- The Searchers (1956)
This movie has one of my favorite acting performances with John Wayne as Ethan Edwards, an evil heroic figure. A great story as Ethan pursues his niece who has been abducted by Indians and fights his own inner demons.
- Casablanca (1942)
A great propaganda war film and a great love story. Plot has some holes but everything comes together to create a classic movie.
"Major Strasser has been shot. Round up the usual suspects."
- Godfather (1972)
Marlon Brando was tremendous as The Godfather. A great story about family and crime with a great ensemble cast.
- Citizen Kane (1941)
Orson Welles created a masterpiece with this beautiful piece of Americana about the rise and fall of a powerful newspaper magnate modeled on William Randolph Hearst.
- The Seven Samurai (1954)
A samurai m ovie that is about a lot more than sword play. Toshiro Mifune gets most of the acting credit in Kurosawa's films but I think Takashi Shimura was his real star. Akira Kurosawa at his best (and that is saying something).
- Some Like it Hot (1959)
My favorite comedy. Great story and wonderful scenes with Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, Marilyn Monroe and George Raft. Billy Wilder made the movie in black and white because the "girls" make-up didn't look good in color.
- The Rules of the Game (1939)
A comic masterpiece with social criticism of pre-war French society. Renoir is very harsh in his criticism of both the upper class and the lower class who emulate their "betters".
- Dr. Strangelove or : How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
The classic black Cold War comedy. A Peter Sellers masterpiece.
Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room.
- Double Indemnity (1944)
My favorite film noir with my favorite female character Phyllis Dietrichson played by Barbara Stanwyck. Edgar G. Robinson and Fred MacMurray were also great in this.
"I think you're swell. As long as I'm not your husband."
- Godfather 2 (1974)
Both a prequel and a sequel. Robert De Niro was great as Vito as a young man. Great use of flashbacks to tie together both movies. Actually makes the original movie better by filling in the background details.
- Chinatown (1974)
Twisting, turning plot. Even though I've seen it a dozen times it still surprises me. How evil is Noah Cross?
- Singin' in the Rain (1952)
I never thought I liked musicals until I saw this movie. I really didn't know what I was missing. Good story about the transition to the talkies and some fantastic dance scenes.
- 2001 : A Space Odyssey(1968)
One of the first movies that addresses the future of artificial intelligence. Slow, lingering, beautifully filmed movie.
- Blade Runner (1982)
Science Fiction film noir with a replicant as the lead character and the first dozen times I saw it I didn't even know it. I think Blade Runner has a very subtle and powerful message about judging other who are not like us. "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tanhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time like tears in rain. Time to die."
- The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
This was the first movie I loved. Errol Flynn at his swashbuckling best. Throw in Basil Rathbone, Olivia de Havilland and Claude Raines, great music and beautiful Technicolor and you have a classic adventure movie that they just can't make any more.
- Unforgiven (1992)
Clint Eastwood takes shots at the traditional Western but can't help adding to the genre. Great performances from Clint, Morgan Freeman, Richard Harris and Gene Hackman.
"I've killed women and children. I've killed everything that walks or crawls at one time or another. And I'm here to kill you, Little Bill, for what you done to Ned."
- Goodfellas (1990)
One of the best mobster movies ever made. Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci were tremendous.
- Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
Jimmy Stewart with my favorite character actor, Claude Raines and one of my favorite actresses, Jean Arthur. What seems like a simple movie is in reality very complex. Both an expose on corruption in American society and a tribute to all that is good in American democracy. Whether it’s patriotic or not is in the eye of the beholder.
- Rear Window (1954)
One of my favorite Alfred Hitchcock movies. A light hearted comedy/love story evolves in to a suspenseful thriller.
- Tokyo Story (1953)
A beautiful story. Very interesting that a movie made only eight years after such a devastating war refers to it so little.
- Vertigo (1958)
A very bizarre story even for Alfred Hitchcock. Voted as the best movie of all time by the 2012 Sight and Sound survey. Great story, acting, music and look.
- Last of the Mohicans(1992)
This was a very good movie that turns into a great movie when you view it with Magua as the tragic hero. see my article on Magua as Hero.
. Daniel Day Lewis looked like he was born to play Hawkeye. It was beautifully filmed and the music was great too.
- To Be or Not Too Be (1942)
Carole Lombard is fantastic and Jack Benny is really good in this Ernst Lubitsch comedy about Nazis, made during the war, that somehow works.
- The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)
I liked everything about this movie. Deborah Kerr in three different roles. One interesting part of it was Winston Churchill keeping it from being seen outside of England during the war because he thought it was detrimental to the war effort because of the sympathetic German, even the German was an anti-Nazi! Just really, really good.
- Day for Night (1973)
A great movie about film making by Francis Truffaut. Truffaut's love of movies really shines through in this film.
- To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
Atticus Finch is one of the best characters in literature and Gregory Peck does him justice in the movie.
- Jaws (1975)
Works on all levels. Great horror story. It also has a story about three guys coming together from different backgrounds and working together to accomplish a task.
"We're gonna need a bigger boat."
- The Quiet Man (1952)
A great comedy and romance. Cinematography in this movie was just great.
Well it’s a nice soft night so I think I'll go and join me comrades and talk a little treason"
- The Producers (1968)
This story about the staging of Springtime for Hitler is one of my favorite comedies.
"How could this happen? I was so careful. I picked the wrong play, the wrong director, the wrong cast -- where did I go right?"
- Jean de Florette (1986)
One of my favorite foreign movies. Gerard Depardieu and Yves Montand were great in this "Western" set in France.
- Ugetsu (1953)
Kenji Mizoguchi's tale of century Japan's feudal wars. Two peasants leave behind their families hoping to strike it rich, but their greed only leads turmoil for those they left behind. Usually a ghost story thrown into the middle of a dramatic story wouldn't work for me but this one did. A story of the corrupting power of greed every bit as powerful as The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. It was really interesting the reflection it cast on postwar Japan.
- The Maltese Falcon (1941)
A great ensemble cast and a great look. How good were Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet in this? "When you're slapped, you'll take it and like it. "
- The Bicycle Thief (1948)
Simple story but very powerful. I think this is the best of all the neo-realist movies.
- Ninotchka (1939)
A great movie. I really laugh out loud when I watch a movie but I really enjoyed this one. It's a shame Greta Garbo didn't do more comedy, she was so good at it. Melvyn Douglas was also great in this. Another of the great movies from 1939.
- Sunset Boulevard (1950)
A great Billy Wilder movie. William Holden was good but Gloria Swanson stole the show.
- City Lights (1931)
Charlie Chaplin was just great in this movie. I never thought I would enjoy a silent film this much.
- Samurai Rebellion (1967)
Toshiro Mifune was great in this story about breaking the samurai code when you felt you had been personally wronged. May have reflected a shift in the view of social responsibility in 1967 Japan. It has on of my favorite scenes when Toshiro's character, Isaburo, is pushed to the limit. The tension leaves his face as he knows he can now fight and die to preserve his honor.
- Lone Star (1996)
A great movie that addresses one of the most important issues facing America, and like Crash has a lot to say on the subject. I think Sayles was saying that we have to forget the things that happened in the past. One of the great film endings of all time.
- Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
I liked the whole series and I thought this was the best of them. A tribute to the adventure movies of the 30's and 40's and this movie stands up with the best of them.
- Angels with Dirty Faces (1938)
Cagney, the Dead End Kids and Pat O'Brien. Great story.
- The Wild Bunch (1969)
Sam Pekinpah's best movie. Great ensemble acting and beautifully filmed. Pekinpah again takes a look at the theme he explored in Ride the High Country. The Old West is closing and there is no longer a place for some of the men who lived in it. Should they fade in to the sunset or go out with a bang? If you picked the sunset you don't know Pekinpah.
- Star Wars (1977)
One of the most influential movies ever made. In addition to great special effects it also had a pretty good story to go along with it.
- Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
Beautifully filmed with a great story. This is the way historical epics are supposed to be.
- The Earrings of Madame de ... (1954)
I loved the lead actors in this movie as they danced around the conventions of their times in this wonderful period piece by Max Ophuls.
- Malcolm X (1992)
A great movie. Some of the facts were twisted and Malcolm was probably a little angrier in real life but I still really enjoyed this movie. It was interesting how each of the stages (and names) in Malcolm's life could be used to represent a period of history for black Ameicans in the post-Civil War years.
- Ridicule (1996)
My favorite movie by Patrice Leconte, a very under-appreciated director. A country lord does to the court of Loius XVI at Versailles to get some drainage work done in his province. The Marquis learns the way of the court and gets pretty good at surviving the ridicule he could have been subjected to.
- Pulp Fiction (1994)
Jules and Vincent. Tarantino took some real chances in the delivery and I think it worked. Great dialogue.
- In the Heat of the Night (1967)
Rod Steiger and Sidney Poitier make a great team in this murder investigation in a small racist Southern town. Ground breaking movie.
- Fort Apache (1948)
To me, one of the most underrated movies of all time. Henry Fonda was great as the Custer like character whose hubris brought him down. Also one of the first movies to portray Indians in a positive light. See my article Fort Apache, Vietnam and Iraq
"Well, boys, we've a man's work ahead of us this day."
