Women Leaders Of Real Estate: “Lose the guilt!” with Amy Katz of Curbside Kitchen. Women want to be the best at everything in their lives and that is a hard
The Greatest Films (q/greatestfilms)200th Post – 200 Greatest Films Cited Thus Far
This is the 200th post of. 1367 films have been cited on this blog. To mark the 200th post, this week’s topic will be to look at the 200 greatest films out of that 1367. Let me repeat and restate that before the comments begin – this post is NOT a list of the 200 greatest films, period. It is a list of the 200 greatest films that have been cited in this blog. Many great films and many of my favorite films have not yet been included in a post so they aren’t going to be found in the below list.
Almost a century of film is included in this list. The oldest film was released in 1922 and the newest just this summer. 67% of the films in this list have made multiple appearances in this blog. Three of the films have had six appearances.
200. All About Eve (Winner 1950) – Nominated for 14 Oscars, won 6. A dark comedy about an aging actress and the conniving assistant that seeks to replace her. The characters all receive biting and brilliant dialogue from Joseph L. Mankiewicz.
“Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night!” – Margo Channing
199. Ghostbusters (1984) – The highest grossing film of 1984 and a film that almost everyone loves. Second City alumni Dan Ackroyd, Bill Murray, and Harold Ramis team up with Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver, Annie Potts and Rick Moranis to bust ghosts in New York City.
“Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!” – Peter Venkman
198. Fences (2016) – Denzel Washington does a fine job as both director and star in this cinematic adaptation of August Wilson’s play. Denzel and other members of the film’s cast performed the play on Broadway in 2010. The film is essentially a transfer to the screen, with better sets. It feels like a play and sounds like a play. That’s not a bad thing.
This is a film that is totally dependent on dialogue and emotion and it brings the best of both.
“Some people build fences to keep people out, and other people build fences to keep people in.” – Bono
197. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) – The film is a little too silly for its own good (a western doesn’t need Paul Newman riding around on a bicycle while B.J. Thomas sings Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head) But, Redford and Paul Newman make such a good pairing that the film is irresistible.
“Shouldn’t take more than a couple of days. I’m not picky. As long as she’s smart, pretty, and sweet, and gentle, and tender, and refined, and lovely, and carefree…” – Sundance Kid
196. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) – A quirky visual feast. Wes Anderson is known for quirky visual feasts, but he outdoes himself in this almost fairy tale story of a concierge and lobby boy at a hotel during a revolution. Since the English patient, Ralph Fiennes has been typecast in withdrawn, icy roles, but he just completely lets go in this film and is a joy to watch. This is a 1930’s screwball film that looks like it was filmed in the 1970’s. Truly Grand.
“Did he just throw my cat out of the window?” – Deputy Kovacs
195. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) – Stanley Kubrick’s best film and one of the best satire of all film. It’s a hilarious, yet biting film that is still relevant today, but must have been oh so much more on point when it came out – less than two years after the Cuban Missile Crisis. It questions our sanity for trusting our defense to people that think terms like cold war and mutually assured destruction are rational.
“Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room.” – President Merkin Muffley
194. Cast Away (2000) – Imagine you’re an actor and you get a script and it says that you will have to lose 55 lbs and spend most of the movie reacting to a volleyball. I think a lot of actors would have passed on the role. Hanks received his fifth Best Actor nomination for this film.
“We might just make it. Did that thought ever cross your brain? Well, regardless, I would rather take my chance out there on the ocean than to stay here and die on this shithole island, spending the rest of my life talking… TO A GODDAMN VOLLEYBALL!” – Chuck Noland
193. Speed (1994) – Sandra balances Keanu well, giving this film its much needed heart and charm. It’s a tense action film that has held up well.
“What, you thought you needed another challenge or something?” – Annie
192. The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) – It’s tough to pick which of the three Jason Bourne films to include in this list. All three are very good films. I’m going with the third film because I loved the idea that almost the whole film takes place between two scenes in the previous film. It’s amazing what this franchise has done – for a significant portion of the audience, these films have supplanted James Bond.
“What were my words? What did I say? I said leave me alone.” – Jason Bourne
191. The Iron Giant (1999) – Imagine E.T., if E.T. were a 50 ft (30 m) tall robot that came to Earth in the 1950s, at the heart of the cold war. And Elliot’s name is Hogarth.
Within its animation and science fiction milieu, there is a sweet story that leaves us with two messages – the silliness of the fear of the unknown, and that we are who we choose to be, not who we are born.
“Two nights ago, at approximateley 1900 hours, S.A.T com radar detected an unidentified flying object entering Earth’s atmosphere, losing contact with it two-and-a-half miles off the coast of Rockwell. Some assumed it was a large meteor, or a downed satelite, but my office in Washington received a call from someone reporting an actual encounter with the object. This is no meteor, gentlemen. This is something much more serious.” – Kent Mansley
190. Zodiac (2007) – a moody and deliberative film from director David Fincher. The film is based upon a real series of murders in the San Francisco area, in the late 1960s to early 1970s. The film co-stars pre-Avengers Robert Downey Jr. and Mark Ruffalo.
“I… I Need to know who he is. I… I need to stand there, I need to look him in the eye and I need to know that it’s him.” – Robert Graysmith
189. The Departed (2006) – Martin Scorsese directed this film about two young men that are the same but opposites. Damon plays a gangster embedded in the police force and Leonardo diCaprio plays a cop embedded in the mob.
“What Freud said about the Irish is: We’re the only people who are impervious to psychoanalysis.” – Colin Sullivan
188. Gosford Park (2001) – It’s a little odd going back to rematch this Agatha Christie meets Upstairs Downstairs film after five seasons of Downton Abbey (the film is also written by Julian Fellowes), but Robert Altman’s genius with an ensemble makes it worthwhile. The cast is massive and brilliant: Mirren, Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith, Derek Jacobi, Stephen Fry, Charles Dance and so many more.
“What gift do you think a good servant has that separates them from the others? Its the gift of anticipation. And I’m a good servant; I’m better than good, I’m the best; I’m the perfect servant. I know when they’ll be hungry, and the food is ready. I know when they’ll be tired, and the bed is turned down. I know it before they know it themselves.” – Mrs. Wilson
187. Captain Blood (1935) – Before Errol Flynn clashed swords with Basil Rathbone in Adventures of Robin Hood, he clashed swords with him in this beautiful film that established Errol Flynn as Hollywood’s greatest swashbuckler. He plays a gentlemen and physician sent to Jamaica as a prisoner. He becomes a pirate. Olivia has said that Errol was her favorite co-star. The two did eight films together.
“This is interesting. I’ve had men tell me they had reasons for admiring me… and some few have even laid claims to reasons for loving me. But for a man to store up reasons for resenting me… how refreshing! You must tell me a few of them.” – Arabella Bishop
186. RoboCop (1987) – Paul Verhoeven’s ultraviolent satire is a sharp critique of Reagan era American values. In this film our robot is not totally an artificial lifeform. A police detective named Murphy is gravely injured by a crime lord. A corporation, intending to peddle a robotic future of law enforcement plans to improve PR for their project by giving their prototype a little humanity. What is left of Detective Murphy is implanted in the robotic body, but that spark of humanity may turn out to be a problem for that corporation.
Peter Weller is excellent in the titular role. In particular the physical acting he brings allows Robocop to convincingly appear not as a man in a metal suit, but a robot.
“Dead or alive, you’re coming with me!” – Robocop
185. Bringing Up Baby (1938) – the movie that defines screwball. Director Howard Hawks brings together Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn for the first time. They would end up doing four films together (three of which are in this list).
The film is absolutely nuts and Grant plays well against type as a socially inept paleontologist and even does a cross-dressing scene. If it doesn’t sound crazy enough for you, yet – Baby is a leopard.
“Now it isn’t that I don’t like you, Susan, because, after all, in moments of quiet, I’m strangely drawn toward you, but – well, there haven’t been any quiet moments.” – David Huxley
184. Blade Runner (1982) – Based on Philip K. Dick’s story Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, this Ridley Scott film is an odd mixture of film noir and science fiction. Ford plays a retired cop whose expertise is tracking androids.
“Replicants are like any other machine – they’re either a benefit or a hazard. If they’re a benefit, it’s not my problem.” – Rick Deckard
183. Big Night (1996) – The story of two immigrant brothers – Primo and Secondo (Played by Tony Shalhoub and Stanley Tucci). They run a struggling restaurant in New Jersey. The film revolves around their relationship, their relationships with women, and their challenge to save their restaurant by preparing a grand meal for a famous singer.
“To eat good food is to be close to God.” – Primo
182. Bernie (2011) – Shirley MacLaine (born 24 April, 1934) was seventy-seven the she starred in this quirky film from director Richard Linklater is based upon the true story of Bernie Tiede, a mortician in Carthage, Texas, convicted of killing an elderly widow named Margie Nugent.
“Now you! You’ve got two minutes to explain these accounts to me. Or three minutes from now, I just might get myself another stockbroker.” – Marjorie Nugent
181. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003) – This film adapts two of Patrick O’Brian’s novels that follow the careers and adventures of a sea captain and his surgeon. It’s a shame none of the other eighteen books were adapted as a sequel.
“Would you call me an aged man-o-war, doctor? The Surprise is not old; no one would call her old. She has a bluff bow, lovely lines. She’s a fine seabird: weatherly, stiff and fast… very fast, if she’s well handled. No, she’s not old; she’s in her prime.” – Captain Jack Aubrey
180. The Exorcist (1973) – I first saw The Exorcist, when I was five, at a drive-in theater. I think I spent the next ten years awaiting demonic possession. Director William Friedkin’s adaptation of William Peter Blatty’s bestseller is shocking and terrifying. Set in the nation’s capital – home of many of our society’s institutions it is the story of another societal institution (the church), powerless against what appears to be a young girl.
“Especially important is the warning to avoid conversations with the demon. We may ask what is relevant but anything beyond that is dangerous. He is a liar. The demon is a liar. He will lie to confuse us. But he will also mix lies with the truth to attack us. The attack is psychological, Damien, and powerful. So don’t listen to him. Remember that – do not listen.” – Father Merrin
179. Belle de Jour (1967) – French legend Catherine Deneuve stars in this especially bold for its time story of a housewife that decides to work at a daytime brothel to escape her dissatisfaction, boredom, and repression.
“One’s never bored in a bar, unlike in a church, alone with one’s own soul.” – Henri Husson
178. Revolutionary Road (2008) – Kate and Leo team up again, this time to bring Richard Yates’ acclaimed novel to the screen. The film was directed by Sam Mendes (Winslet’s husband at the time). It’s a brilliantly acted film but uncomfortable to watch as we view a marriage self-destruct. It is my favorite of Leo’s films.
“I want to feel things. Really feel them.” – Frank Wheeler
177. Inside Out (2015) – Pixar’s return to greatness after a few clunkers. It’s a little bloated in the middle, but the overall structure and story are brilliant. Not making sadness the enemy was genius. I love the subject matter, too. I’ve added references to this film to the class I teach on how learning happens.
“Well, that was a disaster.” – Mother’s Sadness
176. 3:10 to Yuma (2007) – One of the rare cases of a remake being better than the original. This a great mano-y-mano western that has Crowe and Christian Bale battling each other.
“Well, Tommy, it seems that there was a Pinkerton inside that coach that wasn’t quite dead yet. Now, I know Charlie told you, because we done got but a few rules in this outfit. And this is what happens when you put us all at risk.” – Ben Wade
175. Walk the Line (2005) – Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon do wonderful jobs portraying Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash. Walk the Line was nominated for five Oscars. Reese Witherspoon took one home for Best Actress.
Joaquin and Reese do a fine job on the soundtrack. Key songs on the soundtrack: I Walk the Line, Ring of Fire, and Cry Cry Cry.
“You know what your problem is, June Carter? You are afraid to be in love, you are afraid of losing control, And you know what June Carter, I think you are afraid of livin’ in my big fat shadow.” – Johnny Cash
174. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) – My personal favorite of the three Indiana Jones films. This one reunites Indy with Marcus Brody and Sallah and introduces Indy’s father (Connery) in an adventure that takes them to Venice, Berlin, and into Jordan, seeking the Holy Grail before the Nazis get it.
