Top 30 favorite films
Making list of this magnitude proved to be a grueling task. I would say I came up with this idea after seeing a few other peoples list, and deciding I would love to make my own. Little did I know it would be carried out for a month n a half. It was hard to decide what films should go on this list, causing me to have to re-watch some films. This is the reason why I titled it “favorite” and not “top”. The films listed below are the movies I personally love to watch.
The ranking is according to multiple things; The direction, acting, cinematography, running time, the emotions, and lasting memories.
30. Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back
IMDb – “After the rebels have been brutally overpowered by the Empire on their newly established base, Luke Skywalker takes advanced Jedi training with Master Yoda, while his friends are pursued by Darth Vader as part of his plan to capture Luke.”
My Thoughts: Well I had to have Star Wars on here somewhere! It’s been a long time since I’ve last visited a galaxy far far away, but by far this is the best Star Wars film that hits all sorts of emotions. Great locations, story, special effects, and an unforgettable ending.
29. Black Swan
IMDb – “A ballet dancer wins the lead in “Swan Lake” and is perfect for the role of the delicate White Swan – Princess Odette – but slowly loses her mind as she becomes more and more like Odile, the Black Swan.”
My Thoughts: Well I guess i’ll break the secret now. I saw this movie four times in theaters ($43) and I’ve seen it 3 times at home. Natalie Portman is on top of her game in this film. The film takes something as beautiful as ballet, and shows the dark secrets behind it. The film keeps you guessing on whats reality and what’s fantasy; the direction for this was quality. Much deserved academy award for Portman.
28. Blazing Saddles
IMDb – “To ruin a western town, a corrupt political boss appoints a black sheriff, who promptly becomes his most formidable adversary.”
My Thoughts: This is a brilliant satirical comedy from Mel Brooks. I would have never known about it, if my dad never told me to check it out. I’m glad I did because this movie will leave you in tears, some great moments and cast. Plus, who doesn’t love a movie with Gene Wilder?
IMDb – ” In 2074, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent 30 years into the past, where a hired gun awaits. Someone like Joe, who one day learns the mob wants to ‘close the loop’ by transporting back Joe’s future self.”
My Thoughts: Looper is a movie that caught me by surprise. I was hesitant to see this film, but little did I know, I would be watching one of the most original sci-fi films for some time now. Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt both play the same character which is interesting, considering the fact one doesn’t want the other one alive. Great story with and time travel that doesn’t seem incredibly fake.
26. On The Waterfront
IMDb – “An ex-prize fighter turned longshoreman struggles to stand up to his corrupt union bosses.”
My Thoughts: The winner of 8 Academy Awards speaks for itself. I am left in awe watching Marlon Brando in this film, if you want to see an actor become completely immersed into his role look no further. The story reminds me of The Godfather and all the future crime films, but before all of those. I love the score and the ending of this movie.
25. The Dark Knight
IMDb – “When Batman, Gordon and Harvey Dent launch an assault on the mob, they let the clown out of the box, the Joker, bent on turning Gotham on itself and bringing any heroes down to his level.”
My Thoughts: This is probably the greatest Batman film. Aside from the ridiculous voice Batman, the crime in the story was top notch. Heath Ledger gave his last performance here as the Joker, and changed the villain game. It’s hard for me to watch a super hero movie without a superb villain now. Ledger took acting to a whole new level here as the Joker. The only thing with the movie is that it’s pretty long, but I guess coming back to it every now and then will make the watch that much better.
24. The Godfather
IMDb – “The aging patriarch of an organized crime dynasty transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son.”
My Thoughts: The Godfather is one of the greatest films ever created on American soil. This is an epic film with an incredible cast, story, and cinematography. The only problem is that it’s such a long movie, however I am always hesitant to watch it, but when I finally put it in the player; I become completely lost in the film and three hours flies by. The run time is why it’s ranked so high up on my list.
23. The Seventh Seal
IMDb – “A man seeks answers about life, death, and the existence of God as he plays chess against the Grim Reaper during the Black Plague.”
