Top Movies – the ‘honorable mentions’.



Science Fiction

Terminator 2 – Judgment Day (1991)

Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Roger Patrick

Brilliant effects, James Cameron directing.

Planet of the Apes (1968)

Charlton Heston, Kim Hunter, Roddy McDowall

The classic Sci-Fi movie. Even Heston is good.

The Final Countdown (1980)

Kirk Douglas, Martin Sheen, Katharine Ross

The USS Nimitz encounters a time-warp and arrives off Hawaii

on the eve of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec 7, 1941.


The Hunters (1958)

Robert Mitchum, Robert Wagner, Mai Britt, Richard Egan

Mitchum and Wagner are Korean War fighter pilots.

The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1954)

William Holden, Grace Kelly, Mickey Rooney, Fredric March

A gritty anti-war film set in Korea. Holden is terrific.

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Tom Hanks, Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns, Barry Pepper, Matt Damon

If it wasn’t so gory this remarkable film would have made my top 50, but

it is so grim. Hanks really deserved an Oscar – again. He is remarkable.



Ulzana’s Raid (1972)

Burt Lancaster, Bruce Davison, Jorge Luke, Richard Jaeckel

This, too, would have made my top 50, if not for the gore. In my opinion

Lancaster was at his best here. Best ‘Apache’ movie ever.

Tombstone (1993)

Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Powers Booth, Dana Delany, Stephen Lang

glamorous western (the west was never this clean), but some powerhouse

performances from Lang, Booth, Russell and Kilmer. Great cast.

Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid (1969)

Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Katharine Ross

The ultimate ‘good fun’ western.


Four Weddings & a Funeral (1994)

Hugh Grant, Andie MacDowell, John Hannah, Kristin Scott Thomas

A huge commercial success full of likeable characters and a lot of laughs.

Doctor Zhivago (1965)

Omar Sharif, Julie Christie, Tom Courtenay, Rod Steiger, Alec Guinness

Beautifully filmed, a bit too long for my liking, and Sharif was miscast. But it is

an iconic love story. Julie is stunning – as usual.

Yanks (1979)

Richard Gere, Lisa Eichorn, Vanessa Redgrave, William Devane

WW2 London, two love stories in one. Both are very real and moving. Good film.


Life of Brian (1979)

John Cleese, Michael Palin, Eric Idle, Graham Chapman

If you are religious you will probably hate it. It is uneven, but has

moments of hilarity. Cleese and Palin are outstanding.

Operation Petticoat (1959)

Cary Grant, Tony Curtis, Joan O’Brien, Dina Merrill

Grant and Curtis are excellent together in this thoroughly enjoyable

services comedy. Not much warfare, but plenty of hi-jinks and romance.

Dick (1999)

Kirsten Dunst, Michelle Williams, Dan Hedaya, Will Ferrell

I love this take-off of the Watergate scandal. The two girls are just so

likeable and funny. Was # 51 on my list.


Primary Colors (1998)

John Travolta, Emma Thompson, Billy Bob Thornton, Kathy Bates

Travolta is wonderful as the Clintonesque politician. He must feel quite

aggrieved that his performance and the movie went unheralded. It’s great.

The Day Reagan Was Shot (2001)

Richard Crenna, Richard Dreyfuss, Colm Feore, Holland Taylor

Only a tele-movie, but it is 100% entertainment and (apparently) historically

accurate. Crenna makes a near perfect President Reagan.

The Best Man (1964)

Henry Fonda, Cliff Robertson, Edie Adams, Kevin McCarthy

Gore Vidal’s brilliant script makes this a first class political drama.


Becket (1964)

Richard Burton, Peter O’Toole, John Gielgud, Donald Wolfit

O’Toole and Burton as Henry II and Thomas Becket  get to trade verbal blows

via a positively brilliant script.

The Lion in Winter (1968)

Katharine Hepburn, Peter O’Toole, Anthony Hopkins, John Castle, Timothy Dalton

Another marvelous script that an outstanding cast revels in getting their teeth into

at every opportunity. A 12th century ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’ domestic.

