Ranking the Academy Award Best Picture Winners

My ranking of the movies that won an Oscar for Best Picture.
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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.)
“ Marlon Brando is the head of one of New York's five mafia "families". He grants requests from family members during his daughter's wedding, ranging from jobs to murder, in return for "favors" when he needs them. He triggers a gang war between the families when he refuses to get involved with narcotics. Barely surviving an assassination attempt himself, he grooms his son to replace him. Al Pacino as Michael undergoes a remarkable transformation: from reluctant war hero to ruthless Don, and his story anchors the film. A relentlessly violent yet fascinating portrait of a family that demands loyalty at any cost, seemingly at odds with their deeply religious Italian heritage. The ensemble cast assembled by Coppola is one of the best in cinema history, while Gordon Willis' cinematography reflects the dark, somber mood. ” - atari-3
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.)
“ Michael Corleone, now firmly in control of the family after his father's death, survives an assassination attempt in his home. He vows revenge on those responsible, first to Florida and Cuba where he suspects a corrupt Jewish business partner, but then within his inner circle. The story of his father's early days as an immigrant in New York City is seamlessly interwoven with the more modern one, mirroring his own rise to power and subsequent betrayals. More or less a continuation of the first film, although the violence this time around is less jarring, but no less effective. ” - atari-3
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
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. (133 mins.)
Director: Milos Forman
“ Jack Nicholson may or may not be faking mental illness to get out of jail and into a psychiatric hospital. He ends up in a ward run by the stoic Louise Fletcher, with whom he immediately clashes. He tries to inject some normalcy into the otherwise depressing routine by stealing a bus and taking the other patients on a joyride or watching a baseball game on tv. However, he takes things too far when he sneaks in alcohol and women one night. Hilarious and well-acted, but also a scathing indictment of the mental health system, as it is clear Nicholson is the only sane person yet receives the ultimate corrective treatment. ” - atari-3
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 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
“ Misfit British officer O'Toole is sent to unify the Arabs in their conflict against Turkey in the early days of WWI. He leads them in an epic desert crossing for a surprise attack on a key coastal city. Along the way, he risks his life to save a man that others want to leave behind, and earns not only their respect but becomes a sort of prophet. At first he relishes the attention, but when he also begins to relish the bloodshed of war he begins to doubt himself. It all takes place against bigger-than-life, windswept desert locations, beautifully captured by director Lean and cinematographer Freddie Young. ” - atari-3
Midnight Cowboy (1969)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A naive hustler travels from Texas to New York to seek personal fortune but, in the process, finds himself a new friend. (113 mins.)
The French Connection (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A pair of NYC cops in the Narcotics Bureau stumble onto a drug smuggling job with a French connection. (104 mins.)
The Deer Hunter (1978)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
An in-depth examination of the ways in which the U.S. Vietnam War impacts and disrupts the lives of people in a small industrial town in Pennsylvania. (183 mins.)
Director: Michael Cimino
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
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
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
Hamlet (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Prince Hamlet struggles over whether or not he should kill his uncle, whom he suspects has murdered his father, the former king. (155 mins.)
Mrs. Miniver (1942)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A British family struggles to survive the first months of World War II. (134 mins.)
Director: William Wyler
All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A young soldier faces profound disillusionment in the soul-destroying horror of World War I. (136 mins.)
Director: Lewis Milestone
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
“ Marlon Brando, in perhaps his best performance, is a former boxer who reluctantly becomes an informer on the mob. Lee J. Cobb is the brutal boss, controlling every aspect of the New York City docks through a corrupt union. Brando's brother is his right-hand man, and through that relationship involves Brando in murder. Struggling with guilt, Brando reaches out to the sister of the man who was killed and an idealistic priest played by Karl Malden. They must convince him to turn informer on not only the mob, but his brother. Strong characters, brilliant performances, moody black-and-white photography by Boris Kaufman and a memorable Leonard Bernstein soundtrack make this one of the most powerful films of the 1950s. ” - atari-3
Patton (1970)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
The World War II phase of the career of the controversial American general, George S. Patton. (172 mins.)
All About Eve (1950)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
An ingenue insinuates herself into the company of an established but aging stage actress and her circle of theater friends. (138 mins.)
Gandhi (1982)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Gandhi's character is fully explained as a man of nonviolence. Through his patience, he is able to drive the British out of the subcontinent. And the stubborn nature of Jinnah and his commitment towards Pakistan is portrayed. (191 mins.)
