Top 10 Movies of All Time


I wonder if there would be two critics in the entire world who would come up with the same Top 10 Movies of All Time in the exact same order. Come to think of it, the same might apply to any two people period, unless they be husband and wife who have spent a lifetime together watching the same pictures over and over.

Some of my movie buff friends and I were discussing this recently and it quickly became apparent that our tastes varied widely. To be expected, I suppose, given the diversity in movie genres for one thing, not to mention the tens of thousands of genuinely good movies that have been churned out since 1905. To narrow them all down to the Top 10 Movies of All Time takes some doing. The odds of any two souls arriving at precisely the same end result should indeed be substantial.

One of my friends had no fewer than three Shakespearian films in his list. Personally, I find Shakespeare decidedly dull, so there is absolutely no possibility of even one of the Bard’s efforts finding its way into my Top 10 Movies of All Time. Indeed, I could name my Top 100 Movies of All Time (and I have) and he still would not feature, (although Shakespeare in Love would scramble in, if that counts at all).
Another of my group has a penchant for film noirs, so a couple of these made it into his Top 10. None made mine, but the wonderful Double Indemnity (1944) finished a respectable fifteenth in my Top 100 Movies of All Time, so we have more in common with each other than with our Shakespearian colleague. Mind you, the rest of our lists were not even remotely similar.

It almost goes without saying that most of my learned friends placed Orson Welles’ 1941 ‘classic’ Citizen Kane at or near the head of their lists. I did not. It is almost compulsory for movie ‘experts’ to wax lyrical over Orson’s movie, as if not doing so might risk relegating them to the ranks of the ill-informed. I have never much been interested in my reputation as a critic. I like what I like and that’s that. Most movie-goers, I believe, feel the same way. If they walk out of a cinema satisfied that their money has not been wasted, that they have been entertained sufficiently, then who cares if the direction was a little amateurish or the lighting wasn’t quite up to scratch?

Entertainment must always be the yardstick by which we assess movies, in my humble opinion. (I should confess here and now that, in all honesty, I have never really had a humble opinion in my life). Nor should I. Nor should any of us. Our opinions are very much who we are, so why apologize for them? If your favourite picture is Disney’s Dumbo, then say so. Your opinion, your taste, is as good as everyone else’s. I place a western at No 2 in my Top 10 Movies of All Time! Shock, horror! And why? Because it fulfils every requirement that goes to make up a terrific movie in my eyes: It has marvellous characters, a sensational script, some of the finest actors ever to grace the silver screen, and it makes me care about what happens. It is moving. It entertains. That is enough for me.

Anyway, for what it is worth, here is my Top 10 Movies of All Time:

#1 CASABLANCA (1942)

Humphrey Bogart – Ingrid Bergman – Claude Rains

A wonderfully scripted film that reeks of atmosphere and intrigue. The score is perfect for the mood and the characters are all rich and believable. Bogart is ideally cast as the laconic, world-weary hero, but he is ably supported by Rains and, to a lesser extent, Bergman.

Casablanca Drama, Romance, War | January 23, 1943 (United States)
Director: Michael CurtizWriter: Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein, Howard KochStars: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul HenreidSummary: The story of Rick Blaine, a cynical world-weary ex-patriate who runs a nightclub in Casablanca, Morocco during the early stages of WWII. Despite the pressure he constantly receives from the local authorities, Rick's cafe has become a kind of haven for refugees seeking to obtain illicit letters that will help them escape to America. But when Ilsa, a former lover of Rick's, and her husband, show up to his cafe one day, Rick faces a tough challenge which will bring up unforeseen complications, heartbreak and ultimately an excruciating decision to make. ?Kyle Perez


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Robert Duvall – Tommy Lee Jones – Diane Lane

The ultimate historical western. Although technically a mini-series, it has been released on Blu-ray and is really in effect a very long movie. Lonesome Dove has everything that goes to make up superb entertainment – a great story, a sublime script, two of the finest lead actors ever to appear on the screen, and an assortment of supporting players that is second to none. There is not a discordant note or dull sequence in the entire picture. A brilliant depiction of a bygone era.

Lonesome Dove Adventure, Drama, Western | February 5, 1989 (United States)
Stars: Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones, Danny GloverSummary: Epic story about two former Texas rangers who decide to move cattle from the south to Montana. Augustus McCrae and Woodrow Call run into many problems on the way, and the journey doesn't end without numerous casualties. (6 hrs approx) ?Rob Hartill


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Robert Redford – Dustin Hoffman – Jason Robards Jr

There are two amazing things about this movie. First, it was made pretty much at the time Tricky Dicky Nixon was playing funny buggers, and second; even though the audience knew the result it maintained tension and suspense throughout. Robards is first class.

