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THE RESULTS - Forums 100 Favourite Films 2010

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THE RESULTS - Forums 100 Favourite Films 2010 - 31/1/2010 12:50:42 PM   

Posts: 1020
Joined: 30/9/2005
First off, can I ask people to please not post until all 100 films, and the top 100 in simple list form have been posted. It might take a little while to get everything together and the formatting correct. So please bare with me.

I have to apologise because I lost a couple of blurbs sent to me, due a corrupted file (or something). Meaning I was unable open the word document they were saved on. I’ve sent a message to those people whose blurbs that went missing but will repeat here. If you still have the original, send it to me again and I will edit it in. Now I had originally planned to close the poll today, but a possible visit from overseas family prompted me to close early to avoid delay. Otherwise it could have dragged on into March, so I hope the posting of the results don’t appear as a rushed effort. If I do the poll again next time, I will strive to get as many new blurbs as possible.

Right, with all that out of the way, here we are, the return of the Empire Forum 100 favourite Films poll, the first since 2008, and the sixth poll in all I believe.

As usual there some appreciative mentions to give out. The first of which is to elab49 for helping to score the poll and ensuring that the list is a fair representation of the vote. Talking of votes, thanks to everyone who took time to submit a list, either in the thread, or in the case of some, privately.

As ever thanks to all who have submitted blurbs/reviews. Some of these blurbs are new, others are taken from previous polls, (thanks to Clowny for his previous blurb collecting efforts) and some have kindly been donated from other lists on the forum. The time taken past or present (especially the latter) to make the top 100 more than just a list and some pictures is much appreciated. And it’s always good to have a mix of old and new. Oh, special mention to Piles for kindly allowing me to use content from his own website, the wonderful A valuable resource.

Now onto the list itself, will the usual blockbusters continue to dominate, will Heat still hold an inexplicably high place. Will Donnie Darko survive another year?

I suppose I should get on with posting the list so we can find out!

NOTE: Being a favourite film list there could be some SPOILERS contained within blurbs.

< Message edited by deniseA -- 31/1/2010 4:32:26 PM >
Post #: 1
RE: THE RESULTS - Forums 100 Favourite Films 2010 - 31/1/2010 1:03:56 PM   

Posts: 1020
Joined: 30/9/2005

100. Predator – John McTeirnan (1987)

This film embodies just about everything that made 80s action cinema so much god damn fun. Overblown action set pieces, groan-worthy one liners, and Arnie, on top of being the second most quotable movie ever (just losing out to 'Aliens') 

The set up is simple enough: small group of mercs get sent to take out a rebel base. And for the first third of the film, this is what you get. And given the eminently quotable quips each of them spurt (“I ain't got time to bleed.” “Oh, okay. You got time to duck?”), this would have been enough to create a fun Commando-esque romp. 

“If it bleeds, we can kill it”
But the twist, the little bit of genius that elevates this above pretty much every other 80s action flick is the arrival of the titular Predator. The next two thirds are an action-packed escape and evade film where the Predator tracks the mercs through some bad ass bush. 

“You are one ugly mother fucker”
The final showdown between Arnie and the Predator is easily one of the finest action sequences ever committed to film, and represents probably the ultimate death-match between man and alien. And, in all seriousness, Arnie's final moment on screen is probably his finest piece of acting ever. 
This film is why the 80s will always rock. 


99. Badlands – Terrence Malik (1973)

“Badlands”, Terrence Malick’s debut 1973 film, tells the story of Kit (Martin Sheen), who goes on a killing spree in 1959, and Holly (Sissy Spacek), who watches him do it. The film tells the story of their budding love and Kit’s trigger happy ways, but it’s not the plot that matters. In fact, the plot is perhaps the worst thing about the film. Done before and quite clichéd, the ‘kids-go-on-a-killing-spree’ story is nothing special. But the way it’s done is what makes it great. It’s shot in a melancholic, off-kilter way to reflect the nature of the protagonists, and the acting is wonderful too. Martin Sheen, so often the star of films that he is better than, is brilliant as the cocky, arrogant, self-styled new day James Dean, who goes on his killing spree for no other reason than boredom. He’s still a boy, and the scenes where he runs around a field, bare-footed and chested with a Rambo-style headband show that he just hasn’t grown up yet. He’s living in movies and he thinks he’s the star. Sissy Spacek’s Holly is the same, and the scenes in the jungle best demonstrate this. One second, she tells us about carrying copious amounts of water back to camp. The next, she’s talking about experimenting with make-up. She’s a girl living above her station, and it soon catches up with her. Their love, although tender and beautiful in the opening scenes, comes out to be a bit of a mockery. About half way through, she talks about the man she will one day marry, but it’s not Kit. Again, her vulnerability and her immaturity are on full display; she is not old enough to make the kind of decisions that Kit forces her to make.


98. The Truman Show – Peter Weir (1998)

On the air. Unaware! So reads the tag line for a thought-provoking movie concerning the life of one Truman Burbank. Truman, bought by a studio at birth, lives out his life blissfully unaware that he is the subject of the 24-hour reality television show that is his life. Directed by Peter Weir, and starring Jim Carrey as the man himself, the film is concerned with Truman gradually becoming aware that all is not right in his life, with set mishaps, and his friends (all cast members, both friends and family) displaying increasingly strange behaviour. The greatest part of this film, and the reason I feel it deserves its place in this poll, is for the truly inspirational ending. After realising the truth, and battling and conquering both his fear of open water, a fear given to him by the "death” of his father, and the madness of his "God” (Christof, played by an excellent Ed Harris), Truman physically collides with the boundaries of his reality, a wall painted sky blue. Despite the pleadings from Christof from his place in the sky (actually a studio high above the set), Truman decides to take a chance on the real world, uttering his catchphrase, "In case I don't see you, good afternoon, good evening and goodnight...”, before bowing and stepping into the darkness, and all set to a bubbling and uplifting score, we see the girl of his dreams stolen away by Christof in Truman's youth prepare to meet him. Absolutely brilliant! 


97. Zodiac - David Fincher (2007)

Zodiac was the nick name for a serial killer who put fear in the hearts of the citizens of San Francisco during the 60s and 70s (probably not literally). Like a modern-day Jack the Ripper, he has never been caught. Several movies have been made about him, but it wasn't until David Fincher (who was a toddler himself in 'Frisco during the killer's heyday) put his mind to making one about him, that the world finally got to watch a good one. It wasn't an easy task. By making a film about a criminal whose identity still remains a mystery to this very day, Fincher were essentially having to face the challenge of shooting a story with no real ending. Unsurprisingly, he pulled off. 

Released in 2007 (probably the decade's finest year, movie-wise), Zodiac received massive critical acclaim, but was buried between the likes of No Country For Old Men, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, and There Will Be Blood. A shame, really, as I'd say it's better than all of them. It is a patient film, covering many decades and naming many names (a plethora of which is easy to forget in the maze), but the slow nature of the narrative only works in its advantage (in the sense that we get to feel the frustration of a case that seemed to come close to a conclusion several times, then ultimately lead nowhere). By drawing the story out to two and a half hours, Fincher risked losing his audience, but the movie is never boring, and by the time it has finished, you'd want to find out who the killer is too. Who knows, maybe you could be the one to find him? After all, many of the people depicted in this film are still alive, and why shouldn't that also apply to the guy who got it named after him? 

Dantes Inferno

96. Fargo – Joel & Ethan Coen (1996)

"The heck do ya mean?”  A highlight of the mid-90s indie movement, The Coens do what many films try and fail on a regular basis – create a crime thriller that's just as good at being a comedy. From William H Macy's Jerry Lundegaard to Steve Buscemi's bungling Carl Showather, practically every character is a ridiculous caricature – and Fargo works far better than it really should. Similar in tone to the brothers' Texas-set Blood Simple, Fargo juggles scenes of genuine darkness (Gaer's brutal cop killing) with pitch black, laugh-out-loud moments (two words – wood chipper). Even the title's a joke –less than five minutes is spent in the town of Fargo, North Dakota. The standout performance is, of course, Frances McDormand's Marge Gunderson, the local chief of police. Very pregnant and very determined to get her man, Marge is the key character of the film, and well deserving of her Oscar. All in all, Fargo is not only one of the Coens' best films, it's also one of the best of the last fifteen years. Yah, you betcha. 


95. Three Colours: Red - krzysztof Kieslowski (1994)

“Three Colours: Red” is the final film in Kieslowski’s trilogy centred around the French revolutionary values – this time fraternity – and how they relate to contemporary French life. The plot sees Valentine (Irene Jacob), a part time model and student, meet a strange old man who reveals himself to be spying on his neighbours. Simultaneously we are introduced to a prospective lawyer who is just about to take his final exams, and is in love with a blonde girl who gives weather reports over the phone.

The major theme here is, obviously, fraternity, and whether it can exist within humanity. Although “Bleu” concludes with the idea that liberty cannot exist simply because people can feel entrapped in any situation, and “Blanc” observed that equality cannot exist because of human nature, “Rouge” has a slightly more optimistic conclusion to give us. Here, fraternity is touted not as something that we can hope to achieve, but merely a fact of life. When the former lawyer who spies on his neighbour is introduced, what he has achieved is not a state of fraternity. Instead, he has positioned himself as the superior being. He is alone, yes, but enforcing himself upon others does not make him less so. The only way that he creates an actual relationship is merely by accident, and with Valentine, who in turn has a chance meeting with the young just-turned lawyer. Chance meetings, which eventually lead into friendships or relationships, are the very essence of life, and although liberty and equality are the more utopian ideas, fraternity exists in every day life, and is more miraculous and essential than the other two combined.

Aesthetically, the film is perfect. Like “Bleu” and “Blanc”, Kieslowski uses the title colour as his primary one, framing the film in red glows and backgrounds. It’s not meaningless, though, for – again like in the other two films – the moments when red becomes the overwhelming colour are those which show great personal victories in the hunt for fraternity (or, in the case of “Bleu” and “Blanc”, liberty and equality respectively), or pre-emptive signals of coming hardships. Irene Jacob’s performance is quite miraculous, and she’s supported ably by – amongst others – Jean-Lois Trintignant. It’s beautifully written and well directed, but if there is one area of the creative process that deserves special kudos it’s Zbigniew Preisner and his wonderfully emotive original music score. 


94. Toy Story – John Lasseter (1995)

For me Toy Story is the ultimate Disney film for so many different reasons. For starters it was fresh and innovative. At the time of its release, Disney films were at risk of becoming stale but in working with Pixar, Toy Story was brought Disney breath of fresh air. Although this style of animation is now the norm, at the time, this was incredible, and offered movie-goers a whole new type of Disney movie. Toy Story is quite simply a movie that I defy anyone not to love. It's enough of a cartoon for the kids to love it, but the characters are so brilliant and the jokes genuinely funny that grown-ups will love it too. "More powerful than all the Power Rangers combined, "Toy Story" flies higher than anything starring Aladdin or Batman and is at least as far-out as "E.T." In fact, to find a movie worthy of comparison you have to reach all the way back to 1939, when the world went gaga over Oz.” Every single thing about this is glorious, from its perfect main characters to its loveable smaller ones. Mr Potato Head and Slink along with Bo Peep and Andy combined make this a movie you'll never forget. The bad-guy is genuinely terrifying and the ending iconic. "There's a giddy, absurd charm to the story, in which the strange setting only enhances the comfortable familiarity of the narrative and characters.” Basically Toy Story is  a movie I can relate to, I can laugh to, I can be annoyed at, I can take my little cousin to see and most importantly it's a movie I can't watch without a great big smile. Surely that's the aim of a Disney animation?  Surely Toy Story fulfils this more than any other? 


93. Gladiator – Ridley Scott (2000)

Love it or hate it, there's no question that Gladiator single handedly resurrected the historical epic, and whilst recent offerings in this genre (Troy, Kingdom of Heaven, Alexander) question this achievement's relevance, Ridley Scott's film towers above these movies, showing us how this type of project should be handled. 
Perhaps the most important factor in the film's success is Russell Crowe, who puts in arhuably one of film's finest performances to give the movie an emotional and enigmatic central character. But it is not only Crowe who excels - Joaquin Pheonix, surely one of Hollywood's most underrated actors, almost steals the movie with his troubled villain, his cowardly Commodus commanding genuine fear mixed with believable turmoil. This coupled with Oliver Reed's final performance, an emotional farewell for a legendary actor, and Djimon Hounson, who is overlooked in the 'buddy role', but who is utterly compelling as Maximus' determined soul mate. 
Of course it is not just the acting that makes this movie so incredible, Gladiator boasts one of the finest scores in history, which in turn helps to create one of the most moving endings ever. Stunning action sequences (with a chariot fight sequence being a stand-out), beautiful imagery and a truly gripping story all contribute to a film which will echo for eternity. Are we entertained? You bet. 


92. Mulholland Dr. - David Lynch (2001)

With Mulholland Drive, Lynch managed to achieve the incredible and revive a stillborn pilot for a TV show; seemingly effortlessly twisting the original premise on its head and instead converting it into a bona-fide elegiac cinematic masterpiece.  It is the culmination of Moebius themes previously explored unsatisfactorily in Lost Highway and earned Lynch his third Oscar nomination whilst somewhat ironically catapulting the struggling Naomi Watts into the Hollywood A-list. 

Why Mulholland Drive succeeded so majestically where films like Vanilla Sky failed is in its (relatively unique in this day and age) readiness to treat the audience with utmost respect and intelligence.  The full secrets and ramifications of his work only begin to fully unfold long after the final tragic images have passed by, elevating it from the seemingly enigmatic into full-blown meticulous pathos of the highest order. 

We should all congratulate ourselves on our fortuity to be able to witness a genius like Lynch at work, long may he continue. 


91. Citizen Kane – Orson Welles (1941)

It is generally considered amongst film-buffs that Kane is the greatest film ever made, a technical wonder and the film most worthy of study. But to watch Kane today is not to be confronted by an antique, a dusty old film that would serve better being kept under a microscope under examination by  students, but to witness a young genius throwing all his cards into one pile and coming up trumps; a breathless, essential work of a maverick that wows today as much as it must have done 60 years ago. 

Apparently no man's life can be summed up in one word, but Welles does not try, rather offering a fascinating study of myriad perspectives on semi-fictional media baron Charles Foster Kane's life, hoping to find some sense of the man by the end. The story of Kane is timeless, tales of power gained and power lost through egotism, regret and failure can be found anywhere but what makes Kane so special a film is Welles refusal to take any one view of his life as definitive and in the ingenious way the viewer must piece together the snippets of Kane we observe from various viewpoints to put together a jigsaw with pieces that don't look like they fit. Alternatively we Kane as a mischievous young rebel, then his most flawed side, steeped in bitterness and self-loathing, and from his wife, a tender man who was consumed by the need for people to love him so much so that he drove everyone away. In these ways, Welles not only makes Kane sympathetic but one of the most complex and haunted characters put on film. 

Technically the film is astounding, but in a way that reflects and enhances the narrative. There have rarely been such vivid evocations of loneliness and power gone mad as the baroque palace of Xanadu or of childhood warmth amongst snow and sleds in the flashback scenes. Through its narrative, Welles achieved the miracle of 'filling a two pint glass with three pints of water', by flicking back and forth through time, making connections and summing up whole stretches of time in one pithy comment or scene. I haven't even had much space to talk about Welles towering performance in which he utterly convinces as young genius and as crumpled old man, applauding alone or tearing up his room in a desperate whirlpool of self-loathing, let alone Gregg Toland's extraordinary expressionist deep-photography that earned him a co-author credit and which dramatises the inside of Kane's head, fading into shadow at the edges. 

Kane may be an obvious choice to pick, but if you can still be amused and pulled in by the warmth and wit of the script, if you can still marvel at its daring to be something different and at its technical brilliance, if you can still be moved by Welles' sublime portrait of power, loss and death and still gasp as 'rosebud' is revealed only to raise a smile at the slyness of his execution, then I hope you will find Kane deserving of every accolade that has been throw at its feet and add a new one into the bargain as well. 


90. Close Encounters of the Third Kind – Steven Spielberg (1977)

This film needs a blurb. If anyone wants to take it on. Send me a PM.

89. The Last Of The Mohicans – Michael Mann (1992)

Michael Mann's greatest film is a stirring tale of love, heroism and adventure, packed with exhilarating action. Set during the French and Indian war it sees the story of a white man called Hawkeye, adopted by a tribe known as the Mohicans and he comes to the rescue of two lovely ladies who are the daughters of a British general and are wanted dead by the vengeance driven Huron Warrior, Magua. The performances are terrific, the two leads Danial Day Lewis and Madeleine Stowe create a smoldering romantic chemistry together and Wes Studi gives a thoroughly chilling performance as Magua. As with all Michael Mann films the action is extremely authentic, the locations are shot with exceptional beauty and combined with a wonderful score that propels the action along and gives the film great emotional wallop. The final twenty minutes is incredibly moving and one of the greatest climaxes to a film ever.  

Mr E

88. Spirited Away – Hayao Miyazaki (2001)

Spirited Away is a fantastic film. The story is brought to life by Miyazaki with stunning beauty and imagination and if this film were nothing more than a showcase for Studio Ghibli's talent for breathtaking animation it would be enough. However, beneath this gorgeous packaging is a deceptively deep and meaningful film. Chihiro's willingness to see goodness and beauty in all around her is what lends this film it's magic and her transformation from the sulky nervous teenager to delighted innocent is wonderful to watch. The climactic scene of the film is heartbreakingly and poignantly beautiful. Much of Miyazaki's talent lies in his stunning attention to character detail; all characters are drawn and animated in such a way that they begin to come alive in the hearts and minds of the audience. Even the smallest creatures are given lively personalities; the dancing soot balls and the frog are just two excellent examples. The heart of the film, however, lies in its basic story of searching for acceptance and love, and overall it is a fantastic blend of visual beauty and deeper meanings with a simply magical atmosphere.  

