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Gone with the Wind (1939)
My #13 favorite film of all time
I dare anyone to find a more memorable female lead character in Scarlett O'Hara or a more memorable supporting female character in Mammy. Both bring such a powerful presence to Gone With the Wind that makes it one of the greatest films ever made.
One of my favorite shots of all time is when we see Scarlett enter a medical camp and the camera pulls back to see all the injured soldiers. Beautiful color cinematography, music score and setting all blend perfectly together. This is the epitome of the Hollywood epic. The rest of the cast are marvelous. Its amazing how Rhett Butler throughout the whole film takes so much crap from Scarlett that finally by the end he "just doesn't give a damn." But I'm sure many who view Gone with the Wind will.
My #12 favorite film of all time
It goes without saying that Alfred Hitchcock's 'Psycho' is easily his best film. The best horror film ever made. The best surprise ending ever unveiled. And the best Anthony Perkins film ever (although that isn't saying much).
One of the most revolutionary films ever made, Psycho has so many thrills and shocks ever made. What might look like child's play to today's audience, must have completely blown away the minds of movie-goers from its time. Hitchcock throws caution to the wind and it pays off big time. What no other director would dare to put on screen, he does with surprising bluntness.
To reveal Psycho's secrets to someone who hasn't seen it would be crime. The score of Herrman is the real star of the film that gives it a legendary status. No other film score has ever added more depth and intensity to propel a story. A truly horrifyingly great stay at the Bates Motel. Mother knows best.
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
My #11 favorite film of all time
What a thrilling joy E.T. was when I was a kid. And what a trilling joy it still is. What an intriguing concept, to make an alien from another planet befriend children from Earth. At first the encounter is extremely tentative then by the end becomes a great friendship.
What an exhilarating score from John Williams. Probably the best composer in film history, this ranks as one of his best. The music dances and flows with the images on the screen with sweeping majesty. It ranges from the foreboding to the thrilling.
In my personal opinion this is Spielberg's best. He said he would never make a sequel to E.T. because it is too close to his heart. I for one applaud such a choice for a gutless industry that pumps out hundreds of sequels, remakes, spin offs...etc. a year.
My #10 favorite film of all time
To see Casablanca's poetry on screen is like witnessing the Sistine Chapel for the first time. Like a fine bottle of perfectly aged wine, its complexities are seemingly endless. It only gets better with time. To quote Bogart in The Maltese Falcon, this truly is the "stuff that dreams are made of." Easily the greatest romance ever to be produced on celluloid. Casablanca blends the genres of musicals, drama, romance, war, film noir, suspense, a little comedy, and a touch of mystery so seamlessly it is easy to forget that at its very heart and soul is a romantic picture.
It pacing is almost frantic from beginning to end. The use of shadows and lighting are so vivid and fascinating that it is probably the best looking beautiful B&W film ever made. The most memorable lines in movie history and the most amount of memorable lines in movie history.
I don't expect people who dislike romances to like Casablanca. Its dialogue, characters and songs have been so familiar, it hardly even seems as fresh as it should be. But like witnessing the Sistine chapel for the first time, you know what its like. But its another thing to see it completely for yourself.
My #9 favorite film of all time (including part 2 and 3)
The following comment is going to be on the same lines as my Star Wars comment.
OK so... for all you giving this trilogy a 1 out of 10, is it REALLY and I mean REALLY that bad. Where you want to rip out your eyes and pour gasoline on them? Where you thought the script for White Chicks was equal to or better than this? Where you thought the acting in Batman and Robin was equal to or better...? Where the special effects in Plan 9 From Outer Space was equal...? Where Peter Jackson is a worse director than Ed Wood? Where it is the worst technical film ever made. Where the cinematography has ABSOLUTELY no tone or depth to it. It has the worst sound quality for a film. Where the song made you want to puke at the end... etc.
If so AND you can site SPECIFIC examples as to WHY each of your points are true and can prove it then I will let you saw off my leg and beat me over the head with it.
For those of you who think YOUR opinion counts more than anyone else's and give this a 1 out of 10 so it will bring down the overall rating here is what I have to say. If you think its a 5 out of 10 THEN RATE IT A 5 OUT OF 10. Don't give it a 1 so that people can see YOURS first from the HATED IT filter. That is just total BS. OK its fine to have an opinion against public opinion. Just stop being so angry at the world, move out of your parent's basement and get a life.
