The Movie Forums Top 100 of All-Time Refresh: Countdown

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Goodfellas is one of the infinitely rewatchable movies to me, crazy given that it flirts with the 3hr mark. Quotable and colorful, there probably isn't a single character to cheer for as a friend once told me, but I enjoy being transported into the world of these wiseguys.



The trick is not minding
Re: Goodfellas, I don't know how much it factors into my general lukewarm reaction to it; I mean, it shouldn't, but I pretty much hate every single character in it. I've always felt that is why I can't ultimately connect with the film beyond thinking "it's fun" or "it was good". I had a similar reaction to The Wolf of Wall Street and, to a lesser extent, to Casino. Most of Scorsese's films leave me the same way

I totally get this, although I don’t share it with Goodfellas, I had a similar experience with Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? I could not stand the 4 main characters and found the film suffered for it. Maybe it’s a testament to how well they all performed, but I they were all such dreadful people, I just couldn’t relate nor get into it.
Good film, though.



Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
The Graduate (my #25) is a brilliantly-directed film concerning the misadventures of Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman), an upper-class college graduate who returns to his posh L.A. family home with little thought of what to do with his future. In fact, his first day home, his parents throw him a welcome-home party populated by all the parents' friends, but Benjamin feels like a fish out of water, although he fatefully decides to drive home Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft), and thus the virginal Benjamin begins a sensual trip down the rabbit hole with the unhappy, alcoholic older woman. Things really come to a head when Benjamin realizes that he prefers the company of Mrs. Robinson's college-aged daughter Elaine (Katharine Ross), but Mommy will stop at nothing to keep the "kids" apart.

Although The Graduate is wonderfully-acted and is based on a sparklingly-witty script by Buck Henry and Calder Willingham, it's really Mike Nichols' fastidiously-entertaining direction, in conjunction with DP Robert Surtees and song score team Simon & Garfunkel which helps keep the film miles ahead of the competition to this very day. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that the direction and cinematography of this film are among the finest ever seen in cinema history. Right from the opening shot of Benjamin arriving at and leaving LAX, he's framed in the corner of the image as an outsider, while "The Sound of Silence" plays over the credits. After Ben arrives home, most of the scenes are done in long takes with incredibly-beautiful-and-deeply-thematic photography utilized to draw you into Ben's "world of silence". He just doesn't relate to life back at home, and as each scene plays out in its own excitingly-creative style, even the casual viewer can see the importance of pre-planning the visual complexity of all the scenes for maximum emotional impact. To me, The Graduate is a comedy, first and foremost, a satire of the rich, complacent California lifestyle second, and a powerful human drama third. The script and Dustin Hoffman really make it pay off as a comedy, but it's the rest of the cast which adds to its satiric weight, not the least of whom is Murray Hamilton (Mayor Vaughn in Jaws) as Mr. Robinson. Let's not forget that other Jaws connection, Richard Dreyfuss! But weighing the whole thing to the Earth and making it much more poignant is the complex way that Nichols and Surtees shoot the film, and then the way that Nichols utilizes Sam O'Steen's editing, along with the songs, to assemble a film which far outdoes the French New Wave at their own game.

Mike Nichols blew my mind with his first film, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. Coming from a theatrical background, Nichols did show off his cinematic skill subtly in that film, but he reigned himself in to make what was ostensibly a play-shot-on-film (although it was far more intense than both most plays and most films). The Graduate could not be more highly-cinematic. The musical montage of Ben and Mrs. Robinson sharing their silent hotel bed, intercut with Ben at home in his own bedroom and floating in his swimming pool, still retains the pristine power which exemplifies why film lovers love film. It truly can do things which no other art form can do to both engage your senses and your soul. Well, music can too, but music helps push this film over the top in its cinematic grandeur.

Before I sound too much like a Mike Nichols sycophant (OOPS! Too late!), I'll admit that The Graduate cannot maintain its intensity all the way through the film. When it transfers to Berkeley in the second half, some of the air is let out of the balloon. Even so, compared to most films, this latter section of The Graduate is excellent, but some of the musical and editing repetiton becomes apparent. Luckily, The Graduate does contain one of the more intense final 15 minutes in film, involving a sequence where Benjamin drives back-and-forth, totalling over 1200 miles in less than 18 hours, to try to make things right with his true love, all the while dodging the cops and the Robinsons' attempts to marry off Elaine. It all climaxes in one of the better endings of all time.
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Most people wait until the end, but as you can see sometimes people reveal some choices (directly or indirectly) once they're totally convinced something isn't showing up, since if they're right there'd be nothing to spoil.