“It tells me, that goose-stepping morons like yourself should try *reading* books instead of *burning* them!” – Professor Henry Jones
173. The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005) – This is the first feature film that Tommy Lee Jones directed. It is a very stark and atmospheric story about a rancher looking into the death of his friend Melquiades, an illegal alien killed by a border patrol officer. Jones surrounds himself with an excellent cast that includes Dwight Yoakum and Melissa Leo.
“You try to run away again, and I’ll kill you. I guess you know that by now.” – Pete Perkins
172. Glory (1989) – The greatest Civil War film. It is a story of bravery and the story of the 54th Regiment of the Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, an all-black regiment. The film is well written, beautifully filmed, and features strong performances from Freeman, Denzel Washington, and Matthew Broderick.
“That’s right, Hines. Ain’t no dream. We runaway slaves but we come back fightin’ men. Go tell your folks how kingdom come in the year of jubilee!” – John Rawlins
171. Saving Mr. Banks (2013) – An absolutely charming look at how Walt Disney convinced P.L. Travers to allow him to make the film Mary Poppins. Emma is brilliant as the repressed author alongside Tom Hanks as Walt Disney.
“Penguins have very much upset me! Animated, dancing penguins! Now, you have seduced me with the music, Mr Disney, yes, you have. Those Sherman boys have quite turned my head but I shall NOT be moved on the matter of cartoons!” – P.L. Travers
170. Sirens (1994) – This erotic comedy looks at art and morality by immersing a timid vicar (Hugh Grant) and his wife (Tara Fitzgerald) into the hedonistic world of an Australian artist (Sam Neill) whose controversial work the vicar hopes to have removed from a show. Cast as three of the artist’s models are Portia de Rossi, Elle Macpherson, and Kate Fischer. The garden of eden imagery is ripe throughout the gorgeously shot film that counterposes the beauty and danger of the Australian wildlife with the beauty and danger of hedonism. It’s a very funny and very sexy film.
169. Captain Phillips (2013) – Tom Hanks gives a strong performance throughout the film, but this film just has to make the list for the final scene. Tom Hanks’ performance in that scene just rips the audience’s heart into pieces. Magnificent.
“Listen up, we have been boarded by armed pirates. If they find you, remember, you know this ship, they don’t. Stick together and we’ll be all right. Good luck.” – Richard Phillips
168. Gravity (2013) – Sandra’s performance in this film is all the more notable because it is largely a solo performance. Her character experiences a transformation and Sandra has to show that, alone, mostly stuck inside a space suit.
“I know, we’re all gonna die. Everybody knows that. But I’m going to die today. Funny that… you know, to know. But the thing is, is that I’m still scared. Really scared. Nobody will mourn for me, no one will pray for my soul. Will you mourn for me? Will you say a prayer for me? Or is it too late… ah, I mean I’d say one for myself but I’ve never prayed in my life. Nobody ever taught me how… nobody ever taught me how…” – Ryan Stone
167. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) – The Terminator returns, and this time with a production budget and a sense of irony.
“The unknown future rolls toward us. I face it, for the first time, with a sense of hope. Because if a machine, a Terminator, can learn the value of human life, maybe we can too.” – Sarah Connor
166. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007) – What seems like the straightforward story of how a legendary outlaw fell is actually a clever examination of themes such as celebrity and legend. Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck are supported by Sam Shepard, Sam Rockwell, Jeremy Renner, and Mary-Louise Parker.
“I’ll tell you one thing that’s certain; you won’t fight dying once you’ve peeked over to the other side; you’ll no more want to go back to your body than you’d want to spoon up your own puke.” – Jesse James
165. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011) – No superhero film has left me as relieved and pleased with its execution. I love the origin story and this one is beautifully told and impressively told.
Not only is this a great superhero film, it’s a great World War II film. The period setting is exquisite. But really the credit for this film has to go to its star, Chris Evans. Evans truly understands the man under the mask – Steve Rogers.
A lot of people had concerns about whether Evans would have the acting chops to play this character. He does. Not only does he perfectly define the character but he manages to stand his own in every scene, even when up against such established talent as Tommy Lee Jones and Stanley Tucci.
“Arrogance may not be a uniquely American trait, but I must say, you do it better than anyone. But there are limits to what even you can do, Captain, or did Erskine tell you otherwise?” – Red Skull
164. Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) – It’s a magical experience when one goes to a cinema knowing little about a film and walks out realizing they just saw something unlike anything they’ve ever seen before. So often, studios play safe and give us more of the same, trying to predict the audience’s fickle desires. Pan’s Labyrinth doesn’t do that. In fact, I don’t believe writer and director Guillermo del Toro gave much consideration to the existence of the audience. This film is his fantasy, brought to cinematic life. Here we see the ideas and images that plagued his young mind. It is a visually beautiful and original world into which he takes us, all the more augmented by weaving it around the fascist Falangist Spain near the end of WWII.
“And it is said that the Princess returned to her father’s kingdom. That she reigned there with justice and a kind heart for many centuries. That she was loved by her people. And that she left behind small traces of her time on Earth, visible only to those who know where to look.” – Pan
163. A Few Good Men (1992) – Aaron Sorkin wrote the play and the screenplay. Having seen both, there is not a lot of difference. The play is a little stronger – partly because the theatre is more willing to allow the pause. It’s a story that excels because of Sorkin’s brilliant dialogue. Director Rob Reiner brings it to the screen with strong performances from Jack Nicholson and Tom Cruise.
Lt. Daniel Kaffee (Cruise) and Lt. Cdr. JoAnne Galloway (Demi Moore) find themselves assigned to defend two young marines accused of causing the death of a fellow marine through hazing. Kaffee and Galloway’s investigation reveals that the story is bigger and potentially more embarrassing for the Corps.
““I strenuously object?” Is that how it works? Hm? “Objection.” “Overruled.” “Oh, no, no, no. No, I STRENUOUSLY object.” “Oh. Well, if you strenuously object then I should take some time to reconsider.”” – Lt. Weinberg
162. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) – A morality play about greed. Humphrey Bogart plays a drifter on the hunt for gold in Mexico. Huston won two Oscars for this film.
“Conscience. What a thing. If you believe you got a conscience it’ll pester you to death. But if you don’t believe you got one, what could it do t’ya? Makes me sick, all this talking and fussing about nonsense.” – Dobbs
161. Batman Begins (2005) – My favorite of the three Nolan films. It’s a strong origin story.
“People need dramatic examples to shake them out of apathy and I can’t do that as Bruce Wayne. As a man, I’m flesh and blood, I can be ignored, I can be destroyed; but as a symbol… as a symbol I can be incorruptible, I can be everlasting.” – Bruce Wayne
160. Inherit the Wind (1960) – Stanley Kramer directed Tracy in this film adaptation of the broadway play that itself was based on the 1925 Scopes Trial about a teacher that challenges a law prohibiting the teaching of evolution. Tracy’s Henry Drummond is based on Clarence Darrow.
“Yes. The individual human mind. In a child’s power to master the multiplication table, there is more sanctity than in all your shouted “amens” and “holy holies” and “hosannas.” An idea is a greater monument than a cathedral. And the advance of man’s knowledge is a greater miracle than all the sticks turned to snakes or the parting of the waters.” – Henry Drummond
159. Lincoln (2012) – A small story plucked from a large story and then magnified by giant performances. Daniel Day-Lewis became the 16th President. Sally Field became the First Lady.
“All we’ve done is show the world that democracy isn’t chaos. That there is a great, invisible strength in a people’s union. Say we’ve shown that a people can endure awful sacrifice and yet cohere. Mightn’t that save at least the idea of democracy to aspire to? Eventually to become worthy of?” – Abraham Lincoln
158. Dead Poets Society (1989) – Robin was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for this film that spoke to my generation. I don’t know how objective my opinion of the film is, because it affected me so much while I was still a kid. I saw it the year before going away to university and I so imagined that the university experience would be full of instructors like the character Williams plays. It was heartbreaking to find that wasn’t the case.
“Boys, you must strive to find your own voice. Because the longer you wait to begin, the less likely you are to find it at all. Thoreau said, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Don’t be resigned to that. Break out!” – John Keating
157. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) – Star Trek had a lot of fun with time travel in the original television series. This was their first time to bring it to the movies. Kirk and crew return home to face the brass after rescuing Spock in the previous film. Enroute, they find Earth under attack by an alien probe and determine that the only way to save Earth is to travel to the past to retrieve the thing the probe is looking for.
“I prefer a dose of common sense! You’re proposing that we go backwards in time, find humpback whales, then bring them foward in time, drop ’em off, and hope to Hell they tell this probe what to do with itself!” – Dr. McCoy
156. Skyfall (2012) – Dame Judi Dench played the role of M in every Bond film since 1995’s Goldeneye. That film was the first Bond film made since the end of the cold war. There was debate about whether there was still a place for Bond, today. in that 1995 film, M said “I think you’re a sexist, misogynist dinosaur. A relic of the Cold War, whose boyish charms, though wasted on me, obviously appealed to that young woman I sent out to evaluate you.” Skyfall and Spectre both readdress that question for a world that has changed, even more. Is there a place for Bond in a world of cyber spying and drones? Skyfall does an admirable job of bringing Bond into today and yet at the same time, resetting some of the pieces to bring the franchise back to its roots.
“Some men are coming to kill us. We’re going to kill them first.” – James Bond
155. Sicario (2015) – Deakins makes this low budget procedural look like a much bigger picture than it really is and does so with the challenge that so much of it is set at night. Emily Blunt and Benicio Del Toro give great performances.
“You should move to a small town, somewhere the rule of law still exists. You will not survive here. You are not a wolf, and this is a land of wolves now.” – Alejandro
154. Wonder Woman (2017) – Wonder Woman has been waiting in the trenches for 75 years to finally to climb the ladder and step into the No Woman’s Land of superhero films and once she gets there, she kicks ass.. This movie is a little too fresh for me to feel really comfortable with its position on this list. I can’t tell if I’m holding back because I think I might be euphoric or if I’m simply euphoric. I may come back in a few weeks and move it up or down a notch or two.
“Only love can truly save the world.” – Diana Prince
153. Memphis Belle (1990) – A loving portrait of the crew of the Memphis Belle, a B-17 bomber. The film follows the crew on their record-breaking and final mission – a dangerous bombing mission over Bremen. Harry Connick Jr., in his first film, stands well alongside talents like Eric Stoltz and Mathew Modine.
“And if we don’t drop these bombs right in the pickle barrel there are going to be a lot of innocent people killed.” – Dennis
152. Tender Mercies (1983) – Robert Duvall won an Oscar for this quiet story of redemption. Duvall plays a country music singer that has lived a self-destructive life and hurt everyone near him. Given a second chance he rebuilds his life.
“I don’t trust happiness. I never did, I never will.” – Mac Sledge
151. National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983) – It’s an American right of passage to endure a family vacation spent in a car, crossing the country and stopping to see every wonder and oddity. National Lampoon’s Vacation takes those memories and augments them into a film that makes the audience squirm, bust a gut laughing, and at the end look back nostalgically at their own vacations.
“I don’t know, Rusty, but when this is all over, your father… may be going away for a little while.” – Ellen Griswold
150. A Fish Called Wanda (1988) – The funniest heist movie. A top notch cast including Kevin Kline, Jamie Lee Curtis, John Cleese, and Michael Palin star in this story of a con artist after a fortune in jewels. John Cleese also co-wrote and co-directed the film.
“Oh, right! To call you stupid would be an insult to stupid people! I’ve known sheep that could outwit you. I’ve worn dresses with higher IQs. But you think you’re an intellectual, don’t you, ape?” – Wanda
149. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) – A rarity in that it is the third film in a trilogy, and the best. It follows A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More. All three films are extremely low budget spaghetti westerns that find their strengths in those constraints. The film has one of the most recognizable music scores in film, by Ennio Moricone.
Three criminals, played by Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, and Eli Wallach, set out, during the Civil War, to find a cache of gold, hidden in a cemetery.
Clint Eastwood’s success in television had prevented his success in movies. This trilogy of films changed that.
“You see, in this world there’s two kinds of people, my friend: Those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig.” – Blondie
148. Marvel’s The Avengers (2012) – I would hazard a guess that the most common sentence uttered by viewers of this film, as the credits rolled was “Oh my God – they pulled it off!”
