Robot & Frank, The Rescuers, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Speed, and Ran: films on TV today

The unusual suspects, fearless felines, heroes with mullets, fares fair for Sandy, and family feuds: the RadioTimes team’s pick of free-to-air films on TV today


Robot & Frank ★★★★
11.00pm-12.25am BBC2 


If you’re looking for a film that treats dementia seriously and explores the profound fallout of the condition on family and friends, try the Oscar- winning Still Alice. If you’d prefer a whimsical sci-fi fable about an old man whose mental degeneration is a device rather than a helpline issue, try Robot & Frank. Septuagenarian Frank Langella brings a brilliant world-weariness to the titular retired burglar living in upstate New York, whose selfish son James Marsden foists an automated nurse (voiced by Peter Sarsgaard) upon him. A genuine oddity from first-time director Jake Schreier, which invites us to sympathise when Langella shuns Robot’s automated care, and smile when he realises he can trick the machine into picking locks, allowing the pair to plan a heist. There’s a romantic subplot involving Susan Sarandon, who works at a library that’s symbolically due to close down – which doesn’t pan out as you’d expect – but the relationship that counts is the one between man and machine.

The Rescuers ★★★★
Premiere  3.50-5.25pm C4 

The Disney studio proved it still had the magic touch after a few lean years with this adventure yarn in which intrepid moggies come to the aid of an orphan girl. And with the wonderful Bob Newhart providing voices, it couldn’t fail.

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves ★★★★
6.00-9.00pm C5 

Kevin Costner’s Robin may be the star, but devious Sheriff of Nottingham Alan Rickman bags the best lines in this rousing adventure.

Speed ★★★★★
9.00-11.15pm Film4 

Sandra Bullock makes for an unlikely bus driver, as she and Keanu Reeves attempt to stop a bomb from detonating in Jan De Bont’s outrageously entertaining action thriller.

Ran ★★★★★
10.30pm-1.05am BBC4 

Master director Akira Kurosawa turns his hand to Shakespeare with this stunning drama based on King Lear. The action takes place in 16th-century Japan where family feuds (sons replace the daughters of the Bard’s version) escalate into civil war.


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