Rite of Passage the 10 best Coming of Age movies

Oct 14, 2002 (Updated Jan 16, 2003)

The Bottom Line These ten films are all classics and if you havenít seen them, I envy you their discovery.

In primitive cultures the rite of passage that defines the change from boy to man is a ritualized challenge generally requiring courage, mental toughness, and endurance. In modern cultures the transition from childhood to manhood is usually depicted as the moment when a boy must give up thinking like a child and begin thinking like an adult. In both primitive and modern cultures the major elements of this rite of passage are challenge, change, and sacrifice.

All Coming of Age films share certain thematic similarities the most basic of which is their strong focus on stories of young people on the edge of maturity. There are other important themes that define coming of age including the death of a loved one, falling in love for the first time, and high school graduation. Good coming of age films frequently deal with controversial topics such as sexuality, loss of virginity, or leaving home for the first time but they are rarely exploitative. Rite of passage films are often sentimental and they usually appeal to the emotions, but the good ones never play on the prurient. Generally the adolescent characters are forced to make a decision, the outcome of which will have a significant and life shaping impact on their futures.

Movies about the rite of passage from childhood to adulthood have always been popular because filmgoers relate easily to the characters and their stories. Audiences love these celluloid tales of self-discovery, the loss of childhood innocence, and personal growth because they experience nostalgic and sentimental memories of their own youth.

The ten movies listed below are my subjective choices for the best films from the coming of age genre.

1.) Stand by Me (1986)

Directed by Rob Reiner. Starring Richard Dreyfus, River Phoenix, Jerry O'Connell, Corey Feldman, Kiefer Sutherland, John Cusak, and Will Wheaton.

Stand by Me is based on Stephen King's novella The Body. The movie set in a small Oregon town during the last weekend of summer in 1959. The protagonists (Will Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, and Jerry O'Connel) are all twelve years old and they will begin Junior High School right after the long Labor Day Weekend. The boys have time for one final adventure before they must leave their boyhood days behind forever. They overhear some older boys discussing the location of the body of a boy their own age who has been hit and killed by a train. They set out to find the body and become local heroes. Unfortunately, the town bully (Kiefer Sutherland) and his minions are also determined to find the body, setting up the movie’s climactic conclusion.

The story is told flashback style by narrator Richard Dreyfus who plays the grown up central character, Gordie LaChance. Stand by Me is a beautifully paced story of adolescent friendship, but it is also a story with much deeper contexts. The film’s underlying subtext is the loss of innocence and each of the boys must confront and deal with a personal heartbreak as their epic journey unfolds.

Stand by Me was the first film directed by Rob Reiner (Meathead on All in the Family and the son of legendary comedian Carl Reiner). Reiner’s nearly perfect direction and straight on visual style sustain a brilliant film that grows more intense as the goal of the boy’s quest draws closer.

Stand by Me is a sensitive artistic effort that creates a complete world where everything is genuine and the characters are completely believable. There are no special effects and most of the action is low key, but the performances are all consistently moving, powerful, and three-dimensional. Vern (Jerry O'Connell) is the motor-mouthed fat kid who has always been picked on and teased by the other kids. Teddy (Corey Feldman) and Chris (River Phoenix) both have abusive fathers. Gordie (Will Wheaton) lost his older brother (John Cusack in an early role) in an accident and he’s been completely ignored by his heartbroken parents ever since.

Rite of passage stories often use a journey as a metaphor to show how one event or sequence of events can unexpectedly change perceptions and lead an individual down a different life path. Stand By Me is a timeless film that is less about nostalgia than it is about remembering who we are and how we got to be that way, and who was along for the journey. The late 50’s soundtrack and uplifting theme music contribute significantly to the realism and impact of the story.

2.) Old Yeller (1957)

Directed by Robert Stevenson from a screenplay by Fred Gipson and produced by Walt Disney. Starring Fess Parker, Dorothy McGuire, Chuck Connors, Tommy Kirk, and Kevin Corcoran.

Old Yeller is about coming of age on the Texas frontier during the mid-nineteenth century. Tommy Kirk (Travis) is left to take care of his Mama and younger brother Arliss when his father goes off on a cattle drive with a group of local ranchers. Taking care of the family while Papa is away is an awesome responsibility for Travis who is barely more than a boy himself. Keeping up with the back breaking farm labor and making sure the family has enough to eat is a full time job. Travis catches a stray dog stealing food but instead of running dog off he has to fight with Arliss. Arliss wants to keep the mutt and Mama (Dorothy Maguire) over rules Travis and allows the old yellow mongrel to stay. After several exciting adventures Old Yeller saves the family from disaster and Travis has to behave like a man and do the hardest thing he has ever done.

