Marilyn’s Desert Island Films

A special treat today on Head In A Vice. We have husband and wife Marilyn & Garry both submitting their choices, and I’m honoured they have taken the time to join this project. Marilyn is first up, and she runs the great blog Serendipity. Read on for her choices and reasons, and be sure to check out her site. Marilyn’s husband Garry will be showing off his list later, and believe me you will not want to miss it (the stories this man has for you lucky readers will brighten your day…….spoiler alert……Garry has met some incredible people, and will spill the beans on some of his experiences!). 🙂


Desert Island Films is about choosing 8 films you would take if you were going to be stranded on a desert island and explaining your choices. They don’t necessarily have to be your favourites, just 8 films, no more or no less! You are also permitted to take one book and one novelty item which must be inanimate and of no use in escaping the island or allowing communication from outside.


Marilyn’s Desert Island Films

Eight movies to have on a desert island? So many movies … but if I had to make the choice, here they are!

The Lion In Winter

Awesome performances by everyone, from Hepburn and O’Toole, to Anthony Hopkins in his first screen role. If words matter, this movie is top of the heap. It’s got a script so good it’s hard to imagine a better one.

The Americanization of Emily

With Paddy Chayevsky as the writer, it had to be good … but add to that superb performances by James Garner and Julie Andrews in her first dramatic role. Wow. The whole movie is worth it just for Garner’s monologue on war. Funny, sharp, brilliant.


This is one of those movies that I like better each time I watch it … and I watch it often. We can recite dialogue with it. It’s got everything you want a western to have: passion, revenge, violence, humor and brilliant cinematography. It’s definitely Val Kilmer‘s best performance and arguably Kurt Russell‘s shining moment too.

A Mighty Wind

Maybe it isn’t one of the all time greatest films, but reminds me of the best of times and music I love. It’s funny, sometimes hilarious … and it’s a loving parody, warm-hearted and nostalgic. The music manages to be both humorous and good — a hard combination.


Not the most original choice, but it’s so good and it has worn well despite the years. We saw it on the big screen not long ago and I’d forgotten how funny and witty it is. It’s pure mythology, but it’s the way we wanted it to be, even if it isn’t the way it really was. We need our heroes.

Blazing Saddles

It’s hard to pick just one Mel Brooks movie, but if I have to choose, this has to be the one. It was a tough choice. “Young Frankenstein,” “High Anxiety,” and “History of the World, Part I” are right up there too. “Blazing Saddles” wins because it’s got some of the all time greatest lines. That’s HEDLEY Lamar!


Science fiction movies usually disappoint me because they aren’t science fiction, they are westerns in space, using spacecraft instead of horses and featuring millions of dollars worth of special effects, but no script. This is beautifully acted, romantic, and believable. Great performance (underrated) by Jeff Bridges.

The Three and Four Musketeers (1973 – 1974)

I know they were issued as two movies, but they were filmed as one. The stars of the film(s) sued the studios since they had only been paid for one movie, and they won. Nonetheless, both movies play like a single film in two parts. You can’t watch one without the other. They keep remaking it, but none of the others come near this version. It’s fast, funny, and surprisingly true to the books. Dumas would have been pleased. I love the sword fights. I used to fence in college, and this has some of the best choreographed fencing I’ve ever seen. It’s not the elegant fencing you usually see, but brawling — the way men really fought — not to get points for good form, but to win without getting sliced up.

Now I get to add a luxury item

My adjustable bed wins hands down. I sure hope they have electricity on this desert island. My adjustable bed is the single thing in the world that lets me be physically comfortable and really sleep.

And one lousy book? No way.

As for one book? Hopeless. How about I get a Kindle and unlimited Amazon picks? How about that huh? Not having books to read would be cruel and unusual punishment. I think I’d wither away.

And that’s my eight. If I could pick a hundred more, I wouldn’t run out of choices. Oh, and I might change my mind tomorrow!


Thanks again to Marilyn for taking the time to join the prestigious Head In A Vicecastaway” list. If you would like to submit your choices and add your name to this list, please drop me an email to –


Leave a comment


  1. Thanks again Marilyn!! Great choices and reasons 🙂 I’ll let you sneak on your kindle just for getting Garry to take part!


    • Thank YOU! It’s so much fun being part of a community of people who love movies. Makes it even more fun … 🙂


      • Yep, loving the community vibe going on here, and people are embracing the ‘Desert Island’ idea and its showing off new films for people to check out. 🙂


  2. Now That’s A Helluva List!
    “The Lion In Winter” Is An All-Time Fave, As Are “Blazing Saddles” and “Starman” and “Tombstone”!
    Loved Thiis One, Kids!
    For SHO!


  3. Great list! 🙂


  4. theipc

     /  September 19, 2012

    Great list Marilyn!! Blazing Saddles is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO funny. “I… repeat your name…”


  5. Starman is one of my all time favorites, and I never think of it when I need to!! Great list.


  6. A Mighty Wind is a good choice, and thanks for mentioning The Americanization of Emily because I had not heard of it and it sounds great.


  7. Love to have a husband and wife team join the list of castaways! 🙂 Nice picks, Marilyn!


  1. Garry Armstrong – Desert Island Films | Head In A Vice
  2. Desert Island Classics – Marilyn & Garry Armstrong | Head In A Vice

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