Dances with Wolves (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Lt. John Dunbar, exiled to a remote western Civil War outpost, befriends wolves and Indians, making him an intolerable aberration in the military. (181 mins.)
Director: Kevin Costner
From Here to Eternity (1953)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
In Hawaii in 1941, a private is cruelly punished for not boxing on his unit's team, while his captain's wife and second-in-command are falling in love. (118 mins.)
Director: Fred Zinnemann
Chariots of Fire (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Two British track athletes, one a determined Jew and the other a devout Christian, compete in the 1924 Olympics. (125 mins.)
Director: Hugh Hudson
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.)
Crash (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Los Angeles citizens with vastly separate lives collide in interweaving stories of race, loss and redemption. (112 mins.)
Director: Paul Haggis
“ Paul Haggis exposes bigotry, racism and hatred in Los Angeles by examining a series of intertwined events one snowy day. Cops abuse their power to harass an innocent couple, said couple become carjack victims, carjackers become innocent victims of cops... an imperfect circle, if you will, and that is just one example. The screen play is exceptional, every thread complete, every character connected in some way. It is a masterful use of audience manipulation, which I began to realize about half way through the film, and since I knew I was being set up some of the final scenes lost their emotional impact. Nonetheless, I was not expecting much from this film, but was pleasantly surprised. ” - atari-3
The Apartment (1960)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A man tries to rise in his company by letting its executives use his apartment for trysts, but complications and a romance of his own ensue. (125 mins.)
Director: Billy Wilder
The Sting (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
In Chicago in September 1936, a young con man seeking revenge for his murdered partner teams up with a master of the big con to win a fortune from a criminal banker. (129 mins.)
Director: George Roy Hill
Braveheart (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
When his secret bride is executed for assaulting an English soldier who tried to rape her, William Wallace begins a revolt against King Edward I of England. (178 mins.)
Director: Mel Gibson
“ Mel Gibson's epic tale of the Scottish rebellion lead by William Wallace features some of the last great battle scenes filmed with real people rather than computer generated ones. There is never any doubt who is fighting who or why, a rather obvious fact overlooked in lesser films. Gibson manages to balance his bloody mayhem with surprising battlefield humor, but it's not just comic relief, those bare arses had a reason for being shown. There are the inevitable romances, a lost love and another one that tries but fails to take its place. Gibson does have a bad habit of using slow motion for dramatic effect. Finally, I couldn't help but chuckle at the sight of Gibson in a kilt and pigtails. ” - atari-3
Rebecca (1940)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A self-conscious bride is tormented by the memory of her husband's dead first wife. (130 mins.)
“ Hitchcock's first American film is a lushly photographed story of a young girl falling in love with a wealthy, older man, only to find herself struggling to emerge from the shadows of his former wife. They meet in Paris, and after a whirlwind romance get married and move back to England. They move into Manderley, a huge English mansion on the sea. The building becomes another character in the story, alive and breathing, echoing the memories of another unseen character, the dead wife whose initials are on everything, like fingerprints. Poor old Joan Fontaine is overwhelmed by it all, but especially by a psychotic maid played to perfection by Judith Anderson. The two have a battle of wills more formidable than a heavyweight boxing match. We slowly learn of the past, of the first wife, how she lived, her friends, how she died. The final stretch devolves into a mystery film, with a trial, some detective work, and a rather melodramatic ending. ” - atari-3
Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Midshipman Roger Byam joins Captain Bligh and Fletcher Christian aboard the HMS Bounty for a voyage to Tahiti... (132 mins.)
Director: Frank Lloyd
Annie Hall (1977)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Neurotic New York comedian Alvy Singer falls in love with the ditzy Annie Hall. (93 mins.)
Director: Woody Allen
The Lost Weekend (1945)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
The desperate life of a chronic alcoholic is followed through a four-day drinking bout. (101 mins.)
Director: Billy Wilder
“ A weekend getaway to the country, and away from the bottle, unexpectedly turns into Milland's last stand against a long battle with alcoholism. We learn of his past through a couple of long flashbacks, including meeting sympathetic girlfriend Jane Wyman at the opera. Out of money and out of drinks, Milland wanders around New York City in search of an open pawn shop, goes to a nightclub where he gets thrown out for purse snatching and ends up in the alcoholic ward after falling down a flight of stairs. He escapes but faces suicide straight in the face. The theremin-driven soundtrack is occasionally inappropriate, and the encounter between a bat-on-a-string and mouse-in-the-wall a bit silly, but otherwise a classic and by far Ray Milland's best role. ” - atari-3
American Beauty (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
A sexually frustrated suburban father has a mid-life crisis after becoming infatuated with his daughter's best friend. (122 mins.)
