Commentary – How I Made My Top 100

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Making The List

In between preparing my entries, I though I would add some commentary on the most common questions I am asked.

One of the three questions I get the most is “how did you make your list”.

Well, here is the answer.

 Starting a Master List

About 10 years ago, I decided to make a list of every movie I have ever seen. I created an Excel Spreadsheet called “Every Movie I Have Ever Seen.xls” (of course). It has the film’s name, year of release, director, genre and my own rating from 0 to 4 stars. (see below)

I created the list using a variety of sources.

1 – from memory and my own movie collection

2 – from reviewing Oscar winners and nominees on IMDb

3 – reviews of annual Top 10 lists from my favourite critics – here you will often find obscure films that I love because I discovered them through the critics.

4 – boxofficemojo.com – its has box office results in great detail, but especially from 1980 forward

The list sits now at about 1600 films and although I know it is not 100% complete, it was complete enough to create my Top 100.

 

Retrospective by Decade

From there, I did retrospectives by decade. Collected all films I rated 4 stars and made top 20 lists by decade as well as a list of all other movies I rated 3 ½ and 4 stars.

I narrowed it down to 200 films, then 150, 130. With 130 potential films, I created the Top 100.

 

The Top 20

The Top 10 films were easy and have not substantially changed since I started this project. Place #11 through #20 was just about as easy – though anyone of those films could easily be in my Top 10 as well. There are a couple of newer entries in the Top 20 that after many repeat viewing and after a few years have passed have become all time favourite. The Top 5 films have not changed in better than 15 years, even before I started this list.

 

#21 to 70

For the next 50 entries, I made groups of ten. I would review the remaing 110 films and pick 10 films at a time that I felt should be the next on my list, place them, wait a few days, review and tweak the new entries. Once I was happy, then I would repeat that until I arrived at number 70. I tweaked here and there. Added a film or two that I overlooked and then moved on to the most difficult part.

 

The Last 30

For the final 30 films, the order is less relevant. They are films that I feel ‘deserve’ mention. Although they are in some semblance of order, they are for the most part interchangeable.

When I was down to sixty films, I laboured more over what to include and what to leave out that anything else. They are all films I love.

(For example, I own every Bond, Star Wars, Star Trek, Rocky, Terminator and Potter film, but from all of those, there are a total of three entries on my list). The thirty films I left off are all films I love.

The Top 100 was completed in draft in December of 2013. It was tweaked a few times since then and has remained unchanged now for a while. It will change over time as new movies are released and as old ones are viewed again.

 

  Footnote

When I rate a film zero to 4 stars, this it what is means to me.

Zero – immoral, incompetent, should have never been made or all three. A special epic kind of bad. To quote Ebert… “aggressively bad, as if it was made to punish the audience”. So bad, you may want to see it.

 ½ star – Terrible film, but not quite bad enough to get zero.

 1 star – bad movie, completely forgettable.

 1 ½ stars – bad movie with a good scene or two, like a bad comedy with a couple of chuckles

 2 stars – Fair. Some good qualities, some bad. Like a badly scripted action film with awesome effects

 2 ½ stars – pleasant and forgettable. Enjoyed, would not see again.

 3 stars – good movie, may watch again on late night TV. Safe to recommend

 3 ½ stars – great film to those who love the genre

 4  stars– all time classic, recommended to anyone who loves film

There are way more three and four star films that zero and one; Simply because I don’t go out of my way to see bad movies. About 8% of movies are 4 star, less than 2% have zero.

Dan’s All Time Top 100 Films – #50 to #41

Now on to the Top 50. At this point, we are getting into films I really hold in the highest regard. I love your comments so please keep them coming.

 

#50    “Saving Private Ryan”

Director: Stephen Spielberg

Stars: Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Edward Burns, Tom Sizemore

Original Release Date: 24 Jul 1988

Oscars: 5 (Director, Editing, Cinematography, Sound editing, Sound), six other nominations

SPR

I love war films. Maybe its because I am a natural born coward and I cannot for a minute imagine myself in battle situation. A great war film, like this one, transports us into the chaos of the foot soldier. The greatest of war films, also give us an insight into the human side, the ordinary people, be they ally or enemy that fight and die in the sea of blood and bodies. The opening 25 minutes of SPR that depicts the Normandy Invasion, is one of the great works of sustained film making in the history of cinema. There are few other opening acts of a film that so graphically take you into the battle. It does not wait or set up the plot. After the main characters barely survive, they are re-assigned to find Private Ryan, a young soldier who does not know that his three brothers have been killed in action. Over its 2.5 running time, Saving Private Ryan tells us a story that is at the same time personal and universal, tender and visceral. It was the highest grossing film of 1998 – a major accomplishment for such a work of art.

