35 Favorite Movies

The "Top" or "Greatest" lists made by people on IMDB and other websites usually don't really define what are the most innovative and well-crafted movies of all time, and the users' own personal opinions almost always interfere with the lists. I knew that if I attempted to make a "Top 35" list, it would be guilty of the same flaw. There's always going to be the argument of whether one movie should be higher than another on such a list. I therefore decided to create a list of my own 35 personal favorites, still in order, but not necessarily what I believe to be THE 35 greatest movies ever made. These are movies that continue to mesmerize every one of my senses and teach me the art and beauty of cinema upon every viewing.
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1.
The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
A chronicle of the trial of Jeanne d'Arc on charges of heresy, and the efforts of her ecclesiastical jurists to force Jeanne to recant her claims of holy visions. (110 mins.)
Director: Carl Th. Dreyer
“ This is such a bizarre, horrifying, and compelling film. It's unlike any other silent or talking picture I've ever seen. Through a script taken from actual dialogue from the trial and the use of facial close-ups almost all the way through the movie, Carl Theodore Dreyer displays the tragedy Joan of Arc endured during her trial and the malicious and vengeful minds of the judges and theologians who questioned her. This film reflects on a timeless, universal level not only the hypocrisy of the church, but the hypocrisy of the law and humanity as well. It seems to be in our nature as humans to say one thing and do another, to go from treating our neighbors kindly to torturing them, and this movie depicts this nature in us better than any other in my opinion. ” - KyleH87
 
2.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Humanity finds a mysterious, obviously artificial object buried beneath the Lunar surface and, with the intelligent computer H.A.L. 9000, sets off on a quest. (149 mins.)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
“ Moses, John, and the other writers offered us the Bible of the earth; Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clark offer us the Bible of the universe. Here we witness a Book of Genesis, a Gospel, and a Book of Revelation more complex and bedazzling than anything we could possibly imagine. The aliens are God, the HAL 9000 computer is the devil, and space pilot/starchild Dave Bowman is Jesus, saving the world from the corrupt mechanical system it's created for itself. ” - KyleH87
 
3.
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
The story of T.E. Lawrence, the English officer who successfully united and lead the diverse, often warring, Arab tribes during World War I in order to fight the Turks. (216 mins.)
Director: David Lean
“ This is not just a movie; this is a journey through the desolate but beautiful desert of Arabia and the disturbing mind of a masochistic, flamboyant English officer searching for his sense of humanity and self-worth in a world of foreigners that are possibly not so foreign to him after all. ” - KyleH87
 
4.
On the Waterfront (1954)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
An ex-prize fighter turned longshoreman struggles to stand up to his corrupt union bosses. (108 mins.)
Director: Elia Kazan
“ Elia Kazan and Marlon Brando brilliantly show us the mind and emotions of Terry Malloy and what he has to endure to go from sticking with Johnny Friendly and his gang of crooks and being hated by Father Barry and Edie Doyle, to fighting against Friendly and his greedy counterparts and helping Barry and Doyle bring justice to the working class of the waterfront. This movie rightfully rebelled against the sugarcoated films and TV shows of the 1950's and encouraged the people to realize the injustice of the world and do something to stop it. ” - KyleH87
 
5.
Citizen Kane (1941)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
Following the death of a publishing tycoon, news reporters scramble to discover the meaning of his final utterance. (119 mins.)
Director: Orson Welles
“ Technically, this is just about the greatest thing I've ever seen. Orson Welles is certainly something we'll never see the likes of again. The story is not one of my favorites, but nevertheless, it is a powerful story that speaks out toward the stupidity of those who strive their whole lives to be wealthy and materially successful and fail to see the things in life that really matter. ” - KyleH87
 
6.
Pulp Fiction (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
The lives of two mob hit men, a boxer, a gangster's wife, and a pair of diner bandits intertwine in four tales of violence and redemption. (154 mins.)
“ Who would have thought that diner theft, hitmen, a boxer, drug abuse, accidental murder, rape, hamburgers, and divine intervention could fit so well in a movie together? Quentin Tarantino is who. This movie is more shocking, hilarious, thought-provoking, and timeless than a great many other movies of the 90's, or of all time for that matter. ” - KyleH87
 
7.
Seven Samurai (1954)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
A poor village under attack by bandits recruits seven unemployed samurai to help them defend themselves. (207 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
“ On the surface, it appears to be nothing more than a very entertaining Japanese samurai movie, but after you watch it more closely, you'll realize that this film has a lot more to say. It expresses on an international and timeless level the social and emotional distance between the classes and the lack of recognition toward the most selfless and proficient people in society. Notice how the samurai risk their lives for the peasants and receive hardly any appreciation at all from them throughout the entire movie. Kikuchiyo even mocks them for it at one point. ” - KyleH87
 