Marvel had shown us they could put an excellent Iron Man on the screen. They had shown us they could put an excellent Captain America on the screen. They had shown us they could put an excellent Thor on the screen. They had had less luck with the Hulk. But the idea that they could successively put them all together in an entertaining film seemed foreboding. But they did it. They did it by putting the film in the hands of a man that had repeatedly proven his ability to handle the ensemble – Joss Whedon.
I don’t know, even as a small child reading the comics, that I ever imagined we would see a live action Avengers film.
A superhero film is only as good as its villain. Whedon chose to bring in the man that had proven himself to be the best villain in a Marvel film – Tom Hiddleston as Thor’s adoptive brother Loki. Hiddleston makes the film, as his villain is a joy to watch and a foreboding threat to each and all of our heroes.
The hallmark of a comicbook team-up issue is that the heroes begin the story (often due to a misunderstanding) as adversaries, and they work through those issues to team up to fight their common foe. The Avengers do that and as they do Chris Evans (Captain America) proves his ability to be the leader, even in the presence of a bigger personality (Downey).
“You know, the last time I was in Germany and saw a man standing above everybody else, we ended up disagreeing.” – Steve Rogers
147. The Martian (2015) – my new second favorite space film, after Apollo 13. The film manages to capture both the irreverence and the respect of the book and tells just as exciting a tale. Heart is the film’s strength. I found myself getting quite emotional at key scenes in the film, such as when Mark learns NASA hasn’t told his crew he survived and when the crew is told. Those scenes felt authentic and representative of my experiences with crew members and management.
“In the face of overwhelming odds, I’m left with only one option, I’m gonna have to science the shit out of this.” – Mark Watney
146. Sense and Sensibility (1995) – Emma Thompson plays Elinor (Sense) and Kate Winslet plays Marianne (Sensibility). They are sisters, struggling with their reduced position after the death of their father. They are opposites in outward nature and Emma’s skill as an actress is seen in her ability to remain in focus even though her character is withdrawn and Kate’s is flamboyant.
This is a wonderful adaptation of Jane Austen’s brilliant novel, an adaptation that just happens to have been written by Emma Thompson.
“What do you know of my heart? What do you know of anything but your own suffering. For weeks, Marianne, I’ve had this pressing on me without being at liberty to speak of it to a single creature. It was forced on me by the very person whose prior claims ruined all my hope. I have endured her exultations again and again whilst knowing myself to be divided from Edward forever. Believe me, Marianne, had I not been bound to silence I could have provided proof enough of a broken heart, even for you.” – Elinor
145. The Thin Man (1934)- The first of six ‘thin man mysteries’ starring William Powell and Myrna Loy, two actors with great chemistry. It doesn’t matter what the story is, it’s just fun watching them together.
“I don’t like crooks. And if I did like ’em, I wouldn’t like crooks that are stool pigeons. And if I did like crooks that are stool pigeons, I still wouldn’t like you.” – Marion
144. The Magnificent Seven (1960) – This wellcast western adaptation of Seven Samurai is a masterpiece in itself. McQueen and the film’s lead, Yul Brynner didn’t get along, largely because McQueen stole every scene they shared.
“Yeah, sure. Everything. After awhile you can call bartenders and faro dealers by their first name – maybe two hundred of ’em! Rented rooms you live in – five hundred! Meals you eat in hash houses – a thousand! Home – none! Wife – none! Kids… none! Prospects – zero. Suppose I left anything out?” – Vin
143. Fargo (1996) – Frances McDormand has been in six of the Coen Brothers’ films (she’s married to Joel) but here she gets to star as a pregnant police chief investigating a series of murders.
“So that was Mrs. Lundegaard on the floor in there. And I guess that was your accomplice in the wood chipper. And those three people in Brainerd. And for what? For a little bit of money. There’s more to life than a little money, you know. Don’tcha know that? And here ya are, and it’s a beautiful day. Well. I just don’t understand it.” – Marge Gunderson
142. Alien (1979) – Director Ridley Scott’s scary and gruesome film has me debating whether it should be on the greatest Sci-fi list, the greatest horror list, or both. Alien could have been a huge misfire, but the combination of Scott’s methodical building of tension, the impressive cast led by relative newcomer Sigourney Weaver, and the frightening alien designs from H.R. Giger, create an unforgettable experience.
“Final report of the commercial starship Nostromo, third officer reporting. The other members of the crew, Kane, Lambert, Parker, Brett, Ash and Captain Dallas, are dead. Cargo and ship destroyed. I should reach the frontier in about six weeks. With a little luck, the network will pick me up. This is Ripley, last survivor of the Nostromo, signing off.” – Ripley
141. Nosferatu (1922) – The progenitor of all vampire films. F.W. Murnau directed Max Schreck in this silent German film. Schreck plays Orlok, a sinister recluse visited by a real estate agent trying to complete a sale. The real estate agent soon learns that Orlok is a vampire. The film is haunting in its imagery and score.
140. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) – A fierce battle of wits between Nicholson’s McMurphy and Louise Fletcher’s Nurse Ratched, in a prison mental ward. This film gave Nicholson his first Oscar win. At the time, the film was the highest grossing film of all time.
“They was giving me ten thousand watts a day, you know, and I’m hot to trot! The next woman takes me on’s gonna light up like a pinball machine and pay off in silver dollars!” – McMurphy
139. Up in the Air (2009) – It takes some writing and acting to make an audience empathize with a guy who makes a living firing people, when that guy finds his own job threatened. Clooney’s strong performance is joined by strong performances from Anna Kendrick and Vera Farmiga.
“All the things you probably hate about travelling -the recycled air, the artificial lighting, the digital juice dispensers, the cheap sushi- are warm reminders that I’m home” – Ryan Bingham
138. Barton Fink (1991) – A arrogant playwright looks down his nose at Hollywood until they offer enough money for him to sell out, and then he finds himself unable to write the movies they’ve paid for.
“I’m a writer, you monsters! I create! I create for a living! I’m a creator! I am a creator! This is my uniform! This is how I serve the common man!” – Barton Fink
137. Adaptation (2002) – An entertaining and quirky film from Charlie Kaufman. The film is both an adaptation of The Orchid Thief and a story about adapting The Orchid Thief. Meryl Streep plays Susan Orleans, the author of The Orchid Thief. Nicholas Cage plays Charlie Kaufman, the adapting screenwriter. Chris Cooper plays John Laroche, the quite odd orchid thief.
“Well, I was a weird kid. Nobody liked me. But I had this idea. If I waited long enough, someone would come around and just, you know… understand me. Like my mom, except someone else. She’d look at me and quietly say: “Yes.” Just like that. And I wouldn’t be alone anymore.” – John Laroche
136. Nightcrawler (2014) – Gyllenhaal created such a fully formed and unique character in this film that I was completely enthralled from beginning to end. The film is both a character study of an ambitious, obsessive, and troubled man and an indictment of modern television journalism.
“That’s my job, that’s what I do, I’d like to think if you’re seeing me you’re having the worst day of your life.” – Louis Bloom
135. No Country for Old Men (2007) – The Coen’s adapted Cormac McCarthy’s 2005 novel about a drug deal gone wrong in south Texas. Javier Bardem took home an Oscar for his portrayal of a psychopathic hitman named Anton Chigurh.
“Don’t put it in your pocket, sir. Don’t put it in your pocket. It’s your lucky quarter.” – Anton Chigurh
134. Murder on the Orient Express (1974) – An all-star classic with Albert Finney as Hercule Poirot. Besides Lauren Bacall, the film also costars Sean Connery, Ingrid Bergman, and Vanessa Redgrave. Bergman won a best supporting actress Oscar.
“I mean nothing of the kind. I mean there was a man in my compartment last night. It was pitch dark, of course, and my eyes were closed in terror…” – Hubbard
133. Apocalypse Now (1979) – Duvall’s brief appearance in this classic is probably the most remembered. His character, Lt. Col. Bill Kilgore is confident, commanding, competent, caring, and crazy.
“I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill bombed, for 12 hours. When it was all over, I walked up. We didn’t find one of ’em, not one stinkin’ dink body. The smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole hill. Smelled like…victory. Someday this war’s gonna end…” – Lt. Colonel Bill Kilgore
132. The Devil Wears Prada (2006) – Meryl plays the boss from hell in this smart and sharp comedy that made careers for Anne Hathaway and Emily Blunt.
It’s a strong gift for comedy to be funny while never hinting at a smile. Streep plays a powerful woman that doesn’t suffer fools and routinely intimidates everyone around her.
“Do you know why I hired you? I always hire the same girl- stylish, slender, of course… worships the magazine. But so often, they turn out to be- I don’t know- disappointing and, um… stupid. So you, with that impressive résumé and the big speech about your so-called work ethic- I, um- I thought you would be different. I said to myself, go ahead. Take a chance. Hire the smart, fat girl. I had hope. My God. I live on it. Anyway, you ended up disappointing me more than, um- more than any of the other silly girls.” – Miranda Priestly
131. The Remains of the Day (1993) – Emma and Anthony Hopkins pair up again for this heartbreaking story of unrequited love. Emma Thompson plays the housekeeper in a British manor. Anthony Hopkins plays the butler. Two people in lonely positions. She reaches out to him, but he, caught between professional obsession and fear of intimacy retreats.
The film is told largely through flashbacks, as the butler travels across England, possibly finally ready to return the affections.
“You know what I am doing, Miss Kenton? I am placing my thoughts elsewhere while you chatter away.” – Stevens
130. Road to Perdition (2002) – Sam Mendes directs Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Jude Law, Daniel Craig, and Stanley Tucci in this adaptation of Max Allen Collin’s graphic novel. Hanks plays a mobster that has to flee with his son after the boy witnesses a murder. Hanks rarely plays such a dark character, but he does it well.
“I saw then that my father’s only fear was that his son would follow the same road. And that was the last time I ever held a gun. People always thought I grew up on a farm. And I guess, in a way, I did. But I lived a lifetime before that, in those six weeks on the road in the winter of 1931. When people ask me if Michael Sullivan was a good man, or if there was just no good in him at all, I always give the same answer. I just tell them… he was my father.” – Michael Sullivan Jr.
129. Father of the Bride (1950) – Vincente Minelli directed Tracy, Joan Bennett, and a lovely Elizabeth Taylor in this charming and funny story narrated by a father preparing for his only daughter’s wedding. If it sounds familiar, it was remade in 1991 with Steve Martin in the Tracy role. As the movie proceeds, the wedding gets more and more expensive and Tracy’s character maintains less and less control. It’s a real classic.
“I would like to say a few words about weddings. I’ve just been through one. Not my own. My daughter’s. Someday in the far future I may be able to remember it with tender indulgence, but not now. I always used to think that marriages were a simple affair. Boy meets girl. Fall in love. They get married. Have babies. Eventually the babies grow up and meet other babies. They fall in love. Get married. Have babies. And so on and on and on. Looked at that way, it’s not only simple, it’s downright monotonous. But I was wrong. I figured without the wedding.” – Stanley Banks
128. Brooklyn (2015) – Saoirse Ronan radiates like a supernova. She was born for the big screen. In Brooklyn, she plays Eilis, a young woman from Ireland who emigrates to America in 1952. It’s a sweet coming of age romance. The film is nominated for Best Picture, Best Actress, and Best Adapted Screenplay. It isn’t nominated for Best Costumes, but it should be. The film looks beautiful and the costuming is a big part of that.
“You’ll feel so homesick that you’ll want to die, and there’s nothing you can do about it apart from endure it. But you will, and it won’t kill you… and one day the sun will come out and you’ll realize that this is where your life is.” – Eilis
127. Stand by Me (1986) – Four boys have an adventure while out walking, in 1959. This film is based on a story by Stephen King, called The Body.
“Okay, you guys can go around if you want. I’m crossing here. And while you guys are dragging your candy asses half way across the state and back, I’ll be waiting on the other side, relaxing with my thoughts.” – Teddy
126. Y Tu Mama También (2001) – Alfonso Cuarón directed this film, set in Mexico, about two young men on a road trip with an older woman. The two young men both become attracted to the woman and jealous of her affection for the other one.