 

#49    “Blade Runner”

Director: Ridley Scott

Stars: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, M. Emmett Walsh

Original Release Date: 25 Jun 1982

Oscars: None, two nominations.

BR

Blade Runner is the film that has generated more discussion over the years than any other film on my list. It raised the pointed question of what is life and what is it worth. In the last 10 or 15 years, it has become such a modern classic that it’s hard to remember that it was generally considered a failure, critically and commercially, upon its release. It was given one of the original “Director’s Cut” treatments, with Ridley Scott making some changes including the voiceover. My entry on this list is, for the most part, based on the Director’s Cut. In the year 2019, Replicants, Cyborgs so real that they are almost indecipherable, are used for space exploration. A group of four, lead by Roy (Rutger Hauer) comes back to Earth against orders, with the goal of expanding their brief lives. Deckard, (Ford) is a Blade Runner, a bounty hunter who hunts down the rogue Replicants. This plot, based loosely on Philip K. Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” provides the backdrop to a deeply thoughtful, visionary film.

 

#48    “Jaws”

Director: Stephen Spielberg

Stars: Richard Dreyfuss, Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw

Original Release Date: 20 June 1975

Oscars: 3 (Sound, Editing, Score), 1 other nominations

jaws

Jaws changed the way we watch movies. First, there’s the music. There is no more identifiable score in all of film that the low, droning bass. Those two notes have become a universal indicator of danger. Second, it is one of the two or three films that have had the longest and greatest impact on pop culture. It forever changed the way we view sharks, beaches, swimming, you name it. Really, would Shark Week even exit without Jaws? Third, it was the first Summer Blockbuster. A movie released in July that made a quarter of a billion dollars domestic. That was unheard of. After Jaws, summer changesdfrom a time when studios dumped their junk to the time when they release their biggest moneymakers. Above that, it’s a great film. Spielberg conjures suspense and fear like no director before this. The shark (Bruce he was named by those in the production) is not even seen in full until about two thirds of the way through the movie. This was a condition on which Spielberg took over the project. The impact of the original was not lessened by the release of 3 pathetic sequels and the movie can still horrify today. If you are making a list of the most influential films of all time, Jaws is a no-brainer top 10 entry.

Trivia: The classic line “We’re gonna need a bigger boat” was improvised.

 

#47    “High Noon”

Director: George Zimmerman

Stars: Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly

Original Release Date: 30 July 1952

Oscars: 4 (Actor – Gary Cooper, Editing, Song, Score), 3 other nominations

High-Noon-1952-Poster

I am not a fan of Westerns in general so it is logical that the two Westerns on my list are very non-traditional movies. Told in real time, over two hours, Gary Cooper plays Marshal Will Kane. It is just after 10 am and he is about to marry his young bride, Amy (Grace Kelly), he finds that a convicted murderer and his gang are going to arrive at their quiet little town, with revenge on their minds. Kane is the man who brought them down and they want them dead. His friends in the town, the mayor, the judge and others, tell him to flee. Kane eventually realizes he will face these foes alone. High Noon is a departure from tradition in many ways, perhaps mostly that there is little action or gunplay in the film until the finale. It’s as much about betrayal as it is about doing the right thing and being ahero. It’s a truly great film that can be enjoyed by fans of any genre.

 

#46    “Young Frankenstein”

Director: Mel Brooks

Stars: Gene Wilder, Marty Feldman , Madeline Kahn, Terri Garr, Peter Boyle

Original Release Date: 15 Dec 1974

Oscars: None, two nominations

Young_Frankenstein_movie_poster

My only beef with this film is that it is such a spot on parody of Bride of Frankenstein that it makes the original hard to watch without snickering. The scene where a blind Gene Hackman pours hot soup on Peter Boyle’s lap is a shameless parody of one of the most tender scenes ever filmed. That aside, Young Frankenstein is on the short list of great comedies. The incredible performances of Marty Feldman as Eye-gor, Cloris Leachman as Frau Blucher (cue the horse whinny) and a young Terry Garr as Hilda make of the best supporting casts ever assembled. Like all great comedies, this movie never takes itself too seriously and never forgets that it’s a comedy. Filmed in black and white (the only choice really), its chock full of memorable gags. Every character is funny and gets laughs. It’s a comedy that can be safely recommended to anyone. But really, if you have seen this film and not seen Bride of Frankenstein, its biggest source of material, do so. You will actually gain respect for both movies.

