Best movies (add yours)

As I’m off for a while, I thought I’d leave with a post that can get readers involved in a mutually beneficial way. I’m speaking of a list of favorite movies.  I’ve given below my twenty all-time favorites, and since I’ve seen a lot of movies let me just call these the “best movies”.

And yes, I know this isn’t about biology or atheism or cats.  And I also know that many of you will take issue with these choices, and argue that better movies were left out.  I plead that this list is of course subjective, and also constructed this morning from memory.

To point us all to good films, do post your own list of five (or more) of your favorite movies, highlighting your all-time favorite with a few words. When I return I’ll send an autographed paperback of WEIT to the commenter who provides the best list (which of course includes a good blurb for the top movie).

For each movie I’ve added a link to the group of reviews at Rotten Tomatoes, my favorite movie-rating site.

The Last Picture Show. My all-time favorite, a haunting black-and-white essay, at once hilarious and ineffably sad, on our loneliness and failure to connect with others. It’s set in the oil town of Archer City, Texas (called “Anarene”) in the 1950s, and has an all-star cast—before many of them became stars.  I’ve put below a YouTube clip of my favorite scene, Sam the Lion’s (Ben Johnson’s) soliloquy. Shoot me for saying this, but I find the scene the emotional equal of anything in Shakespeare.  Because of this movie I made a pilgrimage to Archer City in 1972, and found it exactly as it was in the movie.

The Passion of Joan of Arc. The only silent movie on this list, and the best silent movie of all time.  Maria Falconetti gives a fantastic performance of Joan during her trial and execution.  You won’t believe that a movie without sound can be this good.

Chinatown My favorite film noir, a wonderful interaction between Jack Nicholson, who plays a detective, and director Roman Polanski.  This is the kind of movie that makes you feel really unsettled as you leave the theater.

Wings of Desire Wim Wender’s masterpiece.  Angels hover over post-war Berlin, listening to the thoughts of its inhabitants and sometimes falling in love with them.

The Best Years of Our Lives. This was a “popular” movie, made to entertain Americans after WWII.  But it far transcends entertainment. It’s a gripping story of three veterans as they return from the war and try to put their lives together.  Harold Russell, a genuine vet and non-actor, who lost his hands in the war, gives a stirring performance.

Aguirre, the Wrath of God. Klaus Kinski’s best performance in Werner Herzog’s twisted tale of a group of conquistadors, led by a madman, trying to find the city of El Dorado.

Make Way for Tomorrow (1937).   You won’t have heard of this movie, for it’s simply been forgotten. I was put 0nto it by my film-maven nephew after telling him how much I liked Tokyo Story (see below). Like that movie, it’s a meditation on age—specifically, the rejection of aging parents by their children.  Parts of it seem a bit cheesy now, but it will still break your heart.  There are no reviews at Rotten Tomatoes, so I’ve linked to Roger Ebert’s review.

Tokyo Story, Late Spring, Early Spring, and Late Autumn. If you haven’t heard of director Yasujiro Ozu, you’re in for a treat.  These four movies are, I think, his best.  They’re slow moving essays on family life in postwar Japan, and not for fans of quick-cut, fast-paced plots. Tokyo Story, which deals with the relationship between aging parents and their children, may be (along with Ikiru) the best foreign film ever.

Lawrence of Arabia. The best Hollywood blockbuster of all time. Great acting (especially by Peter O’Toole, who was born for the part), great photography, great story.

On the Waterfront. Elia Kazan and Marlon Brando.  Enough said. (Oh, and it was a tough choice between this movie and the other great film of this duo, A Streetcar Named Desire.)

The Wizard of Oz. Any list of best movies that leaves this out is deficient.  Have you seen it lately? This is the only movie on the list that’s a masterpiece for both children and adults.

The Godfather Parts I and II. We all know that Part III sucked, but Part II is the best sequel ever made (unless you consider Ozu’s movies as sequels).  I still consider Part I the best, but others disagree.

Y Tu Mama Tambien.  Loosely translated as “So’s Your Momma,” this is a Mexican film directed by Alfonso Cuarón. It’s the only coming-of-age movie on this list (I suppose The Last Picture Show might qualify) but it’s more than that.  It’s a depiction of class differences in modern Mexico, set within a comedy that includes a tragedy.  Oh, and it’s the most erotic movie here.

Ikiru. I’ve seen all of Kurosawa’s “epic” films, but this, an early black-and-white movie, is far better—perhaps the best foreign film ever made. It’s about a Japanese bureaucrat who finds meaning in life only after discovering he has terminal cancer.  Unless you have no feelings, it will make you cry.  The last scene is unforgettable.

Here are two movies that don’t come up to the others as world-class films, but I love them nonetheless:

Comedy: Annie Hall. Outstrips by a huge margin all other movies by Woody Allen.  Every scene is a classic, and just thinking about them makes me smile.  The Marshall McLuhan scene, the lobster scene, the dinner scene from Alvy’s childhood contrasted with that from Annie’s—sheer comic genius.

Musical: Yankee Doodle Dandy. You didn’t know that Jimmy Cagney could dance? He could—brilliantly, and his singing, dancing, and acting skills all make for a high-energy story of the songwriter George M. Cohan. As a kid I used to watch this every fourth of July (like It’s a Wonderful Life, it was always shown on the appropriate holiday), and I still have to watch it whenever it’s on. (Singin’ in the Rain runs a close second).

I’ve left off some universally acclaimed movies because I either haven’t seen them (e.g., The Bicycle Thief) or I can’t evaluate them properly because there’s been too much hype (Citizen Kane).

Now, tell us what you like.

Finally, a scene from The Last Picture Show:

157 Comments

  1. Jeffrey Shallit
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    Local Hero: funny, touching, mysterious, wistful.

    • SteveO
      Posted June 3, 2010 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      Great studies of the American psyche.
      The Night of the Hunter (1955)
      Tender Mercies (1983)
      Lone Star (1996)
      Check the reviews.

      • John Sully
        Posted June 3, 2010 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

        Oh, “Lone Star”. A truly great film. In a similar vein, check out “Silver City”, a somewhat more humorous wade through the same swamps of the American psyche.

  2. Posted June 2, 2010 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Love and Death, 32 Short Films About Glenn Gould, Pollock, Just Another Love Story, Annie Hall, L’Annee Derniere a Marienbad, The Door in the Floor, Belly of an Architect, The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, A Zed & Two Noughts, Enduring Love.

  3. Kevin
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    Singin’ in the Rain.
    I just sent the Donald O’Connor “Make ‘em Laugh” segment to some friends. Awesome.

  4. Justin Wagner
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Some great ones in your list! I agree wholeheartedly with your inclusion of the Passion of Joan of Arc, Aguirre, Chinatown, Wings of Desire (although I prefer using the original German title, ‘Der Himmel über Berlin’), Make Way For Tomorrow, and Lawrence of Arabia.

    Some of my personal favorites are (sorry if my list is overly long):
    The Wages of Fear (Le salaire de la peur) by Henri-Georges Clouzot
    The Third Man by Carol Reed
    Last Year at Marienbad by Alain Resnais
    Hunger by Steve McQueen
    M by Fritz Lang
    Der Untergang by Oliver Hirschbiegel
    The 400 Blows by François Truffaut
    8 1/2 by Federico Fellini
    Grand Illusion by Jean Renoir
    The Rules of The Game by Jean Renoir
    Seven Samurai by Akira Kurosawa
    Yojimo by Akira Kurosawa
    Rashomon by Akira Kurosawa
    The Seventh Seal by Ingmar Bergman
    Wild Strawberries by Ingmar Bergman
    Fanny & Alexander by Ingmar Bergman
    Out of the Past by Jacques Tourneur
    Rope by Alfred Hitchcock
    The 39 Steps by Alfred Hitchcock
    The Lady Vanishes by Alfred Hitchcock
    Sleuth by Joseph Mankiewicz
    The Thing by John Carpenter
    Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead by Sidney Lumet
    Battleship Potemkin by Sergei Eisenstein
    Stalker by Andrei Tarkovsky
    Solaris by Andrei Tarkovsky
    Children of Men by Alfonso Cuarón
    The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari by Robert Wiene
    Days of Heaven by Terrence Malick
    A Prophet by Jacques Audiard

    Favorite Comedy: probably a tie between Amelie and In Bruges

    Favorite Musical: High Society by Charles Walters (I love Bing, Grace, Frank, and Louis)

  5. H.H.
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    In my opinion, Apocalypse Now is the greatest film of all time.

    “Charlie don’t surf!”

  6. Posted June 2, 2010 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Same time next year.

  7. Jane Shipley
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Blow-up
    Pleasantville (B&W to technicolor!)
    Almost anything by almost any French director
    Satyricon

  8. Posted June 2, 2010 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Did “The Godfather Part III” really suck? I thought it was merely Excellent compared to the previous Superlative films. Doesn’t bother me that Sofia Coppola was insecure and gawky: her character was insecure and gawky too. 8)

    Other great films:
    Spirited Away
    Heat
    Hana-Bi
    The Big Sleep
    Seven Samurai

    • gnome
      Posted June 3, 2010 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      People don’t like III because they don’t like how it ends. Michael’s life of crime didn’t pay, he lost everything he ever loved, and he ultimately died sad and alone. But that is the ‘right’ ending to the saga!

  9. Sili
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Don’t know many of those. And don’t watch all that many films anyway.

    As chance will have it, Yankee Doodle Dandy is about the only Cagney I’ve seen.

    You’ll have to excuse me, though, if I don’t rush out to fill the coffers of Polanski.

  10. Vytautas
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    No sci-fi? I would add Blade Runner to the list (either version).

  11. Yi
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Heat
    Forest Gump
    Doctor Zhivago (by David Lean)
    7
    Ed Wood

  12. Justin Wagner
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    I should add that, despite the recent supersaturation of the vampire genre with horrible teenage love-stories, I watched the Park Chan-wook vampire love-story entitled ‘Thirst’ on the weekend, and found it engrossing. A “must see” vampire flick, IMO.

  13. mk
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.

    Absolutely brilliant.

  14. Hempenstein
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    “The Wizard of Oz. Any list of best movies that leaves this out is deficient.”

    Agree! But similarly: Casablanca!!

  15. Philip
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Brazil by Gilliam

    Ikiru by Kurosawa

    Changeling by Eastwood
    I like Changeling because it gives such a sharp view of how hard life could be if your not one of the ones in charge of things. A woman’s anger and persistence in searching for her lost son are twisted by the cops who have her committed to a mental hospital, apparently a common occurrence in Los Angeles at the time.

  16. Kirth Gersen
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    “The Maltese Falcon.” Bogart nails it dead-on, with his almost savage, egomaniacal cunning, with a deep-seated code underlying his apparent cynisism. His final declaration of “don’t think I’m as crooked as I’m supposed to be” still sends shivers up my spine. And Greenstreet’s Gutman remains one of the creepiest villains ever.

    Runners-up:

    “Unforgiven” – Clint Eastwood deconstructs how much so-called “heroism” (as opposed to whisky) is really necessary to blow a bunch of people away.

    “The Last of the Mohicans” – Michael Mann’s directorial high point.

    “Airplane” – None of the jokes are individually that funny, but the barrage is relentless.

    “Bachelor Party” – Who can ever think of a mule the same way again?

  17. See Nick Overlook
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    “The Man from Laramie” 1955 dir. Anthony Mann. James Stewart, Arthur Kennedy. Euripides goes west.

    • Lurker111
      Posted June 2, 2010 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

      Reminds me of this terrible pun:

      Athens, early morning, shops have just opened. A man nervously carries a pair of trousers into a tailor’s shop and places them on the counter.

