The MoFo Top 100 Neo-noir Countdown

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The French Connection is a classic but is it a noir? I don't know but it qualifies so it is! It's been a while since I watched but Hackman kills it and the direction is on point. Great chase scene(s) too.

Now arguing this one. Such a brilliantly unconventional approach to sci-fi, noir, and film in general - surprising from Godard! This one has played well on rewatches for me, like a lot of Godard, and this was an automatic add to my list.

4. The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976)
10. Alphaville (1965)
17. Fireworks (1997)
22. The American Friend (1977)
25. Série noire (1979) - One pointer
"Don't be so gloomy. After all it's not that awful. Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love - they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock."

The French Connection is pretty good, but it's too cold and distant to rise to favorite status to me. Which is saying a lot as I'm normally into films like it. The car chase is excellent though. That can't be overstated.

Alphaville was #23 on my ballot. One of my favorite Godard films.

Alphaville is appealing like some strange cuisine in a 5 star don't know if you should eat it or not but it does look intriguing laying there on your plate. Alphaville is one film I'd like to watch again as it didn't gel with me and yet I'm still interested in exploring it...or maybe it's just Anna Karina.

Noooooo. It is already a film sort of designed to deeply frustrate expectations, and if you aren't already acclimatized to what Cassavetes does, it would probably be torture.

Minnie and Moskowitz is probably the softest entry point. And Woman Under the Influence is the classic of his that isn't too too demanding of ones patience.

Interesting to know.

As for the today's movies, I haven't seen either. Alphaville sounds intriguing and I love Breathless. I knew of The French Connection. I was a little kid when it came out so a lot of the more adult fair from that time period is something I missed.

Forgot to mention that The French Connection is William Friedkin's second entry in the countdown. He had Killer Joe a couple of days ago.

Speaking of The French Connection, is the sequel worth a watch?
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Forgot to mention that The French Connection is William Friedkin's second entry in the countdown. He had Killer Joe a couple of days ago.

Speaking of The French Connection, is the sequel worth a watch?
Yeah, I think you might enjoy French Connection II, although it doesn't nearly have the impact of the first one.

Doyle is in Marseille in pursuit of the drug dealer from the first film.

I think there are several problems with the 2nd picture: there's too much conflict between Doyle and the French city, their police, the language, etc. It wears a little thin.

Also Doyle survives a forced upon him heroin addiction in the middle of the story, which is too long, and slows down the film. Good line: "I'd rather be a lamp post in New York than the mayor of Paris."...

It's definitely worth a watch though, if for nothing more than Hackman's artistry, and also the closure to the story carried over from the first one.

But the original was a landmark film, with no weaknesses. NYC was a perfect setting for the story, and it perfectly captured the NYC of 1971. The chase scene was of course one of the best ever filmed. I watched it when it came out while on a tour, and I couldn't wait to see it again.


The French Connection received a good bunch of nominations and awards. These are some of the most notable:
  • Eight (8) Academy Award nominations, including wins for Best Picture and Best Actor (Gene Hackman)
  • Five (5) BAFTA Film Award nominations, including Best Actor (Hackman)
  • Four (4) Golden Globe Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director (William Friedkin)
  • Two (2) National Board of Review Awards, including Best Actor (Hackman)
  • One (1) Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Motion Picture


Alphaville received the following nominations and awards:
  • One (1) Golden Berlin Bear Award at the Berlin International Film Festival (Jean-Luc Godard)
  • Fifth (5th) Place in the Top 10 Film Award at Cahiers du Cinéma

Welcome to the human race...
no votes. french connection is, of course, very good (just checked and found a 3.5/5 review i did almost a decade ago and that's definitely underrating it). alphaville is a welcome inclusion since there are comparatively few attempts to combine sci-fi and noir (though i imagine there will be at least two more films that fit the bill on the list at some point), and having jlg do it as this amusingly downplayed depiction of both dystopian future and spy thriller is very much welcome.
I really just want you all angry and confused the whole time.
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Catching up:
The Killing of a Chinese Bookie - I seriously contemplated this movie for my ballot but couldn't decide if I felt it was a neo-noir or just a crime/drama. For whatever reason, I decided for submitting the ballot, it was a crime/drama (because in my mind Good Fellas isn't what I think of when I think of neo-noir (based off of my decades-old memory of it). Then Eddie Coyle showed up in early in the list, and my brain went, "yeah... Chinese Bookie was a neo-noir, I don't know why I was thinking otherwise." Probably would have been in contention for my top 5). Personally I prefer the '78 cut. For people needing to start with Cassavetes, I'd advise starting with Woman Under the Influence first. I'll just say that. Rowlands and Cassavetes were both nominated for lead acting Oscars, which is indicative of it being more accessible.

