Saturday, May 7, 2011

Best 10 Films of Billy Wilder

Wilder juggles the three Oscars he won for The Apartment

Billy Wilder (born Samuel Wilder) was a newspaper reporter in Vienna in the 20's, then later Berlin, and began writing screenplays in 1929, which he did until Hitler came to power in 1933. With Jewish ancestry, he fled to Paris to escape the Nazis, then came to the U.S. He first started as a screenwriter, penning the famous Garbo film Ninotchka. With Double Indemnity in 1944, which he also wrote, he joined the ranks of directors with a film that many consider was the birth of film noir.

Wilder himself was nominated for 21 Oscars®, winning six, three for screenplay (Double Indemnity, Sunset Boulevard, The Apartment), two for directing (Lost Weekend, The Apartment), one for producer of a best picture (The Apartment). Overall, Wilder won 48 awards out of 95 nominations.
  1. Sunset Boulevard (1950, bw) 9.2 No. 31 on IMDB 250 Three Oscars®, 16 awards overall
  2. Double Indemnity (1944, bw) 9.0 No. 53 on IMDB 250 7 Oscar® nominations, 0 wins
  3. Stalag 17 (1953, bw) 8.6 No. 209 on IMDB 250 1 Oscar®, actor for William Holden
  4. One, Two, Three (1961, bw) 8.8 (comedy) 1 Oscar® nomination, 5 others, 0 wins
  5. Some Like It Hot (1959, bw) 8.4 (comedy) No. 81 on IMDB 250 1 Oscar®, 11 awards overall
  6. The Apartment (1960, bw) 8.4 No. 91 on IMDB 250 Five Oscars®, 22 awards overall
  7. Witness For the Prosecution (1957, bw) 8.3 No. 129 on IMDB 250 Six Oscar® nominations, no wins, 6 awards overall
  8. The Seven Year Itch (1955) 8.2 (comedy) One award, Golden Globe for Tom Ewell, best actor
  9. Ace in the Hole (1951, bw) 8.1 Two awards Int'l Film award for Wilder at Venice
  10. The Fortune Cookie (1966, bw) 7.8 (comedy) Three awards, best supp. actor Oscar® for Walter Matthau
  11. The Major and the Minor (1942, bw) 7.6 (comedy)

There is no more iconic image in all of cinema than
Marilyn letting the air blow up her dress in The Seven
Year Itch, nor a more copied one, as it's
been often repeated by others

The Lost Weekend should probably be on this list, but I find it so depressing that it's hard to recommend. But it did win the Oscar® for best picture, director (Wilder), and screenplay (Wilder and Charles Brackett), in 1946, for his first two academy awards.

Wilder's Oscar® nominations for picture (as producer):  The Apartment [AA]

Wilder's Oscar® nominations for director:  Double Indemnity, The Lost Weekend [AA], A Foreign Affair, Sunset Boulevard, Stalag 17, Sabrina, Witness For the Prosecution, Some Like It Hot, The Apartment  [AA]

Wilder's Oscar® nominations for screenplay: Ninotchka, Ball of Fire, Hold Back the Dawn, Double Indemnity, The Lost Weekend  [AA], A Foreign Affair, Sunset Boulevard [AA], Ace in the Hole, Sabrina, Some Like It Hot, The Apartment  [AA]

Looking at that list of screeplays, he could have easily won 2-3 more Oscars - Ninotchka, Ball of Fire, Double Indemnity, Sunset Boulevard, Ace in the Hole, Some Like It Hot are all Oscar worthy to me.


Ruby Tuesday said...

This is a terrible list, only ranked by IMDB scores. Think for yourself--if you did you might realize that ACE IN THE HOLE is the only true masterpiece Wilder ever made.

Jose Sinclair said...

uhhh, they're NOT ranked by IMDB Scores, IF you had read the rankings within the IMDB 250 you'd notice they're NOT following that sequence.. these are MY ratings.. people can go to IMDB if they want those ratings, no reason to repeat them here.. 1-2-3 is NOT ranked at IMDB, I think it's a great comedy - it's just out of their 250 tho at 7.9, when 8.0 makes the bottom of their list..

Jose Sinclair said...

ps - Sunset Boulevard and Double Indemnity are both considered 'classics' by just about the entire industry, both make nearly every top 100 out there

Jose Sinclair said...

I also left Lost Weekend off my list altogether, which won best picture and director - for me it's too depressing, doesn't go anywhere, and doesn't shed any light on alcoholism either..

Apparently (a) you can't read numbers (b) you don't know how to reference films at IMDB and see how different my ratings are for these.. I rarely agree with the public, they have Good, Bad, & the Ugly #4 at IMDB, I won't even put that in my top 1000.. when you get the "public average" you get the lowest common denominator usually, and mediocrity rises

Jose Sinclair said...

You're telling me "think for yourself" and you're using the name RUBY TUESDAY?? guess you never thought of stealing a name from a Stone's rock song or a cheesy restaurant for yuppies..

Mark Woollon said...

If you found 'The Lost Weekend' "too depressing", then how to the likes of 'Come & See' rank so highly on the best of Russia list. Granted you may not have written it but really: Too depressing?! Please explain I'm interested to know.