I have recently enjoyed taking part in what I suppose is a meme on Facebook wherein you post a picture from a film that has influenced you each day for ten days. It has been very interesting to see the films that have influenced other members of my family, and to see where we match and where we differ. It has also been very hard to distill it down to ten films only, and to ensure that I would classify them as influential rather than just being favourites. I thought today I would do a bit of analysis on the ten that I chose and think about what sort of influence they have had and also look at trends where multiple films fit into a particular category.
First off, I have taken “influence me” to cover such things as having led me to follow a particular actor’s later work, or to key into a particular interest of mine, as I can honestly say that I have not knowingly been influenced to do something just because I saw it in a film.
So, let’s begin with the ten films and what about them resonates with me (the stars after each film denote how many relationships it has with the other films which will become apparent in the Themes section):-
Franco Zeferelli’s Romeo and Juliet – resonates with my love of literature; first saw this on a school visit when we were studying Romeo and Juliet in 1975 so I have a history with this film. **
City of Angels – as a cyclist like Meg Ryan’s character, I can totally empathise with her lifestyle and her death. It encouraged me to think about riding a sportier bike. The angel motif is also quite reassuring even if, like me, you don’t actually believe in angels. **
Die Hard – men’s tailoring and Alan Rickman – need I say more? *
Shenandoah – I have always loved a good western and this one is strong on family which really appeals to me. **
The Great Gatsby – romance, romance, romance, and sorrow; how much better love is when you keep it unreal. ***
Silent Running – this is the eco-film that pricks my conscience and keeps me thinking about my carbon footprint. **
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid – it’s good to ride a bicycle. ***
Fahrenheit 451 – you can burn books, but there will always be stories. **
Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves – together with Die Hard, The Barchester Chronicles, and a BBC drama Revolutionary Witness: The Priest, this film cemented a long enjoyment of Alan Rickman’s work. **
Star Trek: Wrath of Khan – “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few”; “I have been, and always shall be, your friend.” *
Romances (4) – Romeo and Juliet/City of Angels/The Great Gatsby/Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves
Sci-fi films (3) – Silent Running/Fahrenheit 451/Star Trek: Wrath of Khan
Films of books I love (3) – Romeo and Juliet/The Great Gatsby/Fahrenheit 451
Westerns (2) – Shenandoah/Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Films with bicycles (2) – City of Angels/Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Films starring Alan Rickman (2) – Die Hard/Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves
Films starring Katherine Ross (2) – Shenandoah/Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (I wasn’t expecting this actress to show up twice in my ten)
Films starring Bruce Dern (2) – The Great Gatsby/Silent Running (I really wouldn’t have thought Bruce Dern would be in two of my most influential films)
You could play along and think about films that have influenced you, or about books/music/TV shows. I might do a 10 TV shows post because, as you will probably have noticed, these have influenced me more than films.