My 30 Favorite Films

These films aren't necessarily the best films ever (but who really can say what the best films actually are; quite subjective really). These are films that give me goosebumps and/or ignite my bones--they are stories that I can watch over and over again while still finding something new and something that resonates within--and some are just simply fun to watch after a long day. (The Top 5 are choices that I don't think will ever change; the rest are usually in a flux, but at this point in life, these films are the ones that made the Top 30). They are films that I simply can't get enough of--enjoy!
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1.
The Dark Knight (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.0/10 X  
When the menace known as the Joker emerges from his mysterious past, he wreaks havoc and chaos on the people of Gotham, the Dark Knight must accept one of the greatest psychological and physical tests of his ability to fight injustice. (152 mins.)
“ The Joker has always been my favorite fictional villain. The psychological makeup and grandeur of the character is something that I have never seen/experienced before. Mark Hamill's portrayal of the character on Batman TAS was amazing--I still remember the first Batman episode I saw as a young kid in the early 90s, Christmas with the Joker. The resemblance of the character to The Man Who Laughs film is unmistakable. The plethora of comic book stories from the late 1930s to the present truly takes one for a ride.
However, it is Ledger's performance that I still find the most haunting. Every scene that he is in is incredible--he steals the show. His Joker really could happen--he could be very real. I can go on for pages describing what I thought of the performance and the psychology of the character matched/complemented by the Batman, but I'll save you the trouble.
All that said, my favorite part of the film just may be the very end--with Batman running/taking the fall of Dent's actions (like the hero he is) while Gordon narrating. I thought that this was a perfect ending to the Batman tale, but with director Nolan returning for the 3rd film, I am sure we will all be in for a treat. ” - letapnahsin
 
2.
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
During their college years, Anjali was in love with her best-friend Rahul, but he had eyes only for Tina. Years later, Rahul and the now-deceased Tina's eight-year-old daughter attempts to reunite her father and Anjali. (177 mins.)
Director: Karan Johar
“ A true Bollywood classic--may not be the most popular Sharukh and Kajol pairing, but still is the most layered/resonating relationship the duo have done.
A perfect intro for anyone who has never seen a Bollywood film (and for someone who enjoys musicals; for someone who doesn't, Devdas and/or 3 Idiots (later on the list) would be just as great introductions for Indian Cinema. ” - letapnahsin
 
3.
Batman Begins (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
After training with his mentor, Batman begins his fight to free crime-ridden Gotham City from the corruption that Scarecrow and the League of Shadows have cast upon it. (140 mins.)
“ This film has everything about why I love Batman. The psychology (fragility of the mind), the backstory, the conflict, the 'resolution.' Bale's performance is the next best thing (Kevin Conroy aside) to an actual real-life Batman. Caine as Alfred and his relationship with Bruce is very touching, as are the hauntingly surreal flashback sequences. Morgan Freeman, Cillian Murphy, and Gary Oldman round up the amazing cast. The scene where Bruce confronts his fear of bats, as a millions swarm around him is the perfect moment to capture the true character of this film. ” - letapnahsin
 
4.
Spider-Man 2 (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Peter Parker is beset with troubles in his failing personal life as he battles a brilliant scientist named Doctor Otto Octavius. (127 mins.)
Director: Sam Raimi
“ This really is tied with Batman Begins for the number 3 spot. My favorite fictional character ever is Peter Parker, Spider-Man. I can go on and on of all the characteristic traits etc that appeal to me, but all of that can be summed up by the ever popular phrase first spoken by Uncle Ben Parker: "With great power comes great responsibility."
What makes this my favorite Spidey live-action version are the 'real-life' aspects that are present throughout the film. Raimi really gets Peter Parker, the person, right. Even in the best Spidey comics, the story is always centered around the human traits/life of Parker. His ups and downs as a normal everyday guy is basically what this movie is about. Can definitely relate. ” - letapnahsin
 
5.
Walk the Line (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A chronicle of country music legend Johnny Cash's life, from his early days on an Arkansas cotton farm to his rise to fame with Sun Records in Memphis, where he recorded alongside Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins. (136 mins.)
Director: James Mangold
“ My favorite real-life Hollywood love story. Johnny Cash and June Carter were married for 35 years up until Carter's passing. Both went through many obstacles in their personal/public lives. What saved Cash was June. ” - letapnahsin
 
