Favorite films

by OldAle1 | created - 21 Apr 2012 | updated - 1 week ago | Public

This is a list of my favorite films - including shorts, documentaries, TV movies and miniseries. The first 101 films are presented in order of preference; after that the list is more or less chronological through #835. 836 on are new additions since mid-March 2019.

A comment: I think lists have a little more "meaning" (if they can have any) if you have some context, and since so far I haven't written comments for any of these, here's a little something about me and my tastes. Star Wars got me first excited about film at the age of 11 when it came out first-run; interestingly, I saw it 7 times in the cinema and thus far I've seen the film I now list at #1 7 times also in the cinema. I suppose fantasy and science fiction were my first loves, and remain important to me, but "fantasy" now denotes something larger than dragons and elves and magic swords to me. If I have a particular obsession in cinema it is a sort of "heightened" reality - something not-quite-everyday, and yet not divorced entirely from the real world. Surrealism (the works of Lynch, Rivette and Ruiz for example), romanticism (Chazelle, Ophüls, Demy) and the world of film noir are all major elements in my personal makeup, and it's the conflict between fantasy and reality - which probably first impacted me consciously in Brazil - that I probably have the greatest affinity for. I am also very drawn to films exploring time and memory. Most of the films in my top 10 and a great percentage of the rest fall in some way into some of these categories or ideas.

This is not to say that I don't appreciate realism, or other genres (like the western) were the un-real elements are muted. I like to believe that I'm open to anything, and apart from inspirational sports dramas I think you'll find that there are few significant categories in film that aren't represented somewhere on this list.

And it is a large list, but here's another thing you should know about me: I love film and I seek out films that I think I will like (for the most part). If you're the kind of person who has seen thousands of films but only can bring yourself to call 1 or 7 or 20 of them "great", then you probably have a radically different attitude about film and art in general than I do. To me there is greatness all around, and I continue to hunt for it.

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1. La La Land (I) (2016)

PG-13 | 128 min | Comedy, Drama, Music

93 Metascore

While navigating their careers in Los Angeles, a pianist and an actress fall in love while attempting to reconcile their aspirations for the future.

Director: Damien Chazelle | Stars: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, Rosemarie DeWitt, J.K. Simmons

Votes: 432,967 | Gross: $151.10M

2. Out 1 (1971)

Not Rated | 729 min | Drama, Mystery

87 Metascore

Following the May 1968 civil unrest in France, a deaf-mute and a con artist simultaneously stumble upon the remnants of a secret society.

Directors: Jacques Rivette, Suzanne Schiffman | Stars: Michèle Moretti, Hermine Karagheuz, Karen Puig, Pierre Baillot

Votes: 961 | Gross: $0.03M

3. Dead Man (1995)

R | 121 min | Drama, Fantasy, Western

62 Metascore

On the run after murdering a man, accountant William Blake encounters a strange Native American man named Nobody who prepares him for his journey into the spiritual world.

Director: Jim Jarmusch | Stars: Johnny Depp, Gary Farmer, Crispin Glover, Lance Henriksen

Votes: 83,476 | Gross: $1.04M

4. Stalker (1979)

Not Rated | 162 min | Drama, Sci-Fi

A guide leads two men through an area known as the Zone to find a room that grants wishes.

Director: Andrei Tarkovsky | Stars: Alisa Freyndlikh, Aleksandr Kaydanovskiy, Anatoliy Solonitsyn, Nikolay Grinko

Votes: 97,460 | Gross: $0.23M

5. Vertigo (1958)

PG | 128 min | Mystery, Romance, Thriller

100 Metascore

A former police detective juggles wrestling with his personal demons and becoming obsessed with a hauntingly beautiful woman.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: James Stewart, Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes, Tom Helmore

Votes: 319,007 | Gross: $3.20M

6. Once Upon a Time in America (1984)

R | 229 min | Crime, Drama

A former Prohibition-era Jewish gangster returns to the Lower East Side of Manhattan over thirty years later, where he once again must confront the ghosts and regrets of his old life.

Director: Sergio Leone | Stars: Robert De Niro, James Woods, Elizabeth McGovern, Treat Williams

Votes: 276,128 | Gross: $5.32M

7. A Brighter Summer Day (1991)

Not Rated | 237 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

90 Metascore

Based on a true story, primarily on a conflict between two youth gangs, a 14-year-old boy's girlfriend conflicts with the head of one gang for an unclear reason, until finally the conflict comes to a violent climax.

