Classic “B” Movies! Body Heat! Battle Royale! Bogart Too! Cinema’s Greatest Films That Begin With A “B”!

How About Some Classic “B” Movies!

I’m getting 2020 off to a cinematic start: with these then “B” movies!

In Hollywood parlance, a “B” movie used to refer to the second film on a double feature – a lesser known movie that viewers got as a bonus…here’s an example:

It’s too bad there are no longer double bills like this, but it gives me a way to launch into ten great movies that begin with the letter “B” – and I begin with what I call:

The Original “Hunger Games!”

Yes, you may know “Hunger Games”, but this is the film that started it all: a group of students forced to survive on a secluded island – battling against each other – the intense and controversial Japanese film from 2000:

10 – Battle Royale

This ultra-controversial film began in Japan as a controversial novel – the story is simple: one high school class is taken to an island – and only one lone survivor leaves! Here is the trailer:

This subject matter was so controversial in Japan that members of the Japanese Parliament tried to get the novel banned, and then later tried to ban the film as well. It backfired, as both became mega-hits based on the controversy.

You can read more about this great movie here:

https://johnrieber.com/2012/03/18/behold-battle-royale-the-original-hunger-games/

Next up is one of my favorite movies – about the changing nature of TV news – while it’s 30 years old, it’s amazing topical today:

9 – “Broadcast News”

William Hurt, Holly Hunter and Albert Brooks star in this inside look at the changing nature of TV news. You can see so many parallels to what is happening today….one of the best films about TV, TV news, and chasing ratings at all costs…

It’s just one of many films that captured where we are today – see that story here:

https://johnrieber.com/2016/05/31/political-chaos-2016-network-and-broadcast-news-nailed-it-this-town-confirms-the-shenanigans/

Next up is a classic science fiction film from 1982 with the iconic line:

“Wake Up, Time To Die”

8 – Blade Runner

This Ridley Scott films stars Harrison Ford as a “blade runner” who must terminate four “replicants” who stole a ship in space and have returned to Earth to find their creator.

Here is the trailer:

According to IMDB, Ridley Scott’s first cut ran four hours! When he showed it to the cast and crew, they “admitted that while it looked beautiful, it was mostly incomprehensible, necessitating additional editing and an explanatory voice-over.”

The imagery of the film is haunting, and one of the greatest moments is when the late Rutger Hauer, one of the replicants, leans over Ford and whispers:

“Wake up, time to die.”

The Director has released numerous versions of the film, but the original holds up just fine for me…

Here is one of the most seminal films of the 60’s, which ushered a whole new era of explicit violence in film:

7 – Bonnie & Clyde

In 1967, Arthur Penn directed this brilliant film starring Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Gene Hackman and Michael J. Pollard – a raw, violent and controversial look at these modern day outlaws:

My friend Alison Martino hosted a screening in LA with Pollard in attendance, here is a look at that event:

https://johnrieber.com/2015/03/17/bonnie-clyde-vintage-la-screening-amazing-live-guest-pictures-from-a-revolution/

Time to lighten the mood, with the the highest grossing R-rated female comedy of all time!

6 – Bridesmaids

Kristen Wiig catapulted to stardom in 2011, along with Melissa McCarthy, thanks to this hilariously funny look at the world of “bridesmaids” – check out the trailer:

This ensemble cast is amazing – and Jon Hamm is hilarious is a small role as Wiig’s sex-crazed boyfriend:

Here is some surprising trivia, thanks to IMDB:

“Before he came to Hollywood, Jon Hamm, who plays Ted in this movie, was a high school drama teacher at the John Burroughs School in Ladue, Missouri. One of his acting students was Ellie Kemper, who plays Becca.”

Wow, I love that!

Now that I have you laughing, time to thrust you into a political assassination drama that was overlooked upon release, but now is considered a masterpiece!

