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1979 films

Related: 1979 - film - 1970s films

Films: Alien (1979) - Caligula (1979) - Christ Stopped at Eboli (1979) - Hardcore (1979) - Mad Max (1979) - Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979) - The Brood (1979)

More films

  1. Buffet Froid, France, 1979 [Amazon US]
    From Bertrand Blier, the Academy Award®-winning director of Get Out Your Handkerchiefs and Too Beautiful for You, comes Buffet Froid, Blier's farcical thriller starring Gérard Depardieu as Alphonse, an unemployed drifter obsessed with murder and death. Structured as an absurdly hilarious nightmare, Buffet Froid has a logic that is both twisted and stark: a husband befriends his wife's murderer, a high-ranking official plans his own assassination, a lost knife is found in the belly of a subway passenger. Together with the Chief of Police and a murderer who is afraid of the dark, Depardieu is drawn into an inescapable complicity of murder, treachery and paranoia which draws him closer and closer to a fatetul end.

  2. Head Over Heels (aka Chilly Scenes of Winter) (1979) - Joan Micklin Silver [Amazon US]
    John Heard plays Charles, a sardonic civil servant who can't seem to get over his breakup with Laura (Mary Beth Hurt). While listening to his mother describe how she's thinking of killing herself, Charles begins to reflect on how the relationship started. From there, the movie flashes back and forth between his present obsessiveness and the ups and downs of his two months with Laura. The rambling but entertaining progress of Chilly Scenes of Winter is sprinkled with sharp, satirical portraits of the other people in Charles's life, including his mother (the great B-movie actress, Gloria Grahame), who wallows in her offhand madness, and his roommate, Sam (Peter Riegert), an unemployed womanizer. But the movie's greatest strength is its warts-and-all portrait of Charles himself. He's funny, but his humor often slides into hostility; he's affectionate, but his attentions sometimes turn neurotic and possessive. The movie doesn't condemn him, but it doesn't let him off the hook, either, and Heard's performance manages to be both charming and dismaying. The result is a gentle, sometimes painful, but always honest comedy about the messy details of relationships that has developed a passionate cult following. Chilly Scenes of Winter is based on the novel of the same name by Anne Beattie, who has a cameo as a waitress. --Bret Fetzer for Amazon.com

  3. Being There (1979) - Hal Ashby [Amazon US]
    Thanks to an extraordinary, delicately balanced performance by Peter Sellers, Being There received mixed reviews during its theatrical release in 1979, but has since become a celebrated comedy with a loyal following. It's one of the most unusual black comedies ever made, simply because it stretches a simple premise over 130 minutes of straight-faced, strangely compelling commentary on politics, media, and celebrity in media-savvy America. Adapted by Jerzy Kozinsky from his own novel, the movie's about a simple-minded, middle-aged gardener who, after a lifetime of seclusion and safety in a Washington, D.C. townhouse, gets his first exposure to reality beyond the walls of his sheltered existence. His only reference to the world is through his childlike addiction to television, and when a chance encounter brings him into the inner fold of a dying billionaire (Melvyn Douglas), he suddenly finds himself the toast of Washington's political elite. His simple phrases about gardening are misinterpreted as anything from economic predictions to sage political advice, and under the sharp direction of Hal Ashby, Sellers has the audacity to take this comedic conceit to its logical extreme. Being There is not for all tastes--especially not for those who don't appreciate comedic subtlety. But as a showcase for the daring genius of Peter Sellers, this is a classic movie in a category all its own. --Jeff Shannon for amazon.com

