M-Net Movies Bucket List Countdown Trivia 54 to 31

The M-Net Movies Bucket List pop-up channel (109) is well under way as the channel counts down 100 popular and iconic Hollywood movies to see before you die.  Along with the M-Net Movies Bucket List countdown are an added extra treat- The M-Net Movies Bucket List Bonus Features comprise additional classics which can’t be ignored but which will appeal to niche audiences. Among these titles are vintage silver screen darlings that were ground-breaking at their time.

Get to learn more about some of these iconic films along with fascinating trivia of all your favourite films.

Monday, 13 November 2017

#54

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon at 18:00

Oscar winning director Ang Lee helms this superb spectacle about two warriors who embark on a quest for a stolen sword. Expect questions of love and duty and stunning action.

The Green Destiny Sword used in the movie, along with other weapons in the movie, are made in Taiwan. The swordsmith is actually a neighbour of Ang Lee in his current residence in Tainan, Taiwan.

Michelle Yeoh deliberately didn’t work for a year before filming began so she could concentrate on training and learning Mandarin.

In 2001, this became the first foreign language film to earn over $100 million in the United States.

The only martial arts film to date to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture.

#53

Stand By Me At 20:00

The ultimate coming-of-age film based on a Stephen King novel. A young boy goes missing in a small neighbourhood and four kids decide to go in search of his body.

River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Wil Wheaton and Jerry O’Connell got up to much mischief in the hotel they were staying in during filming. This included throwing all the pool side furniture into the pool, Wheaton fixing video games in the lobby so they could play them for free and Phoenix (spurred on by the other boys) unknowingly covering Kiefer Sutherland’s car in mud; only discovering whose car it was when Sutherland confronted a scared and nervous Phoenix about it later.

In an interview by Stephen King in the special features of the DVD, he reveals that the scene with the leeches actually did happen to him, when he was a child.

River Phoenix had auditioned for the part of Gordie Lachance, but director Rob Reiner thought that he would be better cast as Chris Chambers.

#52

Bonnie And Clyde At 21:34

Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway give stellar performances while telling this Oscar winning tale of love and crime. A waitress and an ex-con begin a violent nationwide crime spree.

It was Gene Wilder’s film debut.

Warner Brothers had so little faith in the film that, in an unprecedented move, it offered its first-time producer Warren Beatty 40% of the gross instead of a minimal fee. The movie then went on to gross over $50 million.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

#51

Top Gun at 18:10

Tom Cruise feels the need…the need for speed in this action-packed 80s classic. A talented, arrogant fly boy who takes risks, falls for an instructor who teaches him a thing or two.

John Travolta was considered for the role of Maverick, but his agent’s asking price for him was too high, especially in light of his recent box-office flops.

Val Kilmer did not want to be in this film, but was forced to by contractual obligations. However, it became one of his most iconic roles in his career.

The real Top Gun School imposes a five dollar fine to anyone in the staff that quotes the movie.

Riding on the back of this film’s success, the U.S. Navy set up recruiting booths in the major cinemas to try and catch some of the adrenaline-charged guys leaving the screenings. They had the highest applications rate for years as a result.

#50

Good Morning Vietnam at 20:10

The late Robin Williams truly shows his dynamic acting range in this poignant film. An unorthodox radio host is sent to Vietnam. He soon becomes a troop favourite with his show.

This movie was filmed in Thailand. On the back cover of early copies of the film, street signs can be seen in Thai.

Robin Williams’s portrayal of Adrian Cronauer has led to confusion as to the beliefs of the real Cronauer. Cronauer has said that the film is about 45 percent accurate, according to a biography on Robin Williams. Cronauer has said that the film misrepresented him to make him seem anti-war, when he was, in his own words, “anti-stupidity”.

Twice in the film Adrian is seen pulling out the Beatles “Help!” album from the stations collection, but no Beatles songs are ever heard on the soundtrack. This is because at that time the copyrights to their songs had not been released for use in movies or any other media outlet.

#49

Casino at 22:09

Directing genius Martin Scorsese brings out superb performances from his cast in this classic tale of crime and punishment set in the inner-workings of a corrupt casino.

When James Woods heard that Martin Scorsese was interested in working with him, Woods called Scorsese’s office and left the following message: “Any time, any place, any part, any fee.”

The “f” word is said four hundred thirty-five times, including in the narration, 2.4 times per minute on average. The film held the record for the most uses of the word until the release of Summer of Sam (1999), which also had a reported four hundred thirty-five uses. The recorded was later broken by The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), which had close to six hundred uses.

