Back in April I had someone comment on my post of The Red and the White asking if I was planning to post some sort of favourites list when I reached the halfway point of the 1001 list.
So, since I am writing this quite far in advance of posting, I decided to move some posts around in order to do this. This post therefore stands as proof that my wrists started to feel better – but it took 9 weeks before I could properly type. Also, I have officially been waiting 3 months for a physio referral. Great eh?
Anyway, since they asked so nicely here is a long list of my Top 50 from the 1001 list (2015 edition) so far:
It’s hard not to have this film circling through your head when sitting on a jury (God knows I had that problem when I was on a jury). Henry Fonda is just an outstanding lead of this ensemble cast that deals with the dangerous powers of our prejudices.
Of the pre-halfway films that I saw whilst off with my wrists The Cook, The Thief, His Wife & Her Lover is the only film to get a placement. It is a film that just stuck with me for a long time and earned it’s place with that chilling ending alone. All hail Helen Mirren!
When you have Steven Spielberg directing a film with aliens in it you know you are on to a winner. I first saw this when I was probably about 7 and I remember having my breath taken away by the big flying saucer. It had the side effect of giving me a slight fear of being abducted by aliens… but who doesn’t fear being abducted when they’re a small child?
For some reason I decided to take my Brokeback Mountain tears to the staircase and proceeded to bawl my eyes out for 5-10 minutes. I guess I just wanted to be in a different room to the DVD or something silly like that. Ang Lee shows his versatility yet again.
Never has a better film about a paedophile ever been made. It is hard to describe the impact that M can have on you when watching it, but Peter Lorre is at his desperate best in this Fritz Lang film. This is the earliest film in the 50.
For 3 years watching The Lord of the Rings became a Christmas Eve tradition. Sure this may have an ending or two too many, but it is hard to deny the phenomenon that was Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.
I love a good psychological horror with a bit of space alien thrown in for good measure (Alien and Aliens missed out on the 50, but not by much). The Thing has to contain one of the freakiest horror movie monsters of all time, although an alternative interpretation of the monster gave me much pause.
Watching this film made me really question myself. If I was the man in this situation, and my husband was Emmanuelle Riva’s character, how would I react? I came to the conclusion that it was something I could not bear thinking about in the end.
I have yet to read the book and, since I know a lot of people who prefer the book to the film, I am in no hurry to. I know it sounds daft, but it’s because I know this might make me feel worse about this film and that’s not something I particularly want to happen.
Ah, the ultimate anti-capitalist film here with an all-star cast. Whenever I watch this I am always taken aback at just how short the famous ‘never been born’ sequence is. One of the many films that comes out when it is Christmas time and one of the few where I enjoy the colourized version as much as the original black and white.
I was shocked at how much Marty affected me and it is all because of Ernest Borgnine. The character of Marty is such a sweet (and somewhat impressionable) guy that it is hard not to fall for him, support him and get angry at him when he makes dumb decisions.
Why oh why would you remake this film? Sissy Spacek and her eyes in that famous bucket of blood scene are creepy as all hell. Also Piper Laurie as her religious zealot of a mother… seriously why remake this.
And the award of the best film with the worst title goes to… I mean honestly The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp is deceptively deep for a title that is so absurd. It’s Anton Walbrook as Theo that is the highlight of this film that was a truly risky film in the midst of the Second World War.
This is one of the best political thrillers that you can find and so few people that I know have actually seen this film. The technology may have changed, but the messages of activism and repression have not aged a day. Sometimes something doesn’t need to be flashy in order to be powerful.
The Pale Man and ‘Ofelia’s Lullaby’ are both things that still haunt me after seeing this film. So much was the buzz at the time that Pan’s Labyrinth was the first subtitled film that I saw in the cinema. Guillermo Del Toro will probably never top this film, but I live in hope.
One of the great comedies and it still remains funny to this day despite so many viewings. I still laugh when I think that the Roman Catholic Legion of Decency condemned this film because of the crossdressing… imagine if they saw Brokeback Mountain. Yikes.
This is where my love of animation starts to kick in, even though I was not one of those kids who were desperate to get a Buzz Lightyear for Christmas. There are precious few animated films on the 1001 list (at least for me) and I am still perplexed at how all three Toy Story films get in based on it being a trilogy and yet the Three Colours films do not.
Where Carrie did not need a remake The Matrix did not need those nonsensical sequels that we got. Despite the fact that this film is now almost 20 years old it still looks amazing despite the number of times we have now seen bulletime in subsequent movies and video games. I still question Keanu Reeves’ acting in this, but not his dedication to the role.