      The shopkeeper looks up in recognition and says, “Euripides?”

      The man nods his head in reply. “Eumenides?”

  18. G Felis
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Crimes & Misdemeanors – Woody Allen (1989)
    Simply amazing film about morality and rationalization and the meaning of life. Very roughly paraphrasing Roger Ebert’s review from when the movie was released, “This film is Woody Allen asking himself whether God exists – and answering, ‘No.'”

    The Lion in Winter – Anthony Harvey (1968)
    Peter O’Toole and Katherine Hepburn give performances that exceed all superlatives as Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Quoth Eleanor, neatly summarizing the plot, “Well, every family has their ups and downs.”

    And while you’re at it, why not watch a slightly younger Peter O’Toole as a much younger Henry II in Becket (1964), opposite Richard Burton in the title role. Plot summary from Henry: “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?”

  19. Posted June 2, 2010 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Casablanca must be on any best movie list.

    Although “Y tu mama tambien” might be translated “So’s your momma”, in the context of the film the literal translation “And your mama, too” is more correct. If I recall correctly, near the end of the film, one of the young protagonists is telling the other whom he has had sex with, and adds, “Y tu mama, tambien.”

    • Capita
      Posted June 2, 2010 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      Yes. And yes; but mother would be a better translation for mamá in this case. For a mama/momma translation, madre should have been used. Any Mexicans out there who disagree?

      • swences
        Posted June 3, 2010 at 1:40 am | Permalink

        I’m pretty certain that madre = mother

        and mama = mom

        So, “Y tu mama tambien” is most accurately translated as “And your mom, too”

        Oh, and I’m mexican…. but any others around here to confirm?

        • TheBlackCat
          Posted June 3, 2010 at 9:33 am | Permalink

          Yeah, mamá is the less formal version, but still valid.

  20. stvs
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Scarface. Oliver Stone should never have left writing.

    M. You’ll never be able to watch Peter Lorre in a John Huston film again.

    Jerry mentions Apocalypse Now above, which makes heavy use of Michael Herr’s essential Dispatches; Kubrick used Herr’s black joke “How can you shoot woman and children?! A: You don’t lead ‘em as much!” from Dispatches for Full Metal Jacket. Okay, and Dr. Strangelove.

    Miller’s Crossing or O Brother, Where Art Thou?. But not The Big Lebowski.

    Once Upon a Time in the West. Just great. The climax of Henry Fonda’s career.

    Sunset Boulevard. I always wanted a pool.

    Los Olvidados. Look for Buñuel’s statue of the mother caring for her infant above the abandoned child in the street .

    The Battle of Algiers. Puts the real in Italian neorealism. See also The Flowers of St. Francis to see what a great director can do with non-professional actors.

    Inglourious Basterds. His very best. Trivia: uses music from The Battle of Algiers.

    The Shop Around the Corner. Except at Christmas when you have to watch him over and over and over and over, who doesn’t love James Stewart?

    And of course:

    Viridiana. Most blasphemous film ever made runner-up #1.

    Life of Brian. Most blasphemous film ever made runner-up #2.

    There are several more in this category (which does not include that unmentionable film starring Tom Hanks), but the winner is …

    Mulholland Drive. The most blasphemous film ever made. And hardly anyone knows it.

    • Mike from Ottawa
      Posted June 2, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      “Life of Brian. Most blasphemous film ever made runner-up #2.”

      Doesn’t even qualify as blasphemous in my mind. Terrific movie.

      What is blasphemous is a best movies list that does not include Casablanca!

    • Stephen
      Posted June 2, 2010 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

      Personally, I thought Inglourious Basterds was B-grade crap. But opinions seem to differ dramatically on this one.

  21. Tveb
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    My list (in no particular order of preferences; in fact I’m not sure if I can order this particular selection due to problems with comparability:

    Ikiru (See above)

    Pather panchali/ Aparajito (of the Apu trilogy by Satyajit Ray): Simply brilliant film making by one of the greatest exponents of neo-realist cinema.

    The Godfather (Parts I and II): See above

    Fargo: Has almost everything; captures a mood perfectly; one of the most entertaining movies I have ever seen. A true American classic. As Roger Ebert memorably said “films like ‘Fargo’ are why I love the movies.”

    Annie Hall (see above), but I’m kinda partial to Woody Allen; So will also mention, among his other films, “Crimes and Misdemeanors,” Zelig, and the somewhat goofy “Manhattan Murder Mystery”

    The Departed: one of the more recent movies that I immensely enjoyed

    Psycho: enough has been written about this classic; also loved Vertigo.

    Waiting For Guffman: This is somewhat under-appreciated, but Christopher Guest and his crew were superb

    The Great Dictator and Modern Times: What can one say about Chaplin except that if/when this particular human civilization is destroyed I hope a future civilization finds his movies and watches them carefully

    8 1/2 [Otto e mezzo] (Fellni): One of my favorite dissertation years’ movies and also sentimental favorite for that reason along with

    The Shining and

    Barton Fink: (“I’ll show you the life of the mind”!!) another Coen brothers’ classic

  22. stvs
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    Scarface. Oliver Stone should never have left writing.

    M. You’ll never be able to watch Peter Lorre in a John Huston film again.

    Apocalypse Now is rightly mentioned above, which makes heavy use of Michael Herr’s essential Dispatches; Kubrick used Herr’s black joke “How can you shoot woman and children?! A: You don’t lead ‘em as much!” from Dispatches for Full Metal Jacket. Okay, and Dr. Strangelove.

    Miller’s Crossing or O Brother, Where Art Thou?. But not The Big Lebowski.

    Once Upon a Time in the West. Just great. The climax of Henry Fonda’s career.

    Sunset Boulevard. I always wanted a pool.

    Los Olvidados. Look for Buñuel’s statue of the mother caring for her infant above the abandoned child in the street .

    The Battle of Algiers. Puts the real in Italian neorealism. See also The Flowers of St. Francis to see what a great director can do with non-professional actors.

    Inglourious Basterds. His very best. Trivia: uses music from The Battle of Algiers.

    The Shop Around the Corner. Except at Christmas when you have to watch him over and over and over and over, who doesn’t love James Stewart?

    And of course:

    Viridiana. Most blasphemous film ever made runner-up #1.

    Life of Brian. Most blasphemous film ever made runner-up #2.

    There are several more in this category (which does not include that unmentionable film starring Tom Hanks), but the winner is …

    Mulholland Drive. The most blasphemous film ever made. And hardly anyone knows it.

    • JeffD
      Posted June 2, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

      I loved Mulholland Drive, in the way that many of David Lynch’s films have been simultaneously amazing, beautiful, frustrating, impenetrable, etc. But as I recall it, I wouldn’t call it blasphemous. Maybe obscene and outrageous in spots, but not blasphemous.

      • stvs
        Posted June 3, 2010 at 4:10 am | Permalink

        Mulholland Drive, as well as being an extraordinary film, is a puzzle film. The solution to the puzzle is an enormous blasphemy against Christianity.

        “Adam”, who catches his wife in bed with a man sporting a serpent tattoo and is thrown out of his garden-like home to “Cookies downtown” is the Biblical Adam, ejected from Eden, representing all mankind. Adam is returned to his home by a “judge” after he makes the choice demanded of him by a “Godfather”. The “Godfather” demands that Adam choose Jesus Christ, who is represented in a concealed fashion by many characters in the film: The Cowboy (Christ resurrected, who will return one more time if Adam does good, and twice on his horse in Revelation 19:21 if Adam does bad), Camilla Rhodes (whose initials are Chi Rho: Christ, ☧; her execution is botched and her missing body is missing from what should be her tomb), the Jesus look-alike Ed (executed for his “history of the world, in numbers”, i.e., the Bible), and Woody Katz. Lynch uses some pretty obvious symbolism—once you’ve put a few puzzle pieces together—to show that these all represent Jesus, and that the “Godfather” Castigliane brothers, the manager of “Havenhurst” (heaven) Coco Lenoix, Mr. Roque, and the Bum behind Winkies all represent God. Cynthia is the Virgin Mary. Diane/Betty represents Judas and all unbelievers—she arrives onscreen with the words “I can’t believe it!”

        Every single character of the film has clear allegorical representation within the Christian Gospel. Lynch’s Christian allegory in Mulholland Drive is profoundly blasphemous. Read the link above for more.

  23. Lauri Törmä
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    One of the best is Tuntematon sotilas/ The Unknown soldier. It’s based on novel written by Väinö Linna and the book was very different from other war books in 1954. In his book, Linna gives realistic picture about Continuation War against Russians and soldiers who fought for independence of Finland (he also fought there). The soldiers aren’t heroic war machines without fear but real people who are scared for they lives. This kind of picture of Finnish soldier was unheard of before The Unknown soldier. It is a anti-war movie with unforgettable characters and their different dialects. It also contains humour*. This movie is aired every Finland’s Independence Day and I watch it always.

    * Watch this little evolution vs creation debate in 5:10 : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8HxvOoo8HQ&feature=related

    The second movie is from my childhood. It is a comedy from 1960 called Pekka ja Pätkä neekereinä/Pekka and Pätkä as negros. It is slightly racist but I guess it reflects it’s own time. The story takes off when Pekka and Pätkä use some kind of job-choosing-machine, which tells them: ”You have great future as ‘negros’ ”. It’s not the best Pekka ja Pätkä movie, but I will remember it forever. They have to speak English but only thing they can say is ”yes box holirei”. Maybe not the best movie for eight-year-old: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6NrsS4BDs0&feature=related

    Coraline was great in 3D. I know it is a children’s movie but I found it scary and had nightmares after watching it. I fell out of bed.

    Muumi ja pyrstötähti/Comet in Moominland is a great movie for children and adults. Moomin cartoons are based on Tove Jansson’s comics which weren’t really for children: http://fox.naurunappula.com/nn/0/000/584/2730.jpg

    ”How can I be so thirsty even though…”
    ”… I’ve been drinking all night?”

    I really liked Inglorious bastards when I saw it.

    • Hempenstein
      Posted June 2, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for making me aware of Tuntematon sotilas/ The Unknown soldier – I’ll try to find it in the US. In the early 80’s I met two soldiers from the Winter War in the sauna at Haikko Spa outside Helsinki. They were very proud to show me their scars – it was a very moving encounter, I guess particularly since it was still the Cold War era then.

      BTW, in probably a completely different genre I recently saw Mies vailla menneisyyttä (The Man Without a Past) and enjoyed it very much. Is that a classic of any sort in Finland?

      • Lauri Törmä
        Posted June 3, 2010 at 7:34 am | Permalink

        I don’t know. I haven’t seen it but people talk a lot about Kaurismäki’s movies. Mies vailla menneisyyttä won the best manuscript in European Film Awards and was nominee in Oscar awards so it is at least famous here.

  24. Brian
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    The good, the bad, the ugly. Sergio Leone and Ennio Morricones masterpiece. L’estasia dell’oro and Il Triello scenes are amazing.

    Hable con ella. I love this Almodovar film. He’s probably the only director that can make you feel sorry for a guy who rapes a girl in a coma.

    Gallipoli. Historically incorrect Aussie movie, but still a good watch. Has a young Mel Gibson before he went to Hollywood.

    Terminator & Terminator II. Loved ‘em. Terminator II is the best sequel I’ve seen.

    There’s heaps more movies I love, but half have probably been said and the other half probably aren’t that good but I like ‘em for whatever reason.

