20 June 2020

A Movie Quiz for the Pandemic

Before I start, let me say a quick thank-you to all those who commented on my last two posts, on the Do's and Don'ts of writing. That can be a touchy subject, because all of us have our own ideas about the "rules" of writing fiction, and I was pleased that both posts seemed to kick off a good exchange of views about everything from grammar/style to the story-submission process. Thanks again.

As for today's column, I have noticed that my fellow SleuthSayers seem to be writing a lot of posts lately about the coronavirus and social injustice and other meaningful issues. Since I admire them and I admire that, I considered doing the same for my post today.

But didn't. The truth is, I'm sort of tired of the news.

So . . . today's offering is a quiz for movie lovers. If you fall into that group, try your hand at the following questions.
What do these movies have in common?


Top Gun / Iron Eagle / The Blue Max / Flyboys
Answer: fighter pilots

1. The Breakfast Club / Clueless / Napoleon Dynamite / Ferris Bueller's Day Off

2. Peggy Sue Got Married / A Sound of Thunder / Deja Vu / Back to the Future

3. On the Beach / Miracle Mile / These Final Hours / Melancholia

4. Rocky / Cinderella Man / Million Dollar Baby / Raging Bull

5. Dante's Peak / Krakatoa, East of Java / When Time Ran Out / The Devil at Four O'Clock

6. Hellfighters / There Will Be Blood / Boom Town / Oklahoma Crude

7. The Eiger Sanction / Touching the Void / Free Solo / K2

8. Terminal Velocity / Point Break / The Gypsy Moths

9. The Cincinnati Kid / Molly's Game / A Big Hand for the Little Lady

10. Victory / Kicking and Screaming / Bend It like Beckham

11. Match Point / Battle of the Sexes / Love Means Zero

12. Apocalypto / The Emerald Forest / Romancing the Stone / Mogli / Medicine Man

13. The Greatest Show on Earth / Water for Elephants / The Wagons Roll at Night

14. The Outlaw / The Left-Handed Gun / Dirty Little Billy / Young Guns

15. Gunfight at the O.K. Corral / My Darling Clementine / Hour of the Gun / Tombstone

16. The Gathering Storm / Darkest Hour / Into the Storm / The Eagle Has Landed

17. The Aviator / Rules Don't Apply / Melvin and Howard

18. Pearl Harbor / The Descendants / Diamond Head / From Here to Eternity

19. The Big Easy / Tightrope / Cat People (1982) / A Streetcar Named Desire

20. Mystic River / Gone Baby Gone / Patriot's Day / The Town / The Departed

21. Bullitt / Vertigo / The Rock / Pacific Heights / Dirty Harry

22. Crocodile Dundee / Mad Max / Walkabout / The Man from Snowy River

23. The Quiet Man / Ryan's Daughter / The Wind that Shakes the Barley

24. Death on the Nile / Evil Under the Sun / Dead Man's Folly / Murder on the Orient Express

25. Lady in the Lake / The Long Goodbye / Poodle Springs / Murder, My Sweet / The Big Sleep


1. high school
2. time travel
3. the end of the world
4. boxing
5. volcanoes
6. oil wells
7. mountain climbing
8. skydiving
9. poker
10. soccer
11. tennis
12. the jungle
13. the circus
14. Billy the Kid
15. Wyatt Earp
16. Winston Churchill
17. Howard Hughes
18. Hawaii
19. New Orleans
20. Boston
21. San Francisco
22. Australia
23. Ireland
24. Hercule Poirot
25. Philip Marlowe

Now . . . What TWO things do the following movies have in common?


Sleepless in Seattle / Joe vs. the Volcano / You’ve Got Mail 
Answer: Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan

1. Field of Dreams / For the Love of the Game / Bull Durham

2. The Longest Yard / Semi-Tough

3. The Hustler / The Color of Money

4. Sully / Cloud Atlas / Cast Away

5. Alien / Aliens / Galaxy Quest

6. National Velvet / Thoroughbreds Don't Cry / The Black Stallion

7. The High and the Mighty / Island in the Sky / Flying Leathernecks

8. Crimson Tide / The Poseidon Adventure

9. The Shawshank Redemption / The Green Mile

10. The Jewel of the Nile / The Ghost and the Darkness

11. Rio Bravo / Texas Across the River / Five Card Stud / Four for Texas

12. Seven Days in May / Tough Guys / The Devil's Disciple / Gunfight at the O.K. Corral

13. The Odd Couple / The Front Page / Out to Sea / The Grass Harp / Grumpy Old Men

14. Good Will Hunting / Chasing Amy / Dogma / Jersey Girls

15. Heat / Righteous Kill / The Godfather, Part II / The Irishman

16. Eyes Wide Shut / Days of Thunder / Far and Away

17. Barefoot in the Park / The Chase / The Electric Horseman

18. The Wedding Singer / Blended / 50 First Dates

19. Serena / Silver Linings Playbook / Joy / American Hustle

20. Pretty Woman / Runaway Bride

21. Speed / The Lake House

22. Key Largo / The Big Sleep / Dark Passage / To Have and Have Not 

23. State of the Union / Desk Set / The Sea of Grass / Adam's Rib / Pat and Mike

24. North by Northwest / Notorious / Suspicion / To Catch a Thief

25. Rope / The Man Who Knew Too Much / Vertigo / Rear Window


1. Kevin Costner and baseball
2. Burt Reynolds and football
3. Paul Newman and pool
4. Tom Hanks and plane crashes
5. Sigourney Weaver and outer space
6. Mickey Rooney and horses
7. John Wayne and airplanes
8. Gene Hackman and boats
9. Stephen King and prisons
10. Michael Douglas and Africa
11. Dean Martin and the old west
12. Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas
13. Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau
14. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck
15. Robert De Niro and Al Pacino
16. Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise
17. Jane Fonda and Robert Redford
18. Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler
19. Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper
20. Julia Roberts and Richard Gere
21. Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves
22. Bacall and Bogart
23. Hepburn and Tracy
24. Hitchcock and Cary Grant
25. Hitchcock and James Stewart

Bonus question:

What odd/unusual thing do the following movies have in common?


Presumed Innocent / Regarding Henry
Answer: Harrison Ford as a lawyer

1. Just Cause / Finding Forrester / Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade 
2. Nighthawks / Cobra / Copland / Tango and Cash
3. Will Penny / The Big Country / The Last Hard Men / Pony Express
4. Bandolero / 100 Rifles / Hannie Caulder
5. The Devil's Disciple / Elmer Gantry 
6. The Cooler / The Juror / Fun with Dick and Jane / Motherless Brooklyn
7. Batman Begins / Immortal Beloved / The Dark Knight / The Prisoner of Azkaban
8. Awakenings / Patch Adams / Flubber / Good Will Hunting / Nine Months 
9. Deep Impact / Olympus Has Fallen / London Has Fallen
10. Hombre / Cool Hand Luke / The Left-Handed Gun / Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid


1. Sean Connery as a professor
2. Sylvester Stallone as a cop
3. Charlton Heston as a cowboy
4. Raquel Welch as a cowgirl
5. Burt Lancaster as a preacher
6. Alec Baldwin as a bad guy
7. Gary Oldman as a good guy
8. Robin Williams as a doctor
9. Morgan Freeman as the President
10. Paul Newman gets shot at the end

How'd you do? In my opinion, the first section was pretty easy and the second section and bonus items were hard. (But I sure had fun putting them together. As my wife could tell you, I'm easily entertained.)

Can you think of some I missed? Groups of movies with the same actors or acting duos or actors playing against type? Movies about the same topic or famous person or location, etc.? Let me know.

Next time, I'll get back to more serious matters. Maybe.

Everybody stay safe!


  1. I got a lot of them, John. But you skunked me on several. And it did get harder as it went along. It was fun, but my brain doesn't work as well as it used to.

  2. Wow. Those are listings. A test this early in the morning? I'll have to take it later and I'll see how I do. Nice work.

  3. Paul, your brain works a lot better than mine, on the subject of movies (and other things too). But I've always been one of those people--and I suspect you are too--who watches a movie and says Whoa I remember that woman from such-and-such a movie, and I remember that plot from another one, etc. I think it's a disease.

    Yep, it IS too early for a test, O'Neil. But this one's quirky enough that if you fail, it's probably to your credit. If you CAN answer these kinds of questions, you're spending way too much time with Netflix and Prime.

    Honestly, though, I've come to prefer watching movies (especially old ones) over current events. At least all movies aren't depressing . . .

  4. Here's a bonus question, using our detective skills to deduce the answer: Whose wife thinks he watches too many movies? Seriously, John, wow. And while our taste in movies differs greatly, you included some of my less than obvious favorites. For example, The Ghost and the Darkness is one of the scariest movies ever made, imho, besides starring the incomparable and undersung Val Kilmer (what do The G and the D and Tombstone have in common?).

  5. Liz, is it even possible to watch too many movies??

    The G and the D is scariest because it really happened, more or less. The lions of Tsavo killed (according to John Patterson, Kilmer's real-life character in the movie) 135 people. I watched it again the other night. (Tombstone, too. I also have too many DVDs.)

  6. I got all in the first category, most in the 2nd, and quite a few in the third. (I like movies, I love movie reviews - so I can decide whether or not to go see it - and... I've been around a while.) BTW, Burt Lancaster is great in Elmer Gantry.