 

#45   “Robocop”

Director: Paul Verhouven

Stars: Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Kurtwood Smith

Original Release Date: 17 Jul 1987

Oscars: None, two nominations

robocop

Guilty pleasure #3. I just can’t get enough of this film. The main reason? My contention that a great film has a great bad guy and Kurtwood Smith’s turn as soulless, smarmy drug dealer Clarence Boddicker is truly one of the greats. He is a drug dealer because its good business. He gets no back-story or other motivation. And he delivers his dialogue with devilish glee. (“Guns, guns, guns! Come Sal… Tigers are playing … tonight!”) On top of that, (work with me here), Robocop is a visionary classic. The depiction of Detroit is not far from reality. It was the first time we ever saw a DVD rom. It covers questions of morality, science, right and wrong and at what cost do we keep the peace. It is also a non-stop, violent, scenery chewing, bullet spewing action film. I have loved every second of it from the first viewing in theatres.

Trivia: Robocop star Peter Wellers said that this movie (and the moribund sequel) was the worst experience of his acting career. He refused to do the third installment.

 

 #44    “To Kill A Mockingbird”

Director: Robert Mulligan

Stars: Gregory Peck, Brock Peters

Original Release Date: 16 Mar 1963

Oscars: 3 (Actor – Gregory Peck, Adapted Screenplay, B&W Art Direction), 5 other nominations

killa

In 2003, The American Film Institute ranked Atticus Finch as the greatest movie hero of all time, nudging out Indiana Jones and James Bond. Bond, in all his incarnations and Indiana Jones, are men of bravery, ingenuity and duty. What makes us identify with and love Atticus is that so is he but on such a different plane. Atticus defends Tom Robinson because it is the right thing to do. He has will, strength of character and a belief in justice that we all wish we had. To Kill a Mockingbird gives us this legendary character in a skillfully made faithful adaptation to the novel. The climatic scene where Gregory Peck in his Oscar winning performance gives his final summation to the all-white jury is a deeply moving soliloquy. “For God’s sake, do your duty” he implores. He knows he is right and he knows the jury knows as well. I am a sucker for courtroom dramas and there are a lot of bad ones. This is the pinnacle of the genre.

 

 #43    “Pan’s Labyrinth”

Director: Guillermo Del Toro

Stars: Ivana Baquero, Maribel Verdu

Original 19 Jan 2007 (Wide release)

Oscars: 3 (Cinematography, Art Direction, Makeup), 3 other nominations

pans

Pan’s Labyrinth skillfully and beyond belief weaves two of my favourite genres today: fantasy films and war films. It is, in a sense, a fairy tale, but most decidedly not a children’s movie. In 1944, young Ofelia moves with her pregnant and sick mother to the country home of her new stepfather, a sadistic officer in the Fascist army. There she meets a fairy that brings her to a faun in a labyrinth deep underground. Ofelia is told she is a princess and to prove her royalty, she must complete three rather gruesome and dangerous tasks. Guillermo Del Toro creates and Oscar winning, visually stunning world and tells a story that reminds us how the mind a child deals with situation that they cannot handle or even comprehend. This was Roger Ebert’s #1 movie of 2006 and in his Top 10 of the decade. Its an underappreciated work of genius.

 

 #42    “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”

Director: Frank Capra

Stars: Jimmy Stewart, Claude Rains

Original Release Date: 19 Oct 1939

Oscars: 1 (Original Screenplay), 10 other nominations

Smith_goes

James Stewart should have won his Oscar here. Under the category of “the great American film”, Mr. Smith harkens us back to a time of classic film making, simple plots, great scripts and tour de force acting. 1939 is perhaps one of the most celebrated years in film history, giving us this, Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind and the John Ford classic Stage Coach. In this film, young, hopeful Jefferson Smith (Stewart) is appointed the Senate and heads to Washington with awe and wonder. When he arrives, he finds what lies beneath the gloss is not so savoury. His determination leads to the great filibuster scene, which has to be seen to be appreciated. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is a life affirming, wonderful film, an great introduction to classic Hollywood for those who are so familiar with this genre.