Director: Sam Mendes
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
A young F.B.I. cadet must confide in an incarcerated and manipulative killer to receive his help on catching another serial killer who skins his victims. (118 mins.)
Director: Jonathan Demme
In the Heat of the Night (1967)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
An African American police detective is asked to investigate a murder in a racially hostile southern town. (109 mins.)
Director: Norman Jewison
“ Sidney Poitier, at home visiting his mother in a small Mississippi town, finds himself hauled in for murder while sitting at the train station. Police Chief Rod Steiger, in one of his best performances, soon finds out that not only is Poitier innocent, but he is a crackerjack homicide detective. Poitier proceeds to show the good ole boys how to solve a murder case. It's CSI for the 1960s, with a tense racism backdrop. However, the white citizens are too often shallow redneck stereotypes. The resolution of the murder case, in particular the motivation, was also weak. It does have atmosphere to burn and Poitier is fantastic. ” - atari-3
The King's Speech (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
The story of King George VI of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, his impromptu ascension to the throne and the speech therapist who helped the unsure monarch become worthy of it. (118 mins.)
Director: Tom Hooper
“ A prince reluctantly becomes a king when his brother gives up the crown to marry a divorced woman. The newly crowned king seeks out a therapist to correct his lifelong speech stammer. After other physicians have failed, he goes to the unconventional Geoffrey Rush, a man with little or no credentials but plenty of results. The two strike up an unlikely friendship during his long days of therapy. Meanwhile, Hitler invades Poland and England declares war on Germany. The king is called upon to rally the nation with an incredibly important speech to be broadcast on radio. It is up to Rush to help him through, as therapist, English citizen and friend. Beautifully filmed on many UK locations with a (mostly) fluid camera, though the inevitable modern shakiness does occasionally creep into some scenes. Firth is stunning in the lead role, and Rush almost his equal. My only gripe would be a certain coldness to Firth's character that makes it hard to sympathize with him at times. ” - atari-3
Ordinary People (1980)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
The accidental death of the older son of an affluent family deeply strains the relationships among the bitter mother, the good-natured father, and the guilt-ridden younger son. (124 mins.)
Director: Robert Redford
Out of Africa (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
In 20th-century colonial Kenya, a Danish baroness/plantation owner has a passionate love affair with a free-spirited big-game hunter. (161 mins.)
Director: Sydney Pollack
Casablanca (1942)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
In Casablanca, Morocco in December 1941, a cynical American expatriate meets a former lover, with unforeseen complications. (102 mins.)
Director: Michael Curtiz
“ The quintessential "classic film" and popular favorite is certainly not the best movie ever made, but it is a fast moving romance/drama with a serious war undertone. Most of the action takes place at Rick's Cafe Americain, where would-be refugees to America bide their time gambling, listening to Sam play jazz at the piano and making deals for visas. German officers come and go, and a memorable scene features a patriotic singing duel. The film is really concerned with the romance between leads Bogie and Bergman, whose doomed relationship has caused many a classic film fan to break out the hanky. Bogie says "here's looking at you, kid" a few too many times (I counted 3), and he never says "play it again, Sam" despite movie lore. It all unwinds in the inevitable farewell scene at the airport shrouded in artistic fog. ” - atari-3
An American in Paris (1951)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Three friends struggle to find work in Paris. Things become more complicated when two of them fall in love with the same woman. (113 mins.)
12 Years a Slave (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
In the antebellum United States, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. (134 mins.)
Director: Steve McQueen
“ A free black man in New York accepts a travel invitation to DC with a couple of business partners, who end up drugging him and selling him into slavery. He is sent to Louisiana where he spends the next 12 years in a living hell. Torture and rape are common at the hands of his owners, who dehumanize their slaves as mere property. He manages to eventually sneak out a letter to his family, who send lawyers to release him and reunite them. Vividly acted and directed, there has perhaps never been a film that shows slavery so realistically, but a painful, sorrowful experience. ” - atari-3
Marty (1955)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A middle-aged butcher and a school teacher who have given up on the idea of love meet at a dance and fall for each other. (90 mins.)
