows what it was like for a Quaker family during the Civil War in a southern Indiana farming community.  Son Anthony Perkins joins in the war effort, much to his mother's disapproval, but his father (Cooper) feels the boy has to follow his own conscience.  The daughter falls in love with a soldier and the youngest son, little Jess (Richard Eyer), is constantly battling against the family pet--a goose named Samantha.  Eventually, father and son are each faced with the question of whether or not to kill an enemy.  Anthony Perkins received an Academy Award nomination for his role in the movie and some say it was Gary Cooper's last good movie, although he made eight more before his death in 1961.  This movie is full of enjoyable scenes and simply has to be seen to be fully appreciated.

In 1959, Ben-Hur won the Oscar for best picture, Charleton Heston received the Oscar for best actor, and William Wyler received the Oscar for best director of Ben-Hur.  All in all, the movie won eleven Oscars.  The movie is based on Lew Wallace's 1880 novel.  Growing up as friends, Charleton Heston as Ben-Hur and Messala (Stephen Boyd) are as close as brothers.  But when Ben-Hur disagrees with Messala's politics, an accident causes the powerful Messala to banish Ben-Hur to row as a prisoner on a warship.  Messala knows Ben-Hur and his family are innocent.  Hur goes from the top as a wealthy Jewish nobleman, to the lowest position as a slave on a ship.  A great battle at sea holds the viewer spellbound.  But the best is yet to come.  A chariot race in the movie is considered to this day to be one of the greatest scenes ever filmed for the screen.  This is a great movie and it just gets better with time.

Filmed 17 years after Ben-Hur, in 1976, Jesus Of Nazareth aired on T.V. as a made for T.V. movie.  Robert Powell played Jesus with a fine supporting cast that included Anne Bancroft, James Mason, Rod Steiger, and Olivia Hussey.  Over 6 hours long, this is in my opinion the finest presentation of the life of Jesus Christ on film.  You might say this movie fills in the gaps around Ben-Hur's time frame, as Ben-Hur played out around the events of the man of Nazareth, but never focused on Jesus himself.  Jesus Of Nazareth covers all the major events of the life of Jesus Christ and although there will always be Christian critics of portrayals of the life of Christ in film, they have little merit on their attacks on this movie.  Robert Powell's character is gentle and loving, yet commands much authority and wisdom in so many scenes.  I enjoy this movie very much.

The same year, 1960, that gave us Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho", gave us the screen version of Sinclair Lewis's novel Elmer Gantry (AFI--Top 400 Films).  Not that there is any comparison between the Anthony Perkins character in "Psycho" and Burt Lancaster's character Elmer Gantry, because there isn't!  The role of Elmer Gantry earned Burt Lancaster the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1960.  You know why when you watch this film about the life of a simple man with a gift for speaking.

Gantry is a phony evangelist (some would argue that there is no other kind--but that is their loss) in the 1920s during the period of "tent revivals" throughout the Midwest.  Elmer Gantry "stumbles" into his evangelist role, or is drawn into it, to try and win the love of the real(?) evangelist Sister Sarah (Jean Simmons). Knowing that Elmer Gantry is a charlatan, Sarah falls for Gantry and becomes his mistress, while preaching each night to the lost sinners in the tent meetings.    Sister Sarah's manager is played by Dean Jagger and Arthur Kennedy plays a cynical reporter who follows the troupe around looking for the inside story.  Shirley Jones pops up during the movie as a hooker and a past bedroom acquaintance of Gantry.  Although nominated for Best Picture, "Elmer Gantry" lost out to "The Apartment" in the 1960 awards.  I can't say enough about Burt Lancaster's performance in this movie.  It still looks good over 40 years later.