  4. Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979) - Werner Herzog [DVD, Amazon US]
    Werner Herzog's remake of F.W. Murnau's original vampire classic is at once a generous tribute to the great German director and a distinctly unique vision by one of cinema's most idiosyncratic filmmakers. Though Murnau's Nosferatu was actually an unauthorized adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula, Herzog based his film largely on Murnau's conceptions--at times directly quoting Murnau's images--but manages to slip in a few references to Tod Browning's famous version (at one point the vampire comments on the howling wolves: "Listen, the children of the night make their music."). Longtime Herzog star Klaus Kinski is both hideous and melancholy as Nosferatu (renamed Count Dracula in the English language version). As in Murnau's film, he's a veritable gargoyle with his bald pate and sunken eyes, and his talon-like fingernails and two snaggly fangs give him a distinctly feral quality. But Kinski's haunting eyes also communicate a gloomy loneliness--the curse of his undead immortality--and his yearning for Lucy (Isabelle Adjani) becomes a melancholy desire for love. Bruno Ganz's sincere but foolish Jonathan is doomed to the vampire's will and his wife, Lucy, a holy innocent whose deathly pallor and nocturnal visions link her with the ghoulish Nosferatu, becomes the only hope against the monster's plague-like curse. Herzog's dreamy, delicate images and languid pacing create a stunningly beautiful film of otherworldly mood, a faithful reinterpretation that by the conclusion has been shaped into a quintessentially Herzog vision. --Sean Axmaker for Amazon.com [features Roland Topor and Klaus Kinski]

  5. Quadrophenia (1979) - Franc Roddam [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    Franc Roddam's terrifically energetic movie, set to music from the Who's Quadrophenia, is--at the very least, the best film ever based on a rock album (and, yes, that includes, Tommy, Pink Floyd: The Wall, and Jesus Christ Superstar). Actually, this tale of the battle between two early '60s youth subcultures--Mods and Rockers--in the seaside teenage wasteland of Brighton, England, isn't so much a cinematic "version" of the Who's 1979 double-record rock opera as it is a story based on the sequence of songs on the album. Quadrophenia is about that crucial time in teenhood when the lion's share of your sense of identity is tied up in the music you listen to, the clothes you wear, and the groups you hang out with. Jimmy (Phil Daniels) identifies himself with the sharp-dressing, scooter-riding Mods, who listen to American soul and British pop-rock (The Who themselves were once rather Mod). The Rockers, on the other hand, are leather-jacketed, black-booted, motorcycle-riding tough guys who listen primarily to classic American rock & roll. The film captures this minor pop-culture revolution perfectly. Look for Sting as a club-hopping slickster, who's shameful secret is that he's a hotel bellboy by day. --Jim Emerson for amazon.com

  6. Rock 'n' Roll High School (1979) - Joe Dante, Allan Arkush [1 DVD, Amazon US]
    "Do your parents know you're Ramones?" With those withering words, Miss Togar (Mary Woronov), the uptight neofascist principal of Vince Lombardi High School, addresses the four mop-haired, leather-jacketed members of America's first and most famous punk band. And you know it won't be long before the Ramones's jackhammer riffs are blaring through the public address system at maximum volume, the kids are running--not walking--wild in the hallways (without passes!), and Miss Togar's gulag is re-christened "Rock 'n' Roll High School." Then, in keeping with the outrageously nihilistic animus of punk, the high school students and the Ramones just blow the place to smithereens. It's a crowd- pleasing, fantasy-fulfillment climax that combines the apocalyptic finale of Michelangelo Antonioni's Zabriskie Point with the explosive conclusion of Alice Cooper's "School's Out." Rock 'n' Roll High School is a blast, a goofy and liberating salute to the rebel spirit behind the teen rock & roll movies of the 1950s, which always pitted the kids' insatiable appetite for fun against the adults' fear-based authoritarianism. The film is emblematic of the disarmingly silly, tongue-in-cheek humor of the youth-oriented B-pictures cranked out in the '50s and '60s by renowned low-budget exploitation mogul Roger Corman (who gave many a hungry young filmmaker, including the creators of this film, their start in the biz), and of the noisy, anarchic energy of '70s punk rock, as personified by the inimitable Ramones. In the words of the maestros' beach-blanket-buzz-saw title anthem, this movie is "Fun, fun, oh baby, fun, fun..." --Jim Emerson for amazon.com [...]

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