6.
The Lion King (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
Lion cub and future king Simba searches for his identity. His eagerness to please others and penchant for testing his boundaries sometimes gets him into trouble. (88 mins.)
“ My favorite Disney movie, and probably the only animated feature (aside from some notable Batman TAS episodes) that actually brings a tear. Memorable songs, Hamlet inspiration, Timon and Pumbaa all equal to some fun animation. ” - letapnahsin
 
7.
Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
When Raj meets Simran in Europe, it isn't love at first sight but when Simran moves to India for an arranged marriage, love makes its presence felt. (189 mins.)
Director: Aditya Chopra
“ The most beloved Bollywood film of the modern era--played in several Indian theaters for an amazing 500 straight weeks since its 1995 release! It is easy to see why. Probably the best collection of Indian songs in any Bollywood film ever made--sometimes, I'll just skip all of the acting/story and just see the musical numbers all the way through. ” - letapnahsin
 
8.
(500) Days of Summer (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
An offbeat romantic comedy about a woman who doesn't believe true love exists, and the young man who falls for her. (95 mins.)
Director: Marc Webb
“ Not a love story, but a story about love. I think we've all been here. Oh, and Zooey Deschanel is in it. ” - letapnahsin
 
9.
Marley & Me (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A family learns important life lessons from their adorable, but naughty and neurotic dog. (115 mins.)
Director: David Frankel
“ This is coming from a dog lover. I have a 2 year old german shepherd, Rocky; just as mischievous as Marley. I couldn't imagine life without him. ” - letapnahsin
 
10.
Elf (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
After inadvertently wreaking havoc on the elf community due to his ungainly size, a man raised as an elf at the North Pole is sent to the U.S. in search of his true identity. (97 mins.)
Director: Jon Favreau
“ My favorite holiday/Christmas film. Many memorable lines and scenes, but it is the naive childlike hopefulness of Ferrell's Buddy that comes to show what the holidays--more importantly, what life--is all about. Sometimes as adults, we forget what's really most important. ” - letapnahsin
 
11.
Edward Scissorhands (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A gentle man, with scissors for hands, is brought into a new community after living in isolation. (105 mins.)
Director: Tim Burton
“ A sad fairy tale set in the mysterious world of post 1980s pastel suburbia. Great contrasts in setting/colors/characters--my favorite Depp and Burton film; lots of magical moments and an added treat with Vincent Price as the perfect lonely Inventor/father of Edward. ” - letapnahsin
 
12.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
When Dr. Henry Jones, Sr. suddenly goes missing while pursuing the Holy Grail, eminent archaeologist. Dr. Henry "Indiana" Jones, Jr. must follow in his father's footsteps to stop the Nazis from getting their hands on the Holy Grail first. (127 mins.)
“ A close one between this and Raiders, but I think this takes the cake. Adventure, mystery, and Harrison Ford at his best (yes, he is awesome as Han Solo, but I can never get tired of Indy). Connery is the perfect match/father role to Ford, even though they are only just a couple of years apart in actual age. Great charisma; an overall fun ride that never gets old. ” - letapnahsin
 
13.
Brokeback Mountain (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
The story of a forbidden and secretive relationship between two cowboys, and their lives over the years. (134 mins.)
Director: Ang Lee
“ Ang Lee paints a wonderful character story; delving into the lives/community of which contains the most taboo of subjects. Ledger as Del Mar is one of the most tragic of film characters ” - letapnahsin
 
14.
Spirited Away (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
During her family's move to the suburbs, a sullen 10-year-old girl wanders into a world ruled by gods, witches, and spirits, and where humans are changed into beasts. (125 mins.)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
“ Miyazaki's masterpiece-- ” - letapnahsin
 
15.
Like Stars on Earth (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
An eight-year-old boy is thought to be a lazy trouble-maker, until the new art teacher has the patience and compassion to discover the real problem behind his struggles in school. (165 mins.)
Director: Aamir Khan
“ Aamir Khan is the most versatile Bollywood actor--he only makes 1 film a year, but they are worth the wait. TZP stands out from his gem of a resume. This film approaches Indian education (it's current state/policies/methods) in a unique light. It shows the significance of art education (a subject that isn't usually the top priority in Indian or American households/school systems) and its effect on the development of a child. This film is a part of the reason why and how I choose to approach art education in my current studies. DDLJ and KKHH may have the fanciful scenes and songs, but TZP definitely has the biggest heart (and message) of any Bollywood film I have ever seen. ” - letapnahsin
 
16.
Ghost (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
After a young man is murdered, his spirit stays behind to warn his lover of impending danger, with the help of a reluctant psychic. (127 mins.)
Director: Jerry Zucker
“ Pottery making scene maybe the best in any love story film. ” - letapnahsin
 