87. The Lion King – Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff (1994)

The Lion King is Disney's 32nd animated film…when they were on a role (Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid etc). It's one of Disney's best films to date considering the past few not to do with the Pixar have gone down the drain. Directed by both Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff who have been involved Disney productions before. 

The basic plot of the film is set around the birth of a new lion cub at Pride Rock named Simba who is the future king. Simba's father Mufasa teaches him the way of life around Pride Rock but on the outside Scar, Mufasa's brother is jealous of Simba because he wanted to be the next king so he sets out a plan to get rid of both Simba and Mufasa from the help of his 3 insane hyenas. After Simba leaves Pride Rock he meets some weird but wonderful friends who help him become who he needs to be…the future king. 

The film has a great voice cast from Rowan Atkins as a pesky bird named Zazu to Mathew Broderick who is the voice of Simba once he grows up and even Jeremy Irons as the evil Scar. This film is a typical Disney film with the catchy tunes (thanks to Hans Zimmer, Elton John and Tim Rice), loveable characters and best of all it's for all ages. This film is a great all-rounder and it deals with difficult issues for young kids (death and standing up for yourself). 

The Lion King is simply Disney's best animated film to date, without Pixar's help. 

86. Grosse Point Blank – George Armitage (1997)

Prior to Grosse Pointe Blank, director George Armitage had been responsible for a couple of exploitative 70's flicks and one half-decent Alec Baldwin comedy thriller. Post this movie, he's only helmed a mediocre Elmore Leonard adaptation. No matter – if he never directs a film ever again, he'll still go to the grave safe in the knowledge he made one of the coolest hit man movies of all time. 

Martin Blank (John Cusack) is bored of killing people. His heart isn't in it any more, and he plans to quit – his desires further fuelled by a high school reunion and his re-acquaintance with sweetheart Debbie (Minnie Driver). Of course, going straight when your business is icing targets is never easy, and Martin finds several obstacles in his way – namely rival assassin Grocer, a couple of government spooks, a silent European hit man and a problematic final hit. 

Grosse Pointe Blank's script (co-written by Cusack) crackles with warm dialogue, making Martin as lethal as he is charming. A running gag about his whereabouts for the last ten years never tires ("I've been working at Kentucky Fried Chicken”), and the cast is rounded out by skilled comedic performers (Dan Aykroyd, Cusack's sister Joan, Hank Azaria, Jeremy Piven) who drop the deadpan dialogue beautifully. The film could have easily slipped through as a mean-spirited comedy, but instead it's packed with surprisingly touching moments of tenderness – particularly Blank's visit to his senile mother, and his discovery that his childhood home is now a convenience story. Further to this, the film bristles with one of the best soundtracks in recent times, a collection of awesome retro tunes from the likes of The Clash, The Specials and Pixies. 

From its sweat-less assassination opening, to its Looney Tunes-esque final showdown, Grosse Point Blank is a deliciously witty blast throughout.   


85. 12 Monkeys – Terry Gilliam (1995)

I seem to have forgotten about a couple of the films that made the list. If anyone fancies providing a spanking new blurb, you are more than welcome.

84. Paris, Texas – Wim Wenders (1984)

Winner of the Palm D'Or at Cannes, Wim Wenders emotive road movie gives Harry Dean Stanton, the supreme character actor, a rare leading role where he performs a heart-rending turn worthy of a dozen Oscars. Wondrous cinematography by Robby Muller and a memorable soundtrack by guitar wizard Ry Cooder are among its finest attributes. 

The film starts with a pan across the American mid-west and then focuses on a solitary figure crossing the desert plains, a drifter sporting a scraggy beard and a baseball cap. Looking into his eyes gives the impression of a man who is completely lost, mentally as well as geographically. He soon collapses through dehydration. Through a long chain of events we learn that this man, called Travis, had a wife and child but had forsaken them, and for the past four years had kept a reclusive existence. His brother (Dean Stockwell) drives him home and re-unites him with his son. They eventually form a reticent bond and decide to seek out the boy's mother. 
OK, so it sounds like melodramatic rubbish, right? The characters in Paris, Texas, however, are so well-defined and acutely observed that its strays far from this for its entire duration. The viewer is drawn to the rugged and despairing protagonist from the opening shot. As he recollects more about his past you are filled with empathy and will feverishly wonder if events will transpire in his favour. Heights of compassion and poignancy surpass even those found in Wender's other tour de force - Wings Of Desire. The acting is superlative, notably the performances of Nastassja Kinski and a debuting Hunter Carson. What can I say about Carson's mature, subtle yet evocative performance to do it justice? How about I firmly believe it to be the single most dazzling performance by a child actor - ever! The ad-lib conversations he holds with Stanton, from human relations to the origin of the universe are a sheer treat to behold. 

The direction is polished; the one-way mirror scenes are particularly magical. The shots of the Texan landscape are some of the most beautiful ever captured on celluloid and the use of colour is sensational. A study of the dissolution of family ties and the theme of atonement that is as essential as Lynch's 'The Straight Story'. 

R.J. MacReady

83. The Shining – Stanley Kubrick (1980)

Based rather loosely on Stephen King's best-selling novel, The Shining is the tale of Jack Torrance (Nicholson), a writer hired as care-taker of the empty Overlook Hotel one winter, little realising that the haunted hotel will send him mad enough to turn on his own wife and son in a homicidal rage. Commonly acknowledged as a horror classic, the main strength of Kubrick's film is its sense of foreboding atmosphere. As the family experiences the isolation of being alone amidst the impressive Colorado landscape, the audience feels it too, a sensation which quickly leads to claustrophobia within the walls of The Overlook. 

Some of the imagery is disturbing to the extreme, making for uncomfortable viewing. The tone of the film itself is very cold, despite the prevalence of warm hues in many of the shots. The photography and editing is extremely memorable, adding to the viewer's discomfort immeasurably, and the neat, minimalist script lends the film a sparse feel. No dialogue or scene is surplus to requirement, and the classic horror-movie score is manipulated to maximum effect. 

The performances are all impressive, particularly the irrepressible Jack Nicholson, who clearly relishes embodying such madness. His character is never really explored, leading to criticism from some (particularly fans of King's novel), yet there is clearly method here: we glimpse malevolence behind Torrance's manic grin from the very beginning, unsettling the audience and building the palpable tension. This is where Nicholson excels. Shelley Duvall, as his wife Wendy, may irritate some but acquits herself well, and with Danny Lloyd's performance, of son Danny, we have the rarest of things: an impressive child actor who doesn't irritate. 
Overall, the film is a chilling study of cabin-fever and inherent evil which will linger in the memory for long, particularly the closing shot.


82. Dawn of the Dead – George A. Romero (1978)

Blurb coming soon

81. The Prestige – Christopher Nolan (2006)

Every great movie consists of three parts or acts. 

The first part is called "The Pledge". The director shows you something ordinary: a few set pieces, a bird or a man. He shows you this object. Perhaps he asks you to watch closely to see if it is indeed real, unaltered, normal. But of course... it probably isn't. 

The second act is called "The Turn". The director takes the ordinary and makes it do something extraordinary. Now you're looking for the secret... but you won't find it, because of course you're not really looking. You don't really want to know. You want to be fooled. 

That's why every movie has a third act, the hardest part, the part we call "The Prestige"." 

Christopher Nolan's extraordinary and layered drama offers up a simple enough premise (Magicians at war and the history of their feud and what happens next) and does so much more.... he's got a superb cast (Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Andy Serkis, Michael Caine and good old David Bowie are all terrific... Jackman and Bale specifically on fire), some wonderful cinematography and a huge array of twists and turns... to say too much is to spoil the many complicated surprises, suffice to say... you think you've seen it all, look again! This is a film to watch again and again and again...

DJ Rob C: Mark II! 

80. Terminator 2: Judgement Day – James Cameron (1991)

The King of the World's sequel to The Terminator is an epic action film that continues the story of humanity's fight against the machines. Set a little over a decade later than it's predecessor, Skynet is once again attempting to alter the future. This time, having failed to bump of Sarah Conner, who now resides in the nuthouse, the attention is tuned to 'terminating' her son John. And they've only gone and sent a new bad ass, even more state of the art Terminator to do it. The shape shifting T-1000, who when it's not doing things like cooking beef stew, mostly takes on the form of Robert Patrick.

But where there's a protagonist, there's a protector, which of course was the returning Arnie, who had been reprogrammed in the future. From the moment he demands clothes, boots and a motorcycle and strides out to 'Bad to the Bone' you know you can't possibly want the bad guy to win, which is part of the genius of the movie. At the time T2 was an eye popping experience, with the CGI effects bringing the T-1000 to life. In fact the effects still look fantastic now. Yes Furlong can be a little annoying, and you wish that Arnie would give him a clip around the ear, but his relationship with the machine does add something to the film. As for Sarah Conner, she's gone from being a feminine, fairly timid character, to a much more masculine, driven one. Even now I'm undecided if her change is one for the better.

In the end though it doesn't matter. T2 is a fantastic film, with great set pieces and a strong message. And amongst the explosions and gun fire it retains the elements that made the first film a classic too.


< Message edited by deniseA -- 31/1/2010 6:51:08 PM >

(in reply to deniseA)
Post #: 2
RE: THE RESULTS - Forums 100 Favourite Films 2010 - 31/1/2010 1:18:18 PM   

Posts: 1020
Joined: 30/9/2005

79. Blue Velvet – David Lynch (1986)

"It's a strange world, isn't it?" 

None more so than in Blue Velvet, Lynch's surrealist masterpiece from 1986 that saw him build upon his early successes and vanquish the personal millstone that had been Dune.  Lynch presents us with a typical example of small town Americana, and through the actions of Jeffrey Beamont (Kyle MacLachlan) turns it upside down to reveal the stark and vicious underbelly that he ultimately wishes had been left well alone.  Mixed in with this innocence is an incendiary performance from Dennis Hopper who realises one of cinema's great antogonists - it's impossible not to feel fear when Hopper is snarly up the scenery around him. 

To this day, Blue Velvet still carries an enormous power and the years have left it undiminished, in fact it seems that only now are we catching up with Lynch's masterful vision and uncompromising storytelling. 


78. Paths of Glory – Stanley Kubrick (1957)

Paths of Glory is possibly the greatest war film ever made. What do you mean you've never heard of it? Sure you have to go through Stanley Kubrick's back catalogue to locate it - a tightly constructed 90 minute flick from 1957 starring a wonderful Kirk Douglas - but it does everything expected of most modern war films, only much, much better. 

Sure it's a brutal condemnation of the barbarity and ridiculousness of war, (and is very much the equal of his similarly themed Full Metal Jacket) but the fact it doesn't sugarcoat its anti-war motif with cliché or trite sentimentality, instead ramming home a subtle message with a darkly satirical streak, is what makes Paths of Glory stand out. From the brilliant choice to shoot the film in black and white (thus giving a gritty, darker feel to the entire story), to the short poignant dialogues and the generally minimalist approach to the anti-war message of the screenplay - it all mixes together incredibly well. Kubrick could have spent hours of celluloid on the finer illogical points of military court martial trials, as well as elaborating on the horrors behind the deluded decision making preceding battle. Instead he wrapped the total package in a fast-paced 87 minutes that doesn't miss a beat. A film doesn't need to be three hours long in order to be profound. 

Such simplicity combined with a deliciously dark and biting script, some wonderful performances from Adolphe Menjou and George MacReady as the despicable generals and Kubrick's own technical nous (it looks like the film was made in the seventies rather than the fifties) make this the most easily accessible and enjoyable of all his movies. Paths of Glory is also his most emotional film (to which the ending will testify, a rare glimpse of humanity) and that's why it remains one of his best, if not the best within the entirety of the war film genre. 


77. Once Upon a Time in the West – Sergio Leone (1968)

Once Upon A Time In The West is a climax to the style Leone had been developing through his Dollars trilogy. Just as The Good, The Bad and the Ugly set the plot against a larger framework, Leone sets the plot of his magnum opus against the background of the changing west itself. The plot concerns the development of a railroad and the attempts of the rail owner to run off the family living in the way. However, this is just the surface for a movie brimming with revenge, reflection and steeped in the west itself. 

Men like Frank (Henry Fonda), the casual gunslinger and hired killer character of many previous westerns, and Cheyenne (Robards) the hardened outlaw are becoming obsolete and they know it. Through the whole film Frank plows ahead but knowing that the times, they are a changing. 

However, the film is far more than a historical document; it features some of Leone's best set pieces. The celebrated opening sequence - played out in near silence as three gunmen wait for a late train - is just riveting, capped by the entrance of Charles Bronson. Fonda's entrance is also stunning - trench coat blowing in the wind - and the final Leone trademark shootout is stretched out - fifteen minutes! - but never loses it's tension. The film is beautifully shot, the West looks alternatively beautiful and grubby, or Claudia Cardinale so damn sexy. 

Top this all off with Ennio Morricone's best score which virtually invented thematic music as we see it today - guitar (Fonda), harmonica (Bronson), strings (Cardinale - a sweeping main theme, superbly orchestrated. It's near impossible not to be moved by this film. A stunning work of cinema! 

Captain Kangaroo

76. The Terminator – James Cameron (1984)

"Listen, and understand. That terminator is out there. It can't be bargained with t can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity or remorse or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead".

Before Termintors knew why people cried, they were as the line above suggests, remorseless killing machines.

In 2029 mankind, led by John Conner is locked in war against the machines of Skynet. A self-aware super computer with a trigger happy finger (not literally of course). Losing the battle againt humanity, Skynet decides to send back a cyborg killing machine back to 1984, to terminate Conner's mother, Sarah. The humans counteract this by sending back there own time traveller to protect her.

What enuses is a violent, cat and mouse style thriller, between the humans and the relentless cyborg. T2 obviously has the better special effects, the more elaborate action set pieces, but James Cameron's original sci-fi classic remains a superior film to his T2 sequel. It's a better paced more foreboding film, and it doesn't have Edward Furlong in it.


75. Dead Man's Shoes – Shane Meadows (2004)

'God will forgive them. He'll forgive them and allow them into Heaven. I can't live with that.' And so begins the vengeance movie to end all vengeance movies, not that there's anything drastically original about Dead Man's Shoes. The simple tale of a man returning home to exact revenge on the bullies of his mentally impaired brother, complete with the typical slow-burning flashbacks to build up the extent of the crime, is little different to most other vengeance flicks. But where Dead Man's Shoes excels against its contemporaries is in the acting, cinematography and script departments. 

Yes, who would have thought that Matlock, Derbyshire could be shot so beautifully? Whilst the likes of Old Boy glimmers with style, there's something a good deal more terrifying about the action being encapsulated in this small bubble of middle England. The normality of the situation, turning credibly more oppressive and stifling as Paddy Considine's utterly brilliant anti-hero begins to taunt and toy the rag-tag crew of petty criminals is masterful. More so because director Shane Meadows lets the audience sympathise with said criminals as Richard's brand of personal justice grows into something much more sinister. Staring into the abyss and seeing ones own reflection glance back at them has never been such compelling viewing. 

On top of this, Tony Kebbell is brilliantly understated as the younger brother, there's some fine subtle humour (see the 'goonies' pimp my ride Citroen) juxtaposed against otherwise harrowing scenes and several stand out moments that seemingly kick sand in the face of Hollywood's finest. Considine's and Gary Stretch's meeting when each weighs the other up is tantalising, intense and to the point in everyway that Pacino and De Niro failed to manage in Heat. Sure, it's hellishly dark, but Dead Man's Shoes is perhaps the finest British film you're ever likely to see. 


74. Lost in Translation – Sofia Coppola (2003)

Blurb coming soon

73. Almost Famous – Cameron Crowe (2000)

William Miller is a young boy, being brought up, along with his sister, by a loving but over protective mother who thinks Simon and Garfunkel is the sound drugs and promiscuous sex. Making her her own escape into the world, her parting whisper to her younger brother 'one day you will be cool, look under your bed and it set you free' changes Williams life as he discovers Rock n' Roll.

Just a few short years later, a teenaged Willilam has aspirations of being a music journalist, he meets with the legendary Lester Bangs who has been there and bought the proverbial t-shirt. Becoming a mentor like figure to William, he imparts him with his Yoda like knowledge and advice, and sends him to interview Black Sabbath. Unable to get backstage, William meets Penny Lane for the first time, who over the course of the film becomes a central figure in his life. It's also here that William meets some out of focus guys and a golden god who make up the band Stillwater . Allowing him into their inner sanctum, William joins the band on tour, to write a piece for Rolling Stone Magazine.

Almost Famous is at heart a coming of age story, that focuses on the relationship between the trio of William, guitarist Russell Hammond and the object of their love, Penny Lane. It's also about the friendship and jelousy of a band striving to make it, and it's about doing what's right in the end.

I've had a strange relationship with Almost Famous, I adored it, then began to think it was a piece of sickly, sentimental nostalgia, and my love for it weaned away. Then one day whilst watching again, a huge smile came across my face as the inhabitants of the tour bus sang along to Elton John, and I remembered why I loved it in the first place.


