Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Top 100 Films, a Personal List: 2011 edition

Every year at the end of the summer and with the beginning of autumn, Filmspotting forum members each offer up their 100 favorite films of all time; those personal lists are then tallied and compiled and a joint list is created, a list that we hope reflects our collective tastes in film.  

I always look forward, not only to making my own personal list of films, but to seeing the various and diverse films that other film lovers choose.  There might be a great deal of overlap between two particular lists or none at all, and there is joy in seeing both the overlap - sharing with another person the same deep love for the same film  - and there is joy in seeing the diversity - seeing that a film I would never choose for myself nonetheless speaks meaningfully to someone else.  

It has been in interacting with forum members over the years, discussing, analyzing, and enjoying films together, that my own tastes, I believe, have been stretched and made more complex.  While many of the films on my list are those I discovered on my own or in growing up with my particular family, there are also now films on my list that I would never have found on my own, without the Filmspotting forum.   My list, then, as it has evolved over the last couple of years, is deeply personal to me - I do not pretend to be any kind of authority, saying that these films are, objectively, the best films ever made - but it also reflects, maybe even in ways I am unaware of, something communal; it in some sense reflects the community of film lovers on the Filmspotting forum that I have grown to love.

So thank-you, to all of you, for these years of discussion and invigorating argument and for providing and being a community of friends I never expected to find.

And now, on to my list:

100. How Green Was My Valley (John Ford, 1941)

99. Memories of Murder (Jooh-ho Bong, 2003) 

98. The Wind Will Carry Us (Abbas Kiarostami, 1999)

97. Scenes from a Marriage (Ingmar Bergman, 1973)

96. The Kid (Charles Chaplin, 1921

95. Sense and Sensibility (Ang Lee, 1995)

94. 35 Shots of Rum (Claire Denis, 2008)

93. Secrets and Lies (Mike Leigh, 1996)

92. Say Anything (Cameron Crowe, 1989)

91. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (Tom Stoppard, 1990)

90. The School of Rock (Richard Linklater, 2003)

89. Best in Show (Christopher Guest, 2000)

88. A Mighty Wind (Christopher Guest, 2003) 

87. Howard’s End (James Ivory, 1992)

86. Airplane! (Jim Abrahams and Jim Zucker, 1980)

85. If . . . .  (Lindsay Anderson, 1968)

84. The Conversation (Francis Ford Coppola, 1974)

83. In a Lonely Place (Nicholas Ray, 1950)

82. Written on the Wind (Douglas Sirk, 1956)

81. Brothers (Susanne Bier, 2004)

80. Cry, the Beloved Country (Darrell Roodt, 1995)

79. The Commitments (Alan Parker, 1991)

78. After the Wedding (Susanne Bier, 2006)

77. Flight of the Red Balloon (Hsiaio-hsien Hou, 2007)

76. A Canterbury Tale (Michael Powell and Emeric Pressbuger, 1944)

75. My Neighbor Totoro (Hayao Miyazaki, 1988) 

74. Raining Stones (Ken Loach, 1993)

73. Meek’s Cutoff  (Kelly Reichardt, 2010)

72. Chariots of Fire (Hugh Hudson, 1981)

71. Little Dieter Needs to Fly (Werner Herzog, 1997)

70. All or Nothing (Mike Leigh, 2002)

69. A Man for All Seasons (Fred Zinnemann, 1966)

68. Young Frankenstein (Mel Brooks, 1974)

67. United 93 (Paul Greengrass, 2006)

66. Another Year (Mike Leigh, 2010)

65. My Fair Lady (George Cukor, 1964)

64. Bright Star (Jane Campion, 2009)

63. Raiders of the Lost Ark (Steven Spielberg, 1981)

62. A Room with a View (James Ivory, 1985)

61. Volver (Pedro Almodovar, 2006)

60. Shuan of the Dead (Edgar Wright, 2004)

59. North by Northwest (Alfred Hitchcock, 1959)

58. Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1942)

