Great Films

Earlier this year I came across Empire’s 500 top films. It got me thinking about something that I had hoped to do for some time. Each time one of these ‘top film’ lists come out, I say I’m going to compile a list and figure out which ones I haven’t seen yet. So soon after the Empire list came out, I did just that. But instead of relying on their list, I combined it with the top 250 by the Internet Movie Database and the 100 top films by the American Film Institute. I also took into consideration the ‘movie literate’ films that I posted about five years ago. Plus I took note of all the Academy Award Best Picture. I’ve also added films that I keep thinkingI should see. I took all of the films and worked out their rankings, then figured out which ones I haven’t seen, which ones I’d like to see again, and those that I have already seen. I also rated how much I liked it or how much I would like to see it.

Once that was done, I separated all the ones I have not seen and set out an order of which ones I would see. In general, when I know I will likely have enough time during the week, I end up renting three of them since if you rent two 7-day rentals at the video store, the third is free. So as you can guess I’ve been going through it at a pretty good clip. But considering that there are a total of 450 unseen films on my list of 660 films, it’s not likely that I’ll see all of them. But then the goal is to see the most important ones. Some of the films I’ve seen thus far include: The Godfather, Goodfellas, Taxi Driver, Once Upon a Time in the West, Seven Samurai, The Apartment, On the Waterfront, Apocalypse Now, Platoon, The French Connection, and Donnie Darko. And by the way the top 10 films on the list are: The Godfather, Casablanca, The Godfather II, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Wars, Shawshank Redemption, Apocalypse Now, Pulp Fiction, Empire Strikes Back, and Goodfellas. The entire list is way to long to put up here. If anyone is interested like for the top 100 or 250 or 500, I can put it up in the comments.

So what are my observations thus far. Most of these good movies are long. We usually don’t pop them in until after 9pm and sometimes it’s not over until midnight. The first one we watched Seven Samurai even had an intermission built into the movie. For Apolcalypse Now, I’ve sat down twice now to watch it and may finally finish it tonight. One observation is that most of the movies I’ve seen are on the violent side. I think that is more a case of not seeking out violent films. If you look at the films in the top ten that I’ve seen, they are not very violent.

The movies have also given a view into the era when the film was made. The Apartment shows what life was like in Manhattan in the 60’s. Actually quite similar to what you see in Madmen including the promiscuity. The French Connection and Taxi Driver also show New York, but over a decade later. I’ve never been a big war movie buff, so Platoon and Apocalypse Now both opened my eyes to what Vietnam was like for a generation older than myself. It may have also been because they got me to think more of what people went through during the war and what life may have been like afterward which other Vietnam war films had not done.

One of my favorite aspects of watching these films is the cinematography. I’m a very visual person and the camera angles, the framing, the long takes are always something that I enjoy. Out of the lot I’ve seen to date, I would say that Donnie Darko is my favorite. I’ve always enjoyed movies that play with your mind and keep you thinking like Memento.

The next films on my list are: The Godfather II, Lawrence of Arabia, The Good the Bad and the Ugly, Singin’ in the Rain, The Departed, Midnight Cowboy, Raging Bull, Sunset Boulevard, City of God, The Third Man, Some Like it Hot, No Country for Old Men, and Ben-Hur.

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~ by Frank on June 21, 2011.

3 Responses to “Great Films”

  1. Godfather II is, IMO, better than the first. It has a really compelling back story for Vito Corleone. I’m sure Midnight Cowboy was considered shocking in 1969 but a lot of it seems unintentionally hilarious by today’s standards in that Jon Voight is a really bad male prostitute. The Departed was pretty good if you like movies starring every single male actor in Hollywood.

    I’d like to get into seeing more movies, classic and otherwise. Right now, it’s “Cars” for the 50th time.

  2. GF II is still at the top of the ‘to see’ list. I have a copy borrowed from my father so I’ve been waiting for a night where I don’t have something else rented to see it. Midnight Cowboy was good, but I’ve found that most ‘Best Picture’ winners were not as great as others on my list. As for The Departed, there have been a handful of films seen so far where every other person became well-known later on. It’s also been odd to see so many present-day actors when they were young. I’ve been there watching kids movies all the time.

  3. […] few weeks ago, I talked about a list I have compiled in order to get a good idea of what are considered ‘great’ movies. […]

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