Grady's Top Movies

A meager attempt to classify my "top" films. My formula is based on a gut instinct, but includes respect, influence on me, and entertainment value as core drivers.
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1.
La Dolce Vita (1960)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A series of stories following a week in the life of a philandering paparazzo journalist living in Rome. (174 mins.)
“ I watched this at a point in my life that I could relate to the futility of looking for love in the transience of nightlife. And in chasing the idea of a woman rather than the real thing. Dialogue and scenes unflinchingly realistic while still profoundly poetic. A lot of fun. ” - gradymoore
 
2.
Casablanca (1942)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
In Casablanca in December 1941, a cynical American expatriate encounters a former lover, with unforeseen complications. (102 mins.)
Director: Michael Curtiz
“ Strong drinks, smugglers, Nazis, French Freedom Fighters, back room gambling, hilarious sarcasm, political power plays, police corruption, and a haunting love so strong it has to say goodbye...well hell just "round up the usual suspects" Casablanca's got it all! A damn near perfect script and lasting tribute to Bogey. ” - gradymoore
 
3.
Doctor Zhivago (1965)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
The life of a Russian physician and poet who, although married to another, falls in love with a political activist's wife and experiences hardship during the First World War and then the October Revolution. (197 mins.)
Director: David Lean
“ The annihilation of unrequited and/or impossible love against the sweeping backdrop of the Russian revolution. I cried my eyes out the first time I saw it. A David Lean epic. ” - gradymoore
 
4.
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
“ The Orson Welles tour de force. A film that must be watched in tandem with The Battle Over Citizen Kane documentary. This is a movie whose destructive ambition ironically mimicked the historical events upon which it was based. A powerful story on screen and off makes this a permanent fixture in all top 10 lists. ” - gradymoore
 
5.
There Will Be Blood (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A story of family, religion, hatred, oil and madness, focusing on a turn-of-the-century prospector in the early days of the business. (158 mins.)
“ Daniel Plainview's rise to power and wealth mimicks the rise of the American oil industry. Like Citizen Kane, this movie will make you re-think your ambition (this theme always speaks to me). Gorgeously shot with an incredible score and a larger than life performance by Daniel Day Lewis. ” - gradymoore
 
6.
Blade Runner (1982)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A blade runner must pursue and try to terminate four replicants who stole a ship in space and have returned to Earth to find their creator. (117 mins.)
Director: Ridley Scott
“ To me, a perfect Science Fiction film. Mystery, action, intrigue, strong and consistent noir style, femme fatales, and big human questions. My favorite from Ridley Scott and a unique performance from Harrison Ford. ” - gradymoore
 
7.
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.)
“ A profiteer, Nazis, and the Holocaust. Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes. A rare must watch for all human beings. ” - gradymoore
 
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
“ The FX-driven soap opera in space...Star Wars changed movies forever. Iconic characters and the first real exercise in adapting Joseph Campbell's archetypes from Hero With a Thousand Faces for the silver screen. ” - gradymoore
 
9.
Apocalypse Now (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
During the Vietnam War, Captain Willard is sent on a dangerous mission into Cambodia to assassinate a renegade colonel who has set himself up as a god among a local tribe. (153 mins.)
Director: Francis Coppola
“ A film journey into the Heart of Darkness (Vietnam). A masterpiece from Francis Ford Coppola, the captain of first generation American film-schoolers. Standout performances by Martin Sheen and Marlon Brando. ” - gradymoore
 
10.
Sideways (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Two men reaching middle age with not much to show but disappointment embark on a week-long road trip through California's wine country, just as one is about to take a trip down the aisle. (126 mins.)
Director: Alexander Payne
“ A struggling author, wine, and a road-trip adventure to Napa to celebrate the upcoming nuptials of his sexually amoral friend. Good times...great script...a really poignant and funny love letter to wine country. ” - gradymoore
 
11.
The Graduate (1967)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A disillusioned college graduate finds himself torn between his older lover and her daughter. (106 mins.)
Director: Mike Nichols
“ "One Word: Plastics". Not many comedies on the list...I wonder why? The Graduate may give insight. Here's a movie as poignant as it is funny and as insightful as it is sarcastic. Fun to watch...Dustin Hoffman in a breakout, genius role. A case study in writing silence, awkwardness. Great screenplay and a great soundtrack from Simon and Garfunkel. ” - gradymoore
 
12.
Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Two girlfriends on a summer holiday in Spain become enamored with the same painter, unaware that his ex-wife, with whom he has a tempestuous relationship, is about to re-enter the picture. (96 mins.)
Director: Woody Allen
“ American girls go to Barcelona for the summer and get a lesson from a Spanish artist in liberal love. It's a rare high-grossing Woody Allen film with really fun performances from Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem. A real pleasure. ” - gradymoore
 
13.
Gattaca (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A genetically inferior man assumes the identity of a superior one in order to pursue his lifelong dream of space travel. (106 mins.)
Director: Andrew Niccol
“ A have-not tries to make it in the space program. It's a battle cry against genetic predetermination in a uniquely stylized look at the future of human genomics. Jude Law and Ethan Hawke in career making performances. ” - gradymoore
 
14.
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.)
“ Classic in its simplicity. An 'almost Western' set in Texas with Great performances. My favorite from contemporary masters the Coen Brothers. There's just something about the use of silence in this movie. ” - gradymoore
 
15.
Fight Club (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
An insomniac office worker, looking for a way to change his life, crosses paths with a devil-may-care soap maker, forming an underground fight club that evolves into something much, much more. (139 mins.)
Director: David Fincher
“ A delightfully anarchic, crazy-ass fairytale. To me, the fighting was the most boring thing about this movie. David Fincher proves he knows what he's doing. ” - gradymoore
 
16.
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
“ Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Gene Hackman, and a classic Western revenge tale. This culmination of Clint Eastwood's acting career and his debut as a great filmmaker. ” - gradymoore
 
17.
Chocolat (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A woman and her daughter open a chocolate shop in a small French village that shakes up the rigid morality of the community. (121 mins.)
“ Charming, European and just as atheistic as Footloose. ” - gradymoore
 
18.
Stripes (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Two friends who are dissatisfied with their jobs decide to join the army for a bit of fun. (106 mins.)
Director: Ivan Reitman
“ Bill Murray takes on the US Army. For some reason this is one of the only movies my Dad owned growing up. The first two acts are comedy gold...from what I can remember :) ” - gradymoore
 
19.
Heat (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A group of professional bank robbers start to feel the heat from police when they unknowingly leave a clue at their latest heist. (170 mins.)
Director: Michael Mann
“ Deniro and Pacino square of as Los Angeles cops and robbers in the quintessential Michael Mann film. ” - gradymoore
 
20.
Scent of a Woman (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A prep school student needing money agrees to "babysit" a blind man, but the job is not at all what he anticipated. (156 mins.)
Director: Martin Brest
“ Great screenplay. Pacino is magnetic as a blind a former Army colonel on holiday in New York. ” - gradymoore
 
21.
Meet Joe Black (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Death, who takes the form of a young man, asks a media mogul to act as a guide to teach him about life on Earth and in the process he falls in love with his guide's daughter. (178 mins.)
Director: Martin Brest
“ Can't really put my finger on it, but I liked this movie. It kind of enchants you. ” - gradymoore