UPDATE and EDIT: I screwed up somehow the first time I posted this — entries 34 through 50 were Roger’s, not mine. I’ve changed it to reflect my actual views!
ANOTHER UPDATE: I missed The Wizard of Oz on here. Of course I’ve seen it!
I’m posting this list because Roger and SamuraiFrog did, too. I’ll only opine on the ones I’ve seen.
(I’ll also mention that I have always found the critics in Entertainment Weekly to be a really tiresome lot. They always strike me as really self-impressed.)
1 (2). Citizen Kane (1941) OK, I guess. Maybe I should watch it again at some point, as I saw it as a teenager and I actually liked it, but I didn’t quite understand all the fuss.
2 (1). The Godfather (1972) Yeah, it’s a great movie. I don’t know that I feel the need to re-watch it any time soon, but it is great. The genre really doesn’t appeal to me, so this is one of the few movies I’ve seen that transcend that genre.
3 (3). Casablanca (1942) This is one of those movies where, if you tell me you don’t like it, I will forever look at you a little less favorably.
4 (48). Bonnie And Clyde (1967)
5 (11). Psycho (1960) Not my favorite Hitchcock. It’s a little too iconic at this point; give me either Rear Window, Dial M for Murder, or North By Northwest.
6 (56). It’s A Wonderful Life (1946) I don’t like this at all. Sorry. I never understand why this is beloved.
7 (64). Mean Streets (1973)
8 (15). The Gold Rush (1925)
9 (38). Nashville (1975)
10 (8). Gone With The Wind (1939) I really don’t like this one. Impressive production, but I don’t romanticize the South, and I certainly never feel any real sympathy toward Scarlett. I wonder why it takes Rhett so long to stop giving that damn of his.
11 (47). King Kong (1933) I’m glad I’ve watched it, but I don’t feel the need to return to it.
12 (13). The Searchers (1956) Great film. It’s tough, but great. Its lingering effect in the memory is a lot stronger, in my experience, than the actual watching of it.
13 (60). Annie Hall (1977) Meh.
14. Bambi (1942) I love this movie, but I’m a bit nonplussed at it being the first animated film on this list. But then, I’m not sure what I’d put here in its stead…Snow White, maybe? Peter Pan, my favorite Disney film? Not sure.
15 (37). Blue Velvet (1986)
16 (10). Singin’ In The Rain (1952) Almost my favorite musical of all time. (My Fair Lady is tops in my heart.)
17 (12). Seven Samurai (1954, Jp.) Wow. I do like Hidden Fortress more, and of Kurasawa’s films, RAN most of all, though.
18 (52). Jaws (1975) Amazing! ‘Nuff said.
19 (29). Pulp Fiction (1994) One of my favorite movies. I love this one.
20. The Sorrow and the Pity (1969, Fr.)
21 (9). Some Like It Hot (1959) I really need to see this.
22. Toy Story (1995) See, I like the sequel more. And neither is my favorite Pixar film; I’d rank both Finding Nemo and Ratatouille ahead of this one.
23 (66). Notorious (1946)
24. The Sound of Music (1965) I love this movie a whole, whole lot.
25 (26). 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) Utter genius.
26 (22). Bicycle Thieves (1948, It.)
27 (31). The Maltese Falcon (1941) – don’t think I saw this in full.
28 (32). The Wizard of Oz (1939) Simply great. ‘Nuff said.
29 (44). North By Northwest (1959) – #2 action film, seen only clips.
30 (92). Sunrise (1927)
31 (4). Chinatown (1974) – well crafted, yet it always felt at arm’s length. I don’t love it.
32 (43). Duck Soup (1933) – #5 comedy. This Marx Brothers film, I love.
33 (55). The Graduate (1967) – saw this only recently, in the past five years, on DVD. Probably would have liked it even more had I seen it when it came out.
34. Adam’s Rib (1949)
35. Apocalypse Now (1979) This is one of those films where I acknowledge the craft involved, but I really did not enjoy watching it at all.
36. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
37. Manhattan (1979)
38 (19). Vertigo (1958) I really need to see it again…but a great film, obviously.
39 (58). The Rules of the Game (1939, Fr.)
40 (50). Double Indemnity (1944)
41 (93). The Road Warrior (1981, Australia) (aka Mad Max 2) I should re-watch these at some point. I didn’t get the fuss the first time through.
