The Shawshank Redemption

It is no wonder that The Shawshank Redemption has achieved such wide acclaim from viewers and audiences alike. When analysing the film it becomes clear just how masterful a work it really is. The story is that of a young man who is convicted for a crime that he may not have committed. The film follows him as he endures a hard life in the prison system of America.

Tim Robbins plays Andy, who must struggle with a number of hardships. These include beatings, loss of friendship and feelings of hopelessness. Robbins was given the character of his career with this film and has not surpassed his performance even years later.

Morgan Freeman also gives a stand out performance as another inmate called Red. This movie helped the industry to realise how good a voice actor Freeman was. Afterwards he was in high demand for narration roles. This included the documentary March of the Penguins.

The plot moves further in time as Andy begins to suspect that he will never be released. A key theme in the film is hope. The ending focuses on both Red and Andy finding their hope again despite being in a bad situation.

The script is based on a story by horror writer Stephen King. Frank Darabount bought the rights to the 96 page novella and expanded it into a motion picture of over two hours in length. Darabount would also go on to direct the film.

Upon release The Shawshank Redemption was given a high amount of critical praise. Some people have even named it their favourite film of all time. This can be seen in the rating system of the website IMDb, where it is frequently in the top ten.

People often note the emotionally satisfying ending for the reason why it is such as good movie. After enduring so much hardship the protagonists eventually get the conclusion they deserve. The weight of all two hours crash down on the audience in a wave of intense feelings. Very few films can compare to the emotions felt after watching The Shawshank Redemption. This is likely the reason for why it has endured for so long. It seems likely that decades from now, viewers will still seek it out to enjoy.

Special Effects

Special effects are used in movies to create a sense of excitement. They are most often seen in the action genre. Special effects are usually focused on creating an illusion on screen, but can also be physically happening as well.

Before the creation of CGI, many special effects were dangerous to shoot. Explosions were one of the most common forms in this regard. Experts in pyrotechnics were employed in Hollywood to make sure that these were done safely. Despite this it was still a dangerous aspect of production.

Vehicle crashes were also done using real life elements. These were usually too hazardous for the main stars to get involved in. Therefore lookalike stunt people were used to make it appear that the actor was in the action instead. These people are still used for perilous scenes in Hollywood today.

There have been a number of deaths and injuries due to physical special effects. An unknown amount of people drowned in the silent version of Ben Hur. Helicopter and motorcycle crashes have claimed the lives of stunt workers in more recent years. Because of this, CGI is used more predominantly.

Batman And Robin


During the 1990’s Tim Burton helped to revitalise the Batman series. He created two live action movies that had a dark and gothic tone. Unfortunately soon afterwards, a new director took the helm and changed the tone to a more childish and campy one.

This is the main failure of Batman and Robin. Director Joel Schumacher revised the look of Gotham city. Instead of foreboding architecture there was a high level of neon and distracting sculptures of the human form. The new costumes were also negatively criticised by viewers.


This tonal shift can also be seen in the way that the characters interact with each other. Arnold Schwarzenegger plays the villain Mr Freeze. Throughout the film he talks to Batman and Robin through ice themed puns. This lessens his intimidating effect even as he kills innocent people.

There was also a backlash due to the change in audience appeal. The makers were clearly aiming this movie at younger viewers. Because of this much of the more disturbing elements of the series were toned down. It has been speculated that this was in order to market Batman themed toys.

Highlander 2


The 1986 sci fi action film Highlander was an unexpected hit when it was released. It centres on a man who discovers he is immortal and must battle others of his kind in order to win a cosmic prize. It ends in a satisfying way with the hero triumphing over evil.

It was unnecessary for a sequel to be made. Despite this, Highlander 2 hit theatres in 1991. The story was seen as a betrayal of what made the original popular. It introduces aliens to the Highlander universe, a decision that added to the movies angry reception.


The key lesson to learn from Highlander 2 is to know when to end a story. Not every successful film needs to have a sequel made. This lesson is further emphasised by the fact that it is often called the worst sequel produced in the history of Hollywood.

Highlander 2 also shows us that the second movie in a franchise needs to continue the things that made the first one popular. If it veers into completely different territory then this can alienate potential fans. This can kill a film series before it has a chance to begin.

The Breakfast Club

John Hughes is often cited by critics as the godfather of teen movies. His films focused mainly on young people trying to survive the social pressures of teenage life, as well as high school issues. He is known for mixing comedy and drama with popular synth music of the 1980’s.

The Breakfast Club is considered his greatest film. It tells the story of five students who are forced to spend their Saturday morning in detention as punishment for their misdeeds. The principal informs them that they must write an essay explaining who they think they are.

Throughout the course of their morning each member of the group opens up a little more and they realise they are all connected. A key theme is stereotyping and social groups. One of the characters is a typical jock. He later discovers that he has more in common with the “nerd” of the group than he first thought.

They all sit together and talk about what it is like to be a teenager. The range of topics they discuss include sex, parental neglect, violence and depression. By the end of the film they have each formed a tight bond. Despite this they worry that they will just ignore each other when Monday comes.

