Over the course of his 48-year career, Stanley Kubrick revolutionized the face of cinematography. The director’s astonishing filmography includes such iconic films as 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket, and Dr. Strangelove, and is known for his subversive and taboo-breaking subject matter. In this article, we are going to discuss some of the best movies by Stanley Kubrick.
Few people’s names become so well-known in their field that they become associated with their own style. Even fewer people believe it has a favorable connotation.
Stanley Kubrick, who directed little over a dozen feature films over the course of his four-decade career, is one of those rare titans whose work has entered the vernacular, loaded with meaning by his genius. We have compiled a list of the 10 best movies of Stanley Kubrick below. Choose your pick!
Take a look at our list of the 10 best movies of Stanley Kubrick:
1. The Killing (1956)
The Killing follows long-time thief Johnny Clay as he gathers a gang of con artists for one more major deal before turning his life around. Hearing about the millions that would be taken, his wife devises her own strategy.
With only an 85-minute length, this crime thriller is a quick and engaging viewing. Sterling Hayden as Johnny Clay and Coleen Gray as Fay have outstanding performances, and the two are more exhilarating and dynamic than most performances in the 2020s, easily surprising new viewers.
2. Paths of Glory (1957)
Despite the fact that Kubrick’s first attempt at an anti-war film was eclipsed by Full Metal Jacket, Paths of Glory remains an extraordinarily powerful picture of bureaucracy and injustice during WWI.
During filming, Kubrick began to hone his particular visual approach by following Kirk Douglas’ Colonel Dax on the battlefields. Saving Private Ryan’s usage of the battlefield tracking shot places it as a distant ancestor.
3. Barry Lyndon (1975)
Many Kubrick fans believe Barry Lyndon to be his best movie. Kubrick’s debut into the field of historical dramas, which follows the rise and fall of an Irish social climber and lucky duellist (Ryan O’Neal), was not a commercial success, and it is over three-hour duration can be off-putting for casual viewers.
Barry Lyndon, on the other hand, looks great. To film by candlelight, Kubrick devised specialized camera equipment, and many of the scenes were made to seem like classical paintings.
4. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
A Clockwork Orange is Kubrick’s first X-rated picture, and it depicts a bunch of delinquents in a dystopian English future, with Alexander DeLarge as their leader. It’s no surprise that this film is still being discussed in 2022. It’s violent, gory, and extremely nasty.
In this film, Stanley Kubrick demonstrates that the protagonist does not have to be nice or redeemable in any manner. Despite the fact that Alexander DeLarge, played superbly by Malcolm McDowell, is the pinnacle of evil, the viewer is nonetheless enthralled by his quest.
The opening titles, expertly filmed and directed, can give a new spectators the shivers or make them appalled by one of Kubrick’s worst moments.
5. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
Kubrick’s stunning vision of the Vietnam conflict debuted in the wake of numerous other iconic Vietnam films (Apocalypse Now, Platoon, The Deer Hunter), but because of its peculiar diptych format, it established its own place in the public mind. The opening part of the film, set at an American training camp, contains most of the film’s renowned images.
The second half of Full Metal Jacket, which takes us into the misery of the Vietnamese warzone, is sleek and appropriately horrific, but it never quite lives up to the promise of the first. Former marine R Lee Ermey was cast as an unpleasant drill sergeant, demonstrating Kubrick’s trademark casting flair.
6. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
Kubrick considered the subject matter bizarrely suited for black humor after first optioning the Cold War novel Red Alert for adaptation as a political drama. Peter Sellars offers three outstanding performances (as US President Merkin Muffley, toady officer Group Captain Mandrake, and crazy ex-Nazi scientist Dr. Strangelove), and Strangelove’s never-ending stream of quotable phrases serve to make it one of the most enduring satires of all time.
Some of the behind-the-scenes incidents have become legendary in their own right, such as Kubrick’s insistence on a bright green casino-style tabletop for the black-and-white picture.
7. The Shining (1980)
The Shining is a horror/thriller film about Jack Torrance, who accepts a job at the Overlook Hotel. Jack, his wife, and their kid are forced to spend the winter in isolation at the hotel, but the family is ignorant of the horrors that lurk within the hotel and the lunacy they will face.
Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrence is as fascinating as he is scary, whether you’re seeing it for the first or fourteenth time. His acting alone is incentive enough to see, but Kubrick’s superb directing and methods elevate the stakes and make it difficult not to be engrossed.
8. Spartacus (1960)
Spartacus follows Thracian Spartacus, a slave-turned-gladiator. He assassinates his trainer and rallies the other slave gladiators in a revolt for their freedom, hoping to return to their homeland.
Kubrick’s remarkable career includes the 1960 picture, which is no exception. It is still amazing more than 60 years later, with performances by Kirk Douglas as Thracian Spartacus and Laurence Olivier as Marcus Licinius Crassus. It is one of Kubrick’s many must-see films, with issues of human rights portrayed via an epic and historical plot.
9. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
2001: A Space Odyssey is a groundbreaking picture in terms of its impact on the industry. A Space Odyssey was a film that was decades ahead of its time.
A mysterious item is discovered buried beneath the lunar surface, and mankind sets out to discover its origins with the assistance of HAL 9000, humanity’s most advanced supercomputer.
This movie is aesthetically attractive and does a wonderful job of leaving the viewer questioning its meaning after viewing due to its skillful use of sight and sound to captivate the audience. The picture is still relevant today, with themes of humanity, technology, and space, and it’s amazing to imagine it was filmed over 60 years ago.
10. Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
Kubrick’s final movie before his death in 1999, however, died before it was released in September of that year. After learning that his wife had sexual dreams about a guy she previously met, Dr. William Harford becomes obsessed with having a sexual encounter.
He stumbles onto an underground sex cult and quickly finds himself in over his head.
This film has one of Tom Cruise’s greatest performances as Dr. William Harford, a Kubrick part that is wonderfully suited. It was also one of Sydney Pollack’s greatest Victor Ziegler performances. The tense thriller keeps audiences on the edge of their seats for the whole 159-minute length.
Kubrick’s films are indeed the gold standards in sci-fi, horror, war, noir, and sexual delights, while being eclectic in genre and nearly always pure in vision. He will always be remembered by the world for his contribution to the cinema. Some of the best movies by Stanley Kubrick are mentioned above.
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