Films to Watch Before You Die

This may seem a little out of the ordinary from us, but I thought I would do the public service of offering a selection of films that I personally enjoy. So much of what is produced nowadays by Hollywood is just vapid garbage, entirely commercial products of film, designed solely to appeal to the widest demographic possible and with no good or meaningful message. That's why very few films in the last decade have made a lasting cultural impact, and instead try to recapture the creativity of already existing franchises. Anyway, here's the list, feel free to offer more suggestions:

 

Michael Collins (1996)

This is a fiery film about the Irish revolutionary Michael Collins. Based on actual events, it follows Michael Collins from the time of the Great War, right through to the Irish Civil War. This film depicts nationalism simply as a matter of common sense, the Irish at this time had been fighting for independence for over 500 years, even when they were so close to the heart of the global British Empire. Michael Collins uses his revolutionary skills to transform the IRA using unconventional methods such as giving every unit of the Irish Republican Army total independence, removing the need for a top-down command structure and thus the possibility of their ranks being thrown into disarray with the death of a single military leader.

 

Gladiator (2000)

This Russell Crowe Epic tells the story of a very successful Roman general, Maximus Decimus Meridius, made heir by the ailing emperor Marcus Aurelius in place of the Emperors own son, Commodus. Unable to accept his perceived betrayal, Commodus seizes power and banishes Maximus, condemning him to a life of slavery, as well as killing his wife and son. Maximus goes on a journey across the empire, fighting his way through the gladiatorial arenas to avenge his family and bring order to the Empire once more. This film oozes beautiful historical European imagery and exemplifies the ideals of European civlisation, that of bravery and perserverence in spite of all odds.

 

Braveheart (1995)

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Honestly, if you haven't seen this film, I don't want to know you. This Mel Gibson war epic, while loosely based on actual events, tells a magnificent story about ethnic nationalism and the fight for independence at all costs. A must watch.

 

Master and Commander (2003)

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Another Russell Crowe Epic. This film tells the story of an English Captain of the Royal Navy, pursuing a French ship during the Napoleonic Wars. A tale of heroism and cunning in a battle against a technologically superior enemy. This film exemplifies the ideals of duty and discipline. Doing what has to be done for the sake of honour, even when all the odds are stacked against you.

 

The Patriot (2000)

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A wonderful film from the big man himself, Mel Gibson. A father joins the revolutionary war to protect his family, but nearly loses everything along the way. Despite some unnecessary PC moments, these don't drag the film down and overall it is a very wholesome and nationalistic film, exemplifying the concept of freedom and liberty at all costs.

 

Fight Club (1999)

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A mind-bending thriller, this film explores the melancholy and isolation that plagues modern Western civilisation. This film has themes and events that seem eerily prophetic in hindsight.  This film is basically the film version of the Anarchists Cook Book, it resonates especially with millennials and Gen Z as it addresses the problems that we face directly, to quote the film:

"Man, I see in Fight Club the strongest and smartest men who've ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see it squandered. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables – slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our great war is a spiritual war. Our great depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars, but we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off."

-Tyler Durden

 

ZULU (1964)

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This epic war film, based on the actual Battle of Rorke's Drift, is a thrilling piece of historical film. A handful of British Redcoats are surrounded by thousands of Zulu warriors and through incredible bravery and cunning manage to seize the day. This film is an exemplary piece of historical drama, not a single drop of politically correct nonsense for the sake of not offending modern crybabies who hate the fact that people in the past did not share their modern hypersensitive point of view.

 

Starship Troopers (1997)

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Based on the novel of the same name by Robert A. Heinlein, this Paul Veerhoven film is a visual effects masterpiece, even by modern standard. It tells the story of John Rico, a mobile infantryman of the Terran Federation Army. Set hundreds of years in the future, in a world where a hyper-militaristic and fascistic United States conquered the world following a devastating global nuclear war. The government arose initially as a resistance of war veterans who laid the blame for the devastation solely in the hands of the soft liberal intellectual class that up until that point had ruled the world.

The film makes an effort to criticise American Imperialism and Fascism itself, but in the decades since the film's release, it seems safe to say that this attempt has completely backfired, as it comes across almost universally as a love letter to Fascism and a scathing critique of liberal democracy.

“Both for practical reasons and for mathematically verifiable moral reasons, authority and responsibility must be equal - else a balancing takes place as surely as current flows between points of unequal potential. To permit irresponsible authority is to sow disaster; to hold a man responsible for anything he does not control is to behave with blind idiocy. The unlimited democracies were unstable because their citizens were not responsible for the fashion in which they exerted their sovereign authority... other than through the tragic logic of history... No attempt was made to determine whether a voter was socially responsible to the extent of his literally unlimited authority. If he voted the impossible, the disastrous possible happened instead - and responsibility was then forced on him willy-nilly and destroyed both him and his foundationless temple.” 

― Robert A. Heinlein, Starship Troopers

 

Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

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Set in an alternate future, where massive mega-corporations rule the world and all interstellar colonies, the world is in decay, as well as facing a crisis presented by the synthetically created humans known as "replicants", who are used as slave labour, both on and off world. 

While set in the near future, this film could easily be seen as a parable for the modern world. Men are hopelessly alone and isolated, despite miraculous technology that supposedly is keeping us all connected. The main protagonist, "Joe", could be seen as the everyman. Despite initially seeming to be the chosen one, he soon finds out that he isn't special, that he has been lied to his whole life, but despite losing everything, his struggle becomes his purpose in life.

 

The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

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Featuring Obi-Wan Kanobi, this epic war film tells the story of British POWs held captive by the Japanese in Burma. Despite mistreatment and harsh conditions, the British soldiers maintain their stiff upper lips, finding hope and pride in their work, that being to build a bridge for the enemy. A classic European film about European values.

 

Letters From Iwo Jima (2006)

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This great Clint Eastwood film is rare in that it depicts WW2 from the Japanese perspective. It shows the reality often overlooked by most war films, the reality that Japan was hopelessly outnumbered, outgunned and under-equipped against the powerful American military. It makes the raising of the flag over Iwo Jima at the end seem more tragic and more like a hollow victory, rather than the heroic achievement it's oft made out to be. The film shows just how desperate and hopeless the situation was for the Japanese soldiers, especially at this point in the war.