125. Tomorrowland (2015) – I love this movie so much.
“I was designed to find dreamers… I found you… and lost you. But I found her… Casey. Dreamers need to stick together. It’s not programming, it’s not personal.” – Athena
124. The Shawshank Redemption (1994) – A film that didn’t do well at the box office, but became a surprise hit video rental and then shown to everyone in America 100 times on TNT. It’s an uplifting film with strong performances. Tim Robbins is great as the protagonist, Andy Dufresne, but Morgan Freeman is the star player.
“I’d like to think that the last thing that went through his head, other than that bullet, was to wonder how the hell Andy Dufresne ever got the best of him.” – Red
123. Black Hawk Down (2001) – the chaotic events of those days in Somalia make sense to us thanks to the scenes of Sam Shepard, playing a commanding officer observing via camera and radio feeds.
“If we don’t hold down this city we are gonna have 100 caskets to fill by morning.” – Garrison
122. Minority Report (2002) – What if a law enforcement tool became so trusted that it couldn’t be doubted? Great science fiction asks questions like that. Philip K. Dick did when he wrote the story that is the basis for this film. But only Steven Spielberg could turn Dick’s story into a rollicking adventure without giving up the thoughtfulness.
“Mr. Marks, by mandate of the District of Columbia Precrime Division, I’m placing you under arrest for the future murder of Sarah Marks and Donald Dubin that was to take place today, April 22 at 0800 hours and four minutes.” – John Anderton
121. The Big Short (2015) – A big ensemble cast adapts Michael Lewis’ book about the 2007-2008 banking crash and the incompetence and corruption that caused it.
“If we’re right, people lose homes. People lose jobs. People lose retirement savings, people lose pensions. You know what I hate about fucking banking? It reduces people to numbers. Here’s a number – every 1% unemployment goes up, 40,000 people die, did you know that?” – Ben Rickert
120. A Perfect World (1993) – a remarkably subtle and layered film in which Kevin Costner gives one of his best performances, as an outlaw on the run, and Eastwood plays the lawman tracking him down. But the chase becomes B-plot as the A-plot focuses on the relationship between the outlaw and the young boy he has taken hostage.
“Never underestimate the kindness of the common man, Phillip.” – Butch
119. The Great Dictator (1940) – The brilliant Charlie Chaplin has shown up in the, , and now the 10 Greatest Films of the 1940s. This was his first full-talkie film. Chaplin plays two roles – a Jewish barber and the dictator, Adenoid Hynkel (an obvious lampoon of Hitler).
When Chaplin started work on the film, there was not yet war in Europe. Hitler was still being appeased. Chaplin saw the threat in Hitler, but no one yet knew the true horrors Hitler would enact. Attitudes changed a lot during the time he was making the film. When he started, he angered isolationists, studios with German markets, politicians, and the Hays Office. By the time he released the film, Britain was at war with Germany.
“Brunettes are trouble makers. They’re worse than the Jews.” – Garbitsch
118. Blue Velvet (1986) – Director David Lynch contrasts light and dark with Laura Dern and Dennis Hopper in this examination of the seedy underworld below suburbia.
“I had a dream. In fact, it was on the night I met you. In the dream, there was our world, and the world was dark because there weren’t any robins and the robins represented love. And for the longest time, there was this darkness. And all of a sudden, thousands of robins were set free and they flew down and brought this blinding light of love. And it seemed that love would make any difference, and it did. So, I guess it means that there is trouble until the robins come.” – Sandy
117. Rocky (1976) – The perfect underdog movie.
“Ah come on, Adrian, it’s true. I was nobody. But that don’t matter either, you know? ‘Cause I was thinkin’, it really don’t matter if I lose this fight. It really don’t matter if this guy opens my head, either. ‘Cause all I wanna do is go the distance. Nobody’s ever gone the distance with Creed, and if I can go that distance, you see, and that bell rings and I’m still standin’, I’m gonna know for the first time in my life, see, that I weren’t just another bum from the neighborhood.” – Rocky
116. Terms of Endearment (1983) – This is really Debra Winger and Shirley MacLaine’s film. Jack has a relatively small part, but he’s large enough to make those minutes count, playing a retired astronaut involved with MacLaine’s character. Nicholson received his second Oscar win for this supporting role.
I saw this film when I was eleven or twelve and my strongest memory is of my mother suddenly bursting into tears and running from the room. It’s a tear jerker.
“I’ll tell you, Aurora. I don’t know what it is about you, but you do bring out the devil in me.” – Garrett Breedlove
115. Taxi Driver (1976) – It’s a little tougher to watch Taxi Driver today, when its story happens in real life, all too often. It’s a story of an alienated loner that expresses his rage via a bloodbath. It’s definitely DeNiro’s film, but he’s supported well by Harvey Keitel, Jodie Foster, Cybil Shepherd, and Peter Boyle.
“You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? Then who the hell else are you talking… you talking to me? Well I’m the only one here.” – Travis Bickle
114. McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971) – Long before Clint Eastwood received acclaim for perfectly deconstructing the western in Unforgiven, Altman perfectly deconstructed the western in this film. Warren Beatty and Julie Christie star in this bleak and immersive film
“If a frog had wings, he wouldn’t bump his ass so much, follow me?” – John McCabe
113. Roman Holiday (1953) – directed by William Wyler, the film costars Audrey Hepburn as a princess out to see Rome on her own. Peck plays a reporter that finds the passed-out princess on a bench. Together they have an adventurous time in Rome. Audrey Hepburn won an Oscar for her performance.
It was while filming Roman Holiday in Italy, that Peck met Veronique Passani. They soon married and remained married until his death 48 years later.
“I haven’t worn a nightgown in years!” – Joe Bradley
112. The Breakfast Club (1985) – John Hughes wrote this brilliant laboratory of the high school experience. He put a criminal, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a brain together into a day of in-school suspension and turned it into a big therapy session, through which each kid gets to explain their discomfort and together they realize that they are not as alone as they though they were.
“We’re all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that’s all.” – Andrew
111. The Lion in Winter (1968) – This film adaptation of the Broadway play casts Hepburn as Eleanor of Aquitaine alongside Peter O’Toole as Henry II, with a very young Anthony Hopkins and Timothy Dalton in supporting roles.
“Just what you want, a king for a son. You can make more, I can’t. You think I want to disappear? One son is all I’ve got, and you can blot him out and call me cruel? For these ten years you’ve lived with everything I’ve lost, and loved another woman through it all, and I am cruel? I could peel you like a pear and God himself would call it justice!” – Eleanor of Aquitaine
110. Anatomy of a Murder (1959) – Otto Preminger’s courtroom drama is long – it could do with 10 minutes of editing – but fascinating, as Jimmy Stewart and George C. Scott go head to head as lawyers in a murder trial.
“The prosecution would like to separate the motive from the act. Well, that’s like trying to take the core from an apple without breaking the skin.” – Paul Biegler
109. GoodFellas (1990) – This film is based upon the recollections of a mobster named Henry Hill (played by Ray Liotta). It isn’t so much a single story as a tapestry of the experience of being in the mob.
“Paulie may have moved slow, but it was only because Paulie didn’t have to move for anybody.” – Henry Hill
108. Blazing Saddles (1974) – Any top ten comedy films of all time list would have to include either Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, and/or The Producers. I saw this movie as a kid and its outrageousness, subversiveness, and glee at being offensive enthralled me.
“Oh no, don’t do that, don’t do that. If you shoot him, you’ll just make him mad.” – Jim
107. Adam’s Rib (1949) – George Cukor directed this film, the best of the Hepburn-Tracy films. They play a married pair of lawyers that find themselves opposing each other in a murder case – he is the prosecuting attorney and she the defense attorney. The film is funny and smart, with sharp dialogue.
“Licorice. If there’s anything I’m a sucker for, it’s licorice.” – Adam Bonner
106. The Seventh Seal (1957) – A medieval knight returns from war and plays a game of chess against the incarnation of Death. Ingmar Bergman’s masterpiece stars Max von Sydow.
105. Psycho (1960) – So little can be said without spoiling this film for those that haven’t seen it. Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins excel. Perkins is so creepy as motel manager Norman Bates that it is said the film ruined his career. Audiences could never seem him again without seeing Norman Bates. Brilliant.
“It’s not like my mother is a maniac or a raving thing. She just goes a little mad sometimes. We all go a little mad sometimes. Haven’t you?” – Norman Bates
104. La ciociara (Two Women) (1960) – Sophia Loren won honors a Cannes and a Best Actress Oscar for her role as a mother trying to protect her daughter during World War II. The mother and daughter experience a terrible ordeal.
“Do you know what they have done those “heroes” that you command? Do you know what your great soldiers have done in a holy church under the eyes of the madonna? Do you know?” – Cesira
103. Patriot Games (1992) – Ford was the second of four actors to play CIA analyst Jack Ryan, the protagonist of Tom Clancy’s novels. In this one, Ryan and his family come under attack from an Irish terrorist seeking revenge.
“It just pissed me off. I couldn’t just stand there and watch him shoot those people right in front of me. It was… rage. Pure rage… Just made me mad.” – Jack Ryan
102. Chinatown (1974) – one of the best neo-noir. Directed by Roman Polanski, it stars Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway. Nicholson plays a Sam Spade type character investigating a corrupt reservoir deal.
“‘Course I’m respectable. I’m old. Politicians, ugly buildings, and whores all get respectable if they last long enough.” – Noah Cross
101. The Big Sleep (1946) – Director Howard Hawks again teams up with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall after their stellar work in To Have and Have Not. This time Bogart brings to life Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe, giving him a monopoly on the great pulp private detectives. The narrative is unclear in places, partly do to studio editing.
“So you’re a private detective. I didn’t know they existed, except in books, or else they were greasy little men snooping around hotel corridors. My, you’re a mess, aren’t you?” – Vivian Rutledge
100. A Christmas Story (1983) – “You’ll shoot your eye out!” Bob Clark directs this adaptation of Jean Shepherd’s semi-autobiographical stories. Peter Billingsley plays young Ralphie, a boy on a desperate mission to get a Red Rider B.B. Gun for Christmas.
“Now, I had heard that word at least ten times a day from my old man. He worked in profanity the way other artists might work in oils or clay. It was his true medium; a master. But, I chickened out and said the first name that came to mind.” – Ralphie
99. Spider-man 2 (2004) – The best of the Spider-man films excels because of the smaller scope – when oh when will Spider-man directors realize that three villains = bad film? – and because of the quality of the actor playing the sole villain. Alfred Molina is imposing and intimidating as Dr. Otto Octavius AKA Doctor Octopus. He captures both the character’s intelligence and cruelty. Spider-man 2 is a clear improvement on its predecessor.
“We need a hero, couragous sacrificing people, setting examples for all of us. Everybody loves a hero, people line up for ’em, cheer for them, scream their names, and years later tell how they stood in the rain for hours just to get a glimpse of the one who told them to hold on a second longer. I believe theres a hero in all of us, that keeps us honest, gives us strength, makes us noble. And finally gets us to die with pride. Even though sometimes we have to be steady and give up the thing we want most, even our dreams.” – May Parker
98. The Shop Around the Corner (1940) – Ernst Lubitsch directs Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan in a comedy about two bickering coworkers that don’t realize they are actually secret pen pals falling in love. If it sounds slightly familiar, it was the inspiration for the film You’ve Got Mail.
“Flora, take a letter. Ah… To whom it may concern. Mr. Vadas has been in the employ of Matuschek & Company for the last two years, during which he has been very efficient as a stool pigeon, a troublemaker, and a rat.” – Alfred Kralik
97. The Dark Knight (2008) – I battle with this one. Personally I like Batman Begins more. But I will concede this is the better film. It is in this film that Chris Nolan has the most to say and it is in this film that he pulls the best performances out of the cast – notably Heath Ledger as the Joker.
While Chris Nolan’s Batman is a good Batman. He isn’t really my Batman. I’m still waiting to see my Batman on screen.
“If you’re good at something, never do it for free.” – The Joker
96. Bullitt (1968) – Best known for the amazing thirteen minute car chase between a Ford Mustang and a Dodge Charger through downtown San Francisco. McQueen plays a detective tasked with protecting a key witness.
“Look, Chalmers, let’s understand each other… I don’t like you.” – Bullitt
95. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) – This David Lean epic won seven Academy Awards. It’s a story about prisoners of war, forced by their captors to build a bridge.