  25. Plob218
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    1) Lawrence of Arabia
    David Lean’s masterpiece and the epitome of pre-CGI epic filmmaking. Among its many superlative-worthy traits: the vast desert landscapes, masterful jump cuts, complex characters, bombastic score, and superb acting. When I say that the film is miraculous, please understand that I mean it in a strictly secular way (i.e., hours of hard work from hundreds of cast and crew members).
    2) Seven Samurai
    3) Fargo
    4) North by Northwest
    5) The Shawshank Redemption

  26. salon_1928
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Excellent topic! It would take me a while to come up with a top-25. Here’s my current top-5 from my facebook page (I mix it up every month or so):

    Dr. Strangelove (Director: Stanley Kubrick)
    In the Mood for Love (Director: Wong Kar Wai)
    The Passion of Joan of Arc (Director: Carl Theodor Dreyer)
    The Darjeeling Limited (Director: Wes Anderson)
    The Seventh Seal (Director: Ingmar Bergman)

  27. George
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Jerry said that this isn’t about religion, but coincidently my favourite movie, The Mosquito Coast, doesn’t think too highly of religion.

    See here:

  28. JBlilie
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    A bunch of my favorites (making no claims of “importance” or “classic” status) in no particular order or genre:

    Gallipoli
    Breaker Morant
    Godfather II
    Forrest Gump
    The Sting
    The Color of Money
    Tess (The cinematography!)
    Seven Samurai
    Sweet Land
    Apocalypse Now
    Latcho Drom (Gypsies)
    Michael Clayton
    Three Kings
    Slumdog Millionaire
    The Cider House Rules
    The BBC Series Planet Earth (Especially the opening sequence to the Caves episode.)
    The Bucket List
    All Quiet on the Western Front
    Das Boot
    Terminator 2 (Best sequel)
    Catch Me If You Can
    The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
    Richard III (the Ian McKellan version)
    Henry V (Brannagh)
    Pride and Prejudice (2006 Keira Knightly version, surprisingly)
    Lawrence of Arabia (Maybe my No. 1)
    Dr. Zhivago (David Lean version. The later one is good too; but I love Lean’s movies)
    The Sound of Music
    The Wizard of Oz

    Comedy:
    Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
    Young Einstein
    Trading Places (It’s aged well)
    Big
    The Gods Must Be Crazy
    Love Actually

    The above are the movies I keep watching again and again.

  29. Parnell
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    The Scottish character-based comedies of Bill Forsyth: Gregory’s Girl, Comfort and Joy and Local Hero.

    Jean de Florette and Manon of the Spring

    THE BBC/PBS mini-series A Town Like Alice — perhaps the best mini-series ever.

    David Attenborough’s series: The Private Life of Plants

    John Huston’s film version of Joyce’s The Dead

    Lost in America (particularly apt in the current environment)

    Jonathan Miller’s Rough History of Disbelief

    Ingmar Bergman’s Shame, Scenes From a Marriage, The Seventh Seal, Fanny and Alexander

    Soldier of Orange

    The Navigator: A Mediaeval Odyssey

    The original Bedazzled with Peter Cook and Dudley Moore

    Breaking Away

    Hope and Glory

    The Great Escape

    Shoah

    Sorrow and the Pity

    The Dresser

    The BBC’s Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth

    Shakespeare in Love

    Knife in the Water

    The Princess Bride

    Robin and Marian (Sean Connery, Audrey Hepburn)

    Searching for Bobby Fischer

    The Man Who Would Be King

    Topsy-Turvy

    Wrestling Ernest Hemingway

    Walkabout

    Mona Lisa (Bob Hopkins, Michael Caine)

  30. tdd
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    What, no love for “Expelled”

  31. Jonathan Smith
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    ZULU is a 1964 historical war film depicting the Battle of Rorke’s Drift between the British Army and the Zulus in January 1879, during the Anglo-Zulu War.

  32. JeffD
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    My favorites lists are probably as long as JBlilie’s and Justin Wagner’s. And many of my favorites, including Wings of Desire, Singin’ in the Rain, and The Thing (1982) have been mentioned.

    But here are twelve (with two tied as the 11th and 12th), not necessarily my top picks.

    The Magnificent Ambersons (1943). Even in its mangled, truncated form (we’ll never know what the complete film might have been), one of the best “period films,” pregnant with nostalgia (William Bayer wrote that by the time the film ends, we are nostalgic for its beginning). Perhaps the only Welles-directed film in which he does not appear as an actor (His narration is wonderful).

    The Seven Samurai (1954).

    The Man in the White Suit (1951). My favorite of the Ealing Studios comedies with Alec Guiness, and arguably a very good “science fiction” film as well as satire.

    2001: A Space Odyssey (1968).

    Sunrise (1927). No silent film can push my “transcendence” buttons like this one does. Don’t ask me why.

    The Searchers (1956). The best western ever directed by John Ford . . . or by anyone else, and John Wayne’s best performance. John Milius once said in an interview that Ford and Wayne managed to sum up the entire essental American character (good and bad) in the character of Ethan Edwards.

    People Will Talk (1951). A small-scale, literate comedy-drama written and directed by Joe Mankewicz at the height of the McCarthy-HUAC era. People didn’t really speak the sophisticated dialogue that Mankewicz wrote here, but I don’t care. This is as good a paean to “liberal secular humanist” values as any picture turned out by Hollywood in the last 60 years.

    I Know Where I’m Going (1945). A great romantic drama, for grown-ups, from Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger.

    The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938). Much as I liked the new Ridley Scott film with Russell Crowe, this version, in resplendent Technicolor with Korngold’s Oscar-winning score, is still my favorite mishmash retelling of the tale(s).

    The Changeling (1973). I am one rationalist / methodological naturalist who loves horror films when they are done well, and subtly, and this movie (with George C. Scott, directed by Peter Medak) is for my money the most effective “ghost story” ever put on film.

    Duck Soup (1933) and A Night at the Opera (1939). (A tie). Because the Marx Brothers couldn’t be beat when they started with a good script.

  33. TGC
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Second “Best Years Of Our Lives”. Absolutely sterling performances by all and brilliant directing by William Wyler. My dad, a foot soldier in Patton’s 3rd Army, cried when he saw this the first time, and my father never cried about anything. Another second for “Local Hero”, a lost jewel.

    Dodsworth (1936). William Wyler again
    Forbidden Planet (1956)

  34. Posted June 2, 2010 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    The Fall.

  35. Dave
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Dr. Coyne (and everyone) — Make sure you see “The Fall.” It’s visually stunning with a great story; it has amazing landscapes and costumes; and Charles Darwin is one of the characters.

  36. MoonShark
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Ying Xiong, aka Jet Li’s Hero, about a nameless assassin on a plot to kill the emperor.

    Violence, calligraphy, choreography, and colorful scenery, and Rashomon-style flashbacks blend to create a layered allegory and tell a paradoxical story.

    Much love for Dr. Strangelove, Fight Club, 2001: A Space Odysse, and others too.

  37. Posted June 2, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    Dr Strangelove – I’m amazed that it took until #26 to get to it.

    Lone Star.

    Little Dorritt; dir. Christine Edzard.

    Holiday – Hepburn and Grant, and Edward Everett Horton and Lew Ayres.

    —-

    Those very long lists a few people are doing? I just skip them. Be selective. Your 500 favorites isn’t a useful list. Just saying.

    • mk
      Posted June 2, 2010 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

      No, not really amazing at all.

    • mk
      Posted June 3, 2010 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      And keep the silly little scolding to yourself. Nobody asked.

  38. littlejohn
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    Don’t you folks have a sense of humor? I want a movie that makes me laugh, not think.
    Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Airplane!, The Naked Gun, The Producers (not the remake), Bananas, Take the Money and Run, The Hangover.

    • Kirth Gersen
      Posted June 3, 2010 at 8:52 am | Permalink

      I already beat you to “Airplane!”
      And you missed “Bachelor Party”!

  39. SeanK
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    Gattaca (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119177/)

    One of my favourite science fiction films ever made. It’s a near-future scenario that deals with genetic prejudice, where people are discriminated against based on their genes.

    Imagine being turned down for a job, even if you’re extremely qualified, for no other reason than having ‘inferior’ genes.

    I think the plot of this movie is becoming even more relevant today than when it was made in 1997 as we enter an age where we can have our genes sequenced, and even begin to alter an embryo’s genes to make ‘perfect’ babies.

    If you haven’t seen Gattaca yet, check it out!

  40. Michelle B
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Some that I have not seen mentioned:

    Amacord (Fellini)

    Closely Watched Trains (Menzel) A Czech coming of age film that is starkly poignant

    Excalibur (Boorman)

    Frenzy (Hitchcock)

    A Man and a Woman (Lelouch)

    Raising Arizona (Coen Brothers)

    Gone with the Wind (Fleming)

    Alien (Ridley Scott)

    Arsenic and Old Lace (Capra)

    Taxi Driver (Scorsese)

    Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Blake Edwards)

    Cheri (Stephen Frears)

    Barry Lyndon (Kubrick)

    Any good movie is a favorite of mine.

  41. salon_1928
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Jerry,

    I missed something in your post…

    Watch The Bicycle Theif when you get the chance. It’s a beautiful film in many ways and one of the greatest ever…

    • salon_1928
      Posted June 2, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      Egads – bad typo…

  42. Tim
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    Network (1976)
    Beale’s speech about news media (and television in general) being in the “boredome killing business” and Ned Beatty’s corporate cosmology rant are more horrifying than any psycho posturing by Hannibal Lecter.

    Lonely Are the Brave (1967)
    Kirk Douglas in fine form as a cowboy lost in modernity.

    Frankenstein Conquers the World (1965) Nick Adams does science as a 50 ft. Frankenstein fights a flop-eared, chicken eating dinosaur. ‘Nuff said.

    The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1974) Harryhausen’s most evenly paced, authentic Sinbad film. The six-armed dancing godess is just is a truimph of fantasy filmmaking.

    Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978)
    Sellers in his “Godfather” disguise is worth the price of admission. But watching Herbert Lom try to deliver Clouseau’s eulogy with a straight face is the highlight.

  43. fyreflye
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    Citizen Kane
    King Kong (original)
    Seven Samurai
    Breathless
    When Harry Met Sally
    L’Avventura
    Groundhog Day
    Chinatown
    Godfather 1 & 2
    Bicycle Thief
    This Is Spinal Tap
    Intolerance
    Vertigo
    Star Wars (the original)
    Synechdoche, NY
    The Lady Eve
    Fargo
    Tokyo Story
    Contempt
    The Conversation

    • salon_1928
      Posted June 2, 2010 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

      “Synechdoche, NY”

      Good pick – a film that’s still messing with my head…

  44. fyreflye
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    How did I manage to forget THE BIG LEBOWSKI!!!!???

    • Posted June 2, 2010 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

      By doing too many!

      • fyreflye
        Posted June 3, 2010 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

        I thought I was rather concise. I mean, I could have listed twenty more.
        For instance:

        The Rules of the Game
        Dr Strangelove
        Weekend
        Apocalypse Now (Director’s cut)
        Two or Three Things I Know About Her
        The Manchurian Candidate (original)
        Best in Show
        The Palm Beach Story
        North by Northwest
        Jules et Jim
        Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
        The Third Man
        Touch of Evil
        Grand Illusion
        Ghost World
        Alphaville
        Pierrot le Fou
        The General
        La Chinoise
        The Gold Rush

  45. Darek
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Quite a number of great films listed here, but come now, 47 comments long and no mention of Jean-Luc Godard? For shame!

    A few films I adore:

    Metropolis, Lang
    Breathless, Godard
    Contempt, Godard
    Masculin Feminin, Godard
    Pierrot le Fou, Godard
    Le Circle Rouge, Melville
    Kameradshcaft, Pabst
    Face of Another, Teshigahara
    Ace in the Hole, Wilder
    Paths of Glory, Kubrik
    Network, Lumet
    Taxi Driver, Scorsese

    I’ll stop… there’s too many to name.