The old expression "they don't make movies like this anymore", could well be applied to The Adventures Of Robin Hood (1938--AFI Top 400 Films).  Errol Flynn is the rebel outlaw hero Robin Hood, Basil Rathbone (the screen's best Sherlock Holmes) as Guy of Gisbourne and Claude Rains (Phantom of the Opera) as King John, the villains.  Olivia de Havilland is Maid Marian (lookin' good!), Alan Hale Sr. is Little John and Eugene Pallette is Friar Tuck.  Melville Cooper is the Sheriff of Notthingham and Ian Hunter is King Richard.  You will appreciate all these actors if you watch this flick.  The swashbuckling exhibitions on the big screen that Errol Flynn was so good at in his career is at its best here in The Adventures Of Robin Hood. In 1982, Ivanhoe was remade with Anthony Andrews (Scarlet Pimpernel) playing the character of Ivanhoe.  Based on Sir Walter Scott's novel, Ivanhoe is a disinherited knight who joins up with Robin Hood to help King Richard the Lion-Hearted recapture his throne from the rotten Prince John.  Ivanhoe was originally shown as a T.V. mini-series.    James Mason is a Jewish father, with Olivia Hussey as his daughter who falls for the gentile Ivanhoe in a love that could never be.  Lysetter Anthony plays Ivanhoe's true love Rowena, who has been betrothed to marry another.  Sam Neill is the head of an order and wants the love of Olivia Hussey.  Complete with castles, a secret society and Sherwood Forest, this movie is full of action and adventure.  I highly recommend the 1982 version of Ivanhoe.


The Quiet Man
The Sting

In 1952, John Wayne teamed up with Maureen O'Hara, Barry Fitzgerald, Victor McLaglen and his old buddy Ward Bond, in beautiful Ireland, to create John Ford's film The Quiet Man (AFI Top 400 Films).  Maureen O'Hara is the stubborn Irish bull-headed redhead (I'm married to one--a redhead that is) who falls in love with John Wayne's character, an American ex-boxer.  Wayne is not respected by the beautiful, but fiery O'Hara, because he will not defend himself against her brother Victor McLaglen.  The Quiet Man has a reason for his fear of punching it out with other men.  This is sort of a Taming of the Shrew all over again.  But isn't it that way in many a marriage!!!  This is a very fun film.  John Wayne made many good films that were not westerns.  And I believe Maureen O'Hara acted with Wayne in about five total films.  Her beauty here is at its peak.

"My name is Bond, James Bond!"  Although I'm a big James Bond fan, and enjoy every one of the Bond entries,Goldfinger (1964--AFI Top 400 Films) is my favorite James Bond film.  In Goldfinger, Sean Connery sets the character tone that Roger Moore, George Lazenby, Timothy Dalton, and Pierce Brosnan would have to follow.  007 faces the arch villain Goldfinger and his henchman Oddjob.  John Barry's musical score is excellent and Shirley Bassey sang the lead title for this great spy adventure.  Folks, it doesn't get any better than this for action, adventure and suspense.

Winner of 7 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, The Sting (1973) is a delight.  Paul Newman and Robert Redford ("Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" 1969 stars) worked with Robert Shaw, Charles Durning, Ray Walston, Eileen Brennan, Harold Gould and Dana Elcar in this movie that looks at small time independent con men setting up a sting operation on a heavy mobster (Robert Shaw) for half a million bucks, to get even.  Robert Redford, in depression era Chicago, gets a cast of cons, including Paul Newman, to stage a horse betting racket to draw Shaw in.  The plots and sub plots twist left and right in this one.  Scott Joplin's "The Entertainer" ragtime piano music is very catchy and is heard throughout this powerful movie.

I have to agree that the American Film Institutes pick at #28 on its greatest movies list is excellent.  Quite frankly, its a movie I don't want to like, but something about it draws you in. Apocalypse Now, made in 1979, is so realistic and dark, but so is war.  This Francis Ford Coppola directed movie stars Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall, Harrison Ford, Laurence Fishburne, and Dennis Hopper.  Brando is Colonel Kurtz, a man who is deep in the heart of Vietnam and has become a renegade law unto himself.  Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) has been given a mission to find Kurtz, analyze the situation and assassinate the colonel if necessary.