42 (41). Taxi Driver (1976)
43. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) Singling out the third installment is dumb; it’s all one giant film. And one of my favorites.
44 (17). On The Waterfront (1954)
45 (30). Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) Meh. No desire to see it again.
46 (61). The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) One of the greatest movies I know. I love this movie whole-heartedly. Just sheer joy, beginning to end.
47. A Clockwork Orange (1971) Another one where I saw it once, didn’t get the fuss, and have little intention of seeing it again, ever.
48. It Happened One Night (1934)
49. Goldfinger (1964) Sorry, but this isn’t even the best Bond movie ever made; it’s not even the best Connery Bond movie ever made. Goldfinger is ridiculously overrated. I’ve never understood the degree to which it’s venerated.
50 (25). Intolerance (1916)
51. A Hard Day’s Night (1964) I’ve owned this on DVD for years. I should actually watch it one of these times!
52. Titanic (1997) I make no apologies for the fact that I still love this movie, hammy romance and all.
53. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980) I know it’s an article of faith at this point that this one is the best Star Wars movie, mainly because it best fits into The Official Narrative that George Lucas sucks and that only when he gives vague story notes to a bunch of other people and takes his hands off does anything of value emerge. Whatever. I still love the original more, and that a Star Wars movie is on the bottom half of this list irritates me. But then, we are talking about EW critics, here.
54 (63). Breathless (1960, Fr.)
55. Frankenstein (1931)
56 (40). Schindler’s List (1993) Absolutely a great film, far superior to the colossally overrated Saving Private Ryan.
57. Midnight Cowboy (1969)
58 (45). The Seventh Seal (1957, Swe.)
59. All the President’s Men (1976) Watched it as a teenager. I don’t recall a whole lot about it, but I remember it being fascinating.
60. Top Hat (1935) I’m glad this is on here. I often get the feeling that a lot of Fred Astaire’s films slip through cracks on lists like this — doubly so the Ginger Rogers ones.
61 (98). The Silence of the Lambs (1991) Great, great film. I do wish that the Hannibal Lecter thing had ended here, though. (I have not watched the new show Hannibal yet.)
62 (20). E.T. – The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) Also an utterly great film (although in honesty, I love Close Encounters of the Third Kind more.)
63. Network (1976) I’ve seen chunks of it, and of course, Aaron Sorkin has slavishly invoked it enough times over the years to make me feel like I’ve seen it.
64 (83). The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
65. Last Tango in Paris (1973)
66. The Shining (1980) Watched it as a kid. I don’t recall much about it, other than not liking it much. It was on teevee and my sister was watching it, if I recall.
67 (86). Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
68. GoodFellas (1990) OK, you know what? To hell with this movie. It’s good, it really is, but ten times out of ten, if given the choice between watching this and the movie that beat it for the Best Picture Oscar that year, I will watch Dances With Wolves. GoodFellas just isn’t that great, and frankly, I’m starting to think that our culture is pretty ridiculous in its overvaluing of the “Criminals at work and play” genre. It’s as if this is the only real “genre” that we’re allowed to take seriously. “This is the kind of movie that men watch, not silliness like superheroes or science fiction or adventure flicks.” Whatever. I’m sick of having entries in this genre constantly forced down my throat as the greatest thing. If it’s not this, it’s The Departed. Or The Sopranos. Or, for a period piece, Gangs of New York. I’ve seen The Godfather, I liked it, and yes, I liked this movie, but I’m done with the genre and I’m really tired of every single new thing in this genre being received like it’s been handed down from the Gods. OK, end of rant. (Although I think there might be a larger post to tease out of this….)
69 (14). Dr. Strangelove
70. L’Avventura (1960, It.)
71. American Graffiti (1973) I think this movie is really underrated. It sometimes seems as though it’s an unofficial pilot for Happy Days, but it’s really a very insightful and elegiac movie, a fine teen romance and coming-of-age film. I’m glad it’s here. I love it, and I need to watch it again.
72. The 400 Blows (1959, Fr.)
73. Cabaret (1972)
74. The Hurt Locker (2009)
75 (54). Touch Of Evil (1958)
76 (18). Lawrence of Arabia (1962) Just…wow. This film defies comment by me. I finally saw it all the way through a couple of years ago, and I never blogged about it because I just can’t find words about it. It’s not perfect, don’t get my meaning wrong here. But it just exists, independent of my thoughts about it, if that makes any sense whatsoever.
77. Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
78. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) One of the finest adventure films ever made. It absolutely belongs here.
79. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
80. Dazed and Confused (1993)
81. Blade Runner (1982) I will never love this movie, but the recent “Final Cut” or “Last Cut” or “Really The Best Cut We Mean It This Time” is probably the best representation of the story. I admire the production in many ways, and even the story construction, but as always, the film’s human story never quite emotionally involves me.
82. Scenes From a Marriage (1973, Swe.)
83 (57). The Wild Bunch (1969)
84. Olympia (1938, Ger.)
85. Dirty Harry (1971) Again, I think they should have stopped here. Making more movies turned Harry Callahan into a self-caricaturing thing. The movie is powerful, albeit fascist in outlook.
86 (21). All About Eve (1950)
87 (6). La Dolce Vita (1960, It.)
88. The Dark Knight (2008) I like and admire this film, but yeesh, what a bleak tale. I really find myself responding to bleakness less and less, the older I get. This depresses me, because I get a strong sense that popular culture is embracing bleakness more and more.
89. Woodstock (1970) I’ve seen parts of it. Maybe enough to constitute the whole thing.
90. The French Connection (1971) Watched it once and loved it, but that was years ago. I wonder how well it holds up.
91 (81). Do The Right Thing (1989)
92 (97). The Piano (1993, NZ)
93. A Face in the Crowd (1957)
94. Brokeback Mountain (2005) I have a feeling that time may elevate this one farther. I already think it’s underrated. It’s really an accomplishment, one of those movies that doesn’t seem like much when you’re watching it but lodges in the brain and refuses to leave. Kind of like The Searchers.
95. Rushmore (1998)
96. Sullivan’s Travels (1941)
97. Diner (1982) Meh. I know it launched a bunch of careers, but of Barry Levenson’s “Baltimore” movies, I liked Tin Men a lot more. (And frankly, I think that watching Tin Men pretty much covers anything I’d need to watch five years of Mad Men for.)
98. All About My Mother (1999, Sp.)
99. There Will Be Blood (2007)
100 (49). Sweet Smell of Success (1957)
As always, I would remove a bunch and add others; but then, I’ve never claimed to be a particularly educated movie viewer. I’m always getting better, but I tend to watch what interests me and not what lists tell me I should see, so there’s that.
You need to watch more foreign films.
I couldn't agree more! Although I have seen a bunch that aren't on this list…and I screwed up and need to edit this post a bit!
Yes re foreign films.
And definitely yes to what you wrote about bleakness, not just Dark Knight. Least favorite word when it comers to film: dystopian.
I could quibble with you on some specifics — that's the point of these lists, right? — but the one thing that had me shouting "YES!" was this:
I really find myself responding to bleakness less and less, the older I get. This depresses me, because I get a strong sense that popular culture is embracing bleakness more and more.
Me too, my friend, me too… so tired of dark 'n' broody 'n' angsty. Yes, I know, we're all depressed after 9/11 and the wars and the recession, but surely this is a time for more escapism, not less? Or at least for some damn esprit de corps, a jaunty little tune to whistle while we face the siege?
Roger: I not only need to see more foreign films, but films in general…although this list isn't fairly representative of the foreign films that I have seen. One Kurasawa? No Chinese or Indian films? No anime? There are films by Hayao Miyazaki that are the equal of anything ever made by Walt Disney. If this list gives the impression that I'm horribly underexposed to foreign film, well, that's unfair. I'm horribly exposed to this particular set of foreign films, maybe.
Jason: Agreed! Although I'm not even sure if 'escapism' is what I'm talking about, although that's part of it. Sadness and even tragedy don't have to be grim and depressing.
By not commenting on 'The Wizard Of Oz', are we to assume you never saw it? If so, why the hell not?
Yeah, I was gonna mention Wizard of Oz and chastise you severely for never having seen it. As I noted, you should check out Mr. Frog's rationale re Do The Right Thing.
Rumble Fish should be on the list. The camera angles that Coppola used were pretty impressive. Look at the scene where the clouds are flying by in the store front window reflection. It is impressive. The acting by Matt makes a so so script memorable.