top-list What are your top ten films of all time?

It's really difficult to decide on a top ten of all time, especially when there are so many great ones, that it hurts to keep them off the list. Some honorable mentions for me include, Back to the Future, Mysterious Skin, City of God, The Battle of Algiers, Malcolm X, Gone with the Wind, Unbreakable, Blow Out, M, Fail-Safe, Forrest Gump and Sicko. Decisions, decisions. Well for me, here is my top ten, if I had a gun held to my head and had to pic :).

10. The Skin I Live In (2011)
9. Metropolis (1927)
8. 12 Angry Men (1957)
7. This Film Is Not Yet Rated (2006)
6. The Truman Show (1998)
5. Oldboy (2003)
4. Schindler's List (1993)
3. Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
2. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
1. For A Few Dollars More (1965)

I didn't include the two biggest classics, considered by most to be Citizen Kane, and The Godfather, which are really good movies, but I had to go with the movies that emotionally moved me the most and leave it at that, in order to decide. I cannot decide on my number ten between Back to the Future to The Skin I Live in, and I keep swapping between the two. I have a fondness for BTTF for nostalgia factor since it was the first live action feature I saw when I was six, but The Skin I Live in is also a very powerful film and I cannot deny that either. For my number one, it is difficult to decide which is better between my top two.

The Shawshank Redemption is a great epic film compared to For a Few Dollars More, but the latter movie is more fun to watch, just when you are in the mood for a fun ride of stylistic filmmaking craft. So The Shawshank Redemption is the best movie ever possibly, where as For a Few Dollars More is my favorite movie on a more personal rewatching and genre standard. I know some of you may be shocked I chose that one over The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, which is great movie too, but I just simply like the story of For a Few Dollars More, even better.

What are your top ten's? Let's debate them!
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Hard to pick just ten, but here are some that come to mind

1. Lord of the Rings (If I have to pick one, the Fellowship)
2. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
3. Children of Men
4. The Prestige
5. The Godfather, Part 2
6. It's a Wonderful Life
7. Hugo (the 3D version)
8. Once Upon a Time in the West
9. Das Boot
10. Psycho

I'm surprised about For a Few Dollars More since you say "emotionally moved." I don't remember having any particularly emotional response to that film (or any western, for that matter). I also didn't like Shawshank very much. It felt a little bit preachy, if that makes sense. And it seemed to have too much "good guys are super good and bad guys are super bad" stuff going on, but I could be mistaken because I haven't seen it in a long time.
I'll play! It will likely change tomorrow, but here's what they are today:

1) Legend (Scott, 1985) - Okay, this one won't change. My favorite film. I should also add: the US theatrical cut (or the tv version, which adds a couple great scenes, but keeps the Tangerine Dream score). I could rant about the director's cut (and have in the past). Not quite Lucas level, but Scott does seem to miss what makes the movie more than just an above average fantasy film of the era.
2) Stroszek (Herzog, 1977) - Beautiful, tragic, funny, horrifying, everything I love about Herzog. Cuts close to the bone when you realize that the beginning of the film draws a lot from Bruno S's actual life.
3) Lost Skeleton of Cadavra (Blamire, 2001) - I can't imagine a more loving satire/homage to 50s sci-fi.
4) Dreams (Kurosawa, 1990) - Kurosawa at his finest, telling simple, surreal and beautiful stories based on his dreams. I never get sick of watching it.
5) Until The End Of The World (Wenders, 1991) - Hard to pick a single Wenders (Wings of Desire and Million Dollar Hotel are strong contenders too), but the last third of this one makes it the winner for me.
6) Night of the Living Dead (Romero, 1968) - and by extension, most of this other Dead films. I like the Romero zombie metaphor, and the focus on the character's emotions rather than just killing masses of zombies. I could write about those films all day
7) Hellraiser (Barker, 1987) - some of the effects are dated and klunky, but the film holds up remarkably well. Like the Romero zombie films, the cenobites are not the focus of the film; they're almost a force of nature. A great change from 80s slashers focused on the antagonist killing waves of near-nameless teens.
8) Lord of the Rings (Jackson, 2001-2003) - I'll even add the Hobbit films, because I still love them. I love fantasy films, good or bad, and it was great seeing such great versions of the books I loved so much as a kid. Extended versions, in all cases (particularly the Two Towers...Faramir comes off a little closer to the books in the extended version, but pretty awful in the theatrical).
9) Wild Strawberries (Bergman, 1957) - is there such thing as a perfect film? I don't know, but this one would be pretty damn close. A beautiful film about understanding yourself. If you haven't seen it, do so. I'll wait.
10) The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (Gilliam, 2009) - most days I'd say Brazil, but today I'm saying Parnassus. Toss of a coin between the two, really. I love them both so very much, but for very different reasons so it's hard to compare. I could just instead say "The complete works of Terry Gilliam"
I hate these lists of course because then I want to add ten more and ten more and ten more until I have about three hundred films on the list! But what I'll do here is put my top ten, but if a director has two films that would make it then I'll put them together on one spot.

