As movies continue to be transferred to Blu-ray, we’d like to suggest a few films that deserve everything that awesome platform has to offer. So here’s a top 10 list of movies that would look great, sound great, and benefit from the extensive special features that Blu-ray discs provide. Keep in mind that this list is not in the order of how great each movie is, but rather how much each film would benefit from a Blu-ray upgrade.
Of course, not everyone owns a Blu-ray player, but that’s changing quickly – if you love movies you really should find a way to get one. There is nothing on the home video market that beats its picture and sound quality, along with some exceptional bonus features not found on DVD (you do need at least a 42″ TV to really start seeing the difference, though). As of January of last year, Blu-ray had found its way into over 10.7 million homes since its June 2006 launch. And according to some studies, it will have a 74% market share by 2017.
Considering those numbers, it seems like a good time for this top 10 list. The following includes only films with no announced release date for a Blu-ray version, so for example you won’t see the Alien franchise listed as it is set to be released later this year.
#10: Pulp Fiction
Many would argue this is Quentin Tarantino’s finest work. With Jackie Brown and Pulp Fiction as the only two remaining Tarantino films waiting to make the transfer, it’s safe to say this belongs on the list. The eccentric director is typically shy about his special features, but Inglourious Basterds came with a plethora of behind-the-scenes material and it’s hard to imagine more of the same isn’t waiting to be seen with Pulp Fiction.
The colors of the film have always been vibrant. Certain scenes, like the old-school diner, would look excellent with an upgrade. But frankly, the reason it belongs is for the quality of the story itself and the historic value of a truly beloved film.
A lot of people seem to forget you don’t actually see the shark until the third act of this Steven Spielberg masterpiece. In 1975, the robotic shark was an impressive piece of movie magic, but now it’s hard to even watch it without cracking the slightest smirk. Yet that has nothing to do with why people love Jaws – the suspense of the inevitable is an aspect Spielberg did not create, but mastered in every way with the film.
What would make a Blu-ray release so great is the addition of numerous documentaries and behind-the-scenes interviews about the movie. If you’ve ever seen Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, you know the fascinating story behind the creation of Jaws and how close it drove Spielberg to the edge. The New England beach town focused in the movie is a good-looking one that could benefit from an upgrade. Most importantly, one of cinema’s most recognizable themes would surely sound great mastered using the latest tech.
If there is a missing piece of the horror genre on Blu-ray shelves, it’s got to be Psycho. The unforgettable house on the hill would certainly look even better with an upgraded version of the film. If there is one moment to see with the upgrade it is that shower scene: The shot of the drain with blood swirling into it, mixed with the rushing water, has stuck in viewers heads from day one.
If anything, it would be nice to see a Hitchcock release with some new interviews or special features with the man himself. Maybe we’ll even get a chance to see him smile; a rare feat itself. But the master of suspense created one of the most memorable scenes within a film that is solid all the way through.
#7: Schindler’s List
One of the most important films in history… One of Steven Spielberg’s crowning achievements… One of the most beautifully shot films ever, Schindler’s List deserves a Blu-ray in every way imaginable. It is one of the few films every living person should see, movie fan or not. Ironically enough, it is not the highest ranked Spielberg movie on this list, let alone of the films on this list made by Spielberg in 1993.
The Best Picture winner sports some shots that anybody would love to see on high-quality Blu-ray. [SPOILER AHEAD] For instance, the scene where Amon Goeth (Ralph Fiennes) wakes up, goes to the balcony, and begins shooting random prisoners from a distance is chilling, yet beautifully filmed. The little girl in red who becomes one of the film’s most memorable moments would be a sight to behold on the home video platform. Accompanying the visuals is a perfectly fitting score by the legendary John Williams.
What I’d really like to see is an extensive collection of interviews and documentaries featuring Holocaust survivors, even if it means a second disc. Over the years we’ve seen Spielberg’s affinity for their stories and if he’s got any say in the matter, they will be prominently featured.
#6: Once Upon A Time In The West
I may get some hell for this, but Once Upon A Time In The West is my favorite Western by a long shot. In what could be considered the most beautifully shot film on this list, a Blu-ray transfer would be highly anticipated. Having said all that, the sound is a little on the Jekyll and Hyde side of things. While the Ennio Morricone score is epic and unforgettable, giving the character of Harmonica his mesmerizing quality, the character audio is constantly suspect. Some amazing one-liners are sprinkled throughout the film, but frequent misfires with the dubbing can cause some confusion.