72. Á Bout de Souffle (Breathless) – Jean-Luc Godard (1960)

Godard’s debut tells the story of Michael Pocciard, a ruffian whose killed a cop and now is on the run from the boys in blue. He also has a good heart, and is in love with an American girl in Paris named Patricia (Jean Seberg). Will he stick around for long enough to get caught, or persuade her to leave with him in time? Probably Godard’s most famous and well-renowned film, “Breathless” is also his first, and although I feel it is a somewhat flawed film (Jean Seberg is pretty poor and the last half hour is rushed no end) it is a very accomplished debut. Co-written with fellow New Wave director Francois Truffaut, the film not only reminisces over times gone by in American cinema (we get hints of Welles, Ray, Lang, Preminger, and others down the ninety minute run time) it is also foreshadowing of the rest of Godard’s films.

The obvious examples are the jump cuts, which Godard uses to both challenge editing convention and to cut costs, and the sporadically used jazz score which frames moments that seeming don’t need framing, and is absent when music would probably go well. Not only this, but a late scene, where Seberg’s Patricia and Belmondo’s Michael murmur their thoughts and musings on love and each other, would foreshadow much of the director’s style going into the later part of the sixties. This breaking down of the 4th wall, another challenging of conventions and certainly one of the best scenes in the film, would go on to spawn the best scene in “Le Mepris”, and many other scenes of the same ilk, like in “Week End” (1967) and “Pierrot le Fou” (1965). There’s even a close-up of Seberg at the film’s last shot that holds there for an uncomfortably long amount of time. It would take another year and so for Godard to begin filming with Anna Karina, his future wife, but this shot here would foreshadow a lot of the close-ups – close-ups that would become iconic – that he would put in his later films. I still like to re-visit “Breathless” again, and although I wouldn’t rank it up there amongst my top five Jean-Luc Godard films, it certainly wouldn’t be far away, and it’s the film that got me into his movies in the first place.


71. Starship Troopers – Paul Verhoeven (1997)

What is this film about? 
Is it about a boy who joins the army for the wrong reasons, becoming a top soldier as he pursues his vengeance on the enemy that wiped out his family? Is it about a two tier society where to be a citizen and dying for the glory of the Federation is the highest ideal to which a person can aspire? Or is it just about an interstellar war between humans and giant bugs?

Yes to all three, and this is what makes Starship Troopers such an excellent movie. 
If all you want is to get lost in some jingoistic military sci-fi that doesn't pander to the 12A market, then this is just what the doctor ordered. The battles are brutal, bloody, and often beautiful in their spectacle, with the full CG arachnids, tankers, and brain bugs putting an awful lot of modern day CG to shame. For this film, ultra violence isn't just a word, it's a state of being. It doesn't shy away from showing you, onscreen, exactly how the troopers are being eviscerated. 

But if you want something a little different, something with a bit more depth, then look a bit further into what's on screen. Parallels with Nazism; the ambiguity of what caused the war in the first place; the indoctrination of the youth into the thinking of the Federation by cleverly making them think it was their decision; the callous disregard for life shown by the Federation, just so long as they can achieve victory; the loss of innocence as the grim realities of war with giant insects hits home. It's all there, on screen, obvious enough if you care to notice, but easy enough to brush aside if you just want to see some poor MI troopers get torn limb from limb. There's not a great deal to dislike about this movie. 
Would you like to know more? 


70. Where Eagles Dare – Brian G. Hutton (1968)

Simply put, the finest action-war film ever made. 

Based on the Alistair MacLean novel (he also wrote the screenplay) the plot 'seems' simple enough; a squad of paratroopers are sent to Southern Germany to rescue an extremely important captured US General, before the Germans can torture him and force him to reveal crucial allied plans. However, the rescue squad, led by Major John Smith (Burton), runs in to trouble immediately upon landing. All may not be as it seems…….. 

The cast speaks for itself. Take Richard Burton at the height of his powers, add in a young Clint Eastwood, in one of his earliest Hollywood roles. Throw in fantastic character actors such as Michael Hordern, Patrick Wymark, Derren Nesbitt and Anton Diffring, mixed in with some delightful eye candy in the shape of Ingrid Pitt and Mary Ure and you have quite a line up.
The pacing of this film is perfect, the script is crisp and often light-hearted - especially in the exchanges between Major Smith and Lt. Schaffer (Eastwood's character). The action scenes are spectacular and the plot twists ingenious.  For me, the real test of any classic is how re-watchable it is…. I must have watched "Where Eagles Dare" more than 20 times and it never fails to entertain me. 
A classic. 

"Broadsword calling Danny Boy!"


69. The Third Man – Carol Reed (1949)

In the 1940s, Carol Reed made a series of good films. “Odd Man Out” and “the Stars Look Down” are the pick of the bunch, and there are a plethora of movies just below that level. However, it wouldn’t be until his last film of the decade that he would make his best of his career. What’s more, it could very well be the best film that has ever been made. The story begins with Holly Martins (Joseph Cotton) arriving in Vienna. Promised a job from his friend, Harry Lime (Orson Welles), he’s shocked to find him dead upon his arrival. From here, we’re treated to a winding trail of murder and deceit, all through the eyes of our humble tour guide. There really isn’t a bad thing I can say about this film. Everything, for me, is absolutely perfect. The direction, for one, is sublime. Carol Reed shoots with his camera skewed to reflect the perspectives of his characters, as if they can never truly have a clean view of what’s going on. Pre-conceived notions and loyalties to friends skew what they should be seeing, and instead we simply get what is their view of things.

The score is brilliant. Anton Karas’ zither music builds up along with the plot, framing the action wonderfully and heightening the tension. The writing, by noir alumni Graham Greene along with uncredited contributions from Alexander Korda, Welles, and Reed himself, is just as perfect as everything else. The story itself is incredible, with an elusive conclusion that always seems just out of grasp, and a witty banter runs through it that can be pretty much sourced from Welles. The performances are sublime, particularly those of Joseph Cotton and Orson Welles in two roles pretty much made for them. Alida Valli, who went on to iconic status and who has worked on over a hundred films, is brilliantly melancholic and equally alluring, portraying a woman who has lost everything in the form of love. But the icing on the cake is Terrence Howard, who is hardly ever mentioned in the same breath as Welles but who it just as good as the reflective, sardonic, and ultimately good-hearted Major Calloway.


68. The Usual Suspects – Bryan Singer (1994)

I still love this – the story of five criminals (Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne, Steven Baldwin, Kevin Pollack, and Benicio del Toro) who come together by “coincidence” and decide to take on a job together, but end up on a twisting road towards almost certain death - a lot, no matter how many mistakes there are in it. Sure, there are moments of hamminess in the acting, the script doesn’t always hold up under the pressure of clichés, and Singer’s input – although impressive – is clearly that of a debutant. But, I have to say, this is still one of the most entertaining crime films ever made. But what sets it apart is that it also has something going on upstairs. It’s winding plot and clever characterisation makes “the Usual Suspects” worth watching again and again and again, and the little moments that you may have missed the first time all come clear on the second.

The acting is still sublime, particularly from Kevin Spacey, whose mysterious, smart, and smarmy Verbal Kint is one of the greatest cinematic creations that America produced in the 1990s. Benicio del Toro puts in solid work in a character that was clearly only ever created to die, and the rest of the suspects – Pollack, Byrne, Baldwin – put in what are either career bests or very close to that. Also look out for Pete Postlethwaite, who has never been better than as the stoic faced lawyer Kobayashi. But what’s best is the twist, which holds up time and time again. Even if I have seen this film over ten times, I still find the goose bumps appearing in the final montage, and watching it with friends who have never seen it before (like the person I watched it with tonight) is a thoroughly rewarding and pleasing experience. One of the very best film of the last twenty years.


67. Chinatown – Roman Polanski (1974)

Set in the 1930s Chinatown is partly based on a real-life LA scandal concerning water rights. The film contains all the elements of classic noir - the hard-bitten PI (although Nicholson's Jake Gittes is a sight more prosperous than most PIs of the genre), the mysterious woman (Faye Dunaway as Evelyn Cross Mullwray), and a complex villain in the Noah Cross (the never better John Huston, it remains incredible he didn't get one of the films 11 Oscar nominations). Indeed, it contains all the elements of Huston's own classic 'The Maltese Falcon.' 

Gittes is duped into checking out water engineer Mullwray by a woman pretending to be his wife. When the photos taken by Gitte's team are published, the real Evelyn Mullwray appears exposing the deception and Gitte's decide to find out why he was used. Along the way he discovers the soon-to-be-murdered Mullwray was involved in complex political shenanigans over an area where there is an artificial drought resulting in land profiteering (once a reservoir is built, the land will be miraculously irrigated again). He gets the famous cut nose as a warning to stay out of this business from his director playing a cameo). 

This perfectly handled story is complex enough - but it is beautifully intertwined with the incestuous relationship between Noah and his daughter Evelyn. The liaison resulted in a daughter whom the Mullwrays were trying to protect and Noah wants back (it is rumoured Polanski wanted to add another dimension to this storyline by using Huston's daughter Anjelica in the role in place of Dunaway). What is difficult to remember now is just how daring this storyline was - whereas now, incest seems to be the denouement in every other 2 bit film, to be so prominent in a major film was still extremely unusual. 
No happy endings, no-one comes to justice, no safe conclusions. Gittes is left devastated and Nicholson was rightly nominated for a wonderful performance in a time before he became a cliché of himself. Chinatown is a bleak masterpiece. The period detail is superb and is matched by a wonderfully apt soundtrack. Towne thoroughly deserved his Oscar for a complex, masterful script that never loses its direction in its labyrinthine twists. Polanski has never been better, before, or since.   


66. Trainspotting – Danny Boyle (1996)

I first decided I needed to see Trainspotting when I heard from my mum that my grandparents had walked out of it in the cinema, disgusted. (Well actually, I think it was only my grandma who was disgusted, as my grandad later asked me to lend him the book. (They left after the toilet scene in case you were wondering.)) Unfortunately I was only 13 at the time so there was no way I could get in to see it at the cinema. Even worse, when my dad bought it on video, my mum, no doubt swayed by my grandparents, decided it was not suitable for me and so forbade me from watching it.

I think I was 16 when I finally managed to view it, and my God, it was worth the wait. The entire film, from beginning to end, is just about as close to perfection as is possible. It's a drugs movie, but it manages to portray the life of drug addicts without being preachy, unlike, say Requiem For A Dream. As Renton says "People think it's all about misery and desperation and death and all that shit which is not to be ignored, but what they forget is the pleasure of it. Otherwise we wouldn't do it. After all, we're not fucking stupid. At least, we're not that fucking stupid." The film also includes some of the greatest combinations of music and film ever, from the Iggy Pop intro right through until the Underworld finish, my particular favourite being Renton's overdose scene, set to Lou Reed's 'Perfect Day'. Despite the depressing subject, the ending is really uplifting. You get the impression that Renton really has kicked heroin for good, him ripping his mates off meaning that he will have to stay away from Edinburgh for good. Where he actually ends up, we don't find out (unless, of course, you read the excellent follow up by Irvine Welsh, 'Porno'), but you just know he's going to be okay.

Even now, after watching it countless times, I still feel elated as the credits roll, and really, what more could you ask of a film? 

Hardcore Raver

65. Vertigo – Alfred Hitchcock (1958)

Often to be found tailgating Citizen Kane in the critics' greatest polls, Hitchcock's highly influential masterpiece was not well-received on release. Gloomy in content yet visually rapturous, it was only through decades of re-evaluation that Vertigo became recognised as one of Hitch's best works. Negative comments towards unlikely plot developments and the wayward ending are understandable, yet on close examination the film reveals startling depth; an intense psychological account of a man on a road to perdition, tortured by obsession and neurosis. 

James Stewart plays ex-cop Ferguson, hired by a friend to trail his wife whom is suspected of infidelity. He trails the woman (Kim Novak, with startling blonde hair) through the streets to an art gallery, a mysterious hotel and finally to the Golden Gate Bridge, where he saves the woman from drowning. His intervention triggers events that push the two parties together, but the woman has retained her suicidal tendencies, and eventually plummets off a bell tower. The mysterious element of the first-half of the movie then transmutes to an intense thriller/love story, as months later a solemn Ferguson sees a dead ringer for the deceased (Novak again, now a brunette), and attempts to manipulate her features to resemble the woman he craves. 

Stewart here is an irrepressible presence, and his performance here is the zenith of his remarkable career. Bernard Herrmann's lush score is utterly hypnotic, perhaps his finest of all his collaborations with the director. Highly-rewarding to repeat viewings, Vertigo is a gorgeous, disturbing and deeply passionate film. 

R.J. MacReady

64. Saving Private Ryan – Steven Spielberg (1998)

If ever a case was required to be made in favour of the need for cinemas, you could do a lot worse than build it around Saving Private Ryan. Regardless of how big or expensive your home display is, it will never be able to replicate the shell-shocking power Saving Private Ryan has on the big screen. A truly visceral experience, the film engulfs the viewer into the war experience with unrivalled verisimilitude. The grainy, faded picture feels like a document of the past. Spielberg's camera glides along the battlefield with the spontaneity of a documentarian. The sound is a cacophony of bullets whizzing past, mortars exploding in the distance, wounded and dying soldiers screaming for dear life. Going far beyond a "War is Hell” lesson, Spielberg weaves a finely observed look at the psychology of ordinary men in war. Tom Hanks and Jeremy Davies  deliver rich, multi-faceted performances of long lasting power, while John Williams' beautiful lament and celebration, Hymn to the Fallen, may well be the best thing he's ever done. 


63. A Clockwork Orange – Stanley Kubrick (1971)

Kubrick’s classic 1971 futuristic thriller about identity and social conformity is as powerful and poignant now as it was almost forty years ago. What’s more, it’s still relevant, with droves and droves of similarly dressed groups of kid with one, conformist mentality and ideology still existing today. Plot-wise, it’s the story of Alex de Large (Malcom MacDowell), a naughty young man who spends his days sleeping and his nights breaking the law. A fan of Beethoven, ultra-violence and a bit of the old in-out-in-out, Alex has become one of the cinema’s most iconic characters. Decked out completely in white apart from a bowler hat, the lead character and his droogies all contribute to Kubrick’s distinct visual style. This could be Kubrick’s best effort in the director’s chair, utilizing every technique he has in his arsenal to create an imposing, claustrophobic atmosphere.

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of his, and “A Clockwork Orange” is one of the films that got me into him. It’s flamboyant, yes, but it’s grounded in a dark, sinister envisioning of our future, and this context amplifies the fright ten-fold. Malcom MacDowell, as our narrator and tour guide around the nightmarish future Britain, is wonderful, but it’s the script that is most impressive. Adapted from Anthony Burgess’ incredibly lyrical novel of the same name, Kubrick’s script maintains the spirit of the book whilst at the same time making it more cinematic and, in some ways, better. The horribly tagged on ending, where Alex finally sees the error of his ways, is cut off, leading to a much more powerful, haunting, and ambiguous ending. The employment of “nadsat”, Burgess’ own dialect of English that incorporates hints of Russian and cochne rhyming slang, is a brave choice, but one that has paid off. The film was banned for years and years by Kubrick himself because off the copy cat murders that followed, but for anybody with even half a brain cell, this is a poignant study on social conformity and a totalitarian society


62. Wall-E – Andrew Stanton (2008)

We’ve come to expect a high quality output from Pixar in general with it only marginally dropping the ball on a couple of occasions. Wall-E, for me is the finest of their films and sits at the top of their accomplishments as a film for both adults and children alike

The year is 2700 and Wall-E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class) has been alone on an uninhabitable earth for many hundreds of years. Throughout his daily routine of clearing up the rubbish humans have left behind and collecting little knick-knacks along the way, he longs for some companionship and someone to simply hold hands with. Unknowingly Wall-E stumbles upon the secret that could save planet earth and enable Humans to come back to their polluted planet. An advanced search robot (EVE) comes to earth, makes friends with Wall-E and discovers this secret that she has been searching for. While EVE hurriedly takes this back to the Humans, Wall-E cant stand the thought of losing his only friend in centuries and eagerly follows which leads to an adventure out in space. 

What stands out about Wall-E is the tender emotional impact of the film and the depth of the main character and his love for EVE. The first 40 minutes of the film are largely dialogue free, yet it manages to impart a clear message through startling animation and body language mixed with robot whirrs and noises. 
The animation is truly excellent and you actually forget you are watching a CGI cartoon until the humans first make their appearance. The film looks beautiful and soundtrack is memorable particularly taking excerpts from “Hello Dolly” which are used as Wall-E’s motivation and longing. A Stand out moment of the film is, following a moment of peril and perceived loss, Wall-E and EVE dancing in space whirling about each other which is a contender for one of the most beautiful moments in film from that year. There is also an obvious political message in the film about what the abuse of our planet can lead to, but this is never forced and is simply shown as what has happened in the build up to our story.

Overall, Wall-E is a tender, heart warming film of friendship and the desire for companionship. If it fails to put a smile on your face and tear in your eye then I’d be very surprised and this ranks very highly on favourite films of all time.


61. Raging Bull – Martin Scorsese (1980)

From the moment Cavalleria Rusticana: Intermezzo emanates from the screen 'Raging Bull' proves a captivating and brutal experience. Based on the memoirs of former World Middleweight Champion Jake Lamotta, Raging Bull is no story of a lovable underdogs, inspirational rise to the top. It's an unsympathetic biopic about the self destruction of a man consumed by anger and obsessive jealousy.

The fight scenes themselves prove an interesting insight into the mind of Lamotta, of course the boxing ring by it's nature is no hiding place for the placid, but Lamotta seems a particularly savage fighter, but in a perverse way it's also the place where he seems to seek punishment for his wrong doings. Even when we see an imprisoned Lamotta, crying and pounding the walls of his cell, sympathy is not forthcoming.

De Niro's preparations for the film have passed into legend, from the training he underwent to become LaMotta the fighter, to the weight gained to play the bloated fighter who is a physical shell of his former self. It's to give a startling portrayal in this visually stunning and engaging film, that must rank amongst Martin Scorsese's best.