Director: Edward Yang | Stars: Chen Chang, Lisa Yang, Kuo-Chu Chang, Elaine Jin

Votes: 5,488

8. The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)

Not Rated | 88 min | Drama, Romance

93 Metascore

The spoiled young heir to the decaying Amberson fortune comes between his widowed mother and the man she has always loved.

Directors: Orson Welles, Fred Fleck, Robert Wise | Stars: Tim Holt, Joseph Cotten, Dolores Costello, Anne Baxter

Votes: 20,118

9. Ordet (1955)

Not Rated | 126 min | Drama, Fantasy

Follows the lives of the Borgen family, as they deal with inner conflict, as well as religious conflict with each other, and the rest of the town.

Director: Carl Theodor Dreyer | Stars: Henrik Malberg, Emil Hass Christensen, Preben Lerdorff Rye, Hanne Aagesen

Votes: 12,168

10. Late Spring (1949)

Not Rated | 108 min | Drama

Noriko is twenty-seven years old and still living with her widowed father. Everybody tries to talk her into marrying, but Noriko wants to stay at home caring for her father.

Director: Yasujirô Ozu | Stars: Chishû Ryû, Setsuko Hara, Yumeji Tsukioka, Haruko Sugimura

Votes: 12,057

11. A Canterbury Tale (1944)

Not Rated | 124 min | Comedy, Drama, Mystery

Three modern day pilgrims investigate a bizarre crime in a small town on the way to Canterbury.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger | Stars: Eric Portman, Sheila Sim, Dennis Price, John Sweet

Votes: 4,482

12. Take Care of My Cat (2001)

112 min | Drama

69 Metascore

In the port city of Icheon, five female friends struggle to stay close while forging a life for themselves after high school. When one of the group, upwardly-mobile Hae-ju, moves to Seoul, ... See full summary »

Director: Jae-eun Jeong | Stars: Doona Bae, Yo-won Lee, Ji-young Ok, Eung-sil Lee

Votes: 2,122 | Gross: $0.00M

13. As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty (2000)

288 min | Documentary, Biography

Director Jonas Mekas provides an intimate glimpse of his personal life by constructing a feature length narrative from over 30 years of private home movie footage.

Director: Jonas Mekas | Stars: Jonas Mekas, Jane Brakhage, Stan Brakhage, Robert Breer

Votes: 713

14. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

PG | 130 min | Drama, Family, Fantasy

89 Metascore

An angel is sent from Heaven to help a desperately frustrated businessman by showing him what life would have been like if he had never existed.

Director: Frank Capra | Stars: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell

Votes: 355,685

15. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

G | 149 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi

82 Metascore

After discovering a mysterious artifact buried beneath the lunar surface, mankind sets off on a quest to find its origins with help from intelligent supercomputer HAL 9000.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester, Daniel Richter

Votes: 540,183 | Gross: $56.95M

16. Paths of Glory (1957)

Not Rated | 88 min | Drama, War

After refusing to attack an enemy position, a general accuses the soldiers of cowardice and their commanding officer must defend them.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Kirk Douglas, Ralph Meeker, Adolphe Menjou, George Macready

Votes: 155,667

17. The Sacrifice (1986)

PG | 149 min | Drama

At the dawn of World War III, a man searches for a way to restore peace to the world and finds he must give something in return.

Director: Andrei Tarkovsky | Stars: Erland Josephson, Susan Fleetwood, Allan Edwall, Guðrún Gísladóttir

Votes: 20,058 | Gross: $0.30M

18. The Rules of the Game (1939)

Not Rated | 110 min | Comedy, Drama

A bourgeois life in France at the onset of World War II, as the rich and their poor servants meet up at a French chateau.

Director: Jean Renoir | Stars: Marcel Dalio, Nora Gregor, Paulette Dubost, Mila Parély

Votes: 24,223

19. L'amour fou (1969)

252 min | Drama, Romance

During the rehearsals for the production of the tragedy Andromaque, the leading actress and her director, a couple behind the scenes, can't find a way to leave their personal problems at ... See full summary »

Director: Jacques Rivette | Stars: Bulle Ogier, Jean-Pierre Kalfon, Josée Destoop, Michèle Moretti

Votes: 512

20. Evolution of a Filipino Family (2004)

Not Rated | 540 min | Drama

The collapse and the struggle of a poor farming clan in Philippines.

