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

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The Adventure Starts Here!
Tomorrow's hint:

Beware, beware
One's fierce, one's fair

One's tongue is forked
The other rare

One gives advice
But takes his price

Beware beware
The masks they wear

No, wait...

Silence of the Lambs
The Lord of the Rings
Phantom of the Opera

I have no idea what I'm doing.


You misspelled the worst.

I sometimes think it's my favorite because it's the one I remember the least.

I remember Fellowship the most clearly, and I guess by default, it has to be the worst. Even though I love the opening Hobbittown ****. Or whatever the name of the place they live is.

FWIW I actually think they are good movies, but they are very much not my thing. Stilll good though.

Master of My Domain
I think I overrated this when I first viewed it –– it was a bad habit back then –– but I still think The Third Man is a fantastic movie. Here's my original review:

The Third Man (1949)

Directed by: Carol Reed
Starring: Joseph Cotten, Orson Welles, Alida Valli, Trevor Howard

But cuckoo clocks are awesome!

The necessity of a great thriller is starting from the very bottom, with characters oblivious to what will happen to them, almost on the level of the audience, whom are ready for anything once the opening credits fade away, then slowly build up into a finale through conflicts and conversations. The Third Man begins on Holly Martin (Joseph Cotten) arriving at postwar Vienna to visit his childhood friend, Harry Lime (Orson Welles). However, he soon discovers that Harry was killed in a car accident - but suspicion over it increases as a "third man" is said to have carried Lime's body. Martin encounters Anna Schmidt (Alida Valli), the heart broken lover of Lime, and the two start to uncover how these certain events were unfolded in the first place.

The reveal of Harry Lime's death is immediate. When we find out, it's less than a few minutes into the entire film. This comes as quite a shock, even if you know the basic synopsis, because the very brief, but original purpose and motive of Holly Martin is instantly removed, including our expectations; a new one is implanted. This effectively sucks viewers into the story about to unfold, and is a huge influence to modern thrillers, such as Miler's Crossing and The Departed.

The Third Man takes place in postwar Vienna, and the portrayal of the inner desolation scattered in a void city is perfect. We never get a full shot looking at the overall look at the city - instead the focus is on the barren, dark and stone-paved streets and low buildings that look like hunchbacks. The ends of streets, leading into unseen nooks, feel as if they would suck in anything that passed nearby and make transform them into an everlasting gloominess. There are shadows all around the ground, most fake, created by invisible souls of unfortunate dead hiding in the walls, shown by dutch angles. This film is one of the most atmospheric ever made, the paths always seem to face downward and the air is heavy - a visual painting brilliantly describing war aftermath, a palette fit for noir.

How I should tackle the main theme of this film is a tough cookie - it fits in so well, yet there is no clear, satisfying way to simply put it. It is extremely ominous, vibrant, with a slight breeze of suspicion and many wrenched hearts in it. Arguably, it can not be explained using a combination of adjectives, because again, it is purely made to be another part of the film. For the majority of the film, whether it's when characters talk or chases happen, the direction of the plot is uncertain. The theme bounces up and down, ranging from a "piano" level of sound to "forte" very fast, thanks to a zither. Even when Harry Lime appears, we are still uncertain if he's playing on a sincere note or a sinister one. Then the music flows, and it all enters our minds.

Harry Lime, Orson Welles' most memorable role, matching with the lasting cultural significance of Charles Foster Kane, doesn't appear until two-thirds of the film have elapsed. This is another innovative move (but now it has become common) by such an influential masterpiece. His appearance is foreshadowed by Anna's cat, but the twist comes from Lime's face when he is caught by a sudden light above. His expression consists of only a calm smile, full of of wisdom but also mischief. Welles' baritone, serene voice is used to it's best. He has become a seller of fake penicillin - but in the process did not lose his original wit and charm that made him become an acquaintance of Holly and Anna.

That's what makes Harry Lime such an interesting villain. He did not appear into the film to declare some sort of dramatic, theatrical revenge on his once allies, or reveal all of the backstory behind the plotting when he or she dies. Lime remains a charming, legendary mystery even after it has been over 60 years since the film's initial release. Shrouded in shadows, slanted by the angles, and covered in fully black attire, Welles' character is a phantom, reborn after the assumed death, and is ready to enter the underworld beneath the stoned path, and eagerly willing to drag in others as well.

The monologue spoken by Lime while trying to convince Martin inside the Prater amusement park Ferris Wheel is not only memorable but is the underlying theme of The Third Man. Shortly after the war was over, the people were still living in a world of sorrow and unexpected death, shady backstreets and already fully adapted to obtaining items through illegal ways and violence. Italy produced an entire artistic movement through endless wars, while peaceful Swiss didn't, so what's wrong with darkness' illusions?

