Monday, 26 August 2013

Top 10 | Pure Drama

Top 10 Pure Drama

For a film to be a 'pure drama,' the overwhelming theme and element to the film must be drama. There were a number of films that could have made it onto this list, such as The Last Picture Show (1971), Citizen Kane (1941), and The Lives of Others (2006). Films such as these are dominated by drama... not romance, not comedy, not crime nor action... just drama. Here is my Top 10 Pure Drama's. 

10 | All About Eve (1950) Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz

What's cooler than Bette Davis, Marilyn Monroe, George Sanders and Anne Baxter bantering in the same scene? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. All About Eve is one of the wittiest, funniest, and most dramatic movies ever made. It contains my second favourite Davis performance of all time, along with my favourite performances by George Sanders and Anne Baxter. I just found the clash of divas, the chaos, and the backstabbing so darn entertaining. It's one of the greatest Best Picture winners of all time, and one of my all time favourite movies. Also, it contains one of the greatest lines in movie history. "Fasten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy night." 

9 | Mulholland Drive (2001) Directed by David Lynch

(I'm aware that crime is a major theme in the film, but the dramatic aspects are phenomenal). I'll admit, I wasn't a fan of Mulholland Drive when I first saw it. After re-watching it, I found it to be one of the most thrilling, wild, confusing, entertaining masterpieces I'd ever seen! It contains Naomi Watts' greatest performance, along with a haunting score, a wildly original story, a jumbled up puzzle of clues, and one of the best endings I've ever seen. The highlight: The Spanish rendition of "Crying" by Roy Orbison. 

8 | 12 Angry Men (1957) Directed by: Sidney Lumet

12 Angry Men may just be one of the most important movies ever made. The first time I ever saw this film, I was blown away by how flawed the jury system in America is (keep in mind, I was only in the 10th grade). The drama that unfolded between all of the jury members was astounding, especially when certain social prejudices were revealed. I just remember my jaw hitting the ground every time Henry Fonda refuted certain pieces of evidence... evidence that would otherwise be used as the nail in the coffin for the suspect. The best line: "No jury should declare a man guilty, unless it's sure." 

7 | The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007) Directed by: Julian Schnabel

Seldom has there been a film that has moved me as much as The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. It's usage of first-person cinematography and extremely effective, poetic dialogue made the movie a masterpiece. I just remember sitting there, feeling as paralysed as the main character. I was so submersed in his story that when the ending came... I just lost it. I cried for about 15 minutes. In my opinion, no other movie from 2007 comes close to the league of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. 

6 | Sunset Boulevard (1950) Directed by: Billy Wilder

"I am big, it's the picture's that got small!" Sunset Boulevard is arguably the greatest movie of all time. It's a flawless film. Absolutely flawless. When it comes to 'drama,' there are no other women as dramatic or as creepy as Norma Desmond, played perfectly by Gloria Swanson. To me, it is the greatest performance in the history of cinema. That's right, it's my all time favourite. I remember feeling torn between liking and hating Norma. I felt sorry for her, being abandoned by the world of cinema since the introduction of the talkies... but she was also an obsessive and self-loving bitch. Her immortal line 'Alright Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up," always gives me chills. 

5 | American Beauty (1999) Directed by Sam Mendes

American Beauty is one of the first films that made me fall in love with the world of cinema. The 'normal' family, neighbours, and friends are anything but normal... and this film was the opposite of what I expected. There is lots to talk about, so I'll narrow it down. The affairs and midlife crises of Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening were hilarious, believable, and always entertaining. My favourite story was the daughter's relationship with the strange neighbour, "Sometimes there's so much beauty in the world, I feel like I can't take it." I loved how the over-confident best-friend is more self-conscious than anyone, and that the extremely conservative neighbour had to repress himself his whole life. It's just one big, perfect-mess of drama. 

4 | Farewell My Concubine (1993) Directed by Kaige Chen

Leslie Cheung moved me to tears.
Farewell My Concubine is my favourite Chinese movie of all time, and my personal favourite drama. It spans 5 decades of Chinese history, and follows one of the most unusual and interesting characters in cinematic history. It's one of those stories where it's hard to like any of the characters, yet you're so invested in their lives. It is stunning and tender, shocking and heartbreaking, and always riveting. Leslie Cheung gives one of the all time greatest performances in this film. He plays an actor that makes a living from playing a female opera singer... but he's also in love with his male co-star and best friend.

3 | A Separation (2011) Directed by Asghar Farhadi

A Separation is one of those films that BEGS to be discussed immediately after the credits roll. It's another 'flawless' film in my opinion, and one of the most intelligent and interesting ever created. We instantly delve into a really f*cked up situation, where it's easy to feel sorry for everyone and hard to pin the blame on anyone. I just remember after seeing this film, my family and I just sat in the lounge room discussing it for about an hour. It had a profound effect on me, and I think it'll become a 'classic' in the near future. 

2 | The Shawshank Redemption (1994) Directed by Frank Darabont

The Shawshank Redemption was my first taste of a perfect film. It raised the bar for me, setting a new tone for anything I saw after it. The characters, the dialogue, the cinematography, the score by Thomas Newman, the story, that escape scene... wow. Put simply... it's one of the most inspiring, poetic films I've ever seen. I couldn't pick a highlight from the film, because to me, the whole thing is just one big highlight.

1 | Ikiru (1952) Directed by Akira Kurosawa

I started watching this film having no idea what to expect, and left with a smile and a tear. Ikiru is undoubtedly one of the greatest movies of all time, for its story is enough to inspire someone to do something with their life. Takashi Shimura's performance is nothing short of perfection. It's one of the greatest performances of all time. Never has there been a film that made me appreciate life so much... there are so many wonderful lessons throughout this film. It's a must-see for any film fanatic. 

If you liked this list, check out my list for
Top 10 Greatest Romance Movies


  1. This is a fine list. Three of my all-time Top 10 there. Mulholland Dr. definitely deserves to be seen several times. I watched it again the following day after the first viewing.

    1. I've seen it four times now... it never gets old.

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