Trivia: at the time of its release, Washington relived the film insiders for suggesting that there was corruption in politics. At the same time, it was banned in Nazi Germany because the fascist government of the time feared it showed how democracy works.

 

#41    “Nashville”

Director: Robert Altman

Stars: Truly an ensemble cast, but Keith Carradine, Karen Black, Lily Tomlin

Original Release Date: 32 Sep 1975

Oscars: 1 (Original Song), four other nominations

nashville

Nashville is perhaps the greatest ensemble cast film ever made. Its hard to describe the plot or answer “what is this film really about”. It is so many things. Its is most definitely a musical, taking place in Nashville. It’s a biting political satire. And it’s a story of some of the most compelling, sympathetic and interesting characters Altman has ever brought to screen. The movies takes place over five days, at a politically rally for a (unseen on screen) candidate for the “Replacement Party”, whose radical ideas include banning lawyers from congress. This film is very long. It is largely improvised as the script provided more of a guideline than anything. All of the actors wrote and sang the music the performed, highlighted by Keith Carradine’s Oscar winning “I’m Easy”, one of the most memorable musical scenes every filmed.

 

 Recap so far…

41.    Nashville (Altman – 1975)

42. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (Capra – 1939)

43.  Pan’s Labyrinth (Del Toro – 2006)

44. To Kill A Mockingbird (Mulligan – 1963)

45. Robocop (Verhoven – 1987)

46.    Young Frankenstein (Brooks – 1974)

47. High Noon (Zimmerman – 1952)

48.    Jaws (Spielberg – 1952)

49. Blade Runner (Scott – 1982)

50. Saving Private Ryan (Spielberg – 1998)

51.    The Third Man (Reed – 1949)

52.    Scarface (DePalma – 1983)

53.    The Up Documentaries (Apted – 1966 to ?)
54.    Do The Right Thing (Lee – 1989)

55.    The Dark Knight (Nolan – 2008)

56.    Dr. Strangelove (Kubrik – 1964)

57.    Alien (Scott – 1979)

58.    Aliens (Cameron – 1986)

59.    Duck Soup (McCarey – 1935)

60.    On The Waterfront (Kazan – 1951)

61 The Departed (Scorsese – 2006)

62.  Glengarry Glen Ross (Foley – 1992)
63.  Die Hard (McTierrnan – 1988)
64.  E.T. The Extra Terrestrial (Spielberg – 1983)
65.  City Lights (Chaplin – 1931)
66.  The Shawshank Redemption (Darabont – 1993)
67.  Gravity (2013 – Cauron)
68.  Who Framed Roger Rabbit (Zemekis – 1985)
69.  2001 A Space Odyssey (Kubrick – 1969)
80.  The Little Mermaid (Clements/Musker – 1991)

71.    Psycho (Hitchcock – 1960)

72.    The Producers (Brooks – 1968)

73.    Hannah and Her Sisters (Allen – 1986)

74.    Hoop Dreams (James – 1994)

75. Army of Darkness (Raimi – 1992)

76.    The Big Lebowski (Coen 1998)

77.    The Nightmare Before Christmas (Burton /Sellick – 1993)

78 .   Bride of Frankenstein (Whale – 1935)

79.    Letters from Iwo Jima (2006 – Eastwood)

80.    The Wizard of Oz (Fleming – 1939)

81, The Fog of War (Morris – 2003)

82.    Moulin Rouge (Luhrmann – 2001)

83.  Terminator 2 – Judgment Day (Cameron – 1991)

84     .Millers Crossing (Coen – 1990)

85 .   12 Angry Men (Lumet – 1957)

86.    21 Grams (Gonzales Irraitu – 2003)

87.    The Princess Bride (1989 – Reiner)

88.    The Philadelphia Story (1940 – Cuckor)

89.    Ghostbusters (1983 – Reitman)

90.    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Gondry – 2004)

91.    Juno (Reitman – 2007)

92.    Star Trek : First Contact (Frakes – 1996)

93.    Avatar (Cameron 2009)

94.    Wall Street (Stone – 1986)

95.    When Harry Met Sally … (Reiner – 1988)

96.    Belle Epoque (Treuba – 1992)

97.    Say Anything (Crowe – 1989)

98.    Planet of the Apes (Schaffner – 1968)

99.    The Breakfast Club (1983 – Hughes)

100.        The Blues Brothers (1980 – Reitman)

 

Dan’s All Time Top 100 Films – #60 – #51

This last entry was written while I was in Palm Springs. Not that this is significant, I just like saying I was in Palm Springs.

