DVD Picks: Best of Spielberg

by Terri Robar, Learning & Research Services

Actors are the visible icons of any movie but the director is the driving force behind the scenes. Certain directors have such a flare for the art that they can even eclipse the actors and become household names. Steven Spielberg is one such director. We offer up this list of some of his most beloved films.

The following films are a part of Richter Library’s DVD collection. In addition to the thousands of DVDs spanning comedy, drama, sci-fi, horror, documentary, and other genres, UM Libraries also houses film-related materials such as screenplays, soundtracks, musical scores, and original book titles. Search the catalog to browse music and print resources related to these films.

Captain John Miller must take his men behind enemy lines to find Private Ryan, whose three brothers have been killed in combat. Faced with impossible odds, the men question their orders. Why are eight men risking their lives to save just one? Surrounded by the brutal realities of war, each man searches for his own answer and the strength to triumph over uncertain future with honor, decency, and courage.

On a remote island, a wealthy entrepreneur secretly creates a theme park featuring living dinosaurs drawn from prehistoric DNA. As a panel of experts review the park, their visit becomes anything but tranquil as the security system breaks down, the prehistoric creatures break out, and the excitement builds to surprising results.

This film tells the story of a boy, James Graham, whose privileged life is upturned by the Japanese invasion of Shanghai, December 8, 1941. Separated from his parents, he is eventually captured and taken to Soo Chow confinement camp. Amidst the sickness and food shortages in the camp, Jim attempts to reconstruct his former life, all the while bringing spirit and dignity to those around him.

An uneducated woman living in the rural American south who was raped by her father, deprived of the children she bore him, and forced to marry a brutal man she calls “Mister,” is transformed by the friendship of two remarkable women, acquiring self-worth and the strength to forgive.

In a nation divided by war and the strong winds of change, Lincoln pursues a course of action designed to end the war, unite the country, and abolish slavery. With the moral courage and fierce determination to succeed, his choices during this critical moment will change the fate of generations to come.

This incredible true story follows the enigmatic Oskar Schindler, who saved the lives of more than 1,100 Jews during the Holocaust. It is the triumph of one man who made a difference and the drama of those who survived one of the darkest chapters in human history because of what he did.

The first three of the Indiana Jones movies: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Temple of Doom, and the Last Crusade. Heroes, villains, treasure, action, magic, danger, excitement: these films have it all.

Washington, D.C. has been murder-free thanks to astounding technology which identifies killers before they commit their crimes. But when the chief of the pre-crime unit is himself accused of a future murder, he has just 36 hours to discover who set him up.

What Spielberg list could be complete without the classic “I’m-Never-Going-In-The-Water-Again” story of a killer shark that has taken over the waters near a seaside community and the three men who set out to kill it?

A true story about Frank Abagnale Jr., who, before his 19th birthday, successfully passed millions of dollars’ worth of checks as a Pan Am pilot, doctor, and legal prosecutor.

After an encounter with UFOs, a line worker feels undeniably drawn to an isolated area in the wilderness where something spectacular is about to happen.

A troubled child summons the courage to help a friendly alien escape Earth and return to his home-world.

DVD Picks: Colonial America

by Terri Robar, Learning & Research Services

As we prepare to celebrate the Fourth of July, let’s take a moment to remember the struggle that took place to build this nation. There were the actual battles of the Revolution, of course, but the drive to build a new land had been going on for hundreds of years. Here is a list of films from our collection that represent (or were inspired by) events surrounding our nation’s birth.

The following films are a part of Richter Library’s DVD collection, which can be searched by movie theme (or topic) as well as categories such as time period, genre, or language. Visit library.miami.edu/UDVD to view the entire collection.


Based on the memoir and letters of Mary Silliman, this film depicts the struggle during the American Revolutionary War, in Fairfield, Conn., a town deeply and bitterly divided over independence. After the kidnapping and imprisonment of her husband by the British, Mary Silliman managed to secure her husband’s freedom while still handling domestic affairs and coping with the war.


Torn between his revolutionary political beliefs and his love for the daughter of a Virginia Tory, Nathan Holden struggles with his fellow patriots for independence. But at the crossroads of this path to freedom stands Captain Walter Butler. A murderous redcoat, Butler ravages the fledgling colonies with a band of barbaric Mohawks.


While our new nation was suffering attacks from both within and without, John Adams had a vision of a nation of liberty and justice for all. He guided his peers in setting the values and agenda for a glorious, free America. Adams and his wife Abigail refined these ambitious democratic ideals and their partnership became one of the most moving love stories in American history.