Most of the conversations between Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci were improvised. Martin Scorsese would tell them where to start and where to end. The rest was up to them.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

#48

When Harry Met Sally at 18:23

Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan ask hard questions about love, friendship and intimacy in this romcom about two best friends who fear sex will ruin their relationship.

The scene where we see all four lead characters talking to each other individually on various telephones took sixty takes to nail.

Harry and Sally’s final interview at the end of the film was completely improvised.

Albert Brooks turned down the role of Harry Burns.

#47

Fish Called Wanda, A at 20:00

UK and US comedy meet to create a wildly funny classic starring John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis and Kevin Kline. Four people plan a robbery only to turn against each other.

In the robbery scene, it really was Kevin Kline who shot the crossbow at the sensor. Kevin got the shot off correctly on the second take.

Leach’s daughter Portia is played by John Cleese’s real-life daughter Cynthia Cleese, credited as Cynthia Caylor.

Michael Palin went on to found the London Centre for Stammering Children after a group of stutterers confronted him regarding the sensitivity with which he dealt with Ken’s handicap in this film.

#46

Inglourious Basterds at 21:45

Quentin Tarantino directs Brad Pitt and an ensemble cast in this gritty war film. Set in Nazi-occupied France a rag-tag team of soldiers plan to assassinate the Nazi leadership.

Quentin Tarantino was considering abandoning the film while the casting search for someone to play Colonel Hans Landa took place, fearing he’d written a role that was unplayable. After Christoph Waltz auditioned however, both Tarantino and producer Lawrence Bender agreed they had found the perfect actor for the role.

It was Quentin Tarantino’s highest-grossing film since Pulp Fiction (1994).

Leonardo DiCaprio was the first choice for Colonel Hans Landa, but Quentin Tarantino then decided that a German-speaking actor should play the part. DiCaprio would go on to play the primary antagonist in Tarantino’s next film, Django Unchained (2012).

Christoph Waltz dubbed his own performance in the German version.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

#45

Four Weddings And A Funeral at 18:00

This witty comedy catapulted Hugh Grant to international stardom. Over the course of five different social occasions a hardened bachelor thinks that he might have discovered love.

Inspiration for the film came when writer Richard Curtis was flipping through some old diaries and realized that he had been to 72 weddings in 10 years

Hugh Grant had to learn British Sign Language for his scenes with his brother, played by non-hearing actor David Bower.

For his audition, Hugh Grant played a tape of when he was best man at his brother’s wedding.

The budget for the film was so small that the Scottish wedding wasn’t filmed in Scotland, and the extras in the wedding scenes had to bring their own suits.

As of 1999, it is the highest-grossing British film in cinema history, with worldwide box office in excess of $260 million.

#44

Misery at 20:00

The suspense between James Caan and Kathy Bates is palpable in this Stephen King adaptation. An author is rescued from a car crash by a fan. But his rescue turns into a nightmare.

The main character, Paul Sheldon’s, novels are published by Viking, the same publishing company that published Stephen King’s books at that time.

The “guy who went mad in a hotel nearby” is a reference to The Shining (1980), also based on a novel written by Stephen King.

Jack Nicholson was offered the role of Paul Sheldon but passed because he was not sure he wanted to do another movie based on one of Stephen King’s novels, after what he had experienced with Stanley Kubrick on The Shining (1980).

In 1991, Kathy Bates became the first woman to win an Oscar for Best Actress in a horror/thriller for her role as Annie Wilkes. The first performer to win an Oscar for a horror film was Fredric March for his performance as the title character in the 1931 version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931). The only other winners for acting in a horror film were Ruth Gordon for her performance as Mia Farrow’s new neighbour with a hidden agenda in Rosemary’s Baby (1968) (Best Supporting Actress of 1968), Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster for Best Actor and Best Actress in The Silence of the Lambs (1991), and Natalie Portman for Best Actress in Black Swan (2010).

#43

Unforgiven at 21:47

Clint Eastwood stars and directs this epic Western with an all-star cast. A retired gunslinger reluctantly takes on one last job with the help of a young man.

The final screen credit reads, “Dedicated to Sergio and Don”, referring to Clint Eastwood’s mentors, Sergio Leone and Don Siegel.

Only the third western to ever win the Best Picture Oscar. The other two being Dances with Wolves (1990) and Cimarron (1931).

It took Clint Eastwood several years to actually get around to reading the script, as his script reader had initially told him that it wasn’t very good.