All the President's Men Drama, History, Thriller | April 9, 1976 (United States)
Director: Alan J. PakulaWriter: Carl Bernstein, Bob Woodward, William GoldmanStars: Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Jack WardenSummary: In the run-up to the 1972 elections, Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward covers what seems to be a minor break-in at the Democratic Party National headquarters. He is surprised to find top lawyers already on the defense case, and the discovery of names and addresses of White House fund organizers on the accused further arouses his suspicions. The editor of the Post is prepared to run with the story and assigns Woodward and Carl Bernstein to it. They find the trail leading higher and higher in the White House. ?Jeremy Perkins {J-26}


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#4 FARGO (1996)

Frances McDormand – Steve Buscemi – William H Macy

A superb black comedy typical of the Coen Brothers. McDormand is always good, as are Buscemi and Macy, but it is the characters and situations created by the writers that make this movie exceptional. Regardless of the opening credits, this story is not based on an actual crime spree, but who cares? It is wildly entertaining throughout.

Fargo Crime, Thriller | April 5, 1996 (United States)
Director: Joel Coen, Ethan CoenWriter: Ethan Coen, Joel CoenStars: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve BuscemiSummary: Jerry works in his father-in-law's car dealership and has gotten himself in financial problems. He tries various schemes to come up with money needed for a reason that is never really explained. It has to be assumed that his huge embezzlement of money from the dealership is about to be discovered by father-in-law. When all else falls through, plans he set in motion earlier for two men to kidnap his wife for ransom to be paid by her wealthy father (who doesn't seem to have the time of day for son-in-law). From the moment of the kidnapping, things go wrong and what was supposed to be a non-violent affair turns bloody with more blood added by the minute. Jerry is upset at the bloodshed, which turns loose a pregnant sheriff from Brainerd, MN who is tenacious in attempting to solve the three murders in her jurisdiction. ?Anonymous


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Joe Pesci – Marisa Tomei – Fred Gwynne

There is scarcely a scene in this entire movie that does not produce a laugh or, at least a chuckle. Pesci and Tomei are ideally cast, but the supports are all highly watchable and funny in their own right. My Cousin Vinny is one of those films that is watchable over and again because it is rich in memorable moments.

My Cousin Vinny Comedy, Crime | March 13, 1992 (United States)


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Peter O’Toole – Omar Sharif – Alec Guinness

The story and actors almost play third fiddle to the cinematography and the score. It is certainly a slow-paced movie, but it is rich in superb characterizations and the action sequences are exciting. Guinness, Claude Rains, Arthur Kennedy and Anthony Quinn all add to the mix, but it is really O’Toole and Sharif’s picture. Not a single female has dialogue or close-up screen time.

Lawrence of Arabia Adventure, Biography, Drama, War | December 11, 1962 (United Kingdom)
Director: David LeanWriter: Robert Bolt, Michael WilsonStars: Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony QuinnSummary: Due to his knowledge of the native Bedouin tribes, British Lieutenant T.E. Lawrence is sent to Arabia to find Prince Faisal and serve as a liaison between the Arabs and the British in their fight against the Turks. With the aid of native Sherif Ali, Lawrence rebels against the orders of his superior officer and strikes out on a daring camel journey across the harsh desert to attack a well-guarded Turkish port. ?Jwelch5742


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Kenneth More – Michael Goodliffe – Honor Blackman

Easily the best ‘Titanic’ movie ever made. More is cast perfectly as First Officer Lightoller and the entire tragedy is handled with great historic accuracy (and great tension) by the British director.