When the film was released it soon gained a cult following. It was popular due to its dealing with complex and dark issues. The teen comedies of the time were more reluctant to focus on heavy subjects. In contrast, The Breakfast Club felt like a breath of fresh air.

John Hughes also managed to make the movie fun. It is first and foremost a comedy. There are several side splitting scenes, especially ones where the youths rebel against their principal. The humour of the film helps to make the five characters even more endearing.

Hughes was aware of the popular music of the 1980’s. This can be seen in the quote by David Bowie which is used to open the movie. Throughout it’s running time The Breakfast Club features a number of pop hits. Don’t You (Forget About Me) by Simple Minds plays during the end sequence. It has since been recognised as one of the most iconic endings of all time. New generations continue to find this gem and enjoy it. The music helps to bring universal appeal, even to the young audiences who were not born when it was first released.

Top Five English Movie Directors

England has a long and renowned history when it comes to movies. Famous studios include Ealing, Elstree and Pinewood, housed in London and Buckinghamshire, respectively. Not only has its iconic landmarks and grand houses been the setting for may dramas and period pieces, but it has also produced some of the finest movie directors in the industry. Here, we take an entertaining look at the top five, along with their most famous movies or scenes.

Alfred Hitchcock

No list of famous directors would be complete without the addition of Hitchcock, famous for his use of suspense, in such movies as Vertigo (1958), Psycho (1960) and Rear Window (1954). Ask anybody to name their most remembered scene from a Hitchcock movie, and it would invariably be from The Birds (1963), when the star, Tippi Hedren, is being chased by a pack of crows who injure several children.

David Lean

When it comes to everyone’s perception of a typical English gentleman, then David Lean fits the bill. Known for his grand epics, his movies included Dr Zhivago (1965), Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), and the unforgettable Lawrence of Arabia (1962). This incredible historical drama won numerous Oscars, including for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Supporting Actor. Of the top 100 British films, Lean has seven movies on the list.

Ridley Scott

Some may be surprised to learn that Scott is English, given his phenomenal success in Hollywood, the heart of the movie industry. His epic stories embrace astonishing visual effects and include Alien (1979), Gladiator (2000) and Blade Runner (1982). The success of Alien led to three sequels, and who could forget that classic scene when the creature burst out of John Hurt’s chest.

Danny Boyle

Among the list of English directors of the modern age, Danny Boyle never disappoints with the iconic Trainspotting (1996) being his crowning glory. Despite its shocking portrayal of heroin addicts, this would be a great movie to watch on your newly refurbished macbook air, allowing you to see all the clever use of humour throughout. Boyle was also responsible for the dramatic opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics and later turned down a knighthood.

Ken Loach

He may be best remembered for his shocking BBC drama of Cathy Come Home (1966), but his movies certainly stand the test of time, especially Kes (1969) and The Wind That Shakes The Barley (2006). Loach is a well-known social activist, and this shows in his movies, with their themes of poverty, capital punishment and working class people.

An evening watching any of these classic movies will not be wasted and could be seen as an education in the timeless art of film directing.

Lord Of The Rings Trilogy

An Impressive Saga

The Lord of the Rings was once thought to be unfilmable. JRR Tolkien’s books were so long and full of epic visuals that it would take a multi-million production to do it justice. Luckily New Line Cinema were able to finance such an endeavour.

The trilogy was directed by Peter Jackson who at that time was more known for low budget gore films. He had become obsessed with the world of the books and had the vision to put it on screen. His production company Wingnut Films used cutting edge special effects. These helped with the scenes where thousands of soldiers are seen fighting all at once on screen.

Jackson released all three of these films to great acclaim. They won a record number of Academy Awards and helped Hollywood to recognise Jackson as one of the most important directors of his time. The main accolades were focused on the acting, effects and soundtrack of the films.

The story centres on a hobbit named Frodo who must take a magical ring to a volcano. On his quest he meets a wide range of heroes and villains. As he gets closer to his destination the stakes get higher as several large scale battles unfold. Throughout the course of the films there is an abundance of magic, action and fantastic creatures.

Perhaps Peter Jackson’s greatest achievement is managing to make the land of Middle Earth such a believable place. The geography and different people who live there are very well defined. This is helped by the fact that many of these places were filmed in real world locations throughout the country of New Zealand.

The Hobbit

The Lord of the Rings proved so successful that Jackson would eventually return to this world with the Hobbit trilogy. It revisited several characters from the Lord of the Rings. This time, Frodo’s uncle is the focus of the story.

The prequel takes place a number of years before the original trilogy. Bilbo Baggins goes on an adventure with the wizard Gandalf to defeat a dragon. These films expanded on the lore that had been established earlier on. This was a treat for fans who wanted to see more of this magical world.

However, the Hobbit series was not nearly as critically successful as its earlier counterpart. The heavy reliance on CGI was the most common criticism. The story line was also attacked for being overlong. This is likely due to the fact that Jackson chose to base three films on only one short book. Many felt that one movie would have been enough to satisfy them. Despite this reaction, he managed to create an immersive fantasy universe that will be enjoyed by future generations.