Old Yeller is an emotional and moving film about growing up during tough times. It’s popular to snipe at the sentimentality of this benchmark dog movie, but those who criticize the film may be missing the real point of this simple and moving Disney tale. Old Yeller is clearly trite in spots, but the film contains a strong message about self-reliance and community that most reviewers overlook. It is a story of life on the frontier during a time when community was all that stood between the individual pioneer homesteads and annihilation at the hands of hostile Indians or starvation in the face of uncertain weather and voracious insects.

John Ford’s The Searchers deals with many of the same issues and that film is regarded by most critics as the best Western ever made. Old Yeller is, like The Searchers (which was released around the same time), about the struggle to survive and prosper against almost insurmountable odds. Both films are set on the post Civil War West Texas frontier and both films ultimately deal with how isolated pioneer communities dealt with economic hardship, danger, disaster, loneliness, and deprivation.

Critics often mention how dated Old Yeller seems, but they never discuss "datedness" when extolling the virtues of The Searchers. My father went through four years of combat in the Pacific during World War Two, and he loved both films. John Ford’s dark tale of violence and revenge never made him cry, but Disney’s sentimental dog story never failed to do so. In the final analysis, John Ford let The Duke change his mind and end The Searchers on a happy note.

If you haven't seen the movie---stop here----

Old Yeller on the other hand, ends by forcing a boy to kill the dog who has just saved his entire family from a fate worse than death (rabies). Old Yeller is one of the very best coming of age movies ever made and one of Walt Disney’s finest films.

3.) The Last Picture Show (1971)

Directed by Peter Bodanovich. Starring Timothy Bottoms, Jeff Bridges, Ben Johnson, Cloris Leachman, Cybil Shepherd, Sam Bottoms, Ellen Burstyn, and Randy Quaid.

Before Peter Bogdanovich was a film director he was a movie critic who met and interviewed both Orson Welles and John Ford. Bogdanovich loved the movies and he especially loved Orson Welles and John Ford. When he finally got the chance to actually direct films he brought what he had learned as a critic and interviewer to the job. His first major film The Last Picture Show was acclaimed by many critics as the finest American film since Welles Citizen Kane.

The Last Picture Show is set in the slowly dying West Texas town of Anarene. The film follows the adventures and misadventures of Timothy Bottoms and Jeff Bridges who play friends in their final year of high school. Clearly their prospects are limited and the relative fame garnered from their roles as players on Anarene’s high school football team is about as good as life is ever going to get.

The film is beautifully filmed in stark Black & White (a creative move suggested by Orson Welles) and the influence of Welles (most notably an obvious familiarity with A Touch of Evil) and John Ford (seen mostly in the wide sweeping shots of wind blown Anarene and the intimate group scenes) contributes greatly to the films authentic feel.

Bogdanovich’s film is anchored by solid performances from Hollywood veterans Cloris Leachman and Ben Johnson (both received best supporting actor awards for their roles) but most of the film’s screen time is given to the unknown actors who play the town’s frustrated young people.

Bottoms carries the movie because he is the bridge between the town’s young people and its older generation. This is seen most clearly in his caring relationship with Billy (played by Bottoms brother, Sam) a mildly retarded youngster who methodically and obsessively sweeps the streets of Anartene’s tiny downtown area and with John Ford regular Ben Johnson who plays the owner of three of Anarene’s slowly dying businesses (including the movie theater of the title) and acts as a mentor to Bottoms.