Making this list has made me realise just how many horror films I really enjoy. Psycho here ranks as the third highest film by Alfred Hitchcock and is one where it is so beneficial to watch it whilst knowing as little as possible about it. Impossible? Well somehow my husband managed to a year ago and I did when I was 13 so miracles can happen.
There has been blowback over how popular this film was in recent years, but I still think it’s fantastic. We all know how great Heath Ledger is, but how about Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent? A very underrated performance considering the circumstances, but brilliant just the same. Also, there’s Christian Bale aka my mum’s favourite.
I still lament the fact that I knew this film’s ending when I first saw it. It’s because of films like Fight Club and The Usual Suspects (where I had the ending spoiled for me) that I truly abhor spoilers and have thrown things at the heads of people who spoil things for me. Uncool guys, really uncool. At least ask first.
Oh please, how can you not love a film with a cute talking pig in it? Sure it isn’t 2001: A Space Odyssey, but it never tries to be. It’s hard to explain why this film still strikes a cord with me to this day. I mean I had pork today as part of dinner… but it’s a one of those films that just makes me feel good and there is nothing wrong with that.
All About Eve is one of those films you have to see in order to understand the power of Bette Davis’s acting. Sure she lost out on an Oscar on this occasion, but as Margo she just soars. It helps a lot that Anne Baxter is equally exquisite as the devilish Eve.
Another film with two incredibly strong female leads albeit with a very different relationship. It’s a buddy road movie like no other and there is amazing chemistry between co-stars Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon. I struggle to think that this film would be made today – something that both saddens and angers me.
I was speechless for 5-10 minutes after watching this film. Do not watch this film with someone that you are not comfortable ugly crying with because that is your future (unless you are my husband… and I swear not crying at Grave of the Fireflies should be grounds for divorce). This was originally a double feature with My Neighbour Totoro – mind blown.
When watching films like Satantango and Werckmeister Harmoniak I remarked on the extensive use of long takes. Compared to Rope they are cut happy. Shot in real time and edited to look like one 80 minute long take Rope is a fantastic take on the psychological crime drama. Just the sheer balls of these characters, who invite people over for drinks having just committed a murder, is awesome.
This is the only film in this 50 where I saw it in a non-UK cinema (I actually saw this in Australia). I do not want the Toy Story 4 film as Toy Story 3 found a way to end this series of films perfectly. Please Pixar don’t do this.
Think the anti 12 Angry Men set in the old west. In many ways this is a depressing and powerful treatise on the importance of due process and fair trials. Henry Fonda, like in 12 Angry Men, delivers an amazing star performance as a hold out who wants to prevent ‘immediate justice’ from happening.
One of two Pedro Almodovar films in my 50 (Volver would have been in here if it was not removed from the list a few years ago). Talk to Her is one of those films that tells pretty much all the salient points through flashbacks (since the two titular women are in comas as of the start of the film) and is mainly about how difficult people can find it to communicate. Watch out for Benigno, that’s all I’m saying.
I think that ‘films where secrets ruin a massive party’ should be a recognised genre and that is not because Festen would stand as the exemplar of the genre. This is one of those films that I try to show people who doubt the power of foreign cinema as, in many ways, it is a good starter film for those not used to subtitles.
What is there to say about Dr Strangelove that has not already been said. It’s just one of those perfect comedies that deals with an incredibly serious subject. It just helps to prove how flexible Peter Sellers was as an actor and Stanley Kubrick was as a director. At times I do wish Kubrick had made another film like this.
Despite the fact that this led to Mia Farrow’s divorce from Frank Sinatra (seriously who divorces their wife after she takes a role in a film you don’t want her to) I bet she has no regrets. Ruth Gordon just steals the show as the neighbour in this psychological horror film about the birth of the anti-christ. I really do seem to like psychological horrors…
This film was a revolation when I first saw it at university. For some reason I had never quite fancied it and boy was that stupid. Unlike a lot of people I am not a big Tarantino fan. I like a lot of his films, I’m just not crazy over them, but Pulp Fiction really does earn its place as a modern classic.
Ah The Cranes Are Flying. I would not have seen this film so early if it were not for the insistence of a film forum I frequent. It’s a beautifully told allegory of the psychological damage dealt to the Russian people after World War II and features Tatiana Samoilova giving one of the best performances I have ever seen.
This film is worth watching just to hear Ralph Fiennes swearing in character. Visually and musically this is a gorgeous film and is pretty much a casting director’s wet dream. I would have really love it if The Grand Budapest Hotel had walked away with the Oscar for Best Picture, but I do respect Birdman a lot.
