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This miniature ‘library’ of films that have won the Best Picture Academy Award* brings together some of the greatest names in the history of cinema. We don’t need to tell you how wonderful they are – they are all classic films that have become creative milestones, admired, loved and even imitated - but never surpassed. Andrew L Urban leads you briefly through the treasures . . .

Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Deborah Kerr, Frank Sinatra, Donna Reed, Ernest Borgnine
Directed by Fred Zinneman

Emotionally turbulent anti-military movie in which illicit love affairs stand up to be counted against authority. Adventurous in its time in many ways, it’s a showcase for all the actors, all at their peak. Then there is that big love scene on the beach… eternally remembered.

Marlon Brando, Eva Marie Saint, Rod Steiger, Lee J. Cobb
Directed by Elia Kazan

Marlon Brando as Terry Malloy, uneducated ex-boxer ("I could’abeen a contender") who challenges the New York dockers’ union, and Rod Steiger as his elder brother torn between the union and his blood ties. Inspired by a series of Pulitzer Prize winning newspaper articles, it is undeniably Brando’s film; a powerful and unforgettable characterisation, in a sea of great performances. Brooding as an artform….

William Holden, Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins, Sessue Hayakawa, James Donald, Ann Sears & introducing Geoffrey Horne
Directed by David Lean

Character . . . narrative . . . action! Lean’s riveting war drama pushes all the buttons as he takes us into hell with the British POWs captured by the Japanese and made to construct the bridge on the Kwai that would take the Burma-Siam railway, a significant war initiative. All other war films after this seemed derivative. Its status as a classic relies on its characters, though.

LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (1962) [restored director’s cut, widescreen format]
Alec Guiness, Anthony Quinn, Jack Hawkins, Jose Ferrer, Anthony Quayle, Claude Rains, Arthur Kennedy - and Omar Sharif as Ali. Introducing Peter O’Toole as Lawrence.
Directed by David Lean

Like some other Best Picture winners, this film is based on reality, the story of an exceptional man, T.E. Lawrence, a British officer who unites warring Arab factions and leads them into victory against the ruling Turks, at huge personal cost, almost losing his sanity. (Some say ‘almost’ is superfluous….) One of the greatest films ever made, owning a copy of it makes you rich indeed.

Paul Scofield, Wendy Hiller, Leo McKern, Robert Shaw, Orson Welles, Susannah York
Directed by Fred Zinneman

Historical biopics don’t come much zestier; it is Henry VIII, after all, who took five wives in a search for a male heir. But the grit in the film comes from the angst – not between Henry and his beloveds – but he and the Pope - as well as Sir Thomas More, who said, "No" to Henry’s divorce of Catherine. Henry wanted to be Pope of England.

OLIVER! (1968)
Ron Moody, Jack Wild, Oliver Reed and Mark Lester as Oliver
Directed by Carol Reed

Oliver the orphan escapes a dreary life in a workhouse in 19th century London, looking for a better life. He joins a band of street kids who work as pickpockets under the protection of Fagan. All this is done to music and often with the addition of songs like Pick a Pocket or two, Consider Yourself, Food Glorious Food and As Long as He Needs Me. You want more!?

Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Jane Alexander and introducing Justin Henry
Directed by Robert Benton

Groundbreakingly honest about modern marriage and unremittingly emotional, this is the story of a Joanna leaving Ted when she gets fed up being mum and wife. Ted is left to care for their six year old son – until Joanne comes back to claim him. Whoa!

GANDHI (1982)
Ben Kinglsey, Candice Bergen, Edward Fox, John Gielgud, Trevor Howard, John Mills, Martin Sheen
Directed by Richard Attenborough

There are many historical bio-pics, but few rise to such cinematic heights; maybe it’s the locations? Or it could be the enormous amount of talented people who made this at once a tribute to history’s greatest pacifist and an entertaining spectacle for history’s biggest art audience – the movie lover. The irony of Yorkshire born Englishman Kingsley playing the man who defeated the British Empire is just a quiet little extra. Ghandi is grand!

* Academy Award is the registered trademark of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

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This collection is released individually by Columbia TriStar Home Video as a celebration of the Academy Awards held in March.
RRP: $24.95

From Here to Eternity

On the Waterfront

Bridge on the River Kwai

Lawrence of Arabia


Kramer Vs Kramer

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