The stark B&W images of the dying town, the unmotivated teens, ambivalent older citizens, and the mournful country soundtrack (mostly Hank Williams tunes) paint a vivid picture of a life without promise on the windswept West Texas prairies. There isn’t a false note in this visually stunning film. Bogdanovich brilliantly captures the look and feel of life in this dying town where death is the only catalyst for change. The Last Picture Show is a moody, contemplative, and sensuous film that received eight Academy Award nominations including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography and four Best Supporting Actor nominations (Johnson, Leachman, Bridges, Burstyn)

4.) To Sir With Love (1967)

Directed by James Clavell. Starring Sidney Poitier, Judy Geeson, and Lulu

This movie is the only one of the selected films that focuses on the power of a single adult to positively affect the maturation process for a group of adolescents. Poitier plays Mark Thackery, a black engineer who can't find a job because of racism and a slow economy. Thackery takes a job teaching at a high school in London's tough East End as a temporary measure until something turns up in his field. Poitier knows nothing about teaching and his first class is a group of rowdy, disruptive and undisciplined lower working-class teenagers. The kids set out to destroy Thackery, just as they destroyed his predecessor. It is interesting to note that Poitier began his career as an actor playing an inner city high school student in The Blackboard Jungle.

Thackery is idealistic but he’s no fool and he understands racism and hostility. He meets the kids challenge by treating them as young men and women who are worthy of respect. Poitier's character is frustrated by how rude and uncivilized his pupils are so he dumps the textbooks and pop quizzes and focuses on teaching his students a variety of important life strategies. He demands that his students show respect to him and to each other and behave with decorum, courtesy, and civility.

Thackery's students eventually begin to warm to him and most find small successes using his methods. But his students are not the only problem, Thackery must also deal with unsupportive school administrators, uncaring parents, and the misguided affections of one of his female pupils. In the end he is immensely gratified by his experiences with the students. To Sir With Love avoids the sentimental and melodramatic tone of most "Good Teacher" flicks and concentrates instead on the maturation of Poitier's students, the change in Thackery's character, and honest portrayals of teachers, parents, and school administrators.

Poitier's Mark Thackery realizes that the rebelliousness he sees in his students is mask to cover their frustrations, lack of real prospects, and their struggle to overcome England's rigid class system. Thackery comes to understand that his student’s struggles mirror his own fight against racism and prejudice. When he is offered an engineering job at the end of his first term as a teacher, he must make the most difficult decision of his life.

5.) Breaking Away (1979)

Directed by Peter Yates. Starring Dennis Christopher, Dennis Quaid, Daniel Stern, Jackie Earle Haley, Robyn Douglas, Paul Dooley, and Barbara Barrie.

Breaking Away is the classic sleeper, a quirky low budget film that caught on with the public through word of mouth and became a cult hit almost overnight. The film is built around four unemployed teenage friends who have just graduated from high school. The boys are just coasting along, not sure if they want to attend college. Dennis Christopher plays Dave, a young man completely obsessed with cycling and Italy. His fantasies are so well constructed that he drives his family crazy by behaving and speaking as if he were an Italian cyclist. Dave and his friends live in Bloomington, Indiana and all four are the descendants of the stone masons who cut the limestone used to build Indiana University. The rich students at the university call them "cutters" and look down on them as members of a lower caste.

Dave's father is a used-car salesman who disapproves of his son's Italian fantasies and his frivolous ambition to be a bicycle racer. Dave's Dad thinks his son is crazy, lazy, and that acting as if he were an Italian is probably going to get Dave locked up and keep him from getting a decent education or a good job. Dave's Mom behaves as if having an Italian cycle racer son was the most normal thing in the world. The interactions between Dave in Italian mode and his uptight father and the citizens of his Hoosier hometown are hilarious. Yates (the director of car chase classic Bullit) eschews special effects and uses Italian Opera and classical music to emphasize Dave's Italian fantasy life.

Dave carries his fantasy one step too far when he pretends to be an Italian exchange student in order to impress a pretty college girl. When he discovers that he actually likes her and confesses his charade she ends the romance, further reinforcing Dave’s conviction that the Indiana University students are all spoiled and snobbish. He is further humiliated when he meets his heroes, the Italian Racing Team, and discovers that they are meaner, shallower, and more class conscious than the hated university students.

The four friends decide to stand up for their "cutter" heritage and enter the annual five hundred mile bike race sponsored by the University. Dave and his friends work hard to get ready for the race and when the big day comes there is some genuine suspense despite the foregone conclusion (this is a movie after all) of the race. The fine script, super performances from the young stars, excellent comic relief, inspiring score, and the generational and class conflicts make Breaking Away an inspiring and uplifting movie. Some fantasies are attainable and sometimes adversity and great odds truly can be overcome. Breaking Away won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. It was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Score, and Best Supporting Actress.