8.
Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
Luke Skywalker joins forces with a Jedi Knight, a cocky pilot, a wookiee and two droids to save the galaxy from the Empire's world-destroying battle-station, while also attempting to rescue Princess Leia from the evil Darth Vader. (121 mins.)
Director: George Lucas
“ A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, when George Lucas had talent, where legions of nerds dressed in Darth Vader costumes could not be seen, this movie was created, and then transported to theaters in our time, in our solar system. If you look beyond the over-extensive amount of movies, books, and video games that were created after this one film, you will notice its brilliance. This is a John Ford Western set in outer space, with captivating characters, an extremely fun and quotable script, and a story that unfolds in a strange but fascinating order. Many argue that Empire Strikes Back is the best of the Star Wars films, and I can understand where they're coming from, but I still see the original to be the most mesmerizing and invigorating of them all, from the overhead star destroyer entrance at the beginning to the Death Star explosion and award ceremony at the end that, combined with John Williams' beautiful score, brings tears to my eyes upon every viewing. ” - KyleH87
 
9.
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Three World War II veterans return home to small-town America to discover that they and their families have been irreparably changed. (172 mins.)
Director: William Wyler
“ If you have not seen this movie, WATCH IT! It has such a compelling story that just as many people can relate to today as they could after WWII. The dark themes of the movie are balanced out by the humor and romance elements. The script, the acting, and the sublime use of deep focus are other things worth mentioning. This is a timeless classic that both men and women can equally enjoy. ” - KyleH87
 
10.
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
Gandalf and Aragorn lead the World of Men against Sauron's army to draw his gaze from Frodo and Sam as they approach Mount Doom with the One Ring. (201 mins.)
Director: Peter Jackson
 
11.
The Godfather (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.2/10 X  
The aging patriarch of an organized crime dynasty transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son. (175 mins.)
“ Anyone who has seen this film knows that it goes far, far deeper than your typical gangster movie. Every character has multiple dimensions and a very heavy soul. Every violent scene is not just a scene filled with gunshots and death, but a painting in motion that is beautiful in an ironic sort of way. This is the Mona Lisa of crime movies. ” - KyleH87
 
12.
City Lights (1931)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
With the aid of a wealthy erratic tippler, a dewy-eyed tramp who has fallen in love with a sightless flower girl accumulates money to be able to help her medically. (87 mins.)
Director: Charles Chaplin
“ After 80 years, the movie remains very funny and touching. It also still demonstrates very beautifully the difficulty for a man to make ends meet and impress a girl, even a girl who can't see and won't judge his looks, in the midst of a country with a poor economy. ” - KyleH87
 
13.
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 have been brutally overpowered by the Empire on their newly established base, Luke Skywalker takes advanced Jedi training with Master Yoda, while his friends are pursued by Darth Vader as part of his plan to capture Luke. (124 mins.)
Director: Irvin Kershner
“ As I mentioned, some argue that this movie is better than the first Star Wars, and I can see why. It's the darkest and most mature. The Star Wars saga unfortunately begins to lose its "force" after this installment. ” - KyleH87
 
14.
Raging Bull (1980)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
An emotionally self-destructive boxer's journey through life, as the violence and temper that leads him to the top in the ring destroys his life outside it. (129 mins.)
Director: Martin Scorsese
“ Martin Scorcese is a brilliant director and Robert De Niro is a brilliant actor who delivers possibly his best performance in this film as Jake LaMotta. ” - KyleH87
 
15.
The Seventh Seal (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A man seeks answers about life, death, and the existence of God as he plays chess against the Grim Reaper during the Black Plague. (96 mins.)
Director: Ingmar Bergman
“ Such a compelling movie that jolts you out of whatever moralistic notion you've ever had and encourages you to look at that notion in a different way. ” - KyleH87
 
16.
Barry Lyndon (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
An Irish rogue wins the heart of a rich widow and assumes her dead husband's aristocratic position in 18th-century England. (184 mins.)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
“ The most underrated Stanley Kubrick picture, and easily one of the best. Kubrick's decision to only use natural light in the film leaves you feeling as if you've actually traveled back in time to the 18th Century, and you're following the bold and greedy Redmond Barry on his adventures in and out of love, battle, and wealth. ” - KyleH87
 
17.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
A meek Hobbit and eight companions set out on a journey to destroy the One Ring and the Dark Lord Sauron. (178 mins.)
Director: Peter Jackson
“ My favorite of them all because it sticks closest to the book and Gimli doesn't deliver a bunch of cheesy one-liners like he does in the other two. ” - KyleH87
 
18.
North by Northwest (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
A hapless New York advertising executive is mistaken for a government agent by a group of foreign spies, and is pursued across the country while he looks for a way to survive. (136 mins.)
“ The best Hitchcock movie IMO. ” - KyleH87
 
19.
Bicycle Thieves (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Set in Post-WWII Italy, a working class man's bicycle is stolen. He and his son set out to find it. (89 mins.)
“ This movie so beautifully demonstrates what every man will go through to get his end of the payroll, even if it means screwing another guy over after he's been screwed over in the same fashion. ” - KyleH87
 