- The Conversation (1974)
Gene Hackman, who I think is a tremendous actor, in his best role. This movie really captures the atmospher of the 70's and is a great representative of the conspiracy movies that followed Watergate.
- Raging Bull (1980)
The best acting performance of all time in the best sports movie ever made.
- Do the Right Thing (1989)
Brilliant movie by Spike Lee about the irrationality of racism - there is no neat, little answer to why some things happen.
- North by Northwest (1959)
Cary Grant at his best in this comedy / Cold War drama. Usually I don't like it if a movie can't decide what genre it belongs too, but in this case everything works.
- Wild Strawberries (1957)
In the 1957 film Dr. Isak Borg looks back on his life as he takes a road trip with his daughter-in-law to receive a scholarly award. Isak has been successful professionally, but other than that his life is really empty. He is estranged from his son and daughter-in-law, and he comes to wonder how he ended up with the loneliness surrounding him. As he goes on his journey he also journeys through his life with dreams and flashbacks to earlier times. As he nears his journeys end, Isak begins to realize that he has missed the important things in life and tries to make amends. This film is very much like Kurosawa's Ikiru, which I just watched, and also similar to Orson Welles' Citizen Kane. While Kane looks back on his Rosebud sleigh, Isak looks back on the wild strawberry patch of his youth. A great movie by a great director.
- Schindler's List (1993)
A beautifully filmed movie about a real serious subject. How can some one who seems to act in a normal manner become such a monster.
- La Dolce Vita (1960)
A great movie about society and decadence.
- Amadeus (1984)
Great music, great acting and a great story. Great period piece.
- Paths of Glory (1957)
A great anti-war movie that points out the futility of war.
- Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
Has some of my favorite comic scenes. More of a series of sketches than a cohesive movie but still great.
- Reds (1981)
Warren Beatty and Jack Nicholson were very good in this and Diana Keaton was great. I also thought John Reed's story was really interesting. The way Beatty cut into the narrative with interviews with people who were there at the time was daring, and I thought it worked great.
- The Bank Dick (1940)
W.C. Fields is tremendous in this movie. It gets funnier every time I see it.
- Cinema Paradiso (1988)
One of the great films about the movies and people's love it. The background story is good, but it is the love of film that really shines through here.
- Stagecoach (1939)
The Ringo kid first appearance on the screen is one of my favorite scenes. The portrayal of the characters representing the different segments of society, make for great social commentary. Also very interesting for its portrayal of Indians as not really being human, just forces of nature. Ford would later make up for this.
- Mark of Zorro (1940)
Tyrone Powers and Basil Rathbone square off in this great swashbuckler.
- Diabolique (1955)
This movie is really a great film noir kind of hidden in a thriller / horror genre. In this film a couple, looking to bump off the husband's wife, convince her to knock off her no good husband, all the time they are conniving to do her in for her money. Sounds confusing? It is, but it is also agreat movie. Probably the most surprised I've been by a movie's ending (and I've been surprised more than once by it).
- Umberto D (1952)
A beautifully filmed movie. One of the few movies I have seen that makes you feel there is no camera. Another neo-realist classic.
- Ikiru (1952)
A great movie by Akira Kurosawa starring Takashi Shimura. Kanji Watanabe, a widower, has worked his whole life to save for his son. He finds out he has stomach cancer with months to live, and then hears his son and her wife discussing how they are going to get his money. Watanabe then begins to wonder what life is all about. A very inspring movie by the director who made so many great movies (half of which didn't have samurais).
- The Grand Illusion (1937)
A great anti-war movie. Like Rules of the Game has Renoir exploring the differences and similarities between the social classes.
- Fargo (1996)
Frances McDormand in one of my favorite female roles. William Macy, Frances McDormand and Steve Buscemi were all tremendous in this. The William Macy scene when he is selling a car is one of my favorites.
- Shane (1953)
One of the great Westerns. Shane rides in, saves the day and rides off into the sunset. Gunfight at the end with Jack Palance was one of the best. Can be looked at on a lot of levels. Is it about the Cold War and Shane represents the US who must step in to stop the "creeping Communism"?
- Army of Shadows (1969)
Another great Jean-Pierre Melville film. This one draws on his experience with the French Resistance. Brutal, realistic and mesmerizing.
- One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
Great characters. Nurse Ratches and Randle McMurphy are two of my favorite characters.
- Apocalypse Now (1979)
This movie had some great scenes although the overall movie was just OK. But the scenes with that helicopters attacking, Duvall on the beach and of Brando at the end are just tremendous.
- The Throne of Blood (1957)
This Kurosawa's remake of MacBeth is beautifully filmed. Toshiro Mifune and the woman who played his wife were both great.
- The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
Great acting in this tale of greed.
Badges? We ain't got no badges. We don't need no badges. I don't have to show you any stinking badges.
- Touchez Pas au Grisbi (1954)
Jacques Becker directed this movie about an aging gangster stars Jean Gabin.
- On the Waterfront (1954)
The taxi scene with Brando and Rod Steiger has my favorite dialogue in all the movies.
"You don't understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody Charley, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let's face it. I'm a bum. It was you, Charley. "
- Pickup on South Street (1953)
Richard Widmark was great as the anti-hero in this classic film noir.
- The Big Sleep (1946)
Humphrey Bogart stars in Howard Hawks visit to film noir. The story if confusing but it is filled with noir stlye.
- Bob le Flambeur (1955)
Bob is one of my favorite characters in the movies. Great sense of style in this movie. Has a lot in common with Melville's other great movie, Le Samourai.
- The Big Lebowski (1998)
This movie gets better with each viewing. A modern day Raymond Chandler story with a great commentary on an era.
- Nashville (1975)
Characters go rushing in and out of this movie but Altman does a great job in blending them into this interesting piece of Americana. Some really great acting and singing in this.
- Local Hero (1983)
An invasion of a small town Scottish culture by the big city and the small town wins.
- Kiss of Death (1947)
Had one of my all time favorite characters - Tommy Udo, played by Richard Widmark. Victor Mature was also really good in this movie.
- The Shop on Main Street (1965)
A tremendous movie about Fascism in in a small town in Czechoslovakia during World War II. As much about McCarthyism and Stalinism as it is about Fascism. It's amazing it was able to be made in 1965 Czechoslovakia.
- The Gunfighter (1950)
A great Gregory Peck Western. A revisionist Western that shows the less glamorous side of the gunfighter life style.
- Destry Rides Again (1954)
Another great James Stewart movie. I loved his character in this movie. I think it must have matched Stewart's personality because he looked so natural playing it.
- The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972)
An interesting, confusing movie that is a lot of fun to watch.
- Rififi (1955)
It's surprising how gripping a scene 25 minutes long without dialogue can be. This is surely one of the great heist movies.
- Jules and Jim (1962)
A beautifully filmed movie. Great story.
- Arrival (2016)
When I watched this film for the 4th or 5th time recently I was struck by how truly great it was. In many ways similiar to The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951). A great science fiction film.
- Modern Times (1936)
Charlie Chaplin in one of the last major silent films. The little tramp struggles to live in modern industrial society.
- Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)
Alec Guiness plays 8 roles and pulls it off. A great black comedy where you find yourself cheering for the mass murderer.
- Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)
A great Western, more polished than Clint's spaghetti Westerns. A wronged Josey goes after the bad guys. Antipates many of the great scenes in Unforgiven. What makes it particularly interesting is how all the bad guys wear Union blue in this movie made in 1976.
"Dyin' ain't much of a livin', boy"
- The Third Man (1949)
Orson Welles dominated this film even though he was only on the screen for a very short time.
"In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love - they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock."
- A Man for All Seasons (1966)
A great historical movie with a great supporting cast, particularly Orson Welles and Robert Shaw. I never get tired of watching this movie. May be the best historical movie ever made.
- The Fog of War (2003)
Probably the most interesting documentary I have ever seen. I am still stunned by how honest McNamara was. A great piece of film making by Errol Morris.
- Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
Paul Newman and Robert Redford make a great team.
- Sansho the Bailiff (1954)
A tragedy set in medieval Japan. A great story with some great acting.
- Gaslight (1944)
One of the most suspenseful movies of all time with great performances by Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman. You can feel the tension in this one. This film has also become an adjective as you can "gaslight" someone. Gaslighting" is used to describe abusive behavior, specifically when an abuser manipulates information in such a way as to make a victim question his or her sanity.
- The Sting (1973)
Newman and Redford together again. Great period piece. Great story.
- Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941)
Great story copied a bunch of times. Has one of my favorite character actors, Claude Raines.
- Body Heat (1981)
A great neo-noir. Ned Racine (William Hurt) is a sleazy lawyer who bounces from client to client and from girl to girl. Then, reminiscent of the great entrance of Cora Smith (Lana Turner) in The Postman Always Rings Twice, we have Matty Walker (Kathleen Turner) , all in white, walking in to his life She ignores him as she is reeling him in. Ned, like Jeff in the Out of the Past, gets to the point where he knows he is being taken, but just doesn't care.
