I admit to feeling a little like I’m taking the easy way out when I do one of these top ten posts. Nonetheless, once I got a notion to do this one, I couldn’t let it go.
Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal, from which the above photo was taken, is not on the list. But it is my favorite foreign-language film, and I didn’t want to give away any of the films that did make the list with the promo photo.
So forgive me, but here goes; in reverse order:
10. The Natural (1984) I have a weakness for certain films that pull at your heartstrings in corny and over-the-top ways (as you’ll see when you get to Number 4). And I lose it every time I see Robert Redford hit that home run at the end, then have a catch with his son.
9. Jaws (1975) The drinking scene on the boat alone is worth watching Steven Spielberg’s first blockbuster and one of the most beloved films ever.
8. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) My favorite Western. Directed by the great John Ford and starring Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne and Lee Marvin.
7. O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) The Coen Brothers follow-up to The Big Lebowski was another brilliant comedy. They were really on a roll during this period. George Clooney is a very good comic actor.
6. The Truman Show (1998) I generally am not a Jim Carrey fan. Almost all of his films are weak to mediocre vehicles. But this one is a huge exception that is nothing short of brilliant.
5. The Big Lebowski (1998) My wife got me into this film. We’ve probably watched it an average of at least once per year since getting married. This and Number 7 show the Coen Brothers in peak form. “You want a toe? I can get you a toe, believe me. … Hell, I can get you a toe by 3 o’clock this afternoon… with nail polish.”
4. The Ten Commandments (1956) I know it’s way over-the-top in terms of corny drama at times, but I have a sentimental attachment for the film that goes back to first watching it with my grandparents when I was a young boy. And it really is a spectacle for the eyes. I also love the soundtrack, not to mention the film’s many classic lines, such as, “Your fragrance is like the wine of Babylon.”
3. Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) Woody Allen’s most brilliant writing effort was more serious than funny, but there were some moments, such as his line, “My love life is terrible. The last time I was inside a woman was when I visited the Statue of Liberty.”
2. The Godfather: Part II (1974) While Brando was missing, the combination of Robert De Niro as the young Vito Corleone and Michael Pacino as his heir and son, Michael, were riveting in their own right.
1. The Godfather (1972) Francis Ford Coppola’s unrivalled saga of New York’s most powerful Mafia family. Brando as Don Vito Corleone gives this one a slight edge over the sequel that came out two years later. Pardon me for being predictable, but there is good reason the first two parts of the Corleone saga routinely top Best Movie lists.
There is a lot of subjectivity in this list. If I were trying to make a more objective list of the best films ever, I’d have to include Citizen Kane and Casablanca, for starters. And now that you’ve invested time in my opinion, feel free to share your own list in the comments. As always, thanks for reading.