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It is commonly said that before you die, your life flashes before your eyes. Now imagine your disappointment, as you settle back for this final show reel of all your accomplishments, that alongside all the missed sexual opportunities, the countries you’d never visited – you realise the full horrifying extent of all those incredible movies you’d never quite got around to watching! There’d be no turning back – you just denied yourself some of life’s great pleasures. But wait, you’re reading this so we can assume you still have a pulse.

There’s still hope! Get off that gurney, pull that drip out of your arm, run to a video store and ensure you watch each and every one of the following recommendations before it’s too late…

In this edition: Adventure (a film usually involving a journey through exotic locations and a tangible – i.e. not just metaphorical – “quest” ).

“Get off that gurney, pull that drip out of your arm, run to a video store and
ensure you watch each and every one of the following recommendations before it’s too late…”

05 - Deliverance | Director: John Boorman | Released: 1972

deliverance

Jon Voigt and three corporate buddies take one last boating trip down Georgia’s Cahulawassee River before the valley is flooded to make way for a dam. Ned Beatty’s contemptuous attitude towards the local Hillbillies comes back to bite his ass, almost literally, as our protagonists are left ruing the lack of mobile phones back in the 1970s, being forced to fight for their anal virginity and indeed their very survival in the unforgiving wilderness. Deliverance has produced some of the most striking moments in movie history, from duelling banjos to the “squeal like a pig” sequence.

“No-one does world-weary quite like Bogey. And in this John Huston epic he out- Bogeys himself as a paranoid, alcoholic, down-and-out getting gypped in Mexico.“

04 - The Treasure of The Sierra Madre | Director: John Huston | Released: 1948

the treasure of the sierra madre

No-one does world-weary quite like Bogey. And in this John Huston epic he out-Bogeys himself as a paranoid, alcoholic, down-and-out getting gypped in Mexico. After a chance encounter with a talkative old-timer in a poorhouse, Bogart’s Dobbs ignores his remark that he’s “never known a prospector yet that’s died rich” to join him and a fellow bum mining for gold in the mountains of deepest Mexico. While their efforts are initially rewarded, things turn sour as first rival prospectors, and then banditos close in on their camp. But the real enemy is greed, and as the pile of gold grows, so does the mutual mistrust. Watching Dobbs slowly unhinge is a sheer delight.

“Spielberg is so adept at giving audiences what they want he is often seen more as a slick marketing man than the artist he truly is.”

03 - Jaws | Director: Steven Spielberg | Released: 1975

jaws

A local cop tries to stop a Great White shark from terrorising bathers in his coastal town. This tour de force destroyed swimming-in-the-sea as a viable pastime for a whole generation. Not many people can lay claim to that. Spielberg is so adept at giving audiences what they want he is often seen more as a slick marketing man than the artist he truly is. Jaws shows him at his Hitchcockian best (even borrowing Vertigo’s dolly zoom effect).

Disappointed by the quality of the rubber shark he was given to work with, Spielberg
instead relied on expert direction and editing, not to mention one of the most inspired uses of music, to ratchet up tension and terrify the audience. A masterclass in suspense and contains one of cinema’s great lines: “You’re going to need a bigger boat.” Indeed.

02 - Aguirre: The Wrath of God | Director: Werner Herzog | Released: 1972

aguirre the wrath of god

The Wrath of God. Quite possibly Werner Herzog’s finest film. This story of madness and obsession follows Klaus Kinski (playing the eponymous hero) in search of the mysterious city of gold – El Dorado. Filmed on location in the Peruvian rainforest, the Conquistadors engage in a power struggle amongst themselves as they hack their way through dense jungle and unwitting Indians. Herzog’s direction is staggering; from the opening sequence of the Spaniards navigating narrow mountain footpaths to the doomed boat ride up the Amazon. Kinski, a mad genius himself, is perfectly cast – famously terrifying cast, crew and director even after the cameras had long stopped rolling. The final sequences of Aguirre on his raft, railing against God and his enemies as arrows, disease and hunger pick off his crew, are amongst the most memorable in cinema.

“Raiders of the Lost Ark was recently voted the second greatest fi lm of all time by Empire readers for good reason.”

01 - Raiders of the Lost Ark | Director: Steven Spielberg | Released: 1981

raiders of the lost ark

If you haven’t seen this exhilarating tribute to 1930s Saturday matinee serials, then you’re either from Tora Bora or you have a visceral hatred of cinema. Raiders of the Lost Ark was recently voted the second greatest film of all time by Empire readers for good reason. Besides Nazis, treasure, ingenious traps, snakes, biplanes, exotic locations, face melting and treacherous monkeys – you’ll find at its heart a fantastic story, razor-sharp dialogue and surprisingly adult themes…

This is the first and the best of the Indiana Jones franchise and amazingly, given the sumptuous visuals and locations, shot for only $18m (contrast with the execrable, CGI-heavy, Kingdom of The Crystal Skull – estimated budget $185m). In recent years George Lucas has been on a one-man quest to destroy his own legacy, but Raiders serves to remind us that he was once, truly, a master of his art.

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