Film Choice: The Jerk / 9pm, ITV4; Thelma & Louise / 9pm, Sky Atlantic; Flags of Our Fathers / 9pm, Film4; The Missouri Breaks / 11pm, ITV4

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The Independent Culture

The Jerk / 9pm, ITV4 (Carl Reiner, 1979) "I was born a poor black child," begins Steve Martin in his first – and funniest – starring film role, recounting a rags-to-riches story about a white man raised by black sharecroppers who, upon learning that he is adopted, heads out in search of his roots and to make his fortune. Worth it for the scene in which he discovers a sense of rhythm alone.

Thelma & Louise / 9pm, Sky Atlantic

(Ridley Scott, 1991) Thelma (Geena Davis), a housewife, and Louise (Susan Sarandon), a waitress, head off for the weekend in Louise's convertible Thunderbird and wind up as outlaws. This is an iconic buddy movie about the exhilarating freedom of the open road and the liberating feeling of not doing what you're told, which has you rooting for its characters very nearly to the end.

Flags of Our Fathers / 9pm, Film4

(Clint Eastwood, 2006) Clint Eastwood's films as a director are invariably concerned with deconstructing archetypes of masculinity and heroism. In this one, he goes behind the scenes of Joe Rosenthal's photograph of US soldiers raising their flag on Mount Suribachi after the costly battle for Iwo Jima in 1945, and finds that there are good, heroic men in war, but no glorious acts.

The Missouri Breaks / 11pm, ITV4

(Arthur Penn, 1976) Marlon Brando (above) delivered the most eccentric performance of his career in this off-kilter revisionist Western, as a perverse and sadistic lawman with a fondness for dressing up, in pursuit of Jack Nicholson and his gang of rustlers. Grubby, violent and somewhat portentous, the film was a flop on its release, but remains one of the era's more distinctive treasures.