Gr8at – Desert Island Films

What three records would you like if you were stuck on a desert island?
The long distance swimming record would be a good start!

Assuming that wouldn’t work,  I’d set up a makeshift chair, split open a coconut and enjoy some very fine movies. Here are my Gr8at films if I was stuck on a desert island.

Desert island

The Third Man

My favourite ever film so no chance I could miss this out. It was released in 1949 and it’s still a joy to the senses. The dialogue is outrageously sharp, the cinematography sublime, the directing imaginative and the acting of the highest calibre. A thought-provoking classic of what the fascination and drawbacks are of being immoral, and what affects it has for those caught in the middle.


I’m always amazed when I run into people who haven’t seen this film. The Naked Gun trilogy, Airplane and the Marx Brothers set are all super funny, but Clerks is still the film that makes me laugh most. The glorious cynicism in two friends in dead-end jobs dealing with a whole spectrum of customers would be a fun way to while away time on a desert island.

Field of Dreams

I’m a huge sports fan, but have never come close to understanding people’s love of baseball. But Field of Dreams is a film that really does go beyond that. It’s a magical, sentimental and captures the beauty of daydreaming. It’s the kind of upbeat message I’d need if I was to be alone on an island.

Battle Royale

Well I just had to have this on here! It’s such an entertaining film with a brilliant premise. Just what would happen if a group of schoolkids were dropped off in an island and left to fend for themselves? What separates this from just being just an extension of Lord of the Flies is the motives for why they’re there, being both boys and girls, and the use of weapons.

Bridge on the River Kwai

I’ve always loved this film. The idea of how people act when they think no one is watching and just what constitutes a hero has always intrigued me. Add in the superlative Alec Guinness as the misguided Lt. Colonel Nicholson, an epic setting, and a storyline that builds to an explosive crescendo and you have one of the best war films ever.

The Godfather

It’s not too often that a truly great novel becomes a truly great film. The story of the Corleone family is one of cinema’s most phenomenal of achievements and a masterclass of how to adapt a literary classic. It’s also an acting extravaganza that may well be the coolest film ever. With the time I’d have spare, I might finally be able to master the legendary voice too.


Not that well known in the slightest, and not even the only film to have been made about the star in question, but Prefontaine really is a superb piece of filmmaking I’d hate to go without. It’s still my favourite film for getting inside the mind of an athlete, especially before the era of high-end sponsorship. Deserves far-wider recognition.

Whatever it Takes

For a while I was between Reservoir Dogs and The Dark Knight, but I’d need a lighter movie and ‘Whatever it Takes’ always puts me in a good mood. Though the standard varies wildly, I’ve always had a soft spot for teen movies, and this loose remaking of Cyrano de Bergerac has plenty of laughs.



27 thoughts on “Gr8at – Desert Island Films

  1. Totally agree on The Third Man, Battle Royale, Clerks (though I love Dogma more) and River Kwai. Great list!

      • I would need to put The Great Escape, North by Northwest and It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World in there somehow. 🙂

      • It’s a looooong movie, but it had so many comedians at the time in it, both starring and just cameo appearances. It hasn’t aged well, but I don’t care. 🙂 It’s almost like “Rat Race”, if you’ve seen that, but more epic!

      • Is that what Rat Race was based on? It did make me laugh when I saw it at the cinema. You should do an article on best comedies 🙂

    • Could all easily go in. It’s not my favourite 8 films, though there is some overlap. It’s more to do with the films I’d most want to watch if stuck by myself Castaway style. I’d probably cheat anyhow and take a few more haha.

    • That would be funny. It’s really 8 films that mix well that would be nice to watch if stuck alone for a while. I’m not sure anyone finds the joke funny though 😦

    • Thanks. I should do my favourite ever Gr8at films at some point. I heard a funny story about leslie Nielsen the other day.

      A friend of a friend said he had run into Leslie Nielsen a few years ago. This guy saw him walk past, and shouted to him if he was indeed the Leslie Nielsen. The guy replied “I hope so. I’m wearing his underwear!”

  2. Very fun list. Gosh I don’t know if I’d be able to pick just a handful of movies…Well, one of them would have to be The Princess Bride and another would have to be Jurassic Park. That’s for damn sure. Hahaha.

  3. Pingback: Foreign Favourites series: Battle Royale | Alex Raphael

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