Every week Mat Corne scours the TV Guide for the best movies showing on UK free-to-air TV. So for those of you that refuse to pay for Sky Movies, Amazon Prime or Netflix, here are five of the best freeview movies for the coming week. If you’re looking for more free movie options then you can also check out our guide to Freeview Movies On Demand.
Channel 4, Saturday 19th, 21:50 & 4Seven, Thursday 24th, 23:05
Liam Neeson stars as Bryan Mills, a retired CIA agent who is forced to take action when his daughter is abducted by a gang of Eastern European human traffickers whilst on a trip to Paris. With just 96 hours to track her down before potentially losing her forever, Mills uses his now-famous “particular set of skills” to work his way through the seedy French underground, track down his daughter’s captors and dispatch his own brand of justice. Produced with a modest budget of $25million, the film was a huge success, grossing almost ten times that figure at the box office and giving Neeson an unexpected new career path as a middle-aged action hero. Many of his later films would be inferior imitations of this one, which still stands out as a surprisingly decent action thriller.
Apollo 13 (1995)
ITV4, Saturday 19th, 19:40 & Sunday 20th, 13:05
Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton and Kevin Bacon star as the crew of the third NASA mission to land on the moon, which runs into problems after an oxygen tank explosion. Over 200,000 miles from home with power diminishing, the crew work along with mission control to safely navigate their craft back to Earth. This amazing true story is naturally packed with drama, but director Ron Howard’s meticulous attention to detail and the cast’s willingness to accurately recreate the mission help make the film one of the most watchable docu-dramas of all time. As a result this is not just a thrilling film but an incredible tribute to everybody involved in averting a disaster that would have affected space exploration for years.
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013)
E4, Sunday 20th & Friday 25th, 21:00
The legendary San Diego news team returns in an incredibly silly sequel to the incredibly silly 2004 original. Time has moved on to 80s New York and after losing out on a major news anchor slot to his wife, Ron Burgundy has fallen on hard times until he gets the chance to work at the world’s first 24-hour news channel. It’s not long before he brings his old news team buddies into the fold and madness ensues, with many of the funniest moments centred on weatherman Brick Tamland (Steve Carell). If you enjoyed the first one then you know exactly what to expect here, and while it’s not as fresh as the original, it’s almost as funny whilst also satirising the rise of 24-hour news quite cleverly.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
ITV4, Wednesday 23rd, 22:00 & Friday 25th, 21:00
I’m actually more a fan of the first film but there’s no denying that James Cameron’s follow-up is an awesome spectacle. At the time of release it was the most expensive film ever made, but grossed more than five times its production costs at the box office. Arnie returns as a cyborg sent back from the post-apocalyptic future, but this time he’s the good guy pitched against the shapeshifting T-1000, portrayed in menacing fashion by Robert Patrick, assisted by some then-revolutionary CGI effects. With a story that moves from one action sequence to another at breakneck speed, intermingled with some more touching moments from the human characters, T2 is rightly recognised as one of the best sequels of all time.
The African Queen (1951)
GREAT! Movies Classic, Wednesday 23rd, 18:50
John Huston’s classic film takes place at the dawn of the First World War as the sister of a British missionary in an African village is stranded when her brother dies following a German invasion. Joining up with the roguish captain of a creaking old steam boat, the two embark on a perilous journey down a seemingly impenetrable river to try and sabotage an enemy battleship. It may be 70 years old this year but The African Queen has lost none of its appeal, with humour and action in equal measure. There are fantastic performances from Humphrey Bogart and especially Katharine Hepburn, whose role as a feisty and resourceful female character would have been particularly notable back then. A few overlong scenes affect the pacing, but the finale is wonderful and caps off one of the greatest odd couple action adventure films of all time.