Best Buddy Movies- Part 1

Posted on 1 Jun 00:00

Buddy movies are one of the most popular movie genres. These films run the gamut from comedy to crime, and are just plain enjoyable to watch.

1. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

'The Shawshank Redemption' is a drama written by Frank Darabont, based on the 1982 Stephen King novella 'Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption'.

Plot: The plot revolves around Andy Dufresne, a successful banker, who is arrested for the murders of his wife and her lover and is sentenced to life imprisonment at the Shawshank prison. Andy is the only person who truly knows if he is innocent or guilty, and he becomes an unconventional prisoner. While there, he forms a friendship with Red, a fellow prisoner and a contraband smuggler. Andy experiences the brutality of prison life but adapts. Among the things he does during his nineteen years as a prisoner includes helping the prison warden, Samuel Norton, and becomes instrumental in Norton’s money-laundering operation.

Director: Frank Darabont.

Main Cast: Tim Robbins (as Andy Dufresne, the banker who is arrested and imprisoned for his wife’s and her lover’s murder), Morgan Freeman (as Ellis Boyd ‘Red,’ Redding, a prison contraband smuggler who befriends Andy), and Bob Gunton (as Samuel Norton, the fake pious and cruel warden of Shawshank prison).

Awards and Nominations: This film was nominated for seven Academy Awards in 1995; Best Picture (Marvin), Best Actor (Freeman), Best Adapted Screenplay (Darabont), Best Cinematography (Deakins), Best Editing (Richard Francis-Bruce), Best Sound (Robert J. Litt, Elliot Tyson, Michael Herbick, and Willie D. Burton), and Best Original Score (Newman). It did not win any award in the nominated categories. It received two Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture for Freeman and Best Screenplay for Darabont. Robbins and Freeman were nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role at the inaugural Screen Actors Guild Awards in 1995. Darabont was nominated for a Directors Guild of America award in 1994 for Best Director of a feature film and a Writers Guild of America Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. Deakins won the American Society of Cinematographers Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography, while producer Niki Marvin was nominated for a 1994 Golden Laurel Award by the Producers Guild of America.

Critical Reception: 'The Shawshank Redemption' received many positive reviews from critics. Entertainment Weekly's Owen Gleiberman said that Freeman makes the Red character feel genuine and ‘lived-in.’ Some reviewers compared the film to other well-received prison dramas, including 'Birdman of Alcatraz', 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest', 'Cool Hand Luke', and 'Riot in Cell Block 11'.

2.  The Big Lebowski (1998)

1998's 'The Big Lebowski' crime and comedy movie was written by Joel and Ethan Coen.

Plot: The storyline depicts, Jeff `The Dude' Lebowski, mistaken for Jeffrey Lebowski, 'The Big Lebowski'. Consequently, 'The Dude' is roughed up and has his precious rug peed on. In search of compensation, The Dude tracks down his namesake, who offers him a job. The Big Lebowski’s trophy wife has been kidnapped, and he needs a reliable bagman to serve as a go between himself and the kidnappers. He is aided and hindered by his pals Walter Sobchak, a Vietnam vet, and Donny, master of stupidity.

Director: Joel and Ethan Coen.

Main Cast: Jeff Bridges (as Jeffrey ‘The Dude’ Lebowski, a Los Angeles slacker and avid bowler), John Goodman (as Walter Sobchak), David Huddleston (as Jeffrey ‘The Big’ Lebowski), and Julianne Moore (as Maude Lebowski).

Awards and Nominations: Joel and Ethan Coen won the Honorable Mention Award and ACCA Award for Best Director. In 2014, the US Library of Congress selected The Big Lebowski for preservation in the National Film Registry for being culturally, aesthetically, or historically fit.

Critical Response: 'The Big Lebowski' received mostly positive reviews from the critics. Rotten Tomatoes gave the film an 83% approval rating with the website’s consensus statement reading: ‘Typically stunning visuals and sharp dialogue from the Coen Brothers brought to life with strong performances from Goodman and Bridges.’ Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 71 out of 100 based on reviews from 23 critics, indicating ‘generally favorable reviews.' The movie was a box office hit, grossing $46.7 million on a $15 million budget.

3. The Professional (1994)

Plot: 'The Professional's film’s plot depicts a professional hitman who reluctantly takes in 12-year-old Mathilda after her family is murdered by corrupt a Drug Enforcement Administration agent, Norman Stansfield. Léon and Mathilda form an unusual relationship when they live together, as she becomes his protégée and learns the hitman's trade.

Director: Luc Besson.

Main Cast: Jean Reno (as Léon, the professional hitman), Natalie Portman (as Mathilda Lando, the twelve-year-old girl that Léon reluctantly takes after her parent’s death), and Gary Oldman (as Norman Stansfield, the corrupt Drug Enforcement Administration agent who murdered Mathilda’s parents).