60. The Princess Bride – Rob Reiner (1987)

Ever yearned for a film that was the perfect flight of fancy? One that features fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, miracles, true love and doesn't take itself too seriously? 'Inconceivable' some might say - but The Princess Bride exits to fill the gap that has persisted since the Errol Flynn swashbucklers and Ray Harryhausen movies of old, whilst adding a good dollop of exquisite post-modern daftness for the modern audience. Joy! 

Based on William Goldman's masterful book of the same name, The Princess Bride works as both a playful send-up of fairy tales and a smart, hip yet endearing entry into the genre. Capturing a reminiscent, fantastic sweetness of character and tone Rob Reiner resurrected, however briefly, the long-forgotten art of the romantic adventure. Devoid of compromised morals, conflicting motivations and questionable, misplaced heroism, The Princess Bride is a film with a genuine heart. Mixing comic absurdity, a wonderful dry wit and intelligent humour to the romance and swashbuckling is the real match winner though, producing an original variant to an often-used genre. Indeed it is the knowing wink towards spoof and satire, without ever crossing the line towards outright mockery that makes The Princess Bride such an accessible and memorable movie. The fact it is widely quoted amongst fans, ("My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my Father. Prepare to Die") is also testament to Goldman's superb screenplay. 

With wildly inventive characters, standouts being Wallace Shawn's hunchbacked Vizzini, Cary Eweles high-camp hero Westley, Christopher Guests gloriously evil Count Rougen and perhaps the greatest performance ever provided by a professional wrestler, nothing should deter you from watching this small work of genius. Still not convinced - well you don't get to see a left-handed sword fight everyday... 


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59. Airplane! - Jim Abrahams/David Zucker (1980)

The measure of a true comedy film is exactly how many laughs you can fit into it. If it features many, nay loads of laughs then it is a truly great comedy film. Airplane manages to fit at least 4 gags into every minute of the movie, even almost every second. It's a scientific fact, one that has been tested by none other than Empire magazine itself! Boasting gags of every sort, and a cast that can do serious as well as deadpan hilarious, Airplane is the spoof to end all spoofs (given films like Epic Movie, maybe that's a good thing). With nods to everything from Airplane disaster films to hysterical riffs on Jaws and Saturday Night Fever, it's strengths lie mainly in deadpan gags like Leslie Nielsen's infamous Shirley joke and numerous phrases taken out of context. So when they compile lists of greatest comedy films 
and this gem is usually at the top, there's a good reason why... where else are you going to see a visual gag as refined as Ted Striker's drinking problem? 

D.J Rob C

58. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

There is no denying the magic of a film that keeps you guessing the whole way through, leading you on and making you think, and then right in the final act everything becomes clear, and you suddenly realise that everything so far has been a work of genius leading up to this point. It takes a scriptwriter of significant talent to pull this off, and Charlie Kaufman does this with so much finesse he doesn't just pull it off, he makes you believe by the end of the film that Joel and Clementine are living, real people, and that you can actually get your memory selectively removed. It is without doubt one of the greatest scripts of this century so far, filled with light humour and philosophically challenging questions. With such a good script it could be easy to abandon fluid direction and good performances, but Eternal Sunshine isn't short of these qualities either. Michel Gondry creates a strangely beautiful world, with empty beaches and deserted lakes that have frozen over. The sense of isolation and loss emphasises the rather reclusive nature of its lead character, a career-best turn from Jim Carrey, and also suggests how much the curiously coifed Clementine means to him. They are alone together.Everything about Eternal Sunshine works, from the subplots, which at first seem extraneous but eventually tie in beautifully, to the fresh and original concept that carries the film. While ultimately the minds of characters may not be spotless, this film certainly is. 


57. Memento – Christopher Nolan (2000)

Most gimmick movies don't work after you've worked out where the director put all the clues as it feels like an exercise designed to trick the audience rather than a proper film. However Memento avoids this trap very cleverly as the main focus of the film is on the emotional storyline and this is what makes watching the film again and again such a joy to watch. As the ending proves this isn't about Leonard trying to find the murderer of his dead wife but trying to give his life meaning. As Leonard cannot build up relationships, have a career or do anything new with his life he has to find focus and setting himself an impossible task is the perfect way of achieving this. Of course this is very complex stuff and without the right actor the whole thing would fall apart. Thankfully Guy Pierce delivers not only his greatest performance, but possibly the greatest performance of the twenty first century so far. His range is extraordinary, going from humour to pathetic ness to terrifying with ease and allowing the audience to feel sympathy for him even if you know the twist. Structurally the film is sublime as well. Splitting the film in two and having them meet at the middle is very confusing on a first viewing but the more you watch it the more rewarding it gets. Director/screenwriter Christopher Nolan never spoon feds the audience but instead allows them to piece the film together and having half of it in black and white and the other half in colour means it manages to avoid becoming incomprehensible. This is a true masterpiece of modern cinema and one of the defining films of the twenty first century. 

Dave B

56. Some Like It Hot – Billy Wilder (1959)

Billy Wilder's Some Like It Hot is one of those few films that's genuinely flawless. Brilliant direction, sharp script and wonderful performances from the whole cast result in a film that is a pure joy to watch: a real feel-good movie. Everyone remembers THAT last line, expertly delivered by Joe E Brown's Osgood, but there is so much more to enjoy.  

Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis star as Jerry and Joe, two struggling musicians who have to escape Chicago after witnessing the 1929 St Valentine's Day Massacre. To do this, they are forced to don dresses and pose as 'Daphne' and 'Josephine' to join an all-female band heading for Florida by train. This is where the gorgeous Marilyn Monroe appears as Sugar Kane. Despite her many off-camera problems (famously needing 83 takes for one line), Monroe comes across great on screen, in what is probably her finest performance. 

Lemmon and Curtis are excellent as women (the latter looking more the part), as they struggle with maintaining their disguises while both falling for Sugar. Daphne finds himself fending off (at first) the advances of rich admirer Osgood, while Curtis hilariously adopts another alter-ego as a Cary Grant inspired millionaire in order to woo Sugar. The madcap ending is inspired as the mob and the police descend on Florida and the heroes try to elude both. All in all, a wonderfully played comedy/farce that puts a smile on your face from start to finish. 


55. One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest – Milos Forman (1975)

In One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, Jack Nicholson leads the charge against the establishment as Randle P. McMurphy, a cocky criminal who feigns mental illness to escape a jail term. However, jail starts to look like a healthy prospect when Randle finds himself locking horns with Louise Fletcher's Nurse Ratched, a strict authoritarian who is determined to stop his attempts to liven up her joyless wards. This was the first Jack Nicholson film that I saw, and it remains my favourite, largely because of Nicholson's performance as Randle. He's fantastically un-PC and at first unsympathetic to the other patients, asking questions like "who's the head bull-goose loony around here?" Louise Fletcher is more than a match for Jack as the icy matron who meets Randle's every move with calm menace; and the film has one of the best supporting casts in movie history, one which includes the excellent character actors Scatman Crothers, Danny DeVito, Brad Dourif, Christopher Lloyd and Vincent Schiavelli. The film also has an emotional impact, in particular the last half-hour, where Randle gives the patients a renewed hope, one which is robbed from them by the reality of their situation. Randle's fate has a shock value I've rarely seen bettered in other films. Overall, this is one of the most engaging films I've seen, and will surely make many people's top twenty lists. 

54. Unforgiven – Clint Eastwood (1992)

Blurb coming soon

53. Groundhog Day – Harold Ramis (1993)

It's hard to remember a time before Groundhog Day (and not just because I was 8 when it came out)... it was such a unique premise at the time and has inspired countless TV shows, films, music videos. You name it, it will have had someone relive the same day again and again. With it, director Harold Ramis carves out a fantastically clever set of events that use all sorts of different settings, events and happenings that are too clever or outrageous or just sublime to want to reveal. Through it all, star Bill Murray is sublime, from his infamous expression of glumness to his biting wit, it's a shock that he never got nominated for this, his best role bar none. Quel surprise, it is a film I can find myself watching again... and again... and again... and I never even mentioned fantastic scene-stealer Stephen Toblowsky as the ultimate annoying buddy Ned, bing! 

DJ Rob C: Mark II!

52. Miller's Crossing - Joel & Ethan Coen (1990)

When all the great and good gangster films are mentioned, it's always Goodfellas, Godfather 1/2, Casino etc. Well be informed, there's an often-overlooked gangster film that deserves to be mentioned alongside those classic movies. That film is Miller's Crossing, an unmistakable slice of Coen genius that is also right up there with their own impressive back catalogue of films. The reason I think it's overlooked is that the Coen brothers sacrificed all the flashiness and cool of 'Fellas and Casino for a step back further, into prohibition era America and a time when gangsters were gangsters and not just sharp suited and slick haired. It tells the story of Tom Reagan (a career best Gabriel Byrne), an Irish-American enforcer for Albert Finney's mob boss Leo. When Reagan doubts his boss' order to not take out a rival mob boss, Bernie Bernbaum (John Turturro) and then admits to fooling around with his boss' lady, he finds himself thrown out and trying to keep the peace in the middle of a labyrinth plot of double crosses and twists, whilst all the time wondering if he's up to the job anymore. Miller's Crossing can sometimes come across as a homage to films of the past but retains it's originality and becomes a character study more than a genre flick. It isn't easily grasped first time round either but is able to withstand repeat viewings due to the great cast, acting and being visually stunning into the bargain. A master-class in filmmaking, Millers Crossing deserves it's place in any top 100 movie list

Kenny M

51. It's a Wonderful Life – Frank Capra (1946)

Patronised upon release, Capra's sublime fable can now been as the apex of classic Hollywood movie-making.  Telling the story of an 'ordinary' man driven to contemplating suicide, it's one of the only truly worthwhile pieces of "universal" 20th-century art, punched across as it is with such conviction, humanity and sincerity.  On our journey through the life of George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) - told largely in flashback - we are accompanied by his barely competent guardian angel (Henry Travers), desperate to acquire his wings: the mark of success for those in his profession.  Bailey's selflessness and sacrifice have forced him to compromise his dreams - though never his ideals - before his forgetful Uncle (Thomas Mitchell) places in motion events that cause George's life to unravel. 

Much of the movie's brilliance lies in its maturity and intelligence.  Gone are the moralising excesses of Capra's You Can't Take It with You.  Stewart's character here is a reluctant hero and saviour, whose breakdown is symptomised by a lashing out towards those whom he loves.  The 'baddie' of the piece, Potter (Lionel Barrymore), received no material comeuppance.  And where the film is dark, it is very, very dark.  Such complexity belies the film's popular reputation.  The production elements - script, casting, performances, direction and cinematography - are balanced as deftly and magnificently as the moods of the piece.  A shift into nightmarish fantasy never jars.  Ward Bond, Gloria Grahame and Thomas Mitchell all shine in showy supporting turns, beautifully complementing the lead performances of Donna Reed and Jimmy Stewart, who was never better. 

Unlike the protagonists of many "feel good" films, George Bailey is not a character in need of redemption.  Rather, he requires an affirmation of his own worth.  In It's a Wonderful Life, Capra created an unforgettable, vibrant crystallisation of the old adage that "every life touches so many others".  Time has not dulled the film's impact.  Because it dares to go darker, its conclusion packs a staggering emotional wallop.  Like Bing Crosby, It's a Wonderful Life should be enjoyed not just at Christmas, but all year round. 

Rick 7

50. Ghostbusters – Ivan Reitman (1984)

There are sooooo many classic films that come from the hallowed halls of the 80's but none are quite as thrilling and funny in equal measure as Ivan Reitman's genius brainchild Ghostbusters... taking a typical special effects horror extravaganza and turning it into a vehicle for the future of 80's comedy is an idea as great as adding wheels to a car or slicing toast. Guess what? It works! This is the film that really launched the careers of Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis (directing the greatest comedy of all time in Groundhog Day), and the one and only Bill Murray, stealing the film with classic lines such as the classic put-down he delivers to the odious Walter Peck. It's a film brimming with effects and zingers in equal measure, and is by far some of the most fun you could ever have from a film.... 

DJ Rob C: Mark II!

49. Amelie – Jean-Pierre Jeunet (2001)

Amelie is that rarest and most wonderful things, a romantic comedy that is not only heart-warmingly beautiful but also incredibly funny, whilst remaining clever and unpatronising toward its audience. Audrey Tautou plays the titular character, a girl who is completely lost in life until completely by accident (with a plot-point cleverly integrating the idea of flashbulb memory and subverting it entirely) she discovers that she can find fulfillment by making others happy. Not in any ordinary way, but in beautiful over-elaborate strategies that ensure that the person receiving the happiness can not be aware of her. But what of her happiness? Amelie's quest for happiness is what the film is all about. Jean Pierre-Jeunet has said that he felt like he had been building up to Amelie all his life, and so it's rather fitting that the film should be his masterpiece. Visually it's not only beautiful, shot in luminous greens and reds, but incredibly inventive, with novel special effects to highlight character traits and flaws. There is also an incredible depth to the script, as the fairly large supporting cast all have fully formed and fleshed out characters, all brilliantly memorable, with their own likes and dislikes, they may not have a great deal to do with plot, but they fill out a very real-unreal Paris, that is somewhere that every time you put the DVD on you feel teleported too. For me Amelie is not only one of the most special films of the 21st century, but indeed of all time. A wonderfully whimsical story, might not be to everybody's taste, but indeed those who get sucked into Amelie's world are never likely to want to leave 


48. Once Upon a Time in America – Sergio Leone (1984)

Sergio Leone toyed with the idea of making Once Upon a Time in America as far back as in 1968, when he was shooting Once Upon a Time in the West. It finally went into production in 1982, but before its release in 1984, it was heavily edited from its 229-minute running time to 139 minutes. In addition, the film's structure was edited to remove its unchronological structure. The result was a mess of a film that made little sense, much because of the lack of key scenes explaining several important plot points. Critics who were aware of the long version attacked the short version, with many of them stating that it was a disgrace that Leone's work would be so brutally butchered (especially when taking into consideration the fact that it got a 15-minute standing ovation at Cannes). 

After some time, the movie was restored to its original form, and has since become a gangster film classic. It became Leone's swan-song after he passed away in 1989, and the chances of him making a better last film seems tiny at best, especially when considering the final product, because Once Upon a Time in America is a towering achievement even by Leone's high standards. Despite its long running time, it is always engrossing. It is never boring. It captures the audience in its grip and holds us there. Even after it is finished, it still won't let go. It lingers in our memories for a long time. It will live forever, and the only thing we will forget is its shorter version, which is just the way things should be. 

Dantes Inferno

47. Heat – Michael Mann (1995)

Most notable for the fact that it's the only film to pit Pacino against De Niro it's easy to overlook its other contributions to cinema. Belying its TV remake origins it forges a stylish take on the increased blur between the motivations of cops and the criminals they chase. Throw in the all encompassing story of the characters involved, stunning portrayal of LA and its vistas, hard nosed action scenes and a now infamous coffee shop confrontation scene Heat can lay claim to its reputation. 

The story revolves around two men on either side of the law. It's not just an exercise in cops chasing criminals but a piece of character development that seeks to understand the main protagonists rather than painting a one dimensional view of them. Both are strangely similar despite their social standings. They both have dysfunctional families; failing relationships yet both feature the same drive for their respective professions. Through Mann's complex and interwoven storyline all the characters interact both as the cops attempt to track down the criminals ending in an compelling finale. 

An endlessly stylish film shot entirely on location throughout LA, Mann manages to add gritty realism and flash (in equal measures) to an otherwise ordinary storyline punctuated by some intense and realistic action scenes (the Bank robbery has garnered attention from the likes of Andy MacNab for its portrayal of gun handling). Chuck in a dash of morale comment from Mann and Heat could well be described as a Miami Vice for the 90s. 

Not just a great cop film, nor a great film from the 90s, Heat is a great film full stop. An essential viewing punching well above the sum of its parts or its humble origins


46. Rear Window – Alfred Hitchcock (1954)

In a career that included so many highs, surely it speaks for itself that Rear Window remains amongst Hitchcock's most enduring and popular works. The ever charismatic James Stewart is L.B. Jeffries, a worldly photojournalist reluctantly confined to a wheelchair in his apartment after an accident. A man used to action, he begins to watch his neighbours from his window to relieve the boredom, only to become more and more convinced that a man from the apartment across the yard (Raymond Burr) has murdered his nagging wife. At once spurred on by his streetwise physiotherapist (Thelma Ritter) and met with derision from his beautiful model girlfriend (Grace Kelly at her most radiant), Jeffries' voyeurism becomes increasingly obsessive before he finally takes action. 

A simple premise, executed by a craftsman at the top of his game; this film works as both an immediate piece of entertainment and as a wonderfully manipulative piece of art, capitalising on the audiences own voyeuristic instincts and drawing them into the story, almost turning them into accomplices to Jeffries' conspiracies. Witty, slow building and boasting three fine performances from the protagonists, Rear Window is a simply terrific film that is nothing less than a master class in character study, storytelling and, of course, suspense.

Harry Lime

45. There Will Be Blood – Paul Thomas Anderson (2007)

Blurb to be added

44. Double Indemnity – Billy Wilder (1944)

"Suddenly it came over me that everything would go wrong. It sounds crazy Keyes, but it's true, so help me. I couldn't hear my own footsteps. It was the walk of a dead man."

Perhaps one of cinemas most devastating lines of impending doom, as insurance salesman Walter Neff realises that his tryst with Phyllis Dietrichson is going to have fatal consequences in Billy Wilder's classic Film Noir.

