I have often wondered, what are my favourite films of all time. I managed to get 55 of them. I would like to share this list with you.
Here’s the earlier lists:
Let’s keep on trucking.
Director: Martin Scorsese
Writer: Paul Schrader
I think Director Martin Scorsese’s most daring and controversial film The Last Temptation Of Christ is also his best. Based on a novel by Nikos Kazantzakis and shot with a ridiculous budget of 7 million (They could’ve made about 36 Last Temptations with the budget of Spider-Man 3!), Scorsese and his crew did a spectacular film with a great visual style and a boundary-breaking story which actually makes sense. The film focuses on Jesus Christ, yes, a son of God but also a man. This character is quite happy to be an ordinary man and is reluctant to face the destiny that’s been laid in front of him. Willem Dafoe gives a solid performance where he gives a heartfelt and humane view of the man that was Jesus Christ. All sorts of religious groups rose up and protested the film during the release of the film and looking at the film now it seems outrageous that the films message got so misunderstood by the very people who should’ve embraced it. This movie makes the struggles of Jesus seem that much more poignant and important. And heck, the movie (and Kazantzakis’ source novel) understood Judas Iskariot’s character better than the Bible itself! Daring, brave and just stunning in almost every way.
What I Love About It: The bold visual style, Michael Ballhaus’ camera work, Peter Gabriel’s stunning score.
Best quote: “Father, why have you forsaken me?”
44. CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1977)
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer: Steven Spielberg
This is my second favourite movie, where the human kind gets in touch with an intelligent life form from another planet. Richard Dreyfuss (or as I call him, Rickey Dee) plays Roy Neary, an ordinary family guy who has a close encounter with an U.F.O. This contact makes a change in him that affects his relationship with his wife and his whole family. Neary becomes obsessed with visions of a shape that could mean more than meets the eye (no, it’s not Transformers, though that would’ve been cool too). His journey is a fantastic and dramatic adventure that unites him with a woman (played by Melinda Dillon) searching his abducted son. Oh wow, Spielberg is on fire here. The movie feels huge, the effects are spectacular and the cast is in top form. The movie has lot of exciting and thrilling moments (the abduction of the kid Barry is especially terrifying), but it is also full of child-like wonderment and sweetness. Dreyfuss owns his starring role and Spielberg got one of his favourite directors Francois Truffaut to play a part in the film and he is totally heartwarming in his role as a foreign scientist. Spielberg slightly struggles with the resolution which is the only reason this is my second favourite movie with an intelligent life form from another planet…
What I Love About It: John Williams’ Oscar-nominated score, Rickey Dee, the design of the U.F.O.’s, Steven Spielberg’s direction.
Best Quote: “This means something. This is important.”
43. CONTACT (1997)
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Writers: Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan (Story), James V. Hart and Michael Goldenberg
…which makes Contact my first. One of my favourite directors, Robert Zemeckis does amazing work here. One day a resilient scientist Ellie Arroway (played by Jodie Foster) finds proof of a radio transmission sent by intelligent alien life forms. This event attracts the attention of the whole world, and soon Ellie and her colleagues find blueprints to a mysterious machine hidden in the transmission. The story concocted by acclaimed sci-fi author Carl Sagan lends itself well to a movie form. The film has time and the smarts to ponder the relationship between science and religion, but very rarely does it go preachy. The plot has a lot of jaw-dropping twist and turns and the final voyage that Ellie makes with the alien device is as thrilling and spectacular as the ending to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. The ultimate contact with the aliens is almost as schmaltzy as in Close Encounters, but thankfully ends on a more satisfying note. It’s amazing what Zemeckis can do with the language of cinema and he is truly a master of the craft. Contact is an intelligent science fiction movie supported by great cast and technical brilliance that makes the film a joy to watch.
What I Love About This It: The cast, especially Foster, the music, the clever script. Robert Zemeckis.
Best Quote: “As a person of faith I’m bound by a different covenant than Doctor Arroway. But our goal is one and the same: the pursuit of Truth. I for one believe her.”
42. NIGHT ON EARTH (1991)
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Writer: Jim Jarmusch
Night on Earth is an anthology film focusing on the same night from the point of view of 5 different cab drivers on 5 different American and European cities. The premise is similar on all of the stories: a cabbie gets a passenger, and on their way to the location they interact in a meaningful way. Super simple stuff. However what happens between the various characters is what’s important. It’s actually quite difficult to put this movie on this list, because couple of these stories are not that interesting. But there’s this final episode that’s really heartbreaking which is why I included this film here. The first story centers on cabbie in L.A. who is giving a ride to a talent agent who thinks the cabbie would be perfect for a role in a film she’s making. it’s a cute story, but forgettable. The second story is better. Armin Müller-Stahl plays an immigrant cabbie, who can’t find his way around. Müller-Stahl is superb in this role and it is one of the better bits of the film. The third one is about this French cabbie who gets a blind fare. Béatrice Dalle is amazing as the frustrated blind girl, but the story doesn’t go anywhere. In the fourth story, a comedian Roberto Benigni plays a cabbie, who’s vulgar small talk ends up killing his fare. Funny, but not that great. The fifth and final episode happens after closing time of the local bars in Helsinki. Three drunk friends enter a cab and immediately start telling sad stories about one of the passengers. Then the cab driver tells them a story so sad it breaks your heart. This last story is so well scripted and acted it almost makes me jump out of my seat and start declaring my love for the film. The late Matti Pellonpää is outstanding as the cab driver Mika and Kari Väänänen plays a drunkard so well that I’m almost convinced that he was actually smashed when they shot this. This last episode is a perfect way to end the film and it’s one of my favourite instances of Helsinki presented on film. Check this film at least for the last episode. it’s SO worth it.
What I Love About It: The final episode. And the fact that two of the Finnish characters are named Aki and Mika, obviously after the Kaurismäki brothers.
Best Quote: “Who the fuck are you? And where the fuck am I?” “You’re in a fucking taxi, fucking close to your home and you owe me for the fucking ride!”
41. AMADEUS (1984)
Director: Milos Forman
Writer: Peter Schaffer
It’s fucking great.
What I Love About It: Tom Hulce’s laugh, the awesome sound mix. That incredible poster.
Best Quote: “That was Mozart. That! That giggling dirty-minded creature I had just seen, crawling on the floor!”