I totally get this, although I don’t share it with Goodfellas, I had a similar experience with Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? I could not stand the 4 main characters and found the film suffered for it. Maybe it’s a testament to how well they all performed, but I they were all such dreadful people, I just couldn’t relate nor get into it.
Good film, though.
The weird thing is that there are many other films I enjoy where most, if not all, of the characters are ********. But like I said, I don't know if that's what factors into my reaction to the film. Regardless, I'm just not drawn to it.
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Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
I don't know exactly what else there is to say about Stanley Kubrick's Paths of Glory (my #23) except that it's my vote for the Best War film ever made. I suppose I can say that each time I watch it, I'm amazed at how each scene plays out as its own different mini-movie. Although all the scenes build one-upon-the-other, they all seem to be shot and lit in a different manner and on different locations and sets in order to elicit different emotions. Paths of Glory is so on-target in delivering it's War is Hell and Insane message that it doesn't really seem to be stacking the deck all that much. Even in the opening scene, General Mireau (George Macready) tells General Broulard (Adolphe Menjou) that an attack upon the strategic Ant Hill is impossible, but when the carrot of another star on his uniform appears, Mireau quickly changes his mind. The way Mireau walks through the trenches and gives "pep talks" to the men who later play such an important part in the film works as masterful storytelling rather than lazy coincidence. Kirk Douglas gives a superb performance as the humanistic lawyer Colonel Dax who's the only officer in the film who seems to truly care about his men, but all the performances are terrific right down to the smallest ones. At the end of the film, I always cry while the future Mrs. Kubrick sings her song in German to all the French soldiers who have one brief respite of normalcy before being sent out to do more unthinkable acts upon their fellow man.

Pygmalion is my #22. Besides having terrific performances and some muscular direction, it's got the wittiest script of the 1930s. George Bernard Shaw's peerless romantic comedy is just as good, whether it has songs or not. I actually prefer the performances of Leslie Howard and Wendy Hiller and the cool technique in the original film, but the songs are so much fun and no expense was spared on the later production. When Rex Harrison goes into another one of his soliloquies, and Audrey Hepburn responds by wishing him grisly deaths in various ways, it has to bring smiles. My only disappointment is that they dubbed Marni Nixon's voice in for Audrey Hepburn. (Audrey does a good job of singing in the Extra Features they have on the My Fair Lady DVD.) I obviously recommend both films, but for potential haters, the older one is in B&W and the newer one is a musical. Yikes! What are you supposed to do? Sit back and enjoy them both.

When I feel like watching something which enables me to just sit back with what amounts to about two dozen old friends and admire film in an almost pure form, American Graffiti (my #21) is always one of my Go-To films. From the opening titles, it's clear that Lucas is in complete control of the camera and sound, and in fact, it's partly the way he actually lights and shoots (with plenty of expert help) the film (95% of which takes place at night) which turns something which can be seen as a silly high school comedy into something much more meaningful. However, with that rock solid script, a collection of great performances and one of the greatest uses of pop songs in motion picture history (each song seems to comment on the exact actions of the characters at the time), it would be difficult to confuse American Graffiti with something like Porky's. There are so many memorable episodes and incidents, and they all flow so smoothly, that anyone who has never watched this yet or didn't get it the first time should take another look ASAP. Be sure to watch the Special Features where Lucas discusses that nobody wanted to film the original script, the original cut was over three hours and that if he didn't get a name attached to the film (Francis Ford Coppola), it would have never been financed and filmed in the first place, even though the budget was only $700,000. Of course, when you're watching this on DVD now, it looks like the budget was closer to $40 million with the state-of-the-art visual updating and ultimate sound recording and effects.