Neff first meets his 'Femme Fatale' during a visit to renew a policy, it's during this first, flirtatious meeting that Phyllis asks Neff if she could secretly take out a life insurence policy on her wealthy husband. Knowing what Phyliss has in mind, the pair part ways, until a late night visit ensares Neff into her scheme.

After succeeding in gaining her husbands signature on the policy, the pair succesfully commit an elaborte muder, covered up to look like accidental death. Howver, Neff doesn't count on the tenacious investigation of his friend and collegue, Barton Keyes, who sets about trying to prove foul play.

Revelations about Phyllis's life further the tension and paranoia Neff is suffering, and the mistrust and double crossing come to a fatal conclusion.

Like all of Wilders best work, Double Indemnity if full of wonderful dialogue, charater, and beautifully filmed scenes that put you in the heart of the story.


43. 2001: A Space Odyssey – Stanley Kubrick (1968)

Arthur C Clarke once said that "if you understood 2001: A Space Odyssey the first time you watched it, you didn't understand it.” This statement was later opposed by Stanley Kubrick himself, but that remains as one of the most poignant – and truthful – of statements surrounding Kubrick's alleged masterpiece. It's very hard to pin-point, on your first watch, what the hell has just happened and – most importantly – whether or not it was brilliant. Of course, as you watch again and pick up more and more, you realise that it most definitely is brilliant. 

You can surround the "story” with many different theories, none of which have been agreed with or condemned by the director. Is it about resources? Food? Religion? Faith? Who knows, but you can't argue with the theme of humanity that's at the core of the picture. 

Everything – whether we're talking about apes, machines or babies – is grounded in the human psyche. The first of the four segments – the legendary men in ape suits segment – is really just several vignettes centred around the theme of humanity. The apes, which are after all just under-developed people, showcase lust, violent tendencies, defensiveness, segregation, and most intriguingly curiosity. What follows for the next two hours will be disputed forever… what was the deal with HAL and why did he screw up? Why could that man see himself as a pensioner? And what the hell was that giant baby? No matter what your theories are, there's no denying the intrigue, fascination, brilliance and pure genius that 2001 exudes in bucket-loads. 


42. Star Wars – George Lucas (1977)

Prior to embarking on a career as an evil childhood stealer (apparently) George Lucas directed a little sci-fi adventure film called Star Wars, that would spawn two sequels and eventually three prequels. My first viewings of Star Wars were on a device called VHS. Watching on a small, square shaped screen it was hard to imagine just what a Star Destroyer would look like engulfing the silver screen. It wasn't until a near 20 years later that I would see this iconic opening on the big screen for the first time. Even then it had quite an impact.

Borrowing (or influenced) from several sources, Star Wars is a classic and simple tale of good v evil. In this case The Rebel Alliance v The Galatic Empire. It's a film with memorable characters,

There's the two laser dodging droids, one who would be happy working in Grace Brothers, while his best friend is the sort of droid that would be caught ogling Princess Leia as she stepped out the shower. Probably. Then there's the central hero of the film,Luke Skywalker, a farm boy taking his first steps into fulfilling his destiny. He's mentored by on old Jedi Obi Wan Kenobi, who later turns out to be a lying sack of shit, from a certain point of view. There are joined along the way by a cocky smuggler and his wookie sidekick. Now come on, how many kids wanted to Han Solo rather than Luke. And finally of cousre we have the Alliance's favourite pushy princess.

Oh, I'm almost forgetting a certain Sith Lord who takes great delight in crushing the larinx of those on both sides.

Add spectular action sequences into the mix, a daring rescue of a Princess, and a riviting final assault on a massive space station. Oh, and a rousing score that's as famous as the films themselves, and you have perfect little adventure film. I could give more concise plot details, but you know the plot. And of course you have your own memories, about why Star Wars is special to you.


41. Seven Samurai – Akira Kurosawa (1954)

As far as pure cinema goes, nothing beats Seven Samurai. As a cinematic experience goes, nothing beats Seven Samurai. As far as action movies go, nothing beats Seven Samurai. 

Made in 1952 and 3 by Japanese director Akira Kurosawa, the film was something of a labour of love. The tale of a bandit-ravaged village who go to the big city to find someone to protect them, and come back with Seven Samurai, the film is about as multi-layered as they come. Exploring the futility of war through the eyes of the warriors, the class divide through the eyes of a Samurai and the ignorant fear of the peoples, the film is bursting to the seams with grand ideas, but yet it never feels bogged down. 

It may last 3 ½ hours, but Kurosawa's intense visual style, and the fast-moving script, make the whole film fly by at an incredible pace. It's got everything you could ever want from a film- romance, comedy, action and grand ideas, all wrapped up in one package, only bolstered by the epic and incredible images seen through the eye of a true film visionary. 

Not only that, but the script is delivered excellently by the cast. Takashi Shimura, one of the most underrated actors of all time, excels as the wise leader of the Samurai. But it's Toshiro Mifune who takes the honours, in a performance of wild energy and passion that would put Brando to shame. As he stalks across the screen, with the impact of a wolf, and the coiled danger of a cobra, he creates a character so memorable and powerful as to be permanently imprinted in your memory. He's my favourite actor of all time, and here, he's gives his finest performance of all time- a tour de force of energy and intensity, unequalled since. 

Not only that, but the film has had it's mark on almost every action film since. Kurosawa's eye for visceral action is incredible. His contrast between silent, long shots and fast-paced, short shots has been imitated by hundreds of directors since, but no one has approached the intense impact of Kurosawa's eye for beauty, his eye for the perfectly portrayed shot. 

Seven Samurai is, without a singular doubt, the most beautiful action film of all time. It could even be the most beautiful films of all times. With a melancholic undercurrent, and thoughts outside the station of the action-adventure film, the film has pretty much influenced every director now working, whether they know it or not. No film is more beautiful, no film is no more intelligent, and no film is more exciting, entertaining, effective, affecting or inspiring. 

This is pure cinema. This is CINEMA. 


40. Casablanca – Michael Curtiz (1942)

Casablanca is a film that truly stands the test of time. Set in Casablanca (a part of unoccupied France) during World War II, an American ex-freedom fighter - Rick (Humphrey Bogart) runs a successful nightclub, full of all manner of characters including European refugees, swindlers, corrupt police and Nazis…! Everything is going nicely for Rick until the arrival in town of a famous Czech underground leader - named Victor Laszlo (Paul Heinreid) and his wife Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman). They need safe passage out of Casablanca before the Nazi's can send Victor to a concentration camp - and certain death. Only Rick can help, but it soon becomes apparent that he and Ilsa have a history together and he's still very bitter towards her…. will he help them? a stylish supporting cast includes Claude Rains, Sidney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre. 

Casablanca is one of the finest American films ever made, and possibly the best politically motivated / propaganda movie. It's intelligent, stylish and very well made, strengthened by memorable performances by all of the characters. The script is endlessly quotable, the direction by the legendary Michael Curtiz is spot on and it is edited particularly well, with almost no scene wasted or character shown needlessly, always progressing the story. An unforgettable film rich in style and swagger. 

"This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship" 


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39. City of God – Fernando Meirelles (2002)

Upon it's release, critics fell over themselves to compare City of God with other movies "The Brazilian GoodFellas\Resevoir Dogs!" screamed every poster on the tube. But, whilst Fernando Merielle's movie deserves the comparison, it is in itself an entirely different beast. What makes City of God special is not so much it's flashy camera technique - although that helps - it's the way the characters are handled which puts them well beyond the cliché's they might otherwise have fallen into. Rocket isn't trying to escape the life Bruce Springsteen style; he's just getting on with things. In one of the movie's best scenes, he sets out with the intent of committing crime only to end up liking the people he planned to rob and so not following through. Ze, on the other hand, could have been very easy to portray as a bog-standard crime monster. However, at crucial moments the film gives him flashes of humanity, not least in his friendship with Benny (Phellipe Haagensen) , the "coolest hood in the City of God". When Ze discovers Benny is leaving, you can see the last moments of humanity die in his eyes. It's an extremely powerful moment. 

The film is one of those with several "best bit" contenders, from the opening "chicken chase" sequence (brilliant because of the way the film suddenly moves from comic chase to tense potential bloodbath), to the scene where Ze punishes The Runts (a gang of children) by taking the smallest one and asking him to decide whether he would like to be shot in the hand or the foot, to the scene on the beach which perfectly contrasts the beach's beauty with the run down look of the favelas. But for me the best scene has to be Benny's farewell party, in which a bungled assassination on Ze's life is played out entirely illuminated by strobe lighting. It's also the strongest moment for Ze's character. He tries to get a girl to dance, and when she turns him down he violently attacks her boyfriend - it's the only way he knows of getting what he wants. Filmed in a real favela for added impact, Merielle's film will hold up for years to come. It's a story of a little discussed part of the world, with outstanding performances from it's unknown cast (many of whom were picked for real from the City of God) and is a tense and extremely compelling story. Essential viewing. 

Bulletproof Monk

38. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers – Peter Jackson (2002)

Following The Fellowhip of The Ring was always going to be a tough order and approaching it's 2002 Christmas release date there where those who feared The Two Towers would be incapable of hitting the heights that film stormed. However on it's appointed date of arrival the film stunned everyone by blending the same fantastic story telling and direction with the flawless performances and direction of one Peter Jackson. 
The Two Towers is a more epic film in scope and those who love big battle scenes will probably prefer it to the picture it followed, but those like me who adored the Fellowhip will still find the wonderfully rendered world and beautifully essayed characters that made that picture such a joy. In this film Ian McKellen is back in storming form, Elijah Wood provides a more mature performance as Frodo and Viggo Mortensen probably shot to success with his second excellent rendition of Aragorn on the big screen. It also provides the wonderful villain that is Christopher Lee's Saruman to stretch his arms and show what he can do, something the rest of this fantastic trilogy doesn't do quite so well. 
The film even manages to make Orlando Bloom look "not utterly useless" which is in itself a triumph and in my opinion as good a reason to win an Oscar as any. The film blends action, good characters, masterful direction and some good scares into one magical mix and grips even the biggest Tolkien hater from the start. They can say what they want.....but we all know they actually loved it. 

37. The Matrix – The Wachowski Brothers (1999)

So, "what is the Matrix?” asks one of the finest teaser trailers ever devised, as a leather clad Keanu Reeves back-flips away from a speeding train. After finding out for ourselves, the teaser merely announced the arrival of the sleeper hit to end all sleeper hits. The brothers Wachowski had audiences tumbling down the rabbit hole for what transpired into a mesmerising concoction of intelligent science-fiction, high octane kung-fu and action scenes that are, quite literally, out of this world.

With a wonderful premise that has you questioning from the start – who are these "agents?” how the hell did Trinity (Carrie Anne-Moss) do that? – and a reveal that maintains a carefully balanced intrigue, Neo's (Reeves) transcendence from hacker nerd to full blown superhero is utterly compelling. Brilliantly fleshed out characters, a clever script and tantalising dialogue on the workings of the Matrix delight until the pivotal moment where the film just lets go. A magnificent dojo fight provides a taster of what is to come, but little prepares for the final forty minutes of the most adrenaline pumping action you're ever likely to see. One amazing set piece after another, from the beautifully composed lobby shoot-out to a wall-punching subway fight, all climaxing in an exquisitely paced race against time… woah!

The perfect combination of style (bullet-time) and substance (the Oracle's thoughtful meanderings), nothing has matched The Matrix in its technical capacity, artistry or originality since. And Keanu's great as well, so perhaps for once there really is no spoon…


36. L.A. Confidential – Curtis Hanson (1997)

LA Confidential is a riveting thriller ostensibly about a multiple murder in the Nite Owl café. It is based on a labyrinthine novel by James Ellory and to really appreciate how astonishing the adaptation job Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson did then read the book – to come out with a taut well-paced film that encapsulates the book so well is a tremendous achievement and well-merited its Writing Oscar. That Titanic stole Best Film remains a travesty.  Much of the veracity in the film comes from the interweaving of real-life characters and incidents into the narrative. The attempt to take over imprisoned LA crime Boss Mickey Cohen's drug business is central. There really was a scandal surrounding the LA police brutally attacking Mexican prisoners over Xmas in the 50s. Even Lana Turner and her gangster beau Johnny Stompanato make her appearance (confused for one of the stable of starlet lookalike hookers). 
Location also plays a role. Hanson recreates a beautiful and sunny 50s LA (somewhat reminiscent of Chinatown) undercut by corruption, drug dealing and the seedy fallout from Hollywood, including the scandal magazine of the title. Much of the filming was done on locations throughout LA, virtually unchanged in style over the last half century. The film is topped with star-making performances from Crowe and Pearce (it is significant that even the very limited Basinger comes out smelling of roses):  James Cromwell is a standout central to 2 of the key scenes featuring the deliberately created MacGuffin of Rollo Tomasi.  Complex, satisfying – violent and funny. From start to finish you are completely absorbed in this, one of the best thrillers of the past 50 years. 


35. City Lights – Charles Chaplin (1931)

City Lights is a timeless tale of love between two lonely souls in the big, uncaring city. The Tramp falls in love with a blind flower girl and determines to get the money to fund an operation for her eyes. Along the way Chaplin saves a suicidal millionaire and befriends him (but only when the fat cat is completely drunk!), benefiting from his money, social stature and car (leading to one of the funniest one liners ever: "Am I driving?”). The Tramp's first encounter with the Blind Girl is visual storytelling at its most brilliant. In just one scene Chaplin has the two characters meet; the Girl believe his is a wealthy man; he discover she is blind and begins his affection for her - all with the most simple (but inventive) use of actions. The story is entirely set-up and with a healthy dose of comedy and tenderness to boot. City Lights has many great comedy set-pieces, including the greatest boxing scene ever filmed, which cannot fail to elicit belly laughs from the audience.  I will highlight just one. Although Chaplin opposed the use of talking in City Lights he did use sound effects and this following scene in particular showcases comic genius using sound on par with Chaplin's visual gags. Having accidentally swallowed a whistle at a high society party, Charlie gets the hiccups and every time he hiccups he emotes a whistle. After constantly interrupting a would be singer Charlie moves outside where he unwittingly heralds a cab and attracts the attention of canine company. This scene is two minutes of comic perfection! A final note on the famous ending: Perfect. The Blind Girl's face as she realises: Perfect. The Tramp's overwhelming joy: Perfect.  It seems like the suitable end for this film. 


34. Juassic Park – Steven SpielBerg (1993)

Schindler's List, Jaws, Saving Private Ryan......when it comes to Steven Spielberg you really are entering into the work of a genius. It was Spielberg who brought Indiana Jones to the screen, it was he again who imagined The War Of The Worlds with such energy and passion and of course created what is known today as the Holiday blockbuster. These are obviously all astonishing achievements and ones that will have him marked in the hall of fame for all time but his greatest triumph has to be his sensational adaptation of Michael Crichton's best selling novel Jurassic Park. 

With Jurassic Park Spielberg brought everything that sets him apart from other directors, great action, sympathetic characters, real family values and of course unbelievable special effects. For the film he brought together a splendid cast including Sam Neill, Jeff Goldblum, Laura Dern, the late Bob Peck and one of the greatest actors of all time Richard Attenborough. Each actor morphs perfectly into their said character and allows the audience to become totally immersed in the story. However even these great talents are usurped by the Dinosaurs, Jurassic Park was the dawn of visual effects as we know them and even today they hold up beautifully. The Dinosaurs not only looked great but Spielberg gave them real character, the mighty Brachiosaurus, the menacing T-Rex and the pure evil that is the Velociraptors. Each Dinosaur evokes within you a different emotion yet each triggers a feeling of pure awe and excitement, something today's CGI creations often seem to lack. 

The action in Jurassic Park is pure popcorn heaven, and several scenes are far scarier than any Hostel or Saw. It's amazing to see how frightening Spielberg can make his films even with a PG rating, the likes of Eli Roth's can have all the 18's and NC-17's they like; never do they generate as much tension as Spielberg when he's in top form. In the end Film is about being able to escape into uncharted territory and become part of the adventure. Thanks to the masterful direction, sensational effects and lets not forget sterling performances, Jurassic Park allows you to do this with ease. A true cinema classic. 

Daniel Kelly

33. Die Hard – John McTiernan (1988)

One of the quintessential action films of the 80s, well of any decade reallly, it's Christmas time in L.A, the Nakatomi building has been overtaken by terrorist led a German called Hans Gruber who reads Time Magazine, and the only man who can stop them is a cop with barefeet and a dirty vest.

Die Hard follows the rules and formula of the action genre with stylish and cartoonish aplomb, it has the guns, the explosions, the not so smart chief of police, and the FBI men who think they are starring in Apocalypse Now. And it has the buddy element known to action movies in the shape of Sgt Powell. It also throws some of the rules out. Most heros would fit straight into a villains clothes and shoes, John McLane isn't so lucky when he dispatches one with Hobbit like feet. And then there's McLane himself, he doesn't look like an indestructable force, you actually believe he could have the crap kicked out of him.

For everything that is good about Die Hard, the film is almost stolen by the performance of Alan Rickman, who plays Gruber with an over the top relish, creating one the genres most memorable and hammy bad guys, and in a film which features another pissed off German called Karl that's some ahievement. Not even the clichéd ending can dampen spirits. It's not going to test any brain. It's just a blast of super entertainment.


