My Top Ten Favorite Movies of All Time
I sat down and tried to figure my top ten favorite movies of all time. Come to find out there were some surprises on there! It was a lot of fun to try and do. Here is my list and let me know what your top ten movies are!
What is it about seeing a movie that can make a lasting impression? Is it the emotions that can be pulled? Sometimes you laugh, sometimes you cry, sometimes you are scared out of your mind. Whatever the case the stories movies tell can leave an indelible impression on any of us. It's amazing really. Ask anyone what their favorite movie is, or what is a film they remember seeing in the movie theater for the first time and you will get a lot of fun answers and thoughts. There are people who still look at seagulls with an uneasy felling from seeing the Birds, or are uneasy about taking a shower from the scary scene in Psycho. How about swimming in the ocean? Do you hear John Williams score from Jaws playing in your subconscious? Don't lie we all do. People have told me stories of how when they saw Star Wars for the first time in 1977 they sat in their seats in shock unsure what they had just seen and immediately saw it again. Whomever you speak with will have some movie story. Ask them about it. It can be a fun conversation.
For me I believe in the art of storytelling. A story told at the right time can shape a person's life and leave an impression that can last a lifetime. I wanted to write an article to share my top ten favorite movies and a little expression of how it affected me. It is not an easy task and so this list is a fluid one. Each of your own favorite stories can vary by your own mood so by no means is this an end all be all list that will never change for me. But we all have those films that when we are flipping through the channels and we see it on we stop what we are doing and watch it. It is those movies that we watch over and over. Even though we can repeat every line of dialogue in it we still love it. So with no further ado and to quote Daddy Warbucks, “Let's all go to the movies!”
1.The Empire Strikes Back – (1980) – This movie made the biggest impression any movie ever has on me as a small child. I was four years old when I saw this film for the first time in the theater. My parents took me to see it and we ran late for the start. I will never forget walking into the theater and being greeted by a giant AT-AT firing at Luke Skywalker in his airspeeder, and hearing the hydraulic motors of the legs crunching into the snow as the rebel alliance fought desperately to flee the planet Hoth. I stood transfixed and felt my heart race in excitement, I thought it was the greatest thing I had ever seen. It is a feeling I still get to this day when a movie strikes just the right chord. To me Empire Strikes Back was George Lucas's perfect script. It had some fun moments, had some corniness, and some romance, but it captured my heart. In fact when Han Solo was frozen in carbonite it was the first time I cried during a movie. Simply put I think it is one of the best movies of all time. I pinpoint this movie as to where my love of storytelling comes from. A great story whether it be a movie, book or comic can take you to distant places and eras, or to a long time ago in galaxy far far away. This has been my favorite movie since I saw it the first time thirty-two years ago, and no, I am not your father.
2. The Natural – (1984) – This is the baseball movie to end all baseball movies. Roy Hobbs, played by Robert Redford, is the story of a middle-aged baseball player who finally gets his chance and proves to everyone that maybe he is the best that ever played. In a cast that includes Robert Duvall and Glenn Close it is a great movie that for anyone who considers baseball the national past-time will enjoy. One of my true loves in life is sitting in a ballpark watching a game and this movie does a great job capturing the majesty of the great game of baseball. It is one of those movies that tugs at your heart strings and makes you feel good when it ends.
3. Iron Man – (2008) – The amount of times I have re-watched this movie is bordering on ridiculous. I watch it when it is on TV, I watch it as I travel on my tablet, I watch it on my Blu-ray player, it doesn't matter I just love this film. Robert Downey Jr. takes on the role of eccentric billionaire Tony Stark and becomes the Invincible Iron Man. The movie tells the story from the pages of Marvel Comics and is as true to the source material as any comic movie we have seen to date. Jon Favreau setup his cast of Downey, Gwyneth Paltrow, Terrence Howard and Jeff Bridges perfectly and made in my mind one of the best Super-hero films we have seen to date. There is a fun realism to the movie that made me feel much like a kid again that just gets me excited every time I see it. The movie also played a very important role in setting up the Marvel Universe for the big screen. It spawned the other five feature films in the franchise and showed that done correctly the Marvel characters could be a huge financial success. The gem of this movie to me though is that it is simply a fun movie to watch. In fact I think I may watch it again tonight.
4. Raiders of the Lost Ark – (1981) – No character perhaps is as universally recognized as Indiana Jones. With his classic leather coat, duster hat, and bull whip on his hip, Steven Spielberg gave us the ultimate adventure hero. It is the adventure movie all other adventure films are compared to. Even three decades later the film still looks fresh and is a great watch. Harrison Ford played so many iconic roles over the years but Indiana Jones could be his most signature performance. With a story that transverses the globe, an easily unlikable enemy in the Nazis, and a cultural artifact most people have at least heard of in the Ark of the Covenant, it was a perfect blend of familiarity and grand storytelling. Many movies over the years have tried to capture Raiders charm and feel but always seem to come up short including the other Indiana Jones films. In my mind it is one of the best movies ever made even thirty years later.
5. Fellowship of the Ring (Ext. Edition) – (2001) – Every year for about the past two decades I read the Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien from December through January. It is epic storytelling at its finest that never gets old. When word came that Peter Jackson was making the iconic books into movies all of us Tolkien fans were very nervous. However, those fears were quickly put to rest once I saw the movie in the theater. Jackson did a marvelous job casting for each of the roles as well as designing Middle-Earth. In fact I remember turning to a friend of mine during the movie when the Hobbits first got to Rivendell and saying, “It looks exactly like how I pictured it.” That feeling is one that was kept for the entire movie, he captured the book perfectly. I will say I bought the extended edition DVDs of all three films and enjoyed those even more than the theatrical version though it does make the movies immensely long time wise. However on days when I feel like geeking out, the Fellowship of the Ring delivers time and again. Peter Jackson should get a special award for doing justice to a cherished novel.