Apocalypse Now is one of my all-time perfect movie experiences. Not for being in a grand movie palace (I wasn't, it was a little box theater), and not for being with a great crowd (just me and my best friend). It was the movie itself. From the very first frame I was sucked in and my eyes never left the screen (at least I don't think I looked around, even once). It's one of my favorite, if not favorite, movie openings of all-time. From the sound of the helicopter rotors while the screen is still dark, to the music of "The End" by The Doors starting, to the first burst of napalm exploding, all the way through till Willard starts speaking in his hotel room, I was riveted. And then when he does start his voiceover, I was further riveted until the very end of the movie. I remember Coppola being infamously quoted with, "My movie is not about Vietnam, it IS Vietnam!" Of course it wasn't, and in hindsight with all the trouble of the film's shoot, much can be interpreted by that statement. But wherever it was, it took me there. I knew I was in foreign territory and I was digging every leg of the journey. I personally think it's one of the greatest movies ever, whether because Coppola realized his vision or because he screwed up and still came up with a classic. In the end, it doesn't matter because I love it. I had it at #23 on my list.

19. The Searchers #97
1. To Kill a Mockingbird #85
25. Die Hard #63
14. Rear Window #40
8. It's a Wonderful Life #38
2. Aliens #37
13. The Wizard of Oz #36
9. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back #30
3. Lawrence of Arabia #15
11. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring #11 (same as the list proper)
23, Apocalypse Now #9
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Did ANY superhero movies make the list at all? I know some peeps had issues with MCU movies potentially making it, but still, none at all is pretty ridiculous considering the great positive reception countless superhero films got since X-Men. I mean, come on. You can't tell me Endgame didn't give you an experience you'll never again feel in the theaters.


Btw, I didn't vote for Endgame, but that film will still have a special place in my theater-born heart just for what it did for me. I get to tell my grandkids that I was there for the most exciting experience in cinematic history worldwide.



Tdk is a big surprise, to my bet, but after we reach top 10 it seems the chance somehow diminished.
A big blow for nolan fan?



Did ANY superhero movies make the list at all? I know some peeps had issues with MCU movies potentially making it, but still, none at all is pretty ridiculous considering the great positive reception countless superhero films got since X-Men. I mean, come on. You can't tell me Endgame didn't give you an experience you'll never again feel in the theaters.


Btw, I didn't vote for Endgame, but that film will still have a special place in my theater-born heart just for what it did for me. I get to tell my grandkids that I was there for the most exciting experience in cinematic history worldwide.
No, I didn't vote for any MCU films but I really enjoyed all of them, some lesser than others. But there's a part of me that thinks if I'm going to watch any, I want to watch the whole slew back-to-back, and I don't own all of them. Still, there are some really entertaining films in that group.



That elusive hide-and-seek cow is at it again
  1. Alien - 13
  2. Chinatown - 17
  3. **** - Nope
  4. **** - Longshot
  5. **** - Shame, but nope
  6. **** - Nope
  7. **** - Nope
  8. **** - Nope
  9. **** - Nope
  10. Apocalypse Now - 9
  11. Magnolia - 74
  12. **** - Doubt it
  13. **** - Should be, but nope
  14. Pan's Labyrinth - 68
  15. **** - Nope
  16. **** - Shame, but nope
  17. **** - %^@#$%&ers
  18. **** - Possible
  19. **** - Likely
  20. **** - Nope
  21. **** - Not at this point
  22. Star Wars - 78
  23. **** - Nah
  24. Unforgiven - 43
  25. Fight Club - 52


It's not that I hate Goodfellas, but the more praise I see for it the more I'd rather watch A Bronx Tale. Nows, yews CAN'Ts leave.
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I'm not a fan of war movies, but I watched Apocalypse Now for this countdown. It was a difficult watch, and too long, but as war movies go, it's a good movie. It's just not something that I would ever want to watch again.
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Setsuko Hara is my co-pilot
When Woman Ascends the Stairs
Didn't vote for it! It's not even the best Naruse and I didn't vote for any Naruse for that matter!

I think it's pretty safe to say that

NO MOVIES FROM M LIST MADE IT!!!
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While waiting for number nine, here are a bunch of my ballot choices that did not make it...