As of 2017, this is Clint Eastwood’s final Western.

Friday, 17 November 2017

BONUS: Love Story at 16:48

This Oscar winning film tells the age-old tale of forbidden love as a couple fall for each other despite their different backgrounds, but then tragedy strikes.

The film cast includes two Oscar winners: Ray Milland and Tommy Lee Jones; and three Oscar nominees: Ali MacGraw, Ryan O’Neal, and John Marley.

It was the film debut of Tommy Lee Jones, a Harvard graduate. Erich Segal based Ryan O’Neal’s character on Jones, and on his Harvard roommate, future Vice-President Al Gore.

Eight up-and-coming actors including Michael Douglas, Jon Voight, and Peter Fonda turned down the role of Oliver, despite being offered ten percent of the gross.

#42

Avatar at 18:30

Acclaimed director James Cameron creates a visually stunning sci-fi adventure. A global cooperation goes to war with a planet’s indigenous people over their very rare minerals.

James Cameron admitted in an interview that he got the idea for “Avatar” after watching Disney’s 1995 animated film Pocahontas (1995).

James Cameron was convinced that CGI effects had progressed enough to make this film when he saw Gollum in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002).

At the time of auditioning, Sam Worthington was living in his car.

This movie took four years to make, from pre-production to release.

Matt Damon and Jake Gyllenhaal were the studio’s first choices to play Jake Sully, but James Cameron decided to cast the less-known Sam Worthington in the lead role.

#41

Scarface at 21:12

Al Pacino gives an iconic performance as Tony Montana, a Cuban immigrant looking to live the American dream, in this riveting, fast-paced gangster drama.

Oliver Stone wrote this film while fighting a cocaine addiction. He had moved to Paris to be away from a plentiful supply of the drug in the U.S.

Robert De Niro was offered the lead role but turned it down.

The word “yeyo” is used by Tony Montana (Al Pacino) as a slang word for cocaine. This word was not in the script, and was ad-libbed by Pacino during the first drug deal scene (chainsaw scene), and Brian De Palma liked it enough to keep using it throughout the film. Pacino learned the word while learning the Cuban accent.

Al Pacino reportedly stated that Tony Montana was one of his favorites of all the characters he’s played.

Steven Spielberg operated one of the cameras in the final scene because he happened to be on the set the day that scene was filmed.

To help stay in character, Al Pacino asked director of photography John A. Alonzo to speak to him only in Spanish.

#40

Basic Instinct at 00:00

Sharon Stone is the ultimate femme fatale in this racy thriller about sex, lies and murder. A suspended detective (Michael Douglas) investigates a murder involving a seductive woman.

Sharon Stone was only offered the role of Catherine after thirteen actresses had turned it down.\

Sharon Stone was seriously considering giving up acting to study law, at the time she was offered the role of Catherine Tramell.

No body doubles were used in any of the sex scenes.

Michael Douglas (a former race-car driver) did most of his own stunt driving in the film.

Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Ray Liotta, and Patrick Swayze auditioned for the role of Detective Nick Curran.

#39

Taxi Driver at 02:10

Martin Scorsese’s iconic film with a captivating yet haunting Robert De Niro. A violent mentally ill war veteran working as a taxi driver tries to save young prostitute.

Robert De Niro worked fifteen hour days for a month driving cabs as preparation for this role. He also studied mental illness.

Director Martin Scorsese claims that the most important shot in the movie is when Bickle is on the phone trying to get another date with Betsy. The camera moves to the side slowly and pans down the long, empty hallway next to Bickle, as if to suggest that the phone conversation is too painful and pathetic to bear.

Jodie Foster claims that Robert De Niro would regularly phone her up and suggest they have coffee together. They would then rehearse the diner scene over and over to the point where Foster got bored, but still De Niro would insist they continue rehearsing.

BONUS: A Fistful Of Dollars at 05:50

The master of Spaghetti Westerns Sergio Leone teams up with Clint Eastwood to create a gritty classic. A wondering gunman battles the odds in a town run by greed and pride.

Clint Eastwood’s trademark squint was caused by the combination of the sun and high-wattage arc lamps on the set.

This has been described as the first “spaghetti western”, but when this film was made, there had already been about 25 such westerns produced in Italy. This was, however, the first to receive a major international release.

Since all footage was filmed silent, Clint Eastwood did not add his voice to the soundtrack until 1967, when the movie was prepared for U.S. release.