20.
Ben-Hur (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
When a Jewish prince is betrayed and sent into slavery by a Roman friend, he regains his freedom and comes back for revenge. (212 mins.)
Director: William Wyler
“ Regardless of whether or not you like the religious theme, the occasionally dense dialogue, or Charleton Heston's overly theatrical acting, it's hard not to be blown away by this movie, whether it's the first time or the 50th time you've seen it. The chariot race, which is what people remember the most about the movie, remains to this day to be one of the best action scenes ever released on film. Every other part of the movie is not quite equally powerful, but very close. Charleton Heston is not nearly as over-the-top in his role of Judah in this movie as he typically is in other movies, and the tension between him and Stephen Boyd as Massala is superb. Jack Hawkins also delivers a marvelous performance, as he does in Lawrence of Arabia and every other movie I've seen him in. ” - KyleH87
 
21.
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 the heavy-weight champion, Apollo Creed, in a bout in which he strives to go the distance for his self-respect. (120 mins.)
“ This is the only Rocky movie that can be regarded as a great film. It's so real, so touching, and probably the most inspirational movie I've ever seen. Everyone feels like a dumb screw-up like Rocky does at one point or another and desires to give it all and "go the distance". ” - KyleH87
 
22.
(1963)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A harried movie director retreats into his memories and fantasies. (138 mins.)
“ Oddly intriguing, thought-provoking, somewhat Freudian, dreamlike, possibly the most artistic film ever created. ” - KyleH87
 
23.
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
An insane general triggers a path to nuclear holocaust that a war room full of politicians and generals frantically try to stop. (95 mins.)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
“ The perfect black comedy, other than maybe Pulp Fiction. ” - KyleH87
 
24.
Amadeus (1984)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
The incredible story of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, told by his peer and secret rival Antonio Salieri - now confined to an insane asylum. (160 mins.)
Director: Milos Forman
“ Another movie that takes you back to the 18th Century. ” - KyleH87
 
25.
Battleship Potemkin (1925)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A dramatized account of a great Russian naval mutiny and a resulting street demonstration which brought on a police massacre. (75 mins.)
Director: S.M. Eisenstein
 
26.
The Godfather: Part II (1974)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.0/10 X  
The early life and career of Vito Corleone in 1920s New York is portrayed while his son, Michael, expands and tightens his grip on his crime syndicate stretching from Lake Tahoe, Nevada to pre-revolution 1958 Cuba. (202 mins.)
“ As good as, or arguably better than, the first movie. ” - KyleH87
 
27.
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
An angel helps a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman by showing what life would have been like if he never existed. (130 mins.)
Director: Frank Capra
“ I wish it wasn't over-hyped as a "Christmas movie", because it's not really about Christmas at all. It's about a man's realization of his purpose in life and the impact he's had on those around him. ” - KyleH87
 
28.
The 400 Blows (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Moving story of a young boy who, left without attention, delves into a life of petty crime. (99 mins.)
 
29.
Rear Window (1954)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
A wheelchair-bound photographer spies on his neighbours from his apartment window and becomes convinced one of them has committed murder. (112 mins.)
“ This film really demonstrates how brilliantly Hitchcock could add suspense to his movies. He keeps the audience on the edge of their seat without ever allowing them to leave one room. ” - KyleH87
 
30.
Modern Times (1936)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
The Tramp struggles to live in modern industrial society with the help of a young homeless woman. (87 mins.)
Director: Charlie Chaplin
“ One of the more underrated Chaplin films, this richly demonstrates what the working man has to go through in a rough economy, in an equally powerful but different way than City Lights does. ” - KyleH87
 
31.
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
After settling his differences with a Japanese PoW camp commander, a British colonel co-operates to oversee his men's construction of a railway bridge for their captors - while oblivious to a plan by the Allies to destroy it. (161 mins.)
Director: David Lean
“ Epic movie with one of cinema's most epic endings. "Madness... Madness..." ” - KyleH87
 
32.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Two Western bank/train robbers flee to Bolivia when the law gets too close. (110 mins.)
Director: George Roy Hill
“ "Kid, there's somethin' I oughta tell ya. I've never shot anybody before."

".....One hell of a time to tell me!" ” - KyleH87
 
33.
The Terminator (1984)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A human-looking indestructible cyborg is sent from 2029 to 1984 to assassinate a waitress, whose unborn son will lead humanity in a war against the machines, while a soldier from that war is sent to protect her at all costs. (107 mins.)
Director: James Cameron
 
34.
Back to the Future (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
A young man is accidentally sent thirty years into the past in a time-traveling DeLorean invented by his friend, Dr. Emmett Brown, and must make sure his high-school-age parents unite in order to save his own existence. (116 mins.)
Director: Robert Zemeckis
“ "Ronald Reagan? The ACTOR?" ” - KyleH87
 
35.
Yojimbo (1961)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A crafty ronin comes to a town divided by two criminal gangs and decides to play them against each other to free the town. (110 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa