Leonardo DiCaprio: The ten best movies

Thursday 21 September 2006 00:00 BST

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


1 Bicycle Thieves 1948

Ladri di Biciclette, translated as Bicycle Thieves, was the prototypical movie of Italian neo-realism. Directed by Vittorio De Sica, with a cast of non-professional actors, it captures the bleakness of the period in the poverty and humiliation of the thief, seen through the eyes of his young son.

2 Taxi Driver 1976

The classic film about the mean streets from a brilliant director (and dear friend of mine), Martin Scorsese, and a brilliant writer, Paul Schrader. It made stars of Robert De Niro and the young Jodie Foster. A masterpiece, it shows a Vietnam vet's descent into alienation and psychosis.

3 Lawrence of Arabia 1962

Based on the life of TE Lawrence (Peter O'Toole), the film revolves around his attacks on Aqaba and Damascus and his involvement in the Arab National Council. It features the famous long shot of a heat-blurred desert resolving itself into the image of Omar Sharif riding towards the camera.

4 8 1/2 1963

Written and directed by Federico Fellini, 81/2 tells the story of a director suffering creative block. In doing so, it blurs the lines between fantasy and reality, memory and imagination. It's highly autobiographical; the title refers to the number of films Fellini had made before this production.

5 The Third Man 1949

Thefamous line - "In Italy, for 30 years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder - they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had 500 years of peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock." - was written by the film's star, Orson Welles.

6 Yojimbo 1961

Echoing film conventions of classic Westerns, Yojimbo, by Akira Kurosawa, is about a Samurai with no name who arrives in a small town ruled by competing crime lords who he sets out to destroy. The film was remade as the spaghetti Western A Fistful of Dollars with Clint Eastwood.

7 Manhattan 1979

This black-and-white hymn to New York shows Woody Allen at the top of his game. He plays a twice-divorced writer who can't commit to the women in his life - neither the teenage Mariel Hemingway, nor the gorgeous Diane Keaton. The Gershwin score is virtually a character in the film.

8 Sunset Boulevard 1950

Sunset Boulevard is a comment on the way Hollywood can destroy people. The film starts with a voice-over from a now-dead character, narrating the story of his own demise. The dazzling (but terrifying) Gloria Swanson plays a version of herself as the ageing star.

9 The Shining 1980

Mid-period Stanley Kubrick featuring the first extensive use of the Steadicam to create long and elaborate tracking shots, adding to nearly unbearable tension. Jack Nicholson's portrayal of a writer driven mad by isolation or Native American spirits is miles over the top, but this is horror at its finest.

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10 East of Eden 1955

James Dean's swan song, East of Eden is essentially the story of Cain and Abel as retold by the novelist John Steinbeck. Set in 1917, as America prepares to enter the First World War, the film is packed with biblical imagery and has wonderfully evocative theatrical moments.

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