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Most all-time great performances: Paul Muni 6 1932-59 Best Performance: "I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang" 1932 Best Film: "The Good Earth" 1937
NOTE: Either the performer or film must be American.
2. "Midnight Cowboy" 1969 DIR. John Schlesinger
3. "E. T. The Extra-Terestrial" 1982 DIR. Steven Spielberg
4. "The Good Earth" 1937 DIR. Sidney Franklin
5. "The Wizard of Oz" 1939 DIR. Victor Fleming
6. "Dr. Stranglove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb" 1964 DIR. Stanley Kubrick
7. "Paths of Glory" 1957 DIR. Stanley Kubrick
8. "The Godfather Epic 1902-1959" 1981 DIR. Francis Ford Coppola 9. "M*A*S*H" 1970 DIR. Robert Altman
10. "The Maltese Falcon" 1941 DIR. John Huston
These three international films would make this top 10
"To Live" 1994 DIR. Zhang Yimou
"8 1/2" 1963 DIR. Federico Fellini
"The Bicycle Thief" 1948 DIR. Vittorio De Sica
Huo zhe (1994)
A Monumental Achievement
This film, after multiple viewings, has reached the top of Zhang Yimou's large list of great ones. It is a film which never ends for the viewer. The tapestry of characters, events and scenes is so rich that the viewer wants it to go on indefinitely. The two leads are magnificent and Gong Li is perhaps the world's greatest contemporary actress. She combines Garbo like screen presence and Bancroft like acting range into one sensational performer. Zhang Yimou is quite simply, the greatest living director and ranks with Huston, Fellini, Fleming and Kubrick. This is a film about life and people more than politics and ideology and will be just as riveting a thousand years from now. In the all-time top ten of all films.
It's The All-Time Number One
There are many reasons why this masterwork of art is the greatest film ever made but there are two major ones. First, it is the best combination of creative expression and realism ever put on film. Second it touches on more genres (adventure, character study, drama, murder, psychology, cultures and social values) than any other film. All these genres are wrapped around the central theme of GREED. The other reasons are, of course, named Huston, Bogart, Huston and Traven. The great John Huston outdid himself with both his screenplay and direction in this film which he took many years to undertake and finish. His incomparable scene making is displayed in monumental glory here. Huston insisted on much of the film being made on location in Mexico (extremely rare in Hollywood at the time) and WB was in the end despite the cost, thrilled when they saw the outcome. Huston's dad, Walter was nothing short of sensational in this, his career performance. Bogart's Fred C. Dobbs was perhaps only topped by Capt. Queeg among his many singularly memorable fictional film characters. Huston as the supreme screen writer he was, worked with the book's mysterious author B. Traven and stayed close to the book's story. This film was nothing like Hollywood had ever produced up to that time and was more like an "arty-Euro" film. There were two injustices inflicted on the appreciation side of this amazing film experience. Neither Bogart or Bedoya were even nominated by the academy for their riveting and unique performances. Needless to say, this is the number one "must see" in American film.
Midnight Cowboy (1969)
Still a magnificent film
Even after all these years of cultural change, this character study masterwork has lost none of it's bite and is still riveting. Perhaps the most "complete" film ever in terms of just about every facet of the picture is top notch. The greatest double lead performances ever by Hoffman and Voight (if the 3rd uncredited star is not considered and that is New York City). Great direction from Schlesinger and the best editing I've ever seen. Camera work and sets were superb. All the supporting roles were excellent and the music by Nilsson and Barry was perfect. Brilliant screenplay by Salt and producer Hellman deserves a lot of credit for the whole thing. The fact that this film began rated X and then R has a lot to do with any rejection received by the public or media and prevents it from being universally renowned as one of the hand full of best films ever made. It's my number two after "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre".
Perhaps the most original and unique film ever made
First off, may I say that it took me three tries to finish watching this masterwork. The third time I began to appreciate the film on Fellini's terms. That was the key to getting "into it'. For the most part truly great films need to be viewed multiple times to fully appreciate everything. Then it was after watching the entire film, I began to go over all the things which separate it from just about every other movie ever made. There's the totally unique title. Fellini had made 7 1/2 films prior to this one. The dream scene with more than 10 different speaking characters is nothing short of amazing and totally unique in film at that time. What makes Fellini so different from all other film makers is his incomparable ability to use the advantages film allows over stage productions. Those advantages are the capablity to instantly change time, space and dimension. In addition, the acting in this film is superb throughout (especially Aimee) and this is overlooked by many who admire the film. Fellini presents each scene as if it is a separate "painting" on a long wall. One of the ten greatest films ever.
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
The dawn of American film noir
John Huston jump started the "American noir" genre with this masterpiece. WB, the movie public, and of course, Bogart were lucky for sure that George Raft turned down the role. It marked the film debut of Greenstreet and the beginning of the Huston-Bogart team which reached it's zenith in 1948. That year they topped TMF with film's greatest ever, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Huston's incomparable talent for producing great scene after great scene is initiated here in his directorial debut. In his best films which are many there is no dead time because there is something significant happening in every scene. This movie has to be viewed at least twice to be fully appreciated because of the lightning plot speed. Bogart's unmatched screen presence is on full display as he appears in ALL BUT ONE scene and dare's the viewer to take their eyes off him. Still an all-time top ten American film.