- The French Connection (1971)
Vigilante NYC police detective Popeye Doyle (Gene Hackman) beats up
minorities, nearly kills dozens of bystanders during a high-speed car
chase, shoots a fellow cop, and showers infrequently. But he nails a
Frenchman, and in Guy Movie lingo, that absolves him of all sins.
- The Great Escape (1963)
This mother of all escape movies has Charles Bronson, Steve McQueen,
James Garner, James Coburn, and a dozen others trying to hightail it
out of a German POW camp. Their dummkopf captors had put all the jailbreak
artists in one place to keep an eye on them, never dreaming they'd share
their expertise and escape. Those stupid Nazis!
- Butch Cassidy and the Sundance
The appalling scene where Paul Newman gives Katharine Ross a romantic
bicycle ride with "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" playing
as accompaniment is so profoundly disturbing, from a Guy Movie standpoint,
that it almost sinks the film. Newman and Robert Redford have to spend
the rest of the movie robbing banks, blowing up trains, jumping off
cliffs, and killin' Federales just to keep their heads above water.
- Fletch (1985)
Rectal exams and children's books aren't normally the fodder for a Guy
Film. As Fletch, a crack investigative reporter with, of course, no
respect for authority, Chevy Chase is funny enough to even get a laugh
out of a doctor's fist probing his ass.
- Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)
"All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz, and I'm fine."
As a snapshot of teenage doldrums, Fast Times manages to capture
the awkwardness of dating, the agony of mall jobs, and--best of all--a
young, unbelievably nubile Phoebe Cates climbing out of the pool and
unharnessing her overmatched bikini top.
Blade Runner (1982)
In the L.A. of the future, the streets are swarming with silicon people.
(Hey, wait a minute...) They're surprisingly lifelike androids, and
it's Harrison Ford's job as blade runner Rick Deckard, to shoot 'em
into scrap metal. Daryl Hannah as a programmable robot? Bring on the
- This is Spinal Tap (1984)
Which is the most gratifying element of this complex rockumentary? Its
not-ready-for-Top-40 soundtrack? Its parade of hilarious, overly quotable
one-liners ("You can't really dust for vomit.")? The umlaut
over the N in the band's name? In the end, it doesn't matter: On a scale
of one to 10, Spinal Tap unquestionably goes to 11.
- Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
Before all the guys in your engineering class f----d this one up by
quoting it to death, Grail was a hilarious exercise in experimental
absurdity. Knights who say "Ni!", murderous bunnies, insulting
Frenchmen, flying cows, and the most one-sided swordfight in movie history.
What more could you want...a herring?
- Death Wish (1974)
Charles is one mean sumbitch-- even before the bad guys kill his wife
and rape his daughter. This, of course, justifies a rampage that leaves
a trail of corpses across this movie and several sequels.
- Mad Max/The Road Warrior (1979, 1981)
Also from the "good guy, pressed too far" school are these
two. Mel Gibson is a police officer in post-apocalyptic Australia...until
biker thugs burn his partner alive and then run over his wife and kid.
As always, brutal revenge is the only solution, here mostly accomplished
while in the middle of stirring car chases.
- The Dirty Dozen (1967)
Twelve talented miscreants are given a chance to work together and off
some Nazis in WWII. Charles Bronson. Lee Marvin. Donald Sutherland.
John Cassavetes. Ernest Borgnine. Telly Savalas. NFL Hall-of-Fame running
back Jim Brown. Is it any wonder the Germans threw in the towel?
Taxi Driver (1976)
Cabbie Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) has problems: a chip on his shoulder
the size of Utah, the mistaken impression that a porno movie makes a
great first date, and a really lousy haircut. On the plus side, though,
he gets to drive a lot and hang out with amusing jailbait hookers. (Note:
The spinoff TV series Taxi was much, much funnier.)
