Saturday, February 14, 2009

The "best" movies

I like movies. Not all movies. But some. Or a lot. I guess it depends on how much "a lot" is.

I've always enjoyed going to the movies. I never wanted to be in the movies. And won't. But watching a good movie is ... better than good. It's great.

When I was just out of high school, I was a night DJ at the radio station in my home town. Got off work at midnight, then would go home and watch "The All Knight Movie" that the station in Savannah would show. Saw lots of classic movies, and gained an appreciation of black and white films.

Later, when I worked in Jacksonville (20-25 years ago), I would use my time off to go to the movies.

At Orange Park, just south of Jacksonville, there were three theatres all right together. You could see them all from a single spot while driving. That place had the most movies showing at a close proximity than any place in the Jacksonville area.

So, come weekend, or if I got an early night, I'd head to Orange Park and have a great chance of finding a movie playing that I'd like.

Haven't gone to the movies a lot over the past several years. Not like I'd like to, anyway. And that's one of the reasons I've enjoyed the TiVo/Netflix streaming thing they do.

I enjoy TCM's presentations with Robert Osborne or Ben Mankiewicz, with all the trivia and anecdotes about the films they show. Good stuff.

A while back, the American Film Institute came out with a "100 years, 100 movies" listing of the "best" movies of the first 100 years of films. I'd seen many of them, but many I hadn't.

They later came out with an updated listing. Then, they added a listing they called "10 Top 10" -- their picks for the top 10 movies in 10 categories (Animation, Romantic comedy, Westerns, Sports, Mystery, Fantasy, Science fiction, Gangster, Courtroom dramas, Epics).

Of course, the Academy Awards have their own picks for the best pictures each year.

That's 13 lists (Top 100, Top 100 updated, 10 Top 10, Best Pictures winners). I decided to watch them all.

So, I compiled of listing of all the movies that made those lists. With many films on more than one list, that totaled 221 films.

Over the years, I've seen many of them anyway. But, now I've decided to make an effort to watch them all. And, as of now, I've seen 135. That leaves 86 more to go.

Not all of the movies are easy to find. "Wings," for instance, will be hard to find. As will "Intolerance" and "The Birth of a Nation," unless I want to shell out some bucks.

Some of the movies on the big list, I saw when they came out, and hated. "Reds" and "Apocalypse Now," for instance. Others, I finally watched because they were on the list, and hated. "A Clockwork Orange" is one.

Others, though, I've really enjoyed. Either when they came out, or watching them later. "Casablanca" is one I never saw until I was in Kuwait. I love that film. "The General" is another film from before my time, but I think it's one of the best ever made.

Not sure how long it'll take me to watch the remaining 86 films on the list. But I'm going to give it an honest try.

