Time travel. That’s why you watch a classic film on the big screen. At home you’d be surrounded by nagging technology and reminders of our troubled times, but in the dark of the screen you can transport yourself back to when the film was originally released.
Vue’s 4K season sees six of the most influential films of the pre-internet age restored to pin-sharp 4K and shown at their original size and splendour. With modern digital sound and projection, you’ll actually be having a better experience than those first-time audiences. But you’ll share their wonder at era-defining scenes and jaw-dropping shots.
Here’s what made these six films so hugely influential:
Heat (25th June)
The big news around Michael Mann’s 1995 heist thriller was Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro. Despite being in the Godfather films these giants of cinema had never shared a scene, until the tense face-off where Pacino’s detective corners De Niro’s mobster in a café. But in terms of influence, it was Heat’s violence that changed everything.
The scene that made it a classic: The opening bank robbery which spirals into all-out war on the streets of downtown LA. There’d never been so much criminal firepower on screen. Without this, no Batman: The Dark Knight, no Fast & Furious, no Grand Theft Auto V.
Get times and tickets here.
The Graduate (30th July)
Director Mike Nichols turned a self-indulgent teen angst novel into a celebration of a whole new kind of youth, plucking Dustin Hoffman from obscurity to portray the dreamy, nerdy Ben Braddock seduced by his mum’s friend Mrs Robinson.
The scene that made it a classic: "Mrs Robinson, are you trying to seduce me?" is the best known line – but actually the key shot is Ben Braddock sitting alone at the bottom of the swimming pool, lost in ennui as Simon And Garfunkel’s ‘Sounds Of Silence’ plays on the soundtrack. It’s been copied so many times, it’s easy to forget how bold it was in 1967.
Robocop - the director’s cut (27th August)
Today we’re used to blockbusters with a punky, anti-authoritarian spirit. Look at Kick Ass, Deadpool, or this month’s brilliant Baby Driver. That aesthetic grew out of underground comics and video, but only emerged in cinema with crazed dutch director Paul Verhoeven’s gory, satirical, 1987 tale of a slain cop reborn as a cyborg to clean up Detroit. One of the funniest, coolest action films ever.
The scene that made it a classic: The one in Omnicorp’s boardroom, where a demonstration of prototype law-bot ED-209 goes horribly wrong. “You have 20 seconds to comply,” was sampled on endless rave and jungle tracks and is even more chilling today’s world of drones and AI.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (24th September)
Those who grew up with Steven Spielberg’s early films were lucky: he spent the first part of his career exploring things that kids love, and in 1977 that meant UFOs. Exploring the same themes as his later ET, this has a very 70s feel – all paranoia, pickup trucks and broken families – until the aliens arrive. Minds were blown by special effects that had never been seen before.
The scene that made it a classic: In rural Indiana a three year-old boy is woken when his toys start playing by themselves. Coloured lights lure him outside and he disappears, abducted by aliens. It’s weird, scary and told from a child’s viewpoint. A new idea then, now seen everywhere from Pixar films to Stranger Things.
The Breakfast Club (29th October)
If Spielberg was one reason it was great to grow up in the 80s, John Hughes was the other. The way teenagers are in his films – smart, angsty, hip, rebellious, ultimately kind – was how awkward Brits wanted to be, and still do. Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller and Pretty In Pink are all great, but this 1985 coming-of-age drama set in a high school detention is the classic. It’s also the most 1980s thing that ever existed.
The scene that made it a classic: Molly Ringwald kisses Judd Nelson on the school steps, Simple Minds swells on the soundtrack, fist bump, freeze frame. Your teens in a nutshell.
Taxi Driver (26th November)
Taxi Driver was first shown at the 1976 Cannes film festival to loud boos and walkouts. Coming just a year after a bomb had been found at the Palais des Festivals, its unprecedentedly violent ending was too much. Themes of political violence, child prostitution, racism and obsession didn’t help. Since we don’t exactly live in untroubled times it might not be the most relaxing classic to go and see - but for the sheer bravado of Martin Scorsese’s direction it’s completely unmissable.
The scene that made it a classic: Troubled taxi driver Travis Bickle is practising the line he’ll use before shooting the next person who messes with him: “You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me?” Chilling in more ways than one.