#60    “On the Waterfront”

Director: Elia Kazan

Stars: Marlon Brando, Eva Marie Sainte, Karl Malden, Lee Cobb

Original Release Date: 22 Jun 1954

Oscars: 7 (Picture, Director, Actor – Marlon Brando, Actress – Eva Marie Sainte, Screenplay, B&W Cinematography, Score), five other nominations

on-the-waterfront-DVDcover[1]

On the Waterfront is the embodiment of drama. Shot in black white in the early heyday of Technicolor, the washed out and gray images in this film give it the exact right look and feel. The story is quite simple. Brando plays Terry Malloy, a longshoreman who dreamed of being a prizefighter. Now he tends his pigeons and is an errand boy for corrupt union bosses. After witnessing a murder and meeting the dead man’s sister, he starts a fight against the corruption. . On the Waterfront swept the Oscars. It was a controversial win because just a few years before, Elia Kazan infamously testified in from the of House American Activities Commission and named names to Senator McCarthy and his ilk of suspected communists in Hollywood. He was blacklisted. This film’s victory and creative success was a huge personal victory for Kazan.

#59    “Duck Soup”

Director: Leo McCarey

Stars: The Marx Brothers

Original Release Date: 17 Nov 1933

Oscars: None

duck soup

“Will you marry me? Did your husband leave you any money? Answer the second question first. “ If you have ever heard the phrase comedic timing and really wondered what it means, watch the movie and see it perfected. Duck Soup is quite simply one of the funniest films ever made. Snappy line after snappy line. Incredible physical humour combined with impeccable timing and great supporting cast. Grouch Marx is Rufus T. Firely, who is installed as the dictator of the bankrupt nation, Freedonia by a wealthy dowager who is bailing the nation out. Duck Soup is an infinitely quotable film where the lines are set up then knocked out of the park. Nearly 80 years later, its as funny as the day it was released. The Marx Brothers made many fantastic films but Duck Soup is their definitive classic.

Trivia: Italian Dictator Benito Mussolini banned this movie from Italy, believing it was a direct attack on him. Reportedly, this delighted the Marx Brothers to no end.

#58    “Aliens”

Director: James Cameron

Stars: Sigourney Weaver, Michael Beihn

Original Release Date: 18 Jul 1986

Oscars: 3 (Sound Effects, Visual Effects), 5 other nominations

aliens_ver2

Aliens is 137 minutes of relentless adrenalin. It is to film as Red Bull is to Lemonade. To see it is almost exhausting. A worthy sequel to the haunting 1979 original, this film films Ellen Ripley (Weaver) 57 years later discover in cryogenic sleep. The planet from the original movie has been colonize but contact has been lost and Ripley finds herself back, with a team of space marines to fight the enemy again. Aliens is a relatively plotless pure action and special effects movie, violent and visceral. Its James Cameron at his best. This is not a film for the faint of heart and if you can stomach it, I promise you will not forget it. There is no down time in this film. Don’t bother with the popcorn, you will not breathe long enough to eat it.

#57    “Alien”

Director: Ridley Scott

Stars: Sigourney Weaver

Original Release Date: 04 Oct 2013

Oscars: 1 (Visual effects), 3 other nominations

alien

“If there is a bomb under a table and it goes off that’s action. If it does not, that’s suspense”. Alfred Hitchcock.

That sums the difference between Aliens from 1986 and this film the original from 1979. Where Aliens is pure action, Alien grips us with suspense. Oh it has its “boo” moments and serious action sequences, but unlike Alien that survives on relentless action, Alien is about building tension. I clearly remember my brother Joe seeing this movie and them coming home and telling me about it. Even his vivid description gave me the chills. I saw it many years later. I put these movies back to back (rather than as one entry) because they are so different and from different director. But I love them both and strongly recommend then.