A Night to Remember Drama, History | December 16, 1958 (United States)
Director: Roy Ward BakerWriter: Walter Lord, Eric AmblerStars: Kenneth More, Ronald Allen, Robert AyresSummary: A successful attempt at an even-handed portrayal of the White Star Line's (later part of Cunard) luxury liner R.M.S. Titanic's sinking from the standpoint of Second Officer Charles Herbert Lightoller, himself the most senior of the ill-fated ship's Deck Officers to survive the disaster (Lightoller later went on to distinguish himself as a line British Naval Officer during the First World War and served as a Senior Naval Staff Officer on convoys during WWII. Between wars, he owned and operated a successful family business producing pleasure craft). His own survival of the sinking, along with several others, is shown atop one of the liner's two "collapsible" lifeboats which was capsized in floating off the liner as it sank. The picture depicts then known facts (c1958) as reported after the sinking--such as the woeful lack of adequate lifeboats, the ship's band playing true to the very end, White Star's co-owner Bruce Ismay's somewhat less-than-chivalrous departure from the sinking vessel -and- the Titanic's designer (Andrews, on-board) revelation that due to the severity of below-the-water-line damage and that the vaunted watertight compartments were not designed to nor sealed up to the weather deck, would only delay the inevitable as sea water spilled over the top of one to the next from the bows to the stern. It also addresses the mysterious ship seen from the Titanic's bridge stopped some 12-19 miles off and depicts it as being the S.S. Californian, whom - if that steamship had responded, the loss of life could have been far, far less. The Californian is seen stopped due to the ice warnings, the same alerts whose import were undervalued by the Titanic's Captain Smith. She herself had shut-down wireless operations, nominally at 11:00pm as her sole operator retired for the evening, this before the iceberg was struck and the first distress calls were made by Titanic. It also addresses somewhat the coal fire in one of Titanic's bunkers - apparently not uncommon back in those days, before her departure into the Atlantic and potential for damage to steel plates below the water line (This picture predates the calling-into-question of the quality of rivets [metalurgy] which has since come to the fore). The film also shows the class distinction and its impact as to whom - of the "women and children first", got a seat in a boat; the fact that the first/earliest lifeboats launched were not at full capacity; and that the boats launched from the port and starboard side held to different criteria as to loading. The latter allows the viewer an inference as to the importance for crew and passenger alike as to lifeboat drills which were then (1912) neither required nor ever held aboard Titanic. One of several movies on the subject, it stands well the test-of-time for its "just the facts" approach in the telling and avoidance of conjecture or added melodrama. ?


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Gene Hackman – Willem Dafoe – Frances McDormand

Hackman proves again why he is one of the most watchable actors in the history of American cinema. He and Dafoe take on the KKK in this fact-based drama of racial hatred and cold-blooded murder in the Deep South of the 1960s. Mcdormand is her usual excellent self, but so is an array of supporting players who add class to an already classy production.

Mississippi Burning Crime, Drama, History, Mystery, Thriller | January 27, 1989 (United States)
Director: Alan ParkerWriter: Chris GerolmoStars: Gene Hackman, Willem Dafoe, Frances McDormandSummary: Two FBI agents investigating the murder of civil rights workers during the 60s seek to breach the conspiracy of silence in a small Southern town where segregation divides black and white. The younger agent trained in FBI school runs up against the small town ways of his former Sheriff partner. ?Keith Loh <>


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Bruce Greenwood – Steven Culp – Dylan Baker

Speaking of history lessons, this one covers in compelling detail the thirteen days that saw the world poised on the brink of nuclear annihilation in 1962 courtesy of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Kevin Costner is top-billed here, but it is Greenwood and Culp as the Kennedy brothers who dominate the story (and the acting). This is dramatic history story-telling at its finest.

Thirteen Days Drama, History, Thriller | January 12, 2001 (United States)
Director: Roger DonaldsonWriter: David Self, Ernest R. May, Philip D. ZelikowStars: Kevin Costner, Bruce Greenwood, Shawn DriscollSummary: In October, 1962, U-2 surveillance photos reveal that the Soviet Union is in the process of placing nuclear weapons in Cuba. These weapons have the capability of wiping out most of the Eastern and Southern United States in minutes if they become operational. President John F. Kennedy and his advisors must come up with a plan of action against the Soviets. Kennedy is determined to show that he is strong enough to stand up to the threat, and the Pentagon advises U.S. military strikes against Cuba--which could lead the way to another U.S. invasion of the island. However, Kennedy is reluctant to follow through, because a U.S. invasion could cause the Soviets to retaliate in Europe. A nuclear showdown appears to be almost inevitable. Can it be prevented? ?<>


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Jason Statham – Vinnie Jones – Jason Flemyng

Considering the enormous amount of violence in this film, it is quite a surprise to discover an endless supply of witty, humorous dialogue. Statham was always going to be a star and ex soccer-player Vinnie Jones has similar star quality, if a little less refined. A wonderful mix of Cockney good guys and bad guys populate a fast-paced, action-packed caper.

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels Action, Comedy, Crime | August 28, 1998 (United Kingdom)
Director: Guy RitchieWriter: Guy RitchieStars: Jason Flemyng, Dexter Fletcher, Nick MoranSummary: Four Jack-the-lads find themselves heavily - seriously heavily - in debt to an East End hard man and his enforcers after a crooked card game. Overhearing their neighbours in the next flat plotting to hold up a group of out-of-their-depth drug growers, our heroes decide to stitch up the robbers in turn. In a way the confusion really starts when a pair of antique double-barrelled shotguns go missing in a completely different scam.


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  1. Quite an interesting list and I agree and disagree which would be normal. It makes me want to see some of them right now.

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