6. Jaws – (1975) – For the record up until the time I got married I had to always sleep with my body as close to the wall as I could with my bed pushed up against it. Why you ask? Because I grew up having nightmares that if any part of my body got to close to the edge of the bed that a gigantic great white shark would come up and grab me dragging me down to my death. The cause of my fear was this movie. Jaws was the movie that terrified movie goers in the mid-seventies and still does to this day. When at the ocean who doesn't feel like something is watching you in the water? Steven Spielberg did a great job of adopting the novel by Peter Benchley into a great movie. Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss captured the intensity of the script and brought to screen the terror of the monstrous shark feeding on humans. This movie actually taught me something about fear, and that is it is easy to be afraid of something that you don't understand. I read a ton of books about sharks growing up and helped me understand that the creature depicted on the big screen was not how the actual animal really functions. It has even spawned the once a year showing of shark week on the Discovery Channel. People are fascinated by sharks, and this movie used that interest to cause terror. While I'm not afraid of getting eaten at night any longer it does make me wonder what is in the water with me while I swim at the beach.
7. The Dark Knight – (2008) – One of the things a great movie can do is send you on an emotional roller coaster while you watch the hero on screen. No movie has perhaps captured that edge of your seat feeling any better than the Dark Knight. It is a movie that fills a unique role in that even though it is a Super-hero movie it can bring non-comic fans along for the ride as well. How this movie didn't win the Oscar for the movie of the year is one of the greatest travesties of any award season. Christian Bale and Heath Ledger played off each other perfectly as the iconic Batman and psychopathic Joker. The movie has so many moments where Christopher Nolan was able to capture the very human side of dealing with chaotic events that it was very intense to see. 2008 was such an interesting summer because with Iron Man and the Dark Knight you had opposite sides of the comic genre on screen. Where Iron Man was more of a rocking good time, The Dark Knight was intense and brooding. With Heath Ledger's tragic death and posthumous Oscar this movie will always be remembered as one of the best films of all time. I thought it was that good. It will be interesting to see how this movie is viewed in twenty years.
8. The Avengers – (2012) – In one of the boldest moves of any movie franchise Marvel set out to create a feature film combining four heroes that also had their own stand alone movies. It was the first time I know of in the history of cinema that so many big name stand alone franchises had been combined into a single film. Joss Whedon was hired for the difficult role and both wrote the script and directed the movie. It was a resounding success doing over a billion dollars in ticket sales. It combined Robert Downer Jr. (Iron Man), Chris Evans (Captain America), Mark Ruffalo (The Hulk), and Chris Hemsworth (Thor) as Earth's Mightiest Heroes battled the deranged Norse God Loki played by Tom Hiddleston bent on concurring our planet. Whedon was able to weave a story that gave each of the A-list actors plenty of screen time as well as the supporting cast. It is the first movie I saw four times in the theater since Return of the Jedi. It was truly an instant classic. I can't wait for this movie to come out on Blu-ray so I can watch it another four times.
9. North by Northwest – (1959) – With the number movies that come out now in a given year it is easy to forget the masters that have come before. Alfred Hitchcock is one of those greats. His illustrious career always gave us an interesting suspenseful angle on storytelling that he was able to put on screen that directors still try to imitate today. He gave us such thrillers as Dial “M” For Murder, Rear Window, Vertigo, The Birds, and the chilling Psycho just to name a few. One of my favorites though was North by Northwest staring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, and James Mason. It is the story of a New York executive who gets caught in the middle of an international spy ring. Hitchcock uses his brilliant storytelling abilities to make the viewer twist and turn through the eyes of Grant's character. It is a great movie that even though it is over fifty years old is still fantastic.
10. Rocky – (1976) – The tenth best film on my list was a tough call. There are so many movies I could put here but I kept thinking about it and this one kept coming up. Rocky is simply one of those characters that everyone can identify with. He is the tough streetwise guy with a good heart who seems like can never get a break until Apollo Creed comes in and gives him a shot at the title because he likes his name. Sylvester Stallone of course plays his iconic role, but many don't realize that he actually wrote the movie and also was an amateur boxer. There is a gritty realism to the movie thanks to Stallone that transcends the background of the audience. It is not so much a boxing movie as it is a story of an underdog. Everyone can relate to that. I also love the fact that you end up rooting for Rocky so hard to win the match verses Apollo Creed at the end that when he doesn't you really don't feel let down. It teaches a life lesson that sometimes you don't win, but when you give it your all, and give it your best there is no shame in losing. It is something society has greatly forgotten about in this day and age. There are so many reasons why this movie is great, but it is one of my favorites for sure.
There are a host of other movies that I could put on this list at any given point, here are another ten of my honorable mentions that at any given point could probably find there way onto the top ten:
1. American Graffiti
2. Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day
4. Spider-Man 2
5. The Day the Earth Stood Still (Original)
6. Cool Hand Luke
7. The Outlaw Josey Wales
8. Batman Begins
9. Tommy Boy
10. The Man from Snowy River
Hope you enjoyed my list as it was a lot of fun to write. Let me know what your top ten is I would love to hear it. Have fun at the movies!
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