1. Late Spring and Tokyo Story directed by Yasujiro Ozu
2. Ugetsu directed by Kenji Mizoguchi
3. In The Mood For Love directed by Wong Kar-wai
4. Rashomon and Ikiru directed by Akira Kurosawa
5. Citizen Kane directed by Orson Welles
6. Spirited Away directed by Hayao Miyazaki
7. The General directed by Buster Keaton
8. Cleo from 5 to 7 directed by Agnes Varda
9. Casablanca directed by Michael Curtiz
10. Spring In A Small Town directed by Fei Mu

Unlike others my top ten is pretty invariable, but my top 50, top 100, and top 200 on the other hand seem to change by the hour lol.
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Staff member
1. Casablanca
2. Match Point
3. Love, Actually
4. Shawshank Redemption
5. Rear Window
6. Lost in Translation
7. Rebecca
8. The Candidate
9. Groundhog Day
10. Before Sunrise

But if you ask me again tomorrow I'll probably give you a (slightly) different list :)


Staff member
1 Schindler's List
2 LOTR The Two Towers
3 The Matrix
4 Shawshank Redemption
5 Full Metal Jacket
6 The Lion King
7 Batman Begins
8 Lawrence of Arabia
9 Psycho
10 North by Northwest
It's not uncommon for me to ask my coworkers what their favorite films are. What I've found is that while there are a good number of films that we would all agree are great, each of our top-10 lists are nonetheless very personal.

If I can indulge in a personal story, I'd like to relate how life circumstances can affect our enjoyment of a particular movie. The child of divorced parents, it was rare that all four brothers were ever in the same place at the same time. The two eldest brothers lived with dad, the two youngest with mom. Usually, if we were all together, it was at a formal family function. But one Summer, we found the occasion to hang out with each other. No formal family function, just brothers hanging out with brothers. We went to see T2 together, snuck beer into the theater, and brought along our best friends. As the youngest of the four brothers, it was a special treat to be able to just have fun with the people that I most looked up to, all of us together.

You can't remove that context from my enjoyment and memory of the movie. Anyway, I think this is at least part of the reason why our top-10 lists are so different from each others. We don't just have different tastes in movies, we also have different life experiences. And that, for me, makes these lists all the more interesting. :)

1. Avatar
2. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
3. The Matrix
4. Forrest Gump
5. Shawshank Redemption
6. Jurassic Park
7. Wall-E
8. Team America
9. T2
10. Pulp Fiction
We don't just have different tastes in movies, we also have different life experiences.
That's interesting because I have very few stories associated with watching movies. I think my list are often the films that I've seen the most number of times. And generally seeing a movie in theater makes me hate it a lot for some reason.
In no particular order, and, off the top of my head,

1) The Empire Strikes Back
2) Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan
3) Star Wars: A New Hope
4) An Officer and a Gentleman
5) The Last Dragon
6) Enter the Dragon
7) ET: The Extraterrestrial
8) The Blues Brothers
9) Failsafe
10) Iron Man 1

Of course, the first three would be from the Big Two sci-fi franchises. :)
Definitely personal experience can play a huge role in how films affect us. I think it's impossible to separate our life experiences from the way we engage the films that we see. That's why I love re-watching films after waiting a long time because I have more life experiences and more understanding of film that makes me look at the film in a new light.