Spartacus (1960)

Kirk Douglas, Jean Simmons, Laurence Olivier, Tony Curtis, Peter Ustinov

A tad long, but nearly everyone is superb. The only blemish is the miscasting of

Tony Curtis in a pivotal role. Some great set pieces. Ustinov is fabulous.


The Firm (1993)

Tom Cruise, Gene Hackman, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Hal Holbrook, Ed Harris

The under-rated Cruise plays a young, hot-shot lawyer in a corrupt firm. An excellent

drama and not a courtroom in sight. Hackman is great as always.

In the Heat of the Night (1967)

Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger, Warren Oates, Lee Grant

I bet this picture caused quite a stir in the Deep South when it was released back in the

sixties (if it was released down there that is). Still packs a punch today.

The Long Good Friday (1980)

Bob Hoskins, Helen Mirren, Paul Freeman, Pierce Brosnan, Derek Thompson

The iconic British gangster film. Hoskins’s breakout role is also the debut of Pierce

Brosnan. But the picture is Hoskin’s all the way.


Li’l Abner (1959)

Peter Palmer, Leslie Parrish, Stubby Kaye, Billie Hayes

Not everyone’s cup of tea, but the singing and dancing are of the highest quality. Just a

really happy, enjoyable movie. Billie Hayes and Stubby Kaye outstanding.

1776 (1972)

William Daniels, Howard da Silva, Ken Howard, Donald Madden, Blythe Danner

An unusual musical in that the script between the songs is integral to the plot. Usually,

the script in a musical merely fills in the blanks leading up to a tune. Some great songs

and a few very ordinary ones as well.

Kiss Me Kate (1953)

Howard Keel, Kathryn Grayson, Keenan Wynn, James Whitmore, Ann Miller, Bobby Van

Cole Porter’s music, so there really is nothing more that needs to be said, except that the

perfect musical it could have been is spoiled by Miss Grayson’s screeching. Pity.


Cellular (2004)

Kim Basinger, Chris Evans, Jason Statham, William H. Macy

Fast-paced action flick that sees Evans racing about trying to save Kim before the

bad guys get what they want. Macy is a most convincing cop. Statham charismatic and cool.

Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels (1998)

Jason Statham, Vinnie Jones, Jason Flemyng, Sting, Nick Moran

A fantastic caper film spoiled only by an inordinate amount of violence. Nevertheless,

it is a thrill (and laugh) a minute. Excellent entertainment and has a strong cult following.

Double Jeopardy (1999)

Ashley Judd, Tommy Lee Jones, Bruce Greenwood, Annabeth Gish

A highly entertaining drama even if it is based on a false premise. Ashley is very good as

the wrongly convicted killer, and Tommy Lee is his usual world-weary self. Great scenery,

especially in the New Orleans segment. Excellent entertainment.


Enemy of the State (1998)

Will Smith, Gene Hackman, Jon Voight, Jack Black, Lisa Bonet

A brilliant hi-tech thriller that has Will trying to keep one step ahead of corrupt government

technology wizards chasing an incriminating film he possesses.

Sea of Love (1989)

Al Pacino, Ellen Barkin, John Goodman, Michael Rooker

A first-class ‘whodunnit?’ that has you guessing from start to finish. Miss Barkin has

a legendary ‘hot sex’ scene that put her on the map as a sex siren, but it is Pacino’s

film all the way.

U S Marshals (1998)

Tommy Lee Jones, Robert Downey Jr, Wesley Snipes, Joe Pantoliano, Kate Nelligan

Suspenseful, fast-paced, action-thriller that also happens to have the most amazing airliner

crash ever created for a movie (although the one in ‘Alive’ was pretty scary). Downey was

actually allowed out of gaol to make this. He’s good, too.


Enchanted (2007)

Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey, Susan Sarandon, James Marsden, Timothy Spall

Part-animation, but mostly live-action, romance that is a showcase for the delightful

Amy Adams who plays a fairy-tale princess who comes alive in New York City. Fun.

Shrek (2001)

Voices of: Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz, John Lithgow

It is very difficult not to like Shrek. In fact, Shrek 2 is equally as good, both of them stolen

by Eddie Murphy’s donkey. These days Eddie is far funnier when we don’t have to look at him.