The Godfather: Part II (1974)
My #4 favorite film of all time (including part 2)
What more could be said about the Godfather (1+2). The legacy of mafia crime family dramas begins and ends here. The lines of dialogue have been forever embedded into the American culture and film discourse. Pacino, Brando, Dinero, Keaton, Caan, and the whole cast fit the bill with impeccable conviction.
The morals and themes of the pictures have such a profound impact unlike any preceding film. It empathizes with a traditionally antagonistic side of society and shows its varying dimensions. Men who steal, rob, and murder do so for reasons other than their own personal self-indulgence. They believe 'the life' is for the greatest benefit for their family, but then take it too far.
Films up to this point had a narrow view of the motivation of the accomplices in organized crime. The Godfathers enlightened the film going public about the motivations of the mafia, crime and crime families but doesn't defend it. It merely observes the chosen and or inherit ethics of life in the crime family.
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
My #8 favorite film of all time
No film is taken more for granted than 'The Wizard of Oz'. As a Fantasy film, it probably ranks better than any other. As a musical, it probably ranks better than any other. As a family film, it probably ranks better than any other. Any which way you slice 'Oz' you have to admit that it holds its own as a legendary film.
The production value for its time was incredible. The musical numbers outweigh any other before or since its release. The choice of the transition from b&w to color is something that will never have the same impact again. The performances are impeccable, including the munchkins and monkeys. I'd say any film that has a midget or a monkey doubles its entertainment value. One of the most memorable heroines and villains ever put on screen.
OK. Ninety-nine percent of Americans have either seen this recently or a long time ago. My point is if you haven't seen this in a long time, go revisit it. It is more than just a child's fantasy film. It is so much more.
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
My #7 favorite film of all time
Without spoiling 'Bridge' too much, in my personal opinion this film has to have the best ending I have ever seen. Everything in this movie is leading up to this point and it doesn't disappoint even though it is still a fantastic film up to the climax.
Easily the best prisoner of war film ever made. Which is ironic since, "There is no barbed wire. No stockade. No watchtower." Yet there is a sense of seclusion. The thought of escape is so impossible that Colonel Nicholson has no other choice to keep his soldiers occupied by helping out the Japanese by building a bridge that would link an important railway system.
The top notch performances are led by Guiness, Holden, Hawkins, and one of the best supporting performances ever by Hayakawa. The whistle march of the soldiers is something the audience should instantly recognize. And with the budget and the on location setting, it is ever a wonder how this film was made for an estimated 3 million when it would probably cost easily 50 times that today.
David Lean's subsequent 2 films of Lawrence (my #1), and Zhivago (my #90) make this probably the greatest triad of films a director has ever made.
Star Wars (1977)
My #6 favorite film of all time
What has been difficult for me to understand is why someone would give Star Wars a 1 out of 10. For this and movies in general, why would someone give it a 1 and STILL say the words that it was good or even great in their reviews. The only reason they rate it a 1 so people can filter out the worst reviews, or they believe they have to give it a 1 because they believe it to be 'overrated'.
If you really, really, hate this film (I mean on the level where you think Batman and Robin, Baby Geniuses 2, Glitter, Son of the Mask, or Leonard Part 6 are vastly superior films) then thats fine. But do would you really honestly think that those films are better or equal to Star Wars? I mean lets be honest, the majority of most regular Star Wars fans are embarrassed by the prototypical geeky hardcore fan. People DO take it too far, but that doesn't mean you have to hate the film itself. Its not Lucas's fault. Maybe it even goes to show how powerful a singular film can be.
If you really hate this film and think it is the worst or one of the worst films out of hundreds of thousands EVER made then thats fine. But to think you are creating a certain backlash against a film's popularity and rate this film a 1 because YOU believe YOUR opinion is is SO much greater than anyone else then fine.
Just do me and everyone else a favor. Watch some of the top 100 worst films on the IMDb. If you think any or all of those films are equal to Star Wars... Then OK, its fine to have an opinion thats different from everyone else.
Sunset Blvd. (1950)
My #5 favorite film of all time
Sunset Blvd. is one of those film that grabs you (by the neck) from the first frame and doesn't let go until the screen goes black at the end. Billy Wilder directs this film with utter brilliance. More Hitchcockian than Hitchcock would have ever had made. The music score of Waxman remains in the ear long after a viewing. The cinematography of Seitz is beautifully crisp and sharp it puts many color films to shame. And it would be impossible to disassociate the film with the lead actress Swanson. So many classic lines but who could forget the greatest last line ever for a movie. It is the greatest Hollywood film about Hollywood ever made.