“One day the war will be over. And I hope that the people that use this bridge in years to come will remember how it was built and who built it. Not a gang of slaves, but soldiers, British soldiers, Clipton, even in captivity.” – Nicholson
94. Toy Story 2 (1999) – The first Toy Story changed animation, but the sequel showed the first wasn’t a fluke by being even better. Pixar created a computer generated world that so sucked the audience in that adults everywhere shed tears for the troubles of a toy.
“Somewhere in that pad of stuffing is a toy who taught me that life’s only worth living if you’re being loved by a kid. And I traveled all this way to rescue that toy because I believed him.” – Buzz Lightyear
93. His Girl Friday (1940) – In this Howard Hawks film, Cary Grant plays the editor of a newspaper. His ex-wife (Rosalind Russell) is his star reporter. When she says she is quitting to remarry, he does everything he can to win her back.
“You’ve got an old fashioned idea divorce is something that lasts forever, ’til death do us part.‘ Why divorce doesn’t mean anything nowadays, Hildy, just a few words mumbled over you by a judge.” – Walter Burns
“I feel that life is divided into the horrible and the miserable. That’s the two categories. The horrible are like, I don’t know, terminal cases, you know, and blind people, crippled. I don’t know how they get through life. It’s amazing to me. And the miserable is everyone else. So you should be thankful that you’re miserable, because that’s very lucky, to be miserable.” – Alvy Singer
92. Logan (2017) – transcends entertainment and becomes art. Director, James Mangold, has created a beautiful film that respects and is totally faithful to the essence of the characters yet is free of the restrictions of continuity and the unending nature of periodical comics, while benefiting from heritage. Logan is a thoughtful western that examines themes of being one’s own enemy and parent-child relationships. It is brutal. It is beautiful. It is impacting. Logan is one of those films that sticks with you. I have found myself thinking about the film, many times, over the last week. It has consequence. It is intimate.
“Nature made me a freak. Man made me a weapon. And God made it last too long.” – Logan
91. Rebecca (1940) – Nominated for 11 Oscars, won 2. Alfred Hitchcock’s first American film and the breakthrough film for Joan Fontaine (younger sister of Olivia de Havilland). Fontaine plays the newly wed bride of Maxim de Winter (played by Laurence Olivier). She is de Winter’s second wife and she’s finding it hard to live up to the departed first Mrs. de Winter – maybe literally. Set in a tudor house on the Cornish coast with a spooky suspense filled score by Franz Waxman, this is a nail biter.
“You thought you could be Mrs. de Winter, live in her house, walk in her steps, take the things that were hers! But she’s too strong for you. You can’t fight her – no one ever got the better of her. Never, never. She was beaten in the end, but it wasn’t a man, it wasn’t a woman. It was the sea!” – Mrs. Danvers
90. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) – Director Frank Capra and Jimmy team up again in what would turn out to be Stewart’s favorite of his films. It didn’t do particularly well at the box office, but has become a perennial Christmas classic.
“Where’s that money, you silly stupid old fool? Where’s that money? Do you realize what this means? It means bankruptcy and scandal and prison! That’s what it means! One of us is going to jail; well, it’s not gonna be me!” – George Bailey
89. Spotlight (2015) – When people nostalgically wax about how great cinema was in the 1970s, they are thinking about films like this year’s Spotlight. It’s a big ensemble piece that looks at a serious issue. It’s incredibly compelling. There is a scene about 20 minutes into the film where John Slattery’s character (Ben Bradlee Jr.) exclaims “Holy shit!” The audience spends the following 90 minutes repeating the exclamation.
“We got two stories here: a story about degenerate clergy, and a story about a bunch of lawyers turning child abuse into a cottage industry. Which story do you want us to write? Because we’re writing one of them.” – Robby Robinson
88. Unbreakable (2000) – throw out all the fantasy of superhero movies. What would it be like in the real world if a person began to develop supernormal abilities? Would they become a hero? Could they become a hero? Do heroes create their villains? Do villains create their heroes? Director and writer M. Night Shyamalan uses Unbreakable to examine the form and mythos of the comicbook without mimicking the style of a comicbook. Far from primary colors, the palette of the film is extremely muted. Far from the beat per panel of a comicbook, the film has a creeping pace, slowly building tension and holding back release. The score from James Newton Howard assists that slow build wonderfully.
Bruce Willis has made a career playing the everyman with the mouth of a movie character that steps up to the challenge. In Unbreakable he manages to mute that mouth and just be that everyman – security guard, David Dunn. For as quiet as Willis’ performance is, Samuel L. Jackson’s is the opposite as Elijah Price.
87. Mulholland Drive (2001) – This film began as a pilot for a TV series. The network didn’t pick it up, so its creator, director David Lynch shot some additional footage and repackaged the pilot into a theatrical film. A failed television pilot became one of the greatest films of the decade. That isn’t a common occurrence. David Lynch is known for… weirdness. His stories follow convoluted and sometimes contradictory paths. They are told using images and symbols and metaphors. The most common viewer response as the credits start to roll is “what the hell did I just watch?” But those viewers keep coming back, because there is a brilliance in the madness. Mulholland Drive is no exception. You will come away from it pondering if what you saw was a dream, or a dream within a dream, or dreams within dreams within dreams.
“No, you’re not thinkin’. You’re too busy being a smart aleck to be thinkin’. Now I want ya to “think” and stop bein’ a smart aleck. Can ya try that for me?” – Cowboy
86. Emma (1996) – Very funny and a total showcase for Gwyneth Paltrow, although she is well supported by Ewan McGregor, Toni Collette, Alan Cummings, Phyllida Law, and many others.
“One does not like to generalize about so many people all at once, Mr. Knightley, but you may be sure that men know nothing about their hearts, whether they be six-and-twenty, or six-and-eighty.” – Emma Woodhouse
85. Carol (2015) – Todd Haynes directs this intimate story in a pleasingly languid manner. Cate and Rooney are magnificent. The film succeeds by being both a story about love that anyone can identify with and a portrait of the difficulty of being gay and in love in the 1950s.
“Ask me, things… Please…” – Carol
84. Almost Famous (2000) – a coming of age story about a 15-year old boy who cajoles Rolling Stone magazine into sending him on the road to profile a rock band. It sounds crazy, but it’s actually based on events from the life of the writer and director, Cameron Crowe. Besides the fact that it is his story, Crowe was a perfect choice to direct this film – a film about music. Music is very important to Crowe and no-one puts together better mix-tape soundtracks for their films than Crowe. Just thinking of the titles of his films, such as Say Anything and Jerry Maguire, results in songs playing in the mind.
“Yeah, great art is about conflict and pain and guilt and longing and love disguised as sex, and sex disguised as love… and let’s face it, you got a big head start.” – Lester Bangs
83. The Maltese Falcon (1941) – the first film directed by John Huston, and possibly the first film noir. Just try not to be amazed by the complex seven-minute take near the end of the film, you’ll fail. Humphrey Bogart brings Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade to the screen.
“I hope they don’t hang you, precious, by that sweet neck. Yes, angel, I’m gonna send you over. The chances are you’ll get off with life. That means if you’re a good girl, you’ll be out in 20 years. I’ll be waiting for you. If they hang you, I’ll always remember you.” – Sam Spade
82. Catch Me If You Can (2002) – Spielberg, Hanks, and DiCaprio. Leo plays real-life conman Frank Abagnale Jr. In the 1960s, Abagnale pretended to be a pilot, a doctor, and a lawyer. He moved from place to place, preying on the natural respect people have for people in those three professions, cashing fraudulent checks and living the high life. Leo is very convincing as the conman and charming enough to con the audience into rooting for his character.
“Yeah, but there’s no crease in the paper. When your mom hands you a note to miss school, the first thing you do is, you fold it and you put it in your pocket. I mean, if it’s real, where’s the crease?” – Frank Abagnale Jr.
81. Pulp Fiction (1994) – Jackson is brilliant as the jheri curl wearing, bible misquoting, royale with cheese eating hitman.
“I’m sorry, did I break your concentration? I didn’t mean to do that. Please, continue, you were saying something about best intentions. What’s the matter? Oh, you were finished! Well, allow me to retort. What does Marsellus Wallace look like?” – Jules
80. Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) – What? Andie MacDowell again? Why? But I love this movie. It’s one of those films that I saw in the cinema with no foreknowledge and walked out saying “Wow!” Mike Newell directs a great script by Richard Curtis in which we meet a large group of eclectic and eccentric people as they go from wedding to wedding to wedding to funeral to wedding. It’s the film that introduced America to Hugh Grant and unfortunately trapped the poor man into a long run of romcoms.
“Gareth used to prefer funerals to weddings. He said it was easier to get enthusiastic about a ceremony one had an outside chance of eventually being involved in. ” – Matthew
79. The Matrix (1999) – one of those wonderful surprises of the cinema. I entered the theater knowing nothing at all about this film and came out knowing I’d seen something new and amazing.
“This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.” – Morpheus
78. Deadpool (2016) – A comic book character fully realized. What’s probably most surprising about Deadpool is that although it’s R-rated and very violent, it is not cynical. To the contrary, there is far more hope on display than in the entire DC Snyderverse. Deadpool is secretly an optimistic love story.
“Yeah, it’s me, Deadpool, and I got an offer that you can’t refuse. I’m gonna wait out here, okay? It’s a big house. It’s funny that I only ever see two of you. It’s almost like the studio couldn’t afford another X-Man.” – Deadpool
77. Galaxy Quest (1999) – Often called the greatest Star Trek film, this sci-fi comedy is about the cast of a long cancelled television show. At a convention, they are attending to sell autographs, they are abducted by aliens in desperate need of help. The aliens have intercepted video signals from the old television series, but mistakenly think the footage is documentary. The cast is great. In addition to Rickman, Tim Allen and Sigourney Weaver co-star.
“By Grabthar’s hammer, by the suns of Worvan, you shall be avenged.” – Sir Alexander Dane
76. Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989) – Soderbergh entered the cinema world with this film that he wrote and directed. It’s an adult and intelligent look at sexuality and relationships, starring James Spader, Andie McDowell, and Peter Gallagher.
“The organ itself seemed like a, a separate thing, um, a separate entity to me. I mean, when he finally pulled it out, and I could look at it and touch it, I completely forgot that there was a guy attached to it. I remember literally being startled when the guy spoke to me.” – Cynthia
75. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) – Director Robert Mulligan is best known for directing coming of age stories, and the source novel by Harper Lee is a coming of age story – but the screen presence of Gregory Peck shifts the focus away from young Scout and Jem to their father, Atticus. The story does not suffer for it, however. Peck is at his best in this classic film about racism – a film that came out two years before the Civil Rights Act was signed.
To Kill a Mockingbird was the first film for an actor that should soon get a post on this blog – Robert Duvall – as the reclusive and mysterious Boo Radley.
“If you just learn a single trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” – Atticus Finch
74. An American Werewolf in London (1981) – a horror movie that does scares and dark comedy right. John Landis’ clever direction combined with Rick Baker’s amazing prosthetics and makeup result in horrific werewolf attacks with a sly wink as the spirits of the attacked watch on.
As a young teenager when I first saw this film, it clicked for me and has become one of my favorites, not just for the horror and humor but also due in no small part to Jenny Aguttar as the sexiest nurse in London.
“The undead surround me. Have you ever talked to a corpse? It’s boring! I’m lonely! Kill yourself, David, before you kill others.” – Jack
73. Forrest Gump (1994) – A classic. It’s hard not to have a smile on one’s face while watching Forrest’s journey through life. A year after winning the Best Actor Oscar for Philadelphia, Hanks won it again for Gump. Only five people have won back to back Oscars for acting.
“Oh, yes sir. Bit me right in the buttocks. They said it was a million dollar wound, but the army must keep that money ’cause I still haven’t seen a nickel of that million dollars.” – Forrest Gump
72. High Noon (1952) – Gary Cooper plays Will Kane, a marshal on his last day in office. He has just married and is ready to give up the responsibility. But he has also just found out that a dangerous criminal that he sent to prison has been released, and is coming to town, with his gang, to kill the sheriff and anyone else in town that he has a grudge against. Kane feels duty bound to defend the town, even though no-one in town will assist him.
It’s a gripping story told almost in real time. The film is rich in allegory and a true classic. High Noon was nominated for eight Academy Awards and won four, including Best Actor for Gary Cooper.
