Top 10 Best Movies of All Time

Not too long ago we presented our list of the 10 Dumbest Movies of All time; today we're taking a 'glass half full' view of the world and focusing on the positive. Determining what movies qualify to be among the top 10 is no easy matter though.

Midnight Cowboy
There are quite a few truly great films out there to choose from - so we applied the following criteria to help make our picks:
  1. Each film on this list had to be a classic film (which we've defined before). 
  2. Each film had to be a profound story - something out of the ordinary that sticks with you and effects you at an emotional level.
  3. Each film had to be cinematically innovative. This could take a variety of forms from introduction of special effects to the cinematography itself and of course the story-line.
  4. Each film had to have more than one scene that is remembered as being historic (like the baseball scene from the Untouchables although that film didn't make this list because while a classic the story-line was a just to thin).
  5. To be on our list usually also involved having a very good musical score as well.
What we didn't do was base our list of critics' determination of what ought to be considered 'the greatest of all time.'  This is why movies like Citizen Kane does not appear on our list.  

Orson Welles was always over-rated, especially by himself 
So here's our list of the Top 10 Best Movies of All Time:

# 1 Best Movie of All Time -  Schindler's List: Why did this film top the list? There were several reasons; first because this version of the Holocaust tale was different than those that had gone before it. Spielberg made it seem more real. Perhaps it was the use of Black and White or perhaps it was the fascinating character studies provided by Ben Kingsley, Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes - and each of those actors turned in what was probably the performance of their careers. Second, this film was about both horror and hope and how the human spirit can overcome the lesser angels of our nature. Third, perhaps it was the timing of it - while this film debuted a new genocide was just beginning in Europe in Bosnia. NATO intervened to stop that war and the Genocide in 1995 - it seems to us that this film may have played a role in helping to remind the world about the human face of Genocide. It's a lesson that will likely need to be learned over and over again in the future - and now we have this film to help teach that lesson.


Schindler's List was Best Picture in 1993

# 2 Best Movie of All Time -  Dr. Strangelove: Some might find the selection of "Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb" as an odd choice for the second best film of all time. We think the rank is well-deserved. First, this stands as the most profound and biting political satire on film - ever (second place is Chaplin's "The Great Dictator"). Second, this movie provided the most damning critique of the Arms Race ever produced. Third, Peter Sellers gave the performance/s of his career (playing at least 3 characters). We will never forget his insane parody of Henry Kissinger as Strangelove.

Peter Sellers as Strangleove
# 3 Best Movie of All Time -  The Godfather: What can we say - this movie had everything; a soundtrack that we can never forget; one hell of a story and some of the best acting ever. Al Pacino will probably always be remembered for his role as Michael Corleone - seeing him become the new Godfather at the end of the movie is one of those cinematic moments we'll never forget. In fact, the entire movie is chocked full of iconic scenes.


Michael becomes, the Godfather...

# 4 Best Movie of All Time -  Blade Runner:  We reviewed this film some time ago and we have to admit - we just keep liking it better and better as time goes by. Blade Runner brings together a fantastic Science Fiction story by Philip K Dick ( Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?), unbelievable cinematic vision from Director Ridley Scott and some truly memorable performances by a huge and wildly talented ensemble cast. This film set its own standard in terms of creating a unique universe all its own - it's LA Noir with flying cars and genetically engineered super-humans. We're hoping the rumors of a sequel are true but it is unlikely that any follow-on movie will match this original. The soundtrack by Vangelis is perhaps the best movie score ever.

The FX from Blade Runner inspired a generation of Hollywood film-makers and animators

# 5 Best Movie of All Time -  The Matrix: This movie still retains the title of Coolest Movie of All Time. The Matrix combined a powerful critique of the human experience with state of the art visuals and special effects. The result is nothing short of breathtaking. Even though the follow-ons in the trilogy didn't live up to the original - the first Matrix still stands the test of time. We recommend that you take the red pill. 