#56    “Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb”

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Stars: Peter Sellers, George C. Scott

Original Release Date: 29 Jan 1964

Oscars: None, four nominations

Drstrangelove1sheet-

“You can’t fight here. This is the War Room”. Dr. Strangelove is Stanley Kubricks parody of the cold war, war films and in a sense of comedy itself. Whackadoole General Jack D. Ripper covertly sends B52s out to launch a nuclear attack against the Soviets, believing that the fluoridation of water is a Commie plot. Peter Sellers plays three roles, all brilliantly, but none more than Dr. Strangelove himself. The humour in this movie is sly, not terribly obvious, subtle and incredibly funny. Some grasp of cold war history will help but is not necessary. The classic scene of Major “King” Kong (Slim Pickens) riding a nuclear bomb out of the B52 bomber like a rodeo horse remains one of the most indelible images in film history. Dr. Strangelove is a comedy of errors, mistakes and strained language that would never be made today, simply because it has the realistic ending that no studio would have the cajones to put in theatres. Nearly 50 years later, this is a fresh, biting satire.

#55   “The Dark Knight”

Director: Christopher Nolan

Stars: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger

Original Release Date: 07 March 1931

Oscars: 2 (Supporting Actor – Heath Ledger, Sound Effects), six other nominations

dark knight

Every time I watch this movie – and I have seen it at least a dozen times – Heath Ledgers performance as The Joker fascinates me more and more. It’s a clinic in acting. The licking of the lips, the facial expressions, the bursts of violence. The Joker in this movie is never given a back-story. The character is to be taken as an absolute. “I am an agent of chaos. I am a like a dog chasing a car. I wouldn’t know what do with one if I caught one”. This is what makes him so compelling and so dangerous. He has no motive. He just likes to turn the world on its ear. Add to that a compelling plot, leading edge cinematography and special effects and one of the greatest of all super heroes and you have what is arguably the best of the genre. Dark Knight cannot be dismissed because it was popular and successful. This is an remarkable film that I believe will stand the test of time.

Trivia: The two most critically acclaimed films of 2008 were Pixar’s WALL-E and The Dark Knight. Each received many Oscar nominations but not best picture. The controversy led to a change in the Oscars that saw the best picture nominations go from 5 to 10. 

#54    “Do The Right Thing”

Director: Spike Lee

Stars: Danny Aiello, Spike Lee, John Tutturo, Rosie Perez

Original Release Date: 11 June 1982

Oscars: none, 2 nominations

DO_THE_RIGHT_THING

Do the Right Thing was the best film of 1989. I really didn’t know this at the time. I don’t think when I first saw it on video I was fully able to appreciate it. Over time, as I saw more of Lee’s films and as I was able to understand what Do The Right Thing is about, I respected and valued it more and more. Now, about 10 viewings in, I accept it as a classic piece of American cinema. There are those who pass this movie off as racist and an incitement to violence but it is anything but. Lee deftly introduces us to cast of characters in Brooklyn on the hottest day of the summer. This is a diverse, angry group of people just trying to survive. He does not make commentary but allows events to just play out. Do The Right Thing forces the audience to draw its own conclusions. The movie does not end so much as it explodes on screen and it may make you squirm in your skin but it will leave an impact. It’s the kind of important film that inspires discussion and makes you reconsider your own beliefs.

#53    “The Up Series”

Director: Michael Apted

Stars: A group of ordinary Brits

Original Release 1966 to present

Oscars: None

up series

In 1966, British Director Paul Almond interviewed a group of British seven year old from different socio-economic backgrounds. They talked about hopes, dreams, fears, and the future. This was called 7 up. 7 years later, Michael Apted took over and made 7 plus 7, and interviewed the same children at the age of fourteen. Every 7 years since, he has gone back to the same group of subjects and released 21 up, 28 up, 35 up etc. In 2012, he made 56 up. To paraphrase Ebert, this series of films is the greatest example of how film can freeze a moment in time and play with our perceptions of time and reality. To watch these people grow but to be able to revisit them at every stage in life is truly fascinating. Apted will continue this project until he or the individuals featured in this film have passed on.  It’s a long haul to make it through these movies, but so worth the time. I do own the box set and I will lend it to you but you have to promise to watch it and to give it back.

#52    “Scarface”

Director: Brian DePalma

Stars: Al Pacino, other people

Original Release Date: 09 Dec 1983

Oscars: None

Scarface

Guilty Pleasure #2. There is nothing I can say that will convince you or anyone that this is a ‘great’ movie. It is, however, a damn entertaining one. I mean really, I am a dude and would anyone take me seriously if I left this movie off. Scarface is pure testosterone on the screen. Yes, Pacino is over the top and almost campy, but would you expect Tony Montana to be played with restrained subtlety? Scarface was released in the height of Oscar season in 1983 but it was dismissed for its violence and non-stop profanity. Over time, it has become somewhat of a cult classic with one or two of the most quoted scenes in movie history. Everything from The Simpsons to The Sopranos has paid tribute. You have to dive right in to this movie and enjoy.