Director: Delbert Mann
“ Ernest Borgnine is a butcher in New York City. At 34, he lives with his mother, hangs out with losers at bars and wonders why he can't find a wife. One night he meets his soul mate at the Stardust Ballroom, a homely schoolteacher played by Betsy Blair. After some awkward moments between the socially-impaired couple, they spend most of the night walking the streets and talking. Amazed that they have found each other, they desperately make another date for the next night. Feeling threatened, Borgnine's mother and "friends" ridicule the girl the next day. They almost convince him not to call her again, but he soon realizes his mistake, saving the girl from a night in front of the TV crying. Sentimental to a fault, and dated, but hard to dislike characters that are this real if a bit naive. ” - atari-3
Forrest Gump (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
Forrest Gump, while not intelligent, has accidentally been present at many historic moments, but his true love, Jenny Curran, eludes him. (142 mins.)
Director: Robert Zemeckis
You Can't Take It with You (1938)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A man from a family of rich snobs becomes engaged to a woman from a good-natured but decidedly eccentric family. (126 mins.)
Director: Frank Capra
“ Jean Arthur and Jimmy Stewart are well-paired as lovers from opposite sides of the track. He's the son of a wealthy banker during the Depression years, a vice-president with a comfortable job and not much to do. She is his free-spirited secretary. When his stuffy father and mother meet her eccentric family chaos ensues. This eventually forces them apart. It's up to her grandfather, Lionel Barrymore, to get them back together again, and all it takes is a well-timed harmonica duet. It features many classic Capra scenes, the courtroom drama and the final harmonica scene in particular, but a stage-bound feel and occasional forced sentimentality keep it a tad below his best films. ” - atari-3
All the King's Men (1949)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
The rise and fall of a corrupt politician, who makes his friends richer and retains power by dint of a populist appeal. (110 mins.)
Director: Robert Rossen
Grand Hotel (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A group of very different individuals staying at a luxurious hotel in Berlin deal with each of their respective dramas. (112 mins.)
Director: Edmund Goulding
A Man for All Seasons (1966)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
The story of Thomas More, who stood up to King Henry VIII when the King rejected the Roman Catholic Church to obtain a divorce and remarriage. (120 mins.)
Director: Fred Zinnemann
Oliver! (1968)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Young Oliver Twist runs away from an orphanage and meets a group of boys trained to be pickpockets by an elderly mentor. (153 mins.)
Director: Carol Reed
Schindler's List (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
In German-occupied Poland during World War II, Oskar Schindler gradually becomes concerned for his Jewish workforce after witnessing their persecution by the Nazi Germans. (195 mins.)
“ Sprawling story of a German industrialist who takes advantage of the war to make his fortune, only to give it all away in an attempt to save his Jewish workers from the holocaust. Relentless and harrowing portrait of the brutality of the Nazis, the violence almost becomes numbing after awhile. Shot in gritty black and white, the amount of bloodshed may have been too much for color. The violence does make Neeson's transformation from Nazi sympathizer to Jewish savior all the more believable, however. ” - atari-3
West Side Story (1961)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Two youngsters from rival New York City gangs fall in love, but tensions between their respective friends build toward tragedy. (152 mins.)
“ The Romeo and Juliet story is given a New York City gang setting, Broadway-style music and intense choreography with ballet influences. Richard Beymer is Tony, retired leader of the Jets, who falls in love at first sight with Maria, played by Natalie Wood, the sister of the leader of the rival Sharks gang. Beymer and Wood lack charisma, a nearly fatal flaw given the pivotal nature of their relationship to the plot, though it must be admitted the plot is secondary to just about everything else. The songs are timeless, "Maria" and "America" in particular are Sondheim and Bernstein gems. The stylized choreography influenced countless films. However, the dialogue is frequently punctuated with popular slang and feels dated. Characters are poorly developed stereotypes more than anything else and the ending melodramatic. As a Broadway play, this is nearly perfect, however, as is so often the case, suffers in the translation to the big screen. ” - atari-3
Gentleman's Agreement (1947)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A reporter pretends to be Jewish in order to cover a story on anti-Semitism, and personally discovers the true depths of bigotry and hatred. (118 mins.)
Director: Elia Kazan
Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Ted Kramer's wife leaves her husband, allowing for a lost bond to be rediscovered between Ted and his son, Billy. But a heated custody battle ensues over the divorced couple's son, deepening the wounds left by the separation. (105 mins.)
Director: Robert Benton
My Fair Lady (1964)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A misogynistic and snobbish phonetics professor agrees to a wager that he can take a flower girl and make her presentable in high society. (170 mins.)
Director: George Cukor
The Life of Emile Zola (1937)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
The biopic of the famous French muckraking writer and his involvement in fighting the injustice of the Dreyfuss Affair. (116 mins.)
Going My Way (1944)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Youthful Father Chuck O'Malley led a colorful life of sports, song, and romance before joining the Roman Catholic clergy... (126 mins.)
