The Fifth Element, Pygmalion, ’71, Don’t Look Now, Once upon a Time in Mexico: films on TV today

Hope for the future, the troubled past and a bullet-ridden present: the RadioTimes team’s pick of free-to-air films on TV today

The Fifth Element ★★★★
9.00-11.30pm 5★


The first four elements, here found in an Egyptian tomb in 1914, are earth, air, fire and water. The fifth, the one all the fuss is about, is the life force itself and in 23rd-century New York — where we go next — it’s missing. Earth is threatened by something vast and nasty hurtling towards it and it’s down to Bruce Willis, as the kind of smart-assed taxi driver everyone dreads, and Milla Jovovich, as a mysterious creature with extensive powers who falls into his cab, to save it. Not easy because there’s an anti-life force seeking to escape its prison. Only the five elements can save the day and getting them together is where the problem lies. From this you might gather that I have little idea what this claptrap is really about but then neither, I suspect, did writer/director Luc Besson. Still, the visionary images of a futuristic society are fascinating and there’s always something interesting to look at if not to listen to.

Pygmalion ★★★★★
5.20-7.15pm Talking Pictures TV

Way before My Fair Lady there was this sophisticated re-telling of George Bernard Shaw’s most popular play, which won him a special Oscar.

’71 ★★★★
PREMIERE 9.00-10.55pm Film4

Rising star Jack O’Connell gives another blistering turn as a British soldier caught up in a Belfast riot during the Troubles.

Don’t Look Now ★★★★★
10.50pm-1.00am Horror Channel

Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie star in Nicolas Roeg’s extraordinary supernatural thriller from 1973. It puts modern horror films in the shade.

Once upon a Time in Mexico ★★★
11.00pm-1.00am Spike

Johnny Depp adds firepower opposite Antonio Banderas’s gun-toting minstrel in Robert Rodriguez’s big-budget follow-up to Desperado. Boom!


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