- Ulzana's Raid (1972)
Robert Aldrich and Burt Lancaster really got things right, improving on their Apache from twenty years before. A politically incorrect movie that shows the Apaches warriors reveling in killing and torturing. There probably never be a movie made like this again but is does show the peril of living on the Western frontier in this era. Western reflecting on the Viet Nam war.
- Little Big Man (1970)
This revisionist Western had another great performance by Dustin Hoffman. I really enjoyed Chief Dan George too.
- M (1931)
A great early role for Peter Lorre. Very creepy. Interesting how the post WWI German organized crime joined in the hunt for the killer.
- Ride the High Country (1962)
One of the best of the elegiac Westerns with Western veterans Joel McCrea and Randolph Scott. The movie begins with Scott in a carnival sideshow in the beginning, a cowboy whose time has come and gone. Sam Pekinpah mixes the Old West and the new times in a classic in which Steve Judd just wants to "enter his house justified."
- Rashomon (1950)
This is a movie that gets better with each viewing.
- Bringing up Baby (1938)
Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn in a really funny screwball comedy. Not one of my favorite genres, and Hepburn is not one of my favorite actresses, but everything in this movie works.
- Dial M for Murder (1954)
This exciting murder mystery had a great plot. Keeps you guessing all the way through.
- The Good, The Bad and the Ugly (1966)
An offbeat, funky spaghetti Western that is a lot of fun to watch. Musical score adds to the unsettling atmosphere. Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach and Lee Van Cleef all were great in this.
- Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
A war story that is more about the personalities of the characters than about the war.
- Animal Crackers (1930)
I have to watch this movie another dozen times before I will fully appreciate it. Jokes are fast and furious.
- 12 Angry Men (1957)
One of the best ensemble performances in movie history. A subtle exploration of racism. When I watched it again I viewed it through a slightly different lens. Were the juries bullied in the name of political correctness to free someone, who given all the available circumstantial evidence, really looks like a murderer. The movie was flawed by saying that if convicted the accused had to be sentenced to the death penalty.
- Pleasantville (1998)
I didn't really appreciate this movie the first few times I saw it. I really think it addresses the universal issue of personal freedom vs. government intervention as well as any movie ever made. Particularly relevant today with reference to the Patriot Act. How much freedom are we willing to give up for our safety. It also opens a very interesting dialogue on what was a better world to live in : the 50's or the 90's.
- Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
This is my favorite anime movie. I forgot it was a cartoon after a while. Very well done. Great anti-war movie.
- The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)
Could have been one of the best movies ever made if it hadn't been chopped up by the studio. Another good Joseph Cotten performance. Its almost painful to watch thinking how good it could have been.
- Dead Man (1995)
Interesting Jim Jarmusch take on the West.
- Children of Paradise (1945)
The story is almost overwhelming on a first viewing, but I can't wait to see it again.
- Beau Geste (1939)
Gary Cooper was really good in old time adventure movie.
- Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
Henry Fonda made a great villain in this off beat spaghetti Western.
- Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
Another Frank Capra hit. Cary Grant was great in this screwball black comedy. Raymond Massey and Peter Lorre had classic roles.
- Wages of Fear (1953)
A great movie by Clouzet. It's a long, slow movie and I wish it went on even longer. It immerses you in a different time, a different way of life.
- David Copperfield (1935)
I enjoyed W.C. Fields' Mr. Micawber as much as any character in the movies. A brilliant film adaption by George Cukor.
- White Heat (1949)
Cody Jarrett is a great character.
- Lincoln (2012)
Best American history movie ever made. Daniel Day-Lewis was tremendous. Flawed opening scene is the only weakness. Loved the interplay between Lincoln and his cabinet.
- Mean Streets (1973)
Early Scorsese is beautifully filmed and very powerful. Great characters. Neo-Neo- Realism? Can definitly see the inluence of Rosselini in this one.
- Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936)
It’s hard to believe that this movie was made so many years ago and still holds up so well today. Comedy, drama, love story ... this movie has it all.
- Gunga Din (1939)
Cary Grant, Douglass Fairbanks Jr and Victor McLaglen make a great team. This and the group from Jaws are my favorite trio. It is really a jingoistic, pro-imperialistic movie but that makes it more interesting in presenting England's pre-WWII world view. Nice companion piece to Last of the Mohicans. Here, the evil Guru, like Magua, should be viewed as the heroic, patriot character. The title character should probably be reviled as a collaborator and a traitor.
- The Public Enemy (1931)
Along with White Heat the classic Cagney gangster movie.
- Dances with Wolves (1990)
This revisionist Western tried to make up for all the negative images presented of the American Indians all at once. In their place as the villain it puts the white intruders. Wes Studi was great in a small role as a Pawnee. I'm beginning to enjoy it even more as I view it through a lens with Dunbar as the villain, a modern Prometheus, who introduces a new, more deadly form of war fare to the natives.
- Le Samourai (1967)
A great action movie with a great sense of style.
- The Asphalt Jungle (1950)
This movie had some great characters. Sterling Hayden was really good in this pretty straight forward robbery story. The style of the movie is what really makes it.
- A Matter of Life and Death (1947)
Here Comes Mr. Jordan meets The Devil and Daniel Webster. Nicely done with a British/American twist.
- Germany Year Zero (1948)
This movie gives a very real portrayal of what life must have been like in Germany in the aftermath of WWII. Almost documentary like in its look and feel. Very, very powerful.
- The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne at their best. A Western tragedy with one of the greatest flawed heroes in all the movies. It also has a lot to say about the representation and interpretation of history.
- High Noon (1952)
One of the great Westerns. Gary Cooper in his best role as Will Kane. The McCarthyism connection makes it that much more interesting. If your back was to the wall and everyone abandoned you, High Noon might be the movie you would write.
- My Darling Clementine (1946)
A great retelling of the gunfight at the OK Corral. Henry Fonda and Victor Mature were both really good in this.
- She Wore A Yellow Ribbon (1949)
The middle movie in John Ford's cavalry trilogy is many people's favorite of the three. Beautifully filmed. Some people see it as a propaganda war film that is persuading the American people to unite against the "red" menace. Nathan Brittles hands are tied but he still manages to outwit the reds and defuse the situation (horses = atomic bomb). It is an interesting angle on the movie in that many Indian tribes united to fight the whites (domino effect in Europe).
- It's a Gift (1934)
One of W.C.'s best.
- MASH (1970)
I saw this again recently. I had forgotten how good it was. It really gives a great view of how crazy things got in the late 1960's. Anti-religion, ant-war, anti-government, ant-everything
- Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
I really enjoyed this movie, particularly the surprise twist at the end. Charles Laughton was as usual - great.
- The Conformist (1970)
A great movie by Bertolucci about what lengths people will go to become part of the group.
- Lonesome Dove (1989)
Robert Duvall is one of my favorite modern actors. He was just great in this and had great chemistry with Tommy Lee Jones. This was my favorite mini-series on TV.
- Au Revoir Les Enfants (1987)
One of the best movies on WWII and the Holocaust.
- It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
Another great James Stewart movie. This and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington are my favorite Capra movies.
- The Man Who Would be King (1975)
Sean Connery and Michael Caine are very good in this Rudyard Kipling yarn.
- Patton (1970)
A tour de force by George C. Scott playing a very interesting person explored in a great movie.
- The Thin Man (1934)
Nick and Nora are a great couple. I always enjoy watching William Powell and Myrna Loy.
- Good Night, and Good Luck (2005)
Great story with the best integration of real clips I have seen. Made Senator Joe a real character in this.
- Kiss Me Deadly (1955)
This is a really different, dark movie. Noir, thriller, science fiction. Is a great reflection of the cynical, paranoid times that were the mid 50's.
- Trouble in Paradise (1932)
One of Ernst Lubitsch's best film. The grandfather of all the screwball comedies. Doesn't seem to have aged at all in eighty years.
- A Clockwork Orange (1971)
A very disturbing film that has really gotten better with age. Perhaps more relevant today than when it was made. One of Kubrick's best.
- Deer Hunter (1978)
There was some great acting in this movie. Deniro, Meryl Streep, John Cazale, Christopher Walken and John Savage were all great. A play told in three acts. The war action sequences in the middle were unforgettable.
- Rome, Open City (1946)
This was a very dramatic movie that really gave you the feeling of what it was to be in a Nazi occupied territory. The way in which it was filmed adds to it sense of realism. Another neo-realism classic.
- La Strada (1954)
I really loved this movie. It was so different. Great music. Giulietta Masina who was also great in Nights of Cabiria is a great, unique Chaplinesque figure. I never knew that Antony Quinn was so good of an actor.
- The 400 Blows (1959)
Truffaut's masterpiece is almost documentary in style. A long way from the Hollywood movies of its day.
- The Caine Mutiny (1954)
Just a great story with great acting. Captain Queeg is a classic character.
- Touch of Evil (1958)
Even though I never really bought Charlton Heston as a Mexican, this movie has a great sense of style. It has a sense of doom hanging over it starting with the great opening scene.
- High and Low (1963)
Great detective/crime story from Kurosawa and Mifune.