Director: Lav Diaz | Stars: Elryan de Vera, Angie Ferro, Pen Medina, Marife Necesito

Votes: 237

21. The House Is Black (1963)

20 min | Documentary, Short

Set in a leper colony in the north of Iran, The House is Black juxtaposes "ugliness", of which there is much in the world as stated in the opening scenes, with religion and gratitude.

Director: Forugh Farrokhzad | Stars: Forugh Farrokhzad, Ebrahim Golestan, Hossein Mansouri

Votes: 3,497

22. Back to the Future (1985)

PG | 116 min | Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi

87 Metascore

Marty McFly, a 17-year-old high school student, is accidentally sent thirty years into the past in a time-traveling DeLorean invented by his close friend, the maverick scientist Doc Brown.

Director: Robert Zemeckis | Stars: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover

Votes: 931,416 | Gross: $210.61M

23. Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)

PG-13 | 165 min | Western

80 Metascore

A mysterious stranger with a harmonica joins forces with a notorious desperado to protect a beautiful widow from a ruthless assassin working for the railroad.

Director: Sergio Leone | Stars: Henry Fonda, Charles Bronson, Claudia Cardinale, Jason Robards

Votes: 270,268 | Gross: $5.32M

24. Defending Your Life (1991)

PG | 112 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

In an afterlife way station resembling a block of hotels, the lives of the recently-deceased are examined in a court-like setting.

Director: Albert Brooks | Stars: Albert Brooks, Meryl Streep, Rip Torn, Michael Durrell

Votes: 15,473 | Gross: $16.37M

25. Pinocchio (1940)

G | 88 min | Animation, Comedy, Family

99 Metascore

A living puppet, with the help of a cricket as his conscience, must prove himself worthy to become a real boy.

Directors: Norman Ferguson, T. Hee, Wilfred Jackson, Jack Kinney, Hamilton Luske, Bill Roberts, Ben Sharpsteen | Stars: Dickie Jones, Christian Rub, Jack Bailey, Mel Blanc

Votes: 115,659 | Gross: $84.25M

26. Singin' in the Rain (1952)

G | 103 min | Comedy, Musical, Romance

99 Metascore

A silent film production company and cast make a difficult transition to sound.

Directors: Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly | Stars: Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds, Jean Hagen

Votes: 195,732 | Gross: $8.82M

27. Sunrise (1927)

Passed | 94 min | Drama, Romance

An allegorical tale about a man fighting the good and evil within him. Both sides are made flesh - one a sophisticated woman he is attracted to and the other his wife.

Director: F.W. Murnau | Stars: George O'Brien, Janet Gaynor, Margaret Livingston, Bodil Rosing

Votes: 43,134

28. The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988)

PG | 126 min | Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy

69 Metascore

An account of Baron Munchausen's supposed travels and fantastical experiences with his band of misfits.

Director: Terry Gilliam | Stars: John Neville, Eric Idle, Sarah Polley, Oliver Reed

Votes: 47,234 | Gross: $8.08M

29. Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988)

PG-13 | 84 min | Drama, Music

85 Metascore

The lives of an English working-class family are told out of order in a free-associative manner. The first part, "Distant Voices", focuses on the father's role in the family. The second part, "Still Lives", focuses on his children.

Director: Terence Davies | Stars: Pete Postlethwaite, Freda Dowie, Angela Walsh, Dean Williams

Votes: 3,112 | Gross: $0.69M

30. Satantango (1994)

450 min | Drama

Plotting on a payment they are about to receive, residents of a collapsing collective farm see their plans turn into desolation when they discover that Irimiás, a former co-worker who they thought was dead, is coming back to the village.

Director: Béla Tarr | Stars: Mihály Vig, Putyi Horváth, László feLugossy, Éva Almássy Albert

Votes: 7,697

31. M (1931)

Not Rated | 99 min | Crime, Mystery, Thriller

When the police in a German city are unable to catch a child-murderer, other criminals join in the manhunt.

Director: Fritz Lang | Stars: Peter Lorre, Ellen Widmann, Inge Landgut, Otto Wernicke

Votes: 127,011 | Gross: $0.03M

32. Marcel Proust's Time Regained (1999)

169 min | Drama, Romance, War

72 Metascore

A lush, elegant epic taking us on a time-swirling trip down the infinitely complex labyrinth that is Marcel Proust's memory lane.