- Rio Bravo (1959)
John Wayne is a sheriff trying to prevent a jail-break. His only help:
two downtrodden deputies--a cripple (Walter Brennan) and a drunk (Dean
Martin). Bonus: Angie Dickinson trying to get a rise out of the Duke.
- Fandango (1985)
How do four Nixon-era college buds (including Kevin Costner) deal with
graduation, betrothal, jobs, and Vietnam? In the true Guy spirit: They
go skydiving in Mexico! Fandango teaches a key lesson: Never
mix up your parachute with the pilot's dirty laundry.
- Deliverance (1972)
"Squeal like a pig." Not since Citizen
Kane ("Rosebud!") has a film been so dominated by
a single screen moment. Deliverance's plot--about some river
or something--screeches to a halt when a gap-toothed redneck assaults
Ned Beatty's alimentary canal. Cool banjo soundtrack is small compensation.
- National Lampoon's Vacation (1983)
Hitting the road in search of treasure is the quintessential Guy Movie
plot, and Vacation is a married man's take on that perilous odyssey.
Clark W. Griswold (Chevy Chase), family in tow, encounters everything
from untrustworthy relatives to Christie Brinkley.
- The Magnificent Seven (1960)
Assembling a cast of all-stars to handle a big task is a guy classic.
Here, a Mexican village dogged by banditos hires protection in the form
of seven superstars: Charles Bronson, Yul Brynner, and pals.
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
This Humphrey Bogart classic set the standard for every detective flick
that followed. And no wonder: It's a wicked brew of ancient legends
and modern greed, hard-nosed villains and cold-hearted heroes, and a
solid gold treasure the size of your head. The ending line puts it best:
"The stuff dreams are made of."
- Blazing Saddles (1974)
"Scuse me, while I whip this out." Upon further review, this
Western satire from Mel Brooks is sophomoric, dated, and racist. What
a shame it's so goddamned hilarious. Among its many other gems, Blazing
Saddles contains the cut-the-cheese joke to which all other film
farts will forever be compared.
- High Plains Drifter (1973)
In an unusual departure for Ole Squinty Eyes, Clint Eastwood plays a
tough, mysterious loner. But unbeknownst to the townspeople, he's actually
their old sheriff, bullwhipped to death in the streets like a dog. He
returns as a vengeful angel of death to orchestrate the community's
humiliating descent into hell.
- Platoon (1986)
Oliver Stone recounts his own 'Nam experiences with his trademark subtlety
and understatement. What makes this a classic is the raw man-vs.-man
dynamics between the platoon's duelling sergeants: the tough-but-fair
Elias (Willem Dafoe) and the dangerous asshole Barnes (Tom Berenger).
- First Blood (1982)
John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone, in case you live in a box and receive
no sensory input from the outside world) is an ex-Green Beret drifting
around the Northwest. When a local sheriff tries to boot him out of
town, Rambo holes up in the woods, setting deadly booby traps for the
sheriff's merry men. Revenge!
- Rollerball (1975)
Rollerball's the ultimate sports film: a science-fiction fantasy
about a world without war, where people get their kicks from a super-violent
combination of rollerderby, motocross, and a Jim Harbaugh interview.
Though James Caan is the greatest Rollerblader of them all, he doesn't
have the stamina to keep his Southern drawl throughout the film.
- Lethal Weapon (1987)
Mel Gibson's a conundrum. Given a love story, he can produce some offensively
sentimental chick crap (Tequila Sunrise). Hand him a loaded gun
or a fast car, though, and he rarely fails to deliver: from Braveheart
to Mad Max to this lunatic fringe buddy staple. Is Mel schizo?
Maybe...but don't ever call him crazy.
- Robocop (1987)
"I'll buy that for a dollar." Murphy is a cop in the Motown
of the future, until he bites it in a skirmish with scumballs. But the
city does a Lee Majors job on him, and creates, literally, a law-enforcement
machine that blows things up with a remarkably human reckless abandon.
Murphy's maudlin search for his past just adds to the brilliant black