    • Thom
      Posted June 2, 2010 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

      I absolutely adore Breathless. Did not much care for le Fou however. Later Godard doesn’t do much for me. Weekend was… a bit much, I think, in spite of a fantastic opening tracking shot. Melville’s Le Samourai was way too cool. By far my favorite Alain Delon movie.

  46. Hempenstein
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    Any quotes by memory and thus approximate.

    First, the G rated group:

    King Kong (1933; perhaps best closing line ever, on which the entire movie may well have been crafted – “It wasn’t the planes, it was beauty that killed the beast.”)

    Harvey (Dr Chumley: Get a grip on reality man! Dowd: “Well, it’s interesting you should mention that doc, I’ve struggled with that for years and I’m happy to say I finally won.”)

    Harry & the Hendersons: After Oz & King Kong, the next movie you can take the kids to and enjoy yourself. And after that:

    My Cousin Vinny

    And also for the kids – the best comedy short ever:

    The Piano (Laurel & Hardy)

    But their education will not be complete without seeing some Buster Keaton, too. My favorite is The Scarecrow.

    Serious group:

    Schindler’s List: Of course for the whole story, and cinematography, but also the scene where Schindler gets thrown in jail for kissing a Jewish girl. His cellmate asks, “Did your dick fall off?” A retort that makes itself useful quite often.

    Fanny & Alexander: My Bergman pick

    Citizen Kane: And it’s twice as good once you know the significance of Rosebud: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art36384.asp altho Gore Vidal offers an alternate explanation (see Wikipedia).

    Sunset Boulevard

    The End of August at the Hotel Ozone: (Czech, ~1966) For post-apocalyptical, it has The Road beat by many kilometers.

    My essential Bogarts:
    Casablanca, as already noted

    Key Largo (Bogie: What is it you want, Rocco? Rocco: I – I don’t know, soldier. B: I’ll tell you what you want, Rocco, you want more. Rocco: Yeah, that’s it soldier, more, yeah, MORE!)

    Big Sleep: (early scene, Gen’l Sternwood: At my age I am forced to indulge my vices by proxy.

    African Queen (if you ever watch Rooster Cogburn, note the many identical plot elements, and with Katharine Hepburn to boot! How did she let that happen?)

    Neo Bogart, dark heroes:
    Chinatown
    Raiders of the Lost Ark
    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – just as good as the book, which you should read first, and perhaps again afterward too.

    Not sure what to call this pair but they seem to belong together:
    Forrest Gump
    Fried Green Tomatoes

    And for documentaries:
    One Man’s Wilderness, an Alaskan Odyssey. Filmed, acted and directed by the same person, Dick Proennekke, it stands out to the extent that it is the first hit on Googling: man cabin Alaska

  47. Ned
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    Some underrated movies:

    Animal House
    My Favorite Year
    Quiz Show
    Body Heat
    In the Loop
    Downfall

  48. Posted June 2, 2010 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    Another classic – The Apartment. Billy Wilder.

  49. Stephen
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    Brazil
    The Wild Bunch
    Man Bites Dog
    Das Boot
    Taxi Driver
    Raise the Red Lantern
    Barton Fink
    There Will Be Blood
    Blade Runner
    Alien
    Glengarry Glen Ross

    … to name a few

  50. Chris
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    Don’t forget Bogey’s ‘To Have and Have Not.’ Similar to but better than Casablanca, imo, which is also great, of course. Lots of sharp banter/innuendo between him and Bacall – her first film; they had an affair on set (she was 19) and were married shortly thereafter.

  51. Thom
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    The Third Man, my favorite film noir. And The Adventures of Robin Hood, with Errol Flynn, a movie that makes me happy no matter what sort of mood I’m in.

    • Thom
      Posted June 2, 2010 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

      and anything Richard Linklater! Before Sunrise/Before Sunset are my favorite romantic movie(s). On that list I’d also include David Gordon Green’s All the Real Girls. And maybe High Fidelity, yes.

      • Thom
        Posted June 2, 2010 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

        And my final few to round off my list: my favorite horror movie of all time would be Nick Roeg’s Don’t Look Now, about the horrors of superstition and not being able to let go of the past. It also has wonderful photography of Venice.

        My favorite westerns include -Sergio Corbucci’s The Great Silence, gorgeously shot in the snow and co-starring Klaus Kinski – and Rio Bravo, (simultaneously my favorite John Wayne and Howard Hawks movie) which can be best described as hanging out in the not-quite-yet post-modern Old West with your best friends.

  52. Posted June 2, 2010 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951 of course, Keanu should have played Gort in the remake)
    The conclusion (live in peace or we’ll crisp you) is fascistic, but the theme, made as it was in the depths of the cold war, and the SFX (zipper and all) are fantastic. Klaatu barada nikto!

    Forbidden Planet (1956 of course, Keanu should play Robbie in the remake)

    • Posted June 2, 2010 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

      The Rocky Horror Picture Show
      Brokeback Mountain
      Bride of Frankenstein and its tribute movie, Gods and Monsters
      Kinsey
      Milk
      Bent
      (You may start to discern a theme here)

      • Posted June 2, 2010 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

        Logan’s Run (Best of the “escape from the hermetic dystopia” genre; The Island, THX 1138, City of Ember – though that’s pretty good)

  53. sasqwatch
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

    Other sick comedies: Orgazmo, Baseketball, Top Secret, Amazon Women on the Moon…

    A few Gilliams not yet mentioned: “12 Monkeys”, “Adv. of Baron von Munchausen”, “Tideland”

    From a different plane of existence altogether: Eraserhead, Un Chien Andalou, Fando y Lis, Holy Mountain… anything else by Jodorowski especially including:

    A Jodorowski film that must have been made under less psychedelic influence than his others: “The Rainbow Thief”. Excellent Omar Sharif and Peter O’Toole.

    More O’Toole: The Ruling Class

    More mockumentary: The Rutles

    Favorite foreign: “Gabbeh”, “The Tin Drum”, “Yol”

    …and quirky, bizarre and ages very strangely: “Space is the Place”…

    Spoken word: Swimming to Cambodia

    Musically-themed: Tom Wait’s “Big Time”, Stop Making Sense, Home of the Brave

    Political intrigue: “The Manchurian Candidate” (older version), “The Conversation”, “A Year of Living Dangerously”

    I’ll stop now.

  54. Stephen
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    Another foreign one I haven’t seen mentioned …

    Come and See (Russian war movie)

  55. Dan
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    A few of my favorites:

    Grave of the Fireflies (1988): I can’t think of any movie that better portrays the meaningless suffering that war causes. The fact that it does it in such a matter-of-fact way without overt moral preaching is what makes it so effective. This movie was what first really made me realize that war should never be glorified, no matter how just the cause may be.

    Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (1985): I’ll admit, this movie may only work if you saw it when you were younger. It’s great at evoking emotions from kids – the wonder when you first see Pee Wee’s bike, all the really frightening imagery. Watching it as an adult, it’s fun to notice the difference in your own reactions – realizing that all the naive things Pee Wee does seem totally reasonable to a child (the scene where he unquestioningly believes a fortune teller is classic).

    Groundhog Day (1993): It’s really enjoyable to see the progression in the way Bill Murray decides to live the same day over and over again. Even though the premise is unrealistic, it’s something you can relate to if you consider how you would probably react in a similar situation.

    Primer (2004): A time travel movie that skips the normal science fiction movie gimmicks, concentrating on the sort of day-to-day complications – how the protagonists avoid being seen in two places at once, all the personal disputes that enter into the picture. I think this is the only movie I’ve ever seen where I immediately wanted to watch it through again.

    Spellbound (2002): Documentary about the national spelling bee competition. A great American story, following kids from a wide range of backgrounds.

  56. SoreLoser
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    Oh, hell…Roman Polanski’s Pirates. Easily the best pirate movie ever made!

  57. mike
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    imagine watching ground hog day every day until you know all the lines.

    I can’t bring myself to watch any movie twice. One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest was worth reading the book years after I saw the movie. The book was very different and a classic in it’s self it was written from the prospective of inside the big Native American’s head as he watched everything around him.

  58. Krubozumo Nyankoye
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    Koyaanisqatsi

  59. George
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    Those of you who like movies with great soundtracks—and I mean all of the music, not just a song or two—the following are some of my favourite:

    • Ennio Morricone’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly;

    • Vangelis’s 1492: Conquest of Paradise; and

    • Hans Zimmer’s Crimson Tide.

  60. sasqwatch
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    Glad to see so many recommending Barton Fink. Another excellent (and short) Coen Bros. film is “Burn After Reading”.

    A pretty good strategy of mine is to take favorite movies, and use them to unearth others by the same directors/writers.

    Using this strategy, I’d recommend absolutely anything by Kurosawa, Kiarostami (if you can appreciate the Iranian film gestalt, which seems to be a different approach to the medium altogether), Coen Bros., Brooks (Mel, not Albert), Roland Joffé…

    Speaking of Roland Joffé… “The Mission”. …and “The Killing Fields.”

  61. sasqwatch
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    …and anything by Ed Wood.

  62. oldfuzz
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    Tough choice. For pure entertainment, To Catch a Thief.

  63. Posted June 2, 2010 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    Some of my favourites:

    * The Matrix
    * Blade Runner (Director’s Cut)
    * Akira
    * 12 Monkeys
    * Pulp Fiction
    * Clerks

  64. Peter Karim
    Posted June 2, 2010 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

    The Name Of The Rose. The 1986 movie with Sean Connery based on Umberto Eco’s novel.
    It has marked me because watching it as a kid was the first time I noticed the similarities between the scientific approach and criminal investigations… you know following the evidence and discarding woo-woo. The latter is easy enough nowadays, but not so much in a 14th century monastery.

  65. Posted June 3, 2010 at 12:25 am | Permalink

    I think it’s harder to do a good comedy than a good drama (I may be biased having spent some time doing standup) and so I’ll limit my selections to comedies. By “comedy” I mean a film that’s supposed to be funny — I’m not talking about a light drama that has a few mildly amusing scenes. So here is a short list of a few all-time great comedies:

    This is Spinal Tap
    Raising Arizona
    O Brother Where Art Thou
    Le Diner de Cons
    Being John Malkovich

  66. Antonio Manetti
    Posted June 3, 2010 at 1:52 am | Permalink

    Shakespeare on film:

    Lear adaptations:
    Kurosawa’s Ran
    David Lean’s ‘Hobson’s Choice’ Lear for laughs
    Kozintsev’s King Lear
    Peter Brooks’ Kink Lear, starring Paul Scofield

    Orson Welles’ Chimes at Midnight
    Othello
    Macbeth (tacky sets and all)
    Branagh’s Henry V
    Olivier’s Henry V

    • Dave Lewin
      Posted June 4, 2010 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      You left out Forbidden Planet, the science fiction version of The Tempest (think Robbie as Ariel and the Id Monster as Caliban).

