A to Z of Films Meme (S) Preface

S’ encom­pass­es every­thing the movies embody. Sex and super­stars. Sus­pects and sleaze. Sto­ry-telling and sci-fi. Sen­su­al­i­ty, sen­ti­ments, and scars. The sea, the stars, and the sky. A sub­ject with sight and sound. The screen. Not sur­pris­ing­ly, ‘S’ is the most chal­leng­ing let­ter in this series because there are sim­ply too many excel­lent movies.

I short­list­ed 30 odd films I liked for this entry. Spell­bound and Strangers on a Train from the mas­ter of sus­pense. Bil­ly Wilder’s mas­ter­pieces with the irre­sistible Mar­i­lyn Mon­roe in The Sev­en Year Itch and Some Like It Hot. Al Pacino’s bril­liant per­for­mances in Scar­face and Scent of a Woman. Vijay Tendulkar’s Marathi land­mark Shan­ta­ta Court Chalu Ahe, fol­lowed by his script in Sar­dar, direct­ed by Ketan Mehta of Mirch Masala fame, and brought to life out­stand­ing­ly by one of the most under­uti­lized, stereo­typed actors in India, Paresh Raw­al.

There are riv­et­ing thrillers like Silence of the Lambs, and Se7en. Films like Sound of Music and Snow White and the Sev­en Dwarfs that we loved both as kids and adults. The leg­endary Star Wars, an insti­tu­tion by itself. Hin­di films make their mark as well, with Saraansh, Sparsh and Sad­ma. And the sen­si­tive, pow­er­ful dra­ma of Salaam Bom­bay! There are hilar­i­ous come­dies like Silent Movie that make you laugh, to The Sweet Here­after, a great Cana­di­an film that makes you share the grief of a tragedy. After­wards, you need the light­heart­ed Sin­gin’ in the Rain, or the nos­tal­gia of Stand By Me or Sum­mer of ‘42.

The ‘greats’ didn’t spare me. Shakha Proshakha, one of Ray’s last films, and the meta­phys­i­cal The Sev­enth Seal by Bergman. Tarkovsky gave us the Russ­ian equiv­a­lent of ‘2001’ in the haunt­ing Sol­yaris, while Bran­do made his­to­ry and changed film act­ing for­ev­er by his per­for­mance in Kazan’s A Street­car Named Desire. And yet, I am sure you, my read­ers, will come up with many more sug­ges­tions of excel­lent films that I must have missed.

Despite so many great films, some still stood above the rest. I think that they are time­less films that will remain great clas­sics for gen­er­a­tions to come. As I said in the begin­ning of this series, the cin­e­mat­ic expe­ri­ence is very sub­jec­tive, hence my selec­tions are those that I will keep see­ing and enjoy­ing through­out my life­time.

In the inter­est of keep­ing the length of my posts man­age­able, giv­ing me time to write, and retain­ing the momen­tum of inter­ac­tion and con­ver­sa­tion, the win­ners list will be in the next post. I’m sure that with many of the films list­ed here, you will be able to guess the win­ners, but the guess­ing game, though enjoy­able, is not the only aspect of this series. Do share your thoughts of the films men­tioned above!

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  • g

    Wow!! Exhaus­tive! Some Like it Hot has been on my list for so long; I still haven’t seen it!

    So to go back to the game: I did think you’d men­tion Sev­enth Seal & Se7en, and Spell­bound too. I was quite watch­ing for anoth­er (like I did for Mirch Masala 🙂 ) was The Span­ish Pris­on­er. Seen it?

    And anoth­er one (it’s nice, but I’ve per­son­al­ly liked many oth­er movies more — and I was just remind­ed of anoth­er good movie, so I have to go back to ‘B’) — Suraj ka Saat­va Gho­da. Nice, but hyped, I think.

  • Shankarab­har­nam’, ‘Suja­ta’, ‘Sha­heed’, ‘Sholay’ — to add a few more to the list. ‘Syr­i­ana’ and ‘Sabo­teur’ are two more. And con­spic­u­ous by its absence from your list is ‘Shi­chinin no Samu­rai’ — which I have a feel­ing will make the final cut. 😀

  • That’s a long list! And was hap­py to know that I have seen many many of these S films! 🙂

  • The sev­enth seal is one of my favorite films!!! The cin­e­matog­ra­phy is absly breah­tak­ing.

  • Mahen­dra, ‘The Silence Of The Lambs’ has the short­est screen appear­ance for a best actor Oscar win — Antho­ny Hop­kins appeared for about 16 min­utes.

  • A very good list Mahen­dra. I think you can add “Sahib Bibi aur Ghu­lam” and “Sha­tranj ke Khi­la­di” to the list.
    And from Hol­ly­wood, Sophie’s Choice and Schindler’s List can also be added.

  • Anand

    Wow! This post is like a gold mine. I have seen rough­ly half of the movies that you have list­ed. I have catch up work to do 🙂

    When I wrote the first com­ment on ‘R’ and said that ‘S’ would be tough, with­in 2 min­utes I came up with this list.

    The Shaw­shank Redemp­tion
    The Shin­ing
    Sin City

    Sahib Bibi Aur Ghu­lam

    Samana (Marathi)

    Look­ing for­ward to your win­ners…

  • I did­nt like Some Like It Hot. I was bored to death. 🙁

    Sound of Music is a clas­sic, it can still bring smiles. I haven’t watched seen sev­er­al on this list, but Al Paci­no in Scent of a Woman was bril­liant.

    Silence of the Lamb was eeri­ly won­der­ful. 😉

  • Dev

    Oh Man, that was too many films..thanks for tak­ing time in shar­ing all these films..will watch some of these now. I like the way you start your posts…
    I was sur­prised not to see Schindlers list and Shaw­shank redemp­tion ear­li­er, but now I know that you were keep­ing the best for the end.

  • Ur 3part series on is fit­ting… 🙂

    have u seen or got a review of Sátán­tangó , The Shout , San­gre, stach­ka

    havent seen any of these yet but plan to some­time

  • So glad that I found some­one who enjoyed Salaam Bom­bay- this is such a dis­turb­ing movie…on so many lev­els. I still don’t under­stand why this movie is so under-appre­ci­at­ed. Mira Nair deserves more acco­lades. Slum­dog Mil­lion­aire feels like a fake copy of Salaam Bom­bay to me. Bom­bay is such a diverse city. It’s dif­fi­cult for a movie direc­tor to do justice.…yet, Mira Nair weaves her mag­ic. 🙂

  • Mahen­dra:

    It is nice of you to have made a page of this meme. I just returned to it to add films to my queue and the page made it very easy. Thank you.

    Did I tell you I watched ‘Shan­tataa court chaloo aahe’ as a stage play when I was a very young child? Many years lat­er I saw the film with Sula­b­ha Desh­pande. It might have tak­en me a few years to com­pre­hend the sto­ry in its entire pro­fun­di­ty but I do think Vijay Ten­dulkar was a mas­ter drama­tist. Nehru Cen­tre here puts up rea­son­able music per­for­mances but the­atre isn’t their forte. Which is such a shame, real­ly.