Top Ten Stanley Kubrick Films: Terry Malloy’s Pigeon Coop

Today Chris from Terry Malloy’s Pigeon Coop is going to share his top ten Stanley Kubrick films, which is quite a heavy list to put together, but it is a great one. Chris’s site deals with many reviews and he has an awesome feature called “What is…?” that is dedicated to educating you on a lot of film related things (techniques, etc), which I have learned a lot from. An excellent site with great content, I would highly recommend popping over there to look into all things pertaining to film!

Should you be interested in submitting a Top Ten list, draw up a list of either your top ten personal favourite movies or a top ten list by a specific genre/theme and send it along to me at sporadiczoe@hotmail.com. Hope to see a few more lists!

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As some of you may or may not know, I’m a massive fan of Stanley Kubrick, so when Zoë put out the call for top 10 lists, I thought I’d set about trying to rank his films. Kubrick doesn’t actually have the most extensive filmography (he only actually made 13 feature films before he died in 1999) but here are my top 10…

10. The Killing

the killing

Kubrick considered The Killing as his first mature film and it’s definitely a step up from his previous work. He uses his now-renowned tracking shots and long takes, as well as clever uses of time and narrative to create a really interesting little heist film.

9. Lolita

lolita

Kubrick’s adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov’s novel was incredibly controversial when it was released and it’s not hard to see why, as James Mason’s HumbertHumbert becomes infatuated with nymphet Lolita. It can be a little slow in places but it’s full of nuances, and Peter Sellers’ superb performance make it an intriguing watch.

8. Barry Lyndon

barry lyndon

I’m not a big fan of period dramas but Barry Lyndon is by far my favourite. It tells the story of an Irish rogue who marries into aristocracy and is a visually stunning piece of cinema. Every shot looks like a painting and the chiaroscuro lighting looks fantastic.

7. Paths of Glory

paths of glory

Paths of Glory is the film that really announced Kubrick onto the directing scene. It’s a comment on the futility of war and the effects it has on those in battle compared to those sat behind desks. It features some fantastic lighting, interesting camera angles and weaving reverse tracking shots.

6. 2001: A Space Odyssey

space oddyssey

This would probably be at the top of a lot of people’s lists but I’m content with its mid-list placing. It features a host of now iconic imagery and a final third that will have you questioning the meaning and origin of life. If it doesn’t pickle your brain, that is. Oh and HAL is one of the best ‘villains’ in movie history.

5. A Clockwork Orange

clockwork orange

A Clockwork Orange was banned in the UK for a fair few years but seems relatively tame by today’s standards. It’s a dystopian tale of authority control and is twisted beyond belief. A made-up language, a rape set to Singin’ In The Rain and plenty of the old ultra violence are just three reasons why A Clockwork Orange is so memorable.

4. Eyes Wide Shut

eyes wide shut

Some people hate Eyes Wide Shut, and others love it. I’m firmly in the latter camp. It’s a strange film, make no mistake; a story about marriage, dreams, sexual fantasy, and how the lines between them can become blurred. It stars then real-life couple Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, and is widely regarded as a catalyst for the breakdown of their relationship.

3. Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

dr strangelove

One of the blackest comedies you could wish to watch, but it really is incredibly funny. It’s also still incredibly relevant as a statement on the ridiculous nature of war. Peter Sellers gives a fantastic performance as the titular German doctor, whilst the line “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the war room!” remains one of the best lines of all time.

2. The Shining

the shining

This film needs little introduction. The Shining is one of the most discussed films of all time and shows Kubrick’s meticulousness probably more than any of his other films. Steven King may have hated this version of his novel but I think it’s a masterpiece. I’m not a massive fan of horror films but this is just brilliant.

1. Full Metal Jacket

full metal jacket

This is my favourite war film. It’s split distinctly into two parts; in the first we see the training of the soldiers as they’re stripped of all identity and abused by R Lee Ermey’s terrifying Gunnery Sergeant Hartman. In the second half, the recruits are sent out to fight in the Vietnam War, with statements from Kubrick on the media and consumerism aspects of war. There’s loads to analyse and that’s one of the reasons I love it.

Well there’s my list, thanks for having me Zoë!

30 thoughts on “Top Ten Stanley Kubrick Films: Terry Malloy’s Pigeon Coop

    1. Nah, no love for Spartacus unfortunately. It’s not a true Kubrick film in my eyes. Kubrick only came onto the film after it had started shooting after the first director was fired. It was more of a Kirk Douglas film to be honest, he controlled most of the stuff in it apparently.

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      1. Great list, Chris! I did this as a top ten as well. : ) My top is The Shining by a million miles. Then Strangelove & 2001. It’s terrible that I’ve never seen Full Metal Jacket… I will someday! : )

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    1. I was just coming here to comment and thank you ever so kindly for your list! Don’t be ridiculous! It is an awesome list! You are welcome to do that if you want 😛

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  1. Paths of Glory seventh place?? I shall have to challenge you to a duel ha. Great topic though and a great list. A really neat write up too. I’ve seen them all but Lolita. Which was the first one you saw btw?

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  2. I’m ashamed to say i’ve sen hardly any of these. I preferred Full Metal Jacket’s first half to the second part, which I thought looked a bit cheap (it was filmed in London rather than in Vietnam though to be fair)!!

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  3. I just rewatched Full Metal Jacket the other day. Like others here, I also prefer the first half (I think most people prefer the first half). I still think Anton Furst did wonders to turn London into Vietnam, though. R Lee Ermey is both chilling and hilarious as the Marine Gunnery Sergeant, and as you all probably know, he was hired by Kubrick as a technical adviser. He threw out the script and sent Kubrick an audition tape where he improvised a monologue based on his own experiences as a marine, and Kubrick saw it and decided to fire the other actor and hire Ermey instead. There is much to admire in FMJ (and also a lot to discuss: there is a conspiracy theory that the film is in fact Kubrick’s analysis of the Kenendy assassination). What ever happened to Matthew Modine?

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  4. Ooh…favorite Kubrick film… tough one. I’d go for The Shining myself with Clockwork Orange, 2001, Eyes Wide Shut and Paths of Glory at spots 2, 3, 4 and 5.

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  5. Oooooh cool idea for a list, Chris! Although this reminds me how woefully ill-versed I am in Kubrick…I’ve only seen The Shining. :/ But now I know which ones to watch first! 🙂 Excellent job, you two. Zoe, I can’t get enough of these Top Tens!

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  6. Great list, Chris. I don’t love all of these, and I haven’t seen others, but I agree that Dr Strangelove and 2001 are sheer brilliance. Paths of Glory and Lolita are also high on my must see list.

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  7. Very handsome looking list. I must right my many wrongs and see Dr. Strangelove, Full Metal Jacket and Eyes Wide Shut. lol, those are all classics, apparently. How am I a movie reviewer again? Lol!

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  8. Good post Chris! Seriously reading my mind right now. I have been wanting to catch up on the Kubrick movies I haven’t seen yet. I am very interested in seeing Barry Lyndon and Dr. Strangelove. I have waited way too long to not have seen it. Awesome!!

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