Director: Raoul Ruiz | Stars: Catherine Deneuve, Emmanuelle Béart, Vincent Perez, John Malkovich

Votes: 2,067 | Gross: $0.46M

33. Duck Soup (1933)

Not Rated | 68 min | Comedy, Musical, War

Rufus T. Firefly is named president/dictator of bankrupt Freedonia and declares war on neighboring Sylvania over the love of wealthy Mrs. Teasdale.

Director: Leo McCarey | Stars: Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Chico Marx, Zeppo Marx

Votes: 52,197

34. L'Atalante (1934)

Not Rated | 89 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

Newly married couple Juliette and a ship captain Jean struggle through marriage as they travel on the L'atalante along with the captain's first mate Le père Jules and a cabin boy.

Director: Jean Vigo | Stars: Dita Parlo, Jean Dasté, Gilles Margaritis, Louis Lefebvre

Votes: 12,873

35. The Bridges of Madison County (1995)

PG-13 | 135 min | Drama, Romance

66 Metascore

Photographer Robert Kincaid wanders into the life of housewife Francesca Johnson, for four days in the 1960s.

Director: Clint Eastwood | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Meryl Streep, Annie Corley, Victor Slezak

Votes: 65,371 | Gross: $71.52M

36. La Jetée (1962)

Not Rated | 28 min | Short, Drama, Romance

The story of a man forced to explore his memories in the wake of World War III's devastation, told through still images.

Director: Chris Marker | Stars: Étienne Becker, Jean Négroni, Hélène Chatelain, Davos Hanich

Votes: 26,316

37. The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)

Not Rated | 114 min | Biography, Drama, History

In 1431, Jeanne d'Arc is placed on trial on charges of heresy. The ecclesiastical jurists attempt to force Jeanne to recant her claims of holy visions.

Director: Carl Theodor Dreyer | Stars: Maria Falconetti, Eugene Silvain, André Berley, Maurice Schutz

Votes: 40,531 | Gross: $0.02M

38. West Side Avenue (2001)

315 min | Drama

A Filipino teenager is shot to death on the sidewalk of New Jersey, USA. An investigation starts into his death. His family members and friends are interviewed. Along the way, we find out ... See full summary »

Director: Lav Diaz | Stars: Yul Servo, Joel Torre, Gloria Diaz, Angel Aquino

Votes: 99

39. 'I Know Where I'm Going!' (1945)

Not Rated | 91 min | Drama, Romance

A young Englishwoman goes to the Hebrides to marry her older, wealthier fiancé. When the weather keeps them separated on different islands, she begins to have second thoughts.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger | Stars: Wendy Hiller, Roger Livesey, George Carney, Walter Hudd

Votes: 7,085

40. Playtime (1967)

Not Rated | 115 min | Comedy

Monsieur Hulot curiously wanders around a high-tech Paris, paralleling a trip with a group of American tourists. Meanwhile, a nightclub/restaurant prepares its opening night, but it's still under construction.

Director: Jacques Tati | Stars: Jacques Tati, Barbara Dennek, Rita Maiden, France Rumilly

Votes: 16,684

41. The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967)

G | 125 min | Comedy, Drama, Musical

Two sisters leave their small seaside town of Rochefort in search of romance. Hired as carnival singers, one falls for an American musician, while the other must search for her ideal partner.

Director: Jacques Demy | Stars: Catherine Deneuve, George Chakiris, Françoise Dorléac, Jacques Perrin

Votes: 6,996 | Gross: $0.09M

42. Krakatit (1948)

97 min | Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Based on a novel by Karel Capek, a prominent Czech writer of the early 20th century, who coined the word robot for his play R.U.R., the story revolves around a discovery of Krakatit-a ... See full summary »

Director: Otakar Vávra | Stars: Karel Höger, Florence Marly, Eduard Linkers, Jirí Plachý

Votes: 262

43. Daisies (1966)

74 min | Comedy

Two girls try to understand the meaning of the world and their life.

Director: Vera Chytilová | Stars: Ivana Karbanová, Jitka Cerhová, Marie Cesková, Jirina Myskova

Votes: 8,298

44. The Searchers (1956)

Passed | 119 min | Adventure, Drama, Western

94 Metascore

An American Civil War veteran embarks on a journey to rescue his niece from the Comanches.

Director: John Ford | Stars: John Wayne, Jeffrey Hunter, Vera Miles, Ward Bond

Votes: 72,952