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:
Almost at the top ten, come on!
15. THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (1980)
Director: Irvin Kershner
Writers: Leigh Brackett & Lawrence Kasdan
I know, you know it, everybody knows it: The Empire Strikes Back is the best Star Wars movie. The first Star Wars was a really good space fantasy movie that stood out from the rest of the bunch by looking back at the swashbuckling hero’s journey films and books of the past and modernized the look and feel of that familiar story. But the Empire did something other sequels never did (and mostly don’t even today): The Empire prioritized its characters over the story. Don’t get me wrong, the story is not bad at all. Since the destruction of the Death Star, the Empire’s done playing with the rebels and are determined to wipe them out once and for all. After a devastating attack against the headquarters of the rebellion are our heroes forced to evacuate from their refuge and escape. Luke Skywalker goes to find an old Jedi master and Han and Leia try to evade the Empire fleet. Luke’s travels take him to Dagobah, where he meets Yoda, a Muppet Ernest Borgnine, who trains Luke to be a Jedi. These training sequences get very philosophical and are actually quite thought-provoking, especially the scene where Luke sees himself as his own deepest fear. Try to wrap your brains around that, ten year old kids. Meanwhile, Han and Leia traverse the space with the Millennium Falcon and bicker back and forth about their plans. Their escape together spark a romantic interest between them, but the romance has to put on hold when they land on Cloud City, run by Han’s friend, Lando. Unfortunately for them, Lando’s been forced to make a deal with the Empire and Han and Leia are soon captured by Darth Vader, a poster boy for the Empire. Now it’s up to Luke to save his friends, despite his training is not finished and he’s not even nearly ready to face Vader on his own. Shit, like I said, the writers struck gold with the characters here, making them more three-dimentional and more vulnerable. The comedy’s sharper than before and the drama is super tense. Darth Vader seems more dangerous this time and the Empire feels like an impossible enemy to defeat. The music is as good as ever and the effects take a huge leap from the previous movie. What can I say, this film is just as excellent now than it was 30 years ago. Love the hell out of this film.
What I Love About It: The spectacle and the awesome characters. The Imperial March. The best lightsaber duel ever. The fact that Han tries immediately to shoot the fuck out of Darth Vader.
Best Quote: The one we all know.
14. GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS (1992)
Director: James Foley
Writer: David Mamet
Not in a million years would I have believed that one day I’d see a decent film about real estate business, let alone one of the best movies ever made. But that is what happened with James Foley’s Glengarry Glen Ross. Molded from a David Mamet’s stage play and adapted by the writer himself, this film has one the greatest ensemble cast ever on cinema: Al Pacino, Jack Lemmon, Jonathan Pryce, Kevin Spacey, Alan Arkin, Ed Harris and Alec Baldwin. And guess what? They are all on fire. Especially Baldwin, who is so intimidating that he can make Al Pacino shut up. His one and only scene in the film is a thing of legends. He does so much with so little time. You should watch the film for this scene alone. And the rest of the film keeps up with the best dialogue ever written for a dramatic presentation. If I’d judge film by dialogue alone, this would win. James Foley’s direction humbles in front of the screenplay and he lets the actors do their thing, which is a good thing. This is an all-male cast, so it’s not for everyone. Also the screenplay drops a lot of F-bombs making the film feel less like a “prestige” film. But you know what? That’s totally okay. This film is macho without being silly and anyone who has ever done commission-based work can relate with the struggles that these men deal with every time they step into that office. Easy recommendation, if you haven’t already seen it.
What I Love About It: “Fuck you. That’s my name.”
Best Quote: ” Fuck you. That’s my name.”