6.) American Grafitti (1973)

Directed by George Lucas. Starring Richard Dreyfuss, Cindy Williams, Ron Howard, Candy Clark, Paul Le Mat, Mackenzie Phillips, Charlie Martin Smith, Bo Hopkins, and Harrison Ford.

When George Lucas graduated from USC his student film project was a nifty little sci fi piece called THX 1138. Francis Ford Coppola was very impressed with THX 1138 and after meeting Lucas agreed to help him obtain financing for his first film project. Coppola was only able to scrounge together $750,000 dollars and a 28 day shooting schedule for Lucas but American Graffiti was the sleeper hit of 1973 and grossed over 50 million dollars (before video) making it one of the most profitable films of all time. George Lucas used the profits from American Graffiti to finance the filming of Star Wars. American Graffiti was the movie that established the importance of a new breed of film school educated directors that included Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese.

American Graffiti is easily the most famous and popular baby boomer coming of age movie. The film takes place during a single night in 1962 and follows the adventures of a group of Modesto, California teenagers. For Ron Howard and Richard Dreyfus the last night of summer is also their last night in Modesto. Both will leave for college the next morning. The audience knows that the end of childhood innocence is just around the corner, but for one night the clock is rolled back and we return to a simpler world where rock and roll music, hot cars, and teen sex are the only serious concerns of the small town teens. Just over the historical horizon are the Cuban Missle Crisis, the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and the war in Viet Nam.

Lucas uses almost real time pacing in the film as each character plays his or her part in a group of neatly interlocked vignettes that keep the action moving toward the night’s end. Cinematographer Haskell Wexler (one of the very best in the business) gives the film a realistic nighttime aura where the cars and neon lights are the stars. This neo realistic look and the driving rock-n-roll soundtrack establish a real sense of place. Lucas (with almost no budget) was brilliant in assembling a cast of unknowns (Richard Dreyfus, Cindy Williams, Ron Howard, Candy Clark, Paul Le Mat, Mackenzie Phillips, Charlie Martin Smith, Harrison Ford, Kathleen Quinlan, Bo Hopkins, and Suzanne Somers) who would later dominate both the big and small screens in the U. S.

Anyone who has seen the movie remembers "Green Onions" throbbing full bore as the teenagers gather at the edge of Modesto to watch Paul LeMat and Harrison Ford race. The Midnight Black '55 Chevy running side by side with the Canary Yellow '32 Ford as the sun comes up. Paced by Booker T’s Hammond Organ, the drag race is the movie's climactic moment, a scene that won’t soon be forgotten.

7.) You're a Big Boy Now (1966)

Directed by Francis Ford Coppolla. Starring Peter Kastner, Geraldine Page, Rip Torn, Elizabeth Hartman, Karen Black, and Julie Harris.

Coppola was the first film school grad to direct for the big screen. Before Coppola, directors learned their craft by working their way up through the Hollywood studio system. Coppola's UCLA film school project was a film about the sexual awakening of a New York City teen named Bernard Chanticleer. Bernard has been kicked out of the family home by his father and goes to live in New York City's hip East Village during the swinging sixties. The virginal Bernard is played with a sort of wide-eyed amazement by Peter Kastner.

Bernard’s parents (played by Rip Torn and Geraldine Page) have always been over protective so the virginal 19-year-old really isn’t prepared when he meets a sexy go-go dancer named Barbara Darling (Elizabeth Hartman). He falls instantly in love (or maybe it’s lust), but Darling is a secret man-hater who is just toying with Barnard. Part of his maturation process is to discover that the sexy Ms Darling is not the girl for him. The girl for him is Amy (Karen Black in her first film role) whom he pretty much ignores. Amy works with Barnard at the library. His landlady Miss Thing (Julie Harris) is secretly keeping an eye on Bernard for his mother, so his every move is watched and reported.

Coppola maintains a manic pace with dozens of nifty New York City locations and some of the most unique editing ever seen. The confident and assured director of The Godfather is completely absent from You're a Big Boy Now and in this film Coppola is a lot more fun. The films frantic pacing, the quirky and jumpy editing, the gorgeously photographed New York City locations, the hip and funny dialog, and the soundtrack by The Lovin' Spoonful (the top twenty hit "Darling be home soon" was written for this film) combine to make You're a Big Boy Now genuinely different from anything else Coppola has ever done. You’re a Big Boy Now is a much more personal film, a movie with a warped attitude and a funky sense of humor that is virtually guaranteed to put a smile on your face. You're a Big Boy Now is the work of an exuberant filmmaker who hasn’t discovered his limitations yet, a young director who is willing to try anything. The performers, script, camera work, pacing, soundtrack, and editing, are uniformly excellent.