Along the way, Willard runs into the hell of war as he gets help from different quarters in fulfilling his secret mission.  Look for a young Harrison Ford handing the mission papers to Captain Willard in the beginning.  Brando doesn't appear until the end and he is as crazy and demented as Willard was informed that he was.  (On an aside, Brando showed up at the last minute on the set to do his scenes.  Without having read the script, he wings it with a lot of impromptu lines for his character.  He does capture the arrogant nature of Colonel Kurtz.)

Dennis Hopper is a writer who has fallen under the influence of Kurtz and idolizes Kurtz as a ruthless genius that is strong against the enemy because he has adopted their evil methods.  We hear Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries " as helicopters raid a Vietnamese village.  From Robert Duvall's character, Lt. Colonel Kilgore, we hear the famous quote, "I love the smell of napalm in the morning!"  And so the movie goes . . .

Searching For Bobby Fischer
The Bonfire Of the Vanities

After the American chess player Bobby Fischer captured the World Chess Championship in 1972, he vanished from chess and from public life leaving a huge void.  American chess players were so excited that Fischer finally broke the dominating hold on world chess that the great and brilliant Soviet Chess machine had since the 1940s.  When their hero disappeared and became a recluse after winning the world championship, they felt they were always searching for another Bobby Fischer to carry the mantle of American chess.  In 1993, a film appeared titled Searching For Bobby Fischer.

It is the moving story of a 7 year old boy named Josh Waizkin, who had a natural gift to play chess like the prodigy Bobby Fischer.  This film is a remarkable re-enactment of that relationship between Max Pomeranc (who plays Josh), Joe Mantegna (the father), Joan Allen (the mother), Ben Kingsley (the coach), and Laurence Fishburne (a speed chess player from Central Park, New York City).  As the story unfolds, you wonder, "Could Josh be the next Bobby Fischer?"  You don't even have to know how to play chess to enjoy this wonderful movie.  Searching For Bobby Fischer has been called "a stand-up-and-cheer movie".  Watching this film will make you and your whole family happy that you found SEARCHING FOR BOBBY FISCHER.

Another film I'm reviewing on this page is a film that the critics apparently didn't like (I'll have more to say about some of the critic's choices shortly). Bonfire Of the Vanities (1990) was adapted from Tom Wolfe's novel of the same name.  I won't go into all the reasons why the critics didn't like this movie.  It stars Bruce Willis, Tom Hanks, Melanie Griffith, Saul Rubinek, and Morgan Freeman.  As the jacket of the VHS tape says, "Take one wall street tycoon, his Fifth Avenue mistress, a reporter hungry for fame, and the wrong turn in The Bronx" and you have the plot for Bonfire Of the Vanities.

I like this movie, because it is funny to see how people will lie to achieve their agenda.  So many people have a natural instinct to use the other poor sap's misfortune to get their payoff.  Wouldn't you enjoy a movie where all these vanities are thrown into one bonfire?  I guess people wouldn't like seeing it if they thought of themselves as one of the vanities!  But Oh, the luscious sight of the bonfire of the vanities.

In 1997 the film Good Will Hunting hit the theaters.  At the ages of 21 and 23, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck wrote the screenplay for this dynamic movie.  Nominated for nine Academy Awards, an Oscar went to Robin Williams (best supporting actor) for his role as a psychology professor brought on to deal with the complex behavior of a young man (Matt Damon), a natural mathematics genius-employed by the local college to wash it's floors, who is afraid to live his life using all the abilities he has; afraid to show any of his own imperfections.  Williams must try to probe into the young man's mind and discover the cause to his hardheaded attitude.  Quite a battle between too minds ensues.

Oscars also went to Affleck and Damon for Best Original Screenplay.  Academy Award Actor Nominees Damon, Affleck and Minnie Driver, along with a brilliant acting performance by Robin Williams, deliver a movie that is not only enjoyable to watch, but a film that has to be dealt with within the veiwer's own mind.  It is very challenging and to a degree applicable to many peoples' lives.  This flick is rated "R" for some profanity and "off color" jokes, and a love scene that is actually mild compared to regular evening TV, but it delivers a powerful story.

