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

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Shout out to Joseph Cotten. He is fantastic in Kane, and always fantastic in my opinion. Branching out past just the well know classics the last few years has really made him one of my favorite actors. Kane, Ambersons, Third Man, and Shadow Of A Doubt he really shines in all 3. I feel like I'm missing a big one too, but if anyone has some Cotten recs past those throw them my way.

"Orson Welles lists Citizen Kane as his best film, Alfred Hitchcock opts for Shadow of a Doubt, and Sir Carol Reed chose The Third Man - and I'm in all three of them."
- Joseph Cotten


In addition to the four you have listed (Citizen Kane, The Magnificent Amberson, The Third Man, and Shadow of a Doubt) it would be George Cukor's Gaslight (1944) that is the other masterpiece he stars in. He also has a very quick cameo as the coroner in A Touch of Evil. After that I'd say Portrait of Jennie, Walk Softly Stranger, and Niagra are all very good. The Killer is Loose is a decent low-budget Noir before he got swallowed up by television. The Abominable Dr. Phibes and Soylent Green are the best of his output at the end of his career. He has a small part in Cimino's Heaven's Gate as one of his very last credits.
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Citizen Kane was a lock for my #1 ballot spot right from the start. Even before I made my ballot list I knew my #1 would be Citizen Kane and my 1 pointer #25 would be a film Orson himself would've appreciated, Starship Troopers.





"Orson Welles lists Citizen Kane as his best film, Alfred Hitchcock opts for Shadow of a Doubt, and Sir Carol Reed chose The Third Man - and I'm in all three of them."
- Joseph Cotten


In addition to the four you have listed (Citizen Kane, The Magnificent Amberson, The Third Man, and Shadow of a Doubt) it would be George Cukor's Gaslight (1944) that is the other masterpiece he stars in. He also has a very quick cameo as the coroner in A Touch of Evil. After that I'd say Portrait of Jennie, Walk Softly Stranger, and Niagra are all very good. The Killer is Loose is a decent low-budget Noir before he got swallowed up by television. The Abominable Dr. Phibes and Soylent Green are the best of his output at the end of his career. He has a small part in Cimino's Heaven's Gate as one of his very last credits.
Thanks Holden. Gaslight is probably the other one I was trying to think of. I have seen that but wasn't a huge fan past him. Should see it again though and a couple of those you mentioned. Appreciate the recs.
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The movie didn't need an iconic performance to make its impression.
While I agree with the CGI part as it still outranks any movie made since... JP has everything else about it being an exercise in perfection.
Spielberg basically took everything he'd learned about filmmaking from Jaws, Close Encounters, Indiana Jones, and mashed all those techniques into JP, then backed it up with cutting edge, break-the-mould special effects and trick photography.

Horror, humour, adventure, photography, special effects, story, screenplay... are all perfection.

The "basic plot" of JP, is also one affected by movies that were made after JP.
Like the points I made about Alien and The Thing.
It's a basic plot... now.
Because every movie since has tried to replicate it and it has become commonplace, so when looking back at JP, the screenplay seems quaint and generic.

Spielberg never tried to to push the movie beyond what he knew it was.
He simply took the various simplest forms of movie making that he'd perfected over the years, mashed them into one movie, and culminated the lot into one piece of perfect filmmaking.

This vid is brilliant at showing how Spielberg knew how to work with both the limitations of the time, and with what he'd learned from the previous 20 years of working in Hollywood.
Good points, and an excellent vid find, TR. I was completely knocked out by JR when it came out. The vid explains the subtleties of Spielberg's direction and superb cinematography-- the artistry of which I would never have been aware.



I haven't seen listened to the Roger Ebert commentary on Citizen Kane but I do highly recommend the Peter Bogdanovich commentary, usually both are included on a Citizen Kane DVD/Blu Ray set.



Of course Citizen Kane needs to be on the list. The ways it revolutionized, changed and experimented with cinema is almost endless.

It's a towering masterwork by one of the greatest to ever do it. At a young age, he had a huge part in everything about this movie - behind and in front of the camera. The cinematography he pulled off together with Gregg Toland could arguably be called the best to ever be put to celluloid. The use of shadows, camera movements, perspectives, focal length, framing and just out and out being constantly creative with the camera and lighting - pushing technology to its limits - it's breathtaking to look at.

