What is your favorite Howard Hawks film? What do you consider his best?
Howard Hawks made so many flawlessly entertaining films that to pick a favorite seems almost impossible. One choice now, would be different another time. But for the moment I would have to pick “Rio Bravo.” Possibly the best traditional western and the most fun. An utterly beautiful and well executed movie. As for his best, I would consider “The Big Sleep” to be his masterpiece. Never has Hawks been more stylized (which is rare for Hawks) than in this film noir. A true classic.
The list of flawless works go on and on. Here are a few of his other great films, which could take the place of these two masterpieces any day:
1. Twentieth Century
2. Bringing Up Baby
3. His Girl Friday
4. Sergeant York
5. To Have and Have Not
6. Red River
7. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
8. El Dorado
And many more…
Rio Bravo. But I’ve only seen that and Bringing Up Baby, so it’s a question of a movie I like against a movie I hate.
The one that I watch most often is TWENTIETH CENTURY, with BRINGING UP BABY, HIS GIRL FRIDAY and ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS following.
I liked RIO BRAVO well enough, especially for Dean Martin’s performance, but I don’t feel the need to revisit it.
Only Angels Have Wings
How could I forget “Only Angels Have Wings?!” One of his best.
All great titles. I suppose I’m partial to Sergeant York.
I haven’t seen that many of his, but I love The Big Sleep – one of the best noirs by anyone. Rio Bravo (esp on Bluray) is also a favourite.
Bringing Up Baby is a hoot – it’s almost too zany. It’s been years since I’ve watched Red River, but it’s a great film. I also enjoyed Hatari when I saw it a long time ago.
his girl friday
The Big Sleep.
How can anyone dislike ‘Bringing Up Baby’? Such a ludicrous film.
His Girl Friday
Not a big fan of the Big Sleep (felt weak compared to the novel), neither Red River.
i oddly choose To Have and Have Not, i like the sense of amateurish acting from Ms. Bacall
Rio Bravo & El Dorado
Ball of Fire stands as my favorite, but his most accomplished would probably be Rio Bravo or Only Angels Have Wings.
Quite honestly, Hawks is one of the hardest directors to play this game with. There are so many to choose from; Scarface, Red River, Monkey Business, I Was a Male War Bride, and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes are all worthy choices.
I think Rio Bravo stands as probably Hawks greatest and most polished work. Everything about that film works, it’s almost like a pinnacle of his career and his style. But as for my actual favorite, I’d have to say His Girl Friday, it’s still so side-splittingly funny and amazingly relevant for today’s society. I’m not a big fan of Bringing Up Baby, as much as I love Marx Brothers esque comedy, Bring Up Baby always leaves me empty.
The Big Sleep and Red River would probably be my middle of the road Hawks films, they’re both great films, but I’d sooner turn to Rio Bravo or His Girl Friday. I still need to see Scarface, Only Angels Have Wings, and To Have and Have Not.
I’d agree with what Tony said about The Big Sleep being stylized for Hawks, it was almost surprising for me on the first viewing to see some of the stylistic choices Hawks took. I always hate it when people criticize Hawks for being too stagy, in my opinion he’s one of the most cinematic directors out there.
There really are too many to choose from. It would depend on so many factors like what type of movie you were in the mood for…..he created some excellent movies in quite a few diverse genres. That being said, I still have to pick Only Angels Have Wings as my all-time favorite of his.
Are we counting THE THING in here?
1) Rio Bravo
2) Red Riiver
3) The Thing
4) Ball of Fire
Note – The Thing was submitted as a Hawks entry in The Director’s Cup, so that’s good enough for me.
1. The Big Sleep
2. To Have and Have Not
3. Bringing Up Baby
4. Twentieth Century or His Girl Friday
5. Rio Bravo
The first 4 are what got me into movie as a teenager. The last one is great. Red River I left off. I appreciate it more as a bridge to the John Wayne of “The Searchers”. The resolution of final tension between him and Clift Montgomery seemed artificial.
But even those are great
only angels have wingsthe big sleephis girl friday20th centurygentlemen prefer blondes
i still haven’t made it through rio bravo. one of these days!
I was going to list my top 5 Hawks, but Ruby already did it for me. Thanks, Ruby!
You’ve managed to make it through Rio Bravo, though?
Yes, and it would place sixth on my list, as I’m sure it will on Ruby’s when she gets around to it.
^ my pleasure =D
The Big Sleep
""Only Angels Have Wings""
I always liked the way Wayne and Clift begin with two cows and turn it into an empire. The movie is about the journey to get their catlle to sale, they risk everything an epic in my view.
His Girl Friday and then Only Angels Have Wings. The Big Sleep, Bringing Up Baby and Rio Bravo are right behind.
I discuss Rio Bravo a little bit over on The Every Tuesday Show. Klipsch Speakers’ movie review blog on their website.