1963, Janus Films, 92 min, UK, Dir: Peter Brook

Acclaimed U.K. theater director Peter Brook gives William Golding’s classic novel its first (and most faithful) big-screen adaptation. A plane crash strands a group of British schoolboys on an uninhabited island; removed from civilization, they descend into brutality and split into rival tribes. With a couple of exceptions (including James Aubrey, who stars as Ralph) the actors were all non-professional, but they prove convincing as young savages, making this stark B&W allegory all the more chilling.

1996, Paramount, 101 min, USA, Dir: John Carpenter

Kurt Russell returns as Snake Plissken, the U.S. government’s go-to guy for dangerous missions in the dystopian future – a time when Los Angeles has been turned into an island prison camp for people whom tyrannical Cliff Robertson has declared undesirable. Hiding among them is a revolutionary who’s stolen the president’s super weapon, and Plissken has 10 hours to retrieve the device before a virus claims his life. Carpenter’s sequel to cult favorite ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK is packed with wicked satire, lots of action and a colorful supporting cast including Steve Buscemi, Peter Fonda and Pam Grier.

1982, Rialto, 93 min, Dir: Ted Kotcheff

“It wasn't my war! You asked me, I didn't ask you! And I did what I had to do to win!” Sylvester Stallone created another screen icon in John Rambo, a Vietnam vet driven to violence in this box office hit. His bravura performance is balanced by that of Brian Dennehy as the small-town sheriff who doesn’t know what he’s dealing with, and Richard Crenna as the Special Forces colonel who does. Though the film doesn’t skimp on action, Kotcheff’s equal emphasis on character makes FIRST BLOOD the best of the Rambo series.

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