In this dramatized narrative, illustrated with photographs and illustrations from 19th-century books and periodicals, a poor shoemaker from colonial Boston, George Robert Twelves Hewes, describes his experiences in the struggle for American independence, revealing how working people helped make the American Revolution and how they were changed in the process.


The love of Hawkeye, rugged frontiersman and adopted son of the Mohicans, and Cora Munro, aristocratic daughter of a British colonel, blazes amidst a brutal conflict between the British, the French, and Native American allies in colonial America.


In 1620, a group of religious outcasts boarded the Mayflower in England and set sail for the New World, where they founded a tiny wilderness outpost that was the genesis for what would become the United States of America. This is their thrilling story, a tale of hardship and devotion, of storms, hunger and disease, faced and defied.


A group of teenage girls meets in the woods at midnight for a secret ceremony. When the ceremony is witnessed by the town minister, the girls are accused of witchcraft. Soon, the entire village is consumed by hysteria and innocent victims are put on trial, leading to a devastating climax.


Liberty! is a exuberant documentary about the American Revolution and our fight for freedom. It chronicles the events leading up to the declaration of war and the lasting effects these events had on shaping our country today.


A television mini-series chronicling the life of George Washington during the French and Indian War, the coming and commencement of the Revolutionary War, and the victory of the independence from England.


An English soldier and the daughter of an Algonquin chief share a romance when English colonists invade 17th-century Virginia.


Traces Franklin’s life from humble beginnings to fame as a scientist, founding father, and America’s first diplomat to France.


In the 17th century, in Massachusetts, a young woman is forced to wear a scarlet “A” on her dress for bearing a child out of wedlock.

DVD Picks: LGBTQ Films

by Terri Robar, Education & Outreach Librarian

June has been designated as the LGBTQ Pride Month. To celebrate, we’ve selected some of our favorite titles from The Top 175 Essential Films of All Time for LGBT Viewers found on Advocate.com. Many more of these titles are available in our collection.

The following films are a part of Richter Library’s DVD collection, which can be searched by movie theme (or topic) as well as categories such as time period, genre, or language. Visit library.miami.edu/UDVD to view the entire collection.


From the moment she glimpses her idol at the stage door, Eve Harrington moves relentlessly towards her goal: taking the reins of power from the great actress Margo Channing. The cunning Eve maneuvers her way into Margo’s Broadway role, becomes a sensation and even causes turmoil in the lives of Margo’s director boyfriend, her playwright and his wife.


This documentary is a chronicle of New York’s drag scene in the 1980s. The film is considered to be an invaluable documentary of the end of the age of the city’s drag balls and critics have praised it as a thoughtful exploration of race, class, gender, and sexuality in America.


Assembles footage from over 120 films showing the changing face of cinema homosexuality from cruel stereotypes to covert love to the activist cinema of the 1990s. Many actors, writers and commentators provide anecdotes regarding the history of the role of gay men and lesbians on the silver screen.


With a contract to perform a drag show way out in the Australian desert, Tick, Adam, and Ralph each has his own reason for wanting to leave the safety of Sydney. Christening their battered pink tour bus “Priscilla,” the trio heads for the outback and into crazy adventures in even crazier outfits.


Megan is a high school cheerleader. When her parents suspect that she is a lesbian, they send her to a conversion therapy camp. There Megan comes to embrace her sexual orientation, despite the therapy, and falls in love.


This film follows Vivian who is going through a divorce. While vacationing in Nevada, she meets Cay, an open lesbian. The two are drawn into a passionate affair.


His life changed history, his courage changed lives. Harvey Milk is a middle-aged New Yorker who, after moving to San Francisco, becomes a Gay Rights activist and city politician. On his third attempt, he is elected to San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors in 1977, the first openly-gay man to be elected to public office in the United States. The following year, both he and the city’s mayor, George Moscone, are shot to death by former city supervisor, Dan White, who blames his former colleagues for denying White’s attempt to rescind his resignation from the board. Based on the true story of Harvey Milk.


Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist find themselves thrown together when they are hired to tend sheep in the remote area of Brokeback Mountain, Wyoming. Because of the job, the two are forced to spend many hours together alone in the wild. Ennis and Jack are inexorably drawn to each other through their proximity, loneliness and through a shared lack of tenderness and emotion in their lives and are emotionally, physically and psychically bonded to each other almost from the start.


Ludovic is waiting for a miracle. With six-year-old certainty, he believes he was meant to be a little girl and that the mistake will soon be corrected. But where he expects the miraculous, Ludo finds only rejection, isolation, and guilt–as the intense reactions of family, friends, and neighbors strip away every innocent lace and bauble. When his parents send him to a psychiatrist, the doctor helps them to see that there is nothing wrong with being different.