57. Shadow of a Doubt (Alfred Hitchcock, 1943)

56. A Letter to Three Wives (Joseph Mankiewicz, 1949)

55. Le samourai (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1967)

54. Angel at my Table (Jane Campion, 1990)

53. Fanny and Alexander (Ingmar Bergman, 1982)

52. Il Posto (Ermanno Olmi, 1961)

51. The Beaches of Agnes (Agnes Varda, 2008)

50. Bringing up Baby (Howard Hawks, 1938)

49. Tampopo (Juzo Itami, 1985)

48. Roman Holiday (William Wyler, 1953)

47. Picnic at Hanging Rock (Peter Weir, 1975)

46. Persona (Ingmar Bergman, 1966)

45. In the Bedroom (Todd Field, 2001)

44. Frankenstein (James Whale, 1931)

43. Young Mr. Lincoln (John Ford, 1939)

42. Cleo from 5 to 7 (Agnes Varda, 1962)

41. Harlan County, U.S.A. (Barbara Kopple, 1976)

40. Rashomon (Akira Kurosawa, 1950)

39. The General (Clyde Bruckman and Buster Keaton, 1926)

38. Back to the Future (Robert Zemeckis, 1985) 

37. The Loneliness of the Long-distance Runner (Tony Richardson, 1962) 

36. Strangers on a Train (Alfred Hitchcock, 1951)

35. Stardust Memories (Woody Allen, 1980)

34. Peeping Tom (Michael Powell, 1960)

33. The Double Life of Veronique (Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1991)

32. The Gleaners and I (Agnes Varda, 2000)

31. Mary Poppins (Robert Stevenson, 1964)

30. Three Colors: Blue (Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1993)

29. Wild Strawberries (Ingmar Bergman, 1957)

28. Winter Light (Ingmar Bergman, 1963)

27. Tokyo Story (Yasujiro Ozu, 1953)

26. Grizzly Man (Werner Herzog, 2005)

25. Solyaris (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1972)

24. Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)

23. Groundhog Day (Harold Ramis, 1993)

22. The Wizard of Oz (Victor Fleming, 1939)

21. Sunset Blvd. (Billy Wilder, 1950)

20. In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar-Wai, 2000)

19. The Empire Strikes Back (Irvin Kershner, 1980)
"'Why, you stuck up, half-witted, scruffy-looking Nerf herder.' 
'Who's scruffy-looking?'"

18. Crimes and Misdemeanors (Woody Allen, 1989)
"If you want a happy ending, you should go see a Hollywood movie."

17. Rear Window (Alfred Hitchcock, 1954)
"Why would a man leave his apartment three times on a rainy night with a suitcase and come back three times?"

16. Wings of Desire (Wim Wenders 1987)
"Tell me of the men, women, and children who will look for me - me, their storyteller, their bard, their choirmaster - because they need me more than anything in the world."

15. The Philadelphia Story (George Cukor, 1940)
"I'm sorry, but I thought I better hit you before he did. He's in better shape than I am."

14. Ratcatcher (Lynne Ramsay, 1999)

13. The Spirit of the Beehive (Victor Erice, 1973)
"If you're his friend, you can talk to him whenever you want. Just close your eyes and call him."

12. Jaws (Steven Spielberg, 1975)
"You're gonna need a bigger boat."

11. The Princess Bride (Rob Reiner, 1987)

"'Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles...'     ''Doesn't sound too bad. I'll try to stay awake.'"

10. The 400 Blows (Francois Truffaut, 1959)
"Doinel, if your paper is first today, it's because I've decided to give the results beginning with the worst."

9. Waiting for Guffman (Christopher Guest, 1996)
"People say, 'You must have been the class clown.' And I say, 'No, I wasn't. But I sat next to the class clown, and I studied him.'"

8. All about Eve (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1950)
"I'll admit I may have seen better days, but I'm still not to be had for the price of a cocktail, like a salted peanut."

7. Badlands (Terrence Malick, 1973)
"At this moment, I didn't feel shame or fear, but just kind of blah, like when you're sitting there and all the water's run out of the bathtub."

6. Harvey (Henry Koster, 1950)

"Well, I've wrestled with reality for 35 years, Doctor, and I'm happy to state I finally won out over it."

5. Brazil (Terry Gilliam, 1985)
"This is your receipt for your husband... and this is my receipt for your receipt."

4. A Night at the Opera (Sam Wood, 1935)
"And now, on with the opera. Let joy be unconfined. Let there be dancing in the streets, drinking in the saloons, and necking in the parlor." 

3. Alien (Ridley Scott, 1979)
"Here kitty, kitty, kitty. Meaow. Here Jonesy."

2. Singin’ in the Rain (Stanley Donen, 1952)
"If we bring a little joy into your humdrum lives, it makes us feel as though our hard work ain't been in vain for nothin'. Bless you all."

1. It’s a Wonderful Life (Frank Capra, 1946)
"I'm shakin' the dust of this crummy little town off my feet and I'm gonna see the world. Italy, Greece, the Parthenon, the Colosseum. Then, I'm comin' back here to go to college and see what they know. And then I'm gonna build things. I'm gonna build airfields, I'm gonna build skyscrapers a hundred stories high, I'm gonna build bridges a mile long..."

New this year:
All or Nothing
Another Year
The Beaches of Agnes
A Canterbury Tale
Cleo from 5 to 7
The Gleaners and I
Meek’s Cutoff
Scenes from a Marriage
Spirit of the Beehive
Stardust Memories
Tokyo Story

The Passion of Joan of Arc*
Talk to Her*
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington*
The Third Man+
The Red Shoes+
A Hard Day’s Night*
The Lives of Others+
Harold and Maude*
  *needs a re-watch
  +just not feeling as much an emotional connection to this this year

1920's - 2
1930's - 5
1940's - 7
1950's - 14
1960's - 12
1970's - 10
1980's - 15
1990's - 15
2000's – 18
2010’s – 2 

Directors with 2 or more films:
Bergman - 5
Hitchcock – 5

Guest – 3
Leigh - 3
Varda – 3

Allen – 2
Bier - 2
Campion – 2
Cukor – 2
Ford - 2
Herzog – 2
Ivory - 2
Kieslowski – 2
Mankiewicz - 2
Powell - 2
Spielberg - 2