Top Notch

by patrick_14780 | created - 06 May 2011 | updated - 12 May 2011 | Public

After endless hours of movie marathons, this is my select list of top notch films in a mix of genres. P.s. You won't find any of the commercial movies you're used to seeing on most lists (i.e. Godfather,Raging Bull,Taxi Driver etc.)

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1. The Wicker Man (1973)

R | 88 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A police sergeant is sent to a Scottish island village in search of a missing girl whom the townsfolk claim never existed. Stranger still are the rites that take place there.

Director: Robin Hardy | Stars: Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, Diane Cilento, Britt Ekland

Votes: 53,352 | Gross: $0.06M

A policeman's investigation of a disappearance on an island inhabited by people with awkward behaviour. The build up is slow,creeping up on you at a steady pace...until the final scene - probably the best ending ever.

2. The Last of the Mohicans (1992)

R | 112 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
76 Metascore

Three trappers protect a British Colonel's daughters in the midst of the French and Indian War.

Director: Michael Mann | Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeleine Stowe, Russell Means, Eric Schweig

Votes: 124,515 | Gross: $75.51M

A wonderful mix of war and romance, unforgettable scenery and a soundtrack to die for!

3. Adaptation. (2002)

R | 114 min | Comedy, Drama

7.7
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83 Metascore

A lovelorn screenwriter becomes desperate as he tries and fails to adapt 'The Orchid Thief' by Susan Orlean for the screen.

Director: Spike Jonze | Stars: Nicolas Cage, Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper, Tilda Swinton

Votes: 155,149 | Gross: $22.25M

Life is so simple yet so complicated in this perfectly acted film (Chris Cooper received an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor). Very philosophical and very original, truly one of a kind.

4. The Tenant (1976)

R | 126 min | Drama, Thriller

7.8
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A bureaucrat rents a Paris apartment where he finds himself drawn into a rabbit hole of dangerous paranoia.

Director: Roman Polanski | Stars: Roman Polanski, Isabelle Adjani, Melvyn Douglas, Jo Van Fleet

Votes: 30,887 | Gross: $1.92M

A person's gradual descent into madness, in a place where not everything is what it seems. Roman Polanski is the master of the surreal (without it ever getting boring or too artsy-fartsy)...and this is the perfect example!

5. Rosemary's Baby (1968)

R | 137 min | Drama, Horror

8.0
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96 Metascore

A young couple moves in to an apartment only to be surrounded by peculiar neighbors and occurrences. When the wife becomes mysteriously pregnant, paranoia over the safety of her unborn child begins to control her life.

Director: Roman Polanski | Stars: Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon, Sidney Blackmer

Votes: 155,085

Polanski's best movie ever...and this time with a touch of satanism. Horror movies don't get any better than this, mostly in the psychological aspect rather than the visual one which makes it EVEN better.

6. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

R | 133 min | Drama

8.7
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80 Metascore

A criminal pleads insanity after getting into trouble again and once in the mental institution rebels against the oppressive nurse and rallies up the scared patients.

Director: Milos Forman | Stars: Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, Michael Berryman, Peter Brocco

Votes: 753,352 | Gross: $112.00M

No comment.

7. Midnight Express (1978)

R | 121 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

7.6
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59 Metascore

Billy Hayes, an American college student, is caught smuggling drugs out of Turkey and thrown into prison.

Director: Alan Parker | Stars: Brad Davis, Irene Miracle, Bo Hopkins, Paolo Bonacelli

Votes: 59,852 | Gross: $35.00M

Incredible prison movie based on a true story making it all the more fascinating.

8. In Bruges (2008)

R | 107 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

7.9
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67 Metascore

Guilt-stricken after a job gone wrong, hitman Ray and his partner await orders from their ruthless boss in Bruges, Belgium, the last place in the world Ray wants to be.

Director: Martin McDonagh | Stars: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Ciarán Hinds, Elizabeth Berrington

Votes: 332,157 | Gross: $7.76M

A superb dark comedy with masterful performances from Farrell and Gleeson, resulting in one of the best films of 2008. Extremely funny yet somehow emotional at the same time..

9. In America (2002)

PG-13 | 105 min | Drama

7.8
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76 Metascore

A family of Irish immigrants adjust to life on the mean streets of Hell's Kitchen while also grieving the death of a child.

Director: Jim Sheridan | Stars: Paddy Considine, Samantha Morton, Djimon Hounsou, Sarah Bolger

Votes: 37,895 | Gross: $15.54M

A genuinely touching movie about an immigrant family and the hardship it faces while adjusting to contemporary New York. Depressing but also encouraging at times, this is one of those films you haven't seen or heard of, but definitely belongs in the 'must see' list.

10. Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills (1996)

Not Rated | 150 min | Documentary, Crime, Drama

8.3
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A horrific triple child murder leads to an indictment and trial of three nonconformist boys based on questionable evidence.

Directors: Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky | Stars: Tony Brooks, Diana Davis, Terry Wood, Dick Clay

Votes: 12,186

A documentary that will blow your mind! Real courtroom drama, real-life police investigation, interviews with family and friends of the victims and of the accused and last but foremost, highly questionable evidence...(if you like this one also check out 'Murder on a Sunday Morning' as well as 'Thin Blue Line').

11. Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father (2008)

Not Rated | 95 min | Documentary, Crime, Drama

8.6
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82 Metascore

A filmmaker decides to memorialize a murdered friend when his friend's ex-girlfriend announces she is expecting his son.

