“Remember, remember, the 5th of November; Gunpowder, treason and plot; I see no reason why gunpowder, treason; should ever be forgot.” This English folk verse is chanted as a reminder of the unsuccessful attempt on King James I‘s life by a group of disaffected Catholics in 1605, reports BBC History. The Gunpowder Plot was foiled when Guy Fawkes, one of the group’s leaders, was discovered under the House of Lords with 36 barrels of gunpowder.
The night is celebrated annually with bonfires and fireworks, borrowed from pagan traditions, on November 5.
Here are five films to get you in the mood for Bonfire Night:
1. V for Vendetta
In this 2006 film a political vigilante (Hugo Weaving) is dressed as Guy Fawkes. The masked man takes over Britain’s broadcasting, urging the public to stand up against the government. He invites the British people to watch him blow up the Houses of Parliament on November 5 of the following year. Things didn’t end well for the real Guy Fawkes, so we’re curious what will happen with this copycat? In addition to Weaving, the film stars Natalie Portman and John Hurt.
2. The Wicker Man
In this 1973 mystery a young sergeant (Edward Woodward) is sent to a secluded island in Scotland to investigate a missing child. He finds a tight-knit community practicing pagan-like rituals including public sex and what he presumes to be possible human sacrifice. He suspects the group is a cult, led by Lord Summerisle (Sir Christopher Lee). In 2006 an American version was made, starring Nicholas Cage, available for streaming here.
3. Die Hard
A group of terroists, led by Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman), plan to blow up an office building in Los Angeles if their threats aren’t met. In this case, the group isn’t motivated by religious beliefs. Gruber says he’s pissed about corporate greed and is holding hostages to make a point, but really, it’s all about the Benjamins. NYPD officer John McClane (Bruce Willis), like King James I, isn’t going down easy.
A group of 13th century Scottish villagers rise against the English monarchy in this 1995 film. The band of men aren’t quite soldiers, but they train to becomes warriors. This story predates Guy Fawkes Day, but the uprising was similar, as they weren’t too keen on the English monarch’s ruling at the time. The medieval drama stars Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Patrick McGoohan, and Catherine McCormack.
5. Revenge of the Pink Panther
This might seem like an odd selection, but there is a killer fireworks scene in the Peter Sellers flick. If fireworks aren’t being set off in your neck of the woods in celebration of Bonfire Night, we thought you could have them on the telly. Maybe watch one of the more intense films, take a break, “set off” some fireworks with Inspector Clouseau, and continue on with the celebration.
What do you think of Bonfire Night as a celebration?Read More