My Thoughts: This film from Bergman is filled with a lot of thought provoking dialogue, and I love that in films. The overall mood and look of the film is rather dark. I am fascinated with this movie, because of the director. He likes to film his movies based on his fears and dreams, which is incredible when seeing it and thinking “wow I wonder what caused him to create this film”. You can find my review here
22. One flew over a cuckoos nest
IMDb – “Upon admittance to a mental institution, a brash rebel rallies the patients to take on the oppressive head nurse.”
My Thoughts: Jack Nicholson… Man this guy is insane, perfect character to play McMurphy. This film is hard to explain when asked about, but I can say that it has one of the most memorable cast in general. I don’t know a majority of their names but they all become their characters, who were all mental patients. It’s highly entertaining, and makes you pray you never have to encounter Nurse Ratched in a hospital.
IMDb – “Craig and Smokey are two guys in Los Angeles hanging out on their porch on a Friday afternoon, smoking and drinking, looking for something to do. Encounters with neighbors and other friends over the course of the day and night, and their ensuing antics, make up the rest of the movie”
My Thoughts: This is one of those films that can be on any part, and I will mostly sit down and finish the rest of movie. Quite possibly my favorite buddies on film. Chris Tucker brings live into Smokey, making him a cult icon, and Ice Cube is more laid pack having to deal with the struggles in the hood and Smokey asking him for sugar.
20. Black Dynamite
IMDb – “Black Dynamite is the greatest African-American action star of the 1970s. When his only brother is killed by The Man it’s up to him to find justice.”
My Thoughts: The best black satire EVER. This film embraces that blaxploitation of the 70s to create the legendary Black Dynamite. The story is interesting and at times random, but the satire in this film is pure comedy. The more I watch it the more I laugh, hats off to the creators of this film. You can find my review here
IMDb – “A skilled extractor is offered a chance to regain his old life as payment for a task considered to be impossible.”
My Thoughts: I had an unhealthy obsession with this film when it was first released. I have never understood a movie so well, while being completely confused at the same time. The movie is about the brain, dreams, and the mind. All pretty similar but yeah solid cast, great special effects, and even better story. Inspired me to write down my dreams and turn them into screenplays.
18. Inglourious Basterds
IMDb – “In Nazi-occupied France during World War II, a plan to assassinate Nazi leaders by a group of Jewish U.S. soldiers coincides with a theatre owner’s vengeful plans for the same.”
My Thoughts: This was a hard film for me to watch for the first time. My first time viewing a Tarantino film and I was not prepared for the heavy dialogue. Now re-visiting the film, man oh man does this film have some great dialogue, and some intense burst of violence. I love the story. All the characters are amazing and filled by great cast as always. The introduction of the witty Christoph Waltz into Tarantino’s universe.
17. Reservoir Dogs
IMDb – “After a simple jewelery heist goes terribly wrong, the surviving criminals begin to suspect that one of them is a police informant.”
My Thoughts: I was sold the minute I saw the group of colors ( I mean men) walking, looking too cool in those suits. It’s quite scary to believe Tarantino was able to create this heist gone wrong story with a budget of $1.5 million, and it was his debut film. I was a month n a half shy of being born when this film came out, but i’m sure the people who saw the taken by their throats and thrown around. Tarantino is a genius, plain and simple.
IMDb – “A psychotic murderer institutionalized since childhood for the murder of his sister, escapes and stalks a bookish teenage girl and her friends while his doctor chases him through the streets.”
My Thoughts: My favorite killer. Michael Myers is a very mysterious man, with that emotionless mask. Unfortunately I wasn’t young when I first saw this movie or i’m sure I’d be scarred by him tearing through the closet doors. This is John Carpenter’s classic horror film, not the poor remake in 2007. For me this is essential to watch every October if I fall into the horror marathon mood.
“A Phoenix secretary steals $40,000 from her employer’s client, goes on the run and checks into a remote motel run by a young man under the domination of his mother.”
