Top 100 Movies of All Time Slumdog Millionaire

Top 100 Movies of All Time Slumdog Millionaire
Reader Rating1 Votes

Top 100 Movies of All Time Slumdog Millionaire. Wherein we at THiNC. are doing our homework, eating our peas, and attempting to learn from Hollywood’s on list of the 100 best movies of all time. If I were to make a list of the one hundred best movies of all time, almost none of these movies would be on this list. Certainly not Slumdog Millionaire.

Slumdog was one of the first Indian films that broke through the American collective consciousness. No? I can’t think of one that predated it anyway. It definitely, without a doubt, broke through to the largest degree, and with the widest response. I mean, it brought us Dev Patel, who played the lead role of Jamal. It earned some $150 million. It won something like eight Oscars, and was nominated for 10. The setup is ingenious, the setting is otherworldly, the storytelling and editing are glorious. And it juxtaposed such enormous poverty and magical riches that it was a fascinating watch. And that it was all hinged on a con is what made the story even better.

Top 100 Movies of All Time Slumdog Millionaire Walkthrough

The movie is loosely based on a novel entitled Q&A (written in 2005 by Indian author Vikas Swarup). It tells the story of an Indian kid, Jamal, who blows everyone’s mind by being able to correctly answer every single question on the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Did he cheat? Was it a con? Was he used? Or was it his fate? Let’s get into it.

The movie starts with eighteen-year-old Jamal, a kid from the slums of Mumbai who is literally one question away from winning the grand prize of 20 million rupees ($270,000 in American money.) But prior to the final question, Jamal is interrogated and detained by the police, who are certain he is cheating. And, through a series of clever storytelling flashbacks, Jamal tells the story of his life that brought him the answers to each and every single question in the show. See? Very clever narrative construct. Artifice, sure. But clever artifice.

Starting at age five (I’m sorry, stop here a second… I have to say that re-watching this film now? It’s giving me enormous Lionheart vibes. Like, 100%. We have the Indian slums. We have the young and old Indian actors. We have Dev Patel. And, truth be told, finding his family could be seen as winning the million. No? The only thing missing here is the game-show overlay.), Jamal figures out how to snag the autograph of Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan after full-on taking a header into a sewage pit. Afterwards, Jamal’s older brother was able to sell the autograph. Later, during the Bombay riots (learn more here) Jamal’s mother dies in the chaos, and it causes the brothers to flee. During which, Jamal meets Latika, another girl from their slum. Jamal’s brother doesn’t want anything to do with her, but Jamal convince him that they should allow her to be their third Musketeer. (Dumas people. Dumas!) You know… Athos, Porthos, and … wait, who was the third Musketeer? They definitely can’t remember the third one’s name either. And it’s an important question too… just wait. Where was I? Oh right, Lionheart and Dev Patel’s search for his parents. No wait. Jamal’s search for survival… that’s right. Well, the trio are found by a gangster named Maman who trains them how to beg. But when Jamal’s brother Salim figures out that Maman is blinding kids to make the begging sales pitch more lucrative they run (a very special kind of evil… mimicked in Lionheart with the woman who was nice to him is actually helping to traffic him). But in their fleeing of Maman, Salim intentionally let’s go of Latika’s hand causing her to be recaptured by Maman and the gang. Years later, we learn they’ve become quite good at hustling.

Eventually though, Jamal decides they have to go back and find Latika. And… unfortunately, they learn that Latika has been pimped out, or was being planned to be prostituted out? Regardless, the two brothers dive in and rescue her, and shoot Maman dead in the process. (YAY!) But when the brothers join a rival gang, things go sideways when the rival gang lord forces himself on Latika.

Jump forward to years later, when Jamal is working in an Indian call center… he begins searching his work’s database for Salim and Latika. He eventually learns that Salim is an important leader in the crime organization. Jamal then lies in order to get into Javed’s home in order to reconnect with Latika. But when he tells her that he loves her, she tells him to forget her. Regardless, Jamal tells her that every single day he will wait for her at 5 o’clock at VT station. And, depressingly, Latika does try to meet him there, but is captured. Eventually, Jamal completely loses contact with the love of his life, which is why he eventually he tries to become a contestant on the show. Why? Because he knows she watches the show. See? Romantic. Take note men: If ever the love of your life is captured by an Indian crime syndicate, apply to a nationally televised game-show.

