I’ve noticed that even films with seemingly universal appeal among critics and the masses (Pulp Fiction comes to mind) have their detractors among hard-core cinephiles like those on this site. And movies that please the toughest critics (for the purpose of this post I’d like to call them ‘Criterions’ as opposed to an unfair term like ‘film snobs’) often don’t have legs with the general public who find them pretentious or too challenging when all they want is a good ride. One film that I’ve never heard criticism of is ‘Shawshank Redemption’ for instance and it certainly ranks high with the saturday night crowd as well as critics but I suspect it might be regarded as too facile by Criterions. Kubrick comes to mind but the people I meet who love him are generally deeply into film and not passive viewers. The one of his that I think might qualify is ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’. I’ve yet to meet anyone from low brow to high that didn’t enjoy that film. Any other thoughts on films with universal appeal?
Modern Times or maybe The Gold Rush
Kubrick didn’t make Cuckoo’s Nest but that’s a good pick in terms broad appeal; it’s my mom’s favorite movie and my film snob friends love its (as do I)
‘Bicycle Thieves’ is one of my favorite films but I’m sure I couldn’t get most of my friends to sit through it. I’d argue that the crowd that made ‘Wild Hogs’ a blockbuster (I shudder as I type those words) is definitely not an audience patient enough for ‘Bicycle Thieves’.
I’ve never met anyone who didn’t like The Godfather, Goodfellas, Chinatown, Casablanca or The Night of the Hunter.
Whoa, Milos Foreman. Sorry, Rob. I had a moment there. I guess because I regard them as two of our best directors and guys who weren’t particularly prolific, I sometimes equate them… or maybe ‘The Shining’ got stuck in my head. Damn, thinking of Foreman, I think ‘Amadeus’ is pretty universal as well
Believe me, on THIS forum, no film has universal appeal – someone will damn it here, if just out of spite. However, though I have just read a couple of distractors for these on another thread, I will add Some Like it Hot and The Graduate to the list of films that should merit universal appeal (that is, except here).
once upon a time in the west
to kill a mockingbird
SOME LIKE IT HOT, good call.
Early Disney: SNOW WHITE, PINOCCHIO, DUMBO, FANTASIA: I’ve yet to meet anyone who dislikes these films.
E.T. (in fact, I don’t know anyone who dislikes really well done children’s films)
WALL-E, another example.
Probably The Untouchables.
Haha, Bob, Some Like it Hot and The Graduate are two films that most people seem to love that I find very mediocre. So you can scratch those off your list if I have any say in it. Same with Philadelphia Story.
My girlfriend didn’t like Once Upon a Time in the West, but then again I don’t think she watched more than ten minutes HA! She knows The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly is my favorite film, but I haven’t sat down to have her watch that yet.
Citizen Kane might get knocked down by people just because it’s been named the greatest film of all time in too many polls, but what about Touch of Evil?
Assayas’ “Summer Hours”.
These are the kind of films that do well on websites like films101.com.
I’ll add Bonnie and Clyde, though that’s certainly not a favorite of mine.
I enjoy Shawshank, but think that it is way overrated. I’ll put my money on Cool Hand Luke
The late great Blake Edwards’s “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” would be high on the list.
A clockwork orange, The 400 Blows, Full Metal Jacket
I would say something more middle of the road
like Terms of Enderment or Field of Dreams
not something as divisive as Kubrick’s stuff
Uh…Gone with the Wind.
As much as it pains me to say it, the box office receipts for GwtW make it an automatic contender for this. Also, The Wizard of Oz, which goes along with the “well-made children’s film”.