One of cinema’s most enjoyable and durable genres, the buddy movie has given us some of the most memorable and outrageous characters. Gentry pay tribute to the greatest friendships on the silver screen.
5. 48 Hrs. (Walter Hill, 1982)
An absolute classic of the 80s, pairing the irascible Nick Nolte (as Jack Cates) with the guffawing Eddie Murphy (as Reggie Hammond) – the cop and the con. The original pairing was mooted to be Clint Eastwood and Richard Pryor and as intriguing as that might have been, Nolte and Murphy more than hold their own in Walter Hill’s dirty masterpiece of the genre. What the 80s did so well was striking the comedy / drama balance and it’s quite surprising, watching the film today, just how rough and uncompromising it was. You have to wonder whether or not the implicit acceptance of a deep rooted racial prejudice in the basic set-up would fly in 2008.
4. Superbad (Greg Mottola, 2007)
Superbad is one of the funniest, most astute films of the last ten years and at the core of this by turns gross, slapstick, bathetic comedy is Seth and Evan’s sincere fear of losing one another. The cast of characters is full of friendships, none more amusing than the brief fraternal alliance between Fogell and Officers Slater and Michaels. In the fire of this brotherhood McLovin’ was forged, one of the indelible characters of modern screen comedy. Superbad captures perfectly the end-of-an-era feel to finishing high school and the inevitable drift that ensues.
3. Midnight Cowboy (John Schlesinger, 1969)
The relationship between the disillusioned Joe Buck and the frazzled Ratso Rizzo is one of Hollywood’s great R-Rated love stories. The innocent-corrupted and the corrupted-innocent find one other in the sordid nightmare of the modern city. There aren’t many scenes more poignant than that final, lonely bus ride home for poor old Joe.
2. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (George Roy Hill, 1969)
No list of screen friendships would be complete without Butch and Sundance. The winning chemistry between Robert Redford and Paul Newman is at the heart of George Roy Hill’s wondrous adventure, polished by the wit and guile of William Goldman’s script. As with any great buddy movie, there is a hint of tragedy to round things off. Preserved by the silverscreen before the point of death, frozen in a hail of gunfire, Butch and Sundance are too alive for their times, too vibrant and wild to survive – the same sad old theme that punctuates any fine Western.
1. His Girl Friday (Howard Hawks, 1940)
True, Walter and Hildy are, technically, lovers – however, as in many a Howard Hawks masterpiece, its the dynamic of friendship that takes centre stage. The two bloodthirsty newshounds trade rat-a-tat flirtatious verbal potshots on the hunt for a story to bring them back together, gloriously turning the worlds between them into rubble. The absolute togetherness of the two characters is pitch perfect, with the magnetism of two kindred spirits throwing the whole plot off kilter. Simply, His Girl Friday is a breathless celebration of what it means to find someone you really like and never letting them go.
Mr. Paolo Cabrelli