The setting for this film is the Kit Kat Klub in 1931 Berlin. An American girl and a British academic meet and fall in love. Then they fall in with a German baron and are each seduced by him in turn. The crowd at the Kit Kat Klub represent a wide variety of lifestyles that are gradually being obscured by the rising darkness of the Nazi party.


Wealthy Mary Haines loses her husband to ruthless perfume-shopgirl Crystal Allen, who is aided and abetted by Sylvia Fowler, whose own spouse has taken up with another woman. In Reno, in the throes of divorce, all wage war on one another and ultimately learn about themselves.


Two competing lawyers join forces to sue a prestigious law firm for AIDS discrimination. As their unlikely friendship develops, their courage overcomes the prejudice and corruption of their powerful adversaries.

DVD Picks: Cannes Film Festival Winners

by Terri Robar, Education & Outreach Librarian

The Palme d’Or (or Golden Palm) is the highest prize awarded at the Cannes Film Festival. It has gone by several names since its inception in 1939 but has always been awarded to the best entries. Here are a selection of the many fine films that have received this prize over the decades.

The following films are a part of Richter Library’s DVD collection, which can be searched by movie theme (or topic) as well as categories such as time period, genre, or language. Visit library.miami.edu/UDVD to view the entire collection.


Danzig, 1924. Oskar Matzerath is born with an intellect beyond his infancy. As he witnesses the hypocrisy of adulthood and the irresponsibility of society, Oskar rejects both and, and on his third birthday, refuses to grow. In a state of perpetual childhood, Oskar lashes out at all he surveys with piercing screams and frantic poundings on his tin drum, while the unheeding, chaotic world marches onward to the madness and folly of World War II. Directed by Volker Schlöndorff, West Germany.


It is Sicily in the 1800s. Prince Salina, a great landowner, has to watch the decrease of his power and influence after ‘Il Risorgimento’, the unification of Italy. The upper classes try to ignore the nationalist movements and the prince is uncertain of his own feelings. Directed by Luchino Visconti, Italy.


Choosing to spend his final days surrounded by his loved ones in the countryside, Boonmee is visited by his dead wife as a ghost and his lost son as a strange hairy beast with red glowing eyes. They’ve come to guide him to his final resting place, a cave where his first soul began. Directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand


In a squalid South American oil town, four desperate men sign on for a suicide mission to drive trucks loaded with nitroglycerin over a treacherous mountain route. As they ferry their explosive cargo to a faraway oil fire, each bump and jolt tests their courage, their friendship, and their nerves. Directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot, France.


The story follows an underground weapons manufacturer in Belgrade during WWII who smuggles the weapons to partisans. He doesn’t mention to the workers that the war is over and they keep producing. Years later, they break out of their underground “shelter” — only to convince themselves that the war is still going on. Directed by Emir Kusturica, Serbia and Montenegro.


When Veronica’s lover, Boris, goes to war, she moves in with Boris’ family. His cousin seduces her and, out of guilt, she marries him. Unhappy in her marriage and still in love with Boris, she leaves her husband to wait for Boris to return. Later, she learns Boris has been killed in the war. Directed by Mikhail Kalatozov, Soviet Union.


Novice nun Viridiana does her utmost to maintain her Catholic principles but her lecherous uncle and a motley assemblage of paupers force her to confront the limits of her idealism. Directed by Luis Buñuel, Mexico.


Middle-aged Dr. Alec Harvey and suburban housewife Laura Jesson are middle-class suburbanites who meet on a train platform in the dour, gray Britain of 1945. They enter into a quietly passionate, ultimately doomed love affair. Directed by David Lean, United Kingdom.


A boat filled with Swedish immigrants comes to the Danish island of Bornholm at the end of the 19th Century. Lasse and his son Pelle find work on a farm but are treated very poorly. Pelle is determined to make a better life. Directed by Bille August, Denmark


In 1862, the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads compete westward across the wilderness toward California. Directed by Cecil B. DeMille, United States.


Young and impulsive Rosetta lives with her alcoholic mother and, moved by despair, she will do anything to maintain a job. Directed by Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne, Belgium.


A touching tale of a loving couple whose unbreakable bonds of marriage are tested by life’s greatest challenge. Directed by Michael Haneke, Austria.

DVD Picks: Women of the British Monarchy

by Terri Robar, Education & Outreach Librarian

In honor of the birth of Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, we offer these films about queens of the United Kingdom. May the Princess’s life story be long and joyful.