32. Downfall – Oliver Hirschbiegel (2004)

April 1945 and Germany stands on the brink of defeat in the Second World War. The centre of this turmoil is a bunker in Berlin where Adolf Hitler, a shadow of his former self, is holed up screaming defiance whilst awaiting the inevitable downfall of the Third Reich. This is the story of Der Untergang ("Downfall”) based on the recollections of Hitler's personal secretary Traudl Junge as brought to the screen by Oliver Hirschbiegel. In translating this story, Hirschbiegel puts together a fascinating tale of a man losing his grip on power and facing the inevitable and in doing so, helped to exorcise Germany's own demons about the man that led his country on an idealistic war. At the centre of this powerful film is Bruno Ganz's memorising performance as Hitler. Looking old and tired, Ganz's performance is tremendous for the way his body language and most notably, his eyes betray what fire is left in his rhetoric. However, it would wrong to think of this film as a film sculpted out of one performance for whilst Ganz is clearly the centrepiece, he is supported ably by the rest of the cast and in fact, the most chillingly memorable scene does not even feature Hitler but is one showing the way in which Magda Goebbels, wife of spin-doctor Josef, copes with the impending defeat. A must-watch drama which makes for a fascinating account of how people in power cope with the despair of losing it and a historical account of the end of WW2

Groovy Mule

31. Ikiru – Akira Kurosawa (1952)

Akira Kurosawa's poignant and optimistic Ikiru is a sublime story of regret, hope and liberation.

Kanji Wantanabe is a faceless bureaucrat who has spent his working life stamping forms. When told he has terminal cancer, he realises that his life has passed him by, that it has been one of no consequence. Even those he should be closest to are distant from him.

After trying to find purpose in Tokyo's nightlife, his life is given purpose by a young lady, who inspires him to make change. Eventually it's the quest to build a simple child's playground that brings Kanji his inner peace.

Ikiru is a sad, heart warming story that leaves a longing impression. It never fails to make me smile, or bring tears to my eyes. Inspirational cinema at it's best.


30. Pan's Labyrinth – Guillermo Del Toro (2006)

Fairy tales have always been slightly dark - witches and kidnap abound in the stories we know so well. Yet nothing can quite prepare you for seeing fairies getting their heads ripped off by a man with eyes in his hands. In Pan’s Labyrinth, Guillermo del Toro has fully embraced the darker elements of fairy tales and crafted something unique, often disturbing, yet utterly brilliant. As both the worlds of reality and fantasy get more and more brutal, the line that separates them blurs until that stunning, almost ambiguous conclusion that will leave you wondering how much of what you have seen is real. A modern masterpiece. 


29. Evil Dead 2 – Sam Raimi (1987)

85 minutes. That's all it takes to watch one of the most perfect films ever devised. 85 minutes. In a blink of an eye you've witnessed a film that turns the rules of the horror genre on it's head, is way more post-modern than anything Wes Craven's created and, most importantly, has left you enthralled and highly entertained. With Sam Raimi swinging camera's enigmatically into Bruce Campbell's face and spraying shitload's of blood over everyone's favourite idiotic hero, there's much to be admired. Flying eyeballs, headless-chainsaw wielding corpses, blunt shovel decapitation, an unseen force crashing through doors (in a visually awesome chase sequence), three stooges slapstick, hose-pipe bloodbaths, worksheds, boomsticks, a decapitated head with a nasty bite and the greatest scene of self mutilation ever filmed all add up to unbelievable audience satisfaction. Campbell's now iconic tooling up for the final confrontation with a soul-sucking deadite and the fantastic way that he continually has his arse kicked by the evil spirits, is not only "groovy” it has also entered the halls of movie lore, so important they are to Evil Dead 2's success. And it all ends with one final kick in the balls to our hero, much to our delighted pleasure. 85 minutes of your time isn't much to ask for, plus you get two films for the price of one seeing as Evil Dead 2 is one of the few films that has adjudged the balance between horror and comedy so perfectly. And if you didn't hear me before – this film features a flying fucking eyeball! No excuses, go and watch it again, before you finish reading the rest of the poll… the power of the chin compels you!


28. The Big Lebowski – Joel Coen (1998)

Whilst Fargo deservedly won the Coen Brothers the Oscar plaudits they deserve, The Big Lebowski is not only their real masterpiece, it's also the funniest fucking film ever made. Whilst the screenplay has more in common with a Raymond Chandler-esque detective tale – with a soiled rug and an insidious kidnap plot holding the string of events together – it's not until you delve much deeper that the full blown comedy will cause your spleen to rupture.

How this is possible is debatable. Some would say a story which goes nowhere, is full of red herrings and wild goose chases, leaving little actually resolved by the end, allows for the host of zany characters on show to simply breathe life into proceedings. Jeff Bridges is perfect as the eternal slacker, bumbling from one fiasco to the next in his own personal rug replacing odyssey, bettered only by John Goodman's slightly unhinged Vietnam veteran and Jesus, a rather extravagant bowling messiah. Indeed, Jesus' introduction is possibly one of the finest ever filmed. But it's the impressive number of different style of gags throughout that elevates Lebowski above most contemporaries. It has a wonderful dry wit ('obviously you're not a golfer'), some fantastic slap-stick, great dialogue ('Fuck me! Say what you want about the tenants of national socialism at least its an ethos'), excellent recurring jokes (witness the slow destruction of The Dude's car), too many laugh out loud moments to mention (the reactionary chief of police's mug throwing, a dead man's ashes blowing into The Dude's beard) and a sequence of visual genius involving a curious Dude, a pencil and a tracing etch that is just as memorable, if not better, than Airplane's drinking problem gag.

Trust me, The Big Lebowski is fucking brilliant. Nihilists, carpet pisser's, paedo bowling messiahs, pacifists, ex-Vietnam vets, quasi-Europeon artists and The Dude. It's got everything you want in a comedy and much, much more! Hell, we never even find out if the and Walter get to the bowling final – the hall-markings of a truly a great movie.


27. The Apartment – Billy Wilder (1960)

CC “Bud” Baxter (Jack Lemmon) works in a massive office in New York, and tries to get ahead by letting out his apartment to company executives so they can cavort with their mistresses. It works, and soon he finds himself a junior executive, letting his apartment to the big boss; Jeff D Shelldrake (Fred McMurray). But, when it turns out that Shelldrake’s mistress of choice is elevator cutie Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine), Baxter ends up having to choose between the girl of his dreams, and his ever-rising career. “The Apartment” is a wonderful film, and there is a whole plethora of reasons as to why. It’s witty and concise, and there’s a whole heap of great comic ideas floating around. But, even if you removed all of the jokes and funny bits (which there are a considerable amount of) from the film, you’re still left with a great dramatic piece of cinema.

Wilder’s other comedic classic (if you can say he only had two), “Some Like it Hot!”, is a joke-a-minute laugh riot with no real depth – other than to poke fun at the whole gangster film genre. “The Apartment”, on the other hand, has genuine depth. It comments on the robotic nature of office work and the darker side of love, whilst also carrying darker undertones – with its subplots about adultery and suicide – than most comedies would ever dare to. You can imagine how edgy and different it would have been nearly fifty years ago just because it’s still edgy and different now, with a hard-hitting effect that makes the drama tangible whilst still retaining a light-hearted mood. Jack Lemmon is brilliant in the lead role. I’m a huge fan of his, and I don’t think I’ve seen a better Lemmon performance than this – with perhaps the exception of ‘Glengarry Glen Ross’. It’s a wonderfully written role, with Lemmon pitching one-liner after one-liner with a chirpy likeability, whilst also playing the emotive side of the role – the down and outer with his eyes on the girl – to great effect. Shirley MacLaine is as charming as ever, with a charisma and a likeability about her that makes her one of the loveliest leading ladies, and female protagonists, in any romantic comedy since or before. The performances are one thing, but the writing is a class above, with wit, intelligence, and excellent pacing all being features of Wilder and I.A.L Diamond’s incredible script. It’s just perfect. I haven’t got a bad thing to say about it


26. The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly – Sergio Leone (1966)

The most entertaining western ever made. Sergio Leone's direction was named by Quentin Tarantino as the best ever. Now, you may not give a rat's ass about Tarantino's opinion, but here he certainly has a point. The film runs for almost 3 hours in its extended version, and it feels like one and a half at most. It's a perfect blend of fine elements - superb editing (most notably at the end, of course), sublime acting (Eastwood is cooler than ice and Wallach is just a genius), brilliant cinematography (from close-ups to shots of the battle, there is nothing I would change), one of the best film scores ever, and a conventional, but still excellent plot. The film follows from one iconic scene to another, but they're all brilliant. Violent and yet thoughtful, beautiful and quick, funny and audacious, this has it all. Watch it on the biggest screen possible - you won't regret it.

Miles Messervy 007 

25. The Godfather Part II – Francis Ford Coppola (1974)

Few sequels can match the quality of their predecessors. And when the original film is something of the quality of The Godfather, one would assume that a sequel could never scale such heights of film-making. However, not only does Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather Part II match the original in terms of quality, it expands the story wonderfully creating the richest saga Hollywood has ever produced. 

Godfather II continues the story in two strands. Firstly Michael Corleone's reign as head of the family forms the backbone of the film. Whereas the first film gorgeously captures the quite contradictory security of family within a criminal environment, the second sees its destruction. As a result, it is overall a darker film than the first, cataloguing the tragedies of the Corleone family. The story of Michael's ruthlessness is contrasted with the story of young Vito Corleone in the second strand, which depicts events preceding the first film. And these scenes set in Sicily and New York in the early part of the 20th century are beautifully shot. Unlike the harsher looking hues of the story of Michael, Coppola decides to use a softer haze, and this combined with the periodic costumes and set-design provide some of the most impressive visuals ever put to screen. 

Coppola goes on to explore themes of family, power, corruption, morality, betrayal, vengeance and the fallibility of the American dream. And this exploration is spear-headed by the excellent performances from the stellar cast. Al Pacino and Robert De Niro in the two key roles stand out in particular. Pacino continues his mesmerising performance as a powerful man whose obsession with power and the destruction of his enemies has cast a shadow upon his character and by the end of the film is almost unrecognisable from the idealistic young war-hero introduced to us at his sister's wedding. De Niro's performance in contrast paints the picture of a different sort of man altogether. Though he too steers towards criminality, he remains charismatic, charming and seems to be able to balance his morality with his actions without creating the chaos that Michael has unleashed so many years later. 

Coppola doesn't insult the intelligence of the viewer at any point. The Godfather Part II is a complex narrative piece, the greatness of which can be appreciated more with increased viewings. Nominated for eleven Oscars and winning six, it deservedly takes its place in the list of film-fans' and critics' favourite and greatest films consistently, and it does so once again here; truly one of the finest films ever made. 

Giant Green Rabbit

24. Stand By Me – Rob Reiner (1986)

Never work with children or animals. And for the most part, this could be true. For every Jodie Foster and Christian Bale there's a Maculkin and that annoying little twat from The Phantom Menace. But Stand by me tells a story of 4 young boys from Oregon (Will Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman and Jerry O'Connell) who embark on an adventure to find the body of a missing teenager. 

Hotly pursued by Keifer Sutherlands posse of scary quiffs, the boys dodge trains and dogs, sit round a campfire and listen to Gordie's lardass stories, discuss what food they would have for the rest of their lives if they were allowed only one, and get bitten on the bollocks by leaches. Which will scar, I bet. 

River Phoenix steals the film in a performance that would cement his foundations as a true star in the making. The final scene being a real tearjerker in the context of the movie and in ironic reality. It's hard not to watch this movie without it hitting a chord. As The Writer (wonderfully narrated by Richard Dreyfus) says at the end of the film, do we really ever have friends as good as the ones when we were twelve? 

The final line is typed on the screen. And then he flicks his monitor off. And you shout at the telly…”fucking save it!!” 


23. Alien – Ridley Scott (1979)

Ridley Scott's Alien is a defining piece of cinema. A sombre, claustrophobic tale that moves at it's own pace, talking time to develop it's plot and characters. It's this early sedate pacing that allows us to get to know the crew of the Nostromo, and see a group of people who have personal relationships and rely on one another. It would have been easy just to bolt some very different characters togther, but then who have cared about them?

Why am I mumbling on about the crew in this way? Well these relationships are perhaps best shown in the dinner scene, yes that, with the famous chest bustingt scene that sets the tone for what becomes a masterclass in suspense and horror within the bowels and corriodors of the Nostromo, as the remaining crew members face a fight for survival against a predatory alien, lurking in the shadows. Aside from the great direction, superb performances, the whole thing looks quite magnificent, it really does give you a feeling of helpless isolation.

And not forgetting of course, it gave us Ripley. In an era strewn with teenage girls being stalked and slaughtered while semi-naked, it was a bold and refreshing choice to make her the central character.


22. 12 Angry Men – Sidney Lumet (1957)

Blurb coming soon

21. Schindler's List – Steven Spielberg (1993)

When Steven Spielberg announced his decision to film a black and white adaptation of real-life holocaust drama Schindler's Ark it should be remembered that most people in the industry were expecting a disaster. After all, Spielberg was best known for his mainstream blockbusters and perennially optimistic attitude. Liam Neeson was a low-profile actor who had starred in an ever-increasing list of duds. Ralph Fiennes was a complete unknown. Ben Kingsley was the only recognisable name on the project and his popularity had been on the wane since Gandhi. Black and white was a convention of the art houses not the multiplexes. People often accuse Schindler's List of being obvious Oscar bait but they forget how much was going against the film and how little was expected of it. 

The movie itself is wonderfully shot using mainly handheld cameras to give it a more documentary appearance. It marked the beginning of Spielberg's productive collaboration with cinematographer Janusz Kaminski and Schindler's List remains arguably their most beautiful film. The acting is simply flawless, which is all the more remarkable given that the majority of the cast were unknown. The three lead men give career best performances, a testament to their own talent as actors and Spielberg's talent as a director of actors. Screenwriting, editing, sound and music are all out of the top drawer, leading to one of the best-made films of the 1990's. 

Where others would have been bogged down by intellectual navel-gazing it is Spielberg's ability to emotionally connect the audience with the story and the characters that makes Schindler's List so special. This may not go down too well with the intellectual navel-gazers of this world but not even they can deny the artistic and cultural importance of this powerful film. 


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20. The Dark Knight – Christopher Nolan (2008)

Blurb coming soon

19. Lawrence of Arabia – David Lean (1962)

Within its frames Lawrence of Arabia captures the essence of a man, a time and place with unparalleled cinematic magic. The awesome acting, the stupendous story, the remarkable visuals, the sublime script, the fascinating dialogue and majestic music all combine to make a film like none other. The film contains an all star cast including Peter O'Toole, Omar Sharif, Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins and Claude Rains. Everyone is on top of their game, especially Peter O'Toole who gives the greatest cinematic performance I have ever seen. Many an actor would be lost on screen amidst all the sand, but O'Toole never is. Freddie Young's widescreen photography brings the desert alive in an exciting and absorbing way. The film is full of memorable and beautiful scenes such as Sharif's introduction, the long pan over the assault on Aqaba or the glorious reveal from a purple flag of Lawrence and Sheriff Ali leading their army. Although it comes in at 220 minutes, Lawrence of Arabia never lulls. The innovative editing (including some of the most famous examples of direct-cutting) keeps the film moving at a fine pace. There are no gratuitous scenes. Every scene is a required piece of the puzzle. The epic action scenes are breath-taking in their scope and execution. But what gives them their impact is that Lean is not concerned with the visceral thrill of battle, but rather the effect they have on the battlers. What drives men to war and what do they get from it. Everything you see on screen is real and was performed, which just adds to the gob-smacking sense of the shots. If one's respect for Lawrence of Arabia is not enamoured after viewing the film, perhaps it will be when thinking that we will probably never see a film like this again. 


18. Ran – Akira Kurosawa (1985)

Blurb coming soon

17. Taxi Driver – Martin Scorsese (1976)

You can almost smell the city streets in Taxi, it's a film which crawls across your skins and burrows underneath it.

Travis Bickle, war veteran and depressed insomniac. To escape his desperate feelings of isolation he drives a taxi around the artifically lit streets of New York City. Fuelled by the night time scenes of crime and prostitution, he becomes repulsed by the decaying society around him. Losing touch with reality, and becoming paranoid, his mind harbouring thoughts of violence and the need to cleanse the morbid streets of it's seedy activity. His 'you looking at me' antics in the mirror showing us signs of his dark fantasies.

From seeing such a malevolent man, it's juxtaposed with his well meaning attempts to form real relationships that mean something, even if he lacks the social skills to make them work. Then there's the father figure attempts to free young Iris from her squalid life.

I wouldn't go as far as to call Bickle an anti-hero, he's clearly not of sound enough mind to be one. He's actually quite a sad figure who is in need of help, and who has no place in the world. Perhaps the fringes of society is the best place for him.


16. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King – Peter Jackson (2003)

How do you sum up the conclusion to the most epic of epic trilogies in a short paragraph? The important thing is not to gush too much, but I should make this clear from the start. I LOVE Lord of the Rings, particularly ROTK. When you go into this film, you already know the set up (as it's been two years since you saw Fellowship, bought the DVD, watched all the special features, learned the intricate back stories, etc). It would have been quite easy to fuck up the saga, but overall, they just work. The main reason for this is Peter Jackson, a man who, when he talks about the project, talks with genuine affection, and is extremely humble to be allowed the opportunity to make these movies. What sets this movie apart from the other two is the sheer scale it operates on, and yet the human (well, you know what I mean) aspect is still very much remembered. It's here that the characters' arcs come full circle, and we learn their fates. And, as a LOTR fanboy and general film fan, I can safely say (and without bias) the execution could not have been more perfect. The way this film is shot makes sure you are right there with the characters, doing what they do, seeing what they see and most importantly, feeling what they feel. The entire film is a rollercoaster of emotions and after 3 ½ hours (or 4 hours, depending on what cut you're watching) you feel like you've done the journey from Shire to Mordor yourself. But this is not a bad thing, far from it. This is experience cinema at its very finest. Return of the King is the ultimate Movie To See Before You Die. Just make sure you've seen the other two first. 


