Top Ten Movies

If I could launch my own movie festival and show any movies I wanted, here’s my list.  What would be on your list?

Not in any order….

ROBIN AND THE SEVEN HOODS (1964). A forgotten classic.  I haven’t met too many people who’ve seen this one.  But what can you say about a movie starring Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Falk, and Barbara Rush?  The movie is a spoof about Robbo, the gangster, who robs from the rich and gives to the poor.  Great music by Sammy Cahn.  Sinatra premiers the song, “My Kind of Town.”  Buy me this one for a stocking stuffer, okay?  Click here for more.

NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959). Alfred Hitchcock’s minor epic about a case of mistaken identity.  Cary Grant gradually unfolds a conspiracy of bad guys.  I like the architecture of the big house with the cantilevered deck.  Great way to spend the afternoon.  Click here for more.  This one would make a nice stocking stuffer too.

ALIEN (1979). Who can forget the first time you saw that alien latch onto that guy’s face, and later burst forth from his chest?  C’mon, didn’t you jump out of your seat?  Tension builds through the whole movie.  The spaceship itself almost steals the show.  A bag of popcorn, a big cup of soda, a dark room… an instant classic.  More here.

ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN (1948) with cameos by the Wolfman, Dracula, and the Invisible Man.  Is there an English word that combines funny and creepy?  I’ll settle for hysterical.  A&C at their best.  And the classic old monsters, played by the actors who made them famous?  It doesn’t get much better than this.  More here.

INDEPENDENCE DAY (1996). Yes, the one with Will Smith.  See what happens when they let me make my own list?  It had me on the edge of my seat from the opening rumble.  I liked Brent Spiner (Star Trek’s “Data”) in the role of the nutty scientist.  Fun, exciting, good special effects, mean monsters, cool sci fi. 

I’ll save the rest of the list for another post.  I have Independence Day, so you don’t have to buy it for me… but I’ll be looking for the rest of them!  What are your all time favorites?


29 thoughts on “Top Ten Movies

  1. Steve,
    I really liked The Game, my wife didn’t. Too bad that it’s a movie that pretty much only works once.
    I never heard of “To End All Wars”
    Beau Geste… saw parts. Gonna have to make myself see the whole thing.


  2. The Princess Bride
    Men in Black
    A Christmas Story

    I’ve seen them all more than once and still laugh every time. I agree with you about Independence Day – that’s another favorite.

  3. Bill,

    A recent movie that left an impression on me was “Das Leben der Anderen,” which is a story of East German STASI agents and their surveillance of (innocent) East German citizens. This movie won the best foreign film from the Academy Award Association last year (see

    Essentially, the movie depicts the East German police-state system (during the Soviet era) exploiting its citizens. However, one hardball STASI agent comes to terms with its inherent evils and he (hardball STASI agent) plays the system against itself in order to enable others (under that system) to fulfill their life dreams. The ending is a REAL, REAL nail-biting clincher.

    It makes me think that people who see the Inner Mess up close (such as state-sponsored demagoguery such as existed in East Germany) really hate it, and, in a sense, hate themselves for being a part of perpetuating that system.

    There’s your theology! (smile)


  4. The Matrix Movies
    The Die Hard Movies
    Big Fish
    Usual Suspects
    Batman Begins (cool car)
    Babette’s Feast
    Bruce Almighty

  5. Marilyn… I’m with you on your second two, but a little iffy on Princess Bride. I know, I know, it’s cult favorite. I think I’ll have to give it another try.

    Joe… I’m sure it’s a fantastic movie, and I may watch it someday (is it subtitled?) but I watch movies to AVOID reality, not to deal with it.

    V… Oh, dear V… one of my favorite people… I never understood what was so great about The Usual Suspects. Enlighten me. What did I miss? Never saw Babette’s Feast, but it sounds like Tess to me. Like I said, I like fun, escapist, unreal movies.

    Shallow Bill

  6. Top 3 movies of all time (in my very flawed opinion)

    1. Blues Brothers- Filmed in Chicago, best movie line in history (106 miles to Chicago, we have a full tank of gas, half pack of cigarettes, it’s dark out and we are wearing sunglasses. Hit It)
    2. Caddyshack- Still quoting lines from it almost 30 tears later
    3. Happy Gilmore

    Then I wonder why I am still single

  7. I just Tivo’d Robin and the 7 Hoods. (It doesn’t hold up well, but I haven’t gotten to Mr. Booze yet.)

    Watch Princess Bride with Josie. and JD in a couple years. My adult kids still quote entire scenes from that movie! (ROUS is a legit scrabble word in our house!)

    I agree on NxNW. And Ususal Suspects…(a real yawner)

    Independence Day was excellent. But here’s my list

    (I’m trying to think of movies that I wished would not end…)
    Mission Impossible
    Bourne Identity
    Italian Job
    Die Hard 4 (whatever the last one was)
    Raiders of the Lost Ark
    Rear Window
    Notting Hill? (I’m trying to think of romantic comedies here…)
    Dumb and Dumber. Yeah, I know
    Silverado or Open Range…you decide!