Director: Leo McCarey
Shakespeare in Love (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A young Shakespeare, out of ideas and short of cash, meets his ideal woman and is inspired to write one of his most famous plays. (123 mins.)
Director: John Madden
“ Superb period detail and a clever screenplay make this Shakespeare a joy to watch. Ole Will is experiencing writer's block, until he sets eyes on Viola. She inspires him not only to climb balconies for secret seductions, but to write his most famous play, Romeo and Ethyl the Pirate's Daughter. The screenplay, co-written by Tom Stoppard, effortlessly intertwines their relationship with that of the more famous couple in the play, relentlessly moving forward until we get to the debut performance: where not only are they Romeo and Juliet in character but in person as well. I did not like the doe-eyed, perfectly groomed stubble, rushed performance of Joseph Fiennes as Shakespeare, he seemed more like eye-candy for the modern audience, and for that matter so did Gwyneth Paltrow, though at least her Viola was a bit more subdued. ” - atari-3
Rain Man (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Selfish yuppie Charlie Babbitt's father left a fortune to his savant brother Raymond and a pittance to Charlie; they travel cross-country. (133 mins.)
Director: Barry Levinson
The Last Emperor (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
The story of the final Emperor of China. (163 mins.)
“ Three year old Pu Yi is taken from his mother and installed as emperor of China. He grows up in opulence with his every wish granted. These early years are spectacularly filmed in the Forbidden City. As a young adult, he becomes rebellious of his surroundings and seeks change. However, another rebellion outside the gates forces him to seek asylum in Japan. The rest of the film is a rather tedious lesson in the political history of China and Japan, with Pu Yi regaining his crown but at the expense of his own self-respect. In the last scene he is reincarnated as a cricket. ” - atari-3
Platoon (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A young recruit in Vietnam faces a moral crisis when confronted with the horrors of war and the duality of man. (120 mins.)
Director: Oliver Stone
“ Oliver Stone's depiction of the Vietnam war, based on his own experiences, is realistic but unfocused. It follows one platoon through the eyes of Charlie Sheen. The leadership of the platoon alternates between the evil Tom Berenger (you know he is evil because of the facial scars) and the good William Dafoe (hangs out and smokes pot with the guys). When they raid a Vietnamese camp, Berenger murders an old woman because she won't stop talking, while the men of the platoon murder and rape other residents. Sheen watches in horror. Dafoe confronts Berenger, but without proof he escapes punishment. More fighting follows, the platoon is decimated by casualties, until they are overrun by the enemy in the final battle. Sheen gets retribution for Berenger's atrocities in a rather contrived scene, proving that the real enemy was ourselves all along. This is the weakest of the three great Vietnam war movies, behind Coppola's Apocalypse Now and Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket. ” - atari-3
It Happened One Night (1934)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A spoiled heiress running away from her family is helped by a man who is actually a reporter in need of a story. (105 mins.)
Director: Frank Capra
“ Classic comedy starring Clark Gable (and his ears) as a newspaper reporter who stumbles on the story of his life, missing heiress Claudette Colbert (and her eyebrows) on an overnight bus trip. She's a spoiled brat and he's a gruff reporter, but with time his romantic side is revealed and the Walls of Jericho come down. The dialogue is snappy, the chemistry between the leads sizzling, but it tends to drag a bit in the middle and the Wall of Jericho gag is overplayed. ” - atari-3
Terms of Endearment (1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Follows hard-to-please Aurora looking for love and her daughter's family problems. (132 mins.)
Director: James L. Brooks
“ James Brooks takes his formula for success on TV, the "dramedy", to the big screen with some deeply drawn characters and superb acting from a trio of superstars. Debra Winger is the main focus, a naive teenager who gets married to an irresponsible English professor against the wishes of her overbearing mother. We watch as all of the characters grow, and grow up, over time. Winger is devoted to her husband and children, despite his affairs, and stays close to mother Shirley MacLaine on the phone when they move to another state. Dissatisfied at home, she starts her own affair with John Lithgow. Meanwhile, mom is sleeping with next door astronaut played to the hilt by Jack Nicholson. The characters and plot are obsessed with sex and that does get a bit tiresome after awhile. For some reason the film decides to torture the viewer with 30 minutes of a depressing battle with cancer for the finale. ” - atari-3
Million Dollar Baby (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A determined woman works with a hardened boxing trainer to become a professional. (132 mins.)