  67. Antonio Manetti
    Posted June 3, 2010 at 2:04 am | Permalink

    By Preston Sturges:

    The Lady Eve
    The Great McGinty
    The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek
    Sullivan’s Travels
    Unfaithfully Yours

    By Howard Hawks:

    His Girl Friday
    Red River

    By Henry King

    12 o’clock High
    True Grit

  68. True_Q
    Posted June 3, 2010 at 2:07 am | Permalink

    “Blade Runner” by R. Scott
    “Alien” by R. Scott
    “The Last Temptation of Christ” by M. Scorsese
    “Citizen Kane” by O. Wells
    “Stalker” by A. Tarkowski
    “Nostalghia” by A. Tarkowski
    “2001: A Space Odyssey” by S. Kubrick
    “The Deer Hunter” by M. Chimino
    “Le scaphandre et le papillon” by J. Schnabel
    “American Beauty” by S. Mendes
    “Cidade de Deus” by F. Meirelles end K. Lund
    “Fight Club” by D. Fincher
    “Seven” by D. Fincher
    “Zodiac” by D. Fincher
    “Vozvrashcheniye” (aka “The Return”) by A. Zwiagincew
    “Izgnanie” (aka “The Banishment”) by A. Zwiagincew
    “Bin-jip” (aka “3-Iron”) by Ki-Duk Kim
    “Bom yeoreum gaeul gyeoul geurigo bom” (aka “Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring”) by Ki-Duk Kim
    “Rok dábla” (aka “Year of the Devil”) by P. Zelenka
    “Príbehy obycejného sílenství” (aka “Wrong Side Up”) by P. Zelenka
    “The Shawshank Redemption” by F. Darabont
    “Le Grand bleu” by L. Besson
    “Hunger” by S. McQueen
    “The Sting” by G. Hill
    And now some Polish movies:
    “Dom zły” (aka “The Dark House”) by W. Smarzowski
    “Rękopis znaleziony w Saragossie” (aka “The Saragossa Manuscript”) by W. Has
    “Ziemia obiecana” (aka “The Promised Land”) by A. Wajda

    And above all: ALL KIND OF STAR TREK tv series and movies;)

  69. Wayne Robinson
    Posted June 3, 2010 at 2:22 am | Permalink

    I’m surprised that there only 2 nominations for “the Good, the Bad and the Ugly” which is obviously the greatest film made, ever (well, perhaps I’m exaggerating slightly).

  70. Posted June 3, 2010 at 3:36 am | Permalink

    Some of my favorite movies, without thinking about it to much, is:

    Big Lebowski, by Cohen. I like as a sort of postmodern/absurdist saga, very funny.

    Master and Commander, with Paul Bettany and Russel Crowe. If you like historically placed movies, ships and the like see this movie and hopefully you´ll like it!

    Nightmare before christmas, Corpsebride, Charlie and the chocolate factory, all of them good Tim Burton movies.

    1&2 jurassic park, for those of us who can´t get enough of dinosaurs.

    Fanny och Alexander & Det sjunde inseglet(the seventh seal), by Ingmar Bergman. Fanny och Alexander becomes even more interesting if you read some of Bergman selfbiografical writings, such as “The magic lantern” and “Private confessions”

    Pride and Predjudice, both the newer movie and the older tv-version. My favorite in english costume-dramas. The dialogue is superb, read the book as well!

  71. endrekovacs
    Posted June 3, 2010 at 5:09 am | Permalink

    The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (directed by Andrew Dominik)

    Although a western by genre, it is not really a western at all. Beautiful on so many levels. The film is driven ahead by cinematography, music, characters, and dialogues. It also has a superb narration the lines of which are taken from the movie’s blueprint, the novel of the same title by Ron Hansen. The ethereal score is composed by the Australian musicians Nick Cave and Warren Ellis.

    The acting is excellent, especially Casey Affleck’s performance is noteworthy whose gradual psychological transformation from a mere fanboy to the celebrated killer of the “hero” he used to adore is the main theme of the movie. This film went largely unnoticed, which might be due to its rather leisurely pace, but I still think it succeeds tremendously as a whole.

    Let this tiny piece of cinema belong to that handful of people who think this is what filmmaking ought to be about.

  72. Stephen
    Posted June 3, 2010 at 5:36 am | Permalink

    Another film I’d like to add is …

    An Education

    A superb British production. One of the films I’ve seen so far this year.

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted June 4, 2010 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      I did a post on this movie not too long ago (try putting “An Education” in the search box). Agreed-it’s fabulous, a world-class film. And one of the five best of the past several years, I think.

  73. Posted June 3, 2010 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    OMG. You saw Ikiru! I loved that movie.

    I have a ton of movies that pop in and out of my “top lists,” they include:

    Jerry McGwire. I don’t like Cruise as a rule, but his “falling apart after being on the top” performance in the movie was spot on. My favorite scene is when he takes “his” two goldfish from the aquarium.

    The Big Red One. That was the first “anti-John Wayne” war movie I saw that didn’t go over the top the other way (Platoon). Spielberg, I have little doubt, took a big cue from the Omaha scene to make his famous Saving Private Ryan opening.

    The Deer Hunter. I’m still creeped out by Walken’s performance to this day.

    Being John Malcovic. It was weird… I can’t even explain it…

    Zelig. Woody Allen’s masterpiece of a man who is a living chameleon.

    Airplane. The greatest movie spoof ever made.

    Cabaret. Fossee’s brilliant masterpiece featuring a young Liza Minnelli.

    Zulu. Often parodied in later years, it never looses sight of the characters in what appears to be a hopeless situation.

    Midnight Cowboy. The hustler and the rat…

    Das Boot. A WWII submarine movie featuring the German perspective. Like all the movies I like, it’s more about the characters than the action.

    The Bridge on the River Kwai.

    Unforgiven.

    Saving Private Ryan.

    Cyrano De Bergerac (the one with Gerard Depardieu).

    As Good as it Gets. Life and love with an OCD main character…

    Cool Hand Luke. A brilliant movie with a young Paul Newman.

    Blazing Saddles. Mel Brooks’ best movie.

    One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Gave me occasional nightmares for years… That Nurse… Then the Chief, at the end… Wow.

    Manhattan. Another brilliant Woody Allen movie.

    Dr. Strangelove. Peter Sellars at his best in a brilliant movie.

    Twelve Angry Men… A very powerful movie about opposing group-think and going along with herd. And in a compelling adult situation.

    The Seven Samurai. The movie that got me into Japanese movies. Still one Kurosawa’s best.

    The Shawshank Redemption… “Oh Andy…”

    And more…

  74. Jackie
    Posted June 3, 2010 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Many of the movies mentioned are pretty dusty classics. Fargo – so fun to laugh at outrageous sleaze and violence. For edgy indy, Tod Solondz’s Happiness; Storytelling. Come to think of it, for the same reason as Fargo.

  75. SplendidMonkey
    Posted June 3, 2010 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Rushmore

  76. Kevin
    Posted June 3, 2010 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    I can’t believe no one has mentioned Blazing Saddles. Aggressively non-PC, funny as heck, and the best use of fart noises in the history of cinema. It probably couldn’t be made today (or would carry an NC-17 rating for use of the “n” word). Mel Brooks’ magnus opus. Much funnier than Young Frankenstein or Space Balls.

    Blue Velvet is classic in the exact opposite direction. One of Dennis Hopper’s (RIP) most-memorable performances. I think I have copies in Beta, VHS, DVD, and Blue Ray (though not laser disk).

    If you’re looking for classic noir, Double Indemnity with Fred McMurray and Barbara Stanwick. Somehow, you end up rooting for McMurray, even though he’s playing an amoral insurance salesman (is there any other kind?) who gets caught up in a scheme to murder Stanwick’s husband.

    And, playing on the same theme of guy suckered into making BAD decisions by a beautiful woman, there’s Body Heat. People forget how absolutely HOT Kathleen Turner was back in the day. Who could forget the chair-through-the-glass-door scene?

    Everyone also forgets Marty. A classic “small film” Academy Award winner with Ernest Borgnine as a less-than-average Joe trying to untangle himself from his mother’s apron strings.

    And for the kids, The Incredibles, if only for the hidden Richard Nixon reference. No other movie has explored the “superhero gone to seed” theme; even though the Batman franchise surely is due by now.

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted June 4, 2010 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      Oh dear, I forgot Marty, too! It’s a classic movie, forgotten but splendid. Borgnine’s performance is unforgettable.

  77. gnome
    Posted June 3, 2010 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Papillon- Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman. 1973. Great!

  78. Posted June 3, 2010 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    Apocalypse Now, John Carpenter’s The Thing, and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

  79. Posted June 3, 2010 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Here’s mine from my flickchart. The order isn’t as important as the movies on it.

    1. Singin’ in the Rain
    2. Brazil
    3. Lawrence of Arabia
    4. Annie Hall
    5. The 400 Blows
    6. Shoeshine
    7. Sunset Blvd.
    8. Ikiru
    9. Apocalypse Now
    10. Jaws
    11. City Lights
    12. 12 Angry Men
    13. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
    14. North by Northwesta
    15. The Good, the bad and the ugly
    16. Gallipoli
    17. Raise the Red Lantern
    18. Close Encounters of the Third Kind
    19. Rebecca
    20. Fanny and Alexander

  80. TheBlackCat
    Posted June 3, 2010 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Wow, for a group so familiar with classic movies, I can’t believe there is not one vote for Charade. Everyone I have shown this movie to has loved it, even those who swore they could never like classic movies. It has everything, suspense, comedy, action, romance, mystery. It is smart, and it is still one of the only mysteries that ever left me surprised. Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn make a great couple in this, despite the age difference. It also has some great one-liners.

    With that in mind, I am really partial to movies that fit in multiple genres. It is easy to make a good movie (although perhaps not a great one) that fits in a single genre, but very hard to make a good movie that fits several genres. That is why most of my favorites are genre-benders:

    Notable examples are:
    Le pacte des loups (in the U.S., Brotherhood of the wolf): As one reviewer said “If you see one French costume drama martial arts werewolf secret society romance this year, make sure this is it.”

    Princess Bride: Enough said

    Stardust: Basically the Princess Bride with modern special effects and a bit more magic.

    Beverley Hills Cop: Action/comedies are not that uncommon, but this is probably the best.

    The Quiet Man: John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. Enough said.

    Father Goose: Cary Grant, again.

    And I do like many straight-up genre movies:

    Aliens: My absolute favorite movie until I saw Charade. I have to disagree with people who say Terminator II is the best sequel, I think this is.

    Terminator II: Probably the best sequel relative to the original, which I did not like that much.

    Hot Shots Part Deux: No matter how much I love Mel Brooks and Leslie Nielsen, this is still my favorite slapstick comedy.

    Goldeneye: I will probably be killed for this, but it is my favorite Bond movie.

    Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: best sequel of a sequel, and certainly best comeback after a bad sequel.

    National Treasure – Book of Secrets: Not as good as the Jones but still very good.

    Pirates of the Caribbean: Best video game movie ever ;)

    The Hunt for the Red October.

  81. Kyle
    Posted June 3, 2010 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    When I first saw Citizen Kane it was in a film class. Prior to that class we had been watching all the big movies in chronological order from the dawn of the industry. It was in that context that I was able to appreciate what Orson Wells did with that movie, which is truly a masterpiece.

    As for my favourite movies: The Godfather Part II will likely never be surpassed in my books. It is truly a perfect movies by a perfect cast. All of the performances were worthy of an Oscar: Al Pacino, John Cazale, Robert Duvall, Robert Deniro, Lee Strasberg, Michael Gazzo, and Diane Keaton to name a few.

    The rest of my favourite movies in no particular order:

    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
    One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest
    Zodiac
    Dr. Strangelove
    The Empire Strikes Back
    King Kong (1933)
    Pulp Fiction

  82. nigelgomm
    Posted June 3, 2010 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    The Third Man
    Holiday (Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn)
    A Matter of Life and Death
    Groundhog Day
    Singing in the rain
    Some like it hot
    Pulp Fiction

    and guilty secrets….