[*] The Princess Bride (1987)
This was my one-pointer, which I thought had a more than decent chance of actually making the countdown. I love this movie the way many of the MoFos on this list love The Wizard of Oz. The Ruby Red Slippers made the cut and The Dread Pirate Roberts did not. Too funny and quoteable and iconic not to show it some love. No regrets.
[*] His Girl Friday (1940)
Comedies are always tough sells on lists like these. Much like the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences when pressed to name the best of the best, dramas have more perceived gravitas. F that noise, I says. I was reasonably confident Young Frankenstein might make it (it did!), but when thinking about my favorite movies, the ones I joyfully watch over and over and over again, I could not exclude what is in my book the best of all the fast-talking comedies of that period. And ever. Which is no less of an accomplishment than a sweeping drama or a tense genre piece. The last man who tried to bar a brilliant film like this was Archie Leach.
I thought The Princess Bride had a good chance to make the countdown, and it's one of the movies that I'm kind of sad to see didn't make it. His Girl Friday is another great movie that I hoped to see make it, but I'm not surprised that it didn't. Both movies were strongly considered for my list, but I just couldn't find room for them.


[*] La La Land (2016)
Next up are the three 21st Century movies I voted for. My giddy ga-ga for La La Land is no secret. Believe me, I know you hate it. I could give a crap. I thought it had a slight chance of popping up toward the bottom of the list if there were enough other MoFos with that crazy feeling a-rat-tat-tatting on their hearts. Alas.
As much as I love musicals, somehow I still haven't seen La La Land. I tried watching it for this countdown several times, but I kept getting interrupted. I have a feeling that it might have made my list if I could have found the time to watch it.


[*] Amélie (2001)
This is another romantic movie I am unabashedly goofy for. It made the list last time but another decade out I feared it might have fallen off the collective radar. Apparently it has. But like many of the other movies I am listing here I love it too deeply not to support it with some points. No, I won't stop voting for it. And no, I'm nobody's little weasel.
I've read some great reviews of Amélie, so I bought the DVD, but I haven't found time to watch it yet. It's one of the few foreign movies that I have on my watchlist.



I'll probably add some comments about those on my ballot which did not place [the blue ones below], but for now, here they are.

My List
3. Midnight Cowboy
8. Little Big Man
25. The Graduate
I am not at all surprised to officially learn that the lack of Dustin Hoffman on the collective list was definitely not Mark's doing. He tried!

I ♥ Dusty

I tried too, but I had a different Dustin Hoffman movie on my list. Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) was #21 on my list.



Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
The bottom line for me is that The Innocents (my #19) is the creepiest, scariest, most-unsettling horror film I've ever seen. It is so frightening because it's open to so many interpretations, and no matter which way you interpret it, it's just as disturbing as possible. It's based on Henry James' The Turn of the Screw which tells the story of a new governess, Miss Giddens (Deborah Kerr), and her effect on two angelic children who seem to be far more mature than their ages would allow. The boy Miles (Martin Stephens) is sent home from school for being "an injury" to the other boys, and the girl Flora (Pamela Franklin) seems to realize that Miles is coming home before anyone else does. This is only the beginning of many incidents which seem to possibly have more than one explanation, and as the film progresses, it becomes more-difficult to decide what the truth of the situation is.

The photography is spectacular and the sound design awesomely conveys what could either be Miss Giddens' deepening madness or a presence of unspeakable evil which threatens to possess and corrupt the children in the form of two dead servants who formally helped to raise the children while freely carrying on an open S&M sexual relationship in front of them. Since the film was made in 1961, you have to pay attention to pick up all the plot nuances and possibilities, but all you have to have are eyes and ears to be transfixed and lost in another world of a large house full of rooms of whispers and scary "games" of hide-and-seek. Make sure you watch this one after it gets dark.

First off, Richard Pryor released a few concert films; or at least, people trying to make money off his talent did. This review is only concerning the very first film, and it's called exactly Richard Pryor Live in Concert (my #17). This will always be my "go-to" film when I need to just laugh and feel a bit better about life. I've talked to many people of many ages, and they all have their fave stand-up comics, but I find it hard to believe that a truthful person could watch this film and not tell me that Pryor is the funniest, most-honest person on the face of the Earth here. If you deny that, then tell me somebody who can remotely perform so many human and animal characters on stage. The man pours his entire soul out in this wonderful movie, and I feel privileged to relive it two or three times a year with my friends and family. R.I.P.