Director: Kurt Kuenne | Stars: Kurt Kuenne, Andrew Bagby, David Bagby, Kathleen Bagby

Votes: 25,797

A muddled start quickly unravels into an astonishing tribute to a passing friend and a justice system which yet again comes to question.

12. Earthlings (2005)

95 min | Documentary, Horror

8.7
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Using hidden cameras and never-before-seen footage, Earthlings chronicles the day-to-day practices of the largest industries in the world, all of which rely entirely on animals for profit.

Director: Shaun Monson | Star: Joaquin Phoenix

Votes: 14,635

A documentary about animals and how they are used and abused for our entertainment, scientific research, food and clothing. Educational and life altering - for most.

13. Deliver Us from Evil (2006)

Not Rated | 101 min | Documentary, Crime

8.0
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86 Metascore

Documentary about Father Oliver O'Grady, a Catholic priest who was relocated to various parishes around the United States during the 1970s in an attempt by the Catholic Church to cover up his rape of dozens of children.

Director: Amy Berg | Stars: Oliver O'Grady, Thomas Doyle, Adam, Jeff Anderson

Votes: 8,908 | Gross: $30.58M

With the hypocricy of religion and of the people representing it, this documentary will shock you and aggravate you like never before.

14. Donnie Darko (2001)

R | 113 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller

8.1
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88 Metascore

A troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a man in a large rabbit suit who manipulates him to commit a series of crimes, after he narrowly escapes a bizarre accident.

Director: Richard Kelly | Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Mary McDonnell, Holmes Osborne

Votes: 643,687 | Gross: $0.19M

An intelligent and imaginative drama with a very mind-challenging subject. Truly brilliant filmmaking.

15. The Tao of Steve (2000)

R | 87 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

6.7
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70 Metascore

Underachieving, overweight kindergarten teacher Dex finds a woman who forces him to reexamine his Zen-like system of seduction.

Director: Jenniphr Goodman | Stars: Donal Logue, Ayelet Kaznelson, John Hines, John Harrington Bland

Votes: 6,969 | Gross: $4.34M

A very smart and interesting character study offering many insights about sexual relationships. This movie will impress you through it's simplicity as well as it's lovable characters.

16. Harakiri (1962)

Not Rated | 133 min | Action, Drama, History

8.7
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An elder ronin samurai arrives at a feudal lord's home and requests an honorable place to commit suicide. But when the ronin inquires about a younger samurai who arrived before him things take an unexpected turn.

Director: Masaki Kobayashi | Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Akira Ishihama, Shima Iwashita, Tetsurô Tanba

Votes: 21,633

A thrilling tale about revenge and the samurai warrior's honour code. Add a great plot to the ingredients and you have a marvelous result.

17. Young Frankenstein (1974)

PG | 106 min | Comedy

8.0
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80 Metascore

An American grandson of the infamous scientist, struggling to prove that he is not as insane as people believe, is invited to Transylvania, where he discovers the process that reanimates a dead body.

Director: Mel Brooks | Stars: Gene Wilder, Madeline Kahn, Marty Feldman, Peter Boyle

Votes: 125,037 | Gross: $86.30M

By far Mel Brooks' best (and funniest) movie featuring - who else?- Gene Wilder with a peak performance.

18. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

R | 108 min | Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi

8.3
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89 Metascore

When their relationship turns sour, a couple undergoes a procedure to have each other erased from their memories. But it is only through the process of loss that they discover what they had to begin with.

Director: Michel Gondry | Stars: Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Tom Wilkinson, Gerry Robert Byrne

Votes: 745,857 | Gross: $34.40M

Charming,imaginative and twisty!

19. House of Wax (1953)

Approved | 88 min | Horror

7.1
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An associate burns down a wax museum with the owner inside, but he survives only to become vengeful and murderous.

Director: André De Toth | Stars: Vincent Price, Frank Lovejoy, Phyllis Kirk, Carolyn Jones

Votes: 13,077 | Gross: $23.75M

Vincent Price, by far the best horror icon (yes, even better than Christopher Lee) offering a classic 50's chiller better than anything made nowadays. His best movie (No.2 is Theatre of Blood).

20. The Wizard of Oz (1939)

PG | 102 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy

8.1
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100 Metascore

Dorothy Gale is swept away from a farm in Kansas to a magical land of Oz in a tornado and embarks on a quest with her new friends to see the Wizard who can help her return home in Kansas and help her friends as well.

Directors: Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Mervyn LeRoy, Norman Taurog, King Vidor | Stars: Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr

Votes: 320,900 | Gross: $22.20M

As good today as it was 72 years ago when it was released, a truly epic movie in all aspects, for both young and old.

21. Scarface (1983)

R | 170 min | Crime, Drama

8.3
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65 Metascore

In Miami in 1980, a determined Cuban immigrant takes over a drug cartel and succumbs to greed.

Director: Brian De Palma | Stars: Al Pacino, Michelle Pfeiffer, Steven Bauer, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio

Votes: 599,224 | Gross: $45.60M

Commercial I know, but I couldn't help adding it to the list! In the words of Oscar Wilde - 'I can resist everything but temptation'

22. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

R | 178 min | Western

8.9
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90 Metascore

A bounty hunting scam joins two men in an uneasy alliance against a third in a race to find a fortune in gold buried in a remote cemetery.

Director: Sergio Leone | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, Lee Van Cleef, Aldo Giuffrè

Votes: 559,069 | Gross: $6.10M

The undisputed Western of all Westerns...