    The Vikings (Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis)
    Man of La Mancha (Peter O’Toole, Sophia Loren)

  83. Darrell E
    Posted June 3, 2010 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Patton; Director Franklin J. Schaffner; With George C. Scott, Karl Malden

    There are many good WWII movies, but this one is my favorite. Based largely on Gen. Omar Bradley’s memoir “A Soldier’s Story” it is fairly factual, though judiciously dramatized of course. The cinematography is fantastic and George C. Scott makes it clear that he was born to play this role. Patton is shown as a man who has developed an image of what he would like to be, and then stuffs himself into it regardless of the consequences. As well as being a fairly accurate record of the major campaigns of WWII in the European and African Theaters, it is the story of a fascinating real life character that was a major player in many of those campaigns. “An entire world at war, and I’m left out of it!? God will not allow this to happen!”

    Gigi; Director Vincente Minnelli, With Maurice Chevalier, Louis Jourdan, Leslie Caron, Eva Gabor

    If you only see one musical in your life, this is the one you should see. I do not like musicals and was very surprised that I really liked this movie.

    Eye Of The Needle; Director Richard Marquand; With Donald Sutherland

    A creepy performance by Donald Sutherland as a German spy.

    A Fish Called Wanda; Director Charles Crichton; With John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline, Michael Palin

    In my humble opinion this should be at the top of any comedy list. Never laughed more in a theater than when I saw this movie.

    October Sky; Director Joe Johnston; With Jake Gyllenhaal, Laura Dern

    A well told true story (more or less) of a teenage boy inspired by a teacher to learn and reach for the stars rather than follow his expected path into the coal mines.

  84. Darrell E
    Posted June 3, 2010 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    And now for some camp, which I shamelessly love to indulge in. No one could possibly consider themselves cultured without admitting to sheer joy upon viewing the following movies.

    Flash Gordon; 1980; Director Mike Hodges; With Sam Jones, Melody Anderson, Max von (freaking) Sydow (I mean come on! This can’t be bad!)

    The Fifth Element; 1997; Director Luc Besson; With Bruce Willis, Gary Oldman, Ian Holm, Milla Jovovich, Chris Tucker, Tommy “Tiny” Lister

    Seriously. If you don’t have fun watching this movie you may as well just give up now and go getcha some religion.

    The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai Across The 8th Dimension; 1984; Director W.D. Richter; With Peter Weller, John Lithgow, Ellen Barkin, Jeff Goldblum, Christopher Lloyd

    Leading brain surgeon, rock star, cutting edge physicist, saving the world with a bunch of friends. And, just look at that cast! Come on!

  85. Gunga Lagunga
    Posted June 3, 2010 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Sorry Professor Coyne, this post is sorely off-topic…

    Ahem.

    Okay, I’ll play along anyway, Professor C.. (Do I need two periods in a row to be punctuationally correct here? Arrghh! So many tough details on Coyne’s erudite blog!) But boy-o-boy this is a TOUGH question! I’ll just write down the ones that come to mind first, with perhaps a quick Tequila-shot of actual thought, because, ya see, the way I figger it, the ones that are foremost in my mind are either (A) great Dawkinsian memes; or (B) great movies. (Or (C) I’m a culture-less dork. But we’ll disregard (C) for the time being. So here goes nuthin':

    1) Alien : perhaps the first movie that really, genuinely shocked me.

    2) Aliens : an unexpectedly great sequel.

    3) Titanic : I didn’t think I’d like it, so I held off for months until the overwhelming reviews forced me to go. Then, I understood why all the fuss was being made.

    4) The Matrix : yes, The Matrix. One of the few movies I actually saw twice in the big theater.

    5) Anything by Martin Scorsese.

    Honorable Mention: Avatar : the first viewing was absolutely thrilling, but in the second viewing I realized the surprises and computer graphics were what had riveted me, and in BB King’s immortal words: the “thrill was gone”.

    • salon_1928
      Posted June 3, 2010 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

      When you die, you will achieve…total conciousness…

      • Kirth Gersen
        Posted June 8, 2010 at 10:55 am | Permalink

        … so you got that going for you, anyway.

  86. Gunga Lagunga
    Posted June 3, 2010 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Damn! Just saw somebody else list Pulp Fiction — it would have displaced Aliens in my Top Five.

  87. Lee Hartmann
    Posted June 3, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    The wonderful thing about this thread is that it made me think of all the great movies I’ve seen plus ideas of things to look for.

    and Spinal Tap, Holy Grail, life of Brian.

  88. Posted June 3, 2010 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    The Passion of Joan Of Arc, eh?

    Good choice, Dr. Coyne! Thanks!

  89. Kanto J-P
    Posted June 3, 2010 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    - Tokyo story (and all the other films by Ozu)
    – Ikiru (Kurosawa)
    – Ugetsu monogatari (Mizoguchi)
    – Ran (Kurosawa)
    – City lights (Chaplin)
    – Dersu Uzala (Kurosawa)
    – The good, the bad and the ugly
    – 24 eyes (Kinoshita)
    – Drifting clouds (Kaurismäki)
    – Fireworks (Kitano)

    • Posted June 3, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      This is a good list. I really enjoyed Ugetsu Monogatari and Ikiru.

    • John Sully
      Posted June 3, 2010 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

      Dersu Uzula is one of Kurosawa’s best, and is sadly overlooked. Ran is just awesome and proves that Shakespeare can be mined for meaning in any culture in any time.

      • John Sully
        Posted June 3, 2010 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

        I also have to toss Dodeskaden (I think this was Kurosawa’s first color film) into the mix.

        I is just impossible to come up with a list because there are so many great movies…

  90. Steve
    Posted June 3, 2010 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    There are many wonderful films, but I have a special place for silent films and Chaplin in particular. To wit:
    Modern Times
    The Great Dictator

  91. ohioobserver
    Posted June 3, 2010 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    One of my favorites: Il Postino (The Postman), sweet, scenic, character-rich story about an italian postman who falls in love and seeks out the advice of poet Pablo Neruda. In italian, but no less fun to watch for the subtitles. (Not to be confused with the Costner POS).

  92. Posted June 3, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    When I’m painting, I like big creative cooncepts and big effects playing in the background. My most watched are:

    -Transformers (2007)
    -Star Wars prequels (yeah you heard me)
    -Pirates of the Caribbean series

    or a comedy like:

    -Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy
    -Kung-Fu Panda.

  93. Anthony
    Posted June 3, 2010 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    When I’m switching around the TV, bored, these are the movies I’ll stop to look at and suddenly find I’ve watched the whole thing:
    1) The Adventures of Don Juan – Errol Flynn in the role that fit him best; a swashbuckler near the end of a glorious career, but still the man for stopping a tyrant and stealing the heart of a queen. Only Errol Flynn could be convincing as a man who gets away with forgetting the name of a paramour, becomes friends with the dwarf that is the court jester, and an inspiration to the good people of Madrid. Though talented with the sword, Don Juan informs the traitorous Duke de Lorca, “You die by the knife!”
    2) American in Paris – Whether it’s the magic that is Gershwin, the power and poetry that is Kelly, or the fresh charm and delightful grace that is Caron, somehow I can never switch past this movie. The movie evokes Paris without representing it. The love story is not particularly convincing, but the dancing makes up for that. And you get Oscar Levant as well.
    3) Donovan’s Reef – John Wayne was a very funny fellow. He’s too old for the role in Donovan’s Reef, but the switched/mistaken identity plot, the remarkable performance of the unfortunately little known Elizabeth Allen, and Lee Marvin prefiguring half of his Oscar winning performance in Cat Ballou bring such joy to the human heart that you’ll forgive that. The moral of the story drops like a ton of lead and feminist objections can be raised about the conclusion, but I always seem to finish it when I start.
    4) The Lion in Winter – The dialogue sets the standard for wit, savagery, and pathos. Nothing but acting giants in the cast, though clearly Hepburn and O’Toole are the deities here. Stills smells of its stage roots from time to time, but such a pleasure.
    5) That Thing You Do – The music is right, the mood is right, the kids are right. The story, though told to death, is true enough, and it makes me happy to see the right people wind up together.

  94. Stephanie
    Posted June 3, 2010 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    OK, my favorite movies are movies I can watch over and over again. They aren’t necessarily Oscar quality, but I love them non-the-less:

    Better Off Dead
    Sixteen Candles
    The Breakfast Club
    As Good As It Gets
    Something Has to Give
    The Ring (2nd scariest movie ever made)
    The Exorcist (scariest movie ever made)
    The Descent (have slight fear of caves)
    Halloween (the original and I used to babysit a kid named Michael Meyers)
    Kill Bill Vols. I and II and everything else by Quentin Tarintino
    Every movie Meryl Streep has been in.

  95. JBlilie
    Posted June 3, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Tim @ 46:

    “Lonely Are the Brave (1967)
    Kirk Douglas in fine form as a cowboy lost in modernity.”

    And the film version of Ed Abbey’s Novel The Brave Cowboy which is excellent as a re all his books.

  96. JBlilie
    Posted June 3, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Make that Tim @ 42 …

  97. Jeff Purser
    Posted June 3, 2010 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    A Man for All Seasons – 1966 version

    Paul Scofield, who played the leading role in the West End stage premiere, played More again in the first of two film versions (1966), winning an Oscar in the process. The film also stars Robert Shaw as Henry VIII, Orson Welles as Wolsey, a young John Hurt as Richard Rich, and an older Wendy Hiller as Lady Alice, More’s second wife. It was directed by Fred Zinnemann. In addition to the Best Actor Oscar won by Scofield, the film won Academy Awards for screenplay, cinematography, costume design, Best Director, and Best Picture. (from Wikipedia)

    The film contains one of my favorite scenes of all time where Thomas More defends the rule of law, even if it means defending the Devil. His son-in-law, Roper, argues the Devil is not entitled to the protections of the law, to which More replies:

    “What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? … And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you – where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s, and if you cut them down — and you’re just the man to do it — do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!”

    (My other favorite scene is Jack Nicholson’s Chicken Salad San scene from Five Easy Pieces.)

    • Dave Lewin
      Posted June 4, 2010 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      My vote for best scene ever is from Jaws, where the long monologue about the USS Indianapolis is scarier than most of the “special effects” shark attacks.

  98. KP
    Posted June 3, 2010 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    A few faves without regard to artistic merit:

    Wonder Boys
    Bull Durham
    Shawshank Redemption
    Marathon Man
    Burn After Reading
    No Country For Old Men
    Reign Over Me
    Unforgiven
    The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
    Raiders of the Lost Ark
    Y Tu Mama Tambien (I’m with you on this one)
    High Fidelity
    War, Inc.
    Blade Runner
    Escape From New York
    Dr. Strangelove
    V for Vendetta
    A Day Without A Mexican
    Most anything Pedro Almodovar has done

  99. Posted June 3, 2010 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    The Ten Commandments (Charlton Heston & Yul Brynner)
    North by Northwest (Cary Grant)
    Cool Hand Luke (Paul Newman)
    Easy Rider (Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper)
    Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid (Newman & Redford)
    Patton (George C. Scott)
    Blade Runner (Harrison Ford)
    Terminator (Ahnold)
    Dead Poets Society (Robin Williams)
    A Few Good Men (Cruise & Nicholson)
    Unforgiven (Eastwood & Hackman)
    Good Will Hunting (Matt Damon)
    Man on Fire (Denzel Washington)
    Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks) 1994
    Band of Brothers (miniseries)
    Shogun (miniseries)
    Godfather I (Brando & Pacino) & II (Pacino & DeNiro)
    Jerry McGuire (Tom Cruise, Cuba Gooding Jr., Renée Zellweger)
    Reservoir Dogs (Quentin Tarantino)
    The Graduate (Dustin Hoffman)
    *Little Big Man (Dustin Hoffman)

  100. Lance Gritton
    Posted June 3, 2010 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    Best movies: Blazing Saddles (it will never be remade), Casablanca, Young Frankenstein, Night at the Opera (Marx Bros), 12 o’clock High, 12 Angry Men, and To Kill a Mockingbird.

