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Classic TV: All Creatures Great and Small

Based on the best-selling books by James Herriot, All Creatures Great and Small was one of the BBC's most popular drama series of the late 1970s and 1980s, and helped to set the format of the Sunday night drama on British TV.
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The Trap (1966)

The Trap is set in the wilds of British Columbia in the late 19th century. A French-Canadian fur trapper, Jean La Bete (Oliver Reed), arrives at a trading post with his latest wares, just as a wife auction is finishing. Yes that's right, a wife auction. (They do still have those in Canada, right?) A group of women have arrived, petty criminals and prostitutes, who have been freed from jail by horny lonely frontiersmen, on condition that they marry their benefactors.

One woman's prospective husband has died and so she is auctioned off to the highest bidder. Jean tries to bid but is too late. Later, after a night of drinking, he arrives at the home of the owner of the trading post (Rex Sevenoaks), demanding the money he owes him. The trader is in financial trouble, heavily in debt, and Jean's appearance makes things worse. He had been told that Jean was dead, but now he has to find money to pay this debt too.

Henry V (1944)

Laurence Olivier's 1944 film Henry V is based on William Shakespeare's play of the same name, one of several historical dramas Shakespeare wrote about British monarchs. The playtells the story of a young English king who puts aside his misspent youth and embarks on a quest to recapture lands in France. This campaign culminates in the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, when an English army defeated a numerically superior French force, with the aid of the English mastery of the longbow. 

The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

Three American servicemen are returning home from World War Two. They hitch a ride in the same B-17 bomber that will take them all back to their Middle American home town of Boone City. The three men are Fred Derry (Dana Andrews), Al Stephenson (Fredric March) and Homer Parrish (Harold Russell). The men represent the three different services (Air Force, Army and Navy), with Fred an Air Force officer and bombardier, Al an army sergeant and Homer a sailor. The three men all have the same general problems with returning to civilian life, as well as their own specific problems relating to their individual circumstances.

The Internecine Project (1974)

In The Internecine Project, James Coburn plays Professor Robert Elliott, a Harvard economist and author about to be appointed as the US President's economic advisor. The shady business/spy network to which he belongs has spent years manoeuvring him into this position. There’s just something he needs to sort out first  – four people who all know too much about his past activities.

Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014)

Ridley Scott has a pretty good track record making historical epics, probably better than anyone else alive. Right from his first film, The Duellists (1977), Scott showed an unrivalled ability to recreate the historical past, whether on a relatively low budget or on a megabucks blockbuster one. So if you're making an historical epic, Ridley Scott is the man you want directing it.


Crocodile Dundee (1986)

American reporter Sue Charlton (Linda Kozlowski) is about to return to New York after a successful trip to Sydney, when she decides to stay on to cover one last story. It's the miraculous tale of survival, after a near-fatal crocodile attack, of a local fisherman, Michael J. “Crocodile” Dundee. Charlton travels to Walkabout Creek, a backwater in Australia's Northern Territory, where Dundee's friend Walter Reilly (John Meillon) has agreed to introduce her to Dundee. When she finally meets him, she finds that Mick Dundee (Paul Hogan) is a local character and crocodile poacher and reports of his lost leg turn out to be a little exaggerated. He takes her on a safari in the Northern Territory where they bond and eat bush tucker, and where he saves her from attack by a hungry crocodile. As a follow-on, she decides it would be a fitting conclusion to her story to take Dundee back to New York, where he can experience the big city for the first time.