“You risk your skin catching killers and the juries turn them loose so they can come back and shoot at you again. If you’re honest you’re poor your whole life and in the end you wind up dying all alone on some dirty street. For what? For nothing. For a tin star.” – Martin Howe
71. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) – This film defies any attempt to constrain it as a comicbook film or just another popcorn film. It expands itself and staves off any concerns of comicbook movie fatigue by defining itself as a 1970s conspiracy thriller..
“For as long as I can remember I just wanted to do what was right. I guess I’m not quite sure what that is anymore. And I thought I could throw myself back in and follow orders, serve. It’s just not the same.” – Steve Rogers
70. The Americanization of Emily (1964) – This was Garner’s and Andrews’ favorite of their films, and it is mine, too. It’s a surprising film. Garner plays a coward trying his best to avoid fighting in World War II. He falls in love with Andrews’ character, but she can’t abide his cowardice. Will he confront his fears? I have to admit, part of the reason I love this film is because it is impossible not to fall in love with Julie Andrews in every frame in which she appears.
“Well, you’re a good woman. You’ve done the morally right thing. God save us all from people who do the morally right thing. It’s always the rest of us who get broken in half.” – Charles Madison
69. Starman (1984) – Bridges plays an alien that came across one of the Voyager spacecraft, saw the messages from Earth and decided he’d stop by for a visit. And even though the film is directed by John Carpenter, this alien doesn’t eat everyone he meets, he just hangs out and falls in love with Karen Allen, like we all do.
“You are a strange species. Not like any other. And you’d be surprised how many there are. Intelligent but savage. Shall I tell you what I find beautiful about you?” – Starman
68. The King’s Speech (2010) – Director Tom Hooper did a fine job of making this little story so stylish and intriguing. Colin does an equally fine job of making a stiff aristocrat such a sympathetic character.
“You know, ih… if I’m a… a King, where’s my power? Can I… can I form a government? Can I… can I l-levy a tax, declare a… a war? No! And yet I am the seat of all authority. Why? Because… the nation believes that when I s… I speak, I speak for them – but I can’t speak.” – King George VI
67. The Great Escape (1963) – One of my favorite films as a child. Although based on a true event, this movie is largely escapism with big names like Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, and James Coburn doing their best derring-do.
“Wait a minute. You aren’t seriously suggesting that if I get through the wire… and case everything out there… and don’t get picked up… to turn myself in and get thrown back in the cooler for a couple of months so you can get the information you need?” – Hilts
66. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)- Before they teamed up for It’s a Wonderful Life, director Frank Capra and Jimmy Stewart brought us the story of a naive and idealistic man that goes to Washington and even under assault will not be corrupted. If Jimmy Stewart can’t make you feel patriotic, no-one can.
“You see, boys forget what their country means by just reading The Land of the Free in history books. Then they get to be men they forget even more. Liberty’s too precious a thing to be buried in books, Miss Saunders. Men should hold it up in front of them every single day of their lives and say: I’m free to think and to speak. My ancestors couldn’t, I can, and my children will. Boys ought to grow up remembering that.” – Jefferson Smith
65. The Right Stuff (1983) – Obviously an important film from my childhood. It has been argued that the strangest facet of the film, and its major flaw, is that it is a film about the Mercury astronauts, but the character with the most presence is the man who wasn’t selected to be an astronaut – pilot Chuck Yeager. Sam Shepard’s performance is a big part of that. He capture’s the audience’s attention at the beginning of the film and every time we leave him to return to the story of the astronauts, the film loses something.
“Monkeys? Think a monkey knows he’s sitting on top of a rocket that might explode? These astronaut boys, they know that, see? Well, I’ll tell you somethin’ – it takes a special kind of man to volunteer for a suicide mission, especially one that’s on TV. Ol’ Gus, he did alright.” – Chuck Yeager
64. Gladiator (2000) – Are you not entertained!? I was. I love this film. Director Ridley Scott made this story of a soldier seeking revenge into an epic tale. Russell Crowe makes a lot of smart choices in this film by releasing his inner Gary Cooper.
“My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions and loyal servant to the TRUE emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.” – Maximus
63. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) – I’m sure that some of my love for this film is purely because it was the right film at the right time, for me. I’d be disappointed to hear it doesn’t mean as much to kids today. The film takes an interesting and novel look at the anxiety of high school through the eyes of a kid oblivious to any anxiety of his own, but focused on addressing the anxiety of his friend, Cameron. Ferris and his girlfriend Sloane take Cameron on an adventure, skipping school to experience Chicago.
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris
62 Groundhog Day (1993) – Not the most effective romance – I have never been able to figure out what the two character see in each other (or what is appealing about Andie MacDowell), but a great movie that staples its sarcasm and cynicism to the romcom formula.
“This is pitiful. A thousand people freezing their butts off waiting to worship a rat. What a hype. Groundhog Day used to mean something in this town. They used to pull the hog out, and they used to eat it. You’re hypocrites, all of you!” – Phil Connors
61. L.A. Confidential (1997) – This adaptation of a James Ellroy novel is a great neo-noir. Set in the 1950s, it’s a tale of police corruption.
“I know it. That prick Exley shot the wrong guys. Whoever killed my partner, is still out there. I… If I could work cases like a real detective, I could prove it. But I’m not smart enough. I’m just the guy they bring in to scare the other guy shitless.” – Bud White
60. The Last Picture Show (1971) – If you can take your eyes off of Cybill Shepherd, you’ll see Jeff Bridges playing the captain of the football team in this adaptation of the somewhat autobiographical Larry McMurtry novel about life in a small Texas town in the early 1950s.
“I’ll see you in a year or two if I don’t get shot.” – Duane Jackson
59. Young Frankenstein (1974) – Wilder and Brooks put together a wonderful satire of the horror films of the 1930s. Wilder is great as Dr. Frankenstein and Peter Boyle and Marty Feldman fill roles they were born to fill. Add in Gene Hackman as a blind monk and this is a film that should be in everyone’s library.
“No. No. Be of good cheer. If science teaches us anything, it teaches us to accept our failures, as well as our successes, with quiet dignity and grace.” – Dr. Frankenstein
58. Touch of Evil (1958) – Often declared to be the last film noir of the period, it is also Orson Welles’ last direction of a Hollywood studio film. Welles virtuoso as a director is on show, with marvelous experimental shots including a 3 minute 20 second tracking shot as the opening. It is a complex film. Be sure to see the restored director’s cut and not the much shortened studio version. The film stars Charlton Heston as a narcotics cop investigating a crime in a Mexican border town and Orson Welles as the corrupt police chief of that town.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. Drunk and crazy as you must have been when you strangled him. I guess you were somehow thinking of your wife, the way she was strangled.” – Pete Menzies
57. Glengarry Glen Ross (1992) – Pacino joins Jack Lemmon, Ed Harris, Alec Baldwin, Kevin Spacey, and Alan Arkin in this superb adaptation of David Mamet’s play about the world of the salesman.
“They say that it was so hot in the city today, grown men were walking up to cops on street corners begging them to shoot them.” – Ricky Roma
56. Modern Times (1936)- Charlie Chaplin produced, directed, wrote, and starred in this sweet but sharp satire of the industrial complex. Chaplin hadn’t done a movie in about five years. He was a product of the silent era and struggled to find a way to do his thing in the world of the talkies. While Modern Times continues his use of pantomime, sound is creatively used throughout the film.
55. Mary Poppins (1964) – If you can tolerate Dick van Dyke’s terrible attempt at a Cockney accent, this is a delightful family film in which Julie Andrews is as radiant as a thousand suns. The production values are stellar, as it brings P.L. Travers’ story to life almost as well as the imagination can. It is arguably Walt Disney’s finest film.
I recommend watching it back to back with Saving Mr. Banks (the story of how Walt Disney convinced the author to let him adapt Mary Poppins for the screen).
“Oh, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! Even though the sound of it is something quite atrocious, if you say it loud enough, you’ll always sound precocious! Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!” – Mary Poppins
54. Hell or High Water (2016) – Unfortunately, this film received little notice when it was released. It’s a smart, thoughtful modern western that puts its characters first and allows the plot to benefit from that choice. Chris Pine and Ben Foster play brothers whom have embarked on a series of bank robberies. They are stealing from the bank that is about to foreclose on their family farm. While Ben’s character is pretty much a bad seed, Chris’ character is a good kid making bad choices.
One of their robberies goes wrong and someone is shot, bringing the Texas Rangers into the picture. Jeff Bridges gives a typically great performance as a leathery old ranger.
Even the small parts are wonderfully cast and performed. Katy Mixon and Dale Dickey play perfect scene-stealing waitresses.
“Oh, who knows. Maybe one of these bank robbers is gonna want a gunfight and I can dodge my retirement in a blaze of glory.” – Marcus Hamilton
53. The Hunt for Red October (1990) – A secret Soviet submarine is heading towards America and CIA analyst, history professor, and stock broker Jack Ryan must determine if they are friend or foe.
Only Sean Connery could get away with playing a Russian Captain and put no effort at all into muting his Scottish brogue.
“It reminds me of the heady days of Sputnik and Yuri Gagarin when the world trembled at the sound of our rockets. Now they will tremble again – at the sound of our silence. The order is: engage the silent drive.” – Captain Ramius
52. The Terminator (1984) – a robotic assassin is sent back in time to kill the woman that would become the mother of a figure that is key in that dystopic future. The Terminator established the careers of James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Linda Hamilton.
The Terminator was a low budget film. Compared to its sequel it looks absolutely cheap. The original film cost $6.4 million to make. The sequel cost $102 million. But it works. Arnold was an organic special effect – It was completely believable that under his skin was a steel bodied killing machine.
A staple of science fiction is the time travel story and the paradoxes that come with the loops of logic needed to form a narrative. A killing machine is sent back in time to kill a woman so that she won’t have a child. And yet, because that killing machine goes back in time, another man is sent back to save the woman. That man becomes the father of the child. The Terminator is sent back to prevent the birth of John Connor, but by going back, it creates the conditions required for John Connor to be born.
“Defense network computers. New… powerful… hooked into everything, trusted to run it all. They say it got smart, a new order of intelligence. Then it saw all people as a threat, not just the ones on the other side. Decided our fate in a microsecond: extermination.” – Reese
51. October Sky (1999) – It’s kind of a given that October Sky would be meaningful to me. Homer Hickam was a fellow instructor of astronauts. It’s a wonderful uplifting film. It’s also the film where Jake Gyllenhaal demonstrated his ability to captivate an audience and fill a silver screen. The audience hangs on every word he delivers in Homer’s West Virginia accent and feel every emotion he emotes through those piercing eyes.
“Dad, I may not be the best, but I come to believe that I got it in me to be somebody in this world. And it’s not because I’m so different from you either, it’s because I’m the same. I mean, I can be just as hard-headed, and just as tough. I only hope I can be as good a man as you. Sure, Wernher von Braun is a great scientist? but he isn’t my hero.” – Homer Hickam
50. Crimson Tide (1995) – There are a lot of leadership classes offered by the human resources department, where I work. They bring in experts and instructors to teach aspects of leadership, teamwork, and conflict management. A lot of instructors like to use clips from films to illustrate concepts and examples. More clips are used from Crimson Tide than from any other film. Crimson Tide is brilliant written, it is a showcase of psychology.
“Listen Weps, listen Weps, don’t do this. Don’t do this Weps, once we launch, they cannot come back. They cannot come back Weps, and you know the repercussions if we’re wrong, goddamnit. Weps, if we fire now, we’ll be firing when we’re blind and crippled, you understand that?” – Lt.Cdr. Hunter
49. Sideways (2004) – The mid-life crisis experienced by road. Paul Giamatti and Thomas Hayden Church are brilliant as to very different people that by fluke became friends and now are at crossroads in life. The wonderful backdrop of California wine country doesn’t hurt.
“Half my life is over and I have nothing to show for it. Nothing. I’am thumbprint on the window of a skyscraper. I’m a smudge of excrement on a tissue surging out to sea with a million tons of raw sewage.” – Miles Raymond
48. Room (2015) – I didn’t know this film existed until the nominations for it came out. I read nothing and went into it completely ignorant of what the film was about. I’m glad. I think it was better that way. Everything surprised me. So, I’m not going to take that opportunity away from you readers. Go see this film before you learn about it. All I’m going to say is that the two people in the above picture provide outstanding performances and that the middle of this film is the most tense I’ve been in a theater in years.