Director Alfred Hitchcock presents . . .

 North By Northwest
 Rear Window

Notorious 1946 finds Cary Grant as a U.S. government agent contact for Ingrid Bergman, daughter of a Nazi in America who was sent to prison at the opening of the movie.  With her father’s past Nazi connections, Bergman is talked into spying on a Nazi spy ring and going as far as she needs to with Nazi Claude Rains, even if it means becoming his lover in order to gather vital information.  Grant is in love with Bergman in the beginning, but begins to change his feelings for her as she gives more of herself to the enemy while undercover.  Notorious is a great romantic thriller with lots of suspense and Hitchcock drama.

North By Northwest 1959 would be my pick for a newcomer to experience his or her first Hitchcock thriller.  Cary Grant is mistaken as an American agent, while only being an average Joe.  Grant shows that he could have been the first James Bond on film with his performance in Notorious.  This is the film with the famous Mount Rushmore climb down.

James Stewart is at his best with Vertigo 1958 and Rear Window 1954.  Some believe Vertigo to be Alfred Hitchcock’s best film.  Plenty of twists and turns in this thriller. Rear Window takes place from the view outside Stewart’s rear window, while confined to a wheelchair by a healing broken leg in a cast.  Grace Kelly, his girlfriend, begins to believe what Stewart claims has been going on in his neighborhood.  She does all the “leg” work, so to speak.  Did someone say “MURDER?”

Bogart, Bacall, Bergman & Gibson

Humphrey Bogart helped create a film with his wife Lauren Bacall (whom he married off set during the filming).  To Have and Have Not 1944 will remind film viewers of the classic movie Casablanca.  Again, members of a resistance movement ask Bogart for his assistance.  Though reluctant at first, he slowly gets drawn in.  Bacall sizzles; especially when she utters the classic line:  “You know how to whistle, don’t you?”

The Big Sleep 1946 has the screen duo of Bogart and Bacall together again (Dark Passage 1947 and Key Largo 1948 were the other two films with this good looking pair).  Bogart plays his famous roll as the private detective Phillip Marlowe gathering clues to a mystery.  This is the film that set the standard for private eye movies.

Gaslight 1944 has Ingrid Bergman in her Oscar winning role as a woman who doesn’t know her husband as well as she thinks she does.  Charles Boyer, her husband, watches his wife slip into insanity “or pushed into insanity?”.  Old England gaslights play a role in the unraveling of this thriller.  The film viewer feels the frustration of not being able to encourage and help Bergman figure things out.  But a young Joseph Cotton is there to act in our place.  Look for a young Angela Lansbury in her first film role.

Mel Gibson directed and starred in Braveheart 1995.  The Scottish hero Gibson leads a rebellion against the British.  Action and heroism saturate this nearly three hours film.  The movie makes the statement that “freedom is worth fighting for and even dying for”.  Gibson starred in The Patriot in 2000 with the same theme of heroism fighting for freedom during the American war for Independence.  In 2004, the Gibson directed movie “The Passion of the Christ” hit the big screen.  It showed the trial and crucifixion of Jesus Christ as the ultimate historical sacrifice for mankind’s freedom.  I would call these three films “Gibson’s Freedom Trilogy”.