- The Exterminating Angel (1962)
An absurd surreal movie by Luis Bunuel, that is as confusing as it is interesting. You can almost feel the same sense of entrapment that the characters feel. After a while what they are doing seems to make sense. I really have very little understanding of what Bunuel is trying to say, but like an abstract painting it is fun to look at it and try to figure out what it is all about. No one can come out, no one can go in, sheep, bears ..? I think Bunuel was pointing out that the upper classes behave in an absurd manner but just couldn't change their ways even when they were confronted with the absurdity of their behavior.
- Rebecca (1940)
Watching Olivier is always fun but Joan Fontaine was also really good in this great murder/mystery. Mrs. Danvers was also a great character. Why am I always surprised by the ending?
- Viridiana (1961)
In Virdiana, Bunel takes some good shots at the human condition. I'm not really sure he is taking shots at the Church. He is taking shots at false piety but he seems to imply that humans need a guiding hand or they will revert to savagery. The Last Supper scene is classic.
- Born Yesterday(1950)
Judy Holliday gives one of my favorite female performances. Broderick Crawford and William Holden were also great in this great comedy / drama.
- Crash (2005)
Maligned by many, I really enjoyed this movie about contemporary racism in America society.
- Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)
Great story and Charles Laughton is so good.
- The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
Great conspiracy movie and a great McCarthyism allegory.
- Broadway Danny Rose (1984)
The actor playing Lou Canova is just great, although I guess he was just playing himself. Like most of Allen's movie, a little uneven but it had some great scenes and some great lines.
- Psycho (1960)
Not only about the shower scene. Good, suspenseful movie. i usually don't like movies that border on the horrific, but this one is special.
- Ghost World (2001)
There are many things I like about this movie. Definitely not just a teen flick.
- The Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)
Classic sci-fi movie that really makes you think. The dangers of conformity and the really points out how close the far right and the far left really are.
- Miller's Crossing (1990)
This movie had a great sense of style and some great acting.
- Rain Man (1988)
Dustin Hoffman is just such a good actor. This movie really had great writing and a great storyline.
- Kagemusha (1980)
Great period detail in one of Kurosawa's last movies. I'm not sure if it was a commentary on Japan's participation in WWII, better to stay back and defend yourself (be a mountain) than to try and rush off and conquer the world.
- The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)
John Garfield and Lana Turner and a great story in one of the classic film noirs.
- Wuthering Heights (1939)
Another great movie from 1939. Lawrence Olivier was very good in this interpretation of Bronte's novel.
- All the President's Men (1976)
This movie fascinated me when I first saw it and it still does. Even though I knew how it ended I watched it like it was a mystery. Unfolds like a Greek drama - hubris strikes again. Redford and Hoffman were great together.
- Black Narcissus (1947)
Great acting, cinematography and a fascinating story line. Every scene looked like it could be made into a postcard. I wonder if Hitcock's scene in Vertigo is paying homage to this movie.
- It Happened One Night (1934)
Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert made a great team in this early screwball comedy by Frank Capra.
- Taxi Driver (1976)
Another example of the influence of the neo-realists on Scorsese.
- The Battle of Algiers (1965)
Probably the best political movie ever made. Reminded me of a polished version of neo-realist classics like Germany Year Zero and Open City. What made this especially amazing was that it was based on real events.
- Breathless (1961)
I'm not that big of a Godard fan, but I really do like this movie (which was written by Francois Truffaut).
- Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
I finally saw the longer version of this movie and it was great. The plot was still a little muddled but the acting and the great scenes more than made up for it. Leone only directed seven movies and five had Imdb ratings over 8.0 (Once Upon a Time in America, Once Upon a Time in the West, A Fist Full of Dollars, For a Few More Dollars, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly).
- Out of the Past (1947)
Great film noir with Kurt Douglas and Robert Mitchum. Janice Greer was a great femme fatale in this .
- The Life of Brian (1979)
A lot of funny scenes in this movie. I don't think it was as funny as Holy Grail but the movie held together better.
- Red River (1948)
Another great John Wayne performance. Montgomery Cliff was also very good in this one. I wish it had stuck to its dark tone in the ending, could have been better.
- Seven Beauties (1975)
Lina Wertmuller was the first woman director to be nominated as Best Director for this film. Giancarlo Giannini was great in this comic/tragedy.
- Marathon Man (1976)
Dustin Hoffman meets Lawrence Olivier. Just watching these two great actors from different generations makes this movie worthwhile.
- La Bete Humaine (1938)
A great French movie by Jean Renoir starring Jean Gabin. Had a lot of noir elements. A great femme fatale. Not as good as Double Indemnity but anticipated it in many ways. I thought the whole "madness" thing subverted the plot and kept this from being one of the truly great films.
- Notorious (1946)
For a long time I really didn't enjoy this movie because I thought there was no one to cheer for. But the more I watch it the more I realize what a victim and heroine Ingrid was.
- The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
A great movie by the great Ernst Lubitsch. Jimmy Stewart andMargaret Sullivan made a great team in this film.
- Smiles of a Summer Night(1955)
This is a movie where you can sense the greatness, although on a first viewing it is hard to take it all in. i think this is destined to become one of my favorite movie. Simliar in style and tone to The Rules of the Game.
- Daybreak (Le Jour se leve)(1939)
I really liked this "poetic realism" film by Carne and Prevert who also did Children of the Paradise. Jean Gabin was great and the supporting actors were also very good.
- Reservoir Dogs (1992)
A great cast and a great ensemble performance.
- The Duellists 1977)
A beautifully filmed Ridley Scott movie with great acting by Harvey Keitel and Keith Carradine.
- True Romance (1993)
This was a movie that shocked me when I first saw it. A little choppy but the dialog is great and it has half a dozen memorable scenes.
- The Stranger (1946)
Orsen Welles and Edgar G. Robinson were really good in this interesting movie. Reminds me of Double Indemnity. The audience knows the truth, we are just watching Edgar G. to see if finds out too. To me, very underrated.
- Four Feathers (1939)
I really enjoy this movie. C. Aubrey Smith stole most of the scenes he was in. Gave you a good feeling about what the army was like at the time of the British Empire.
- Annie Hall (1977)
Woody Allen and Diane Keaton made a great team in this movie. Woody at his paranoid best.
- Caddyshack (1980)
The funniest of the sports comedies. Chevy Chase, Ted Knight and Rodney Dangerfield were very good but Bill Murray steals the show.
- The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)
One of the great villains to grace the screen. George Sanders was so good in this.
- Winchester '73 (1950)
A very strange Western in which brother’s battle to the death. An Anthony Mann / Jimmy Stewart classic with a hard edged hero. Director Anthony Mann made some great film noirs in the 1940's, including T-Men (1947) and Raw Deal (1948). After the war the film audience suddenly became more sophisticated (or jaded) and were not as accepting of the hero in the white hat riding in and saving the day.
Mann made a series of movie with James Stewart in the '50s that are among the best ever made, and really stand-up strongly today. Mann and Stewart made five "psychological" Westerns that dealt with a flawed hero looking for revenge, violence and a deep seated rage looking to be quenched (Winchester '73 (1950), Bend of the River (1952), The Naked Spur (1953), The Man from Laramie (1955), The Far Country (1954)).
In Winchester '73 we find Lin McAdam (Stewart) searching for his brother and then for a rifle he won in a shooting match. The movie has a little bit of everything with Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson overseeing a shooting match, Rock Hudson playing Young Bull and leading an Indian charge, noir star Dan Duryea as Waco (Wacko) Johnny Dean, Shelly Winters as a reforming dance hall lady and in a very early role, Tony Curtis. A really good movie that stands the test of time.
- Stranger Than Paradise (1984)
Jarmusch's second film shows the stark simple style that he continued in his later more commercial movies.
- The Verdict (1982)
I think that this was Paul Newman's greatest role. James Mason was also really good. This movie had a great plot and the tension at the end was something I really felt.
- The Heartbreak Kid (1972)
Although this movie is a little uneven there are some scenes in it that are just so funny that I had to include it . Charles Grodin was perfect for this role.
- The Apostle (1997)
Robert Duval is tremendous in this character study of a man who is both very religious and very flawed. One of my favorite performances.
- Stray Dog (1949)
Film noir from Japan is an early classic from Kurowsawa. Simple story but very interesting because of the acting by Mifune and the portrayal of Japan in the immediate post-war years.
- A Woman Under the Influence (1974)
This movie really had a great performance by Gena Rowland, maybe the best female performance ever. I thought the movie was also really good. As the movie went on I began to feel that Nick was crazier than Gena's character. A tough watch, but it is worth it.
- The Twilight Samurai (2002)
A beautiful story about a samurai who thought it was more important to be a father than it was to be a warrior.
- Sullivan's Travels (1941)
On the eve of World War II Preston Sturges makes a pitch for the need for lighter movies in hard times. This is a really interesting opening dialogue on this subject when he is asked if he wants to make movies like Frank Capra. One of my favorite scenes is the changing picture of the dead husband as he watches his wife on the prowl. Great writing and great dialogue. Movie manages to show the problems of poverty in America, while at the same time discussing whether that is something that movie makers should be doing. Interesting and very entertaining movie starring Joel McCrea and the great Veronica Lake.
