For the movie lover interested in buying and collecting some of the most critically acclaimed and award winning thrillers and action films from Warner Bros. from the last twenty five years, the “20 Film Collection” of Thrillers features a dazzling and unique library of contemporary (and some classic) film hits that will keep you entertained for hours on end.
Among the list of 20 Movie Thrillers is:
1931’s “Public Enemy,” a bonafide James Cagney gangster masterpiece about Tom Powers, a young hood who rises to the ranks of mob boss in the wake of a crime wave and the death of a mob boss. Though featuring some of the best Cagney gangster shtick of his career, the movie falters thanks to an abrupt ending where the criminal gets his. Back in the early days of cinema, the villain had to die no matter how contrived it seemed. In either case, “Public Enemy” is still a worthy film gem and a precursor to “Scarface.”1941’s “The Maltese Falcon” is a brilliant remake about detective Sam Spade, as played by Humphrey Bogart, who is tasked with dealing with a group of criminals and double crossers, all of whom are in search of a priceless statue. Known for its dazzling performances and twist ending, this is a masterpiece. 1946’s “The Big Sleep” finds Humphrey Bogart acting alongside Lauren Bacall as Phillip Marlowe, who begins to form a bond with a woman who may be a murderer. Another of the many Bogart classic noirs, this is yet another cinematic juggernaut you can’t skip. 1951’s Strangers on a Train is a Hitchcock masterpiece and one of his best thrillers ever made about two strangers who meet on a train and form an agreement to murder one anothers worst enemies. When one of the men, a noted tennis player, backs off, he tries to keep himself from going to jail and ruining his life.
1959’s North by Northwest is a classic Hitchcock slight of hand starring Cary Grant as a man confused with a spy who has to clear his name while avoiding assassination attempts. Known for ending on a major US monument, this is a serviceable Hitchcock entry but not one I’m crazy about. 1971’s Dirty Harry stars Clint Eastwood as police officer Harry Callahan, a man known as “Dirty Harry” since he accomplishes the jobs most officers won’t. In the first of a series of films starring Harry, the officer has to go up against the violent Scorpio, a madman who begins murdering people at random and takes a school bus hostage. 1975’s Dog Day Afternoon is a compelling and engrossing bank robbery crime drama starring Al Pacino as a man named Sonny who robs a bank to help pay for his lover’s sex change operation. What begins as a quick cash grab turns in to a stand off, as Sonny creates a media sensation and becomes a veritable folk hero while expressing the civil unrest of the decade. 1987’s Lethal Weapon (Director’s Cut) is a classic eighties buddy cop film starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover as two mismatched officers Riggs and Murtaugh tasked with working together. When they run afoul a crime boss and his vicious second in command, they fight to save Murtaugh’s family from kidnapping while keeping one another in check.
1989’s Batman is the Tim Burton fueled adaptation of the iconic comic book centered on millionaire Bruce Wayne who fights crime at night as the Batman, a costumed hero who infiltrates Gotham City’s underground. He meets his match when a local crime boss, played by Jack Nicholson, falls in to a vat of chemicals and re-emerges as the insane crime boss known as The Joker. 1990’s Goodfellas is a Martin Scorsese classic with an all star cast based on the true story of Henry Hill who becomes the golden boy for the Italian mafia and slowly realizes he’s become enemy number one. Starring Robert DeNiro, Ray Liotta, and Joe Pesci respectively, this is a gangster epic that needs to be seen. 1993’s The Fugitive is an excellent adaptation of the classic television show starring Harrison Ford as a surgeon accused of murdering his wife. When he goes on the run, he becomes the target of local law enforcement all the while searching for the one armed man who framed him. 1994’s Natural Born Killers (Director’s Cut) is a wonky and quickly exhausting crime thriller based on a true story chronicling the nationwide crime spree of young couple Mickey and Mallory who become immediate celebrities as they leave a wake of bodies in their paths.
1994’s The Shawshank Redemption is the instant classic based on a Stephen King novel about two men who form a bond in a penitentiary. When one of the men, played by Tim Robbins, finds he is powerless to stop the corrupt warden, he plots an escape plan while reflecting on life within the walls of the jail. 1995’s Seven is a bleak and gory crime mystery about two detectives tasked with finding the vicious John Doe who murders is victims for their committing of deadly sins. Armed with a wonderful cast of performers, and a classic surprise ending, “Seven” is an unforgiving murder mystery that will leave you winded. 1995’s Heat is Michael Mann’s star studded remake about a group of bank robbers that commit a massive robbery that ends in a spectacular gun fight. When they leave a clue on the crime scene a local detective begins infiltrating the group and begins a cat and mouse game with the group’s leader. With a wonderful cast including Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino as rivals, this is an action movie that fights to be the number one bank robbery film ever made. 1997’s L.A. Confidential is a neo-noir masterpiece about two seemingly unrelated crimes that soon begin to form a gradual connection to one another when two detectives begin investigating leading in to a ring of corruption, sex, and drugs. Garnering an incredible climactic shoot out along with amazing performances by Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce, this is an Oscar contender worth its praise.
1998’s American History X is a compelling drama about a recently reformed skinhead named Derek who returns from prison to discover his little brother is now aspiring to join the group of violent racists. In an effort to bring his brother out of the ring of violence, he recalls his years in prison after murdering a man on his front lawn that led him to realize the error of his ways. A wonderful and gripping drama with a fantastic turn by Edward Norton, this is a classic with definite replay value. 2008’s The Dark Knight is the smash hit sequel to director Christopher Nolan’s reboot of the Batman movie series starring Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne who finds himself overwhelmed in his mission to fight crime in Gotham when a slew of imitators begin popping up botching his missions. Meanwhile a vicious and enigmatic criminal named The Joker seeps in to the criminal underground and brings Gotham to its knees, as Batman and Commissioner Gordon scramble to bring him down and end his reign of terror. A wonderful follow-up to “Batman Begins” with incredible performances by a cast of seasoned actors including new to the series Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Heath Ledger, this is a second film in the trilogy that turns the screws on the Dark Knight.
Christopher Nolan’s 2010 follow up to “The Dark Knight” entitled Inception is a monumental and dazzling heist fantasy about a group of skilled dream criminals who infiltrate the dream scapes of their clients to steal crucial information that they use to rob them. But when leader Cobb’s ex-lover comes back and begins disrupting the operations, the battle ensues for Cobb’s sanity and his dreams. Filled with an all-star cast, and an incredible array of special effects, this is a Nolan film that appeals to audiences that appreciate action cinema and thought provoking science fiction. Finally, 2010’s The Town is director Ben Affleck’s tale about a group of bank robbers who decide to corrupt the life of a female victim they ran across during one of their heists. When the group’s leader, played by Ben Affleck, begins to form an affection for her, he questions his loyalties, and soon bonds are broken. Especially as the authorities begin investigating their crimes. Yet again filled with top notch performances, and a wonderful final shoot out, director Affleck’s follow-up to the marvelous “Gone, Baby Gone” is a brilliant crime drama that earns its acclaim.