The Best Films Of All Time

My opinion on the best movies of all time. In my mind these can't be topped, though unfortunately I don't have enough for a full top 10. I don't want to force myself to add four more, so the list stands at seven, for now.

I don't think anything contemporary comes close enough to warrant a spot on the list, but I think There Will Be Blood would be the closest.

These are my picks based on several factors; Pure watchability in terms of entertainment, emotional impact, themes/messages, and achievement/influence of film during each film's time period.

M - Ok, it's a bit cliche, but this movie's themes and message are just as relevant today as when the movie was made. What makes this particularly special for me is that it was made in 1931, not long after talkies began to take over film. This was Fritz Lang's first talkie, and includes one of the most brilliant performances ever, by Peter Lorre.

Grand Illusion - It's amazing how modern this movie feels, not outdated at all. Of all the movies on my list, this might be the most complete; great story, characters, message, humor, emotion, it has everything, even a love story for good measure. Perhaps one of, if not the first, true masterpiece, courtesy of Jean Renoir. And if this wasn't enough, some think that his The Rules of the Game is even better.

The Great Dictator - I quoted this in my review, but it's worth putting it here too even though it's from wikipedia: "At the time of its first release, the United States was still formally at peace with Nazi Germany." The greatest satire ever made, about one of the most evil men who ever lived, can any other film really compete with the powerful message here? Plus it's Chaplin, in his first talkie.

The Third Man - An Ebert favorite. I didn't love it the first time I saw it, but I've seen it many times since and it gets better every time. The second time I watched it I was hooked. This is probably the only movie on my list that will make you smile, aside from the ocassional laughs some of the other movies provide. However, it shares a common theme with three other movies on the list; while it isn't about a historical event like Grand Illusion, The Great Dictator, or Army of Shadows, history plays a large role. The film takes place in post war Vienna and that is very important to the story in many aspects. It's usually a great experience when a movie provides us a glimpse into the past like this.

High and Low - I didn't want this list to be too personal, I wanted to pick movies I truly felt are the best, and this one is probably the closest I get to a personal pick. But it's Kurosawa, and my favorite of his that I've seen so far, so I don't regret the choice. It is almost certainly the least "important" movie of the group on many levels, but it's such an amazingly told story. Well, as I think about it more, maybe this pick *was* too personal, but it's already here and I do love it!

2001 A Space Odyssey - Best Kubrick movie. Best Sci-Fi movie. There are some sweeping films on this list, but this one spans 4-million years...There have been major film accomplishments in the last century, but I believe this is the greatest. Like I allude to in my review, this is such an amazing work of art. Kubrick's vision(ok, and Clarke's) might never be matched again in film.

Army of Shadows - Jean-Pierre Melville gets a decent amount of praise, but not enough. His Le Cercle Rouge was beautiful, but I think Army of Shadows(released only a year earlier) is even more mesmerizing. Again we are dealing with history, with the film following a group of French resistance fighters during WWII. Incredibly thrilling, wonderfully acted, and the most amazing moods that Melville sets. You can only make an argument for 2001 about which is the more enthralling movie, keeping your attention for every single second of their runtimes.

Report this list
  • M
  • Grand Illusion
  • The Great Dictator
  • The Third Man
  • High and Low
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • Army of Shadows