Awards and Nominations: 'The Professional' won the Czech Lion Award for Best Foreign Language Film and the Golden Reel Award for Best Sound Editing- Foreign Feature. The film also received seven nominations at the 20th César Awards for Best Film, Best Director (Besson), Best Actor (Reno), Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Music, and Best Sound. It received a year-end listing as an Honorable Mention – Betsy Pickle, Knoxville News-Sentinel.

4. Stand by Me (1986)

1986's 'Stand by Me' is based on Stephen King's 1982 novella 'The Body', with the title derived from Ben E. King's song, 'Stand By Me'. It is an excellent 'coming of age' film.

Plot: In the movie 'Stand by Me', four boys in 1959 Castle Rock, Oregon, go on a hike to find the dead body of a missing boy, and along the way have a series of encounters.

Director: Rob Reiner.

Main Cast: Wil Wheaton (as Gordon ‘Gordie’ Lachance, aged 12), River Phoenix (as Chris Chambers), Corey Feldman (as Teddy Duchamp), Jerry O'Connell (as Vern Tessio), and Kiefer Sutherland (as John ‘Ace’ Merrill, gang leader)

Awards and Nominations: 'Stand by Me' was a box office and a commercial success, grossing $52 million on a $8 million budget. At the 8th Youth in Film Awards, the film received the Jackie Coogan Award for Outstanding Contribution to Youth Through Motion Picture- Ensemble Cast in a Feature Film. Raynold Gideon and Bruce A. Evans received an Academy Award for Best Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium and the Writers Guild of America Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. The film also received two Golden Globe Awards, one for the Best Director (Rob Reiner) and Best Motion Picture- Drama. Rob Reiner was also nominated for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Director.

5. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

Plot: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is based loosely on fact and tells the story of Wild West outlaws Robert LeRoy Parker, known as Butch Cassidy, and his partner Harry Longabaugh, the ‘Sundance Kid,’ who are on the run from a US posse after a string of train robberies. The pair and Sundance's lover, Etta Place, flee to Bolivia in search of a more successful criminal career.

Director: George Roy Hill.

Main Cast: Paul Newman (as Butch Cassidy), Robert Redford (as the Sundance Kid), and Katharine Ross (as Etta Place).

Awards and Nominations: This movie won four Academy Awards: Best Cinematography; Best Original Score for a Motion Picture (not a Musical); Best Music, Song (Burt Bacharach and Hal David), and Best Original Screenplay. The Academy Awards also nominated the film for three roles, Best Picture (John Foreman), Best Director (George Roy Hill), and Best Sound (David Dockendorf and William Edmondson). The British Academy Film Awards nominated the movie for ten awards. The film nine, including the Best Director and Best Film for George Roy Hill, and the Best Actor in a Leading Role for Robert Redford.

Screenplay: 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’s' screenplay was written by William Goldman. He says that he wrote the story as an original screenplay because he did not want to do the research to make it as authentic as a novel. That’s why the story and the film have some discrepancies.

6. Rio Bravo (1959)

'Rio Bravo' (1959) was written by Jules Furthman and Leigh Brackett, based on B. H. McCampbell’s 'Rio Bravo' short story.

Plot: Rio Bravo’s plot features a small-town sheriff as he enlists a drunk, a kid, and an old man to help him fight off a ruthless cattle baron.

Director: Howard Hawks.

Main Cast: John Wayne (as John T. Chance), Dean Martin (as Dude), Ricky Nelson (as Colorado/Ryan).

Awards and Nominations: Angie Dickson won a Golden Globe Award for the Most Promising Newcomer – Female and the Texas Film Hall of Fame as the Star of Texas Award. The film won an OFTA Film Hall of Fame Motion Picture Award and was selected for the US Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry for being aesthetically, historically, or culturally fit.

7.  The Sting (1973)

Plot: 'The Sting' is set in 1936 and depicts a complicated plot by two professional grifters to con a mob boss. Following the death of his brother, Johnny Hooker (Robert Redford), an aspiring conman teams up with old pro Henry Gondorff (Paul Newman) to take revenge on the ruthless crime boss responsible, Doyle Lonnegan (Robert Shaw). The two cons set about implementing an elaborate scheme, one so crafty that Lonnegan won’t even know he’s been tricked. However, as their big con unfolds, things don’t go according to plan, requiring some last-minute improvisation by the undaunted duo.

Director: George Roy Hills.

Main Cast: Paul Newman (as Henry ‘Shaw’ Gondorff), Robert Redford (as Johnny ‘Kelly’ Hooker), and Robert Shaw (as Doyle Lonnegan).

Awards and Nominations: The film won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director (George Roy Hill), Best Film Editing (William H. Reynolds), Best Writing, and Best Original Screenplay (David S. Ward). It also received three other Academy Award nominations.


These are just a few of the multitude of excellent 'buddy' films past and present.  Many of them suitable for family viewing, and highly recommended.

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