15. Raiders of the Lost Ark – Steven Spielberg (1981)

Steven Spielberg's classic action adventure typifys the phrase 'Escapist Fun'... much in the style of many classic adventure movies and TV serials before it, this is pure fun and romping-ness from start to finish. Helped by the use of 'mostly physical over special' effects (much undone by the recent and dire CGI-laden Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) and an effortless cast, anchored by a star-making turn from Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones, sure you could say Han Solo was his star-maker but this was his shot at the major lead, and possibly his most iconic role. Karen Allen, Paul Freeman, Denholm Elliot and John Rhys Davies all put in fantastic and memorable (even iconic) support turns aswell as the rest of the cast, whilst the score, the stunts, the dialogue and the pace all make this a breakneck classic of fun and adventure... crack that whip! 

DJ Rob C: Mark II!

14. Apocalypse Now – Francis Ford Coppola (1979)

"The horror…The horror...”   Loosely adapted from Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, and heavily influenced (by the director's admission) by Werner Herzog's classic Aguirre: Wrath of God, Apocalypse Now nonetheless creates an instantly iconic film that is, for me, the quintessential 'Nam flick.   From the dream-like opening scene in Willard's room, to Kurtz's horrific murder, Apocalypse Now is not an easy watch. It isn't a film that gives easy answers, or wraps up neatly at the end. What it is, though, is an epic and powerful journey into darkness, insanity and Wagner. Sure, Brando's overweight and under rehearsed, but this film is the highlight of Martin Sheen's career (apart from Hot Shots! Part Deux, of course), and I can't speak about Apocalypse Now without mentioning Robert Duvall's crazed, delusional Colonel Kilgore.   But despite these (and other great performances from Dennis Hopper, Laurence Fishburne, etc.), Apocalypse Now is Francis Ford Coppola's vision, arguably more so than The Godfather. Much has been made of its hellish shoot - but after the heart attacks, the monsoons, and pretty much anything else that could go wrong, Coppola emerged with a modern American classic, up there with Taxi Driver and Jaws as the best films of the mid '70s. 


13. Se7en – David Fincher (1995)

Se7en didn't so much reinvent the thriller genre as give it a well-deserved kick in the ass. Sure, the genre didn't gain much from it, but it was nice as long as it lasted. That being said, even if many of the films that followed in the bloody trail of Se7en weren't worthy of living up to its name (or perhaps I should say "number"), there's no real grief in that, as David Fincher's fantastic film can be watched time and time again. It's not a pleasant experience, but then again, that really never was the intention, was it? 

In a nameless city where it never stops raining and where there rarely is light strong enough to penetrate its constant darkness, two detectives, played by Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt, are on the trail of a serial killer who is basing his murders on the seven deadly sins, even going as far assigning each victim to a specific sin (an overweight man is forced to eat himself to death, a lawyer is forced to cut off a pound of his own skin). None of the murders are shown, but we get the gory details from the victim's corpses, crime area photos and vivid descriptions of how each one was performed, which is just as well, really, as many of them would probably face the wrath of the censors even today. Besides, as the film's massively bleak and downbeat ending shows, it's sometimes better not to know at all. 

Dantes Inferno

12. Aliens – James Cameron (1986)

In 1979 Ridley Scott created a classic of the horror genre – the claustrophobic Alien. Seven years later James Cameron decided not to give us a generic horror sequel but a lightning-paced action thriller. 

Paying respectful homage to Giger's groundbreaking artwork, Stan Winston takes thing much further providing us with the entire hive up to, and including, the queen. The Oscar winning team's organic habitat fully camouflages its inhabitants, only seen as they break away from the walls to attack, and the external visuals clearly show the influence of another of Scott's works, Blade Runner. 

The fully conceived environment is one of the things that make Aliens different. I love that Cameron remembers the social/working class ideology from the original – in place of Brett and Parker's bitching for their share we have a believable working colonial outpost and Ripley herself spends time on the docks (experience key to her initial integration with the group and to the final maternal showdown). 

But technology isn't enough to save them. In the actual fighting the fetishised military hardware lauded by Hudson and fondled by Drake and Vasquez has its butt kicked by the biological weapons Weyland-Yutani drool over. Only the more solid mechanics are of use – the reassuringly solid APC and the loading equipment that adds to the realist feel, coloured a familiar Caterpillar yellow. 

Oscar nominated for the role, Weaver's physically imposing Ripley retains the credibility from the original – resourceful, intelligent, a leader – in a nuanced performance that enhances the central mother-daughter relationship. The film also benefits from excellent supporting performances from Lance Henricksen's ambivalent turn as Bishop, as impressed by the Alien as his predecessor Ash, and the marines whose interplay gives us a convincing military unit led believably by Al Matthews (an actual former marine sergeant). 

Hugely influential in film and video games (Doom and Halo being obvious examples) the film leaves us wondering who the real threat is. An alien race evolved into efficient killing machines who still try to protect their young – or the corporate ethos so willing to fuck others over "for a goddamn percentage!” And, seriously, never get between a mother and her child! 

Aliens is an adrenaline-fuelled Sci-Fi actioner par excellence. It is the best film of its kind; the only sequel made that almost matches a classic original, and stars the greatest female action character, Ellen Ripley. 


11. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring  - Peter Jackson (2001)

This is the best film of the trilogy. 
It has the better story. At its core, it's not about Frodo and the ring, it's about fighting for what is right, even if you can't win. The fall and redemption of Boromir is also a very well handled character arc, because it shows us exactly how the ring corrupts. 

It has a sense of wonder and discovery that is missing in the other two. Compare when the Fellowship enters Moria to when Aragorn enters the Paths of the Dead. With Moria, there was a sense of awe, that you were setting eyes upon something not seen for centuries. With the Paths of the Dead, it felt more like 'convenient plot device'. It has the strongest visuals. The scenery of New Zealand is left to do most of the work, with miniatures and CG being used only when needed, creating a greater sense of discovery throughout the whole picture. When we reach the other two, the scope of the story has increased so much that heavier effects work is needed, and the joins become more obvious.

And it is the best adaptation of the three. Whereas in The Two Towers they made the Ents uncaring, and cut Christopher Lee from The Return of the King entirely (theatrically, at least), here in The Fellowship, they did everything right. Everything they took out improved the story - I personally despise Tom Bombadil. Everything they altered improved the story - there isn't a great deal of urgency in the book, but here there is a great sense of menace as the Hobbits head for Bree. And everything they added improved the story - Arwen is practically forgotten in the novel. 


10. The Thing – John Carpenter (1982)

The Thing, in a roundabout way, re-invented the horror film. While all about it were plumbing the depths of slasher territory (ironically instigated by John Carpenter's Halloween) and Evil Dead rip-offs, Carpenter decided on heading to the expansive environment of Antarctica (well, British Columbia) to create one of the most claustrophobic and suspenseful horror movies ever made. Twelve Angry Men crossed with a unique take on the creature feature, if you must. 

Indeed, it is the squabbling bored scientists and the marvellous construction of the movies monster (along with Kurt Russell's fantastic beard and hat combo) that make The Thing so highly memorable. The ease with which it moves from horror, to science fiction, to character drama exposes the film as so much more than your typical bog-standard horror flick. It's just as much a compelling exercise in characterisation, paranoia and suspense, as it is an unrelenting gore filled shocker. 

Despite this refreshing intelligence, however, it is The Thing that steals the show from Russell and company. Moving away from the bland and not particularly scary man-in-a-monster-suit, Carpenter revolutionised the way an alien encounter could be perceived on screen, and created a genre-defining monster-in-a-man-suit horror flick that has yet to be bettered. Indeed it is those sequences that have come to transcend the movie and take on a reputation of their own that really makes The Thing unique within the vaults of horror. That the now infamous blood test sequence has been ripped off in numerous horrors (The Faculty most recently) shows just how far reaching the imagining has ingrained on movie lore. And there is still little that can top the unbelievable outcome of Norris' heart attack. Along with Ennio Morricone's fantastically haunting synth score and no real conventional ending, just a beautifully scripted sequence finishing with probably the greatest final line from any film ever, The Thing is one hell of a movie


09. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back – Irvin Kershner (1980)

If you had to name just one film where you could guarantee everyone leaving the cinema would feel they'd had their money's worth, then it would surely have to be The Empire Strikes Back.

This film is the deepest, darkest and greatest of the original Star Wars trilogy and hailed by most as one of the greatest sequels ever produced by Hollywood. The feel good factor of the original film (where good eventually conquers evil) is now wiped away by this much darker tale that sees the heroes of the piece constantly on the back foot. Whether it's a narrow escape from a secret encampment on the Ice Plant Hoth, or dodging the Imperial fleet through meteor fields, our heroes are desperate to escape the clutches of one of the greatest cinematic villains – Darth Vadar, who seem hell bent on capturing the rebels and in particular Luke Skywalker?

Along the way we're introduced to Yoda, the last remaining Jedi Master found in solitude on the swamp planet of Dagobah and where Luke undertakes a crash course of Jedi training in readiness of a premature duel with Vadar himself. Elsewhere Han Solo's romantic relationship with Princess Leia deepens as they, and Chewbacca and C-3PO, try to escape from the Imperial fleet aboard Han's Millennium Falcon, a rusty bucket of bolts that's in bad disrepair. The script is rich and witty and Irvin Kershner's direction gives a very mature feel to the story.

The unforgettable and surprisingly dark climax (which takes place on the art deco-styled cloud city) leaves you begging for the next instalment in what must surely be the best cliffhanger ever put to celluloid. A masterpiece of Sci-Fi cinema!


08. Goodfellas – Martin Scorsese (1990)

Scorsese loves charting the rise and fall of people once successful. He loves to investigate the self-destructive nature of those with talent. He showed it in Raging Bull with Jake La Motta and recently in with Howard Hughes in The Aviator. But in 1993 he did it with unmatched style and panache with Henry Hill in Goodfellas. The film is based on the book 'Wiseguy: Life in a Mafia Family' by Nicholas Pileggi who then co-wrote the screenplay with Scorsese. It follows Ray Liotta's Henry Hill, a teenager who falls into the trappings of life as a gangster, whose friends played by Joe Pesci and Robert De Niro and extravagant lifestyle set him up for a big fall. 

Scorsese's direction is once again immaculate. Countless scenes in the film have since become iconic, some like the tracking shop in the nightclub sequence, purely on the basis of the direction of the film. From the opening sequence where Joe Pesci deals with the disturbance in the trunk of a car and Henry Hill utters the words, "As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster” Goodfellas exerts itself with wonderful energy as Scorsese enthusiastically catalogues Henry's initiation into the mafia and his escapades with his friend Tommy (Pesci). This is perhaps also the wittiest Scorsese film; amongst the drama are some very amusing moments, some of the most memorable of which no doubt were responsible for Pesci's Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Thelma Schoonmaker's editing zips through the twenty years and by the end one ca easily forget that it has been a two and a half hour film. 

The film smoothly arrives to its inevitable conclusion with Henry Hill confronted with a choice between prison and turning informant with the FBI, ominously recalling an earlier scene where Hill, in his youth had been taught never to 'rat on his friends'. And the contrast between the glamour and the reality of mob-involvement is clear as ever by the final scene. Relocated, banished into the middle of suburbia we hear Henry Hill's closing lament: 

"When I was broke I would go out and rob some more. We ran everything. We paid off cops. We paid off lawyers. We paid off judges. Everybody had their hands out. Everything was for the taking. And now it's all over. And that's the hardest part. Today, everything is different. There's no action. I have to wait around like everyone else. Can't even get decent food. Right after I got here I ordered some spaghetti with marinara sauce and I got egg noodles and ketchup. (He stares directly at the camera.) I'm an average nobody. I get to live the rest of my life like a schnook.”

Giant Green Rabbit

07. Blade Runner – Ridley Scott (1982)

The definitive neo-noir. The dense, detailed plot and world plays host to wonderful thematic issues on life, humanity, morality, memory and technology. The script is rich with terse, hard-boiled dialogue that you can imagine Mitchum, Bogart or Robinson delivering. Harrison Ford's world-weary, jaded performance is not a bad substitute for those legends. Jordan Cronenweth's cinematography contains some of the most striking uses of shadows and light in American cinema this side of Citizen Kane. The art direction and special effects are peerless; its vision of a futuristic industrial Los Angeles landscape is one of the most iconic of all science fiction. Rutger Hauer's final monologue is able to trade punches with Macbeth's "Sound and Fury” soliloquy as the greatest meditation on life, the beauty in minuteness and the insignificance of it all, in entertainment art. Largely dismissed on initial release it is now an influence on everything from Burton's Batman to Seven to The Matrix toBatman Begins. Blade Runner has defeated the passing of time like fine wine. 


06. The Shawshank Redemption – Frank Darabont (1994)

Possibly the best prison film ever made… the Shawshank Redemption (Tim Robbins) tells the story of Andy Dufresne, a top 1940's Banker, convicted of murdering his wife and her secret lover, and duly sentenced to life in Shawshank prison whilst maintaining his innocence . In prison he meets what will become a lifelong friend in fellow prisoner 'Red' (played by Morgan Freeman in arguably the best performance of his career). Life in Shawshank is hard for Andy at first, but eventually, through the use of his financial skills and his ability turn situations to his advantage, Andy begins to make a life for himself within the walls of Shawshank. 

This film has all the perfect ingredients required for a masterpeace, with regards to Direction, Script, Casting, Editing etc… but for me the genius aspect of this film is that even though Andy is the principle character, his story is actually told through the eyes and narration of Red. This facilitates the smoothness of the story-telling and allows us to fall in love with the character of Red. The full horror of prison life is explored, from vicious prisoners and guards to crooked wardens and mindless abuse. Without giving too much away, ultimately, the human spirit shines through, and Andy's the ultimate shining light in a very dark place, where his actions have a deep impact on his prison friends around him. The ending of this film is now the stuff of legend. 
"You have two choices, get busy living or get busy dying" 


05. Fight Club – David Fincher (1999)



Well I'm sorry but am gonna talk about fight club.

'Fight Club' is a movie of a rare caliber, one that makes its points unrestrainedly; its characters dominate the screen with vivacious personalities. It has a dream-like quality to it, but it is excruciatingly real. A reality that gets uglier and more twisted until its stunning ending. Love it or hate it, it's a movie you will not soon forget.

Edward Norton's character, who narrates throughout the film, is a depressed fellow with a dead-beat job, an insomniac who finds his only pleasures in attending support groups for the terminally ill. His life takes an unexpected turn when he meets Marla, a woman who finds herself in similar straits.

Enter Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt): A young, clever and energetic guy, an activist who rants against the evils of our consumer-driven society. Their obvious differences notwithstanding, our narrator and Tyler strike up a strange friendship.

Things remain on the relatively down-low, until out of the clear blue, Tyler tells his pal 'hit me!' After they begin brawling randomly to release their natural pent-up aggression, the idea catches on, and they formally found 'Fight Club', a club that lets men be men without the artificial influences of consumerism, or the superficial effects of conformist society.

But as 'Fight Club' gains popularity and begins to spread throughout the country, problems begin creeping up, both within Fight Club and in the personal lives of our narrator and his on-and-off girlfriend Marla.

I think many critics were too creped out by the dark and violent aspects of this movie, to give it its deserved due for its thought-provoking and intelligent script. Not to mention, its phenomenal acting, which aside from the great performance we expect out of Ed Norton who seems to thrive in these kind-of 'dark' roles, Brad Pitt establishes himself as a truly good actor (not just a 'pretty boy') and is just so ideal for the character of Tyler Durden

It is almost impossible to tell why Fight Club is so good, when you have watched it, you do not sit their and try to figure out why you loved this classic, just keep in mind that you have watched and you have enjoyed almost to the bitter end. This movie only won the Oscar for best sound, when this should have won Best Picture, director (Fincher), Actor (Norton), Supporting Actor (Pitt), Supporting Actress (Carter) and adapted screenplay. If you have not watched this classic, then don't you dare even continue your existence until you have seen this classic.


04. Back to the Future – Robert Zemeckis (1985)

What can I say? It's my favourite film and there are no others quite like it, but I gotta start somewhere so here I go. The best films are the ones with original spins and original ideas (films like The Matrix, and Ghostbusters), films that take old ideas and give them fresh spins or films that take you completely by surprise. Back to the Future is one of those films, it has a great and original premise and take on time travel and then runs with it, with some very seedy subtexts for a family film which are then glossed over without damaging the movie. It also has every single ingredient you could wish for in a great film, firstly the premise as previously mentioned, and then you have the pitch perfect cast… Michael J Fox makes a cracking debut as the dozy yet cool teenager who's slightly different but you can't help but wonder why he's picked on when he's so cool, he perfectly embodies the unlikely hero mould and is the sort of character everyone wants to be. Chris Lloyd is also brilliant as the archetypal mad scientist who everyone fears is crazy but is actually alright, rounding off the cast are Lea Thompson and Crispin Glover, never better as Marty's parents, Thomas F Wilson (who needs to make more films) as the classic bully through the ages who's always bullied the McFlys, plus James Tolkan as the nasty headmaster. The soundtrack is perfect 80's stuff by Huey Lewis, the SFX are simple and haven't aged plus the pacing is brilliant. There's so much that could be said about this film but it's simple enough: if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.

DJ Rob C: Mark II!