It was not on my list because I don't love the movie and because I found this list hard to compile so I tried to balance it out a little... I think it's great and perhaps it's the movie I admire the most in cinema. One cannot be a cinephile and discard this legendary piece of work. The more you know about cinema, movie making technology and storytelling, the more impressive it is...

However, the deliberately cold and cynical tone of the movie, showing us the rise and fall of Mr. Kane, as well as the unorthodox way that the story is told and presented, it doesn't quite reach into my soul and heart as much as it stimulates my brain. I'm glad to see it made the top 10 and it could probably have been higher... probably top 5 if we had to be very objective... but that's the cool thing about these lists. They are not 100% boring and predictable. That all 3 LOTR movies made it was quite surprising to me, for example.

Can't wait to see what's next...



Citizen Kane, not a bad opener for the top ten (thought it might be a little higher) and one of the 'must haves' (if there is any such thing) for any list such as this. Have to say I don't really like the newsreel montage toward the beginning, other than that though it's solid. Didn't make my ballot though.

Seen: 81/91 (Own: 42/91)
My list:  


Faildictions (Eternal vsn 1.0):
9. The Fly (1986)
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Citizen Kane, not a bad opener for the top ten (thought it might be a little higher) and one of the 'must haves' (if there is any such thing) for any list such as this. Have to say I don't really like the newsreel montage toward the beginning, other than that though it's solid. Didn't make my ballot though.

Seen: 81/91 (Own: 42/91)
My list:  


Faildictions (Eternal vsn 1.0):
9. TheFly (1986)



DANGIT CHYP!!! I EVEN KNEW THAT YET STILL THOUGHT HOW ODD IT was not one OF YOUR MOVIES MADE THE LIST!!!




LE GRRRRR, said the french cat.



DANGIT CHYP!!! I EVEN KNEW THAT YET STILL THOUGHT HOW ODD IT was not one OF YOUR MOVIES MADE THE LIST!!!




LE GRRRRR, said the french cat.


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As a filmmaker and a fan of filmmaking I appreciate Citizen Kane as the technical marvel that it is, especially for its time. It told a story visually like no other, Unfortunately that story and the characters were never something I was that interested in.
That also serves as a good summary of how I feel and therefore thanks as I don't need to post!



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I think by mentioning Brodie and Indiana Jones, you are bringing up the two kinds of iconic characters Spielberg is good at. There is a tremendous amount of humanism in the character of Brodie, never more fully articulated then in the dinner table scene with his son. It's a simple moment that shows us so much more of what is going on underneath the somewhat gruff exterior. And with Jones, you have maybe not the most realisitcally humane of characters, but Spielberg harness' the off the charts charisma of Ford, and gives you someone to root for, even if he's occassionally a bit of a bastard.

I like Sam Neil as an actor. He's great in The Piano, and he has one of the greatest unhinged performances of all time in Possession. And he's fine here to. He just doesn't seem to have either that simple humanism or icnonic heft, which are two of the elements I think Spielberg is in desperate need of to make his films truly transcend. Even if we isolate particular quirks or motivations about the characters in Jurassic Park, they don't transcend, allowing the film to be much more then popcorn entertainment.
I think you get that with Alan Grant, though. His establishing moment involves him scaring an unimpressed kid with a fossilised raptor claw, which sets up both his fascination with dinosaurs and his disinterest in children. The reason that the scene where he and Ellie see the dinosaurs for the first time becomes an iconic scene to audiences is at least as much due to the genuine and childlike awe he shows upon seeing dinosaurs for the first time (even just hearing that there's a T-rex makes him fall over) as it is to the actual spectacle of seeing such well-crafted special effects in action. That his arc ultimately involves him having to look after Lex and Tim (the latter of whom is also a dinosaur obsessive, which ironically annoys him more) when things go bad and gradually learning how to get along with them is the humanist element with which the film grounds its tale of mad science and corporate greed - "life finds a way", metaphorically speaking. One could make a similar case for how Indiana Jones' personal arc over the course of Raiders is based more on repairing his relationship with Marion than any particular fascination with the Ark itself.
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I haven't seen listened to the Roger Ebert commentary on Citizen Kane but I do highly recommend the Peter Bogdanovich commentary, usually both are included on a Citizen Kane DVD/Blu Ray set.
I don't think I've heard that one but, yeah, it's included on my DVD. I'll have to check that one too.
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I don't think I've heard that one but, yeah, it's included on my DVD. I'll have to check that one too.
What's nice about the Peter Bogdanovich commentary on Citizen Kane is he personally knew Orson...and of course Bogdanovich is a director so most of his commentary is about Orson's directorial style. It's a great way to learn about film making as Bogdanovich talks about technique from a director's viewpoint.