I think eventually the movie is saying that if you can discuss an important topic, and still make an entertaining movie, then you have a chance of making a great film, because that is what Sturges did here.
- McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971)
A revisionist Western takes a lot of glamour out of the old West. Warren Beatty and Julie Christy do a great job in this dark classic.
- Late Spring (1949)
This Ozu movie shows a culture that it very different from todays. It shows the way people could and should be. More interestingly it begins to show the breakdown of the old order of society as it begins to shift, regrettably, to new ways.
- Glory (1989)
probably the best movie on American history despite flaws in accuracy. Denzel and Morgan Freeman are great as usual. I am a little disappointed that Frederick Douglass' sons who were in the 54th weren't included in the movie. I think the truth would have made for a more interesting story.
- The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (2005)
Like Lone Star, a great look at life at the border. In this one the different points of view are personified in the characters. Pete, as the American, willing to accept people for who they are. Melquiades, the immigrant, looking to make a better life for himself. Mike, the ignorant, unhappy border guard, who enjoys wielding power over those less fortunate. And Belmont, representing those who don't want to get involved.
- Judgement at Nuremburg (1961)
A great historical movie that explores the topic of guilt about WWII. Nice performance by Burt Lancaster.
- Swept Away (1974)
Another Lina Wertmuller movie with Giancarlo Giannini. Like in Seven Beauties she hits all the right notes in this comedy/social commentary.
- My Man Godfrey (1936)
William Powell and Carole Lombard made a good team in this early screwball classic.
- Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982)
This spoof of film noir has scenes from some of my favorite movies.
- Blood Simple (1984)
I really enjoyed this movie. Great twist and quirky Coen brothers style.
- Diner (1982)
A look at four friends in Baltimore had some great young talent including Mickey Rourke, Steve Gutenberg, Daniel Stern and Kevin Bacon.
- Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
A different kind of Alfred Hitchcock movie. Joseph Cotten was very good as the evil/good Uncle Charlie.
- Three Days of the Condor (1975)
A very good movie made at a time when a lot of government conspiracy movies were being made. Robert Redford was very good in this one.
- Quest for Fire (1981)
The best of the movies about prehistoric man. When their fire goes out a "volunteer" sets out to find fire again for his tribe.
- The Freshman (1925)
I had heard how good this movie was and it held up to expectations. One of the opening cards said that Harold was going to Tate University which was a large football stadium with a college attached. It's amazing, but it doesn't seem to be dated at all.
- Play it Again Sam (1972)
If you love Casablanca and Woody Allen than you have to love this film and I do.
- The In-Laws (1979)
Peter Falk and Alan Arkin had great chemistry in this very funny movie. Loved the serpentine moves.
- A History of Violence (2005)
The more often I see this movie the more I enjoy it. Westerns are my favorite genre and this was really just a modern day Western. The plot has been done plenty of times before, but I think it was done very well here. There are a lot of parallels to one of my favorite movies, Unforgiven
- The Departed (2006)
Great acting and a great story.
- No Country for Old Men (2007)
The way things are going these days, you have to be lucky to get through it all and have a good life. Sets a bleak tone for the a 21st century world view.
- Shoot the Piano Player (1960)
I've only seen it once but I really enjoyed it. Looking forward to seeing it again.
- Hoosiers (1986)
My favorite second favorite sports movie (after Raging Bull). Gene Hackman gives a great performance in this movie based on a true story.
- Laura (1944)
A very stylish murder mystery / love story. Detective falls in love with murdered woman and then things start to get strange.
- The Killing (1956)
One of the first non-linear movies and very well done. Fun to watch.
- The Awful Truth (1937)
Cary Grant's facial expessions in this movie are as good as anything in the silent film era. Combine that with great dialogue, a wonderful Irene Dunne and Ralph Bellamy almost stealing the show and you have a great screwball comedy.
- Metropolis (1927)
Fritz Lang classic silent science fiction. Robots and evil scientists. With great sets and great music.
- Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
This is a campy horror movie that works as both comedy and horror.
- Young Mr. Lincoln (1939)
Henry Fonda was great in this his portrayal of the young lawyer in Illinois. Another of the great movies released in 1939.
- Witness (1985)
A look at a different culture inside the US that shows how much most of us are missing today in our modern world. Good story and good acting particularly by Harrison Ford and Danny Glover.
- Elevator to the Gallows (1958)
One of Louis Malle's first films. It has a great, ironic plot featuring split plots containing elements of Double Indemnity and Gun Crazy. It also has a great sound track featuring Miles Davis.
- Hidden Fortress (1958)
I've only seen this once but I really enjoyed it. Kurosawa and Mifune, it doesn't get better than that.
- Le cercle rouge (1970)
A slow moving, beautiful gangster movie by Jean-Pierre Melville. The movie stars Alain Delon in a heist film that takes a long time to set up and what seems like a longer time to carry out. The robbery scene is beautifully filmed.
- Angel Face (1952)
A great movie starring Robert Mitchum and Jean Simmons. Classic noir. Loved the unexpected ending.
- Man on a Train (2002)
I had to put in a movie by Patrice Leconte because I love all of his movies. I've seen this one four times and each time I see it it gets better. I think of this movie every morning when I go to Dunkin Donuts and the girl asks me if I would like anything else.
- Gettysburg (1993)
The battle of Gettysburg was a fascinating battle and this movie gives a great presentation of the events.
- Ben Hur (1959)
My favorite historical epic. Some great scenes battle scenes on the ocean and the unforgettable chariot races in the Coliseum.
- Winter's Bone (2010)
Set deep in the Ozarks, which seems like a different world, Ree Dolly tries to findher missing, drug-dealing father to save the family farm. This movie had some great performances.
- Looking For Eric (2009)
Eric Bishop is a soccer-loving Manchester postman on the brink of a nervous breakdown. As his life gets worse and worse he begins taking advice from his hero, former Manchester United star Eric Cantona. As he begins to take charge of his life things rapidly begin to improve.
- The Virgin Spring (1960)
A movie by Ingmar Berman, set in 14th century Sweden. A young woman, is brutally raped and murdered by goat herders. Then the murderers ask for food and shelter from the dead girl's parents, who discover who they really are.
- Los Olvidados (1950)
a film by Luis Bunuel that is also known as The Forgotten or The Young and the Damned. Set in the slums of Mexico city, this movie was made over fifty years before City of God (2002), a movie that it is very much like.
Bunuel presents a very realistic look at life in the slums very much in the style of the neo-realists (it reminds me of de sica's shoeshine, although he does add a dream sequence and has symbolic chickens, roosters and doves all over the place.
Overall, a really good movie.
- Rio Grande (1950)
In the final movie of John Ford's Calvary Trilogy, we find John Wayne as Col. Kirby York. Much of the movie is about his reconciliation with his wife and son who he has not seen in fifteen years.
As a backdrop we have another threat by the Apaches. The movie opens with Chief Natchez and some followers being brought in to the fort. The Indian scout identifies the captives as being from the Mescalero, Chircahua and White Mountain tribes. The different Apache tribes are uniting against the Calvary.
The movie's theme can be considered a continuation of the one in She Wore a Yellow Ribbon. Americans must come together to fight off the threat to our freedom with the Indians once again representing the Communist menace.
As to be expected, Col. York leads the troops into Mexico and with the help of his son rescues the children from being slaughtered by the drunken Indians and again saves the day. This movie, like She Wore a Yellow Ribbon uses the Indians as a threat with very little examination of the Native point of view.
In the closing scene a Navajo Indian Scout gets a medal along with John Wayne's son. Perhaps Ford is thanking the tribe for all their help with his movies and for the use of their land. The band then plays Dixie as the movie ends showing once again how Americans can come together to overcome our enemies.
- Top Hat (1935)
Ginger and Fred were never better. Edward Everett Horton was great in these movies too.
- Hugo (2011)
I just watched it for the second time, and I enjoyed it even better than I did the first time. Scorsese's love letter to film works on all levels for me. I enjoyed the story and I loved the lesson on film history.
- 12 Years a Slave (2013)
I really liked Django Unchained, but ultimately I thought this was better. More powerful without the comic relief. Much harder to watch, but you get a much better feeling for the true evil of the slave system by seeing it. Some incredible scenes showing how the slave system tried to break down humans and make them animals. As powerful as Schindler's List and Amistad.
"The worst slave-owners were those who were kind to their slaves, and so prevented the horror of the system being realized by those who suffered from it." - Oscar Wilde
- The Master (2012)
A fascinating movie about the "cause" and how people can get drawn in to cult like organization by charismatic figures. Great acting in this film.
- The Lives of Others (2006)
A look at a dystopian world that was real : 1980's East Berlin. The movie was very even handed looking at the idealists in the socialist state and looking at those who abused their power to terrorize others.
- Babel (2006)
A brilliant mosaic created by Alejandro Inarritu. Stories take place in Morocco, Japan, Mexico and the US are all tied together as Inarritu comments on what we all have in common.
- Django Unchained (2012)
A very brave and powerful examination of American slavery by Quentin Tarantino.
