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Today in Movie History: March 24

There’s no question which film rules the roost today. The Godfather, Francis Ford Coppola’s epic tale of the rise and fall of the Corleone crime family, remains the final word on gangster movies, family dramas and the corrosive power of the American dream. However you approach it, its power cannot be denied, and though the medium continues to produce its masterpieces, nothing …

Sissy Specek as Carrie

Today in Movie History: November 3

Stephen King understands bullies as few others before him, which is one of the reasons why his terror tales hold so much power. His first novel, Carrie — inspired by experiences in high school — taps into the fear, alienation and rage of being the constant target of abuse, and in the hands of director Brian De Palma, it became one of …

The Big Sleep

Today in Movie History: August 23

No contest as to what we’re starting with today: The Big Sleep Howard Hawks’ adaptation of the famed Raymond Chandler novel, now widely regarded as one of the greatest detective movies ever made. Its status as a staple of film noir hides a few too many twists – who the hell did kill that chauffeur? — but with Humphrey Bogart …

apocalypse now

Today in Movie History: August 15

Disaster or masterpiece? That distinction can hinge on the razor’s edge sometimes, especially when an ambitious, talented and possibly crazy filmmaker is involved. Case in point: Apocalypse Now, Francis Ford Coppola’s effort to encapsulate the war in Vietnam as seen through a variation of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. The shoot was infamous for its delays, debacles and outright danger, …

1954 Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront

Today in Movie History: July 28

The subtext of On the Waterfront always bothered me a bit. It celebrates a snitch, after all, and the tarnished legacy of director Eli Kazan — who ruined lives when he testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee and never expressed remorse for it — makes that uncomfortable. Divorced from the queasy political subtext, however, it’s brilliant storytelling, topped by …