Favorite filmsby 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
While navigating their careers in Los Angeles, a pianist and an actress fall in love while attempting to reconcile their aspirations for the future.
Votes: 432,967 | Gross: $151.10M
2. Out 1 (1971)
Not Rated | 729 min | Drama, Mystery
Following the May 1968 civil unrest in France, a deaf-mute and a con artist simultaneously stumble upon the remnants of a secret society.
Votes: 961 | Gross: $0.03M
3. Dead Man (1995)
R | 121 min | Drama, Fantasy, Western
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.
Votes: 83,476 | Gross: $1.04M
5. Vertigo (1958)
PG | 128 min | Mystery, Romance, Thriller
A former police detective juggles wrestling with his personal demons and becoming obsessed with a hauntingly beautiful woman.
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.
Votes: 276,128 | Gross: $5.32M
7. A Brighter Summer Day (1991)
Not Rated | 237 min | Crime, Drama, Romance
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.
8. The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)
Not Rated | 88 min | Drama, Romance
The spoiled young heir to the decaying Amberson fortune comes between his widowed mother and the man she has always loved.
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.
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.
12. Take Care of My Cat (2001)
112 min | Drama
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 »
Votes: 2,122 | Gross: $0.00M
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.
14. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
PG | 130 min | Drama, Family, Fantasy
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.
15. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
G | 149 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi
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.
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.
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.
Votes: 20,058 | Gross: $0.30M
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 »
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.
22. Back to the Future (1985)
PG | 116 min | Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi
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.
Votes: 931,416 | Gross: $210.61M
23. Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
PG-13 | 165 min | Western
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.
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.
Votes: 15,473 | Gross: $16.37M
25. Pinocchio (1940)
G | 88 min | Animation, Comedy, Family
A living puppet, with the help of a cricket as his conscience, must prove himself worthy to become a real boy.
Votes: 115,659 | Gross: $84.25M
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.
28. The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988)
PG | 126 min | Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy
An account of Baron Munchausen's supposed travels and fantastical experiences with his band of misfits.
Votes: 47,234 | Gross: $8.08M
29. Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988)
PG-13 | 84 min | Drama, Music
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.
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.
32. Marcel Proust's Time Regained (1999)
169 min | Drama, Romance, War
A lush, elegant epic taking us on a time-swirling trip down the infinitely complex labyrinth that is Marcel Proust's memory lane.
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.
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.
35. The Bridges of Madison County (1995)
PG-13 | 135 min | Drama, Romance
Photographer Robert Kincaid wanders into the life of housewife Francesca Johnson, for four days in the 1960s.
Votes: 65,371 | Gross: $71.52M
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.
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 »
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.
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.
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.
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 »