Following the storyline through the game-show – we watch as Jamal is fed false answers, only to use his 50/50 correctly. And after answering the question correctly, he’s arrested and beaten. When he begins to explain how he knows all the answers, the police inspector finds his answers “incredibly plausible.” Latika sees Jamal on the news and in an effort to make amends, Salim gives Latika his phone and car keys. He asks for her forgiveness, and lets her go.

Now, the final question of the show. What could it possibly be? “What was the name of the third member of Three Musketeers?” Hahaha. Well, seeing as though the two brothers were the Athos and Porthos, and it was Jamal’s argument that Latika could be the third member, it’s a fairly poetic question to end on. Better yet, Jamal uses his ‘phone a friend’ to call his brother in order to find out the answer. But his brother had just given his phone to Latika, along with his car, in an attempt to make up for how horrible he had been to her over the years. So, Jamal is, in effect, contacting the woman he joined the game-show to find. Latika answers the phone when he calls, and she tells him that she is safe… and doesn’t know the answer. But more importantly, Javed, the boss that didn’t want her released, realizes he’s been betrayed by Salim. Javed and his men break into the bathroom where Salim has buried himself in cash. But as Javed comes through the door, Salim kills Javed, and then is soon after killed by Javed’s men. Jamal guesses the first name that comes to mind, and guesses correctly. Aramis. But it was mainly relief at hearing that Latika was safe that allowed him to answer the question correctly. Jamal and Latika meet on the platform at the train station.

Top 100 Movies of All Time Slumdog Millionaire

Thoughts on Slumdog Millionaire

Look. This screenplay is amazing. I haven’t read the book that it was based on, but I have always wanted to. I mean – look at all of the awards that Slumdog took home from the 2009 Oscars:

1. Best PictureChristian Colson
2. Best DirectorDanny Boyle
3. Best Adapted ScreenplaySimon Beaufoy
4. Best CinematographyAnthony Dod Mantle
5. Best Film EditingChris Dickens
6. Best Original ScoreA. R. Rahman
7. Best Original Song – “Jai Ho, music by A. R. Rahman, lyric by Gulzar (lyricist)
8. Best Sound MixingResul PookuttyRichard Pryke, and Ian Tapp

The editing is as brilliantly done as the screenplay weaves its way back and from from the future, to the past, and we realize what is really happening up on that stage. It’s a pretty epic love story that is filled with grit and chaos of the Indian streets.

Personally I think Slumdog Millionaire, Lionheart, and Wedding Guest are all the same movie told from slightly different perspectives. Optimistic Dev – gets the girl in Slumdog. In Lionheart he finds his family, but finds himself perpetually lost. And in Wedding Guest, he saves the girl, only to… uh, have you seen Wedding Guest? Go watch Wedding Guest… it’s the best movie Dev has done in my humble opinion. Better even than Slumdog. And I loved Slumdog. It’s hard not to come away from it exultant… but Wedding Guest just takes it all to a totally different level.

On a side note, I do want to do a quick little PSA for the Three Musketeer books and classical literature in general. There was a season, back in high school and college, when I spent all my time reading through classic fiction. I would wander into my local British book store (I went to school in the Lake District for a bit) and could purchase a universe for like 4 quid. And I found that I was perpetually blown away that old and dusty authors could write! Seriously. I’m not joking. I was shocked by this truth. You know, like Dracula, Frankenstein, Great Expectations, The Count of Monte Cristo, Lolita, Heart of Darkness, and all six of the Three Musketeers books. And that doesn’t even scratch the surface of all the books that will blow your mind. So, do yourself a favor, pick up the Three Musketeers on Audible. (There’s no trademark on Three Musketeers, listen to it for free over on Librivox.

Well, regardless, to prove to you just how much I enjoyed this re-watch, I’m putting Slumdog Millionaire in my family movie hat. Wait, what? Uh, don’t you guys have a family movie hat? People. How do you decide fairly what movies you watch together as a family? You know, where you are all required to watch regardless of what is going on that screen? Yeah, movie hat. You. Don’t. Movie. Hat? In other unrelated news, I just trademarked the phrase Movie HatTM.

Want to see the other movies I’ve already covered in the top 100 list… check them out right here.

Edited by: CY