The following films are a part of Richter Library’s DVD collection, which can be searched by movie theme (or topic) as well as categories such as time period, genre, or language. Visit library.miami.edu/UDVD to view the entire collection.

After the death of Princess Diana, HM Queen Elizabeth II struggles with her reaction to a sequence of events nobody could have predicted.

Henry VIII of England discards one wife, Katharine of Aragon, who has failed to produce a male heir, in favor of the young and beautiful Anne Boleyn.

The battle between Mary I, Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I, Queen of England, comes alive in this epic film. The two queens with their contrasting personalities make a dramatic counterpoint to history.

Cate Blanchett’s marvelous performance as Queen Elizabeth I. The new queen must learn to weigh her counsel carefully and ignore her private yearnings if she is to keep her crown–and her head.

For those who would like a more authoritative view of history, we suggest this 15 episode series hosted by Simon Schama. It covers the history of Great Britain from 3100 B.C. through the 20th century.

Henry VIII had six wives. If you want to get to know each and every one of them, then this series is for you. We have all four seasons which explores the personalities of each queen and shows the childhood of his two daughters, the future Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth.

Sir Walter Raleigh wants Queen Elizabeth I to give him a fleet of ships to sail and make a name for England. A young ward of the court, Beth Throgmorton, is strongly attracted to Raleigh and he returns the attraction. The queen wants Raleigh for herself.

Very few people ever gave their name to an age. Queen Victoria did just that. Her reign lasted from 1937 to 1901 and oversaw a tremendous wave of change in all walks of life. This is a lecture series reviewing everything from politics to literature.

In the sequel to Elizabeth, Queen Elizabeth I’s reign is threatened by familial betrayal and Spain’s invading army . The queen (Cate Blanchett) and her shrewd advisers must act to safeguard the lives of her people. When the dashing seafarer Walter Raleigh captures her heart, Elizabeth is forced to make her most tragic sacrifice for the good of her country.

While on an extended stay at Balmoral Castle and still in mourning over the death of her beloved Prince Albert, Queen Victoria meets Mr. Brown, a member of her household staff who thinks the time has come for her to start living a normal life. He soon gains the queen’s favor and friendship and his authority and status in the household are soon on the rise. Theirs was a friendship that scandalized a nation.

Did you know that Helen Mirren not only played Elizabeth II in The Queen but also Elizabeth I in this mini-series? The film explores the intersection of her private and public life in the latter half of her reign, offering a personal look at her allies, her enemies, and her suitors as she struggles to survive in a male-dominated world.

Chronicles the life and times of Queen Victoria from her childhood to her early rise to power and the first turbulent years of her rule. Her romantic relationship and eventual marriage to Prince Albert culminates in a royal power struggle which ultimately is the key to her happiness when she comes to the realization that he is someone she can fully trust and believe in.

Richter Recommends: “Green” DVD Picks

by Terri Robar, Education & Outreach Librarian

Earth Day, April 22, is a time to reflect on the world around us and our stewardship of this planet. The films in this list are cautionary tales of situations that we have allowed to happen. The movies are projections of just how wrong things could go. All are designed to remind you to be a little more aware of how you treat our Mother Earth.

The following films are a part of Richter Library’s DVD collection, which can be searched by movie theme (or topic) as well as categories such as time period, genre, or language. Visit library.miami.edu/UDVD to view the entire collection.

The true story of one woman’s fight against PG&E and their role in poisoning the residents in an area from their illegal toxic dumping practices.

This film explores the indelible footprint that humans have left on this planet and the catastrophic effects of environmental neglect and abuse. It calls for restorative action through a reshaping of human activity.

Lt. John Dunbar is a civil war veteran who is posted to the grassy plains of South Dakota. There he falls in love with the environment and the Sioux people, and he refuses to conquer their land, as he is pressured to do by the army. Animals, as well as nature in general, play important characters.

Two best friends from college on the east coast move to the heartland to learn where their food comes from. With the help of friendly neighbors, genetically modified seeds, nitrogen fertilizers, and powerful herbicides, they plant and grow a bumper crop of America’s most productive, most subsidized grain on one acre of Iowa soil. But when they try to follow their pile of corn into the food system, what they find raises troubling questions about how we eat– and how we farm.

After going into hibernation and waking up 500 years later, Joe Bauers finds himself in a society plagued with stupidity. He is named the smartest person in the world and recruited to Secretary of the Interior, where he must solve problems like food and crop shortages, crippled economy, and mountains of garbage. In a funny and slightly absurd manner, Idiocracy begs the question just how much are we being dumbed-down by corporations and what toll is it taking on the environment?