My Thoughts: I am going to brag and say that I was lucky enough to know nothing about this film when I first saw it. I watched this in 2013 and was genuinely terrified by the ending. One of the many classic films from Hitchcock, and this one includes the famous shower scene. I don’t think it’s his best film, because this isn’t really his style (arguable) but it is indeed his most terrifying.
14. Tell No One (ne le dis a personne)
IMDb – “The pediatrician Alexandre Beck misses his beloved wife Margot Beck, who was brutally murdered eight years ago when he was the prime suspect. When two bodies are found near where the corpse of Margot was dumped, the police reopen the case and Alex becomes suspect again. The mystery increases when Alex receives an e-mail showing Margot older and alive. ”
My Thoughts: The best french film I’ve ever seen. Intense thriller, with some great unexpected twist. It was a pretty well thought out film, love it.
IMDb – “A retired San Francisco detective suffering from acrophobia investigates the strange activities of an old friend’s wife, all the while becoming dangerously obsessed with her.”
My Thoughts: I have mixed emotions with this film. One moment I will say this is a classic or masterpiece from Hitchcock, and sometimes I will completely ignore this movie and not want to watch it. I haven’t discovered why yet, maybe the pacing of the film? Anyways, I love the story and mystery it creates. Stewart’s obsession is quite unnerving, and even more when you compare this film to Hitchcock’s life.
12. The Thing
IMDb – “Scientists in the Antarctic are confronted by a shape-shifting alien that assumes the appearance of the people that it kills.”
My Thoughts: The greatest sci-fi horror film (yes a million times better than Alien). The pacing, suspense, and seclusion in here makes the movie experience one to remember. Another classic from John Carpenter, who helps create such hysteria within the station, that you have no idea who is contaminated. This is the 1982 version by the way.
11. Requiem For A Dream
IMDb – “The drug-induced utopias of four Coney Island individuals are shattered when their addictions become stronger.”
My Thoughts: Man, this has to be the most disturbing film I have ever seen. The last 10 minutes has been burned into my memory, and that’s not a good thing. Such an interesting take on addictions, ranging from extreme things like drugs, down to simple food addictions. It seems people either love or hate this film. I love it, and I don’t feel sane saying I love this movie, It’s depressing stuff.
10. Dr. Strangelove: or how I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb
IMDb – “An insane general starts a process to nuclear holocaust that a war room of politicians and generals frantically try to stop.”
My Thoughts: Such a great piece of satire from the genius Stanley Kubrick. I can’t believe this film was released during the cold war. In my opinion this is what real comedy is; It is witty, and smart, delivered by some talented actors. I salute Peter Sellers for performing three roles in here. My favorite scene is definitely the soda machine towards the 2nd half of the film.
9. The Lion King
IMDb – “Tricked into thinking he killed his father, a guilt ridden lion cub flees into exile and abandons his identity as the future King.”
My Thoughts: I mean how could I not have Lion King on here. Apparently I watched this twice a day for the longest when I was younger. I love everything about this movie, and the older I become, the more subtle massages I understand that I didn’t even notice when I was a child. Disney were on top of their game with The Lion King.
8. (500) Days of Summer
IMDb – “An offbeat romantic comedy about a woman who doesn’t believe true love exists, and the young man who falls for her.”
My Thoughts: “How is this number 9?” asked 80% of the readers. This movie makes me pretty sad, and hopefully at the same time. The way the story was told was pretty interesting. I rate this film because it feels real, and a vast majority of people can relate with either Tom or Summer. Apart from that the editing was spot on, and the cinematography is wonderful. I love the homage to cinema in here. You can find my review here
7. Pulp Fiction
IMDb – “The lives of two mob hit men, a boxer, a gangster’s wife, and a pair of diner bandits intertwine in four tales of violence and redemption.”
