If you have a movie enthusiast on your list, consider one or more of these classics that might just be that perfect gift this year or any year.
This Francis Ford Coppola film is loosely based on Joseph Conrad’s story The Heart of Darkness but it’s really a commentary on the ultimate insanity of humankind waging war on itself generation after generation. The companion documentary Heart of Darkness: A Director’s Apocalypse shows Coppola’s many struggles associated with making the film and is just as compelling as the film it documents. Coppola’s Godfather films also make excellent stocking stuffers.
A tale of desert murder and intrigue told in a modern noire style by Joel and Ethan Coen. This is the film that got the ball rolling for the incredible Coen films like Fargo, O Brother Where Art Thou? and No Country for Old Men.
A trip through a gangster infused Los Angeles by Quentin Tarantino. The film serves as a break out performance for Samuel L. Jackson and as a comeback role for John Travolta. Classic movie lovers would also enjoy seeing Jackie Brown or Inglorious Basterds under the tree as well.
Woody Allen’s homage to New York City is a great story with a great performance by a very young Mariel Hemingway and features Diane Keaton at her goofy best. The film also serves as a kind of reference point of 1970’s New York and how it continues to change yet has that same almost mystical pull like no other modern city. Hannah and Her Sisters and Manhattan Murder Mystery would also be received with much appreciation by the classic film lover.
Another down and dirty look at Los Angeles, this time from the 1950’s. Walter Houston flexes his muscles with an unlikely story about the seemingly divergent topics of illegal procurement of water, incest and murder. Many feel this is one of Jack Nicholson’s most understated and finest performances ever and Faye Dunaway is at a smoldering peak.
Just about any film directed by Alfred Hitchcock would be a fantastic gift for the classic film enthusiast but this one has Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelley working there magic in a story that could have easily been as boring as drying paint in the hands of a lesser director.
Last but not least, this rags to riches to ruin film, loosely based on publisher William Randolph Hearst, is indeed a great story but, generations of directors have been influenced by the radical composition of nonlinear narrative forms, innovative light and sound techniques and uncommon camera angles employed by the then 25 year old wunderkind Orson Welles. Citizen Kane remains a cinematic benchmark to this day.