Director: Clint Eastwood
“ Emotional story of female boxer Hilary Swank persuading a cranky, aging Clint Eastwood to become her trainer. It doesn't take long for them to replace the relationships missing in their lives with each other: he becomes her father and she his daughter. Well, old Clint is an exceptional trainer and he takes her all the way to the title bout. This part of the film is simply Rocky revisited with a different gender. Cliches abound, including gravelly-voiced, folksy narration which provides a running commentary on the real meaning of what we are watching. The plot takes a detour into weepy hospital melodrama, with an impassioned plea for assisted suicide. I'm reminded of another Best Picture winner, Terms of Endearment, a good film, but not necessarily one I look forward to revisiting. ” - atari-3
Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A Mumbai teen reflects on his upbringing in the slums when he is accused of cheating on the Indian Version of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" (120 mins.)
“ A boy from the slums of Mumbai, India, becomes a national TV hero on a game show. Remarkably, the questions he is asked on the show are all related to his life. It's and odd way to frame a story, and I'm not sure it could have been told better without it. Anyway, as a young boy, he befriends another "slumdog" and together they grow up on the streets. His mother is killed, leaving him homeless. The two friends take in a third, a girl, and their love story is really the heart of the movie. As teenagers, they hustle tourists at the Taj Mahal, but eventually return to the big city. His friend becomes a gangster and the girl forced into virtual slavery. He becomes obsessed with finding her again, with the hopes she would see him on TV. It's a flashy film, over-produced and over-directed given the subject matter, but it does have a way of drawing you into its story. I could have done without the dancing at the end. ” - atari-3
Around the World in Eighty Days (1956)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A Victorian Englishman bets that with the new steamships and railways he can circumnavigate the globe in eighty days. (175 mins.)
The Great Ziegfeld (1936)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
The ups and downs of Florenz Ziegfeld Jr., famed producer of extravagant stage revues, are portrayed. (176 mins.)
Wings (1927)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Two young men, one rich, one middle class, who are in love with the same woman, become fighter pilots in World War I. (144 mins.)
Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
An old Jewish woman and her African-American chauffeur in the American South have a relationship that grows and improves over the years. (99 mins.)
Director: Bruce Beresford
Cimarron (1931)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
A newspaper editor settles in an Oklahoma boom town with his reluctant wife at the end of the nineteenth century. (123 mins.)
The English Patient (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
At the close of WWII, a young nurse tends to a badly-burned plane crash victim. His past is shown in flashbacks, revealing an involvement in a fateful love affair. (162 mins.)
“ Exquisitely filmed adaptation of the Michael Ondaatje novel. It's basically the story of a love affair between a map maker and his friends' wife in north Africa in the early days of WWII, told from his death bed in Italy. It took some time to warm up to the framing device in Italy, in fact I'm still not convinced it really added much to the story. Juliette Binoche, his nurse, and her brief fling with an Indian bomb diffuser was more of a distraction than anything else. The other problem was Ralph Fiennes and Kristin Scott Thomas, whose characters were rather selfish and cold. It was hard to sympathize with the adulterous relationship that was the heart of the movie. Nonetheless, some very moving scenes, in particular the last 15 minutes or so in the "cave of swimmers". ” - atari-3
The Artist (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A silent movie star meets a young dancer, but the arrival of talking pictures sends their careers in opposite directions. (100 mins.)
“ A silent film icon has trouble adapting to talkies and spirals into bankruptcy and depression. His wife divorces him and his comeback film is a failure. He spends his time alone drinking or watching his old films. One day he decides to burn them and sets his house on fire, only surviving because of his quick thinking faithful dog. Meanwhile, a girl he once helped get her first job becomes a Hollywood sensation in the sound era. After the fire, she takes him into her mansion to recover, but he is too proud to accept and walks out. Eventually she finds a role for him in one of her movies that he can accept. A breezy, easy-to-take homage to Hollywood's golden age, almost spoiled by the pathetic figure of Jean Dujardin's "George Valentin", who goes from egotistical star to self-loathing has-been over the course of the film. ” - atari-3
The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
The dramatic lives of trapeze artists, a clown, and an elephant trainer are told against a background of circus spectacle. (152 mins.)
Argo (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Acting under the cover of a Hollywood producer scouting a location for a science fiction film, a CIA agent launches a dangerous operation to rescue six Americans in Tehran during the U.S. hostage crisis in Iran in 1980. (120 mins.)