- Twentieth Century (1934)
A wonderful screwball comedy featuring the great John Barrymore and Carole Lombard directed by Howard Hawks.
- Gate of Hell (1953)
A samurai movie about a love triangle that heads towards tragedy. What I really loved about this movie is the beautiful color.
- The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973)
Robert Mitchum is great as a small time Boston hood who is going to turn on his friends to save himself some jail time.
- Black Robe (1991)
A look at the early French missionaries to the Algonquins in Canada. Perhaps the most realistic movie made about Native Americans.
- Memento (2000)
A movie by Christoper Nolan about a man looking for his wife's murderer, but he can't remember things from one day to the next.
- Amistad (1997)
Steven Spielberg looks at the Amistad trial in New haven, A wonderful film with great acting by Anthony Hopkins, Djimon Hounsou, Matthew McConaughey and Morgan Freeman, Vastly under-rated, for some strange reason, by the critics.
- The Shootist(1976)
John Wayne was dying of cancer when he made this movie about a dying gunfighter looking to go out on his own terms. A wonderful ending to a brilliant career.
- Wall Street(1997)
Greed in good, and Michael Douglas was great in this Oliver Stone look at the American business world.
- The French Connection(1971)
Gene Hackman plays Popeye Doyle, in the true story of a detective who looks to find the source of heroin coming in to NYC.
- Heaven Can Wait(1943)
Ernest Lubitsch movie had Don Ameche reviewing his life with Satan.
- Libeled Lady (1936)
Jean Harlow, William Powell, Spencer Tracy and Myrna Loy in a story of a newspaper story, a libel suit make for a great screwball comedy.
- One, Two, Three (1961)
Billy Wilder pushed Jimmy Cagney so hard in this that he took twentt years off, before he came back in Ragtime. Great result though in this Cole War comedy.
- The Boys from Brazil (1978)
Everyone has guilty pleasures and this is mine, panned by the critics but i loved seeing Gregory Peck, Lawrence Olivier and James Mason hamming it up.
- A Bronx Tale (1993)
A look at gangsters in the 1960's Bronx, and a boy who has to choose between their way of life and his father's.
- A Boy and His Dog (1975)
A post-apocalyptic black comedy about a boy and his telepathic dog. Not highly rated but I really like it.
- L.A. Confidential(1997)
A best picture winner and a brilliant neo-noir. The movie looks at 1950's LA and corruption on the police department.
- His Girl Friday(1940)
Howard Hawks directed on of the best screwball comdies starring cary Grant and Rosalind Russell and Cary Grant.
- Tootsie (1982)
Dustin Hoffman gives a virtuoso performance as an actor who can get work if he pretends to be a woman.
- French Cancan (1954)
A brilliant musical by the great Jean Renoir, starring Jean Gabin as he tries to start the Moulin Rouge.
- Tender Mercies (1983)
Robert Duvall is great as a country singer looking to get his life back on track.
- The Imitation Game (2014)
A man who saved millions of lives, and hardly anyone has heard of him? The Imitation Game was a great movie. Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction.
- Ordet (1955)
A Carl Dreyer movie about religion and faith that I found to be fascinating.
- City of Hope (1991)
A great John Sayles movie about the hopes and aspirations of a variety of groups of people in a large inner city. The hopes of one group often clashes with the hopes of another, and it doesn't seem like the poorer people's hopes come in last place.
- Zero Dark Thirty (2013)
One of the movies in which truth is stranger than fiction. Jessica Chastain played one of the strongest female characters I have ever seen portrayed on the screen, and she did it really well. America doesn't come off really well in the movie with the torturing of captives and slaughtering of innocents, but I thought the Seal Team attack scene was incredibly well done.
- Wonder Boys (2000)
A college professor played by Michael Douglas is trying to write a follow up to his first successful novel. Great cast with Tobey McGuire, Frances McDormand, Robert Downey Jr. and Katie Holmes.
- My Name is Joe (1983)
Ken Loach movie about an alcoholic and the social worker who fall in love in Glasgow.
- Midnight in Paris (2011)
Woody Allen movie about a screenwriter who gets transported back to 1920's Paris where he meets Cole Porter, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and other great artists.
- Drunken Angel (1948)
Akira Kurosawa movie about an alcoholic doctor and a gangster that he treats.
- Night Moves (1975)
Neo-noir which captures the mood of the post-Watergate and post Vietnam years. There is a sense of confusion and things falling apart. Harry's marriage is falling apart and he doesn't know why. Things just aren't the way they used to be.
Great acting led by Gene Hackman. Like the famous chess game Harry replays, Harry keeps missing what is right in front of him. Like The Big Sleep, it isn't the plot that it most important in this one, it is the acting and the tone.
- The Gold of Naples (1954)
Six vignettes by Vittorio De Sica about Naples. Comedic, tragic and really well done.
- A Man Escaped (1956)
Based on a true story about a French Resistance fighter trying to escape from his prison cell. A great movie by Robert Bresson done in his trade mark minimalist style.
- Ex Machina (2015)
A really good movie that reminded me in many ways of Body Heat, but in this case the femme fatale was a robot.
- Under the Skin (2013)
This movie isn't too highy rated on IMDB, but I thought it was extremely well done. A really different science fiction movie that I think will get more appreciation as the years go on.
- The Graduate (1967)
Iconic movie that works as a comedy, a drama and a romance.
- Boyhood (2014)
A great achievement in film making and it is a great movie too.
- Sing Street (2016)
A coming of age movie set in Dublin with some great music. Really well done.
- Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)
Jim Jarmusch unique take on a vampire movie.
- Hell or High Water (2016)
A divorced father is determined to save the family farm for his children, and his brother decides to help him.
- Manon of the Spring (1986)
This movie might have been better than the first movie it continued Jean de Florette. Even without Gerald Depardieu it was tremendous. The twist at the end is totally unexpected.
- The Prisoner of Zenda (1937)
A great swashbuckler, with a great cast, but the villain, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. steals the show.
- A Letter to Three Wives (1949)
Addie Ross is one of the main characters, although we never to get to see her. Have seen the movie 4 or 5 times but I am still surprised by the ending every time.
- Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
A great cast in a really good movie, but Jennifer Lawrence steals the show.
- The Palm Beach Story (1942)
Preston Sturges made at least five great movies and this was one of them. Everything he looked at he saw from a pretty different view point, especially considering the years that he worked. All of his movies were a little off-beat, and this was a very strange love story. Joel McCrae and Claudette Colbert made a great team.
- This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
Has to make the list just for the line about the speaker going up to 11. My favorite mocumentary along with Best in Show. The reason it works so well is that you believe the characters believe in what they are doing.
- High Fidelity (2000)
Steven Frears is a great director and everyone knows a person like John Cusack's Rob Gordon.
- The Bad Sleep Well (1960)
Akira Kurosawa's drama about a man seeking revenge for what was done to his father by a corrupt industrialist starring Toshiro Mifune. Kurosawa takes aim on corporate greed and loyalty to the company, that has replaced the traditional samurai's loyalty to one's lord. Kurosawa had visited this theme quite often in his samurai movies in the post-war years about the dangers brought on to society by blind loyalty.
- The Front (1976)
Woody Allen plays Howard Prince who fronts for black listed writers.
- The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970)
Billy Wilder's homage to Sherlock Holmes. Queen Victoria, the Loch Ness monster and some midgets in what may be the best Sherlock Holme's movie.
- The Ox-Bow Incident (1943)
A posse wants to hang the three men they suspect of killing a local rancher.
- Scarlet Street (1945)
A man has a mid-life crisis, and befriends a young woman. A Fritz Lang noir using the same stars he used the year before with "The Woman in the Window", Edward G. Robinson and Joan Bennett. This one had Dan Duryea in it too.
- The Naked Prey (1965)
Cornel Wilde plays a guide for an African safari who is released and then pursued by some tribesmen.
- The Strange Loves of Martha Ives (1946)
Barbara Stanwyck, Van Heflin, Lizabeth Scott, Kirk Douglas star in this film noir about an evil women who manipulates those around her.
- Apocalypto (2006)
A look in to the Mayan world before the coming of the Europeans. Power seemed to have corrupted the successful society as it always seems to have done.
- Braveheart (1995)
I don't know how true the portrayal of William Wallace was in this film, but overallI thought it was extremely well done. Could have done without the drawn out torture scene that ended the movie though
- The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1944)
A girl gets drunk, married and pregnant, and forgets who the husband/father is? Only Preston Sturges could get away with making a movie like this in 1944.
- American Honey (2016)
American Honey, by British director Andrea Arnold, who also did Fishtank, was really good. It was about a teenage girl who joins a bus load of kids travelling the country selling magazines. The camera follows the kids as they drink, smoke, dance, sing, party and sell magazines. It seems as if very little of the film is scripted which makes it seem like you are watching a documentary. The movie was long at 2 hours and 43 minutes, but it held my attention throughout.
- Silence (2016)
Scorsese's tale of priests in feudal Japan was slow and thoughtful. It was beutifully filmed and I think it is going to get better with age.