# 6 Best Movie of All Time - Midnight Cowboy: Not a Western at all, with the absolute best theme song from any movie - ever. If this film doesn't tug at your heart - you're probably a Zombie. Dustin Hoffman's portrayal of Ratso Rizzo is one of the truly great performance s in cinema history.


# 7 Best Movie of All Time -  Dr. Zhivago: This movie still stands of the most beautiful pieces of cinema ever produced. It represents the best of the epic films from the 50's to 70's and tells the story of one man's struggle to survive amidst the chaos of the Russian Revolution. It also stands as one of the greatest love stories on film. Julie Christie gave the performance of her life in this movie as did Rod Steiger. Sir Alec Guinness, Geraldine Chaplin (Charlie Chaplin's daughter) and Omar Sharif rounded off the stellar cast. The Zhivago soundtrack is the second best in the history of cinema. There were some truly great lines in this film - like Zhivago's brother stating "I did admire him; but I didn't think he was a better man. Besides, I've executed better men than me with a small pistol."


# 8 Best Movie of All Time -  JFK: This movie is a bit controversial, just like it's topic - the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Director Oliver Stone assembled a huge cast of the best talent in Hollywood headed by Kevin Costner in what is probably the best performance of his career. This movie represents the ultimate courtroom drama in cinema history as Stone pieces together the real story while exposing the gaps in the Warren Commission's finding. The movie was so powerful that it led to the passage of President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992. This means that many documents that haven't already been released will be in 2017. While still late, the truth may finally be known after all these years. It's a movie that literally made history.

JFK was awesome, we rest our case
# 9 Best Movie of All Time -  AI: Artificial Intelligence was Stanley Kubrick's last project. Before he died he handed it over to Stephen Spielberg to complete. The result was truly stunning. AI tells the story of a boy named David who isn't actually a boy - he's a Cyber Pinocchio. But David is more than that - he is the first artificial being who can dream and can love. This movie was meant to take HAL to the next step and fully humanize him. It succeeds with an entertaining story, stunning visual imagery and one of the best performances by a child actor - Haley Joel Osment - ever.

Welcome to Rouge City
# 10 Best Movie of All Time -  One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest: While this isn't a happy tale, it is inspirational. This movie marks the zenith of Jack Nicholson's career. It provides us some truly memorable characters who've all come together under less than ideal circumstances. Cuckoo's Nest follows in the same foot-steps as Midnight Cowboy in creating a story that is totally character-driven and painfully realistic.


Honorable Mentions:
  • The Graduate - This movie helped to define a generation with a soundtrack by Simon and Garfunkle no less.
  • 2001 Space Odyssey - We loved it, but the characters we're a little thin for this category.
  • Apocalypse Now - A great movie, but a bit too uneven to make the top 10.  
  • Scarface - "Say hello to my little friend." Al Pacino's over the top Cuban gangster became one of the all-time most memorable characters in cinema in this film (no chance of sequels either).
  • The Shining - A masterpiece that came very close to getting on the list. Kubrick and Jack Nicholson together - wow.
  • High Noon - One of our few older films in contention. This movie stood as the ultimate Western - at least until The Unforgiven came along.
  • Gone with The Wind: This movie defined the Hollywood epic for the next 75 years. While the racial stereotypes depicted in the film are insensitive to say the least - they also stand as testimony to how far we've come in just a couple generations. What would Clark Gable thought of President Obama? 
  • Modern Times - Charlie Chaplin was a genius, end of story. Cinema wouldn't be what it is today without him. He was also a brilliant social critic and one of the few people on earth in the 1930's to take on Hitler. The little tramp had some big cojones. 
Chaplin takes on the Industrial Revolution single-handedly
  • Ben Hur - Star Wars episode 1 was largely a tribute to this movie - how cool is that?
  • Lawrence of Arabia - David Lean took a very odd (yet true) story from history and turned it into a legend. Lean also directed Zhivago.


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