Films featuring
Billy Crystal

Hamlet

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When sorrows come, they come not single spies but in battalions.

One might call this the Spinal Tap adaptation of Shakespeare’s greatest play, because everything about it most definitely goes to eleven. The first film of the unabridged text of Hamlet and the last film shot in seventy millimeter as of today, Kenneth Branagh’s brazenly, foolishly ambitious project will be the shortest four hours you ever spent in front of one movie. A broad cast of both veteran Shakespearean actors and many who you would not expect in this kind of film wring both drama and raw emotion out of words often calcified under the dreary mantle of “literature.”

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This is Spinal Tap

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After doing for heavy metal what Blazing Saddles did for westerns, This Is Spinal Tap also managed to spark a minor cottage industry known as the Christopher Guest mockumentary. Now, Tap was hardly the first fake rock documentary, since The Rutles had been around for several years. Eric Idle’s spoof of Beatlemania, however, never got near the National Film Registry as did Rob Reiner’s affectionate yet lacerating take on head-bangers.

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The Princess Bride

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There are very few movies that, after 18 years, I react to the same way I did when I first saw it. The Princess Bride is definitely one of those movies. I get exactly the same feeling of giddy delight from watching this that I did back in 1987. As a fantasy, it takes its fairy-tale elements just serious enough that it doesn’t feel condescending while still managing a knowing wink at a normally cynical modern audience.

Rob Reiner‘s fourth movie is as different from the three that came before it as they are from each other and nothing much like the many he has directed since. He obviously brings a great deal of love and respect to William Goldman‘s original novel and successfully communicated his enthusiasm to a talented cast.

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