Director: Ben Affleck
“ Ben Affleck is a CIA agent who comes up with an audacious idea to rescue 6 Americans hiding out in the Canadian embassy in Tehran during the hostage crisis of 1979. A fake movie is created as a cover story, the Americans given Canadian passports and try to pass themselves off as the film crew on a location scout. Affleck must convince the skeptical Americans, the politicians in Washington and, most of all, the Iranian guards at the airport. Tension builds to the breaking point, but, unfortunately, the pay off is typical Hollywood: an impossible last second escape all dressed up in CGI. Based on a true story, so I'm not sure how much liberty was taken with the airport scenes, but I'd be surprised if police cars were feet away from the wheels of a jet during take-off. ” - atari-3
Gigi (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Weary of the conventions of Parisian society, a rich playboy and a youthful courtesan-in-training enjoy a platonic friendship, but it may not stay platonic for long. (115 mins.)
A Beautiful Mind (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
After John Nash, a brilliant but asocial mathematician, accepts secret work in cryptography, his life takes a turn for the nightmarish. (135 mins.)
Director: Ron Howard
“ This is essentially a variation of the gimmick used in The Sixth Sense. I felt stupid, and worse used, for falling for it again. The movie ceased to be interesting from the time the gimmick is revealed. Russell Crowe mumbles his way through the dialogue, to the point I thought subtitles would have helped. He's like a schizophrenic Forrest Gump. The relationship between Crowe and Connelly is overemphasized and overly-romantic. It's all typical for a Ron Howard movie, based on fact but ironically impossible to believe. ” - atari-3
Chicago (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Murderesses Velma Kelly and Roxie Hart find themselves on death row together and fight for the fame that will keep them from the gallows in 1920s Chicago. (113 mins.)
Director: Rob Marshall
“ The perennial Broadway musical gets a modern jolt and ends up looking like a sleazy Madonna video with a huge budget. Roxie Hart is as unlikeable as ever as the self-absorbed murderess after fame and fortune. Richard Gere is the lawyer who is even more egotistical and unethical to boot. Finally, there is Catherine Zeta-Jones who lives for the limelight, only to lose it to Roxie, but will stoop to anything to get it back. Flashy editing techniques, over-the-top costuming and set design can't hide the fact that every character is corrupt to the core. However, the whole film may be nothing more than the fantasies of Roxie, as implied by the opening zoom-shot into her eyeball. ” - atari-3
Cavalcade (1933)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
A cavalcade of English life from New Year's Eve 1899 until 1933 seen through the eyes of well-to-do Londoners Jane and Robert Marryot... (112 mins.)
Director: Frank Lloyd
Gone with the Wind (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A manipulative Southern belle carries on a turbulent affair with a blockade runner during the American Civil War. (238 mins.)
Director: Victor Fleming
The Hurt Locker (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
During the Iraq War, a Sergeant recently assigned to an army bomb squad is put at odds with his squad mates due to his maverick way of handling his work. (131 mins.)
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
“ A new sergeant takes over command of a small bomb squadron in Iraq. His reckless methods clash with the more experienced crew. They go from one tense situation to another, never quite sure if it is their time to die. At night, they get drunk, listen to heavy metal and play violent video games. A countdown clock tells us the number of days left in their rotation. However, when the sergeant finally gets home he is bored and immediately signs up again for more of the same. The plot, if you can find one, is episodic and the characters broadly drawn. It is shot in the trendy shaky cam style that tries to pass it off as a documentary, but instead just gives it an amateurish, sloppy look. ” - atari-3
The Sound of Music (1965)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A woman leaves an Austrian convent to become a governess to the children of a Naval officer widower. (174 mins.)
Director: Robert Wise
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
“ Antonio Salieri has his world turned upside down by the arrival of a young, impetuous composer by the name of Mozart. Court composer Salieri attends every performance of every opera, yet at the same time plots his ruin, eventually turning to murder. As for Mozart, he's a vulgar drunk with an obscene laugh. "Vulfie", as his wife calls him, likes to spend his nights drinking with harlots while she stays home with the kids. He writes operas in his spare time with little to no effort. After more than two hours, I was beginning to despise him as much as Salieri. Still, there is the music, brilliantly realized by Neville Mariner, which saves this from being a complete bore. ” - atari-3
No Country for Old Men (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Violence and mayhem ensue after a hunter stumbles upon a drug deal gone wrong and more than two million dollars in cash near the Rio Grande. (122 mins.)
