Raging Bull (1980)
Robert DeNiro and Martin Scorsese team up in this tale of self-destructive middleweight Jake LaMotta. The raging bull’s violent, destructive personal life leads him to be king of the ring. Meanwhile, Joe Pesci plays it cool. For once.
Schindler’s List (1993)
Remember the girl in the red coat? Course you do… it was the only bit of Spielberg’s gritty second world war biopic that appeared in colour. But the real story was of Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson), a German factory worker who managed to save over a thousand Jews from the Holocaust. The film deservedly picked up seven of his namesake awards.
Astonishing performances and Ben Kingsley aren’t exactly strangers, but Richard Attenborough’s biopic of Mahatma Gandhi, the man who gained India’s independence by encouraging non-violent protests, earns him more stripes than most. A fitting tribute to a great man, and it scooped eight Academy Awards. Even the British loved it.
The Elephant Man (1980)
John Hurt plays Joseph Merrick, a horribly disfigured Victorian freak helped by the kindly curiosity of Anthony Hopkins’s Dr Treves. David Lynch’s film adaptation of the biographical stageplay immortalised this true-life story of our shallow human lives.
The Queen (2006)
Dame Helen Mirren wears considerably more clothing in this film than she did in Calendar Girls. Regardless of this blessing/disappointment, her Oscar and BAFTA winning performance of Her Majesty’s life immediately after Princess Diana’s death was both believable and compelling, even if she was slightly upstaged by Michael Sheen as Tony Blair.