  8. Definitely give Princess Bride another try. It has great lines, too, like:

    “Have fun stormin’ the castle.” and “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!”

    Okay, so maybe they are better in context. All the more reason to watch it again.

    Not like Princess Bride? “Inconceivable!”

  9. I totally can’t resist this kind of post and I feel I take great pride in my categories.

    Dramas: Crash, A river runs through it, Spanglish
    Comedy: Dumb and Dumber, Juno
    Sci-Fi/Fantasy: the First matrix, Lord of the rings trilogy
    Western: Tombstone
    Mindless Action: Transfomers
    Super-Hero Movie: Batman Begins
    One that hasn’t come out yet but is sure to be AWESOME!: Batman: The Dark Knight

  10. Here are some of my all time favs
    1.Young Frankenstein
    2.A/C Meet Frankenstein (favorite line “thats what I’m trying to tell ya…thats his bunk ! “)
    3. Braveheart
    4. Pink Panther series
    5. As Good as It Gets ( despite the crudeness and insensitivity its funny/sad/entertaining.
    6. Anger Management
    7. Open Range
    8. Tombstone
    9. Second Hand Lions

  11. Ahhh…. youth. Jon, your list suffers from the total lack of black and white movies. Broaden your horizons. I put Dumb and Dumber right up there with Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure: mindless comedy, but I don’t know that it qualifies as a classic worthy of a film festival.

    BG… I loved the Italian Job, but a classic? Really? Kind of Ocean’s 11-ish. Mission Impossible has put me to sleep all three times I’ve tried to watch it. I can’t erase Tom Cruise from Oprah’s couch. I’ll give you Rear Window and the Raiders movie, but Notting Hill? Ahem… what, did it make you cry?

    Jim… I never got into the Pink Panther, tho I tried. The Young Frankenstein thing shows brilliance mixed with terminal immaturity. Nice combination.

    Last, but not least… ROBB… Blues Bros is indeed a classic; it had scenes of Phil’s Beach. But yes, you’ve hit it on the head. Add your three movies with your love of disco, and that might be part of why you’re still single! Maybe to find your wife you should attend a foreign film festival…


  12. I’m not cartain I have an All TIME favorite but here are a few I’ve enjoyed…

    The Princess Bride… seriously love those lines “Do you think it will work?” “It’d take a miracle. ” HA!

    Roman Holiday – Just Cause I like it.

    My Life – Michael Keaton and Nicole Kidman – gets me crying every time.

    An Affair to Remember – Watched it because the girls in Sleepless in Seattle loved it. Like it better than Sleepless in Seattle.

    Blue Collar Comedy Tour (the first one) – “D’you get your truck stuck?” “Nope. Just deliverin’ this overpass and ran out of gas.” HEHEHEHE!

    There are others but I’ve gotta run.

  13. Italian Job: yeah, OK. How about Bourne?

    MI: Yeah, OK. After thinking about it, MI2 was better (the John Woo one)

    Notting: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: It was a POPCRON kernel stuck in my throat!


  14. I love this post! So as Andrea said it’s hard to say what my favs of all time are but here are a few:

    Singing in the Rain–Doing that dance in the rain as his suit was shrinking and he had a 104 temp. WOW!

    Music Man–My wife loves these old musicals, and i actually loved this one

    Star Wars trilogy– I say trilogy because i only really think we should count 4-6 and just for give Lucas for the rest

    Good Morning Vietnam– Great movie, unfortunately lots of cussing!

    Newsies–Great early work of Christian Bale put out by Disney

    Swing Kids–Another great work with Christian Bale

    Batman Begins–Best superhero movie!

    Band of Brothers series–ok so I know it’s not a movie, but worthy of notation

  15. Is everybody afraid to admit they like “Godfather I and II” to somebody named Giovannetti? Probably the best movies ever made.

    I’m not trying to out obscure anyone but some movies that are great that you may not have heard of:

    Jean de Florette and its sequel Manon of the Spring (such a tragic ending, but a great lesson of how we are our own worst enemy)

    In America (an Irish family comes to America)

    Children of Heaven (an Iranian film, which is one of the sweetest movies you will ever see. This is NOT Children of Men.)

    Breaking Away (“You’re not a cutter; I’m a cutter.” and “I want American food. Give me French fries!”)

    Spanglish (I am in no way an Adam Sandler fan, but this movie is fantastic. The moral choice he makes at the end, gives you hope for Hollywood.)

    I agree with Roman Holiday. Audrey Hepburn is a babe in that movie. Which leads me to think of:

    To Kill a Mockingbird (One of the greatest English language books made into a great movie. How would you like to have been a dad in the sixties and have to live up Atticus’ role model?)

    And probably the funniest movie ever made: His Girl Friday (“He may be hiding under her piazza.” “Well, tell her to stand up.”)

  16. If you are talking classic old b/w movies how bout 12 O’Clock High with Gregory Peck, Dean Jagger ….I had to watch and analyze that several times for an advanced leadership program a number of years ago. I haven’t watched it since but its still an excellent movie.

