The Harder They Come (1972)

Where’s it on? Cinemas nationwide, including BFI Southbank

Few films can claim to have shaken the ground like this cult Caribbean classic from director Perry Henzell. The first feature to come out of Jamaica (10 years into the island nation’s independence from Britain), it helped launch reggae as a global sound; its soundtrack packed with tunes by the likes of The Maytals, Desmond Dekker and star Jimmy Cliff. Cliff plays a rural rude boy who comes to Kingston looking for work, becomes a local sensation after recording the film’s title song, but becomes an outlaw after getting mixed up in a drug racket. Fifty years on, it’s a precious record of an isle full of irresistible noises and newfound swagger. Watch out for cameos from rocksteady legends Prince Buster and Alton Ellis.

Room at the Top (1958)

Where’s it on? Talking Pictures TV, Sunday, 1:20am

Room at the Top (1958)

Here’s another landmark release, this time for Britain. Set in a Yorkshire industrial town, Jack Clayton’s feature debut helped inaugurate the British New Wave and the shift away from middle-class and London-centric subjects towards grittier fare set in the North and the Midlands. The kitchen sink tradition starts here. Laurence Harvey plays the accountant looking to get a leg up in life by marrying a wealthy factory owner’s daughter, while also carrying on an affair with an older French woman (Simone Signoret). Signoret won the Oscar for best actress (as well as awards at Cannes and the BAFTAs) for her portrayal of wounded yet passionate maturity. 

Around the World in 80 Days (1956)

Where’s it on? BBC Two, Sunday, 1:50pm

Around the World in Eighty Days (1956)

BBC Two’s Sunday afternoon wallow this week is this best picture-winning jamboree from 1956. A sprawling three-hour adaptation of Jules Verne’s classic novel, it sends David Niven’s Phileas Fogg off around the globe to encounter a word-count busting number of cameo appearances – Noël Coward, Marlene Dietrich, Buster Keaton, Frank Sinatra, Peter Lorre and John Mills are just the tip of the iceberg. The results may not stand up as art, but it’s difficult to turn off when so many familiar faces and – according to Time magazine – 7,959 animals keep popping up in exotic locations. John Ford’s The Searchers came out the same year but didn’t get a single Oscar nomination. Maybe it needed more ostriches.

Maisie (2021)

Where’s it on? Cinemas nationwide and BFI Player

Don’t call her a drag queen. She’s a drag artiste. And Britain’s oldest one at that. Lee Cooper’s documentary checks in on Brighton-based octogenarian David Raven, who is still performing as ‘Maisie Trollette’ today after 50 years in the business. Full of memories – happy and sad – of a life lived among Brighton’s LGBT community, Raven movingly recalls an era when homosexuality was still illegal in Britain, and later the loss of his beloved partner to Aids. In the present day, he’s brought face to face with an American rival, Darcelle XV, who at 87 continues to beat him to the Guinness World Record for oldest drag performer. This is a simple, affectionate portrait. 

Zodiac (2007)

Where’s it on? BBC One, Saturday, 11:40pm

Zodiac (2007)

Serial killers have been the defining fascination of David Fincher’s career, like mobsters for Scorsese. Where Se7en (1995) was a gothic shocker full of Old Testament dread, Zodiac is an epic, period-set meditation on time and our compulsion to try to answer unsolved questions. Spanning the late 1960s to the early 90s, it’s centred on the efforts of San Francisco Chronicle journo Jake Gyllenhaal and cop Mark Ruffalo to unravel the identity of the Zodiac Killer, a real figure whose crimes terrorised the Bay Area. The richest of Fincher’s films to date (and his first shot digitally), it’s a favourite of Bong Joon Ho, whose own philosophically minded serial-killer movie Memories of Murder (2003) was perhaps an influence.