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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on April 24, 2001
This compendium of over 1,000 "must-see" films of every genre imaginable by Danny Peary remains one of the most enjoyable, entertaining movie reference books ever written (how is it POSSIBLE that it could go out of print?). How refreshing to find a book that does away with the idiotic "star" rating system that pollutes most movie guides. The beauty of this book is that you don't have to agree with Peary's assessments of the films to enjoy his writing - it's smart, surprisingly fresh, witty, easygoing, and yet not condescending as some more "educated" film critics are likely to be. Peary sees merit in all types of films (even going as far as to review adult films, a little too far for me), and has the good sense not to judge cult films like "Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!" by the same standards as "Citizen Kane". Part of his charm is his ability to have FUN with film - as he says in his brilliant introduction, "It's fun to see ALL types of movies." This was the book that encouraged me not to simply gravitate to the new release wall whenever I visited the video store, and to check out some of those classics and foreign films that by and large went unnoticed at my West Virginia Blockbuster. If you can find this volume ANYWHERE, grab it, lock your fingers firmly around it and don't let anyone wrench it from your grasp.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 28, 2002
When you see multiple rave 5 star reviews for a book that has been out-of-print for ten years you know something is up. I picked this book up in the bargain bin section of a Waldenbooks many years ago and it eventually became the MOST tattered and abused film book in my library. Literally, pages were missing from the 'checklist' in the back, and the book had peeled away into three separate sections held together by a thread of a binding. Fortunately, I was able to pick up a mint condition copy from an online used book service last year and so I have a perfect copy that's just like new. I enjoy reading Pauline Kael, Stanley Kauffmann, Andrew Sarris, Roger Ebert, David Thomson...all the usual suspects but for sheer agreement, I tend to share Mr. Peary's opinions more often than possibly any other film writer.
An indispensible book!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 4, 2003
Well, Mr. Peary couldn't have picked a better title--this really is THE guide for the genuine film fanatic! It is a shame that the book is out-of-print. Anyone at all seriously addicted to film should read it (whether or not you always agree with Peary's opinions), so track down a copy any way you can.
I probably picked it up somewhere around 15 years ago, so my copy is really worn. And I'm still checking movies off as I see them. The main 'problem' is that there are, I think, 4200 films listed in the book, all told. I think I still have around 500 to go (the number of movies I've seen -- and this book lists only a fraction of them! -- qualifies me as a genuine fanatic). A large number of this 500 are titles that Peary admits are not 'musts': mostly low-budget horror and porno. Still, a good number are...simply impossible to find! They are not on video (not that I've found, and believe me I've looked) and are never shown on tv.
For example, who the hell knows where to locate 'Cuban Rebel Girls'? I've sent email to Turner Classic Movies, requesting such films as 'Storm Warning' and 'The Chapman Report' but, years later, they still haven't been shown. So, when you get near the end of Peary's list, good luck trying to complete it.
Maybe someone with resources should start a website for film fanatics and put all of these titles on it. Maybe there could be some sort of exchange system for people like myself (obviously I'm not alone here) who have been able to find movies on the list that others haven't.
Danny, are you reading? After all, you got us all into this!
But, seriously...dynamite book. Granted, it includes films that I can't believe I actually sat through but, on the other hand, there's a considerable number that I thoroughly enjoyed and never would have considered watching if this book hadn't introduced them to me.
One more thing: it's interesting that 1986 ends up being the cut-off point for this book, the year movies in general started causing me to hum 'Who Let The Dogs Out?' to myself on a regular basis. Although I'd be curious to see an updated version of this book -- one that would include reviews of such 'gems' as 'Showgirls', other 'must-sees', and those before 1986 that Peary somehow overlooked -- I think the book closes on a significant year.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2002
I'm thrilled that so many people enjoy this book as much as I do. This book was a gift someone gave me as a teenager (that was over 10 years ago) and I still refer back to it at least once a week. In fact I have two copies.
I actually have a little story for fans. Probably about 10 years ago I decided to write a fan letter to Danny Peary. I basically told him how much I loved the book, and that I thought some of his reviews where actually more enjoyable than the movies themselves. I also begged him to write a sequel. To my surprise he wrote back to me! It was a very nice, hand-written letter thanking me and talking to me a little about the other books he's written.
This is a great film book and I would recommend it to everyone. The only complaint I have is that there really should be a Guide 2.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 9, 1999
I got this book for Christmas 1986 and it hasn't left my side since. I look at it every day, go through TV Guides circling films I haven't seen, you name it. The reviews are spot-on, always insightful, always entertaining, and best of all, he knows how to review a film without giving the ending away. It only makes me wish Peary wrote for a national paper. One question: why no "Bonnie and Clyde" and no "Dirty Harry"? Oh, and add my name to the calls for a sequel - perhaps his films of the 1990s?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 1998
Here is an author who loves movies! You'll find
terrific essays on major films such as "Superman" and "Citizen Kane" as well as great

reviews on the more weird and wacky films.. Pearys love for his movies shines through and makes the book a pleasure to read. Film lovers

should really check out this mans work. The only thing more I wanted from this book was more of the same.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 1, 2003
I stumbled onto this about 14 years ago. At the time I thought it was just some HO-HUM fluff I could read at work. Reading it, though, I was impressed at Peary's 'everyman' take at film. He was also the first person in print that I'd read to see the merit of John Waters. Eventually this became known as "The Book" to friends and myself. I'd rent movies and instantly consult "The Book". I had other film guides, but this was THE take on movies. I think I've disagreed with him three times. At present, the book is in two parts, the binding giving out years ago. But it's still "The Book". I've wished for at least 10 years for an update and am still waiting. For an 'everyman' take on the classics, both cult and traditional, you can't go wrong with this one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 5, 2006
Along with every other reviewer below, I have to start by saying that this is my all-time favorite film review book, bar none. I picked up a copy back in 1986, read it so much it fell apart, and finally bought a "new" used copy last year. Like Melanie (below), I wrote to Danny Peary--sending a photo of my fallen-apart copy!--and received a lovely letter back. He said he's "delighted that people still read my movie books", but admitted to getting burned out on movies after writing GFTFF, and said that as much as he'd love to write a sequel, he thinks it would "kill him".!! Apparently his new editor may encourage him to reprint the first three Cult Movie books in a massive edition along with adding 50 newer movies.

[...]
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 13, 1999
Danny Peary's the movie lover's best pal, and this is a treasure trove of insight, fun, and nostalgia. I don't always agree with Peary - he's wrong about Altman's Nashville, for instance, and The Wild Bunch, among others - but he writes with such authority and love for movies, you can't help but read him with pleasure. Like the preceding reviewer, I keep my copy close by - it's blackened with check marks and falling apart. Let's hope some enterprising publisher will bring this back into print in a nice hardcover edition. Or better yet, as others have suggested, maybe there will be an updated version covering films of the nineties.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 29, 2013
I've thumbed through my copy enough times in the last 20 years that it's becoming pretty tattered. You may not agree with all of Peary's views, but there's no question he is a serious student of film, and he always has something thoughtful and intelligent to say. There are some very obscure films discussed, and a fair number of foreign movies, mixed in with the usual classics.
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