In a sleepy lagoon off the coast of Japan is a highly guarded secret. During the night, Taiji fishermen engage in an unseen hunt for thousands of dolphins. The work is so horrifying, the fishermen will stop at nothing to keep it hidden from the outside world. When a team of elite activists, filmmakers, and free-divers embark on a secret mission to penetrate their cover, the shocking discoveries they find there are just the tip of the iceberg.

WALL-E lives in a world that exists because of thoughtless consumerism and environmental exploitation. He is a garbage collecting robot that was created to clean up the waste that was left behind from a powerful, multi-national corporation, Buy N Large. Determined to live a meaningful life, he fights to bring love and life back to Earth.

Environmental themes might not seem obvious at first in this 1982 sci-fi flick but the dark, futuristic setting is full of signs of moral, as well as environmental, decay. Set in Los Angeles in 2019, real animals are essentially extinct and pollution has made the world grim and hostile.

This film takes viewers along the amazing life journey of Emperor penguins. These creatures face an incredible amount of danger when searching for their mate and finding food for their young. With melting temperatures, their journey becomes even more treacherous. Their dependence on ice leaves them very vulnerable to the climate changes their human co-inhabitants have created.

This title explores the U.S. commercial food industry, examining corporate control of supply and market. The film seeks to demonstrate how the incentive for corporate profit can overwhelm consumer health needs as well as the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers, and the environment. Reveals various details of food ingredients and additives, and how contemporary mass production methods of food affects U.S. culture.

Jake Sully is a former Marine who uses a wheelchair. But despite his broken body, Jake is still a warrior at heart. He is recruited to travel light years to the human outpost on Pandora, where a corporate consortium is mining a rare mineral that is the key to solving Earth’s energy crisis. He is given a mission to infiltrate the Na’vi, who have become a major obstacle to mining the precious ore. But everything changes when he learns to see the forest through their eyes.

When the United States and the Soviet Union simultaneously set off nuclear explosions, the London Daily Express begins to report on bizarre weather changes around the world. But when the reporters dig deeper, they discover that the blasts have knocked Earth off its axis and sent it hurtling towards the sun. Now, as scorching heat and devastating floods plague the planet, cities explode in chaos and mankind is left with one last hope: a final massive detonation that will either re-balance Earth’s orbit or destroy our world forever.

Richter Recommends: DVD Picks That’ll Have You Fooled

by Terri Robar, Education & Outreach Librarian

In honor of April Fool’s Day, we offer the following suggestions. All of these movies share one thing in common. At the end, (spoiler alert!) you get blindsided by a plot twist that makes you reevaluate everything you just watched. For each movie we summarize the plot and reveal the twist on which the entire story hinges. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!

The following films are a part of Richter Library’s DVD collection, which can be searched by movie theme (or topic) as well as categories such as time period, genre, or language. Visit library.miami.edu/UDVD to view the entire collection.


The Plot: After an airplane engine crashes through his bedroom, Donnie Darko is visited by Frank, a life-size rabbit who warns him of the oncoming apocalypse and inspires him to carry out crimes.
The Twist: At the moment the apocalypse is supposed to take place, Darko travels back in time, dying in the crash in his bedroom.


The Plot: Patrick Bateman, a wealthy, entitled businessman in 1980s New York City, leads a double life as a serial killer.
The Twist: In the final scene, Bateman learns many of his victims are supposedly still alive—he may have imagined everything.


The Plot: An unnamed narrator and his new friend, Tyler Durden, begin a “fight club” that turns into a national movement.
The Twist: The narrator is suffering from dissociative identity disorder – he and Tyler are the same person.


The Plot: After a home invasion, Dr. Malcolm Crowe, a child psychologist, returns to work by attempting to help a young boy who sees the dead.
The Twist: Dr. Crowe is actually dead.


The Plot: A masked serial killer targets a group of high schoolers. At a party to celebrate school’s closure following the killings, the murderer kills Sidney’s boyfriend, Billy, then hunts Sidney and her friends.
The Twist: The murderer is actually two people: Billy and his friend, Stu.


The Plot: Five criminals plot against the police after being called in for a crime they didn’t commit, but begin to uncover a larger plot stemming from legendary criminal Keyser Soze. The question is, who is he?
The Twist: Keyser Soze is the unreliable narrator himself, “Verbal” Kint.


The Plot: As the Rebel Alliance runs from Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker trains to become a Jedi Knight.
The Twist: Luke abandons his training to save his friends from Vader but ends up in battle with the Sith Lord. Get ready for what is arguably the most famous film quote of all time: “Luke, I am your father.”