  17. 10 is an awfully small number, but okay:

    2001: A Space Odyssey
    Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
    This Is Spinal Tap
    King David (1986)
    Blazing Saddles
    Saving Private Ryan
    The Cowboys
    The Omega Man
    Loose Change

  18. Why is your blog randomly inserting smileys?

    And I forgot “Eleni,” “Big Country” (my favorite western), “Seven Samurai,” and how could I not mention “Singin’ in the Rain.”

  19. Matt…
    The random smiley’s are some kind of WordPress problem since their software update. It has happened on a few number 8’s and other stuff. I hope they get it sorted out.

    And you do get the award for obscure movie picks, right up there with Joe.

    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Bill 🙂

  20. Here are my totally subjective and dubious opinions:

    •Best movie ever made: Schindler’s List.

    •Best Italian movie: A Beautiful Life.

    •Favorite movie to watch with your boys over and over again because they never quit laughing at the same stupid jokes: Dumb and Dumber.

    •Best Westerns, because choosing one would be impossible: The Magnificent Seven, Hombre, Dances With Wolves, Open Range, Silverado, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, High Noon, Unforgiven, The Outlaw Josey Wales, 3:10 to Yuma and No Country for Old Men…. This is just a start, there are many more.

    •Movie to make you smile and wish you had grandkids: Princess Bride.

    •Most quotable movie ever: Caddyshack.

  21. What a fun post… 🙂 Usual Suspects? One phrase did it for me: “…And poof. He was gone…”

    I can see how it wouldn’t hit everyone right – pretty crass at times and if you’d guessed the ending before the ending, it’s wrecked. For me though, it did EXACTLY what it was intended to do. It all came together for me at the end: the limp as it corrected itself, the ‘Kobayoshi’ on the coffee cup, the trio in Skokie. I hadn’t gotten the surprise twist till the very end (call me naive) – and with the ‘poof’, my pulse was up, and my jaw was on the ground.

    I’m pretty intuitive… so it’s especially fun when a movie is able to surprise me. 🙂

  22. It looks like Princess Bride has lots of fans. I’ve seen only bits and pieces, but had to laugh out loud at the samples I saw: especially the wedding scene with the priest, in all his pomp and glory, calling for the “wing.” Looks like I’ll have to make a point of seeing the whole movie.

    Spanglish got a couple votes here, too. Someone mentioned the moral high road taken by the lead character. Yes, –(spoiler coming!)– she refuses to seduce her employer BECAUSE she loves him, and a sexual encounter would distroy him. That’s downright profound in showing what true love (not just romance) is. The only other movie I’ve ever seen that takes this twist is Witness with Harrison Ford.

    Babbette’s Feast was a sweet, gentle movie; also one with interesting spiritual applications… much like Chariots of Fire. How’s this for a line? – “Mercy imposes no conditions…. For mercy and truth have met together, and righteousness and bliss shall kiss one another.”

    For me, the marks of a good movie are 1) I’m still thinking about it days later, and 2) It leaves me wanting to see it again and again.

    I’ve noticed my favorites tend to be comedies and/or musicals:
    The Wizard of Oz
    The General (silent movie with Buster Keaton)
    The Gods Must Be Crazy
    Arsenic and Old Lace
    The Best Christmas Pagent Ever (TV movie)
    Claymation Christmas Celebration (TV movie)
    Darby O’Gill and the Little People
    Snow White
    Star Wars (although all the sequels disappointed me)

    And yes, Shindler’s List and Singin’ in the Rain would have to be up there at the top, too.

  23. Transformers – makes me wanna play my action figs again
    Untouchables – nuff said
    Good fellas – if only i can delete the gore stuff
    Kung Fu Panda – laughed my brains out!
    The notebook
    Meet the parents and fockers
    almost but not all drew barrymore and adam sandler movies!
    and all my dvd collection!!! hahahaha

  24. Arsenic and Old Lace always says to me that Cary Grant was probably the best film actor ever. Think about how goofy and funny he is in that movie. Then compare that to the suave and debonair man of North by Northwest. That’s the same actor!
    One more: City Lights–Charlie Chaplin’s classic. That’s no popcorn kernel in my throat at the end. That’s choking up at a really happy ending. (“It’s you.”)

  25. Matt
    You are absolutely right about Cary Grant in Arsenic and Old Lace, one of my all time favorites. There’s a scene when he acts with the back of his head. Wonderful. Funny. Creepy movie. One of the best ever.

  26. New here but thought I’d chime in. If you like spooky movies my favorite has always been The Thing. The newer one with Kurt Russel. Very suspenseful.

  27. Mel… thanks for visiting. I loved The Thing… very creepy and a lot of good surprises to make you jump. The old one (B&W?) was creepy too, but not scary and jumpy. Good pick.

  28. OK here goes a few I’ve enjoyed:

    Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds”
    The Jerk
    Blazing Saddles
    Anna Karinina (sp?)
    Funny Farm
    Georgia Rule

    Not a movie but it is my favorite thing to watch when I want to have a good laugh is any of the Seinfeld episodes.

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