Coppola's film school project was so funny and creative that it got a national distribution deal, something that was unheard of in 1967. It also got its director noticed by the powers that be in Hollywood and the rest of the story (as Paul Harvey used to say) is movie history. Geraldine Page received an Academy Award nomination (Best Supporting Actress) for her role as Bernard’s mother.

8.) A Boy and his Dog (1975)

Directed by L. Q. Jones. Starring Don Johnson, Jason Robards, Suzanne Benton, and Tim McIntire (as the voice of Blood).

A Boy and his Dog isn’t like other "Post Apocalyptic" Sci Fi thrillers. Rather than taking itself seriously the movie is a darkly comic and blatantly satirical farce. A very young (and very hormonal) Don Johnson struggles to survive in the hostile and barren wasteland that was Phoenix, Arizona before World War Four. World War Four lasted five days and, as the narrator points out, was mankind’s answer to urban blight. It is 2024 and the desert is a very hostile place, peopled with a new breed of hunter-gatherers and some pretty scary mutated scavengers. There is a real shortage of women so females are hunted like prey animals by the sex starved savages.

Don Johnson plays Vic, an adolescent youth who has survived only with the help of Blood, the smartest dog in movie history. Vic wanders hungrily across the bleak landscape in search of cans of food buried deep in the radioactive ash. Vic and Blood communicate telepathically and the dog is considerably smarter than Vic (a satirical play on sentimental dog movies). Blood needs Vic for food and protection, but Vic needs Blood to find something much scarcer than food, female companionship. Jones portrays the new hunter-gatherers as a corrupt society rife with petty personality cult dictators who enslave and kill their fellows, consume far more than their share of the scarce resources, and rape any woman they can capture. Culture in the wastelands is reduced to nightly outdoor showings of worn out porn films in a junkyard (there is popcorn for those who can afford it). It is clearly a critical satirical barb aimed at America of the fifties and sixties, that the drive in movie is one of the few cultural icons of the twentieth century to survive a thermonuclear war.

Vic and Blood spend all their time seeking food and females and eventually, following a night at the "movies" they are tricked into following a beautiful girl named Quilla June to a highly organized underground society called Topeka. Vic decides to leave Blood at the entrance to the underground city.

Topeka looks a lot like the America of the mid fifties complete with right wing politics and a form of McCarthyist government by committee. PA speakers blare Sousa marches almost continuously (interrupting the patriotic music only to announce the sentencing of societal malefactors). The male residents of Topeka are universally pale, sterile (which is why they need Don Johnson), and as bland as white bread toast. Just in case you missed the point, they wear mime make-up, plaid flannel shirts, straw hats, and denim coveralls to accentuate the satirical portrayal of a totalitarian "American Gothic" goof on conservative political values.

So where is Vic's rite of passage? When Vic and Quilla June descend into the depths of Topeka, Vic leaves his faithful old friend to fend for himself in the wilderness. Vic's coming of age is when he realizes that his adventures in Topeka have left poor Blood to starve. Vic must make a decision, the outcome of which will have a significant and life shaping impact on the future of both Quilla June and Blood. The final two minutes of the movie are like nothing else in the history of film, absolutely classic (not to mention hilarious).

A Boy and His Dog was condemned by feminists for its controversial depiction of women and Harlan Ellison (the author of the story) was so offended by the film's conclusion that he offered to pay for a re-shoot of the ending out of his own pocket. A Boy and His Dog is a highly irreverent and richly satirical film that mocks politics, dog movies, post apocalyptic Sci Fi thrillers, and coming of age flicks------the film is simultaneously a well crafted and thought provoking example of each genre. Vic and Blood have the sort of relationship that most dog movies only hope to achieve, and Jones Post Apocalyptic Phoenix provides a relevant and entertaining take on what might happen after civilization as we know it, ends. Vic faces a hard choice, grows up, and comes of age after his Topeka adventure, and just for you Jack, A Boy and His Dog also pokes fun at sexploitation and T&A flicks so there is some nudity too. Jones final satirical touch was to cast the family dog from The Brady Bunch in the role of Blood, the "nooky hound". Tiger won the 1975 "Patsy Award" for his edgy canine performance.

