It is Oscar week after all.
A couple of my kids took me to task the other day, calling me out on an expression I commonly use. Specifically, the expression, “Oh, that is one of my favorite movies.” Essentially they challenged me to list my favorite movies because they didn’t believe that I could actually do it and more, they didn’t believe that there exists today a movie that isn’t among my favorites.
I took a few liberties and set a few ground rules before getting started. First, I only included movies I have actually seen. If you look and wonder where this or that “classic” is, it is highly likely I haven’t seen it.
Second, no remakes. By remake I mean a film which is a remake of another film that was shot with much the same technology as existed for the original. I exempted Ben-Hur. The original was shot in B&W with no sound. I disqualify Cape Fear, both versions of which could make the list, but neither of which is remarkedly better than the other. If you find I’ve cheated in this regard, please let me know.
Third, no musicals, documentaries or comic book characters, with the exception of Christopher Nolan’s Batman, and I would argue that Batman isn’t really the comic book Batman anyway. Musicals are great, but on film they are merely filmed musicals not musical films. I would have included The Last Waltz, but that film is both musical and documentary.
Please appreciate that, beyond the top 20 or so, the order is kind of relative and kind of not relative. I mean i’m not prepared to defend why There Will Be Blood is 56 and Gangs of New York is 69 despite them being great vehicles for Daniel Day-Lewis, one of my favorite actors. For movies with similar components, actors, directors, genres, I compared them as between themselves. It was fairly simple to rank the work of the more prolific directors; Kubrick, Tarantino, Coens, Nolan, Hitchcock, Scorcese as between their own films. More difficult to rank A Clockwork Orange against Inglourious Basterds against Goodfellas.
Also, be aware I took liberties with Lord of the Rings and the first Star Wars Trilogy. In my mind, the LOTR movies are equally brilliant, and the third Star Wars movie doesn’t suck enough to drag down the rest of that trilogy, unlike some others like Back to the Future and Indiana Jones.
Lastly, if you are wondering why some have years and others don’t, it is because I lifted a list of 250 movies from IMDB that included years. The ones without years are the ones I added on my own.
As always, I would like your comments.