Out of all people, a child carrying a ball falsely accuses Martin of murdering Lime's old butler, and then he is bitten by a parrot for no particular reason relating to the plot, he finds out his old friend is not dead and instead a mastermind criminal, and a woman he had hoped for ends up bitterly leaving him. The Third Man is a depressing, unforgiving, and turns to and travels the sewers. But it also one that is very cool, atmospheric, and thrilling. After all, with a subtly surreal and awesome look at Vienna, a badass villain, twisted, steady, voyeuristic camera movement, believable and intriguing characters, what else do you need. The only thing not perfect about The Third Man is wrong pronunciations of names throughout.

Letterboxd Profile:

The Third Man is a good movie, but it's a movie that I respect more than I like. I find it to be an interesting movie, but no matter how many times I watch it, I always feel like I should like it more than I do.

I tried watching The Exorcist for the horror countdown, but I just couldn't get through it.
If I answer a game thread correctly, just skip my turn and continue with the game.

Tomorrow's hint:

Beware, beware
One's fierce, one's fair

One's tongue is forked
The other rare

One gives advice
But takes his price

Beware beware
The masks they wear
The second one is Silence of the Lambs (Hannibal giving advice, but also taking his price)
The first? All About Eve

21. The Exorcist (# 5)
# 170
The Third Man 1949
Two good films I didn't vote for. The Exorcist was 21 on my horror ballot last year and The Third Man was in my old top 250 but I don't think it will make my new top 250 though. With only 46 films to go, I got a feeling more films from my ballot aren't going to make it than I initially thought.

Probably 21/22 from my list will make it,
^ Make that 16 from my list will hopefully make it..

Tomorrow's hint:

Beware, beware
One's fierce, one's fair

One's tongue is forked
The other rare

One gives advice
But takes his price

Beware beware
The masks they wear

The Third Man is well-made but is just not my jam. And I'm one of the ones who was driven to distraction by the zither music. We get it! Now please tone it down a bit.

The Exorcist I recognize as being a very well-made and well-acted movie. I saw it a year after its initial release because even with "adult accompaniment" as the ads said at the time, I was too young and they wouldn't allow someone my age in the theater at the time of its release. So cut to a year later and I see it at a drive-in. Probably not the best way to see the film. I was underwhelmed. Then, a few years later, I see it in edited form when it's shown on network TV for the first time. me. I was pretty spooked by it, because without all the focus on the sensationalistic portions (the crucifix scene, the profanity, etc.) I was forced to be intent on the spiritual aspects of the movie and it definitely unnerved me. Plus, I was a teenager at home at night, without nobody else in the house. I believe it was a Friday night and everyone but me had gone to a football game (in Texas, as some of you know, it was practically a requirement to attend the town's football game). But I didn't care. I was going to watch this movie again and see if I was wrong about it the first time. And I was. The religious and spiritual themes truly upset me the second, edited time. And every little sound in and outside the house (a passing car, a dog barking) made me jump! And as a Christian, I haven't watched it again, mainly because of the blasphemy in the film, which I understand is essential to a film such as this to be included. But it's not for me anymore. Still, I remain a William Peter Blatty fan and one of his films is in my Top Ten Favorites if you look at my profile.

Neither film made my list therefore.

19. The Searchers #97
1. To Kill a Mockingbird #85
25. Die Hard #63

Have seen 41 of the films.
"Miss Jean Louise, Mr. Arthur Radley."

I know the answer to this....

Let me say this though. I always thought Fellowship of the Ring was the fan favourite, but recent discussions at work surprised me when each film had someone deeming it their favourite. I was genuinely surprised that Two Towers had A LOT of love from people where I work and it made me reassess where people see each film in this trilogy. If one of the films I consider weaker makes the list, does that automatically mean my personal favourite will? I used to think so, not so much anymore. Especially with this Top 100. I was shocked and surprised to see certain films not make it. More on that...AFTER THE COUNTDOWN.

But also, the same could be said about a few "trilogies". I recently watched Before Sunrise and have yet to see the two sequels, but know that the trilogy as a whole is well loved by many people. Do all three of those movies make this list, is there a collectively loved "one" out of this trilogy? Or does a trilogy like that get the split vote and none make it?

I don't know.

Well, technically I do, but let's just say I don't.
Although I understand and sometimes abide by @crumbsroom's premise, I've always considered Fellowship as my favorite, with Towers being my least favorite. However, like you, I was surprised when I saw a lot of people (was it in Corrie?) mentioning the latter as their favorite.

With Kill Bill, the line is more blurry for me. I usually just lump the two together. If forced, I'll probably go with Volume 1 as my favorite, but whenever I include it in a ranking, I usually just list it as one.
Check out my podcast: Thief's Monthly Movie Loot!

Thursday Next's Avatar
I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
Trying to think of mask related films... Silence of the Lambs? Onibaba? The Dark Knight? But becoming convinced the mask is probably metaphorical...

The Adventure Starts Here!
I can't believe this didn't occur to me.
This was the first thing that occurred to me. Hence my LOTR guess, although technically it's in the second movie.