13. THE IRON GIANT (1999)
Director: Brad Bird
Writer: Tim McCanlies
Looky what we have here? A box-office flop produced by WB Animation, that most of us never saw at its first theatrical run. And that is a a shame, because The Iron Giant is my favorite animated movie ever made, beating Disney in its own game. The film tells a relatively simple story where a regular American boy discovers a giant space robot and they form a friendship that is threatened when agent working for the government sees the Giant as a threat to human kind. The film is a mix of traditional hand-drawn animation and CGI, but the computer generated Giant is seamlessly integrated to look like it’s been on someone’s drawing board. The film’s not overly flashy or stylized, but it fits the bill and lets the story tell itself as clearly as possible. The voice cast is excellent (although not as boisterous like Dreamworks Animation), especially Christopher McDonald as the dastardly Kent Mansley and Michael Kamen’s underappreciated music gives the film a real “Maine” feel. The third act is one of the greats, shifting into a serious gear that will leave tears to your eyes. Fun, thrilling and touching, The Iron Giant deserved better box-office results and definitely deserves to be recognized as one of the greatest family films ever made.
What I Love About It: The animation, the characters. Brad Birds keen eye for direction.
Best Quote: “Welcome to downtown Coolsville! Population: us.”
12. THE SHINING (1980)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Writers: Stanley Kubrick & Diane Johnson
Based on a (actually pretty average) novel by Stephen King, The Shining is about a family who moves out to Overlook Hotel, where the dad, Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) is supposed to work as a caretaker during the winter. Jack, with his wife Wendy and their son Danny are left all alone in the huge hotel, when the customers and the staff leave the hotel. The isolation soon gets the better of Jack whose behavior changes, turning him snarky and aggressive, bemusing his wife Wendy. Meanwhile Danny, who can telepathically communicate (it’s called shining) with the cook of the hotel, sees terrifying visions about blood, murder and long departed house guests. Soon Jack is starting to see similar visions, but the kind where Jack is treated like a friend. A friend who is required to get rid of his wife and son…I think this film is Kubrick at his best. He takes the ingredients of the book, but concocts a whole new experience for the audience. The film is unpredictable, fascinating and totally terrifying. Jack Nicholson does his best Nicholson here and Shelley Duvall looks convincingly terrified in the film (I believe she really was, thanks to Kubrick’s unconventional methods on the set). The Shining is a good example where the film maker outdoes its source material and the film in my opinion utilizes Kubrick’s talents better than any other of the director’s films. Oh, and it’s also the best straight up horror film ever made. So there’s that too.
What I Love About It: The set design, the music, John Alcott’s cinematography. Stanley Kubrick’s direction.
Best Quote: “Redrum! Redrum!”
11. ALIENS (1986)
Director: James Cameron
Writer: James Cameron
Aliens is the best sequel ever made (I still think Godfather part I is better than part II, sorry) and worthy successor to Ridley Scott’s Alien. Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), after surviving the horrific events of the first film, is awaken in her space slumber. She wakes up to find out that 57 years have passed and she got the blame for blowing up her ship during that fateful mission. With her license revoked, she is left alone with her nightmares. When transmission is cut from the planet where Ripley and her crew visited in the first film, she is given opportunity to return and act as an advisor for a team of Space Marines who are there to inspect what happened to the colonists on the alien planet. Guess what? Aliens. And lots of them. After the ineffectiveness of the soldiers, Ripley has to take command and try to get her, the marines and a lone twelve year old survivor out of the planet before the aliens kill them. Or worse. I love, I mean LOVE what Cameron did to the sequel of the sci-fi horror classic. He could’ve easily retreaded the tracks of the first film, but he instead opted to take another approach, making Aliens an allegory of the Vietnam War. The first film left audiences thinking for years what would happen if the creatures faced human who were armed to the teeth? Cameron gives an answer here: the aliens pretty much fuck them up real good. See, it doesn’t matter if you’re prepared, the xenomorphs still get the better of you. Cameron toned town the sexuality of the aliens, but opted to give them more animalistic behaviour, which actually works good for this film. The cast is great. Bill Paxton and Michael Biehn should always be in a movie together (making even the shitty Navy Seals a worth while flick), Jenette Goldstein is awesome as the tough butch bitch Vasquez and Paul Reiser is deliciously smarmy as the asshole company man. But it’s Sigourney Weaver’s show and she is nailing it. She is the best woman character in an action movie. I could praise this movie to high heaven, but you already know how great it is. If you don’t, see it (again) and agree with me afterwards.
What I Love About It: Sigourney Weaver, James Cameron, James Horner’s music. The production design. Stan Winston’s creature design. That awesome pulse rifle.
Best Quote: “Game over man. Game over!”