The Plot: The wife of a prominent bureaucrat hires a private investigator to follow her husband, whom she suspects of infidelity. Along the way, the PI uncovers murder plots, corruption and a young girl, Evelyn’s sister, who is somehow involved.
The Twist: Evelyn reveals her sister is also her daughter—Evelyn was in an incestuous relationship with her father.


The Plot: Marion Crane is murdered at a desolate motel by the mentally-ill mother of its shifty owner, Norman Bates.
The Twist: Bates murdered his mother years before, then developed a split personality that made him believe he is his mother. He murdered Marion disguised as his mother.


The Plot: Three astronauts crash-land on an unknown planet after traveling at light-speed for 2,000+ years. In this new land, non-human primates—gorillas, orangutans and chimpanzees—rule the world, while Homo sapiens are considered second-class citizens.
The Twist: The film’s final scene sees the surviving astronaut stumbling across a half-sunken Statue of Liberty on the shore—he’s been on earth the whole time.


The Plot: The film opens with newspaper magnate Charles Foster Kane on his deathbed, where his last word is “rosebud.” This inspires a journalist to chronicle the enigmatic life of the mogul, uncovering his ruthless quest for power and fortune.
The Twist: “Rosebud” is the name of Kane’s childhood sled—proving the tycoon had a touch of sentimentality after all.


The Plot: After being kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years, Oh Dae-Su is released, only to find that he must find his captor in 5 days.
The Twist: The woman he has fallen in love with is his long-lost daughter.

Richter Recommends: DVDs Both Sweet and Savory

by Terri Robar, Education & Outreach Librarian

Having a snack while watching a movie is a longstanding tradition. These films will make you extra hungry. All of these revolve around humankind’s great obsession with food and drink.

The following films are a part of Richter Library’s DVD collection, which can be searched by movie theme (or topic) as well as categories such as time period, genre, or language. Visit library.miami.edu/UDVD to view the entire collection.


Almost a quarter-century after the film’s release, the culminating scene of this quietly urgent Danish drama still stands as the most beautifully rendered depiction of a lavish meal ever committed to celluloid. But it’s not just spectacle for spectacle’s sake: The triumphant banquet sequence also communicates volumes about the movie’s central theme, the eternal tug-of-war between self-denial and sensual gratification.


Charm is not the first word that springs to mind when you envision a rat running loose in a restaurant kitchen, but that’s exactly what this animated kids’ flick has—in spades. Oh, and an evil food critic named Anton Ego, voiced by Irish acting institution Peter O’Toole.

Like Water for Chocolate (1993)463f8

An enchanting magical realist drama from Mexican director Alfonso Arau, about the power of food to…make every guest at a wedding begin to sob uncontrollably, cause a woman to become so turned on that her clothes catch fire, conjure a visit from vengeful ghosts, and more. If you’ve ever doubted the sensual power of a recipe, then you definitely need to watch this movie.


The primary ingredients of Lasse Hallström’s whimsical tale included Juliette Binoche, as a single mother who moves to a tiny French village in the 1960s; Johnny Depp, as a riverboat-dwelling drifter; and, yes, a certain sweet, cacao-based substance that wins over the closed hearts of all those stuffy petits-bourgeois.


Impoverished Charlie Bucket, along with four other kids and their parental guests, wins a coveted golden ticket to enter the fantastic realm of Wonka’s mysterious confectionery. After the other kids have proven themselves to be irresponsible brats, it’s Charlie who impresses Wonka and wins a reward beyond his wildest dreams. But before that, the tour of Wonka’s factory provides a dazzling parade of delights.


Taiwanese-American director Ang Lee made his name with this depiction of an emotionally repressed Taipei family. The central character is a master chef whose only real means of communicating with his three headstrong daughters is via the elaborate Sunday dinner he cooks for them every week. By turns funny and poignant, this is a beautifully balanced study that well deserved its foreign-film Oscar nomination.


More than just a buddy picture or a road-trip movie, Sideways is about something every foodie flirts with at some point: obsession. Hats off to Paul Giamatti for creating a character who—between his fumbling flirtations with a waitress and his tragic downing of a 1961 Château Cheval Blanc in a Styrofoam cup—so perfectly straddles the line between appreciating something and letting it rule your life.


A modern fable and political satire on the Thatcher years in Britain set at Le Hollandais, a gourmet restaurant. The wife of a barbaric crime boss engages in a secretive romance with a gentle bookseller between meals at her husband’s restaurant, all observed by the cook. This nightly display of opulence, decadence and gluttony leads to murder, torture and revenge.


