Brad Pitt’s “Snatch!” Merlot-Hating “Sideways!” These “Movies With An ‘S'” Have “Star Wars” And “Shawshank” Too!

Toast To Some GREAT Movies With An “S”!

Cheers! My “Movies A-Z” list has come to the letter “S”, which as usual, is so full of great films that I left off a ton of stuff – but here are ten films that capture everything I love about cinema.

Remember, these are not in any order, just a list of stuff I love – beginning with one of my favorite films of all time:

10 – “Sideways”

Director Alexander Payne has made so many great films, from “Election” to “About Schmidt”, but this story of two college roommates heading to wine country is his best film.

Here is the trailer:

Paul Giamatti is terrific, and Thomas Hayden Church was nominated for an Academy Award – just a terrific movie that celebrate friendship – and wine!

You can see more here:

Time now for my first Brad Pitt film – as he gives one of his greatest – and most “unintelligible” performances ever!

9 – “Snatch”

In 2000, Director Guy Ritchie delivered one of the most entertaining crime films ever – with a terrific cast that included Jason Statham, Benicio Del Toro and Dennis Farina. But it was Pitt, playing a “fighting Gypsy” who stole the show.

Here is the trailer:

Brad Pitt steals every scene he is in as the thug who is literally unintelligible – but hilariously funny!

“Snatch” is one of the most entertaining action films ever – one of the many British movies I love so much – you can read more about it here:

Next one, one of only 3 movies in motion picture history to win “the big 5”: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Screenplay!

8 – “The Silence Of The Lambs”

The 1991 Oscar winner is as terrifying – and relevant – today as when it was released. Here is the trailer:

Anthony Hopkins gave one of cinema’s greatest performances as Hannibal Lecter, a brilliant Doctor who also happens to enjoy eating people.

Another Best Actor Oscar winner admits that he fired HIMSELF from a movie!

7 – “Straight Time”

In 1978, Dustin Hoffman planned to direct himself in a gritty crime thriller, but after the first day he fired himself so he could just focus on acting!

Check out the trailer to “Straight Time”:

The late great Harry Dean Stanton also stars in this great, under-seen crime drama. Hoffman is an ex-con who has no intention of going straight. Warner Archive has this now, so you can buy a copy – it also includes a very young Kathy Bates and Gary Busey in a great role as well!

You can see a more in-depth look at the film here:

Our third Oscar winning Actor in a row – as Jack Lemmon gave what some felt was the performance of his career:

6 – “Save The Tiger”

In 1973, Jack Lemmon took home the Oscar for this drama about a failing businessman who will do whatever it takes to save his business:

The late John G. Avildsen directed the movie, and he also directed “Rocky” and “The Karate Kid” – see more of his great work here:

I try to include films that may not have been popular when released, but have become classics – like this one:

5 – “Sorcerer!”

Director William Friedkin made some of the great films of the 70’s: “The French Connection” and “The Exorcist” were award-winning, massive hits…but his remake of the classic French film “The Wages Of Fear” flopped:

He called his remake “Sorcerer” – and perhaps audiences expected something supernatural, rather than a tough, gritty action film…so it bombed…but a new blu-ray has restored it in all of its majesty!

Check out the trailer by clicking on my story here:

The great home video company Something Weird Video has saved many cult films like this from obscurity – here is a look at some of the best:

My second Brad Pitt movie has one of the most shocking and unsettling endings in movie history:

4 – “Se7en”

Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman are Detectives trying to find a serial killer, who is using the seven deadly sins to carry out his murders. Here is the trailer:

Kevin Spacey is terrific as the psychopath, and:


Never fails to shock. Director David Fincher gave us one of the modern masterpieces in cinema.

There are movies that come out, fade away, and are quickly forgotten. Then there is this movie:

3 – “Star Wars: A New Hope”

One of cinema’s greatest franchises started as a low budget effort from George Lucas. As the original trailer states:

“The story of a boy, a girl, a universe!”

Here is the original trailer, including that line:

The series is stronger than ever, with TV shows and films lined up forever – and Disneyland has its own “Star Wars” area now as well – here is a sneak peek:

Back to Oscar winning Actors: in 1971, Gene Hackman won the Best Actor award for “The French Connection”, but two years later he gave his most powerful performance ever:

2 – “Scarecrow”

This cult 1973 film also starred Best Actor winner Al Pacino – here is the trailer:

This is a character-driven drama that is pure 70’s – if you haven’t seen it, it’s worth the effort to find, because they both give incredible performances.

You can read more about the movie here:

Finally, another all-time favorite, with one of the most inspiring and uplifting endings of all!

1 – “The Shawshank Redemption”

Yes, it’s an adaptation of a Stephen King short story – and simply one of the greatest movie experiences of all time.

Here is the trailer:

Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins are perfect in the film, Director Frank Darabont tells the story beautifully, and yes: Zihuatanejo:

You can see more about this film here:

There you go, ten great movies with an “S” – let me know your favorite!

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Categories: 70's Cinema, Academy Awards, Action Films, Art, Comedy Movies, Cult Movies, Film Fight Club, Film Noir, Great Films, Hollywood, Movies, Obscure Movies, Pop Culture, Revenge Movies, Talent/Celebrities

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13 replies

  1. I think ‘Se7en’ gets better every time I see it! Many years ago, my nickname was ‘Merlot Pete’, as that grape variety was my wine of choice back then. (Later eclipsed by Pinotage) One of my friends told me, “You have to watch ‘Sideways’, a guy bad mouths Merlot!” So I watched it, and he did! 🙂
    (He prounces it it ‘Mer-low’ though. We say it as one short word here.)
    Great selection, John.


  2. You pick the great ones, John! I have seen most.


  3. Paul Giamatti is one of the top actors working today. He can be everything from a loser in cartoon’s ville (American Splendor) to the King of England. He was also in Howard Stern’s Private Parts, and Stern says it was uncanny how he captured the essence of his previous boss, Pig Vomit.

    — Catxman


  4. I think of myself as an average moviegoer, but I need to revise that. Every time I look at your movie posts, I realize I haven’t seen a lot of the films—even ones with big-time actors/actresses.


  5. Oh some very interesting movies to check out – I knew about half but interested in checking out the oldies – like scarecrow
    Down on succinct descriptions John

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for reading! “Scarecrow” won the grand prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 1973 – a brilliant character study!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I am looking forward to some fall movie watching and plan to look at all of your A to Z movie posts –
        Such a good idea and I am just starting at “S”
        So I must tell you that this was a pleasant surprise today to find in the blog reader – I am not blogging that much in august and just came back on and there was the S post!
        And so far what I really like (besides the succinct movie blurbs) is the wide range of years and genres –


  6. YOu have featured some of the best movies I’ve ever seen here, John. Silence of the Lambs, and Sevel are both terrific and really scary. Star Wars is Star Wars and so is Shawshank Redemption.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ooh a great batch – I’ve seen all but sorcerer and scarecrow

    Liked by 1 person

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