“ Josh Brolin is a hunter who stumbles upon a drug deal gone bad in the Texas desert, and a satchel full of cash which he takes home to his trailer park wife. Javier Bardem is the Mexican drug dealer who wants the money back at any cost. Bardem is one of the most psychopathic killers in recent memory, his weapon of choice is an air bolt gun that is used to kill steer, that or a shotgun with a silencer. However, the film is marred by the excessive gore: do we really need to see Bardem operate on his own leg, or a broken bone sticking out of his arm? The violence does not serve the story, it is only there to shock and call attention to itself, the definition of exploitation. Then there is the predictable Cohen brothers quirkiness: few characters speak like normal people, preferring to rattle off dry dialogue laced with even dryer humor. Much like the previous year's best picture winner, The Departed, this is a disappointing film that prefers to wallow in its own disgusting imagery. ” - atari-3
The Departed (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
An undercover cop and a mole in the police attempt to identify each other while infiltrating an Irish gang in South Boston. (151 mins.)
Director: Martin Scorsese
“ Matt Damon plays a cop who works for the city's most wanted drug kingpin. Leonardo DiCaprio plays an undercover cop working for the same drug kingpin. Damon and DiCaprio spend the movie trying to discover the identity of the other one. It's a long, tiring cell-phone centric plot that stretches the limits of believability. Nicholson as the city's most wanted criminal is a stereotype of every mafia don in the history of movies. It's a violent, foul-mouthed film in which nobody comes out alive, neither the good guys nor the bad guys. It feels more like a parody of gangster movies, not what Scorsese was trying to accomplish, in what is probably a great directors worst film, and ironically the one that finally got him the best picture Oscar. ” - atari-3
Unforgiven (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Retired Old West gunslinger William Munny reluctantly takes on one last job, with the help of his old partner and a young man. (131 mins.)
Director: Clint Eastwood
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
How Green Was My Valley (1941)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
At the turn of the century in a Welsh mining village, the Morgans, he stern, she gentle, raise coal-mining sons and hope their youngest will find a better life. (118 mins.)
Director: John Ford
Gladiator (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
When a Roman general is betrayed and his family murdered by an emperor's corrupt son, he comes to Rome as a gladiator to seek revenge. (155 mins.)
Director: Ridley Scott
“ One of the best examples of a film that puts style above substance. Ridley Scott's epic tale of a fallen general resurrected as a vengeful gladiator has all the modern trappings: over reliance on CGI, flashy editing and almost too much attention to detail. All of these things distract from the character and story, which literally get lost in the mix. The film also displays an almost monochromatic color palette, reminiscent of old sepia tone techniques from the silent era: scenes are mostly a cool blue or warm brown. I am not a big fan of Russell Crowe, he relies mostly on cliche facial expressions and a mumbling delivery, both on display here. Joaquin Phoenix is better as the emperor, but did he really need a scar on his face to make us see that he is "evil"? Connie Nielsen as his sister spent nearly the entire film crying. Only old timers Richard Harris and Oliver Reed provide any real spark. ” - atari-3
Tom Jones (1963)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
The romantic and chivalrous adventures of adopted bastard Tom Jones in 18th century England. (128 mins.)
Director: Tony Richardson
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Illustrated upon the progress of his latest Broadway play, a former popular actor's struggle to cope with his current life as a wasted actor is shown. (119 mins.)
“ A Hollywood actor is having a serious mid-life crisis. Michael Keaton, who became a worldwide celebrity by playing a superhero named "Birdman" in the movies, tries to find himself by writing, directing and starring in his first Broadway play. At the last minute he hires Edward Norton, who almost manages to wreck the play with his ego and unpredictability. Meanwhile his personal life is a mess: his daughter is just out of rehab, his girlfriend thinks she is pregnant and his ex-wife shows up in his dressing room. The stress has caused him to hear the voice of his former superhero role in his head, leading him to become delusional at best and suicidal at worst. Unfortunately, all of these characters are so self-obsessed that we don't really care what happens to them. Iñárritu strings together a series of unbroken shots in the style of Robert Altman, but it just seems like a gimmick here to call attention to itself. Other than a couple of scenes, a confrontation in a bar with a critic and a CGI-laced rumination on the emptiness of Hollywood action/superhero movies, it's a pretentious with a capital P mess. ” - atari-3
The Broadway Melody (1929)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
A pair of sisters from the vaudeville circuit try to make it big time on Broadway, but matters of the heart complicate the attempt. (100 mins.)
Director: Harry Beaumont
Titanic (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A seventeen-year-old aristocrat falls in love with a kind but poor artist aboard the luxurious, ill-fated R.M.S. Titanic. (194 mins.)
Director: James Cameron
Spotlight (2015)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
The true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese, shaking the entire Catholic Church to its core. (128 mins.)
Director: Tom McCarthy
“ --unranked--
have not seen ” - atari-3