My Thoughts: This is no doubt Tarantino’s greatest film. I have never watched a film that is more quotable than Pulp Fiction. The dialogue is riveting, and the non-linear story telling just makes the film even more compelling. As I said before Tarantino is a pure genius, I don’t think any bad words can be spoken about this film. Will we ever figure out what’s in the briefcase?
6. Children of Men
IMDb – “In 2027, in a chaotic world in which women have become somehow infertile, a former activist agrees to help transport a miraculously pregnant woman to a sanctuary at sea.”
My Thoughts: This film changed my life. I saw this movie when I was 13 I believe. I had never seen anything like this before, and I don’t even mean on a technical aspect. Just the world depicted in such a way, in such detail. This movie and Blood Diamond were the reason I started watching more “grown up” films. I have always looked back on this movie by memory, wondering why this film could never leave my mind. I decided to watch it again last month for the first time since it’s release and I was blown away. The tracking in this film is pure quality. This style of filming brings you into the film among the chaos,and beauty. A lot of it flew over my head, when I was younger, especially the resemblance to the holocaust with the imprisonments. One of the greatest films of the 2000s. You can find my review here
IMDb – “A mysterious Hollywood stuntman, mechanic and getaway driver lands himself in trouble when he helps out his neighbor.”
My Thoughts: It was very hard for me to put this above Children of Men. However Drive is truly a great piece of work. The electronic soundtrack and score from Cliff Martinez puts the style on the film. Refn had a great vision with this film, and I think he executed it masterfully. The film is blended well with it’s beauty and extreme violence, so even the violence is beautiful. I believe the run time and pacing of this film helps too, the story is simple which allows for the film to not drag on. I can watch this movie day after day and not get tired of it.
4. It’s A Wonderful Life
IMDb – “An angel helps a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman by showing what life would have been like if he never existed.”
My Thoughts: I may use the word classic loosely at times but if anything truly defines a classic it is this film. When I watch this movie I feel nothing by joy, everything that’s going on in the world is completely faded out. It’s a shame Stewart didn’t win an Oscar for his performance; He did it all here, and brilliantly at that! Donna Reed is gorgeous so that is a definite plus. I love that nothing in this film is over extravagant. It’s all very simple, with universal themes that are indeed timeless. There is a reason this is on TV every Christmas.
3. Boyz N The Hood
IMDb – “Saga of a group of childhood friends growing up in a Los Angeles ghetto.”
My Thoughts: The thought that went into the characters is what holds the film up so high. The acting was moving and the story of life in the hood as black male has never been told better than this. I love this movie, I feel I can relate to it even though my life in “the hood” was/is no where near as bad as that, but the message Furious Styles tries to teach them is inspiring.
2. The Shining
IMDb – “A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where an evil and spiritual presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from the past and of the future.”
My Thoughts: Where to begin. I am going to try and keep this nice and short. This is Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece. I hold this higher than any other film he’s done and I believe it is the greatest horror film ever. I have never read the novel but it’s based on The Shining from Stephen King. I am aware that it is pretty different though. This film is too creepy, from the mysterious ghost that lurk the halls, wondering who’s perceiving what correctly accompanied by this nerve wrecking score. All the elements needed to create a tense atmosphere. The acting her by Jack Nicholson is terrifying the man, completely spirals downward on a level of sanity to insanity. I actually like Shelley Duvall’s performance here. The tracking shots, and perfect placement of the camera makes the visual aspect of the film one to remember.
1. Rear Window
IMDb- “A wheelchair bound photographer spies on his neighbors from his apartment window and becomes convinced one of them has committed murder.”
My Thoughts: No surprise here, my favorite actor and director collaborating together to create one of Hitchcock’s finest films. I wrote a review on this film already, but I think I started to rant on how brilliantly crafted the visual story telling is. Besides that, I love how the normal Hitchcock themes are presented here. The sound design in this film, and the over simplicity of everything in the film makes it more enjoyable for me. I just can sit back, relax, and watch a great a great film. You can find my review here
Well if you’ve made it to the end. I am open to explain any reasons for some placements or questions you have, thanks for reading!