Acting is an essential part of a successful movie. The people playing the characters need to convince the audience that the emotions they are feeling are real. In order to do this they need to have spent a number of years training.

During the silent era the mannerisms used by actors were much more exaggerated. This was due to the fact that many of the people on screen were used to being on a stage and performing for large crowds. However, this form of acting did not translate well when it came to close up shots.

Acting styles changed with the advent of sound on screen. People now had to use their voices to further convey their character. This was an issue for some in the industry and a number of big stars failed to continue their careers.

Today acting on screen is much more naturalistic. Performers in Hollywood films are highly paid and celebrities to the public. The Academy Awards give out accolades for the best in this part of the industry. The ceremony is watched by millions each year and is used to determine the most successful movies released.

Medicine In Movies

Patch Adams

This comedy film tells the true story of a doctor who uses humour to treat his patients. It stars Robin Williams in the main role. The core message of the movie is that people in the medical profession should have compassion for those that they treat.

The Last King of Scotland

This historical drama explores the moral dilemma of a doctor. He is tasked with being the private practitioner for a violent dictator. As he witnesses the conflict of 1970’s Uganda he questions whether is doing the right thing.

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

Mental health is the core theme of this iconic Jack Nicholson film. Set in an asylum, it depicts the abuses that can take place if staff members are left unchecked. The main villain, Nurse Ratched has gone on to become an iconic example of cold cruelty.

An American Werewolf In London

Despite being a werewolf movie it takes place mostly inside a hospital room. After a hitchhiker is attacked he recovers in the bed of a medical facility. His doctor travels to the location of the incident to learn more. This is due to the fact that his symptoms are mysterious. Meanwhile, one of the nurses grows attached to the patient, unaware that he will soon transform into a monster.


This 1980’s sci fi fantasy has a hypochondriac as a main character. He knows there is something wrong with his body but is unsure what. Luckily in modern times there are apps available to help people in the same situation. For instance, livi is an app that allows a user to video chat with GPs. By doing this they can get consultations, prescriptions and referrals.

Carry On Doctor

The Carry On series was very popular for the people of Britain during the 1970’s. Each movie was set in a themed location where bawdy scenarios occurred. Most of these were in different periods of time. However, Carry On Doctor is set in contemporary days and depicts a humorous hospital where numerous quirky incidents happen.

Bringing Out The Dead

Directed by Martin Scorsese, this dark drama examines the difficult work that New York paramedics have to do. Nicholas Cage plays a medic who is beginning to collapse due to the strain that the job has on his life.

Day Of The Dead

The core conflict of this post apocalyptic horror is medicine versus military. Set in an underground base, survivors struggle after a zombie outbreak. The doctors of this facility wish to examine the un-dead in order to find a potential cure. However, the soldiers in command begin to get frustrated over their futile situation and the group fights each other.

Iconic Movie Stars

Charlie Chaplin

With his toothbrush moustache and ill-fitting suit, Charlie Chaplin is instantly recognisable to people all over the world. During the days of silent comedy, he entertained the masses. However, his career suffered from the advent of talking pictures. After being incorrectly accused of being a communist, he was forced to emigrate to Europe and did not release another film.

Buster Keaton

Buster Keaton is another important maker of silent comedy films. His work is known for its daring stunts which Keaton performed himself. Even today the death-defying spectacles in movies such as The General continue to impress modern audiences.

James Dean

Despite having an extremely short career, James Dean has become a huge star thanks to his stirring performances. The 1950’s teen drama Rebel Without A Cause is one of the best movies of the decade.

Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor was a style icon who received substantial press coverage for what she wore on and off screen. Today, people can purchase the same style type of shoes that she sometimes wore through online sites such as Footway. This just goes to show that fashion once unattainable can now be ordered with the click of a button.

Marilyn Monroe

One of the most well-known images of Hollywood history is Marilyn Monroe standing on an air vent wearing a white dress. This was just one dramatic moment in her spectacular career as an actress. All of her films are worth seeking out.

James Stewart

James Stewart started his career in the western genre. During this time he played a wide variety of heroes, some more morally ambiguous than others. However, it was his work with director Frank Capra that has cemented his status as one of the greatest actors of all time.

He plays George Bailey in It’s A Wonderful Life. This film has since become a festive favourite for many people during the holiday season. It also often lands on lists of the greatest movies of all time.

The Marx Brothers

The Marx Brothers were innovators of cinematic comedy. They started off as performers on the vaudeville circuit. They later found that their act translated very well on the silver screen. Their work remains relevant with people due to its anarchic silliness and witty one-liners.

Lillian Gish

During her heyday, Lillian Gish was one of the most famous actresses around. She is most recognised for her work with epic film director D.W. Griffith. Unlike many of her contemporaries, she managed to maintain her career well into the talkies era.

In fact, one of her most famous films is the 1955 thriller, Night Of The Hunter. In it, she shelters two orphans from a homicidal preacher played by the menacing Robert Mitchum.