JTB Ken Russel - 39 Classic Movies (Comedy/Drama/Documentary/Biography)

by johntbakken | created - 2 months ago | updated - 2 months ago | Public

Henry Kenneth Alfred Russell was born 3 July 1927 and sadly passed away 27 November 2011. He was a British film director, known for his pioneering work in television and film and for his flamboyant and controversial style. His films in the main were liberal adaptations of existing texts, or biographies, notably of composers of the Romantic era. Russell began directing for the BBC, where he made creative adaptations of composers' lives which were unusual for the time. He also directed many feature films independently and for studios.

He is best known for his Oscar-winning film Women in Love (1969), The Devils (1971), The Who's Tommy (1975), and the science fiction film Altered States (1980). Russell also directed several films based on the lives of classical music composers, such as Elgar, Delius, Tchaikovsky, Mahler, and Liszt.

Film critic Mark Kermode, speaking in 2006, and attempting to sum up the director's achievement, called Russell, "somebody who proved that British cinema didn't have to be about kitchen-sink realism—it could be every bit as flamboyant as Fellini. Later in his life he turned to making low-budget experimental films such as Lion's Mouth and Revenge of the Elephant Man, and they are as edgy and 'out there' as ever".

Critics have accused him of being obsessed with sexuality and the Catholic Church.

Taken from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Russell

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1. French Dressing (1964)

Not Rated | 86 min | Comedy, Drama

A drab little English seaside town tries to improve its image - and increase its revenues - by holding a film festival. When a famous continental star agrees to attend, things get out of hand.

Director: Ken Russell | Stars: James Booth, Roy Kinnear, Marisa Mell, Alita Naughton

Votes: 190

2. Isadora (1966 TV Movie)

65 min | Documentary, Biography

The outrageous life of the American dancer of the 1920s, Isadora Duncan, whom Ken Russell described as "part genius and part charlatan".

Director: Ken Russell | Stars: Vivian Pickles, Peter Bowles, Alexei Jawdokimov, Murray Melvin

Votes: 190

3. Billion Dollar Brain (1967)

Not Rated | 111 min | Crime, Thriller

A former British spy stumbles onto a plot to overthrow Communism with the help of a supercomputer. But who is working for whom?

Director: Ken Russell | Stars: Michael Caine, Karl Malden, Ed Begley, Oskar Homolka

Votes: 4,211

4. Women in Love (1969)

R | 131 min | Drama, Romance

Two best friends fall in love with a pair of women, but the relationships soon go in very different directions.

Director: Ken Russell | Stars: Alan Bates, Oliver Reed, Glenda Jackson, Jennie Linden

Votes: 6,371

5. The Music Lovers (1971)

R | 123 min | Biography, Comedy, Drama

Piano teacher Peter Ilych Tchaikovsky struggles against his homosexuality by marrying, but unfortunately he chooses a nymphomaniac whom he cannot satisfy.

Director: Ken Russell | Stars: Richard Chamberlain, Glenda Jackson, Max Adrian, Christopher Gable

Votes: 2,162

6. The Devils (1971)

R | 111 min | Biography, Drama, History

In 17th-century France, Father Urbain Grandier seeks to protect the city of Loudun from the corrupt establishment of Cardinal Richelieu. Hysteria occurs within the city when he is accused of witchcraft by a sexually repressed nun.

Director: Ken Russell | Stars: Vanessa Redgrave, Oliver Reed, Dudley Sutton, Max Adrian

Votes: 11,730

7. The Boy Friend (1971)

G | 137 min | Comedy, Musical, Romance

When the leading lady of a low-budget musical revue sprains her ankle, the assistant stage manager is forced to understudy and perform in her place, becoming a star and finding love in the process.

Director: Ken Russell | Stars: Twiggy, Christopher Gable, Max Adrian, Bryan Pringle

Votes: 2,718

8. Savage Messiah (1972)

R | 97 min | Biography, Drama

Biographical film of the life of French sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska.

Director: Ken Russell | Stars: Dorothy Tutin, Scott Antony, Helen Mirren, Lindsay Kemp

Votes: 1,182

9. Mahler (1974)

PG | 115 min | Biography, Drama, Music

Composer Gustav Mahler's life, told in a series of flashbacks as he and his wife discuss their failing marriage during a train journey.

Director: Ken Russell | Stars: Robert Powell, Georgina Hale, Lee Montague, Miriam Karlin

Votes: 2,115

10. Tommy (1975)

PG | 111 min | Drama, Musical

66 Metascore

A psychosomatically deaf, dumb and blind boy becomes a master pinball player and, subsequently, the figurehead of a cult.

Director: Ken Russell | Stars: Roger Daltrey, Ann-Margret, Oliver Reed, Elton John

Votes: 17,856 | Gross: $34.25M

11. Lisztomania (1975)

R | 103 min | Biography, Comedy, Music

Composer and pianist Franz Liszt attempts to overcome his hedonistic life-style while repeatedly being drawn back into it by the many women in his life and fellow composer Richard Wagner.