If you're interested, here are the films on the list that I've seen:
  • 12 Angry Men
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • A Clockwork Orange
  • A Few Good Men
  • A Man for All Seasons
  • A Night at the Opera
  • A Place in the Sun
  • A Streetcar Named Desire
  • Aladdin
  • Alien
  • All About Eve
  • All Quiet on the Western Front
  • All the President's Men
  • American Beauty
  • American Graffiti
  • An American in Paris
  • Anatomy of a Murder
  • Annie Hall
  • Apocalypse Now
  • Back to the Future
  • Bambi
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Ben-Hur
  • Big
  • Blade Runner
  • Blue Velvet
  • Bonnie and Clyde
  • Braveheart
  • Bringing Up Baby
  • Bull Durham
  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
  • Caddyshack
  • Casablanca
  • Cat Ballou
  • Chariots of Fire
  • Cinderella
  • Citizen Kane
  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind
  • Dial M for Murder
  • Double Indemnity
  • Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
  • Driving Miss Daisy
  • Duck Soup
  • E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
  • Easy Rider
  • Finding Nemo
  • Forrest Gump
  • Frankenstein
  • Gigi
  • Gone with the Wind
  • Goodfellas
  • Groundhog Day
  • Harvey
  • High Noon
  • In Cold Blood
  • Invasion of the Body Snatchers
  • It Happened One Night
  • It's a Wonderful Life
  • Jaws
  • King Kong
  • Kramer vs. Kramer
  • Lawrence of Arabia
  • Little Caesar
  • Marty
  • MASH
  • Miracle on 34th Street
  • Moonstruck
  • My Fair Lady
  • National Velvet
  • Network
  • North by Northwest
  • Oliver!
  • On the Waterfront
  • Patton
  • Pinocchio
  • Psycho
  • Pulp Fiction
  • Raging Bull
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • Rain Man
  • Rear Window
  • Rebecca
  • Red River
  • Reds
  • Rocky
  • Roman Holiday
  • Shrek
  • Singin' in the Rain
  • Sleepless in Seattle
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  • Some Like It Hot
  • Stagecoach
  • Star Wars
  • Sunset Boulevard
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day
  • The African Queen
  • The Apartment
  • The Bridge on the River Kwai
  • The Day the Earth Stood Still
  • The French Connection
  • The General
  • The Godfather
  • The Godfather Part II
  • The Graduate
  • The Grapes of Wrath
  • The Great Ziegfeld
  • The Hustler
  • The Jazz Singer
  • The Last Picture Show
  • The Lion King
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
  • The Maltese Falcon
  • The Manchurian Candidate
  • The Public Enemy
  • The Searchers
  • The Shawshank Redemption
  • The Silence of the Lambs
  • The Sixth Sense
  • The Sound of Music
  • The Sting
  • The Ten Commandments
  • The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
  • The Usual Suspects
  • The Verdict
  • The Wizard of Oz
  • Titanic
  • Tootsie
  • Toy Story
  • Unforgiven
  • Vertigo
  • West Side Story
  • White Heat
  • Witness for the Prosecution
  • Yankee Doodle Dandy
  • You Can't Take It with You
Here are the ones on the "to-do" list:
  • A Beautiful Mind
  • A Cry in the Dark
  • Adam's Rib
  • All the King's Men
  • Amadeus
  • Around the World in 80 Days
  • Breaking Away
  • Cabaret
  • Cavalcade
  • Chicago
  • Chinatown
  • Cimarron
  • City Lights
  • Crash
  • Dances with Wolves
  • Do the Right Thing
  • Doctor Zhivago
  • Fantasia
  • Fargo
  • Field of Dreams
  • From Here to Eternity
  • Gandhi
  • Gentleman's Agreement
  • Giant
  • Gladiator
  • Going My Way
  • Grand Hotel
  • Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
  • Hamlet
  • Harold and Maude
  • Hoosiers
  • How Green Was My Valley
  • In the Heat of the Night
  • Intolerance
  • Jerry Maguire
  • Judgment at Nuremberg
  • Laura
  • McCabe & Mrs. Miller
  • Midnight Cowboy
  • Million Dollar Baby
  • Modern Times
  • Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
  • Mrs. Miniver
  • Mutiny on the Bounty
  • Nashville
  • No Country for Old Men
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
  • Ordinary People
  • Out of Africa
  • Platoon
  • Rebel Without a Cause
  • Saving Private Ryan
  • Scarface
  • Schindler's List
  • Shakespeare in Love
  • Shane
  • Sophie's Choice
  • Spartacus
  • Sullivan's Travels
  • Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
  • Swing Time
  • Taxi Driver
  • Terms of Endearment
  • The Best Years of Our Lives
  • The Birth of a Nation
  • The Broadway Melody
  • The Deer Hunter
  • The Departed
  • The English Patient
  • The Gold Rush
  • The Greatest Show on Earth
  • The Last Emperor
  • The Life of Emile Zola
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
  • The Lost Weekend
  • The Philadelphia Story
  • The Pride of the Yankees
  • The Thief of Bagdad
  • The Third Man
  • The Wild Bunch
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Tom Jones
  • When Harry Met Sally...
  • Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
  • Wings
  • Wuthering Heights
Update: Updated, corrected listings are here.

UPDATED: I have now seen them all.


  1. There are not many good movies on your "To See" list, Basil. I do not envy you. But, I must say that to think that you have not seen Hoosiers is insane. It comes on every Saturday on TBS right after Roadhouse. It is not very bad, either.

    You haven't seen Field of Dreams? Dang.

    Scarface is the only one that I can say that is so absolutely bloody it needs an X rating. That is just garbage.

    There are 12 good movies left, Basil. Welcome to movie hell.

  2. "Field of Dreams" has one glaring problem: it has Kevin Costner in it. I am NOT looking forward to that one. Or "Dances with Wolves."

  3. I have seen few of the movies on either list. Ordinary People is one of my favorite is full of subtlety and quite powerful. (Watch Timothy Hutton's body language (shaking leg) at the table scene.)

    I predict you will really like several of the movies you have not yet seen.

  4. Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup...

    Happy Sunday! It’s a beautiful day, as usual, here in the USA. Hey, I’m just providing the optimism that Barry won’t. This pinup is by Gil Elvgren, with a wee bit of help.
    What is happening in ye olde blogosphere?

    Apparently, Barry ...

  5. The Mean Sister (who is 5'6")February 16, 2009 at 5:32 AM

    Hey basil! You know I see very few movies. I am surprised I have seen some of the ones you still need to see! I saw Amadeus (music major, remember??), Field of Dreams (I like Kevin Costner--especially in No Way that one), Ordinary People (makes me cry), Saving Private Ryan (too long, but a good story), Schindler's List (yuck), Terms of Endearment (double yuck), and To Kill A Mockingbird and Wuthering Heights (required reading at the local high school in 9th and 10th grade).

  6. The only good thing about "A Clockwork Orange" is that after you've seen it, you'll understand at least 2 more references in the Simpsons.


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