The use of heat and utensils to process food may be more than a by-product of human evolution. According to theories presented in this program, cooking began much earlier than previously thought and ignited a series of changes that shaped our physical and mental abilities.


A famous food writer lies about living on a farm, raising her children and being a good cook. In reality she is an unmarried New Yorker who can’t boil an egg. When her editor says she will spend Christmas with a heroic sailor, her job is on the line.


The Evil Lord Crumb and his alien goon-squad have descended upon the planet Earth in order to reap a fresh supply of human flesh, a new taste treat for their intergalactic fast-food chain. How can we earthlings be saved from this cannabalistic doom? Fear not, for the Alien Investigation and Defense Service will defend us to within a shred of their mortal existence.


The regulars of the Boston bar Cheers share their experiences and lives with each other while drinking or working at the bar where everybody knows your name.

Richter Recommends: DVD Picks for when love is in the air

by Terri Robar, Education & Outreach Librarian

Valentine’s Day is approaching and our thoughts turn towards love. Here is a list of some of the best love stories ever made for the silver screen.

The following films are a part of Richter Library’s DVD collection, which can be searched by movie theme (or topic) as well as categories such as time period, genre, or language. Visit library.miami.edu/UDVD to view the entire collection.

Set in unoccupied Africa during the early days of World War II, an American expatriate meets a former lover, with unforeseen complications.

A young American man meets a beautiful French student on a train bound for Paris, falls in love, and asks her to share his last night in Vienna.

Neurotic New York comedian Alvy Singer falls in love with the ditsy Annie Hall.

When Prince John and the Norman Lords begin oppressing the Saxon masses in King Richard’s absence, a Saxon lord fights back as the outlaw leader of a rebel guerrilla army. And, of course, romances the lovely lady.

In this sweeping, epic true story, the romance between the most powerful man in the world and the woman who conquered his heart decides the course of Western civilization.

Gone with the Wind is an epic historical romance film. Set in the 19th-century American South, the film tells the story of Scarlett O’Hara, the strong-willed daughter of a Georgia plantation owner, from her romantic pursuit of Ashley Wilkes, who is married to his cousin, Melanie Hamilton, to her marriage to Rhett Butler.

This musical sets the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet against a backdrop of the rivalry of two street gangs, the Sharks and the Jets, in New York of the 1950s. A young woman who is sister to the Sharks leader has her first taste of love with the former head of the Jets.

In 1927, George Valentin is a silent movie superstar. However, the advent of the talkies will kill his career and he will sink into oblivion. For young extra Peppy Miller, it seems the sky’s the limit as major movie stardom awaits. Though their careers are taking different paths, their destinies will become entwined.

Actors are caught in the bumpy transition to talking pictures; a spoof of the early days of “talkie” films. Kelly plays debonair star Don Lockwood, whose leading lady Lina Lamont has a screechy voice hilariously ill-suited to the new technology (and her glamorous screen image).

Heartbroken over the death of her beloved Westley, beautiful Buttercup finally succumbs to the advances of the wicked Prince Humperdinck. Yet, when she’s suddenly kidnapped by a motley band of deviants, what gallant hero comes to the rescue? None other than Westley– alive, well, and as wonderful as ever. But before these two can live happily ever after, they must first overcome formidable odds. Will these star-crossed lovers ever fulfill their destiny? Or, this time, will Buttercup lose Westley forever?

Philadelphia heiress Tracy Lord throws out her playboy husband C.K. Dexter Haven shortly after their marriage. Two years later, Tracy is about to marry respectable George Kittredge whilst Dexter has been working for “Spy” magazine. Dexter arrives at the Lord’s mansion the day before the wedding with writer Mike Connor and photographer Liz Imbrie, determined to spoil things. Tracy is forced to choose among her past love, her present love, and her new love.

Set in 19th-century China, two master warriors are faced with their greatest challenge when the treasured Green Destiny sword is stolen. A young aristocratic woman prepares for an arranged marriage, but soon reveals her superior fighting talents and her romantic past. As each warrior battles for justice, they come face-to-face with their worst enemy, and the enduring power of love.

Richter Recommends: Feel-Good DVD Picks

by Terri Robar, Education & Outreach Librarian

Sometimes when you’re feeling down, there’s no easier pick-me-up than a favorite movie. It might make you laugh, it might make you cry, but a classic feel-good flick will always leave you a little happier and may even put a smile on your face. So whether you’re looking for a romantic comedy, nostalgia, or pure escape, read on for our list of the top movies to watch when you’re feeling down. Grab the popcorn and dim the lights!