  101. Posted June 3, 2010 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    The original ‘The Nutty Professor’ and the original ‘The Wicker Man’ – a couple of my faves, very different genres, that both had absolutely awful remakes that seem to have knocked the originals completely off the repeat scene.

  102. Posted June 3, 2010 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    *Three Days of the Condor (Redford & Faye Dunaway)
    *The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean (Newman)
    *Excalibur (Uther Pendragon & Igrayne)

  103. John Sully
    Posted June 3, 2010 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    While you do have a good list, I have to disagree with you about Dreyer’s film. It is a great film, but it is not the best silent movie ever made. The laurels for that title rest with Erich von Stroheim’s “Greed”.

    Even in its’ presently extant form, sadly hacked to bits by the evil Irving Thalberg, it is a great movie. About 11 years about HBO (or maybe it was PBS) ran a reconstructed version which mixed production stills with existing footage to give the viewer an idea of what von Stroheim had envisioned for the second cut 5 hour version. In this form, it is clearly one of the finest films ever made. It is not easy to find anymore (a new copy of the 1999 version is available on Amazon for $160) and there was a laserdisc version which I did not pick up when I had a chance because I had the version I taped from HBO, er PBS, but if you can find a copy watch it!

  104. Smurch
    Posted June 3, 2010 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    The Palm Beach Story
    Hands Across the Table
    Bonjour, Tristesse
    Advise and Consent
    12 Monkeys
    The Manchurian Candidate
    Written on the Wind
    The Tarnished Angels
    Playtime
    Mon Oncle
    Red River
    Support Your Local Sheriff
    Network

    And I will put in a plug for a little, not very important movie, that is one of my favorites because the cast is amazing, and they all appear to be having the time of their lives – Henry Fonda, Joanne Woodward, Jason Robards, Burgess Meredith,Kevin McCarthy, Charles Bickford (in his last role) and Paul Ford: A Big Hand for the Little Lady. It’s a movie about a game of poker, and the slyest, most subversive feminist movie ever made.

    • Smurch
      Posted June 4, 2010 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

      3 more:

      White Christmas

      The Court Jester

      The Earrings of Madame d’….

  105. John Sully
    Posted June 3, 2010 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

    OK, I’m pathetic, so I’ll try and come up with a list:

    * Greed
    An unabashed masterpiece. The wedding reception scene is brilliant.

    * Chinatown
    Yes, Polanski liked teenage girls. But damn, what a great director.

    * Apocalypse Now
    The original 70mm cut as shown at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood worked better than the slightly shorter version which had a weird ending which was shown in the multiplexes. I worked across the street from the Dome in Hollywood when the original was released and I saw it 1/2 dozen times or so. I’ve watched it numerous times since and never tire of it.

    * Godfather I and II
    Coppola again. He made 3 of the best movies of the ’70’s, a period which is arguably a golden age for American film.

    * Citizen Kane
    Predictable, I know. I’ve seen it in the neighborhood of 100 times, and never tired of it. Greg Toland’s cinematography set the stage for the look of modern film. And oh yeah, “Rosebud” was Kane’s sled. No point in watching the movie now… Also, check out “The Magnificent Ambersons” also.

    * High Noon
    One of the two finest westerns ever made. The political overtones from a film made in the McCarthy era still ring true today, and oh yeah, it has a young and absolutely gorgeous Grace Kelly.

    * The Searchers
    I’m a big fan of westerns, what can I say. A fascinating look at racism and the was it can twist people, this is the other one of the two best westerns ever made.

    * Nosferatu (1922)
    Still the best vampire movie ever made.

    * North by Northwest
    I ran a seminar on Hitchcock one semester in college. I think this is my favorite Hitchcock film, but they are all entertaining.

    * Blazing Saddles
    Mel Brooks is one of, if not the, best comedic directors. Blazing Saddles is so over the top and hits on so many different levels that I had to give it the nod. Maybe “The Producers” which is equally over the top and has some of the funniest musical scenes ever filmed.

    * Ran
    An amazing film. Moving, beautiful, expansive in scope. This is Kurosawa’s masterwork in a career filled with stunning films. Check out “Dodeskaden” or “Dersu Uzula” for less well known works by the same director. Of course “Seven Samurai” slots in there too.

    So, I actually sneaked 12 or 13 in there. There are some weird ones I could have put in there like Attenborough’s “Oh What a Lovely War” or an early Kubrick film like “Paths of Glory”. But then, I am a film fetishist…

  106. sacredchao
    Posted June 3, 2010 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    I recently got to see Wings of Desire in 35mm – gorgeous film, plus Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds are one of my favorite bands, and that’s probably the closest I’ll ever get to seeing them live.

    I’d have picked Fitzcarraldo or The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser over Aguirre, though Aguirre is quite good as well.

    If you ever come to the University of Iowa (where my wife is a biology PhD student) I’ll have to gatecrash the after-guest-lecture drinking binge and we can have a chat about movies.

  107. Antonio Manetti
    Posted June 3, 2010 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

    What about:

    Stagecoach
    The Informer
    Rear Window
    Dead of Night — Nightmare without end
    Spoorloos (aka The Vanishing) — Truly demonic horror flick, directed by Geroge Sluizer. Not to be confused with the inferior American remake.

  108. Mattyd
    Posted June 4, 2010 at 12:37 am | Permalink

    Damn Jerry, this sure did spur a torrent of comments. I had a list but seeing a posting including The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai Across The 8th Dimension pretty much put an end to that idea.
    So, I will simply add a lone film to your very lonely silent genre: Buster Keaton’s The General.

  109. sjefskjekkasen
    Posted June 4, 2010 at 4:46 am | Permalink

    Many great films are listed here. Not one Von Trier film mentioned yet, so I must add Breaking the waves. I really don’t believe in bells in the sky, but the ending always makes me weep anyway. Great movie in many ways. And Gilliam movies, havent seen The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus here. A film of pure beauty if you ask me.

  110. marcia
    Posted June 4, 2010 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    The bird song in that Last Picture Show clip was, appropriately, an eastern bluebird, a bird that saw a large decline in numbers in the 70s because of habitat loss and nesting invasion from introduced species. It was a song heard often in the early 20th century, but is now not heard by most. I hear it on my nestbox trail daily….it’s a beautiful song. Nice to see the director add that authentic touch to the clip from that period.

    http://www.birdjam.com/birdsong.php?id=21

    • salon_1928
      Posted June 5, 2010 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      Reminds me of Whip-poor-wills in the part of Ontario where I grew up. As a kid I used to hear them nightly during summers. These days you hear them rarely with some years without hearing one.

  111. Brian
    Posted June 4, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    In no order:
    Hero
    North by Northwest
    Oh brother where art thou
    Shawshank Redemption
    Wild Things
    Fargo
    Kill Bill 1 & 2
    Equilibrium (Invented Gun Kata for this movie)
    Red Cliff 1 & 2
    2001 A Space Odyssey
    Dr Strange Love
    Tron
    A Clockwork Orange
    The 5th Element
    Hot Fuzz and Shawn of the Dead (Brilliant comedies)
    12 Monkeys
    Pulp Fiction
    V for Vendetta
    Usual Suspects
    Ocean’s 11

  112. Antonio Manetti
    Posted June 4, 2010 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    The Hurt Locker
    Up in the Air — ‘The Flying Dutchman’ redux.

    Two by William Friedkin:
    The French Connection
    The Brinks Job

    The Train
    Time Bandits

    Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey — “The Seventh Seal” played for laughs, with Bill Sadler as “The Grim Reaper”. “Station!”

    Burt Reynolds at his comic best.

    Semi-Tough — Lampoon of professional football and new-age mumbo jumbo.

    Fuzz — From an Evan Hunter novel. One of the ’87th Precint’ series written under his ‘Ed McBain’ pseudonym. The incompetence of the police proves that it’s better to be lucky than smart.

    The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension

    Robert Mitchum at his scariest.

    Night of the Hunter — Scary, poignant and beautiful all at once. In the depression-era south, two children take to the river in order to escape the clutches of their mother’s murderer,

    Cape Fear

  113. Tom Coward
    Posted June 6, 2010 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    Lots of great movies here! One I did not see listed is Witness. Harrison Ford is a hard-boiled Philadelphia cop who ends up hiding out with an Amish family in the countryside. Great performances, luminous cinematography, Arresting music, and interesting story.

  114. Aufwuch
    Posted June 9, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Cape Fear-Scorsese. Only because I unintendly walked into a scene in downtown Ft Lauderdale. It was cut.

    Key Largo
    African Queen
    Pythons’…Search for the Holy Grail
    2001 Space Od.
    Blazing Saddles
    Manhatten-Allen

  115. santitafarella
    Posted June 11, 2010 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Dr. Coyne:

    I saw “An Education” (a film you recommended in an earlier post). It was excellent.

    As for films I would recommend, I’ll pick a couple of foreign films that atheists and agnostics might like (because of their existentialist/modernist themes):

    1. Russian Ark
    2. Fritz Lang’s Metropolis
    3. Alphaville
    4. Amelie

    All of these are interesting/profound films, but I’ll comment on Russian Ark:

    The film consists of a single tracking shot, of about 90 minutes, set at the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. The famous museum is conceived as Noah’s Ark, and it is carrying the precious objects of civilization through the Dionysian storms of St. Petersburg’s history. As you watch, it dawns on you that you are a ghost and are being escorted through time by a nineteenth century French diplomat (who is also a ghost). It is a staggering, dizzying cinematic achievement.

    Might I suggest two additional contests over the next year or so?:

    1. Documentary films that atheists like
    2. A piece of literature (a short story, a poem, a play) that your readers think is profound or says something true about the world.

    —Santi

  116. Petu W.
    Posted June 16, 2010 at 4:17 am | Permalink

    Jerry,

    You have a very interesting list. A few comments:
    – Y tu mama is a good film, but is it really a classic?
    – I have always considered David Lean’s best film to be Brief encounter. His epic films seem a bit cold to me.
    – Ikiru’s swing scene with Shimura’s lonely stare is truly one of the great moments in 20th century art.
    – Annie Hall is a masterpiece.
    – Last picture show as THE film is an admirable choice. Ben Johnson was one of the greatest character actors in the history of movies. But are there any other classics in Bogdanovich’s filmography?