This was the first time that Sergio Leone and composer Ennio Morricone worked together. Initially Leone was not keen on using Morricone for this film.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

BONUS: The Pink Panther at 16:51

Peter Sellers introduces the world to the bumbling yet legendary Inspector Clouseau. The detective travels to Rome to stop “The Phantom” stealing the prized “Pink Panther” diamond.

When presenting at a subsequent Oscar Awards ceremony, David Niven requested his walk-on music be changed from the “Pink Panther” theme, as “that was not really my film.”

Claudia Cardinale could not speak English, so Princess Dala’s dialog was dubbed by 20-year-old Gale Garnett.

With just two weeks to go before shooting begun, the producers decided that Ava Gardner’s erratic lifestyle could affect filming and decided not to offer her the part of Madame Clouseau. Capucine was hired in a hurry, but Peter Ustinov’s wife felt this would affect the calibre of the production and told him to withdraw. From this chaos, Peter Sellers became an international superstar.

#38

Rain Man at 18:46

4 Oscars including Best Picture. This Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise drama sees a young hustler try and obtain his father’s fortune by getting to know his autistic and brilliant brother.

On “Oprah”, Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman said the “farting in the phone booth” bit was improvised when Hoffman actually passed gas while the scene was being filmed. Hoffman said it was his favorite scene ever.

During filming, both Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise doubted the movie’s potential and jokingly called it, “Two Schmucks in a Car”.

Dustin Hoffman insisted that Raymond Babbitt should be an autistic savant, instead of being mentally disabled. His insistence was largely responsible for director Martin Brest quitting the project.

Both Jack Nicholson and Robert De Niro turned down the part of Raymond.

Jake Hoffman, the boy at the pancake counter, is Dustin Hoffman’s son.

Hans Zimmer’s first score for a Hollywood production.

#37

Little Miss Sunshine at 21:00

An Oscar-winning film about a quirky family who does everything to get their little girl to a beauty pageant. Lovable family and dark humour make this an enjoyable movie.

Bill Murray was the original choice to play Frank. The second choice was Robin Williams.

The movie took five years to make, mostly due to financial reasons.

Dwayne is 15. In reality, Paul Dano who played Dwayne, was 22.

#36

Fargo at 22:43

The legendary Coen brothers create an enthralling crime thriller that brought a new dynamic to the genre. A man’s crime begins to fall apart due to his and his crew’s ineptness.

William H. Macy begged the directors for the role of Jerry Lundegaard. He did two readings for the part, and became convinced he was the best man for the role. When the Coens didn’t get back to him, he flew to New York (where they were starting production) and said, “I’m very, very worried that you are going to screw up this movie by giving this role to somebody else. It’s my role, and I’ll shoot your dogs if you don’t give it to me.” He was joking, of course.

The movie is called Fargo because the Coens thought it was a better title than Brainerd.

The actors used a book called “How to Talk Minnesotan” to help with their accents.

The wood chipper used in the movie is now on display at the Fargo-Moorhead Visitors Center.

#35

The Professional At 00:35

The direction of Luc Besson brings out an astounding performance by a young Natalie Portman. After her family are murdered, a girl is reluctantly taken in by an assassin.

Robert De Niro was considered for Leon

This was Natalie Portman’s motion picture debut. She was 11 when she was cast.

Natalie Portman’s parents were extremely worried about the smoking scenes in the film, and before they allowed Natalie to appear, they worked out a contract with Luc Besson which had strict mandates as regards the depiction of smoking; there could only be five smoking scenes in the film, Portman would never be seen to inhale or exhale smoke, and Mathilda would give up during the course of the film.

Liv Tyler was considered for the part of Mathilda but, at age 15, she was deemed too old.

Natalie Portman beat out 2000 other actresses to the role of Mathilda.

BONUS: Flying Down To Rio at 05:03

A stupendous musical filled with romance. An aviator and a womanizing band leader get into all sorts of trouble when the band leader falls for a woman who is already engaged.

In the original prints, the “Orchids in the Moonlight” number was color tinted.

Joel McCrea was originally slated for the role of Roger Bond.

Helen Broderick was replaced by Blanche Friderici before shooting began after Broderick agreed to co-star in the Broadway revue “As Thousands Cheer”.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

BONUS: The Great Escape at 13:26

There are few films that exhibit the value of freedom quite like this Steve McQueen prison adventure classic. 250 allied prisoners of war plan to escape a German camp during WWII.

Steve McQueen and James Garner became friends on this film. They bonded over their love of cars.

Hilts (Steve McQueen) strings a wire across the road to obtain a motorcycle. McQueen himself played the German motorcyclist who hits the wire.

