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Today in Movie History: December 16

It’s another big day for movies and we’ll start with one of the very biggest: Lawrence of Arabia, David Lean’s breathtaking epic about the Englishman who rallied a nation to his side during World War I, then tried to give them their independence in exchange. You could call it the greatest movie ever made and not be immediately disputed. It …

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Today in Movie History: October 17

For a supposedly quiet month, October is chock full of terrific movies. We’ll start with Bullitt, a movie that’s less a classic in and of itself than a classic car chase with a movie wrapped around it. The rest of the film is boilerplate cops-and-robbers stuff, but when Steve McQueen gets behind the wheel of that Mustang, something magic happens. Bullitt opened …

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Today in Movie History: September 12

Academics tend to cite Rules of the Game as Jean Renoir’s indisputable masterpiece, but I much prefer La Grande Illusion, his tale of French soldiers plotting an escape from a German POW camp during the First World War. The strange fluidity of their bonds gives their relationship real heft, and Renoir’s observations about class and prejudice are sharp, sad and always true …