Calling all cinephiles and movie buffs alike – get ready to embark on a captivating visual journey like no other. In the golden era of cinema, the 70 mm film format reigned supreme, boasting unmatched clarity and larger-than-life visuals that transported audiences into breathtaking worlds.
Today, we pay homage to these timeless masterpieces by presenting you with our carefully curated list of 10 great films shot in glorious 70 mm. Hold onto your seats as we delve into an immersive experience filled with sweeping landscapes, indelible performances, and cinematic grandeur that will leave you spellbound. Join us as we celebrate the artistry behind each frame and uncover why these unforgettable movies have etched their names in history’s celluloid tapestry.
Get ready for a premiere like no other – welcome to the mesmerizing realm of 70 mm cinema!
Here are 10 great films that were shot in 70mm:
10The Master Race (1944) – “The dramatic shock of the century!”
This World War II propaganda film was shot in 70mm and used for Cinerama screenings. It aimed to showcase America’s military might and boost patriotism during the war.
Plot: When allied troops liberate a small battle-scarred Belgium town in 1944 the American and British commanders do all they can to help the war-weary people back on their feet. There are mental and physical wounds to heal, fields to plough, the church to rebuild. But a top Nazi, knowing the War is lost, has infiltrated the town and is fostering dissent and disunity.
9Interstellar (2014) – “Mankind was born on Earth. It was never meant to die here.”
Christopher Nolan’s ambitious science fiction film combines cosmic exploration with emotional storytelling. The use of 70mm IMAX cameras creates a sense of awe and immensity, particularly during the space travel sequences.
Plot: The adventures of a group of explorers who make use of a newly discovered wormhole to surpass the limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage.
Another non-narrative documentary from Ron Fricke, this visually stunning film explores the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth across different cultures and landscapes. Shot in 70mm, it presents a feast of colors, textures, and intricate details.
Plot: Filmed over nearly five years in twenty-five countries on five continents, and shot on seventy-millimetre film, Samsara transports us to the varied worlds of sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial complexes, and natural wonders.
7Hamlet (1996) – “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.”
Directed by Kenneth Branagh, this adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedy was filmed entirely in 70mm. The larger format allowed for intricate and dynamic staging, capturing the full scope of the story and performances.
Plot: Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, returns home to find his father murdered and his mother now marrying the murderer… his uncle. Meanwhile, war is brewing.
6Baraka (1992) – “A world beyond words.”
This non-narrative documentary, directed by Ron Fricke, takes viewers on a mesmerizing journey around the world, showcasing stunning natural landscapes, cultural rituals, and human experiences. The 70mm format highlights the breathtaking imagery and immerses viewers in the film’s meditative tone.
Plot: A paralysingly beautiful documentary with a global vision—an odyssey through landscape and time – that attempts to capture the essence of life.
Starring: Patrick Disanto
5The Master (2012) – “Every man needs a guide.”
Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, this drama explores the relationship between a charismatic cult leader and a troubled World War II veteran. Shot in 65mm, the film captures rich details and colors, enhancing the visual beauty and depth of the narrative.
Plot: Freddie, a volatile, heavy-drinking veteran who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, finds some semblance of a family when he stumbles onto the ship of Lancaster Dodd, the charismatic leader of a new “religion” he forms after World War II.
42001: A Space Odyssey (1968) – “The Ultimate Trip.”
Stanley Kubrick’s sci-fi masterpiece pushed the boundaries of visual effects and storytelling. The use of 70mm helped create the immersive and awe-inspiring space sequences, allowing audiences to experience the vastness of the universe.
Plot: Humanity finds a mysterious object buried beneath the lunar surface and sets off to find its origins with the help of HAL 9000, the world’s most advanced super computer.
3The Hateful Eight (2015) – “No one comes up here without a damn good reason.”
Quentin Tarantino’s western thriller was released in a “Roadshow” version, where it was screened in 70mm Ultra Panavision format. The wider aspect ratio and high resolution showcased the film’s detailed cinematography and atmospheric setting.
Plot: Bounty hunters seek shelter from a raging blizzard and get caught up in a plot of betrayal and deception.
2Dunkirk (2017) – “When 400,000 men couldn’t get home, home came for them.”
Directed by Christopher Nolan, this war film immerses viewers in the intense and chaotic evacuation of Allied soldiers during World War II. The large format enhances the sense of scale and intensity, making it a visually gripping experience.
Plot: The story of the miraculous evacuation of Allied soldiers from Belgium, Britain, Canada and France, who were cut off and surrounded by the German army from the beaches and harbour of Dunkirk between May 26th and June 4th 1940 during World War II.
1Lawrence of Arabia (1962) – “A mighty motion picture of action and adventure!”
This epic historical drama directed by David Lean is widely regarded as one of the greatest films ever made. It takes full advantage of the 70mm format to capture the grandeur of the desert landscapes and deliver stunning visuals.
Plot: The story of British officer T.E. Lawrence’s mission to aid the Arab tribes in their revolt against the Ottoman Empire during the First World War. Lawrence becomes a flamboyant, messianic figure in the cause of Arab unity but his psychological instability threatens to undermine his achievements.
From the alien landscape of “Baraka” to the parody-laden trip through history in “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen”, these 10 great films shot on 70mm film demonstrate just how powerful and evocative this format can be. Watching a movie in 70mm allows you to truly appreciate the artistry of cinema while simultaneously being transported into another world.
Whether using it for narrative purposes or capturing real life footage from around the globe, filmmakers have been pushing boundaries with this unique format since its inception . If you are looking for an immersive cinematic experience that will take your breath away, look no further than any one of these amazing movies – they’re certain to give you a lasting appreciation for 70mm film.
*These films demonstrate how the 70mm format can elevate visual storytelling by providing greater detail, immersion, and a larger canvas for filmmakers to work with.