Director: Ken Russell | Stars: Roger Daltrey, Sara Kestelman, Paul Nicholas, Ringo Starr

Votes: 2,052

12. Valentino (1977)

R | 128 min | Biography, Drama

In 1926, the tragic and untimely death of a silent screen actor caused female movie-goers to riot in the streets and in some cases to commit suicide - that actor was Rudolph Valentino. ... See full summary »

Director: Ken Russell | Stars: Rudolf Nureyev, Leslie Caron, Michelle Phillips, Carol Kane

Votes: 1,508

13. Altered States (1980)

R | 102 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

58 Metascore

A Harvard scientist conducts experiments on himself with a hallucinatory drug and an isolation chamber that may be causing him to regress genetically.

Director: Ken Russell | Stars: William Hurt, Blair Brown, Bob Balaban, Charles Haid

Votes: 29,406 | Gross: $19.85M

14. The Planets (1983 TV Movie)

50 min | Documentary, Music

Based on the famous Gustav Holst musical suite, this musical film takes watchers on a magnificent journey of the planets of the Solar System.

Director: Ken Russell

Votes: 83

15. Crimes of Passion (1984)

R | 107 min | Drama, Romance, Thriller

A mysterious woman, fashion designer by day and prostitute by night, is hounded by two men: a married father of two, and a sexually repressed preacher.

Director: Ken Russell | Stars: Kathleen Turner, Anthony Perkins, Bruce Davison, Gordon Hunt

Votes: 5,784 | Gross: $2.91M

16. Faust (1985 TV Movie)

176 min | Drama, Musical

An epic tale of good versus evil, Faust sells his soul to the devil and tries to save Marguerite from an eternity in hell.

Director: Ken Russell | Stars: Francisco Araiza, Ruggero Raimondi, Gabriela Benacková, Walton Grönroos

Votes: 22

17. Gothic (1986)

R | 87 min | Horror

The Shelleys visit Lord Byron and compete to write a horror story.

Director: Ken Russell | Stars: Gabriel Byrne, Julian Sands, Natasha Richardson, Myriam Cyr

Votes: 6,517 | Gross: $0.92M

18. Aria (1987)

R | 90 min | Comedy, Drama, Music

Ten short pieces directed by ten different directors, including Ken Russell, Jean-Luc Godard, Robert Altman, Bruce Beresford, and Nicolas Roeg. Each short uses an aria as soundtrack/sound (... See full summary »

Directors: Robert Altman, Bruce Beresford, Bill Bryden, Jean-Luc Godard, Derek Jarman, Franc Roddam, Nicolas Roeg, Ken Russell, Charles Sturridge, Julien Temple | Stars: John Hurt, Theresa Russell, Stephanie Lane, Roy Hyatt

Votes: 2,412 | Gross: $1.03M

19. Salome's Last Dance (1988)

R | 89 min | Biography, Comedy, Drama

Late on Guy Fawkes Day, 1892, Oscar Wilde arrives at a high-class brothel where a surprise awaits: a staging of his play "Salome," with parts played by prostitutes, Wilde's host, his lover ... See full summary »

Director: Ken Russell | Stars: Glenda Jackson, Stratford Johns, Nickolas Grace, Douglas Hodge

Votes: 1,258 | Gross: $0.33M

20. The Lair of the White Worm (1988)

R | 93 min | Horror

When an archeologist uncovers a strange skull in foreign land, the residents of a nearby town begin to disappear, leading to further unexplainable occurrences.

Director: Ken Russell | Stars: Amanda Donohoe, Hugh Grant, Catherine Oxenberg, Peter Capaldi

Votes: 8,858 | Gross: $1.19M

21. The Rainbow (1989)

R | 113 min | Action, Drama, Romance

A young woman deals in her own personal way with the trials of adolescence and young adulthood in early 1900s England.

Director: Ken Russell | Stars: Sammi Davis, Amanda Donohoe, Paul McGann, Christopher Gable

Votes: 1,163 | Gross: $0.44M

22. Il Mefistofele (1989 TV Movie)

137 min | Drama, Fantasy, Musical

Arrigo Boito's Il Mefestefele was first performed in 1868 and his most known work. In Ken Russell's modern interpretation presented by the Genoese Opera, it has Faust as an ageing hippy. He... See full summary »

Director: Ken Russell | Stars: Paata Burchuladze, Ottavio Garaventa, Adriana Morelli, Silvana Mazzieri

Votes: 23

23. Women and Men: Stories of Seduction (1990 TV Movie)

R | 83 min | Romance, Drama

Three short stories come to the screen, each focused on a man and a woman. The first is set in the 1940s, the other two in the 1920s. In "The Man in a Brooks Brothers Suit," a businessman ... See full summary »

Directors: Frederic Raphael, Tony Richardson, Ken Russell | Stars: Beau Bridges, Felipe García Vélez, Melanie Griffith, Dominic Hawksley

