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Arts and Culture

Where to Watch Sir Richard Attenborough’s Five Best Movies Right Now

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Posted on Aug 25, 2014

  Ben Kingsley stars in the title role of Richard Attenborough’s “Gandhi.”

One of film’s most beloved actors and directors died Sunday after 90 years of life and a career that somehow made giants of the 20th century seem even grander.

As a director, Sir Richard Attenborough is best known for his biographical pictures about South African freedom fighter Steve Biko, film genius Charlie Chaplin and Mahatma Gandhi.

As an actor, Attenborough has 78 credits to his name on IMDB, but two leap to mind. First, he was the mastermind in the 1963 star-studded masterpiece “The Great Escape,” a role that launched the Brit’s American career. Younger fans know Attenborough better as the grandfatherly John Hammond, the overly optimistic Walt Disney type who “spared no expense” in the creation of “Jurassic Park” (1993).

Thanks to the magic of technology, you can watch all of these films right now.

“Gandhi”—Attenborough reportedly sunk all of his money and 20 years of his life in the pursuit of a film no one wanted to make. The movie, starring Ben Kingsley in the title role, won eight Oscars, including best director and best picture. It’s over three hours long, but they whiz by thanks to the film’s epic scale and Kingsley’s brilliant and charismatic portrayal of one of the most important people in the history of the world.

“Gandhi” can be streamed from Netflix and Hulu Plus right now, and it’s available for download from iTunes and Google Play.

“Chaplin”—Another great biopic that features another great performance, it’s impossible to imagine “Chaplin” without Robert Downey Jr. The film and its star capture the whimsy, talent and darkness of one of the world’s original superstars. Most interesting, Attenborough focuses on Chaplin’s political views, including his artistic fight against Adolf Hitler (who stole the actor’s famed mustache), and the banishment that resulted from Chaplin’s refusal to cooperate with the House Un-American Activities Committee.

“Chaplin” can be seen for free by Netflix subscribers, and it’s available for rental or purchase from the usual suspects, including iTunes, Amazon and Google.

“Cry Freedom”—This is the story of South African agitator Steve Biko, who is lesser known to most audiences than Nelson Mandela. Once again, Attenborough found great talent to make his movie sing. In this case, it was Denzel Washington in the title role, alongside Kevin Kline.

You can stream the film from only Comcast Xfinity Streampix, but you can download or buy it from just about anybody, including Amazon, iTunes and Google.

“The Great Escape”—This Hollywood classic had an unforgettable score by Elmer Bernstein, a knockout motorcycle stunt performed by Steve McQueen himself, and countless other delights. It also launched the American career of actor Attenborough.

Escape can be rented from Amazon, iTunes and Google, among others.

“Jurassic Park”—This Steven Spielberg blockbuster may not have the critical acclaim of the preceding films, but it introduced a whole new generation to the acting talents of Attenborough, who brought warmth and humanity to a show that was otherwise dominated by puppets and pixels.

It can be rented or purchased from all the majors, including iTunes, Amazon and Google.

—Posted by Peter Z. Scheer


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