03. Pulp Fiction – Quentin Tarantino (1994)

I vividly remember the first time I saw Pulp Fiction. I also vividly remember the second time I saw Pulp Fiction. In addition to that, I vividly remember the third time I saw Pulp Fiction. Not to mention, I vividly remember the fou... oh, you get the get the picture. I saw the film long before I was legally allowed to, and it's a surprise I managed to sneak in so many viewings of it before I turned 18. I suspect it partly was because I couldn't tire of it. The memorable dialogue, the great acting, the fantastic music, the twisty story-line; I don't think I had seen such a great film before. Even to this day, it still remains a staple in my top three movies of all time. I've taken much pleasure in recommending it to others or in finding out that other people were a fan, as it's one of those pieces of entertainment that, by the mention of its title alone, can start a long discussion consisting of nothing but praise for it. 

I won't bother describing the plot. You know it already. It's one of those movies that people can recite easier than a bishop can recite a "Hail Harry" (maybe it's called something else - I never was very religious). Unsurprisingly, it has been analyzed an endless amount of times, with people constantly finding new details every time they decide to do so. For instance, have you ever considering that, if you put the movie in chronological order, it opens with a conversation on Amsterdam and ends with a conversation about a guy that is named Zed that is cut short because... oh, you already know what happened to Zed. Now, if you take those two topics, what do you get? A and Z. I hope I don't need to tell you what else begins with an A and ends with a Z. It's an odd observation, but it's just one of many that helps to explain why people keep returning to Pulp Fiction. It's not just a film where people know how to talk. No, it's far more than that. I mean, for a movie that actually has little to no depth, it's surprising how long you can keep digging in it and find new artifacts. 

Dantes Inferno

02. The Godfather – Francis Ford Coppola (1972)

Blurb Coming Soon

01. Jaws – Steven Spielberg (1975)

Der-dum. Der-dum. Der-dum.

Well how else were you supposed to start? Just 1 der-dum is all that's enough to recognise we're talking about Jaws. The soundtrack alone, from the simple 2 note tension, to the rousing orchestra during the chase scenes, is probably the most iconic John Williams has ever written. Epitomising the mid 70's with its opening scene of people chilling on the beach with beer, weed, music and good banter, the mood is changed from the minute young Chrissie decided to take a swim. You know it's coming, but no matter how many times you see it, it never gets any less brutal. Arguably the first "summer blockbuster” Jaws has put a fear of the water into almost everyone that has watched it. How many other films have had as much influence on our fears as this? Did Titanic give us a fear of cruises? Did Jurassic Park put us off messing with DNA? Did Lord of the Rings give us a fear of tacky gold jewellery? Did Back to the Future stop us using time-travel?

The 3 main characters are Chief Brody (Roy Scheider), the New York rozzer who's relocated to Amity Island even though he hates water. A bit silly really. Then there's Quint (Robert Shaw), the black board scraping old sea dog with better burns than Jules Winfield. He also boils shark's teeth in his soup. Well, it doesn't say it's his soup, but you wouldn't be surprised. And finally Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss), the shark expert with the fancy equipment and slippy sneakers. And then there's Bruce -the plastic shark. You'd probably laugh if that came out the sea at you. But that's the best thing about the film. It shouldn't be scary, but it just is. Granted, the truly terrifying bits are when you don't see the shark, but still, that big flapping mouth is Jaws. The problems Spielberg had during the filming of Bruce's scenes only compound what a fantastic achievement Jaws was in filmmaking terms. Everyone has their favourite Jaws quote (even the office workers amongst you have probably heard their boss utter "we need a bigger boat” in a David Brent styley) and one of the best acted and goose pimple-inducing speeches in history as we look deep into Quint's eyes and hear the story of the USS Indianapolis. We're there in the water with him. June the 29th, 1945. Genius.

If this movie were to be rated, it would get 99%. Why not 100% I hear you ask? To answer that…

…not enough tit!


< Message edited by elab49 -- 18/10/2010 12:59:05 PM >

(in reply to deniseA)
Post #: 6
RE: THE RESULTS - Empire Forum 100 Favourite Films 2010 - 31/1/2010 1:49:08 PM   

Posts: 1020
Joined: 30/9/2005
And finally, as is tradition, the full list on it's own, with the positions of the 2008 Poll in brackets. Once again thanks to everyone who voted, if I do the poll next time, then it will be left open longer and maybe open a little earlier too. Sadly I had to close early this year due to the (possible) imminent arrival of an aunt and cousins from Chennai. But that's it for this poll. I hope it's lived up to Clowny's legacy.

100. (66) Predator
99. (NE) Badlands
98. (RE) The Truman Show
97. (NE) Zodiac
96. (56) Fargo
95. (NE) Three Colours: Red
94. (61) Toy Story
93. (23) Gladiator
92. (63) Mulholland Dr.
91. (67) Citizen Kane.

90. (90) Close Encounters of the Third Kind
89. (NE) The Last of the Mohicans
88. (RE) Spirited Away
87. (91) The Lion King
86. (79) Grosse Point Blank
85. (NE?) 12 Monkeys
84. (84) Paris, Texas
83. (38) The Shining
82. (RE) Dawn of the Dead
81. (NE) The Prestige

80. (65) Terminator 2: Judgement Day
79. (RE) Blue Velvet
78. (NE) Paths of Glory
77. (82) Once Upon a Time in the West
76. (65) The Terminator
75. (NE) Dead Man's Shoes
74. (83) Lost in Translation
73. (RE) Almost Famous
72. (NE) Á Bout de Souffle
71. (RE) Starship Troopers

70. (NE) Where Eagles Dare
69. (77) The Third Man
68. (21) The Usual Suspects
67. (96) Chinatown
66. (40) Trainspotting
65. (39) Vertigo
64. (57) Saving Private Ryan
63. (RE) A Clockwork Orange
62. (NE)Wall-E
61. (60) Raging Bull

60. (80) The Princess Bride
59. (RE) Airplane!
58. (34) Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
57. (41) Memento
56. (71) Some Like it Hot
55. (37) One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
54. (RE) Unforgiven
53. (RE) Groundhog Day
52. (49) Miller's Crossing
51. ( 43) It's a Wonderful Life

50. (58) Ghostbusters
49. (51) Amelie
48. (100) Once Upon a time in America
47. (31) Heat
46. (45) Rear Window
45. (NE) There Will be Blood
44. (53) Double Indemnity
43. (75) 2001: A Space Odyssey
42. (20) Star Wars
41. (22) Seven Samurai

40. (28) Casablanca
39. (59) City of God
38. (32) LOTR: The Two Towers
37. (13) The Matrix
36. (33) L.A. Confidential
35. (74) City Lights
34. (27) Jurassic Park
33. (16) Die Hard
32. (99) Downfall
31. (73) Ikiru

30. (24) Pan's Labyrinth
29. (48) Evil Dead 2
28. (24) The Big Lewboski
27. (93) The Apartment
26. (50) The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
25. (19) The Godfather Part II
24. (44) Stand By Me
23. (15) Alien
22. (47) 12 Angry Men
21. (68) Schindler's List

20. (NE) The Dark Knight
19. (RE) Lawrence of Arabia
18. (54) Ran
17. (26) Taxi Driver
16. (14) LOTR: The Return of the King
15. (09) Raiders of the Lost Ark
14. (55) Apocalypse Now
13. (17) Se7en
12. (07) Aliens
11. (06) LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring

10. (18) The Thing
09. (03) The Empire Strikes Back
08. (02) Goodfellas
07. (10) Blade Runner
06. (01) The Shawshank Redemption
05. (05) Fight Club
04. (11) Back to the Future
03. (08) Pulp Fiction
02. (04) The Godfather
01. (12) Jaws

By the way, I apologise for my rather basic picture making skills. If I do the next poll, I'll ask someone better equipped to do them!

< Message edited by deniseA -- 31/1/2010 8:17:05 PM >

(in reply to deniseA)
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RE: THE RESULTS - Empire Forum 100 Favourite Films 2010 - 31/1/2010 2:28:50 PM   


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Super good work, man I've seen 63 of these

< Message edited by Boggins1994 -- 31/1/2010 2:32:16 PM >

(in reply to deniseA)
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RE: THE RESULTS - Empire Forum 100 Favourite Films 2010 - 31/1/2010 3:08:49 PM   

Posts: 804
Joined: 4/1/2008
Those pictures are great, lots of really good choices.  Really surprised and pleased that Jaws got number one, great choice and a nice change.  lso love hoe high BTTF got, here's hoping for number one next year.


no guilt in life, no fear in death

Check out my Hitchcockian Adventure in Lists and Top 10's

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RE: THE RESULTS - Empire Forum 100 Favourite Films 2010 - 31/1/2010 4:02:04 PM   

Posts: 5545
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From: Whalley Range
Really nice work. Good list with a few surprises alongside the likely suspects.


Top 100 Moz Songs / Top 100 Films

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RE: THE RESULTS - Empire Forum 100 Favourite Films 2010 - 31/1/2010 4:03:31 PM   

Posts: 5545
Joined: 6/8/2007
From: Whalley Range
Oh, and your pictures are ace. I love the simplicity of them. Don't knock yourself .


Top 100 Moz Songs / Top 100 Films

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RE: THE RESULTS - Empire Forum 100 Favourite Films 2010 - 31/1/2010 4:36:06 PM   

Posts: 27284
Joined: 2/6/2006
From: Enemies of Film HQ
Piles did blurbs for the pretentious ones. Anyway, great list. Great job DeniseA.



There are certainly times where calling a person a cunt is not only reasonable, it is a gross understatement.


ORIGINAL: elab49
I really wish I could go down to see Privates

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RE: THE RESULTS - Empire Forum 100 Favourite Films 2010 - 31/1/2010 5:05:35 PM   
Mr E

Posts: 1667
Joined: 14/10/2005
Nice to see Jaws at the top. Thought it would be the usual boring Shawshank boring Redemption. Good job compiling the list DeniseA.

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RE: THE RESULTS - Empire Forum 100 Favourite Films 2010 - 31/1/2010 5:24:52 PM   
The Bicycle Thief

Posts: 195
Joined: 8/11/2008
Very nice to see Ran so high up all things considered. 

Nice work mate. Must have taken ages.

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RE: THE RESULTS - Empire Forum 100 Favourite Films 2010 - 31/1/2010 6:20:04 PM   

Posts: 24509
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: No Direction Home
Great work to bring this lilst back after the missing year.

Its a pretty interesting list - certainly the least "mainstream" list that this poll has produced and a fair few of the arthouse favourites in decent positions. Wonderful to see Chaplin make the list. And no LOTR in the top ten! Jaws is a suprise at Number One from the usual suspects too.


Team Ginge



You organisational skills sicken me, Rhubarb.

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RE: THE RESULTS - Forums 100 Favourite Films 2010 - 31/1/2010 7:02:43 PM   

Posts: 1020
Joined: 30/9/2005
A blurb for The Prestige has been added, courtesy of DC Rob C!

On another note, they were a healthy 24 new and re-entries from the last poll. Those that dropped out this time were:

Ferris Bueller's Day Off, E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, Children of Men, The Searchers, Return of the Jedi, Brazil, The Departed, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Halloween, Rocky, American Beauty, Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, Titanic, North by Northwest, Dr Strangelove, Forrest Gump, Psycho, Serenity, Donni Darko, Life of Brian, Reservoir Dogs, Shaun of the Dead, Leon, Batman Begins

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RE: THE RESULTS - Forums 100 Favourite Films 2010 - 31/1/2010 7:27:09 PM   

Posts: 12571
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From: A magical forest
Yay for Ran! Boo for Pulp Fiction.

Pleasant surprise to see Jaws so high.



ORIGINAL: Rawlinson

Swords is right about everything.



Swords smells like bum.

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RE: THE RESULTS - Forums 100 Favourite Films 2010 - 31/1/2010 8:07:25 PM   

Posts: 6632
Joined: 2/11/2005
From: Caught somewhere in time



A blurb for The Prestige has been added, courtesy of DC Rob C!

On another note, they were a healthy 24 new and re-entries from the last poll. Those that dropped out this time were:

Return of the Jedi, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Halloween, Rocky, American Beauty, Titanic, , Reservoir Dogs, Shaun of the Dead, Leon,

Scandalous omissions.

Good to see a new no 1 though. How were both Jaws and BTTF at number 11 last time?


"I've been too honest with myself, I should have lied like everybody else"

My Top 101 Rock Songs - The first Audiophile list to actually get completed!

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RE: THE RESULTS - Forums 100 Favourite Films 2010 - 31/1/2010 8:18:42 PM   

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Joined: 30/9/2005

ORIGINAL: tommyjarvis

Scandalous omissions.

Good to see a new no 1 though. How were both Jaws and BTTF at number 11 last time?

That's what you call a typo. I've never used a smiley on this forum before, but I almost did then! And the omission of Shaun of the Dead proves there is at least some humanity left on Earth. The fact it's been higher than Dawn of the Dead in previous polls is the real scandal. Actually the fact it's dropped out, and Dawn has majestically returned warms the heart,

< Message edited by deniseA -- 1/2/2010 12:37:31 AM >

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RE: THE RESULTS - Forums 100 Favourite Films 2010 - 31/1/2010 8:18:47 PM   
DJ Rob C: Mark II!

Posts: 34890
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Christmas town
Superb list as always, some great choices and a pretty surprising yet not surprising considering how good it is Number 1!

Some great blurbs too, will get reading them all soon


When Gotham is ashes, you have my permission to die

Third Highest Post Count on the Forum, sad but proud!

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RE: THE RESULTS - Forums 100 Favourite Films 2010 - 31/1/2010 8:45:33 PM   
Epiphany Demon

Posts: 6497
Joined: 14/11/2007



A blurb for The Prestige has been added, courtesy of DC Rob C!

On another note, they were a healthy 24 new and re-entries from the last poll. Those that dropped out this time were:

The Departed, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, American Beauty, Psycho, Life of Brian, Reservoir Dogs, Shaun of the Dead, Leon, Batman Begins




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RE: THE RESULTS - Forums 100 Favourite Films 2010 - 31/1/2010 10:00:55 PM   
Miles Messervy 007

Posts: 6884
Joined: 11/2/2009
Holy Grail and Life of Brian drop out and you complain about American Beauty and The Depahted? Wanker.
Great presentation, Denise



Miles is clearly the finest film theorist of his generation


if it isn't ham, I'll eat a living pig.

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RE: THE RESULTS - Forums 100 Favourite Films 2010 - 31/1/2010 10:18:44 PM   
Epiphany Demon

Posts: 6497
Joined: 14/11/2007


ORIGINAL: Miles Messervy 007

Holy Grail and Life of Brian drop out and you complain about American Beauty and The Depahted? Wanker.

I complained about Life Of Brian too you fucking cockrod.



(in reply to Miles Messervy 007)
Post #: 23
RE: THE RESULTS - Forums 100 Favourite Films 2010 - 1/2/2010 1:15:38 AM   

Posts: 189
Joined: 5/9/2007
From: Sweden
Good job, I love the big majority of the films I've seen here (92). 


Films Watched in 2012

(in reply to Epiphany Demon)
Post #: 24
RE: THE RESULTS - Forums 100 Favourite Films 2010 - 1/2/2010 1:40:18 AM   
Miles Messervy 007

Posts: 6884
Joined: 11/2/2009

ORIGINAL: Epiphany Demon


ORIGINAL: Miles Messervy 007

Holy Grail and Life of Brian drop out and you complain about American Beauty and The Depahted? Wanker.

I complained about Life Of Brian too you fucking cockrod.
It's not bolded though...
PS. Oh, I see what I misunderstood, soz.

< Message edited by Miles Messervy 007 -- 1/2/2010 1:42:35 AM >



Miles is clearly the finest film theorist of his generation


if it isn't ham, I'll eat a living pig.

(in reply to Epiphany Demon)
Post #: 25
RE: THE RESULTS - Forums 100 Favourite Films 2010 - 1/2/2010 1:41:54 AM   
Miles Messervy 007

Posts: 6884
Joined: 11/2/2009
For the record, I've seen 70/100, and it's a predictable, but decent list.



Miles is clearly the finest film theorist of his generation


if it isn't ham, I'll eat a living pig.

(in reply to Miles Messervy 007)
Post #: 26
RE: THE RESULTS - Forums 100 Favourite Films 2010 - 1/2/2010 1:52:16 AM   

Posts: 4793
Joined: 19/11/2008
From: Bristol
Good work; nice one.

The list was slightly 'better' than I expected it to be, i.e. not as obvious (until the top 10 appeared).

I've watched 96/100, if we're trying to show off about how many we've seen.



ORIGINAL: Miles Messervy 007

Child labour is necessary in the short term

(in reply to Miles Messervy 007)
Post #: 27
RE: THE RESULTS - Forums 100 Favourite Films 2010 - 1/2/2010 11:27:15 AM   

Posts: 7911
Joined: 3/10/2005
Where Eagles Dare makes no.70!!! whoop-whoop!!

Well done Denise, I've helped that nasty piece of work - Clowny, in the past, so know the work invoved.

< Message edited by Sinatra -- 1/2/2010 11:29:58 AM >

(in reply to FritzlFan)
Post #: 28
RE: THE RESULTS - Forums 100 Favourite Films 2010 - 1/2/2010 11:57:44 AM   
DJ Rob C: Mark II!

Posts: 34890
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Christmas town
I've got some boning up to do on these... 68/100 thankfully a few of them are on the cards soon though 


When Gotham is ashes, you have my permission to die

Third Highest Post Count on the Forum, sad but proud!

(in reply to Sinatra)
Post #: 29
RE: THE RESULTS - Forums 100 Favourite Films 2010 - 1/2/2010 4:01:15 PM   

Posts: 804
Joined: 4/1/2008
I've only seen 56!


no guilt in life, no fear in death

Check out my Hitchcockian Adventure in Lists and Top 10's

(in reply to DJ Rob C: Mark II!)
Post #: 30
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