Votes: 266

25. Whore (1991)

NC-17 | 85 min | Drama

The prostitute Liz works on the streets of Los Angeles. She recalls her life in flashback, when she marries an alcoholic man. She leaves him with their son. Then she works as waitress in a ... See full summary »

Director: Ken Russell | Stars: Theresa Russell, Benjamin Mouton, Antonio Fargas, Elizabeth Morehead

Votes: 3,212 | Gross: $1.01M

26. Prisoner of Honor (1991 TV Movie)

PG | 88 min | Biography, Drama

"Prisoner of Honor" documents the French Dreyfus Affair that saw a French Captain sent to Devils' Island for espionage near the end of the nineteenth century. Richard Dreyfuss plays Colonel... See full summary »

Director: Ken Russell | Stars: Richard Dreyfuss, Oliver Reed, Peter Firth, Jeremy Kemp

Votes: 612

27. Road to Mandalay (1991 TV Movie)


Ken Russell, in his home town of Southampton, takes his young son and his aunts out to dinner, but the new traffic restrictions mean he can't get near the place. Traffic signs force him ... See full synopsis »

Director: Ken Russell | Stars: June Codd, Muriel Codd, Ken Russell, Rupert Russell

Votes: 8

28. The Secret Life of Arnold Bax (1992 TV Movie)

60 min | Drama

A biopic about the eminent composer Sir Arnold Bax.

Director: Ken Russell | Stars: Alan Arthur, Hetty Baynes, Maurice Bush, Kenneth Colley

Votes: 42

29. The Mystery of Dr Martinu (1993 TV Movie)

61 min | Drama, Music, Musical

A biographical film of Czech composer Martinu is in two parts: the first part a recurring dream, the second a Freudian analysis of the dream.

Director: Ken Russell | Stars: Patrick Ryecart, Shauna Baird, Martin Friend, Hannah King

Votes: 58

30. Treasure Island (1995 TV Movie)

63 min | Adventure, Comedy, Musical

This is a re-working of the Treasure Island theme with Long Jane Silver instead of Long John Silver. Hetty Baynes plays this role in the style of Marilyn Monroe.

Director: Ken Russell | Stars: Hetty Baynes, Gregory Hall, Michael Elphick, Charles Augins

Votes: 50

31. Classic Widows (1995 TV Movie)

53 min | Documentary, Music

A documentary tribute with widows of four British composers: William Walton, Bernard George Stevens, Benjamin Frankel and Humphrey Searle and performances of each composer's work played by ... See full summary »

Director: Ken Russell | Stars: Ken Russell, Xenia Frankel, Fiona Searle, Bertha Stevens

Votes: 9

33. Mindbender (1996 TV Movie)

PG-13 | 93 min | Biography, Drama, Sci-Fi

Mindbender is the story of Uri Geller, probably the world's most famous psychic. The film shows his rise to fame from small shows in the middle east where he amazed audiences with his ... See full summary »

Director: Ken Russell | Stars: Ishai Golan, Terence Stamp, Idan Alterman, Hetty Baynes

Votes: 210

34. Tales of Erotica (1996)

R | 170 min | Drama, Comedy

24 Metascore

A series of erotic short films, all with similar unexpected endings.

Directors: Bob Rafelson, Ken Russell, Susan Seidelman, Melvin Van Peebles | Stars: Sharon Angela, Richard Barboza, Hetty Baynes, Charles Gerbel

Votes: 241

35. Dogboys (1998 TV Movie)

PG-13 | 92 min | Action, Thriller

Corrupt officers track men for sport with dogs.

Director: Ken Russell | Stars: Bryan Brown, Dean Cain, Tia Carrere, Ken James

Votes: 376

36. Lion's Mouth (2000)

27 min | Short, Musical, Drama

Journalist Josephine Heatherington investigate;'s the death and life of the rev. H. Davidson, a vicar who was defrocked after taking in prostitutes. After being defrocked, the vicar ... See full summary »

Director: Ken Russell | Stars: Diana Laurie, Ken Russell, Tulip Junkie, Emma Millions

Votes: 6

37. The Fall of the Louse of Usher: A Gothic Tale for the 21st Century (2002)

83 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Horror

Rock star Roddy Usher's wife is murdered and Rod is sent to a lunatic asylum in this gothic-comedy-horror-musical.

Director: Ken Russell | Stars: James Johnston, Lisi Tribble, Marie Findley, Ken Russell

Votes: 277

38. Elgar: Fantasy of a Composer on a Bicycle (2002 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 50 min | Documentary, Music

Ken Russell revisits the life of Elgar, with musical background provided by the composer's works.

Director: Ken Russell

Votes: 39

39. Trapped Ashes (2006)

R | 105 min | Horror

Seven strangers on a Hollywood movie studio tour are trapped inside an infamous House of Horror and forced to tell their most terrifying stories to get out alive.

Directors: Sean S. Cunningham, Joe Dante, John Gaeta, Monte Hellman, Ken Russell | Stars: Jayce Bartok, Henry Gibson, Lara Harris, Scott Lowell

Votes: 1,423

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