    My own list (I decided not to include more than 3 films by one director):
    1. John Ford: Wagonmaster. The most beautiful film ever? Young Ben Johnson as a cowboy (which he was!) & John Ford’s “poetry of style”. Bogdanovich, of course, is a Ford fan.
    2. Ford: The Quiet man. Maureen O’Hara’s red hair against the green landscape, when Duke Wayne sees her the first time. Everything Barry Fitzgerald says makes me weep with joy.
    3. Ford: Young Mr. Lincoln. Hank Fonda as Abe Lincoln. Of course, this is a myth, but so beautiful that I want to believe it.
    4. Preston Sturges: The Lady Eve. Hugely erotic. Hank Fonda as an amateur biologist (“You know me Mack, nothing but reptiles.”) & Babs Stanwyck as the embodiment of sexy intelligence.
    5. Howard Hawks: His girl Friday. More Hollywood erotica. Cary Grant in his most virtuosic role.
    6. Akira Kurosawa: Seven samurai. Takashi Shimura as the leader of the Samurai is just magnificent. I would follow him. This is so perfect that it is painful to watch run of the mill films after it.
    7. Billy Wilder: Double indemnity. Stanwyck was the most charismatic female star of the classical Hollywood. And Wilder was the most consistent of its directors. He never made a truly bad movie.
    8. Wilder: Fortune cookie. This is underrated, because many critics think it’s not funny enough. But it was not indented to be funny in the conventional sense. This is slow burning cynicism, a very black film. Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon together is always a joy.
    9. Ingmar Bergman: Wild strawberries. Bergman’s films are about the horror of loneliness. Victor Sjöström, one of the greatest silent era directors, in the leading role.
    10. Bergman: Smiles of a summer night. Gunnar Björnstrand and Eva Dahlbeck are a great romantic pair in this wonderful comedy, where both sexes humiliate each other.
    11. Bergman: Fanny and Alexander. An artistic testament. The long version is the real one.
    12. Frank Capra: It happened one night. Even more Hollywood erotica, this time with Gable and Claudette Colbert, “believe you me”.
    13. Federico Fellini: Amarcord. Italians, the funniest people in the world.
    14. Michael Curtiz: Casablanca.
    15. Ridley Scott: Blade runner. Casablanca and Blade runner are similar in one way. Both have a director, who is not really an artist, but a capable professional. Both films benefitted from lucky coincides during the production and the results are spectacular. I prefer the original cut of Blade runner. And no – Deckard is not a replicant. That would spoil the beauty of his love affair.
    16. Luis Bunuel: That obscure object of desire. I swear I didn’t notice that there are two women who alternate in the leading role from scene to scene.
    17. Jean-Pierre Melville: The red circle. When a director borrows his surname from Herman Melville, his films must be great. I love the tragic deterministic atmosphere and the mutual appreciation of the leading men, Delon, Montad and Volonte.
    18. Emir Kusturica: When father was away on business. Nothing he has done since this one is nearly as good. A sad and hilarious drama about a Bosnian family during Tito’s regime.
    19. Sam Peckinpah: Junior Bonner. This is an understated family drama. Steve McQueen in his best role as an ageing rodeo star. Beautiful. And pessimistic like all Peckinpah films.
    20. Peckinpah: The Wild Bunch. I started with a western with Ben Johnson in it, and I’m going to finish with a western with Ben Johnson in it. This is THE film. Everything is perfect: dialogue, actors, music, editing. And think about the relevance: Darfur, Congo, Afghanistan… Our modern world has many places like revolutionary Mexico.

  117. Harry Lime
    Posted June 17, 2010 at 5:37 am | Permalink

    I begin with what some would call a cop-out: naming Casablanca as my favorite movie. The real cop-out would be refusing to wed myself to a single title (or five or ten), but this choice carries little more distinction. I hate telling people it’s my favorite because the response is invariably, “Of course it is.” I’d love to cite some esoteric masterpiece from deep within the vault, but at the end of the day, everybody comes to Rick’s…even pretentious cinephile me.

    The reason, of course, is the sheer, fortuitous perfection of all its working parts. Not one casting decision is debatable, from Bogart to the peerless Claude Rains to S.Z. “Cuddles” Sakall (Carl the waiter). No theme song would suffice but “As Time Goes By.” No writers but the Epstein brothers could do the job. Without the legendary closing line (“Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship”), there would be no movie. How many films are that synergistic? Citizen Kane is a director’s vision, All About Eve a writer’s piece, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf an actors’ field day and Days of Heaven a cinematographer’s triumph. Casablanca, though…well, the only sane course of action would be to throw out the categories and let everyone down to the set designer share one gigantic Oscar. Because like no other film in the canon, it’s all of a piece.

    Yet it very nearly starred George Raft, showcased a new song by Max Steiner and ended with the line “Louis, I might have known you’d mix your patriotism with a little larceny.” Unthinkable but true.

    The Passion of Joan of Arc is indeed a landmark, with Falconetti’s mesmerizing close-ups, but my favorite silent drama is F.W. Murnau’s Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans. Unencumbered by sound equipment, the camera achieved a buoyancy not recaptured for decades (at least until Max Ophuls came along). Words like “lissome” and “luminous” exist to describe this Expressionistic wonder.

    Keaton’s Sherlock Jr. and Chaplin’s City Lights are no less essential.

    I had the pleasure of meeting Peter Bogdanovich and asking which director he most admired. His answer: “I’ve known hundreds of directors, but only one saint. His name was Jean Renoir.” Watch Grand Illusion and you’ll understand. The greatest antiwar statement ever filmed contains no battle scenes. Its setting is a POW camp in which the ideology-blind European social order thrives. The aristocratic French prisoner and elegant German commandant effect what in peacetime would be called a friendship. Instead of satirizing the buffoonery of military conduct as Kubrick did, Renoir tenders a profoundly humanistic (though hardly naive) affirmation of faith in character and consciousness against a backdrop of groupthink. His visual and thematic focus is on the intrusion of the unplanned–of contingency–into the frame.

    The warble of the zither, the child’s balloon, the telltale kitten, and the beaming face of Orson Welles…corruption lurks in the most benign foundations. The Third Man, with its canted angles and twisted logic, captures postwar nihilism like no other movie. Look down at those thousands of bustling dots; would you really tell Harry to keep his money? The answer may keep you up nights.

    Technicolor splendor and stunted sexuality were the hallmarks of the Archers (writer/director/producers Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger), and the apogee of their partnership may have been Black Narcissus, a devastating study of repression among Anglican nuns cloistered in the Himilayas. Features a flawless Deborah Kerr performance and stunning photography by Jack Cardiff.

    Positioned at the junction of Italian neorealism and the stylization for which he’d later become known, Federico Fellini made his masterpiece with La Strada, the emotional account of a waifish young girl and the bestial strongman undeserving of her love. Remembered for Giuletta Masina’s Chaplinesque turn as Gelsomina and Anthony Quinn’s barbarous man-child Zampano, perhaps the film’s most poignant scene belongs to Richard Basehart’s Fool–exuding otherworldly warmth, explaining that somehow even a pebble has a purpose. The texture of the scene is uniquely ethereal, and it works beautifully.

    To the pairing of Tokyo Story and Make Way for Tomorrow I would add Bergman’s Wild Strawberries, a young man’s meditation on old age. Flash forward nearly 30 years to Fanny and Alexander, as that same artist, older and somewhat mellowed, recalls childhood with clarity and candor. But in between–at his gloomiest and most pensive–he made his “God’s Silence” trilogy, peaking with Winter Light. Concerning a priest at the end of his physical and spiritual tether, the film poses all the Big Unanswerables but then offers a scene that exposes the fraudulence of traditional modes of questioning. The deformed church sexton, perhaps the most enlightened character in all of Bergman, considers where Christ’s suffering is generally attributed and judges it not false but (in light of personal experience) misplaced. At once Christ is removed from his sacrosanct pedestal and recast as a fellow victim of divine detachment.

    We’re on our own again in Night of the Hunter, Charles Laughton’s sole venture behind the camera. Relaying his parable of childhood innocence and religious fanaticism, he creates the most dreamlike of auras, reducing the viewer to a childlike state in which each presence is construed as ally or threat. Robert Mitchum’s Reverend Harry Powell, his knuckles spelling out L-O-V-E and H-A-T-E, his melodious hymns imbued with a current of terror, is perhaps the most menacing figure in cinema.

    Hitchcock’s Vertigo is the last word in romantic obsession/subjugation, to say nothing of authorial reflexivity. The Master’s repackaging of Kim Novak as his icy ideal is just as thorough – you might say just as sinister – as the makeover Scottie inflicts on Judy/Madeleine. When Stewart beseeches, “Did he train you? Rehearse you? Tell you what do do and what to say??”, one wonders how many “he”s are being implicated.

    And in many ways Hitchcock’s disciple, Francois Truffaut applied all his New Wave tricks to an old-fashioned revolving love story, and the result was Jules and Jim. Besides being a film that yields a different interpretation on each viewing, especially when the viewings are years apart, it attests to the cyclical nature of life as only a visual, musical medium is able to do. If it’s possible for a film to have a heartbeat, this is that film.

    From the French New Wave to the New Hollywood, Five Easy Pieces boasts the era’s most complex protagonist. Notions of hero and antihero are rendered meaningless by Robert Eroica Dupea, disgusted by the privilege into which he was born, restless and stifled in his blue collar retreat – too critical to be content but too flippant to be contemplative. Only a young Jack Nicholson could have brought to light every nuance and contradiction. The high water mark for character studies.

    Finally, two mid-’80s works that probe the introspective possibilities of cinema: Chris Marker’s videographic essay Sans Soleil, building a case for memory as “not the opposite of forgetting,” but, rather, a means of choosing how to narrativize past events (explicitly linked to filmmaking); and Russ McElwee’s Sherman’s March, one part Proust, one part Woody Allen, as his grant-funded historical documentary morphs into a quirky exploration of his own failed relationships and media-fueled obsessions. I would cite this as evidence that the medium has become the message, but I fear Marshall McLuhan would step out from behind a poster and claim I know nothing of his work…

  118. Volvagia
    Posted July 15, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Unmentioned movies that I’d give an A+:

    Pandora’s Box, Far From Heaven, Kind Hearts and Coronets, Miller’s Crossing, I Am Cuba, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, Harold and Maude, Evil Dead 2, Andrei Rublev, Oldboy, Once Upon a Time in America, Edward Scissorhands, Donnie Darko, Heimat and Withnail and I.

  119. Posted August 2, 2012 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Why isn’t the Life of Brian on this list??? And what about Harold and Maude?

  120. Fred in CT
    Posted March 24, 2013 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    Not one mention of “Koyaanisqatsi”? I know I’m not that alone.

  121. James Cricket
    Posted September 8, 2013 at 5:47 am | Permalink

    Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
    The Passion of Joan of Arc
    City Lights
    The Wizard of Oz
    La règle du jeu (The Rules of the Game)
    Pinocchio
    Citizen Kane
    Casablanca
    Notorious
    Ladri di biciclette (The Bicycle Thief)
    The Third Man
    Sunset Boulevard
    Singin’ in the Rain
    Ikiru
    On the Waterfront
    The Searchers
    Rio Bravo
    Floating Weeds
    Les quatre cents coups (The 400 Blows)
    Psycho
    La Dolce Vita
    Lawrence of Arabia
    Winter Light

    Dr. Strangelove
    Persona
    Bonnie and Clyde
    2001: A Space Odyssey
    Il conformista (The Conformist)
    McCabe & Mrs. Miller
    The Last Picture Show
    Cries and Whispers
    The Spirit of the Beehive
    Nashville
    Taxi Driver
    Stroszek
    Apocalypse Now
    Raging Bull
    Kaze no tani no Naushika (Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind)
    After Hours
    Hannah and Her Sisters
    My Neighbor Totoro
    Grave of the Fireflies
    Do the Right Thing
    GoodFellas
    The Crying Game
    Schindler’s List
    Crumb
    Pulp Fiction
    Hoop Dreams
    Fargo
    L.A. Confidential
    Almost Famous
    Minority Report
    Million Dollar Baby
    Pan’s Labyrinth
    Ratatouille
    Goodbye Solo
    The Hurt Locker
    Up
    The Social Network
    The Tree of Life
    A Separation
    Life of Pi
    Mud

    Masterpieces all.


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  1. [...] Best movies (add yours) As I’m off for a while, I thought I’d leave with a post that can get readers involved in a mutually [...] [...]

  2. [...] Last week, Jerry Coyne, at the excellent biology blog Why Evolution Is True, posted his own list of the twenty best movies.  Other science bloggers, PZ Myers and Jen McCreight, have taken up the idea of listing their [...]

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