We had the passing of one of Hollywood’s quietly genius, Mike Nichols. A man who was just at home working on the stage as he was on film. With a small but perfectly formed back catalogue of films, it’s time to celebrate his film life with a top ten of his finest.
10. Closer (2004)
Nichols’ passion was with the stage and so he loved taking on a stage adaptation, this one from the award winning Patrick Marber play about infidelity between four people. Julia Roberts, Clive Owen, Jude Law and a pole dancing Natalie Portman star.
9. Postcards From The Edge (1990)
Based on the autobiographical book by Carrie Fisher, Meryl Streep takes on the role of a substance-addicted actress who is forced to live with her dominating mother, Shirley MacLaine.
8. Catch-22 (1970)
Taking Joseph Heller’s anti-war novel and trying to turn it into a film was never easy and this is an interesting failure with a stunning cast led by a manic performance from Alan Arkin.
7. Biloxi Blues (1988)
This wasn’t the first time Nichols had tackled this Neil Simon comedy about life in the army. Having directed the Broadway version, he took the show’s star, Matthew Broderick, and the pair produced a funny, touching film with a pitch perfect performance from Christopher Walken as the drill sergeant.
6. Primary Colors (1998)
A satirical comedy about the American political system as seen from the eyes of a young intern, watching a Presidential campaign caught up in a sex scandal. Smart and witty with a top cast of John Travolta, Emma Thompson and Adrian Lester.
5. Silkwood (1983)
An Oscar nominated drama based on the true story of Karen Silkwood, a woman who tries to expose the safety violations of a plutonium processing plant. Meryl Streep is, as usual, brilliant as the lead but its Cher that almost steals the film as her best friend.
4. Working Girl (1988)
One of the pivotal films of the 80’s, a comedy about succeeding in business when you have nothing. Melanie Griffith stars as a secretary who becomes a fake boss when her own boss is injured in a skiing accident. Harrison Ford and Sigourney Weaver star, along with the biggest hair you’ll see on film.
3. The Birdcage (1996)
The brilliantly funny remake of the French farce La Cage Aux Folles, has Robin Williams and Nathan Lane as a gay couple running a club, who have to deal with a wedding of William’s son to a strict conservative’s daughter. So much to enjoy here.
2. Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
Nichols’ directorial debut is a powerhouse of a drama based on Edward Albee’s play, with Elizabeth Taylor’s Oscar winning performance and Richard Burton as an aging couple who spend a night fueling their anger with a young couple.
1. The Graduate (1967)
Nichols’ classic comedy drama which introduced us to Dustin Hoffman as a college graduate who finds himself trapped into having an affair with Anne Bancroft’s Mrs Robinson. With a soundtrack by Simon and Garfunkel and an iconic scene, this is a true classic.