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Rankings of a Master: The Films of Stanley Kubrick Part I

Stanley Kubrick is one of my favorite directors ever. He took so much time developing his films to what he wanted, it made him a true craftsman. He only made 13 features in his career, but they certainly are a diverse group of films. Here in 2 parts I give you my personal rankings of his films. This is based mainly on how I enjoy watching them. With Kubrick’s work, quality is really hard to figure since I feel they are all with the exception of 1, great films. I love all of his work, so if certain films are lower than others, it’s not that I feel it’s bad, just that I would rather watch another before I watch that one.

Here is 13-6:

13. Fear and Desire

Kubrick’s first film is a war movie that follows a group of soldiers trapped behind enemy lines. There isn’t really much more to speak on this. One can see where some of his great cinematography is beginning to shape up, yet for a movie that’s only 1 hour long, it’s pretty boring and uninteresting. If you are a fan like me, it’s worth a see. You can also see it on YouTube.

12. Killer’s Kiss

Kubrick’s second film is a small film noir focusing on a boxer and the woman he loves. Only an hour in length just as Fear and Desire, Killers Kiss is far more interesting and filmed way better than its predecessor. If you get the Criterion Collection edition of The Killing you will get this movie as a bonus feature.

11. Barry Lyndon

Ahh Barry Lyndon. Never have I watched a film so boring and at the same time could never turn away from it. This is because Kubrick has fantastic direction of this film and makes every scene feel like a painting. I felt transported into this world which could be why I was able to watch it. If you though 2001 was a chore to watch, this is an office staff meeting that seems to never end.

10. Full Metal Jacket

One of the best war films ever. I’m still wondering how I feel about the second half of the film, but there’s no question the first half is amazing. I know it’s fictional, but this feels as close as I can get to a military boot camp.

9. A Clockwork Orange

One of the most difficult movies I have ever watched. But it certainly gets its message across. Because of its disturbing content, I would honestly put this at the bottom. Yet it’s a fantastic film, despite its content and its very certainly better made than Fear and Desire or Killers Kiss.

8. Spartacus

Compared to other epics like Ben-Hur, Lawrence of Arabia and The Ten Commandments this falls short. But it’s still a classic example of that genre. This is the only picture in Kubrick’s filmography that is not a Kubrick picture since he had little creative control. It can be a drag at times, but still fun.

7. Eyes Wide Shut

Kubrick’s last film is pretty cryptic just as some of his earlier work. Even though it can feel a little bloated in its length, Eyes Wide Shut gave us one last look at the world through Kubrick’s eyes and I wish he had not always taken so much time to make a movie. I would have loved to see a film from him in the 2000s or later.

6. The Shining

This movie, is one of my favorite horror films. Love the level of suspense and even though I never truly understood what was caused the events of the house, but like most Kubrick work, the mystery to me makes it so much better.

Stay tuned for Part II. My top five!

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