On March 7, 1999, when Stanley Kubrick died at the age of 70 on his huge country estate in the English countryside (Harpenden, Hertfordshire/UK), he left behind a moderate work of 13 full-length feature films, but a reputation between genius and madness that could not be more turgid. While Kubrick, who never left England in the last 40 years of his life (he feared flying, even though he had a pilot’s license and was passionate about airplanes), always relied on literary models, he was deeply obsessed with images.
He was a fanatical photographer who wished to make silent films from the novels and novellas of Arthur C. Clarke, Vladimir Nabokov, Stephen King or Arthur Schnitzler, in any case with as little dialogue as possible. But pictures, built like architecture: strict, constructed, logically built and often beautiful – but also cold and with only very few, hidden points, where the emotions can start.
In the words of one critic, Kubrick films are indeed like perfectly arranged museum exhibitions, a celebration for the mind and the eye, but little for the soul. As a matter of fact, all of Kubrick’s characters are emotionally detached, down to the worst nightmare. Throughout his life, Stanley Kubrick denied his audience cinema as the epicenter of great emotions.
The Best Stanley Kubrick Movies
Stanley Kubrick has earned an incomparable reputation with only 13 feature films in 46 years. After his death of about a week after the first screening of the final cut of “Eyes Wide Shut”, no necrology remained without mention of his perfectionism, driving him at times to repeat scenes countless times and driving collaborators mad. Kubrick interfered everywhere, even in dictating the terms of translation in other countries.
His urge to make everything perfect – as numerous interviews of his actors and collaborators confirm – was also a great burden for many on the set. In the following, we will take a look at some of the best Stanley Kubrick movies that he created during his life.
- Original title: Barry Lyndon
- IMDb rating: 8,1/10
An unfortunate love affair is Redmond Barry’s (Ryan O’Neal) undoing in 1750s Ireland: the young man falls in love with his cousin and in a duel shoots his rival. Not suspecting that the duel was faked and that his cowardly rival was alive and well, he escapes and enlists in the English army during the Seven Years’ War. However, he soon has enough of the soldier’s life and deserts.
With false papers on the way to Holland, he is forcefully recruited as a spy by the Prussian officer Potzdorf. However, Redmond disobeys the order and prefers to work as a master of gambling. Winner of four Oscars, this long underrated costume drama about the rise and fall of an Irish upstart in which director Stanley Kubrick also celebrates the beauty of Baroque painting and music.