“Once upon a time, before I came, you cried and cried and watched TV all day, until you were a zombie. But then I zoomed down from Heaven, through skylight, into Room. And I was kicking you from the inside. Boom boom! And then I shot out onto Rug with my eyes wide open, and you cut the cord and said, “Hello Jack!”” – Jack
47. Doubt (2008) – this film, directed by John Patrick Shanley, is an adaptation of the play, also written by Shanley. I saw the play, first. It was a gripping story that left the audience thinking about how they would have handled the depicted scenario and afraid of the danger of an accusation. The film also does that, but those aspects are actually overshadowed by the incredible acting of Meryl Streep, Amy Adams, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Viola Davis. They’re so good that it distracts a little from the issues. It sometimes feels that second time film director Shanley (his first film was the miserable Joe vs. the Volcano) forgot his actors are on a giant silver screen and not a small stage.
Amy has the toughest role in this great film. It is through her that our doubt is realized. She is trapped between two powerful and absolute figures – played by Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Watch her in this film and you will understand what a talented actress she is. Amy received her second Oscar nomination for this film.
“You just don’t like him! You don’t like it that he uses a ballpoint pen. You don’t like it that he takes 3 lumps of sugar in his tea. You don’t like it that he likes Frosty the Snowman and you are letting that convince you? Of something that’s terrible… Just terrible… Well, I like Frosty the Snowman!” – Sister James
46. The Third Man (1949) – Shot on location in Vienna, less than four years after the end of World War II, the bombed ravaged ruins of the great city set the most noir backdrop as the American and Russian presence in the city and the beginning of the cold war add the tones of paranoia. Loyal to the ideas of noir, the film refuses to provide a happy ending.
“What did you want me to do? Be reasonable. You didn’t expect me to give myself up… ‘It’s a far, far better thing that I do.‘ The old limelight. The fall of the curtain. Oh, Holly, you and I aren’t heroes. The world doesn’t make any heroes outside of your stories.” – Harry Lime
45. The Sound of Music (1965) – A true classic. Growing up as a kid in England, I saw this film once a year. It used to air on a holiday, although I can’t remember if it was Easter or New Years. Julia is wonderful as the governess of the von Trapp clan.
Visit Salzburg and take the Sound of Music tour that visits both the historical sites and the film locations.
“Knowing how nervous I must have been, a stranger in a new household, knowing how important it was for me to feel accepted. It was so kind and thoughtful of you to make my first moments here so warm and happy and… pleasant.” – Maria
44. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) – I remember every moment of going to the cinema to see E.T., when I was ten years old. This wonderfully imaginative adventure, seen from the eyes of a child was like magic. I had to have everything E.T. – E.T. sticker books, an E.T.pen case, any magazine with a picture of E.T. Spielberg so perfectly channeled his inner child in making this movie.
“He needs to go home; he’s calling his people. And I don’t know where they are, but he needs to go home.” – Elliot
43. Children of Men (2006) – Director and writer Alfonso Cuaron brought this dystopian sci-fi film to life and assembled a fine cast that included Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Michael Caine. The story takes us to 2027 and a world wrecked by natural disasters and wars. Britain is a police state and there have been no successful pregnancies in eighteen years. The government cannot be depended upon and immigrants are put into cages. It’s a frightening world, made all the more frightening by how real it looks. We are, in 2017, at the chronological midpoint between when the film was released and the year in which it is set, and we scarely look to be moving in the film’s direction.
“I can’t really remember when I last had any hope, and I certainly can’t remember when anyone else did either. Because really, since women stopped being able to have babies, what’s left to hope for?” – Theodore Faron
42. Dr. No (1962) – The first Bond film. The formula is not yet established, so this film is more detective story than gadget extravaganza, but the first tradition is established – the Bond girl – and it’s Ursula Andress, the best of the best.
“Bond. James Bond.” – James Bond
41. Die Hard (1988) – One of the greatest movie villains of all time. Hans Gruber’s sneering tone and tailored suit balanced Bruce Willis’s New York detective, brilliantly.
“I am an exceptional thief, Mrs. McClane. And since I’m moving up to kidnapping, you should be more polite.” – Hans Gruber
40. The Silence of the Lambs (Winner 1991) – Nominated for 7 Oscars, won 5. Director Jonathan Demme takes what could have been a forgettable B movie and elevates it by making it smart, and none so smart as Hannibal Lector, simultaneously charming and creepy.
“You see a lot, Doctor. But are you strong enough to point that high-powered perception at yourself? What about it? Why don’t you – why don’t you look at yourself and write down what you see? Or maybe you’re afraid to.” – Clarice Starling
39. Casino Royale (2006) – Daniel Craig brought an edge to Bond that was always in the books, but often not on screen. He gave us a Bond that was believably a killer – a brute in couture. At the same time, he’s been the most vulnerable Bond. We see the wear and tear the job has on him.
Casino Royale brings together the elements of the perfect Bond story: great action scenes, exotic locales, and the world of luxury.
“Wait… three measures of Gordon’s; one of vodka; half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it over ice, and add a thin slice of lemon peel.” – James Bond
38. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) – Legendary western director John Ford and legendary western star John Wayne team up with Jimmy Stewart for a humorous and yet somber story of people trying to live with the sacrifice of another.
Stewart plays Ransom Stoddard, an east-coast lawyer, new to a frontier town that is under the thumb of a bully.
“Marshal, I was wrong the other day. But I was reading up on territorial law, and there it is, right there. Now, I’ll draw up the complaint, take care of all the legal details – but you *do* have jurisdiction. Says so right there. So next time he sets foot in this town, you’ll arrest him.” – Ransom Stoddard
37. The Reader (2008) – I went to the theatre to see this film three times and read the book immediately after. The story is told from the perspective of David Kross, a lawyer, who as a teenager had an affair with an older woman. Now matured (and played by Ralph Fiennes), he finds himself defending her in a post-World War II war crimes trial.
Winslet is brilliant in it, showing her willingness to totally discard her ego for the sake of an honest performance. I cried in the theater, watching this film.
“You don’t have the power to upset me. You don’t matter enough to upset me.” – Hanna
36. Paris, Texas (1984) – A different kind of Road Movie in that it’s not about a journey into the unknown, but about the journey home. We never really find out why the main character walked away from his life, but we enjoy watching him reacquire an appreciation for what he left.
“I wanted to see him so bad that I didn’t even dare imagine him anymore.” – Jane Henderson
35. Ex Machina (2015) – Smart. Different. Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, and Alicia Vikander all give excellent performances in this story about artificial intelligence that plays as many games with the minds of the viewers as with the characters.
“Isn’t it strange, to create something that hates you?” – Ava
34. Lawrence of Arabia (1962) – If you’re looking for a film to show off your big screen TV, this is it. It was beautifully shot in 70mm film, on location in the desert. The casting is great with Omar Sharif and O’Toole as the eccentric Lawrence.
“I killed two people. One was… yesterday? He was just a boy and I led him into quicksand. The other was… well, before Aqaba. I had to execute him with my pistol, and there was something about it that I didn’t like.” – T.E. Lawrence
33. There Will Be Blood (2007) – An epic story of an early oilman, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. Daniel Day-Lewis is completely captivating as a character that dominates his environment.
“Drainage! Drainage, Eli, you boy. Drained dry. I’m so sorry. Here, if you have a milkshake, and I have a milkshake, and I have a straw. There it is, that’s a straw, you see? Watch it. Now, my straw reaches acroooooooss the room and starts to drink your milkshake. I… drink… your… milkshake!” – Daniel Plainview
32. The Princess Bride (1987) – It’s INCONCEIVABLE that this isn’t one of your favorite movies. Goldman adapted his own book to give us this wonderful film.
“Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” – Inigo Montoya
31. The Apartment (1960) – Jack Lemmon plays “Bud” Baxter, an ordinary employee in the ordinary policy department of a major insurance company. He’s a drone. But he has a good apartment and has discovered he can curry favor with the bosses and clients by loaning out his apartment for the extramarital trysts of those bosses and clients. The conflict arises when he falls for an elevator operator (Shirley MacLaine) and discovers she is one of the women taken to his apartment by one of his bosses.
“Ya know, I used to live like Robinson Crusoe; I mean, shipwrecked among eight million people. And then one day I saw a footprint in the sand, and there you were.” — C.C. “Bud” Baxter
30. True Grit (2010) – When I first heard that the John Wayne film, True Grit, was being remade, I thought it was a pointless idea. But, the Coen brothers didn’t remake that film, they went back to the source novel and reinterpreted it. In this one, even with a star like Jeff Bridges and supporting actors like Matt Damon and Josh Brolin, the real star is fourteen year old Hailee Steinfeld. This is a brilliant film, and one that makes every idiot that has been saying the western is dead, eat crow. Damon is hilarious as LaBoeuf, the alcoholic Texas Ranger, played by Glen Campbell in the 1969 film.
“You must pay for everything in this world, one way and another. There is nothing free except the grace of God.” – Mattie Ross
29. Jurassic Park (1993) – The adaptation of Michael Crichton’s wonderful novel is the most exciting take on the idea of man playing god and suffering the consequences, yet put on film. Steven Spielberg brilliantly takes on a fundamental sci-fi premise but inserts it into the ultimate popcorn action thriller.
“If I may… Um, I’ll tell you the problem with the scientific power that you’re using here, it didn’t require any discipline to attain it. You read what others had done and you took the next step. You didn’t earn the knowledge for yourselves, so you don’t take any responsibility for it. You stood on the shoulders of geniuses to accomplish something as fast as you could, and before you even knew what you had, you patented it, and packaged it, and slapped it on a plastic lunchbox, and now you’re selling it, you want to sell it.” – Dr. Ian Malcolm
28. Amadeus (1984) – Nominated for 11 Oscars, won 8. The life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart as seen through the eyes of a jealous rival. Tom Hulce is charming and roguish in the titular role and F. Murray Abraham seethes and chews scenery as Salieri. It goes without saying the score is wonderful. I love this film and watch it about once a year.
The soundtrack is performed by the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, conducted by Sir Neville Marriner. Key songs on the soundtrack: Requiem K.226, Symphony 25 in G Minor, and music from act 2 of Don Giovanni.
“On the page it looked nothing. The beginning simple, almost comic. Just a pulse – bassoons and basset horns – like a rusty squeezebox. Then suddenly – high above it – an oboe, a single note, hanging there unwavering, till a clarinet took over and sweetened it into a phrase of such delight! This was no composition by a performing monkey! This was a music I’d never heard. Filled with such longing, such unfulfillable longing, it had me trembling. It seemed to me that I was hearing the very voice of God.” – Salieri
27. Shane (1953) – Hollywood’s look at the range wars. Alan Ladd in the titular role plays a gunfighter trying to leave that part of his life behind him and start anew that is forced to take up the gun once more to defend homestead settlers against thugs.
At its simplest viewing, Shane is a white hat vs. black hat (with Jack Palance as the scary black hat), but there are layers of complexity behind that simple front.
“There’s no living with a killing.” – Shane
26. It Happened One Night (1934)- A true classic. Directed by Frank Capra and starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, this film cemented the “screwball” concept by depicting a series of misadventures as the leads travel together and slowly fall in love. It won the Oscars for best picture, best director, best writing, best actor, and best actress. It deserved them all. Sweet, light, goofy, and yet smart.
“You know, there’s nothing I like better than to meet a high-class mama that can snap ’em back at ya. ‘Cause the colder they are, the hotter they get. That’s what I always say. Yes, sir, when a cold mama gets hot, boy, how she sizzles. Ha, ha, ha, ha.” – Oscar Shapeley
25. Rear Window (1954) – In one of Alfred Hitchcock’s greatest films, Jimmy Stewart plays a man temporarily confined to a wheelchair and his apartment. Out of boredom he begins to spy through his window, on his neighbors. He believes he sees a murder, but no one will believe him. He becomes so obsessed he doesn’t even seem to notice that Grace Kelly is in his apartment.