Trivia: In spite of being widely reviled by critics at the time, The American Film Institute named the classic line “Say hello to my little friend” #61 on their all time list of Top 100 movie quotes. Tony Montana’s “little friend” is an M16 assault rifle with a 40mm grenade launcher attached to the barrel. 

#51    “The Third Man”

Director: Carol Reed

Stars: Joseph Cotton, Orson Welles

Original Release Date: 06 Oct 2006

Oscars: 1 (B&W Cinematography), one other nomination

third man

“This movie is on the altar of my love of the cinema”. Roger Ebert.

Ebert lists this among the 10 greatest films of all time. It’s hard to argue. The Third Man is a classic story of love, mystery and betrayal with some of the most compelling images ever put on screen. Its shot entirely on location in post-war Vienna and features the legendary musical score of Anton Karas. The story is about Holly Martins (Cotten) a drunk, down and out writer of pulp westerns, who travels to Vienna to find out how his friend, wartime black marketer, Harry Lime as died. At Harry’s funeral, Martins meets Harry’s girl Anna, who may well have some answers. This is another one of those movies where you will have seen outtake and parodies and wondered where they are from. It is rife with shadows, images and unspoken words. Its film noir at is best and of the greatest movies ever made.

Trivia: The score of this film is played entire on zither by Anton Karas. Go to Youtube and search “The Third Man theme”. Look for the original by Karas its there. Its really amazing and I bet you will recognize it.

 

Recap so far

51.    The Third Man (Reed – 1949)

52.    Scarface (DePalma – 1983)

53.    The Up Documentaries (Apted – 1966 to ?)

54.    Do The Right Thing (Lee – 1989)

55.    The Dark Knight (Nolan – 2008)

56.    Dr. Strangelove (Kubrik – 1964)

57.    Alien (Scott – 1979)

58.    Aliens (Cameron – 1986)

59.    Duck Soup (McCarey – 1935)

60.    On The Waterfront (Kazan – 1951)

61.  The Departed (Scorsese – 2006)
62.  Glengarry Glen Ross (Foley – 1992)
63.  Die Hard (McTierrnan – 1988)
64.  E.T. The Extra Terrestrial (Spielberg – 1983)
65.  City Lights (Chaplin – 1931)
66.  The Shawshank Redemption (Darabont – 1993)
67.  Gravity (2013 – Cauron)
68.  Who Framed Roger Rabbit (Zemekis – 1985)
69.  2001 A Space Odyssey (Kubrick – 1969)
70.  The Little Mermaid (Clements/Musker – 1991)

71.    Psycho (Hitchcock – 1960)

72.    The Producers (Brooks – 1968)

73.    Hannah and Her Sisters (Allen – 1986)

74.    Hoop Dreams (James – 1994)

75.  Army of Darkness (Raimi – 1992)

76.    The Big Lebowski (Coen 1998)

77.    The Nightmare Before Christmas (Burton /Sellick – 1993)

78 .   Bride of Frankenstein (Whale – 1935)

79.    Letters from Iwo Jima (2006 – Eastwood)

80.    The Wizard of Oz (Fleming – 1939)

81. The Fog of War (Morris – 2003)

82.    Moulin Rouge (Luhrmann – 2001)

83. Terminator 2 – Judgment Day (Cameron – 1991)

84     .Millers Crossing (Coen – 1990)

85 .   12 Angry Men (Lumet – 1957)

86.    21 Grams (Gonzales Irraitu – 2003)

87.    The Princess Bride (1989 – Reiner)

88.    The Philadelphia Story (1940 – Cuckor)

89.    Ghostbusters (1983 – Reitman)

90.    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Gondry – 2004)

91.    Juno (Reitman – 2007)

92.    Star Trek : First Contact (Frakes – 1996)

93.    Avatar (Cameron 2009)

94.    Wall Street (Stone – 1986)

95.    When Harry Met Sally … (Reiner – 1988)

96.    Belle Epoque (Treuba – 1992)

97.    Say Anything (Crowe – 1989)

98.    Planet of the Apes (Schaffner – 1968)

99.    The Breakfast Club (1983 – Hughes)

100.        The Blues Brothers (1980 – Reitman)