17.
The Prestige (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
After a tragic accident two stage magicians engage in a battle to create the ultimate illusion whilst sacrificing everything they have to outwit the other. (130 mins.)
“ An engaging film from start to finish--a mind trip of a puzzle echoing Nolan's previous mindbender Memento; but this one has Bale, Jackman, Caine and magic. ” - letapnahsin
 
18.
Ghostbusters (1984)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Three former parapsychology professors set up shop as a unique ghost removal service. (105 mins.)
Director: Ivan Reitman
“ The centerpiece film of my early childhood. Bill Murray's Venkman is a genius. ” - letapnahsin
 
19.
The Incredibles (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A family of undercover superheroes, while trying to live the quiet suburban life, are forced into action to save the world. (115 mins.)
Director: Brad Bird
“ Pixar took the magic of the Fantastic Four (what they're about i.e. the family bond) and got it right. Now that Disney owns Marvel, perhaps a crossover or a true FF version can be made, but I am very content with this Pixar gem. ” - letapnahsin
 
20.
Up (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Seventy-eight year old Carl Fredricksen travels to Paradise Falls in his home equipped with balloons, inadvertently taking a young stowaway. (96 mins.)
“ The first 20 minutes or so of this film just may be my most favorite beginning to a film, animated or otherwise. The growing up/backstory of Carl and his love told with very little dialogue but wonderful animation/body language. ” - letapnahsin
 
21.
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
An angel is sent from Heaven to help a desperately frustrated businessman by showing him what life would have been like if he had never existed. (130 mins.)
Director: Frank Capra
 
22.
Benny & Joon (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A mentally ill young woman finds her love in an eccentric man who models himself after Buster Keaton. (98 mins.)
“ An ode to Buster Keaton. An unlikely grouping/love of characters--Sam and Joon. Grilled cheese sandwich made via an iron.
What's not
tolike? ” - letapnahsin
 
23.
3 Idiots (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
Two friends are searching for their long lost companion. They revisit their college days and recall the memories of their friend who inspired them to think differently, even as the rest of the world called them "idiots". (170 mins.)
Director: Rajkumar Hirani
 
24.
The Truman Show (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
An insurance salesman/adjuster discovers his entire life is actually a television show. (103 mins.)
Director: Peter Weir
“ The last minute of the film is a good (sad) indicator of where the majority of us are in relationship to media ” - letapnahsin
 
25.
Inception (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
A thief, who steals corporate secrets through use of dream-sharing technology, is given the inverse task of planting an idea into the mind of a CEO. (148 mins.)
 
26.
Casino Royale (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Armed with a license to kill, Secret Agent James Bond sets out on his first mission as 007 and must defeat a private banker to terrorists in a high stakes game of poker at Casino Royale, Montenegro but things are not what they seem. (144 mins.)
Director: Martin Campbell
“ One 007 Film has to be on this list. My favorite Bonds have to be the original, Connery and the campy Pierce, but Daniel Craig brings his own dark vision to the legend. This Bond film has to be the best written; Eva Green=best Bond girl ” - letapnahsin
 
27.
Rocky (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Rocky Balboa, a small-time boxer, gets a supremely rare chance to fight heavy-weight champion Apollo Creed in a bout in which he strives to go the distance for his self-respect. (120 mins.)
“ The best/feel good underdog story in the 'underdog city' of Philadelphia. Also has my favorite film score--goosebumps every time. I must say though, my favorite one of the series may just be Rocky IV "I must brake you" ” - letapnahsin
 
28.
Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
After the rebels are overpowered by the Empire on their newly established base, Luke Skywalker begins Jedi training with Master Yoda. His friends accept shelter from a questionable ally as Darth Vader hunts them in a plan to capture Luke. (124 mins.)
Director: Irvin Kershner
“ Han Solo. "I am your father." The training with Yoda. Way too many great memories growing up with this film--my favorite of all the Star Wars. ” - letapnahsin
 
29.
Amélie (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
Amélie is an innocent and naive girl in Paris with her own sense of justice. She decides to help those around her and, along the way, discovers love. (122 mins.)
“ Audrey Tautou will win your heart. ” - letapnahsin
 
30.
Back to the Future (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
Marty McFly, a 17-year-old high school student, is accidentally sent 30 years into the past in a time-traveling DeLorean invented by his close friend, the maverick scientist Doc Brown. (116 mins.)
Director: Robert Zemeckis