The 10 Best Films I've Ever Seen

Apr 16, 2001

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The Bottom Line There are not ten definite Best Movies Ever. But everyone has their opinions! Hopefully you liked mine.

This is great! I've always wanted to do a list like this, but I never thought anyone would care what I thought. Chances are that no one will care what I think anyway, but at least this presents me with the illusion that someone out there might.

I am not going to tell you what are the ten greatest films of all time. Why? I have not seen every film, and in particular, I have not seen every film that is regarded as a classic. However, I consider myself a fan of film, and I have seen quite a few of those great films, and if I had to give my 1-3 cents worth on the best films I have ever seen, they would go a little something like this...

1. The Godfather. Many, many people have this as their number one film ever. Count me as one of those people. At three hours, this is an epic production, but not once are you ever bored. Each of the characters is fascinating, and Brando as Don Corleone might be the most captivating performance in film history. The direction, script, camerawork, pacing, acting... heck, everything, is just about perfect. Almost thirty years after it's release, it is still fresh, and you can watch it dozens of times and find something new each time. It's just the best.

2. Psycho. Alfred Hitchcock's masterpiece is amazing for obvious reasons, but here is why it was so amazing to me -- I knew, as do several people who have never seen it, exactly what was going to happen at the end and what the movie's secrets were, yet I was still completely hooked by this movie the first time I saw it. If The Godfather is the film that bridges the gap between past and present cinema, this is the film that took the original rulebook and threw it out the window. Even if you know what's going to happen, see the film -- you'll love it. And if you DON'T know what happens... oh my goodness, go out and rent this movie right now!!!

3. Some Like It Hot. For some reason, I didn't think I would care much for this movie going into my first viewing. But I was pleasantly surprised. The humor is flawlessly executed and timeless. Sure, it was made back in the 1950s, and the sense of humor of many people today is pretty different from people of that time period, but one thing remains true -- men dressing up as women will always be funny, especially when one is screen giant Jack Lemmon. This movie will always remain fresh and will make people laugh for decades to come, and believe me, it will leave you with a big smile on your face. Is it the funniest movie ever? No, but it may very well be the most fun movie ever.

4. The Godfather Part II. Plenty of folks don't care too much for this movie. But what you need to realize is that this movie is challenging. Whereas the first Godfather is tightly-packed and straightforward, this film is much more loose and open to interpretation. It skips around from time period to time period constantly, and it has a much slower pace than the original. But this movie is much more intellectual than the original. The first Godfather deals with life in the mafia, but the themes in this one run much darker and deeper, and it is gutwrenching to watch the downfall of Michael Corleone. Michael's tailspin is chronicled in contrast to his father, and in the end, we are given one of the more emotional endings in cinema. This film is not for the average movie-goer, but if you feel up to the challenge, give it a try.

5. The Seven Samurai. Before Crouching Tiger, before Bruce Lee, there was The Seven Samurai, a masterpiece about a group of seven men hired to defend a small town from bandits. This undisputed classic is one of the finest foreign films ever made, and it stands the test of time beautifully. At around 200 minutes, it is a true epic, and despite that long running time, there is seldom a let down. Even if you find the film to be too tedious, stick around for the final epic battle scene, which is still amazing to watch.

6. Who's Harry Crumb? No, just kidding...

6. Schindler's List. Needless to say, Schindler's List is not a happy movie. But it is an awe-inspiring masterpiece that will keep you riveted throughout and will make you weep at the end. Spielberg's view of Oskar Schindler's life during the Holocaust is among the most important -- and brilliant -- films ever made.

7. The Bicycle Thief. A movie about a man who gets his bike stolen. . . what could possibly be interesting about that? You'd be amazed. This movie with a simple little story about a man who gets his bicycle that he needs to keep his job stolen from him is done so wonderfully and is played so convincingly that you genuniely care for the man and his boy. Everyone has been in the same sort of desperation as the man in this film, and one can't help but cheer like crazy for him. I might have this and Schindler's List too high, but I was pretty taken by each of these films. This film is over 50 years old, but it will remain one of the top films ever made for 50 more

8. The Empire Strikes Back Yup. You bet. Most folks I know think this is better than the original Star Wars, and I feel that way too, so why have Star Wars ahead of it? But there's a reason why this is ahead of the original, and that is because this movie is truly special. It is pure movie magic at its best; it makes you forget where you are and actually takes you into a land with these amazing and mysterious characters. Everyone wants to live in a fantasy land every now and then, and for my money, this movie comes closer than any other to bringing you there.

9. Star Wars. But I can't leave off the original. I've just seen this film too many dozen times to not have it on here. Besides, do I really need an explanation as to why this is on here? I didn't think so.

10 (tie). Strangers on a Train, Vertigo, North By Northwest, Rear Window. I had to get at least one more Hitchcock classic on the list, but I couldn't decide... so I just put them all on there. Pick one... you can't lose. I prefer Strangers and North By Northwest simply because they start with a bang and don't let up until the end.

Extra Honorable Mention: Glory. How underappreciated is this movie by critics? I say it's pretty much perfect, and most people who have seen it agree. Along with Schindler's List, this is the best that the past 10 or 15 years have to offer.

Where is... Citizen Kane? It didn't do much for me... sorry. Gone With the Wind? I hate to say it, but I've never seen it. The Wizard of Oz? That would be on my second 20, as would On the Waterfront and Casablanca. Lawrence of Arabia? It just goes too much into overdrive at the end for me. The meat of the film is great, but by the time the four hours is up, it just feels like overkill.

Overrated -- Rebel Without a Cause, The Seventh Seal, La Dolce Vita

Others that I have to mention: Goodfellas, The Shawshank Redemption, Raiders of the Lost Ark, 2001, A Clockwork Orange, Apocalypse Now, Animal House, The Naked Gun, The Disney Classics, Bonnie and Clyde, Braveheart, Titanic (yeah, it's sort of become a bit of a joke, but I loved it the first three or four times), Spinal Tap, The Naked Gun

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