He talks about sex, family, racism, pets, drugs, hunting, boxing, heart attacks, sexism, funerals, children, corporal punishment, wet Q-tips, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, long lines, freaky-deaky, The Exorcist, the Vincent Price The Fly, "Macho Man", "dead person", Long Beach, and much more. I laugh longer and more often at this movie than any other movie I've seen, and when I'm not laughing, I'm wearing an enormous smile of recognition.

OK, I availed myself to the funniest, most truthful concert film I've ever seen again, and I sure hope that I don't cause a riot here, but Richard Pryor Live in Concert still has to rate to me as the funniest film I've ever seen. I will admit that loving this film, especially as a "white person", leaves me open to charges of racism, but let's not shy away from that, and follow Pryor's lead. Pryor uses the "N" word incessantly. It's true that a few years after this joyous, wonderful film that Pryor swore off ever using the "N" word again. He said that it was an insult to all those he loved and all those who loved him. Even so, this film completely and honestly captures Pryor before he had a change of heart. I completely respect his change of heart, but I also completely respect his earlier opinion to rub people's faces in the reality of being a "black person".

Now, I don't think I need to explain myself here, but I was born and raised in Compton, California. I have spent my entire life equally surrounded by Blacks, Latinos and Whites. I have also allowed them to think their own thoughts about our situation, unless they come across as racist pigs. Thankfully, I recall no racist pigs, and I certainly don't want that way-ahead-of-his-time GIANT, Richard Pryor, to be thought that way either.

Disney's greatest traditional animated film is still just about the most surreal movie ever made (take that, Buńuel ). It's also Disney's funniest, even though the humor is incredibly dark. Alice in Wonderland (my #15) is a non-stop assault on the pomposity of logic and staid Victorian England which is also still able to include digs at many modern foibles which humans have in our current day and age, among them being rude and in far too much of a hurry to even say good day. It's also a potent political satire when we get to the Red Queen and how all things must be her and the "law's" way. But above all, it's crazy and just a lot of fun. There are so many crazy characters to choose from: the White Rabbit, the Doorknob, the Walrus, the Carpenter, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Bill (my fave, "Well, there goes Bill!"), the Mad Hatter, the March Hare, the Caterpillar, the Cheshire Cat, the Queen and King of Hearts, etc. The animators let their minds run wild and created a trip of a movie, that's for sure.



Disney's greatest traditional animated film is still just about the most surreal movie ever made (take that, Buńuel ). It's also Disney's funniest, even though the humor is incredibly dark. Alice in Wonderland (my #15) is a non-stop assault on the pomposity of logic and staid Victorian England which is also still able to include digs at many modern foibles which humans have in our current day and age, among them being rude and in far too much of a hurry to even say good day. It's also a potent political satire when we get to the Red Queen and how all things must be her and the "law's" way. But above all, it's crazy and just a lot of fun. There are so many crazy characters to choose from: the White Rabbit, the Doorknob, the Walrus, the Carpenter, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Bill (my fave, "Well, there goes Bill!"), the Mad Hatter, the March Hare, the Caterpillar, the Cheshire Cat, the Queen and King of Hearts, etc. The animators let their minds run wild and created a trip of a movie, that's for sure.

It's sad that more animated movies didn't make the countdown. Alice in Wonderland is a great movie, but it's not one of the two animated movies that I had on my list.

#1 on my list was Wall-E (2008). When I first heard about it, and how there was almost no dialogue for the first 20-30 minutes of the movie, I thought it was going to be boring. But I fell in love with it the first time I saw it in the theater, and I immediately went back in to see it again. It's been one of my all-time favorite movies ever since.

The other animated movie on my list was Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) at #23. The combination of live action and animation in this movie is brilliant, and I loved seeing the Disney and Looney Tunes characters sharing the screen together.



Most people wait until the end, but as you can see sometimes people reveal some choices (directly or indirectly) once they're totally convinced something isn't showing up, since if they're right there'd be nothing to spoil.
Potential placement is spoiled by letting us know spots that haven't shown up. I say potential based on knowing the mofo and what films they really like. Not the end of the world since nobody has ever predicted a top 10 correctly.

I'll wait till the end for more proper discussion.



I want to say that was a General Cinemas, maybe? Those were the two I frequented back then.


That little bit of music still gives me a nostalgic chubby. I can smell the popcorn.
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