9.) The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (1974)

Directed by Ted Kotcheff. Starring Richard Dreyfus, Micheline Lanctot, Joseph Wiseman, Randy Quaid, Jack Warden, Denholm Elliott, and Joe Silver

Right after starring in George Lucas' American Grafitti Richard Dreyfus really stretched his wings to play the central character from Mordecai Richler's novel about ambition, single-minded drive, and greed and their consequences. Dreyfuss gives a bravura performance as the title character. He suffers through years of low self esteem and personal failure in an attempt to become someone of importance. The film is set in 1948 Montreal and Duddy is the second son in a tught knit Jewish family. His Mother is dead and his cab driver Dad struggles to pay the bills and keep Duddy's older brother in Medical School. Duddy is incredibly ambitious but all the family's extra money goes to pay for his brother's education. Duddy is obsessed with making something of himself no matter the odds or the cost.

Initially his schemes are hilarious. He does everything from producing great and complex films of bar mitzvahs to trying to put together big real estate deals. Nothing works but Duddy will not be denied and each failure only strengthens his determination to strike it rich. Eventually his schemes alienate his girlfriend, drive his patient and kindly grandfather to despair, cause him to be used as a drug runner by criminals, cost him all his friends, and result in a serious injury to his most loyal employee.

Dreyfus comes to understand that money and position have little to do with "being somebody" and that all his schemes are making him, and everyone around him miserable. Duddy's desire to succeed is easy to understand and the dark humor of this quirky little film makes Dreyfus' occasionally unlikable character more understandable and endearing. The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz is a strong film that examines the dark side of ambition with honesty and humor.

The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz won the Silver Bear for Best Film at the Berlin Film Festival in 1974. Mordecai Richler’s screenplay was nominated for an academy award.

10.) Goodbye My Lady (1956)

Produced by John Wayne and Directed by William Wellman. Starring Walter Brennan, Brandon De Wilde, Phil Harris, Sidney Poitier (in an early role), and Louise Beavers

Brandon De Wilde plays an orphaned boy named Skeeter who lives in a cabin in a Mississippi swamp with his elderly Uncle Jesse (Walter Brennan). Jesse and Skeeter live a simple life very close to nature. They take what they need to survive from the bounty of the swamp, but they are very poor and the only money they are able to make comes from cutting and selling cypress knees. When Jesse finds a strange dog that laughs instead of barking and cleans herself like a cat, Skeeter falls immediately in love with the animal.

Skeeter is lonely and has wanted a dog for a long time so he and Jesse start training Lady to point birds. Lady is as smart as a whip and she's able to pick up scents from incredible distances. Lady makes DeWilde's days wonderful and the swamp becomes a personal paradise for the boy and his dog. When Lady’s rightful owners turn up, Skeeter must make the hardest decision of his life. Goodbye My Lady doesn't rely on sentimentality for dramatic impact, but rather on the strength of character required to make hard decisions and to stoically accept hurt as a natural part of life and growing up. John Wayne was so taken with James Street's novel that he put up his own money to film the story. I saw this movie with my Dad when I was eleven years old and I've always remembered it fondly. Wellman sensitively shows the developing bond between Skeeter and Lady and the boy's love for his dog. Goodbye My Lady was beautifully shot in low contrast Black & White that perfectly depicts the wonderful environment where Skeeter and Jesse live. The direction is low key but the film's look, pacing, and characterizations are flawless.

Movies, like music, are an ensemble art form with many artists working closely together, each of them creating an individual but integral piece of the whole. Movies should be judged on three relatively simple criteria. How entertaining is the film? How well does the movie compare to the classics of its genre? How effective is the production (Direction, writing, acting, photography, etc.)? The ten movies listed above are all exceptional artistic accomplishments, all are genre classics, and all ten are thoroughly entertaining.

If you enjoyed reading this film essay you may find my other film pieces entertaining.

Rite of Passage---The 10 best Coming of Age Movies

The Ten Best Movies of all time

The Top Ten Sci-Fi Flicks of the Fifties

Classic Film Noir Greats

Cowboys, Indians, Heroic Hounds, and a One Armed Man (the 10 Best Westerns of all time)

The Grapes of Wrath

Beatlemania Revisited—A Hard Days Night

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