This is such an underrated film, I mean this was pretty much a flop when it first came out. It’s a good thing that hindsight exists otherwise The King of Comedy may not be recognised for the expertly crafted piece of black comedy that it is. This is easily my favourite Scorsese film of all time.
Pedro Almodóvar is one of my favourite writer/directors and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown is the coming together of everything I love about his films. Strong female roles, beautiful set designs, witty dialogue, a young Antonio Banderas. Carmen Maura as Pepa is one of those great roles I can imagine many actresses killing for.
I still have the urge to cry when I see this film. I still get goosebumps when I hear the music. I still do not own a decent copy of it on DVD as they always seem to get scratched in transit. It’s just a shame Spielberg meddled with this film the way he did… who cares if the cops have guns!?
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon ended up being one of those films that really ended up being a huge influence on my future movie watching. If it were not for this film I would not have watched as many wuxia or Zhang Yimou films that I ended up watching.
Okay so Riget is actually a miniseries, but it is on the 1001 list so it counts here. I am a bit of a Johnny Come Lately to the world of Lars Von Trier, but with non 1001 films Dancer In The Dark and Dogville being high on my overall list it is clear he has struck a chord. I have yet to see the second series of this… I need to get right on that.
A black comedy about French cannibals in a post-apocalyptic nuclear wasteland where lentils are traded like currency? Yes please. The world of Delicatessen is utterly ridiculous and (in a different light) scary, but Jeunet finds a way to find it funny and incredibly entertaining. You might have to warn people who choose to watch this because they loved Amelie… this is a completely different kettle of fish.
An excellent psychological thriller that comes in built with the creepy music from Swan Lake. I think I agree with everyone when I say that this is an exceptional performance by Natalie Portman and I can only imagine the amount of training that she had to go through in order to bring this role to the big screen.
I think I ended up seeing this film 5-6 times in the cinema. My mum was so enamoured by this that she kept taking me back again and again and again. It got so bad that by the time we watched it in the cinema for the final time we were starting to quote along to it. Now that I have read the books I can’t help but marvel at how well Peter Jackson did.
Joan Fontaine is not plain by any stretch of the imagination so God only knows why she kept getting those sorts of roles. Then again, the role of the second Mrs. de Winter is one that’s hard to turn down. Judith Anderson is also amazing as the slightly crazy and obsessive housekeeper Mrs Danvers.
I think I am a glutton for punishment when it comes to films that I love. There is nothing but bleakness in the world of Raise The Red Lantern and it has the sort of ending that one would come to expect from director Zhang Yimou. Of course this entire film would fall apart if not for a fantastic central performance by Gong Li.
Yes, I know it’s silly to have a Disney film so high. Then again, just how great is The Lion King. I mean, I do prefer Beauty and the Beast, but that is not on the 1001 list. 20 odd years later and The Lion King loses none of the sparkle that made this a landmark in Western animation. Despite being my #5 it is not the highest animated film in my Top 50 though…
Everytime I watch Fargo I fall for this film even more. As much as I thought The English Patient was a decent enough film it should not have won over Fargo. In many ways this film is a (quirky and comedic) study of Minnesota and its residents (a study I need to further at some point with the TV series). Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi and William H. Macy are all just fantastic in their respective parts and the Coen brothers are on fire with their dark and witty screenplay.
Not only is Gone With The Wind one of my favourite films of all time, but also one of my favourite books. This film is almost 4 hours long and yet the only time I become aware of the length is either the need for a toilet break or a food break. Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable and Olivia de Havilland truly shine in this epic adaptation of the epic novel depicting the fall of the South. Okay, some of this film is not exactly politically correct… but then again neither were the people of the 1860s.
I vividly remember first seeing Spirited Away. I dragged my mum to the cinema having seen a feature on it in Empire magazine and I was easily the youngest person in the cinema by a substantial margin (I was 11 at the time). This film started a lifelong love affair with Studio Ghibli, anime and Japan in general. I am pretty sure that if it were not for seeing Spirited Away then we would have not ended up in Japan for our honeymoon. Thank you Hayao Miyazaki.
Without a shadow of a doubt Sunset Boulevard is not only my favourite film on the 1001 list, but also my favourite film of all time. As someone who loves the world of cinema Sunset Boulevard is the ultimate black comedy-drama. Having recently re-watched this film I could not do anything but re-affirm that, to me, this film is flawless. The central four actors give amazing performances, but it really is Gloria Swanson’s film – the fact that she did not win the Oscar for it is one of the biggest snubs ever if you ask me.