- Le Plaisir (1952)
Max Ophuls' movie based on three stories by Guy de Maupassant about pleasure. Jean Gabin stars in the middle story about a group of call girls who head out to the country to attend a first communion.
- La Ronde (1950)
Max Ophuls' movie about a series of affairs, one leading in to the next and back around to the first again. Only the French can get away with making a movie like this without it appearing sordid.
- Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
It's hard to do a sequel to one of the best movies ever made, but I thought this film was really good. Wasn't wild about the scenes with Joi : thought the movie couldhave been leaner and better without her, but it was still a very solid entry in a series that I hope continues.
- Ran (1985)
Kurosawa's take on the King Lear story set in feudal Japan. Beautifully filmed with great battle scenes as the rival armies in brilliant colors line up under their banners. The movie falls flat a little for me with it's kabuki style of acting by the Father (Hidetora).
- Duck Soup (1933)
It's hard to pick any one of the Marx Brother's movies because they all have such great scenes in them, but Duck Soup is my favorite.
- Pan's Labryrinth (2006)
Fantasy is not a genre I really enjoy, but I really enjoyed this movie. Del Toro has a real knack for mixing fantasy with reality and making it work.
- The Shape of Water (2017)
Another great movie by Guillermo del Toro. I've only seen it once, but I think it will get better with each viewing.
- Midnight Special (2016)
This was not really a popular movie, but I think that it is going to be one of those sleepers, that gets better with age.
- Darkest Hour (2017)
One of my favorite historical movies of all time. Gary Oldman was tremendous as Churchill. I found it fascinating that there was such a strong support to negotiate with Germany, the way France had done to end the relentless attacks.
- Amarcord (1973)
It took me at least four viewings of this movie to really appreciate it. I like movies with a strong narrative and don't usually go for style over substance kinds of films. But Amarcord is a very special movie. Episodic and farcical are not devices I usually like in film, but Fellini really makes it work.
- Harakari (1962)
Released under the title of Seppuku, this film by the great Masaki Kobayashi tells the story of a ronin who comes to an estate and requests to commit suicide there. The story then takes a turn that the feudal lord could not see coming.
- Saving Private Ryan (1998)
A good story by Steven Spielburg moves into the great category for me by the most realistic battle scene of all time with it's presentation of the Normandy invasion.
- Gladiator (1998)
Movie snobs and the critics didn't love this film and Roger Ebert led the way giving two stars. But I think this Best Picture winner has held up and is one of the better epics (which i love) ever made. I wasn't wild about the CGI, but everything else worked for me.
- The Great Dictator (1940)
A very brave movie by Charlie Chaplin about life in the Jewish ghetto in Tomania.
- Snatch (2000)
A story involving Irish gypsies that has to be watched with subtitles on. Brad Pitt is really good in this one.
- All About Eve (1950)
Great cast with Bette Davis and George Sanders, but I think Ann Baxter stole this movie. Great ensemble cast acting directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz.
- Downfall (2004)
Documentarty in style, this film was a facinating look at the last days of Hitler in the bunker.
- The Great Escape (1963)
Steve McQueen's best role in a World War 2 prison camp escape movie.
- Batman Begins (2005)
My favorite superhero movie. Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale are a great combination.
- There Will Be Blood (2007)
Great acting by Christian Bale in a tale of oil and madness.
- Sherlock Jr. (2007)
Buster Keaton directs and stars in one of my favorite silent movies.
- The Princess Bride (1987)
This is a movie I didn't really appreciate at first, but the more times I saw it the more it grew on me.
- Barry Lyndon (1975)
A stylish historical drama by the Stanly Kubrick. Ryan O'Neil's best role.
- The Leopard (1963)
An historical drama starring Burt Lancaster as a Prince of Salina in 1860's Siciliy, in a time of social change.
- I Vitelloni (1953)
A great slice of life film. Diner set in Italy.
- Brief Encounter (1945)
David Leans' look at a spouse tempted to cheat on her husband.
- The Women (1939)
A great movie in film's greatest year. I discovered this movie pretty late, and saw it a few times before I realizedthere is not one man in it. Great cast with Norma Shear, Joan Crawford, Joan Fontaine and Rosalind Russell.
- Strangers on a Train (1951)
Not one of Hitchcock's best movies, but still is a great movie. It just shows how many really good movies Hitchcock made.
- The Night of the Hunter (1955)
It's amazing that this was the only movie that Charles Laughton ever directed. It is so good. Robert Mitchum was creepy in this, but would even be creepier in Cape Fear.
- Magnolia (1999)
Tom Cruise was great in this Paul Thomas Anderson movie
- Rio Bravo (1959)
I was late in appreciating this Howard Hawks' Western. I think I originally thought it was too light with Ricky Nelson, Dean Martin and Walter Brennan providing the backup for the Duke. But this is a movie that grew on me.
- Great Expectations (1946)
Another great movie by David Lean. In this one Pip's life is changed by a mysterious benefactor.
- The Lady Eve (1941)
A comedy by Preston Sturges starring Henry Fonda, Barbara Stanwyk and Charles Coburn. Great cast and great movie.
- Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
Iconic groun breaking movie starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway. Romanticized Robin Hood coloring of the notorious bank robbers.
- Kes (1969)
Wonderful movie by Ken Loach about a poor English boy and his pet falcon.
- To Have and Have Not (1944)
Bogart joins Lauren Bacall in this Howard Hawks film on the French Resistance in Martinique and the American who reluctantly helps them. Sounds familiar.
- The Ladykillers (1955)
Peter Sellers and Alec Guiness join together to give us one of the great English comedies.
- Le Corbeau (1943)
A really interesting French movie made during the war about poison pen letters being sent to village leaders.
- Ball of Fire (1941)
No one made screwball comedies as well as Howard Hawks and this is one of his best.
- Woman in the Window (1944)
Fritz Lang would make a very similiar movie the next year and he would use Edgar G. Robinson, Dan Duryea and Joan Bennett in both. But they are both great film noirs, so I included both this and Scarlet Street.
- Road to Perdition (2002)
Tom Hanks goes against character and plays cold blooded killer Michael Sullivan. He wasreally goo and so were Paul Newman and Daniel Craig. One of the great gangster flics.
- The Lavender Hill Mob (1951)
Alec Guiness comes up with a plan to smuggle stolen gold out of the country disguised as minature Effiel Towers.
- Philadelphia (1993)
A very important movie with two great performances by Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington
- Rushmore (1998)
I'm not really a big fan of the highly stylized films of Wes Anderson, but this movie really worked for me. Quirky and really well done.
- Breaking Away (1979)
A great, and highly underrated movie about a small town boy who loves cicling and the Italian Cycling team.
- The Long Goodbye (1973)
Robert Altman and Eliott Gould's take on Phillip Marlowe. Bridge between Bogart and Lebowski.
- My Cousin Vinny (1992)
Vinny Gambini and Mona Lisa Vito are both iconic characters. Marisa Tomei won an Oscar for her role.
- Jeremiah Johnson (1972)
Robert Redford's portrayal of a mountain man who has a series of one on one duels with Crow Warriors.
- Hair (1979)
One of my favorite musicals which I think is really under rated. The film gives a great look into the 70's.
- The Player (1992)
Robert Altman's movies is one of the great movies about making movies.
- Swing Time (1936)
Anything with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers could land on my favorite's list, but I think this is one of their best.
- Murder, My Sweet (1944)
Another look at Philip Marlowe, with Dick Powell playing in the role. Style is more important than the story in these films.
- La Chienne (1931)
An early movie by the great Jean Renoir, which was later remade as Scarlet Street by Fritz Lang. Two great movies.
- Blast of Silence (1961)
A hired killer from Cleveland comes to New York to take out a mob boss.
- Munich (2005)
Steven Spielberg's movie about the assembling of the Mossad team selected to avenge the assassination of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics.
- Born to Kill (1947)
Lawrence Tierney plays one of the most psychotic characters ever portrayed on the screen and Claire Trevor loves him. Sam kills anyone who might be getting in his way including his friend Marty (Elisha Cook Jr.)
- Grosse Pointe Blank (1947)
Martin Blank, a professional assassin returns to Grosse Pointe to do a job and attend his high school reunion.
- Ready Player One (2018)
Not one of Spielburg's higher rated movies but I found it fascinating. To have a fictional world that some people may choose to make their reality is something we have seen glimpses of in Brave New World and The Matrix. But in this film the concept becomes much more interesting.
- Matewan (1987)
One of the best historical movies made about the US.
- The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (1976)
An early movie by John Cassavetes that was evocative of the French New Wave. More concerned with observation and style than plot. I watched the long version and was mesmerized by it.
- Cloud Atlas (2012)
Six stories blended together with some of the same actors appearing in each. Each of the stories was interesting and together it is a thing of beauty. I think this movie will become one of my favorites of all time. Very under-rated.
- Brooklyn (2015)
Sometimes your life is dictated by chance happenings. A really interesting movie and you just have debate if the heroine might not have been a villain.
- Chariots of Fire (1981)
The story of the British Olympic running team at the 1924 Olympics. One of the best sport movies ever made.