During production, Charles Bronson met and fell in love with David McCallum’s wife, Jill Ireland, and he jokingly told McCallum he was going to steal her away from him. In 1967, Ireland and McCallum divorced, and she married Bronson.

The real-life escape preparations involved 600 men working for well over a year. The escape did have the desired effect of diverting German resources, including a doubling of the number of guards after the Gestapo took over the camp from the Luftwaffe.

#34

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial at 16:22

“E.T. go home.” Steven Spielberg created a sci-fi masterpiece that wowed a generation. A child befriends an alien and tries to help to it escape Earth and return to its planet.

Steven Spielberg shot most of the film from the eye-level of a child to further connect with Elliott and E.T.

Steven Spielberg stated in an interview that E.T. was a plant-like creature, and neither male nor female.

When it was test-screened at the Cannes Film Festival as an unofficial entry, it brought the house down, receiving a standing ovation that had eluded most of the official entries.

Harrison Ford initially filmed a cameo role in the film as Elliott’s school headmaster, but the scene was cut.

#33

The Breakfast Club at 18:17

This teen classic makes detention look cool. Five high school kids spend a Saturday in detention. Their confinement teaches them that they are not so different.

If John Hughes couldn’t get Emilio Estevez to play the role of Andrew Clarke, he would have considered casting Michael J. Fox, Jim Carrey, Tom Cruise, Matthew Broderick, or Rob Lowe.

John Hughes wrote the screenplay to this movie in just two days (July 4 and 5, 1982).

Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall dated for a while after filming this movie.

The film was shot in sequence.

#32

Raging Bull at 20:00

Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro’s Oscar winning performance turned this biographical boxing film into a work of art. Follow Jake La Motta’s tumultuous journey in and out the ring.

Robert De Niro did as many as one thousand rounds, when training with the real Jake LaMotta. He thought De Niro had what it took to become a professional contender.

When Martin Scorsese visited some boxing matches, he was immediately struck by two images: the blood-soaked sponge wiped across the fighter’s back, and the pendulous drops of blood hanging off the ropes.

Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci are really punching each other in the famous “hit me” scene.

Robert De Niro accidentally broke Joe Pesci’s rib in a sparring scene. This shot appears in the film: De Niro hits Pesci in the side, Pesci groans, and there is a quick cut to another angle.

#31

The Godfather at 22:07

Francis Ford Coppola’s Oscar winning classic starring Marlon Brando follows the power and greed, revolving around the life of a powerful head of a New York Mafia family.

The cat held by Marlon Brando in the opening scene was a stray that Coppola found while on the lot at Paramount, and was not originally called for in the script.

Marlon Brando wanted to make Don Corleone “look like a bulldog,” so he stuffed his cheeks with cotton wool for the audition. For the actual filming, he wore a mouthpiece made by a dentist. This appliance is on display in the American Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, New York.

James Caan improvised the part where he throws the FBI photographer to the ground. The extra’s frightened reaction is genuine. Caan also came up with the idea of throwing money at the man to make up for breaking his camera. As he put it, “Where I came from, you broke something, you replaced it or repaid the owner.”

According to Al Pacino, the tears in Marlon Brando’s eyes were real, in the hospital scene when Michael pledges himself to his father.

Marlon Brando did not memorize most of his lines and read from cue cards during most of the film.

BONUS: 1984 at 01:02

The late legends John Hurt and Richard Burton give bold and energetic performances in George Orwell’s classic tale of a man using love to rebel against a totalitarian future society.

Paul Scofield was unable to play O’Brien, because he had broken his leg.

This was Richard Burton’s final film before his death on August 5, 1984, at the age of fifty-eight.

In the film, Inner and Outer Party members call each other “brother” or “sister” instead of “comrade” like in the novel.

Richard Burton was fourth choice for the role of O’Brien. Paul Scofield, Rod Steiger, Sir Sean Connery, and Sir Anthony Hopkins were also considered for the part.

Published by Andrew Germishuys

Founder of SAMDB, Andrew has worked full time in the film industry since the early 2000's. He has trained as an actor, completing his LAMDA Gold Medal, and attending many courses in Cape Town acting studios, with masterclasses with some of the international industries top directors, producers and filmmakers. Working as an actor and armourer in the film and television industry have given Andrew a great balance of skills across the board when it comes to the entertainment industry. Catch him on Twitter: twitter.com/andrewgerm_za And IMDb: www.imdb.com/name/nm5390453/

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