Seven Samurai (1954)
One of the finest films the world has ever seen, Seven Samurai is perhaps the most influential films from Asia that made a worldwide impact. In more ways than one, this film was the pioneer of the theme of recruiting a set of men for a specific motive. Starring Takashi Shimura and Toshiro Mifune among others, the Seven Samurai is a film about a village, that is tormented by bandits, hires a group of seven unemployed Samurai to defend the next harvest. The film was so successful in the US that many big budget Hollywood films tried to ape the plot element and succeeded. From The Guns of Navarone to The Dirty Dozen to Sholay, the formula has been a 100% hit.
Do Aankhen Barah Haath (1958)
Although it revolves around a story of someone recruiting a group of men, V Shantaram's Do Aankhen Barah Haath only fulfills half the requirements of our theme this week. The film, based on a real life experiment conducted in Satara, shows how a jail warden takes up a task of rehabilitating six hardened criminals and turning them into men of virtue. The film, which was well appreciated and re-made in several regional languages in India, is said to be a deep study of the human psychology. The film is a great moral lesson in childhood and also propagates certain virtues that one must always hold up.
Ocean's 11 (2001)
The more appropriate inclusion to this list would have been the original 1960 version of the film, which was directed by Rat Pack. However, the Steven Soderbergh version has a better production quality and also, George Clooney plays Danny Ocean in this one. The thriller, revolves around Ocean and his 10 accomplices, who include Matt Damon and Brad Pitt, trying to rob the Bellagio, The Mirage, and the MGM Grand casinos in Las Vegas. An adrenaline rush, coupled with an amazing soundtrack make this film an unforgettable experience. And just to be safe, watch the original too; it has Frank Sinatra in it.
This brutal, bloody and thrilling fantasy action film, based on the comic series by Frank Miller, is a modern day fantastic re-telling of the Battle of Thermopylae. The film, directed by Zack Snyder, revolves around King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) of Sparta who gathers 300 brave Spartans to fight the thousand times larger army of Persian God-King, Xerxes. The comic book like treatment in live action feels a little over-the-top and the theme that 300 men, in the name of courage and patriotism are willing to take an impossible task of beating 300,000 men just highlights the stupidity that courage is made of. But kicking someone in the chest and yelling "This is Spartaaaa!!!" never gets old.
Inglorious Basterds (2009)
A gem from the modern master Quentin Tarantino, Inglorious Basterds is set during the World War II and tells the tale of how Lieutenant Aldo Raine, of the 1st Special Service Force, recruits eight Jewish Americans in a high profile mission to kill important German officers. Tarantino's intriguing narrative shows how this plan happily coincides with the plan of a vengeful theatre owner in Paris. Starring Brad Pitt as Aldo Raine, Christoph Waltz as Lans Handa, Eli Roth as Donny Donowitz, Michael Fassbender as, Melanie Laurent in exquisite character roles; the film, just like all Tarantino films that preceded, is violent, stylish and unique. The film's lead up to the climax, the Chapter 11, is the most talked of scene in the film as it showed an alternate premature end to the World War with the brutal assassination of Hitler.
Published in DNA After Hrs (Pune) on February 10, 2013