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Today in Movie History: December 14

It was a good day for epics, starting with Edward Zwick’s classic Civil War tale Glory, which (among other things) gave Denzel Washington his first Oscar. You like your epics big, loud and featuring Charlton Heston? December 14 also saw the release of Anthony Mann’s minor classic El Cid back in 1961. 1984 saw three notable science fiction movies released today… well okay, …

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Today in Movie History: December 10

There are good films, there are great films and then there are films that ennoble the medium by their very existence. Lawrence of Arabia is such a movie: a singular towering achievement that made full use of director David Lean’s incomparable sense of the epic. Peter O’Toole launched his career as the titular British soldier, whose campaign against the Turks …

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Today in Movie History: July 20

We’ll start today with Midnight Run, a personal favorite about a down-on-his-luck bounty hunter (Robert De Niro) tasked with bringing a mob accountant (Charles Grodin) across country before being nicked by the feds, the Mafia or De Niro’s sleazy rival. The madcap chase is expertly delivered by director Martin Brest, who mined the comic chemistry of his two leads to …

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Today in Movie History: July 18

Mid-July is blockbuster time — usually when the last of the heavy hitters shows up to crush the box office before giving way to the earthier guilty pleasures of August. A pair of great sequels mark the day, notably The Dark Knight: Christopher Nolan’s follow-up to his already impressive Batman Begins. In then ensuing decade, it’s become the stuff of …

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Today in Movie History: October 20

It’s a comparatively quiet day, marked by an all-time personal favorite. Christopher Nolan made his mark on cinema early, and every new film of his — even those that don’t reach their potential — merits notice. His greatest may still be The Prestige: the tale of two 19th century magicians (Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman) whose bitter rivalry drives them both to madness …

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Today in Movie History: June 17

Today starts with Fanny and Alexander, Ingmar Bergman’s swan song about a young brother and sister who have to deal with their monstrous stepfather and in the process blur the distinction between fantasy and reality. It’s as powerful as any of the master’s films and netted Bergman his third and final Oscar for Best Foreign Language film. It opened in the …