“He killed a dog last night because the dog was scratching around in the garden. You know why? Because he had something buried in that garden that the dog scented.” – L.B. Jeffries
24. Schindler’s List (1993) – Nominated for 12 Oscars, won 7. A heartbreaking story. Stephen Spielberg’s most important work and the career making film for Liam Neeson tells the story of how a German businessman named Oskar Schindler saved over a thousand Jews from the concentration camps by employing them in his factory. The utter humiliation, depravity, and pure evil of the concentration camps is put on the big screen for the world to see.
“I could have got more out. I could have got more. I don’t know. If I’d just… I could have got more.” – Oskar Schindler
23. Stagecoach (1939)- This is the film that made John Wayne a star. He had had one chance at the A-list in a movie that failed and had spent a decade doing B-movies. But in John Ford’s Stagecoach, he showed he had the stuff to be a star.
Stagecoach is the archetype of the movie in which a group of very dissimilar people must come together to survive a great challenge. Wayne plays “The Ringo Kid” a fugitive intent on avenging the murder of his father and brother. Also on the stagecoach are a gunslinging gambler (played with mustache-twirling glee by John Carradine), a corrupt banker, a prostitute, an alcoholic doctor, a pregnant woman, a meek salesman, and a marshal.
Their journey takes them through hazardous Apache territory which provides a stunning action scene as the stagecoach is chased across the desert by a swarm of Apache warriors. The stunt work is impressive, including a stunt in which a character is dragged under a team of horses and down the length of the stagecoach. It is this stunt to which the famed scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark pays homage.
“Well, I guess you can’t break out of prison and into society in the same week.” – Ringo
22. A Christmas Carol (1984) – This telefilm has an outstanding cast and excellent production. George C. Scott plays Ebenezer Scrooge in this remarkably loyal version. There isn’t a line in this film I can’t recite.
“They are your children! They are the children of all who walk the earth unseen! Their names are Ignorance and Want! Beware of them! For upon their brow is written the word “doom!” They spell the downfall of you and all who deny their existence!” – Ghost of Christmas Present
21. Back to the Future (1985) – another time travel story, but the only comedy to make this list. It is the second entry for director Robert Zemeckis in this list. Back to the Future converted Michael J. Fox from a television star to a movie star.
Marty McFly (Fox) is accidentally sent back in time 30 years, where he inadvertently prevents his parents from getting together. In a rush against time, he must correct the mess he’s made and return home to 1985.
“If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88 miles per hour… you’re gonna see some serious shit.” – Dr. Emmett Brown
20. Airplane! (1980) – If you don’t think this is the funniest movie ever, well, I don’t know what to say to you. From Mrs. Cleaver jive-talking to “Bob never has a second cup of coffee at home” – it’s brilliance after brilliance.
“Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.” – Steve McCroskey
19. The Big Lebowski (1998) – The Coen brothers’ funniest film. There has never been an example of more perfect casting than Jeff Bridges as the Dude.
“This is a very complicated case, Maude. You know, a lotta ins, a lotta outs, a lotta what-have-yous. And, uh, a lotta strands to keep in my head, man. Lotta strands in old Duder’s head.” – The Dude
18. Love Actually (2003) – The film is a look at the subject of love in its many forms and a sign of its brilliance is that it can tell so many stories without losing any coherence. There is the story of the Prime Minister (Hugh Grant) that falls in love with his caterer (Martine McCutcheon), the story of the aging rocker (Bill Nighy) and his fraternal love for his manager (Gregor Fisher), the story of the young stepson of a recent widower (Liam Neeson) who has fallen in love with a classmate, the love of a tested marriage (Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman), and on and on.
One scene that involves a Joni Mitchell CD should have resulted in a best supporting actress Oscar for Emma Thompson. If you don’t feel her character’s pain, you have no heart.
“Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.” – the Prime Minister
17. Metropolis (1927) – If you haven’t seen Metropolis in the last six years, you haven’t seen Metropolis. The film has been thoroughly restored and thirty minutes of missing footage reinserted.
Metropolis is Fritz Lang’s take on the future. It is an absolute marvel of imagination and visualization – incredibly impressive for its time and little impressiveness is lost today. It’s a film so visually spectacular that it is a relief that it is a silent film, because the senses could not handle more input.
16. The Philadelphia Story (1940) – Katherine Hepburn so wanted to make this film that she bought the rights to the play and recruited the director (George Cukor) and co-stars Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant.
The film puts Hepburn’s character into a romantic quadrangle with Cary Grant as her ex-husband, Jimmy Stewart as a reporter sent to get the story on her family, and John Howard as the man she’s supposed to be marrying.
“I would sell my grandmother for a drink – and you know how I love my grandmother.” – Macaulay Conner
15. Vertigo (1958) – Alfred Hitchcock directed this masterpiece of screwing with the audience’s minds. Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak star in a story about obsession and misdirection.
“Here I was born, and there I died. It was only a moment for you; you took no notice.” – Madeleine
14. North by Northwest (1959) – Alfred Hitchcock puts Cary Grant through his paces in a espionage film that crosses the US.
Grant plays an advertising executive who, through a case of mistaken identity is pursued by agents from a mysterious organization.
This is the film in which I fell in love with Cary Grant. It was just a simple scene – Grant walks down some stairs – but he does it with such grace that it blew my mind.
“Not that I mind a slight case of abduction now and then, but I have tickets for the theater this evening, to a show I was looking forward to and I get, well, kind of *unreasonable* about things like that.” – Roger Thornhill
13. Jaws (1975) – I remember my father saying that he never thought a movie could be better than the book, until he saw Jaws. Jaws is the perfect horror film and the perfect example of man vs. nature – three men on a boat against an unstoppable force.
“Mr. Vaughn, what we are dealing with here is a perfect engine, an eating machine. It’s really a miracle of evolution. All this machine does is swim and eat and make little sharks, and that’s all. Now, why don’t you take a long, close look at this sign.” – Hooper
12. Seven Samurai (1954) – Toshiro Mifune stars in Akira Kurasawa’s masterpiece that is often cited as one of the most influential films of all time. It’s hard to find an action movie, particularly one with battle scenes, that isn’t somewhat derivative of Seven Samurai.
“What’s the use of worrying about your beard when your head’s about to be taken?” – Gisaku
11. Henry V (1989) – My favorite film, period. I’ve watched this film more than 50 times. As a high school kid, I was awed when I first saw it. As a Brit, I was inspired. As a budding writer, I was humbled. I was awed not just at Shakespeare’s brilliance but at Kenneth Branagh’s talent. Just 34 years old and he was adapting, directing, and starring in such a challenging project.
Branagh took Shakespeare’s words out onto the muddy, blood-caked fields and surrounded himself with great talent such as Derek Jacobi, Ian Holm, Brian Blessed, Paul Scofield, Judi Dench, and Emma Thompson. Just perfect.
“For there is none of you so mean and base, That hath not noble lustre in your eyes. I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips, Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot: Follow your spirit, and upon this charge Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!‘” – King Henry V
10. Apollo 13 (1995) – Of course this had to make my list. It is the best space movie to date. It takes some work to make a story that everyone knows the ending to be suspenseful – but Director Ron Howard pulls it off. Hanks is believable playing astronaut Jim Lovell. A great film.
“Houston, we have a problem.” – Jim Lovell
9. 12 Angry Men (1957) – Only the first minute or so of the film is spent in the courtroom. The rest is spent in the jury chamber as the twelve jurors revisit the testimonies and evidence they’ve heard. 12 Angry Men was the first feature film directed by Sidney Lumet, but he shows a mastery of technique. The lens and camera angles are adjusted throughout the film to create a greater and greater sense of claustrophobia as the jurors become more frustrated.
It’s the hottest day of the year and these men just want to go home. Eleven of the twelve believe it is an open and shut case and are ready to reach a verdict of guilty, but one juror – juror #8, played by Henry Fonda – feels he has reasonable doubt. 12 Angry Men is a lesson in civics and our legal system. The first time I saw it I found some parts unbelievable – and then I served on a jury and found it to be truth.
“I can talk like that to you! If you want to vote “not guilty”, then do it because you are convinced the man is not guilty, not because you’ve “had enough”. And if you think he is guilty, then vote that way! Or don’t you have the guts to do what you think is right?” – Juror #11
8. Unforgiven (Winner 1993) – Nominated for 9 Oscars, won 4. Unforgiven is Clint Eastwood’s elegy to the western and his bookend to his career in westerns. He was 62 when he directed and starred in Unforgiven. He plays a former gunslinger named William Munny. He has long been settled down and away from that life. He married and had children and he has become a hog farmer. He is widowed and just trying to live out his days in peace, when he is lured back into a violent world.
Unforgiven is its own story – well crafted and independent. The film respectfully illustrates the difference between truth and legend, as Munny tries to live down the mythology that grew about his younger self – the mythology that many earlier westerns were built around. Unforgiven manages to both dispel and live up to that mythology.
“It’s a hell of a thing, killin’ a man. Take away all he’s got, and all he’s ever gonna have.” – William Munny
7. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) – A near perfect movie, even its flaws make it more charming. Steven Spielberg and George Lucas teamed up to bring us this film, inspired by the serials of the 1930s. It’s the story of an adventurous archaeologist and his former love fighting Nazis for the Ark of the Covenant, in the pre-war years. For diversity purposes, I’m not listing Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, although I often enjoy it more than Raiders.
“It’s not the years, honey, it’s the mileage.” – Indiana Jones
6. The Incredibles (2004) – Pixar’s masterpiece is the best Fantastic Four film possible. I posit that it is Pixar’s best film, by far. Brad Bird directed a nostalgic yet occasionally satiric love letter to the comicbook. It is smart, funny, warmhearted, inspiring and exhilarating – everything a super hero film should be
“Settle down, are you kidding? I’m at the top of my game! I’m right up there with the big dogs! Girls, come on. Leave the saving of the world to the men? I don’t think so.” – Elastigirl
5. The Searchers (1956) – New York Magazine referred to The Searchers as the most influential film in the history of film. The Searchers was the ninth collaboration of director John Ford and actor John Wayne. It is based on the novel by Alan Le May, which, in turn, was based on the real historical Parker massacre and capture of Cynthia Parker by Comanche Indians.
Wayne is compelling as Ethan Edwards, the uncle of a missing girl. He undertakes a years long search for his niece. His character hates the Comanche. He is unrepentantly racist towards them – hating them so much that he sees his mission as to find his niece and mercifully kill her because she will have been corrupted by the Indians.
“I don’t believe in surrenders. Nope, I’ve still got my saber, Reverend. Didn’t beat it into no plowshare, neither.” – Ethan Edwards
4. Saving Private Ryan (1998) – Spielberg and Hanks at their best in a story about a squad traveling deep into occupied territory to retrieve a single soldier. The 24 minute scene of the men coming ashore during D-Day is searing. This is not just the greatest World War II film, but a great film by any measurement. Hanks received his fourth Best Actor nomination for this film.
“I don’t gripe to you, Reiben. I’m a captain. There’s a chain of command. Gripes go up, not down. Always up. You gripe to me, I gripe to my superior officer, so on, so on, and so on. I don’t gripe to you. I don’t gripe in front of you. You should know that as a Ranger.” – Captain Miller
3. Double Indemnity (1944) – Director Billy Wilder and writer Raymond Chandler spin a web of manipulation in which a woman (Barbara Stanwyck) seduces an insurance salesman (Fred MacMurray) into killing her husband. This is one of the iconic themes of noir – a weak man surrenders to temptation.
“Yes, I killed him. I killed him for money – and a woman – and I didn’t get the money and I didn’t get the woman. Pretty, isn’t it?” – Walter Neff
2. Citizen Kane (1941) – Does one even need to explain the presence of Citizen Kane on a greatest films list? Orson Welles did things with this film that no one had thought of before and thousands have copied since. Citizen Kane is a revolution and revelation.
“Don’t worry about me, Gettys! Don’t worry about me! I’m Charles Foster Kane! I’m no cheap, crooked politician, trying to save himself from the consequences of his crimes!” – Charles Foster Kane
1. Casablanca (1943) – Nominated for 8 Oscars, won 3. Irrevocably attached to a period of time, and yet utterly timeless. Casablanca is superbly crafted. Every line of dialogue feels essential and right. Bogart, Bergman, and Raines are at their best.
“Last night we said a great many things. You said I was to do the thinking for both of us. Well, I’ve done a lot of it since then, and it all adds up to one thing: you’re getting on that plane with Victor where you belong.” – Rick