If they really take their time with this upgrade, and even remaster the audio to time it up a little better (is that possible?), we could have one of the greatest Blu-ray transfers ever. But we should understand that is asking a lot, and just to see this on an HDTV via a Blu-ray disc would be a feat in itself. If you’ve ever seen The Searchers on Blu-ray you’ll know just how capable films as aged as these can look in the Hi-Def format.
#5: Citizen Kane
Widely considered the best film of all time, it is kind of shocking this movie hasn’t made its way onto Blu-ray yet. The Orson Welles masterpiece will turn 70 years old in May of 2011 – so if they get started soon, that would make for a great release date. Either way, a picture and sound upgrade of the 1941 Best Picture nominee is much deserved. Some interviews or bonus features would be a nice addition as well.
It would be nice to add a bonus disc honoring Welles. It has been 15 years since his passing and very little has been done to truly capture his greatness. Let’s compile interviews, documentaries, and behind-the-scenes shots of the man at work. Honor one of the most hard-working men in Hollywood history.
#4: The Indiana Jones Trilogy
One of the best movie trilogies ever still has not made the Blu-ray jump – and go figure, it is another Spielberg work. The filmmaker finds his way onto this list four times. It would be nice of you to let this happen, Mr. Spielberg.
The transfer is inevitable and it’s hard to imagine they didn’t make it happen for the release of Indy 4. As bad as that movie was, I still love the franchise. Indiana Jones is one of the most beloved characters in cinema and deserves to look his best on a Blu-ray disc. The sound design was ahead of its time and one of the most iconic themes could handle an upgrade quite well. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait for an Indy 5 to see this trilogy on Blu-ray.
#3: Apocalypse Now
The most epic film production known to man. It ran into so many problems they made one of the most revered behind-the-scenes documentaries on any movie, Hearts of Darkness. Given what Blu-ray has to offer, wouldn’t a redux release just be amazing? Give us everything the latest DVD had, which was quite a lot, and add some other features to it. There’s no doubt director Francis Ford Coppola loves the camera. He’s talked about Apocalypse Now on a number of occasions.
As a film itself, this is one of the more stunning of its time. Shooting on location gave it an aesthetic quality unlike many films we see today. The “Ride of the Valkyries” scene is still one of the most recognizable in movie history and the sky filled with helicopters would be mighty fine with improved picture quality. Just imagine the napalm explosion on Blu-ray. What I would look forward to most is the conversation between Col. Kurtz (Marlon Brando) and Capt. Willard (Martin Sheen).
#2: The Jurassic Park Trilogy
The first of the dinosaur trilogy is one of the most memorable films of its genre. Jurassic Park is the most deserving of the three to make the Blu-ray jump. The combination of sound and visuals was a sight to behold. The special effects and CGI have held up quite nicely and an upgrade to Blu-ray would serve its purpose even better.
With rumors of a new Jurassic Park trilogy constantly swirling, now is a great time to get to work. Set a release date to coincide with the new graphic novel and see where it goes. While JP2 and JP3 have their weak points, they round out a trilogy nicely and each add their own element. For instance, the raptors in the wheat fields of the second installment still holds a place in my heart. In the third one, they went back to the success of the first, similar to the pattern Indiana Jones weaved. While it is not perfect by any stretch, there is much to be enjoyed. All three provide exceptional sound design and visuals that will stick with you for years. For this reason alone, it deserves a big old Blu-ray box.
#1: The Star Wars Saga
This should be obvious. The one glaring absence in every Blu-ray collection is the Star Wars saga. One of the most iconic”hero’s journey” stories put on film deserves this in every single way. And as much as people want to hate on Episodes 1-3, they are now an integral part of the Star Wars story and belong in a Blu-ray release just as much.
For such an advocate of technological advancements, George Lucas certainly is slow to giving his franchise the format treatment. Considering his affinity for making money off the franchise, it’s mind-boggling it has taken this long to get the saga going in high definition for the home theater. The numbers I mentioned at the beginning of this article should be hanging on his mantle – and for once in a long time, Lucas doing something for money would actually be something people want: A Blu-ray Star Wars saga. And hey, if you don’t mind, actually throw some legit behind-the-scenes pieces in this time.
That’s our ten right there. Hopefully dates begin to pop up here and there, but one to keep your eye on will always be that Star Wars saga. It seems like an inevitable event, but when will it actually happen? Also, somebody needs to just sit Steven Spielberg down and get him on the Blu-ray page, because he is on this list far too many times.
What do you think? Did we miss anything? What would you change? Leave your comments below and let us know.