  • 118 points
  • 9 lists
46. The Silence of the Lambs


Jonathan Demme, 1991


Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn, Ted Levine

  • 120 points
  • 7 lists
45. Persona


Ingmar Bergman, 1966


Bibi Andersson, Liv Ullmann, Margaretha Krook, Gunnar Björnstrand

Silence Of The Lambs is great. One iconic performance, and another that ain't too shabby. I have seen it twice but it's been a very long time. Definitely top 100 material.

I expected Persona much higher this time around. Super glad it's here, but bummed it came this soon. It was my #7. I liked Persona the first time I saw it, gave it a 4/5. It never left me though, and I have watched it three more times in the last couple years. I don't totally grasp it, but this might be the movie that made me not care if I "get" it all. I think we probably shouldn't totally grasp a movie about identity and having a voice. Nothing is more human then not being able to grasp everything that makes us so.

Two outstanding performances. Ullman has become one of my favorite actresses and I love her here. Anderson kills it though. She is doing so much of the lifting and I am glued to every word she says. Cinematography is perfect black and white with one if the most iconic images in cinema. Perfect film. I am ready to watch it again.

"Silence of the Lambs" was my very, very last cut. Enjoy the film today the same as when viewed in the theater (remember those!) upon release. Hopkins was so haunting, that he is my favorite "villian".

Have not seen "Persona". Just noticed looking at the list so far, I have a h-uuuge blind spot for film noir and vintage classics. Need to really step up my game.


My Craptastic List:  

42/56 films seen

Persona is my number 2 film, here are my thoguhts from 2012 on first viewing, which doesn't really acucrately depict why I love it now- but does show how I fell in love with the film. It's been so many years since I've seen many of my favorites that it's hard to verbalize now why I enjoy them so much, so somehwhat have to rely on past writings. Anyways stoked to see it, I think 5 years ago this would've cracked the top ten of the forum. I have one more Bergman film on my list that will no way make it.

Persona (1967)

Ingmar Bergmans Persona is one of the finest films I've ever seen. Before watching this Hitchfan told me that he liked it better the second time around, if I like it anymore the second time around then Ill have a new favorite film. The film began with a series of multiple ultra violent clips. Ranging from the slaughtering of a lamb to a tarantula. This strange opening got you ready for what's to come in this film. The basic plot is a young nurse who's taking care of an actress, who has chose not to speak for unknown reasons. They go to a summer house in the middle of nowhere together, that's where it all begins.

This film is a piece of art. It is Dante's Inferno of cinema. Its a gallery of Jan van Eyck in motion. This is one of the few movies that defines what film is. Especially when we go into the art house portion of cinema. Ingmar Bergman made it very clear that this is art. That this isn't real. He did this by reminding everyone it's a movie. Similar things have been done in the future, like in Grindhouse for example but no one did it like Bergman did. There was a shot in this movie of Bergman and his crew filming a scene. There was a moment when there was an effect of the shooting reel burning. To add on to the artistic effect, Bergman only used what he absolutely needed. Only five characters, and only props that were used by the characters were shown in the film. This wasn't just a movie, it was art at its finest point.

Potential spoilers ahead. As this film carried on it became clear that the nurse was gonna have the personality of the actress. Now what I loved is this wasn't really what happened. It was a physiological merge. At one moment the nurse is saying the actresses life story, the next she is yelling "No I am not you!". They never became one. This is what made it so Ming boggling. As mind boggling as Donnie Darko, Eraserhead, 2001: A Space Odyssey, it ranks amongst these great films. And I would rank it amongst my five favorites. It truly is a piece of art.
There was a time where Silence of the Lambs was in my top 10, and while I still love it, while now it probably wouldn't crack my top 100. Still better than most any 90s thriller

Silence of the Lambs (Demme, 1991)

I nominated this film for the HoF partially to motivate myself to watch it again, I consider horrors one of the least rewatchable genres. When I first saw this film I found it one of the most disturbing films ever, I've probably watched a fair 50-70 films since then that make this look soft, however there are still scenes here that are hard to shake. Whether it's the visually foul autopsy or the disturbing quotes from Dr. Lecter in his visits with Foster- the film plays on many types of scares. The classic scene I find one of the greatest in horror history has to be "Puts the lotion on its skin" scene. Plays not only on the creepiness and perversion of Buffalo Bill but the fear of being trapped in a well looking up at this twisted man.

Foster is spectacular in her role, subtle in her acting but always clear in how we should interpret her inner feelings. Never noticed how much this film played on the unwanted male advances in the work place, but this sub-issue was glaringly obvious. Another point of discomfort Demme throws in this film. Hopkins is of course masterful in playing the condescending psychopath Hannibal Lecter. Also relies more on calm oddities than over acting. I will say the first half hour felt rather hokey this time around, very 90s Hollywood, in a way that has a charm in itself. Once the original meeting with Lecter is over the film is anything but hokey however- playing on the deepest fears of man utilizing the sickest minds that exist in humanity.


My List:

2. Persona
4. Rosemary's Baby
17. Mulholland Drive
25. The Florida Project (1 pointer)
Yeah, there's no body mutilation in it