The following films are a part of Richter Library’s DVD collection, which can be searched by movie theme (or topic) as well as categories such as time period, genre, or language. Visit library.miami.edu/UDVD to view the entire collection.

Armand and Albert, a middle-aged gay couple, reluctantly accept Armand’s son’s intention to marry the daughter of a conservative senator. But when the fiancee’s family comes to visit, the whole household is turned upside-down.

A modern-day princess rebels against her royal obligations and explores Rome on her own. She meets an American newspaperman who, seeking an exclusive story, pretends ignorance of her identity. But his plan falters as they fall in love.

Out of work father Robin Williams finds himself suddenly divorced without custody of his kids. To solve this problem, he disguises himself as an old Scottish nanny to get hired by his ex-wife and be closer to his kids.

After leading his team to fifteen winning seasons, white football coach Bill Yoast is demoted and replaced by African-American Herman Boone, tough, opinionated and as different from Yoast as could be. The two men overcome their differences and turn a group of hostile young men into champions. A rousing celebration of how a town torn apart by resentment, friction, and mistrust comes together in triumphant harmony.

Get inspired to start a fitness routine by watching this ode to cycling. It’s nearly impossible to stay seated while watching Dave, played by Dennis Christopher, and his blue-collar teammates take on the privileged college students in the Indiana University Little 500 bicycle race. You’ll want to stand up and cheer as Dave learns the value of trusting his teammates and, above all, never giving up.

A cartoon can inspire you to get in touch with your inner child and remember the simple pleasures in life. “Up” is a multilayered tale about a cranky old man who finds out that it’s never too late to take a risk and have an adventure — or make a new friend. An overeager and earnest 8-year-old and Dug, a dopey but lovable talking dog, add to the humor in this beautifully written and animated story that will have you laughing through tears.

This beloved classic recounts the story of George Bailey’s life in flashbacks. Viewers watch George, played by Jimmy Stewart at his most endearing, sacrifice his own dreams time and time again for the benefit of his friends and family. By the end, George, angel-in-training Clarence, and the residents of Bedford Falls have taught the valuable lesson that one man’s life touches many others, often in unseen ways — an important sentiment to remember at the holidays, and throughout the year.

Laughter truly is the best medicine and a hearty chuckle has many proven health benefits. It can lower stress hormones, enhance your mood, and promote relaxation. If you need a giggle, pick up “Tootsie,” one of the few comedies to have been nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. No matter how down you’re feeling, it’s nearly impossible not to laugh during this smart comedy as you watch Dustin Hoffman transform from temperamental actor Michael Dorsey into feminist icon Dorothy Michaels — curlers, pantyhose, dresses, and all.

This is the heartwarming true story of football player Michael Oher and his unexpected champion, Leigh Anne Tuohy. Big Mike doesn’t know who his father is, his mother is a drug addict, and he’s homeless when Leigh Anne, played by Oscar winner Sandra Bullock, spots him wandering coatless on a chilly autumn night. She opens up her home and heart to him, to near-miraculous effect. “The Blind Side” shows the value of generosity and what can be accomplished when even just one person believes in you.

Based on a Stephen King novella, “The Shawshank Redemption” tells the story of Andy Dufresne, who is serving two consecutive life sentences in prison for the murder of his wife and her lover — crimes he didn’t commit. The underlying message of this surprisingly inspirational movie is that the beauty in every moment should be appreciated no matter what the circumstances. If prisoners can find a precious few minutes of serenity while listening to operatic music, surely there’s a moment in each day when we can appreciate what’s good in life. Need another reason? Research shows that people who express gratitude are generally happier than those who don’t.

When you need a reminder that the seemingly impossible is possible, watch this flick about the little pig who could. Babe is a piglet who bonds with the other animals at the farm where he lives — these include a family of sheepdogs, the flock they guard, and an excitable duck. When farmer Arthur Hoggett enters Babe in a sheepherding contest, both risk becoming the laughingstock of the town, until Babe wins the respect of both animals and humans through his luck and fortitude. In real life, it’s been shown that pets decrease loneliness — and watching “Babe” will make you feel as if you have a farmyard full of friends.

Listening to music has been shown to ease symptoms of depression, relieve stress, and calm the heart rate. Research shows that music with a slower beat is more relaxing than other kinds, which is why “The Sound of Music” edges out more recent movie musicals for a spot on this list. The classic songs performed by Julie Andrews, as Maria, and the rest of the cast include “The Sound of Music,” “Edelweiss,” and “My Favorite Things.” These tunes — plus the Alpine scenery, the love story between the Captain and Maria, and the daring escape from the Nazis — are guaranteed to lift your spirits.