    After the Thin Man; The Greatest Show on Earth
    (Movies where Jimmy Stewart is a murderer.)

  7. Hey Eve! I also (re-)watched Elmer Gantry a couple months ago.

    Good observation, about Stewart. He and several other actors (James Garner, Tom Selleck, Andy Griffith, Gregory Peck, Doug McClure, a few more) almost never ever played villains because it was said that the public wouldn't accept them as bad guys. Which made the movies that DID feature them as villains that much more interesting, to me.

    I still maintain that reading/watching ANY kind of fiction can make you a better storyteller. (It also makes for a great excuse.)

    Thanks for taking my silly tests!

  8. You know you hit my soft spot. If you wanted to talk about “Lost”, we could go on forever...

  9. You can NEVER watch too many movies! Great column John! Took your early morning quiz and got a lot of them--missed a bunch, too.

    Here's my quiz for you:

    Things in Common:

    1. Woody Harrelson, Bryan Cranston, Liev Schreiber

    2. Little Man Tate, Searching for Bobby Fisher, The Book of Henry

    3. Ryan Gosling, Jack Black, Zooey Deschanel

    It's short, but it's still early...

  10. Deborah, you know how much I loved LOST. (Since that was TV and not a movie I left it alone for this quiz.)

    I know a lot of folks who hated Lost, and I bet it was because of the way it became so muddled in the fourth and fifth seasons. But BOY did I love that show, and I'm glad I hung in there and watched it to the end.

    And I'll always remember that it was you who put me onto The Walking Dead.

  11. Hey Mary Ann! A fellow cinemaniac. Welcome!

    I got your first two right away: LBJ and child geniuses (genii?), right? The third one I didn't know and had to look up. Bummer. My only excuse is that it was a TV series (BEEEEEEEP!!) and not a movie.

    I won't say I never saw a movie I didn't like, but I don't think I've ever seen a movie quiz I didn't like. Yet another indicator that I never grew up.

  12. Hi John, Yep the first two were easy. The third one, I was going for anyway, was that all three of those film actors, Gosling, Black and Deschanel, also play in their own bands! (I think maybe you were thinking of the TV series "Drunk History" that they all guested on?)

    BTW have you seen the LBJ movie with Bryan Cranston called "All the Way"? It's terrific. Just watched it last night. He, in my opinion, portrayed LBJ the best I've seen so far, with many layers.

    Thanks for the movie trivia today! Always love it!

  13. Hey Mary Ann--YES, I was thinking of Drunk History! I like the band angle, and you know what?--I didn't know that EITHER. You learn something every day. (I take back the BEEEEEEEP!)

    Here are a couple of entries I started to put in and didn't:

    The Waterboy, The Longest Yard (remake), Happy Gilmore -- Answer : Adam Sandler as an athlete, and
    Gorky Park, Reds, Nicholas and Alexandra, Doctor Zhivago -- Answer: Russia

    I figured the first one was too hard and the second one was too easy.

    As for All the Way, I have NOT seen it, but I promise I will. I've been a Cranston fan from the start.

    Thanks for the comments!

  14. I haven't seen very many of the movies you mention, so if I had taken the quiz I would have gotten a very low score. But regarding Alec Baldwin playing a bad guy, "Married to the Mob" is an extremely funny Mafia film. His character is a mid-level mobster, married to Michelle Pfeiffer, who got a little ahead of himself & started sleeping with the big boss man's girlfriend. They were both executed in about the first 20 or 25 minutes. I'm sure you'd enjoy it!

  15. I've seen that one, Liz. Yep, it was good. I still watch a lot of old movies, and--not that it matters--Alec Baldwin is one of those people who seems to have changed so much in appearance over the years, it's as if I'm watching two different people when I see one of his recent movies and one of his from long ago. The other night I watched Working Girl again (Harrison Ford, Melanie Griffith, Sigourney Weaver), and Alec Baldwin had a small part early in the movie. Almost didn't recognize him.

    I like a lot of different kinds of movies--some of my favorites are SF, fantasy, comedy, romance, etc. (last night I watched Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy), but most of what I watch seems to be crime or adventure. Not many art films or musicals or horror or "message" movies, though I like some of those too. As I think I've mentioned before, I lean more toward Blazing Saddles than Schindler's List.

  16. According to 'Carla', my go-to mafia source, as humorous as Married to the Mob is, she claims it's the closest portrayal to the real Mafia.

  17. §1. I fared not too awful doing the first collection.

    §2. Uh, not so good, but I got a few.

    §3. Blankety-blankety-blank-blank @#$%£¢ยช!

    But you did warn us!

  18. Leigh, as i've said before, not knowing this kind of trivia is probably a point in your favor. If I could get some of this useless knowledge out of my head, it would probably make room for all kind of worthwhile information!


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