The Dark Knight - This came out while I was still high on Nolan. I subsequently soured on Nolan between The Dark Knight Returns and Inception. I have not revisited it since. I suspect it would not age well in my opinion outside of Ledger's performance, but maybe. I also saw it on imdb when scrolling through neo-noir - I had a bad feeling it would show up. While it has noir influences (from the Frank Miller source material, which in turn was a lot more noir influenced - which also might not age well to me now, but who knows), in my mind it's still more of a superhero movie.

True Romance - I've never actually seen this. I suspect I might be too old to particularly like it now if I'm encountering it for the first time, but I could be wrong, but my age probably wouldn't help.

Bound - I missed this when it first came out. I also missed it when it came around last year on the criterion channel as part of the erotic thriller collection. Now I'm hearing it brought up in comparison for Loves Lies Bleeding and wish I had made time for it.

The French Connection - This one didn't cross my mind. It's like, my brain just went completely blank for New Hollywood neo-noirs when doing my ballot.

Alphaville - I contemplated this movie for being such an early, influential techno-noir. But then I ultimately had to go, "I watched this decades ago and wasn't hot on it. I revisited it in the past couple of years and still wasn't hot on it." So I didn't include it on my ballot.

French Connection is good, but I didn't consider it Noir enough for the list. In retrospect, it seems to have enough elements to qualify.

I've never seen or even heard of Alphaville. I'll have to check it out.

Seen: 21 of 44

I forgot the opening line.
Nothing list-worthy for me in the last 4 :

60. True Romance - Really good Quentin Tarantino-penned film which is memorable for me because of the great actors and performances in it. Dennis Hopper is great, Gary Oldman is great, Brad Pitt is great, Christopher Walken is great and James Gandolfini is great - I would have liked better leads, but it hardly matters when a screenplay and a film's supporting players are this good. Val Kilmer, as the Elvis-figure we see throughout, is barely there, and whatever happened to Bronson Pinchot and Michael Rapaport? I wish Samuel L. Jackson had a bigger role, and I wish Chris Penn had of lived longer. Tom Sizemore is there as well - although some of these names weren't as big as they are today. Lots of extreme violence and Tarantino-like "cool", which I don't necessarily believe is cool but have to acknowledge as it's own thing. Seen it many times, and I guess will one day see it again.

59. Bound - Hmmm, never heard of this, but it's in my watchlist - so I have, it's just that I forgot about hearing about it.

58. The French Connection - A confession. I've never really got what all the fuss is about when it concerns The French Connection. I've tried to appreciate it a few times, and walk away each time wishing I could love it as much as everybody else does. Good performance from Gene Hackman though - that part is definitely not in question - it's a great one from an actor I've always really liked. Considered "one of the greatest films ever made" - and that's my stumbling block. I want to watch it and feel like I'm watching one of the greatest films ever made - but I just feel like I'm watching "that film with the unbelievable chase sequence in it". Perhaps, the next time I see it, I'll be able to appreciate all the finer points, and how well made The French Connection is. To me, it's a really good movie - but doesn't excite me as much as it seems it should.

57. Alphaville - Yeah, I've been wanting to see this for a while but haven't got around to it yet. I haven't seen any of Jean-Luc Godard's films yet, but I'll be tackling his oeuvre one day soon.

Seen : 26/44
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Thelma & Louise

Ridley Scott, 1991


Geena Davis, Susan Sarandon, Harvey Keitel, Michael Madsen

Lost Highway

David Lynch, 1997


Bill Pullman, Patricia Arquette, Balthazar Getty, Robert Blake


Thelma & Louise - Two best friends go out on a trip to escape their daily lives, but soon find themselves running away from the law, as they find themselves involved in a series of crimes.

Lost Highway - A jealous jazz musician finds himself accused of murder, while a young mechanic is drawn into a web of deceit by a temptress who is cheating on her gangster boyfriend.

Thelma & Louise is one of those films I haven't seen in decades. I remember liking it but I'm pretty sure it would fare better now. Been meaning to revisit it for a while; just haven't gotten to it.

I haven't seen Lost Highway but I'm a Lynch fan. It's one of a handful of his that I haven't seen, but I'll get to it.

SEEN: 26/46

My ballot  

Thelma and Louise was my #11. Great film with fantastic performances. Lost Highway is good, but not one of my favourites.

Seen: 36/46

A system of cells interlinked
Briefly considered Lost Highway for my list, but instead with with another Lynch picture, which I consider to be his masterpiece. Thelma and Louise never crossed my mind when considering ballot entries.

Seen both but no votes!

30/46 seen
“It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance.” ― Thomas Sowell

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