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Wolf's Recommended Films
  Action, Adventure, Drama, Mystery and Suspense Movies
American Film Institute Top 100 Ranking AFI# or in Top 400
Selection of Films reviewed on this page

12 Angry Men 1957 AFI Top 400
Adventures Of Robin Hood 1938 AFI Top 400
Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes 1939
African Queen, The 1951 AFI #17 
All About Eve 1950 AFI #16
American Graffiti 1973 AFI #77
Anatomy of A Murder 1959
And Then There Were None 1945
Apocalypse Now 1979 AFI #28
As Good As It Gets 1997
Basic Instinct 1992
Beautiful Mind, A 2001
Ben-Hur 1959 AFI #72
Beverly Hills Cop 1984 AFI Top 400
Big Sleep, The 1946 AFI Top 400
Birth Of A Nation, The 1915 AFI #44
Black Widow 1987
Blow Out 1981
Blow Up 1966
Body Double 1984
Body Heat 1981
Bonfire Of the Vanities 1990
Bonnie & Clyde (--) 1967 AFI #27
Braveheart 1995 AFI Top 400
Bridge On the River Kwai, The 1957 AFI #13
Casablanca 1942 AFI #2
Charade 1963
Chariots Of Fire 1981 AFI Top 400
Chinatown 1974 AFI #19
Chinese Connection 1979
Citizen Kane 1941 AFI #1
City Lights 1931 AFI #76
Clockwork Orange, A 1971 AFI #46
Crocodile Dundee (I & II) 1986 &1988
Cyrano De Bergerac 1950
Dark Forces 1984
Death Wish 1974 
The Deer Hunter (?) 1978 AFI #79
Deliverance 1972--EW Drama #52
Die Hard 1988 AFI Top 400
Dirty Dozen, The 1967
Doctor Zhivago 1965 AFI #39
Double Indemnity 1944 AFI #38 
Easy Rider 1969 AFI #88
Elmer Gantry 1960 AFI Top 400
Enter the Dragon 1973
Fargo 1996 AFI #84
Fatal Attraction 1987
Fountainhead, The 1949
Four Musketeers, The 1975 
The French Connection 1971 AFI #70
Friendly Persuasion 1956
From Here To Eternity AFI #52
Game, The 1997
Gaslight 1944
Giant 1956 AFI #82
Gladiator 2000
Godfather, The 1972 AFI #3
Godfather Part II 1974 AFI #32
Goldfinger 1964 AFI Top 400
Gone With the Wind 1939 AFI #4
Good Will Hunting 1997
Goodfellas 1990 AFI #94
Grand Hotel 1932
Great Santini, The 1980
Greatest Show On Earth, The 1952 AFI Top 400
Greatest Story Ever Told 1965
Green Pastures 1936
Hardcore 1979
High Sierra 1941
Hoosiers 1986
Hustler, The 1961 AFI Top 400
Inherit the Wind (Original) 1960
It's A Wonderful Life 1946 AFI #11
Ivanhoe 1982
Jesus Of Nazareth 1976
Key Largo 1948
Last Picture Show, The 1971 AFI Top 400
Lawrence Of Arabia 1962 AFI #5
Lolita 1962
Maltese Falcon, The 1941 AFI #23
Man For All Seasons, A 1966 AFI Top 400
Man Who Knew Too Much, The 1956
Manchurian Candidate, The 1962 AFI #67
Mask Of Zorro, The 1998 
Midnight Cowboy 1969--AFI #36 
Mr. Holland's Opus 1995
Mr. Smith Goes To Washington 1939 AFI #29
Murder On the Orient Express 1974
Mutiny On the bounty 1935 AFI #86 
Nashville 1975--EW Drama #6
Natural, The 1984
Net, The 1995
Network 1976 AFI #66
Ninth Configuration, The 1979
North and South 1985 (John Jakes Mini-series)
North By Northwest 1959 AFI #40
Notorious 1946
Once Upon A Time In America 1984
One Flew Over the Cuckoos' Nest 1975 AFI #20
Patriot, The 2000
Patriot Games 1992
Patton 1970 AFI #89
Picnic 1956
Pistol, The: The Birth Of A Legend (The Pete Maravich Story) 1990
Play Misty For Me 1971
Pretty Woman 1990 AFI Top 400 
Pulp Fiction 1994--AFI #95
Quiet Man, The 1952 AFI Top 400
Raiders Of the Lost Ark 1981 AFI #60
Rain Man 1988 AFI Top 400
Rainmaker, The 1956
Rambo Trilogy 1982 1985 1988
Rear Window 1954 AFI #42
Rebel Without A Cause 1955 AFI #59
Rebels, The 1979 (John Jakes Kent Family Chronicles)
Robe, The 1953
Robin Hood:  Prince of Thieves 1991
Rock, The 1996
Rocky 1976 AFI #78
Roman Holiday 1953
Romancing the Stone 1984
Romeo & Juliet 1968
Rope 1948
Run 1991
Rush Hour 1998
Sabrina 1954
San Francisco 1936
Sands Of Iwo Jima 1949 AFI Top 400
Scarlet Pimpernel, The 1982
Searching For Bobby Fischer 1993
Shawshank Redemption, The 1994 AFI Top 400
Specialist, The 1994
Spellbound 1949
Split Image 1982
Sterile Cuckoo 1969
Sting, The 1973 AFI Top 400
A Streetcar Named Desire 1951 AFI #45
Suddenly, Last Summer 1959
Summer Of '42 1971 
Sunset Boulevard 1950--AFI #12/EW Drama #9
Tale Of Two Cities, A 1935
Taxi Driver 1976 AFI #47
Ten Commandments, The1956 AFI Top 400
Tender Mercies 1983
Thin Man, The 1934
Three Faces Of Eve, The 1957
Three Musketeers, The 1973
Ticket To Heaven 1981
To Have and Have Not 1944
To Sir With Love 1967
Top Gun 1986
Treasure Of Sierra Madre 1948 AFI #30
True Lies 1994
Untouchables, The 1987 AFI Top 400
Urban Cowboy 1980
Usual Suspects, The 1995
Vertigo 1958 AFI #61
Wind and the Lion, The 1975
Witness 1985 AFI Top 400
Witness For the Prosecution 1957
You've Got Mail 1998

