My top 50 favourite movies -Pt3



#10  Road to Perdition (2002)

Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Daniel Craig, Jude Law, Tyler Hoechlin

Is there anything Tom Hanks cannot do? This period piece set during

the Great Depression is beautifully crafted and, despite its gangland

theme, is not a bloodbath. Hanks is simply the best.

#9  My Cousin Vinny (1992)

Joe Pesci, Marisa Tomei, Fred Gwynne, Ralph Macchio, Lane Smith

Pesci is hilarious, Tomei is stunning and hilarious, and a cast of great

character actors make this terrific movie fun from beginning to end.

#8  Gladiator (2000)

Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Oliver Reed, Richard Harris

Ridley Scott’s masterpiece set in Roman times. It is fast-paced, moving and

brilliantly acted. It cuts away from the blood and gore; there are no stupid

sex scenes and no swearing. Russell makes the perfect gladiator. Movie-making

of the highest quality.

#7  Fargo (1996)

Frances McDormand, William H. Macy, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare

The Coen brothers create something extraordinary every now and then. This is

a gory film and it contains a lot of swearing. But it also has a story that continually

surprises and characters that are both diverse and fascinating. McDormand

certainly earned her Oscar. Macy was most unfortunate to miss out. Despite

a ‘based on a true story’ caption, the picture is complete fiction.

#6  Double Indemnity (1944)

Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson

My favourite film noir. A Raymond Chandler screenplay, directed by Billy Wilder,

so what’s not to like? Fred proved he could act, Barbara always could, and

Edward G. has a monologue about ’cause of death’ that is worth the price of

admission on its own. I wish Chandler had not written the word ‘baby’ into

Fred’s character’s vocabulary, however. Dates the movie a little, but it is still a terrific

piece of film-making.

#5  The Searchers (1956)

John Wayne, Jeffrey Hunter, Natalie Wood, Ward Bond, Vera Miles

In my opinion this is the best western ever made, by the best director who ever lived

– – John Ford. Wayne is wonderful, far better than he was in his Oscar-winning role in

True Grit. Not a perfectly edited picture, however. Several errors – especially the car

in the background of the ‘cavalry crossing the river’ scene. Monument Valley settings

add to the magic.

#4  ‘L.A. Confidential (1997)

Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, Kim Basinger, James Cromwell, Kevin Spacey

Russell’s second berth in the Top 10, but the movie has so many great actors in it,

all of them at their peak. Cromwell is a terrific bad guy, Basinger never looked better,

Spacey is as cool as ever, and Guy Pearce (as usual) is under-rated. Awesome drama.

#3  Love Actually (2003)

Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, Keira Knightley, Colin Firth

The ultimate ‘feel good’ movie. In fact, I am yet to meet anyone (young or old) who

does not like it. It has a huge cast, seemingly selected to appeal to all ages and both

genders. ‘Eye candy’ all over the place.

#2  Mississippi Burning (1988)

Gene Hackman, Willem Dafoe, Michael Rooker, Frances McDormand, Brad Dourif

An incredibly powerful movie, based on the disappearance of three civil rights youths

in Mississipi in the early sixties. Hackman is always sensational, but Dafoe does equally

as well in this. The support cast is chock-full of genuine talent and they all deliver. A

movie that I find myself watching at least once a year.

#1  Casablanca (1942)

Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt

It has been over 70 years since Casablanca was made, yet it has not dated an iota. Its

characters are as alive today as they were back in 1942. The picture has romance, intrigue,

suspense, a very witty script, a haunting, beautiful theme, Ingrid at the height of her

considerable beauty – and Bogart! All these factors came together to make what I feel is

close to the perfect movie. Casablanca is what movie-making is all about. And

it was not even made in color or wide-screen, or with a zillion dollar budget.


NOTE: I have been asked about which movies almost made my list, so in two day’s time I shall post three ‘honorable mentions’ for each of the following categories: Sci-fi, war, western, romance, comedy, political, historical, drama, musical, action, suspense, fantasy, adventure – and ‘uncategorized’.








  1. Alan,
    Clarification about “Miss. Burning” comment; FBI wanted nothing to do w/ civil rights violations, until finally forced to investigate.
    {Robt. Kennedy, if I remember correctly.} Knowing this, I thought movie
    was trying to send message of the FBI as “good guys.”

    • Good point, Sheila. An awful lot of African-Americans had been ‘disappearing’ in the Deep South for decades, but it took the disappearance of two white civil rights youths to bring the FBI to Mississippi to investigate what happened to the three murdered boys. I am quite sure there were many decent, caring FBI people, but Hoover sure as hell was not one of them. The picture was made in 1988, but a lot more details about Hoover (and the Kennedys) have emerged since then.

  2. Excellent selections, maybe because I’m in agreement. “Rd. to Perdition”
    superb pacing, acting, & photography. Men grouped together in one room,
    dark suits, has Renaissance feel to it. “My Cousin Vinny”, what a riot!
    “Fargo”, loved it, especially the inept criminals! “Double Indemnity”
    You already know what I think of it. Not sure I saw “L.A Confidential
    am thinking of satire, Tim Robbins, Burt Reynolds, Could be something
    else. “Mississippi Burning”, hated it 1st time around yrs. ago. Love
    the FBI, message to me, but watched parts again; McDormand, Hackman
    good acting. “Casablanca”, maybe saw it many years ago. Photo of
    Bogart here; beautiful face. [Don’t have memory of film now.]

    • L A Confidential is a drama based on actual events in Hollywood around 1950. Russell Crowe, Kevin Spacey, Danny De Vito, James Cromwell, Kim Basinger, Guy Pearce and many other fine actors appear in this brilliant, brilliant piece of movie-making. I love the thing. ‘Casablanca’ is simply the best. EVERY character is real and fascinating, the script is pretty much perfection, the theme ‘As Time Goes By’ fits like a glove, and Bogie is flawless. I watch it over and over. It is THAT good.

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