Oh and btw, for the first time since February a new film has cracked into my top ten. Hou Hsiao-hsien's brilliant historical film A City Of Sadness is now my 7th favorite feature film of all-time.

Well considering it's the highest grossing film of all-time, some people must like it lol! I don't think it's a masterpiece or anything but it's a fairly enjoyable film for me.
Yeah, but I've never heard anyone say anything good about it. It's usually "I saw it because everyone else in the world saw it, so I figured it was good.... it was just kinda meh"
Yeah, but I've never heard anyone say anything good about it. It's usually "I saw it because everyone else in the world saw it, so I figured it was good.... it was just kinda meh"
LOL true, and I feel like there isn't a lot of discussion on this film aside from the special effects because I think it didn't have much else going for it. I think this film won't be (and already isn't) remembered as a great film. I don't think it's a bad film either, and I guess you could say I feel just like you said, that it is "kinda meh." But I don't think anyone has to think it's a masterpiece in order to like it, I mean even I like it mildly (or at least I did when I saw it in the theaters years ago, I doubt I'll like it now).
2001, A Space Odyssey
Blue Velvet
United 93
Requiem for a Dream

Also in the running . . .

Das Boots
Rear Window

I know I'm missing some, so here are 3 more to make it an even 10 . . .

Farenheit 9/11
American Hustle


It's a Wonderful Life
Titanic (1997)
Apocalypse Now
Little Big Man
From Hell
Babe: Pig in the City
The Ninth Gate
Fog of War
Stonewall Uprising
Hyperspace with Sam Neil
"Hey, I just saw that movie that everyone is talking about, the one that's been in theaters for four months. You know, the one that nobody really likes, but for some reason everybody talks about. I didn't really like it. It was meh. You should totally go see it. "
"Totally. I'm gonna go see it. Just so that I can tell everyone how much I hated it."

Said no one. Ever.

Yeah it was kinda ridiculous to ask something like that. It's like one of my friends that asks me, "why did you like that film?" It's kind of silly. I like films just because they speak to me, entertain me, move me, affect me in a memorable way, these kind of discussions are never really enlightening about cinema because they become more about the viewer than the actual film. Oh and I kinda made the argument for you already, it's the highest grossing film of all-time so obviously many people liked it haha. We also have to consider that people went to the cinema multiple times to see it, and later saw it on Blu-Ray and DVD, there is certainly a significant amount of people that like this movie (definitely more than any of my top 10 favorites!).

As always, I'll say that one of the greatest things about cinema is how diverse it is. I know for fact that most of the films on my top 10 would bore most audiences (including many users on this site), and there is an infinite amount of possibilities with the medium which makes it so fun to get to share favorites with people so we can discover more. I personally happened to like Avatar even though I don't think it's a masterpiece or even a particularly great film, but it is undeniably a technological and industrial achievement of cinema. But that's the great thing, at the end of the day it is really all opinion and as lovers of cinema we should just be happy that films are giving pleasure to people and affecting them deeply whether we like the film or not. I hope you never feel challenged to justify your tastes, because it is kind of silly haha, you like what you like just as I like what I like :)
Wow, I didnt think there was anyone out there that actually liked Avatar.
Ya know... Filmmakers seem to be the ones that dislike "Avatar" the most. Sure, it was WAY over-hyped. It may even have had a bit of a bloated budget. But let's face it; it was gorgeous to look at, the sound was phenomenal, and the acting was okay, considering the handicaps.

This is the hard part; you have to be really objective about it. You have to throw away everything that you know as a filmmaker - and your other "prejudices" - and experience a film the way any average audience member would. It can be difficult to do. It's harder still to approach your own work this way.

As an audience member I thought that "Avatar" was a lot of fun. I'm dreading when the sequels come out - the fire-storm will be terrific, no matter what the films are like. Except for technical stuff, I'm just going to ignore it - as I do with most films. I want to go in with as few preconceptions as possible.