Heart and Souls (1993)

Robert Downey Jr, Tom Sizemore, Alfre Woodard, Charles Grodin, Kyra Sedgwick

A superb fantasy about ghosts that is funny, moving, romantic and ‘feel good’. Fabulous

fantasy that probably should have made my top 50.


I deliberately left out movies that were overly violent (although there are a few exceptions). The same with the over-use of foul language. Fargo is guilty on both counts, but it is such an exceptional film I was willing to overlook its failings – just. The same applied to L A Confidential.

I left out all biblical blockbusters. They are just so tedious. Hence the monumentally over-rated Ben-Hur got the flick. I personally cannot be bothered with lazer fights, kick-boxing bouts, disaster movies, car chases or silly ‘fight to the death’ scenes between super-heroes who are supposedly invincible in the first place. Gone With the Wind was never a consideration because of the wishy-washy Ashley and the sickeningly sugary Melanie.

I have always found Citizen Kane to be a bore, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is basically dull. Spaghetti westerns are too slow, Peter Sellers films crawl along as well, Mel Brooks is just not funny (except for ‘F Troop’), Will Ferrell, Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller are all talentless, and Tarantino is a bloodthirsty bugger, not unlike Sam Peckinpah. I like to be entertained, not sickened or scared half to death. I would love to hear your opinions, so please feel free to voice them.







8 Comments on Top Movies – the ‘honorable mentions’.

  1. I haven’t seen many of these; YES, YES to “In Heat of the Night,”
    “Lion in Winter,” and “Becket.” GREAT acting teams in both!
    “Dick” sounds fun.

    • ‘Dick’ is a wonderful film because its two leads, Michelle Williams and Kirsten Dunst, are just so LIKEABLE. A ‘tongue in cheek’ history lesson, seen through the eyes of two delightful airheads. Love the thing.

  2. I just looked up Terry Thomas, saw video of him in wheelchair, age 78.
    His wife was helping him. So sad to have gone from home he had to
    current one shown, with donated furnishings.

    • Apparently, friends were made aware of his predicament through a journalist (I think), and a collection was arranged to make his final days more comfortable. Sad story, but people did help him once they knew.

  3. “Carry On.” Are you talking about the Terry Thomas films?
    I saw many years ago and thought them to be really funny!

    • I don’t recall Terry-Thomas being in them, but he may have been. I liked Sid James in them, but the others made my teeth ache. Terry-Thomas cracked me up in whatever he did. Very sad end for him. Deserved better.

  4. I do find Mel Brooks really funny; “Blazing Saddles.” I’ve not seen
    any others, but have recording of him and Reiner’s “2,000 Year Old
    Man.” “Becket” and “Lion in Winter,” wonderful! When I specifically
    remember a movie, it’s because it has something extraordinary.
    I’m including “In the Heat of the Night.” I stay away from spectaculars, such as “Spartacus.” However, I watched ALL of the
    Godfather movies; my fascination w/ the mafia. So there.

    • Mel Brooks has a scatter-gun style of humour that hits the mark every now and then, but not enough for my liking. Parts of ‘Blazing Saddles’ are hilarious ( ‘I’ll just whip this out!’ – screams, fainting, and he pulls out a letter), but Mel drops into ‘Carry On’ style double-intendres’, which I just don’t find clever. Yet, I absolutely LOVE ‘F Troop’ and ‘Get Smart’, and he produced both series, so comedic taste is a VERY personal thing. My wife and I think the Neil Simon film ‘Murder by Death (1976) is terrific, yet we recommended it to a couple of friends who detested the thing and turned it off after 15 minutes. Pacino was superb in ‘The Godfather’ and De Niro likewise in ‘The Godfather Pt 2’, and they only just missed my Top 50. And I agree with you that the mafia hold a certain fascination for most of us, hence the extraordinary popularity of shows like ‘The Sopranos’.(A bit too violent for me). I often watch Spartacus just to enjoy Peter Ustinov, Charles Laughton and Olivier. They have such great Dalton Trumbo dialogue. There is very little fighting in the picture actually. Like you, I can watch extraordinary performances more than once. I must have seen ‘Casablanca’ and ‘Double Indemnity’ 50 times each! They have an ‘atmosphere’ about them that captivates me. Always has.

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