Bogdanovich's This is Orson Welles is a must read, especially if you track down the audio book which has their actual tape recorded conversations that were transcribed for the book. That's not just for great info and stories about Citizen Kane but for Welles' entire career. But my very favorite bit of scholarship on Welles to date remains Simon Callow's so-far three volume and counting biography. Extremely well written and he does a expert job of filtering out Orson's natural panache for bullpucky when speaking about his own past.




It's nice to see Citizen Kane in the top 10. I have it as #1. The Bogdanovich and Ebert docs are illuminating, as they point out not only the weight of the story, but how earth shakingly innovative Welles' methods were. In that regard, I can't think of any greater example of unique newness in style and technique from a new film maker in any era-- certainly not any which have captured the attention that did Citizen Kane.

The story is not really in any stretch a biography of William Randolph Hearst. But certain aspects of the story were close enough that they brought down the wrath of Hearst and his powerful newspaper syndicate.

The story treatment of "Kane's" second wife, Susan Alexander Kane (supposedly modeled after real life Marion Davies) couldn't have been further from the truth. Yet her portrayal as a talentless nitwit, along with the exposure of the "rosebud" term (which in real life was well known in Hollywood as Hearst's description of a certain part of Davies' anatomy), was all that was needed to completely enrage Hearst.

He tried to blacklist the film and it's stars, to no avail. However he was successful in ruining the career of the talented Dorothy Comingore, who played Susan Alexander in a wonderful performance. She was at the very least a communist sympathizer, so she was able to be blacklisted by Hollywood, and she faded from public view.

In re this listing, I think it shows the imagination of some who can understand and appreciate this film's innovation and the effect it has had on countless imitators since 1941. Conversely it's understandable how it would not rank as a "favorite" film to many who would believe it to be anachronistic.



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The reason that the scene where he and Ellie see the dinosaurs for the first time becomes an iconic scene to audiences is at least as much due to the genuine and childlike awe he shows upon seeing dinosaurs for the first time (even just hearing that there's a T-rex makes him fall over) as it is to the actual spectacle of seeing such well-crafted special effects in action.
A fair amount of credit should go to how Spielberg blocks this scene and keeps the camera grounded, as opposed to something like Jurassic World, where the film makers...didn't do that. Ever.
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It would be nice if Jurassic Park made a debut on the top 10 well top 9 now lol, if it does it would be the first movie and not Jurassic World.
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The story is not really in any stretch a biography of William Randolph Hearst. But certain aspects of the story were close enough that they brought down the wrath of Hearst and his powerful newspaper syndicate.

The story treatment of "Kane's" second wife, Susan Alexander Kane (supposedly modeled after real life Marion Davies) couldn't have been further from the truth. Yet her portrayal as a talentless nitwit, along with the exposure of the "rosebud" term (which in real life was well known in Hollywood as Hearst's description of a certain part of Davies' anatomy), was all that was needed to completely enrage Hearst.
One of my favorite stories from the Boganovich tapes is the one that Boganovich later turned into the film, The Cat's Meow, where Hearst "allegedly" (likely) shot and killed writer/director Thomas Ince after mistaking him for Charlie Chaplin, who had been having an affair with "Rosebud" Davies. Welles regretted omitting this from the Kane screenplay, believing that its inclusion "would have bought silence for myself forever".
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anyone has some Cotten recs past those throw them my way.
I'll add Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte, and The Hellbenders is a pretty good spaghetti western.



Citizen Kane was a lock for my #1 ballot spot right from the start. Even before I made my ballot list I knew my #1 would be Citizen Kane and my 1 pointer #25 would be a film Orson himself would've appreciated, Starship Troopers.

Figured you liked the movie, but didn't know that much. Cool!