- Sunrise (1927)
A very highly rated movie by F.W. Murnau included in Ebert's great movie list and in many great movie lists. But the last time I saw it I was disturbed that the man's wife could ever take him back after what he had done to her (he came close to strangling her and throwing her overboard becsause he wanted to be with the city girl). I'll have to watch it again but I think this movie will be leaving my list.
- Apocalypto (2006)
An epic film about the Mayan empire before the coming of the Spanish. The movie tells the story of a hunter and his family who meet up with the empire.
- The Irishman (2019)
Not a perfect movie. The de-aging software was distracting but I liked having the same actor play himself throughout the movie. Pesci, De Niro, Pacino and Keitel were all great. Great acting and a very interesting story.
- Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019)
Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt were really good in this Tarantino film. I've only seen it once so we shall see how it holds up to multiple viewings.
- In the Mood for Love (2000)
A beautiful filmed love story that is really different.
- The King (2019)
The story of Henry V mixing elements from history and from Shakespeare. Really well done.
- Crazy Rich Asians (2018)
One of my guilty pleasue picks, I really liked this love story that showed the life of the rich in Singapore, along with some strategies of game theory.
- Woman on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988)
After I saw Almodovar's autobiographical "Pain and Glory (2019), which was terrific, I started looking at some of his movies. This screwball comedy rivaled anything from Hawks or Sturges. All of a sudden He became one of my favorite directors.
- Jojo Rabbit (2019)
I didn't know what to think about this film the first time I saw it. I knew it was entertaining, and funny, but inside I didn't know if it was appropriate to be entertained by a movie on Nazism. But I have been entertained before by movies about Hitler and about Nazism. The Producers (1967), To Be, or Not to Be (1942) and The Great Dictator (1940) are three of my favorite movies, and two of them were made while the war was still going on.
But times might be different now. In 2017 in Lennox, Massachusetts, the decision to include The Producers in a summer stock play series immediately drew protest from groups that said that the play normalized the Nazis.
I can see how that can be said about Jojo Rabbit too. Jojo's mother and father were both part of the Resistance, but Jojo was indoctrinated in to being a Nazi. Was he a bad person? No, Jojo was just a normal little boy who fell in with what was sweeping across the country and taught to him in school. And Sam Rockwell played a Nazi Captain who seemed to be a good guy who just went along with all the nonsense.
But I don't really think Taika Waititi had his target on Hitler and the Nazis. I think he had his sights on more contemporary hate groups and was pointing out how easy it was for people to fall in with them.
I don't think he was giving them a pass but was using them as an example to show us how easy it is (millions of Germans did) to give in to peer pressure, and join in with groups that promote hatred and divisiveness.
I think Jojo Rabbit was a really good, perhaps bordering on great, movie.
- The Children Are Watching Us (1942)
In 1942 Vittorio De Sica made this film. We see the movie through the eyes of the child, Prico. Prico sees his mother talking to a man (Roberto) and he knows something is not right. When his mother runs off with Roberto, Prico and his father are both heart broken. Nina does come back and Prico's father, Andrea, takes her back for his son's sake. The couple reconcile and it seems that the affair seems to have been forgotten.
The family takes a vacation at the seashore. When Andrea has to return to work, Nina and Prico stay at the shore for a few days. Nina again hooks up with Roberto who has followed her. Prico sees them together and runs away but is soon returned to his mother.
When they return to Rome, Nina leaves again for Roberto. Andrea eventually enrolls his son at a private Catholic School. Andrea then kills himself in Rome. When Nina visits the school to see her son, Prico turns and walks away from her in one of the greatest endings ever to a movie.
The film is really interesting on many levels. Not as renowned as De Sica's Bicycle Thieves, Umberto D. or Shoeshine, which are among the best films, and in particular, among the best neo-realist movies ever made. But The Children Are Watching us might actually have been the first neo-realist movie ever made. Traditionally the first neo-realist movie is considered Open City (1946) by Roberto Rossellini. DeSica's movie was made in 1942 (released in 1944) and has many of the characteristics of the neo-realist style. It is shot on location, the most important character, Prico, is played by an amateur and it definitely doesn't have a Hollywood ending.
De Sica might have been particularly effective with the theme of betrayal and abandonment because he was doing the same thing to his family at the time the film was being shot. He was in the process of leaving his wife and his daughter for an actress he had met while directing. It's particularly interesting with the suicide and the child's rejection of the cheating parent at the end of the film.
De Sica is a great director and I would add this film to the three great movies he is usually associated with (Umberto D, Shoeshine, Bicycle Thieves). Not too many directors have four great movies on their resume.
- Troy (2004)
Not a movie the critics loved, I really enjoyed learning about the Trojan War. Hector, Paris, Achilles, Agamemnon, and Nestor. I love epics and I think this was a really good one.
- The Kid (1921)
I can't believe it took me this long to see it, but it was almost a perfect movie. It was only 68 minutes long, but every scene was great. My favorite was the kid throwing rocks through the window and the Tramp innocently strolling down the streets looking for jobs replacing windows.
- Decoy (1946)
Probably the worst reviewed movie on the list. The movie opens with a man hitching a ride to San Francisco. He enters a hotel, then a room and shoots a woman. A cop following enters the room and sees the man, who had shot himself, and the woman he had shot. He picks up the woman who says "Hello JoJo". She tells Sgt. Joe Portugal to get her the box. She says "It's all mine now". We then see in a flashback the story as Margot Shelby tells the story.
Margot's boyfriend Frankie held up an armored car and robbed $400,000. He then his the money. Margot wants to get the location before Frankie goes to the gas chamber, but he won't tell. Margot seduces gangster Jim Vincent and gets him to help her.
Magot comes up with a plan. She had read about a chemical called Methylene Blue, that can revive a man executed by gas poisoning. So Margot seduces a doctor, and gets him on board.
So after Frankie is executed Frankie and his men steal the body. Love smitten Doctor Craig administers the antidote. The revived Frankie gives Margot half the map to where the treasure is buried, but keeps the other half of the map.
Once Frankie gives Margot the map, Jim Vincent shoots and kills him again (he probably only lived for 10 minutes this time). Margot kisses Jim and the Doctor Craig walks he in. He knows he's been duped.
Doctor Craig is hooked in because of what he has done, and he drives Margot and Jim to the where the treasure is. They stop at a diner and Margot lets the air out of a tire. When Jim gets out to fix it, Margot runs him over (in the original uncensored movie she backed up and ran over him twice more). She isn't sharing with anyone. She grabs a gun and the map from Vincent's dead body. She then puts the jack back in the car.
Margot and the doctor go and dig up the box. Margot tells him that all their plans are there in the ground. When Craig digs up the box Margot shoots him and then laughs hysterically. "It's all mine now" she screams. She runs laughing all the way back to the car.
The movie then returns back to the first scene. Margot is dying. The tough cop, Jojo tries to comfort her. Margot says "Jojo please, just this once, come down to my level." Portugal bends down to kiss her and she laughs in his face.
Portugal opens the box. There is the message from Frankie. "To you who double-crossed me... I leave this dollar for your trouble. The rest of the dough, I leave to the worms."
The movie was definitely low budget, and the acting wasn't great, but Margot is one of the great femme fatales of film noir. She killed two guys, had another killed, and laughed all the way through it. A great film noir.
- Ashes and Diamonds (1958)
Set in the first days of Soviet occupation at the end of World War II, we the battle for control of Poland between the Russians and their Polish disciples and
the Polish nationalists made in 1958 afer the communist victory. The movie tries to stay neutral. It had to because it was made in Poland and had to get the approval pro-Soviet
Polish government, which it did. You can Maciek's choices the dilemma that the Poles were going through at the time. of A great movie.
- The Apartment (1960)
Billy Wilder's Tha Apartment is listed in Imdb as a comedy, but it is much more of a tragedy. While the predicament Jack Lemon has gotten himself into is humorous, the tragedy of Shirley MacClaine's character overwhelms it. A really good film.
- Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (2005)
Usually I don't like movies where they break the third wall, or movies that emphasis style over substance but just about eveything about this movie worked for me. Robert Downey and Val Kilmer team up to solve a mystery with a noir backdrop.
- Lord of the Rings (2001 - 2003)
I had seen bits and pieces of these films through the years and always enjoyed the cinematography. But when I finally got around to watching all three back to back I began to appreciate what a great achievement it was. Fantasy is really not my thing, but this really was great.
- Escape from New York (1981)
The movie is not highly regarded, but Snake Plissken is one of my favorite characters.
- Gran Torino (2008)
Clint Eastwood plays a grumpy, racist Korean War vet, who doesn't seem to get along with anyone. UNderneath his gruff exterior he really has aheart of gold. He despises his Hmong neighbors who don't keep up the house next door, but they soon become like family to him.
- Dinner Rush (2008)
This Danny Aiello movie was not widely seen and I don't know why. A great gangster movie that really needs to be seen.
- Five Came Back (2017)
A documentary about five of America's greatest directors (Frank Capra, George Stevens, John Ford, John Houston and William Wyler) who were recruited, or voluntered to enter the armed forces during World War II to use their skills to help the war effort. A fascinating look at their movies, the film they produced for the war effort and the effect the war had on all of them.