5 – Blow Out

Legendary Director Brian DePalma made this political thriller set during the 1976 bicentennial election. John Travolta has never been better as a Sound Engineer who accidentally captures a political assassination – here is the trailer:

Travolta is terrific in the film, which bombed upon release, but is now considered a masterpiece. DePalma’s previous film was “Dressed To Kill”, and while that thriller was a smash hit, this was considered too dark by audiences at the time:

DePalma’s then wife Nancy Allen starred as well, and she did a great job…read more about this film, and other DePalma masterpieces, here:

https://johnrieber.com/2012/03/03/a-celebration-of-depalma-the-best-least-known-classics/

Here’s another great film that was overlooked upon release, even though it starred one of the biggest stars of 1971:

4 – The Beguiled

Clint Eastwood stars as the injured civil war solder taken in by a woman’s school – and the erotic issues that arise. Here is the trailer:

“The Beguiled” was overlooked in 1971, partly because Eastwood had two other films the same year – here they are:

https://johnrieber.com/2017/01/12/clint-eastwoods-1971-triple-play-of-classic-films-dirty-harry-play-misty-for-me-the-beguiled/

Time to lighten up with one of my favorite movies about Hollywood – and arguably Eddie Murphy’s greatest comedic role!

3 – Bowfinger

Steve Martin wrote this affectionate look at the underbelly of Hollywood, and Eddie Murphy is hilarious in two roles!

Click here to see the trailer:

This is a great ensemble cast, an affectionate look at the “anger ons” in Hollywood, and a really funny movie as well – click her for a ton of trivia about this great movie:

https://johnrieber.com/2014/06/24/eddie-murphys-comic-brilliance-his-bowfinger-redemption/

Here’s a movie that starred a Hollywood legend:

2 – The Big Sleep

Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall sizzle in this classic film noir directed by Howard Hawks from a script by legendary Writer William Faulkner!

Check out the classic trailer:

Bogart plays Private Investigator Philip Marlowe, who is hired by a wealthy general to find out and stop his youngest daughter, Carmen, from being blackmailed about her gambling debts…

According to Lauren Bacall, production was such fun, that they got a memo from Jack L. Warner saying “Word has reached me that you are having fun on the set. This must stop.”

The film is based on the series of novels by Raymond Chandler…all of them are worth reading as well!

Finally, here is a modern “film noir” classic, which took the genre that “The Big Sleep” epitomized and added a frank sexuality:

1 – Body Heat

Lawrence Kasden directed this brilliant film noir in 1981 – a steamy erotic thriller starring William Hurt and Kathleen Turner – here is the trailer:

“Body Heat” is one of my favorite movies of all time – a great thriller that has a mystery that unfolds beautifully…a classic – see more here:

https://johnrieber.com/2012/09/29/steamy-body-heat-and-double-crossing-indemnity-film-noir-sizzles/

There you have it – ten films beginning with the letter “B” – let me know what you think, and don’t forget to check out my “A” list as well – click here!


https://johnrieber.com/2017/07/09/give-me-an-a-ten-classic-films-that-begin-with-a-movies-a-z/

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Leave me a comment with your favorite “B” movie!



Categories: 70's Cinema, Academy Awards, Action Films, Art, Books / Media, Comedy Movies, Cult Movies, Exploitation films, Extreme Asian Cinema, Film Fight Club, Film Noir, Great Films, Grindhouse, Hollywood, Horror films, Independent Cinema, Japan, Movies, Movies About Movies, Obscure Movies, Politics, Pop Culture, Revenge Movies, Talent/Celebrities

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19 replies

  1. I think Badlands would top my list of B movies.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Amazing casting with Kathleen Turner. Pretty unknown at the time, right? Could absolutely hold her own with Lauren Bacall. I don’t know if Kasdan was giddy, scared shitless, or both. It’s one hell of a film.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I remember watching Blade runner way be when it was popular. Can’t remember details though.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I can’t believe I still haven’t seen Battle Royale!🤦🏻‍♀️

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve seen almost all of these and enjoyed them – I also enjoyed ‘big fish’ and ‘burn after reading.’ so many b’s, so little time …)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You are certainly teaching me a lot about movies, John. I feel like a real ignoramus when I only know two out of ten. Young John Travolta and Harrison Ford are definitely worth watching [smile].

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have to confess that I can’t stand ‘Bowfinger’, but all the others are stellar choices, John.
    And you may recall that ‘Blade Runner’ is currently my number one film of all time. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

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