It may not be the spiritual forerunner to Independence Day and Mars Attacks! — the space-travellers here actually do come in peace — but this 1951 classic's jittery mood, epic sweep and stylised looks inspired those and plenty of other alien-arrival flicks.
Once banned in several American states, Ireland and Norway - and subsequently marketed in Sweden with the tagline, "The film so funny it was banned in Norway" - Life Of Brian is Monty Python at their wittiest, ballsiest best. Taking aim at the fake piety of many religious folk, its genius is perhaps best exemplified by this lapidation set-piece, which riffs on the Gospel of John, Chapter 8.
As part of a police effort to suss out the workings of serial killer Buffalo Bills mind, rookie FBI Agent Clarice Starling (Foster) is assigned the task of interrogating Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter (Hopkins). Having extracted the information that she suffered verbal abuse from fellow prisoner Miggs (Stuart Levine) on the way in (“I can smell your cunt,” he hisses charmingly), the good Doctor turns the conversation towards fragrances of a less personal nature...
“Well, ladies and gentlemen, we’re not here to indulge in fantasy, but in political and economic reality... I am not a destroyer of companies. I am a liberator of them. The point is, ladies and gentlemen, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed [...]