**** In Addition ****

Alfred Hitchcock (about any Hitchcock suspense)
James Bond (all the films in the series)
about any action or drama with the following:
Clark Gable
Humphrey Bogart
John Wayne
Ingrid Bergman
Cary Grant
Audrey Hepburn
Clint Eastwood
Harrison Ford
Go up to the top of this list

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AFI Top 100 Action/Drama/Suspense Movies not listed above
Either I haven't got around to watching them or don't remember watching them(?)
or I was not greatly impressed when I watched them the first time(--)

On the Waterfront (?) 1954 AFI #8; Schindler's List (?) 1993 AFI #9;   To Kill A Mockingbird (--) 1962 AFI #34; The Best Years Of Our Lives (?) 1946 AFI #37;  All Quiet On the Western Front (?) 1930 AFI #54; The Third Man (?) 1949 AFI #57; Wuthering Heights (?) 1939 AFI #73; Platoon (?) 1986 AFI #83; The Jazz Singer (?) 1927 AFI #90; A Place In the Sun (?) 1951 AFI #92; Guess Who's Coming To Dinner (?) 1967 AFI #99

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I Disagree With the Critics!

I just couldn't get into enjoying the following films, which were rated high by the American Film Institute (AFI), Entertainment Weekly (EW) or received Academy Awards.  I may have enjoyed the acting on its own merits, but I just didn't like the movie or the story line on the whole.  I may give them another chance someday.
The Grapes Of Wrath 1940--AFI #21/EW Drama #32; The Dances With Wolves 1990--AFI #75; Raging Bull 1980--EW Drama #22; The Road Warrior 1981--EW Action #3; Gandhi 1982--Best Picture Oscar

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Go rent some of these movies from your local library
or a video store; or order a few choice ones from

Go directly to Musical Film Reviews

Go directly to Western Film Reviews

Go directly to Comedy Film Reviews . . .

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.Note:  I've watched 100's of movies since I wrote
these movie review pages, but I have not kept
up with listing movies I've seen and liked in the last few years.
So, just because an old or recent movie is not listed
doesn't mean I haven't seen it or liked it.

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