A while back, I was talking with Colin from Pick ‘n’ Mix Flix Movie Reviews, and we got to discussing movie lists. Over at his site, he did a list of his 101 favorite movies and he challenged me to make my own top 100 list. And since everyone seems to love movie lists, I thought it’d be a fun project. So, here’s the deal: Every Friday, I’ll be counting down my top 100 favorite movies, ten at a time. I really didn’t set any rules for myself, so every kind of movie was fair game. Classic, modern, American, foreign, there’s a little bit of everything in there. Without further ado, let’s get to the first ten.
100. A Letter to Three Wives (1949)
Since I’ve written about this movie before, I’ll keep it short. It’s got sharp writing, a clever premise, and a solid cast. What a hugely underrated gem.
99. The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
With Alfred Hitchcock, the first movies anyone will mention are going to be Psycho, Vertigo, or Rear Window. But I’m willing to go out on a limb and say that from a technical standpoint, the Albert Hall scene in The Man Who Knew Too Much is miles ahead of anything in Psycho. Just the way that scene was edited is enough for the movie to make the ranks in my top 100. No matter how many times I watch it, I get a chill down my spine every time.
98. The Great Dictator (1940)
The Great Dictator is the movie responsible for turning me into a Charlie Chaplin fan. Easily my favorite of Chaplin’s sound films, I think it’s absolutely hilarious. Even though this was Chaplin’s first talkie, there are plenty of scenes where he gets to show off the physical acting skills that made his silents so magnificent. Chaplin must have had a backbone made of steel to go ahead and make such a scathing indictment of Hitler and Nazi ideology during a time when it was still pretty taboo subject.
97. Pillow Talk (1959)
Light and fluffy romantic comedies don’t get much better than Pillow Talk. Simply put, it’s just fun and delightful to watch. I love Doris Day’s preferred method of revenge.
96. High Noon (1952)
If you’re a regular reader here, I’m sure you know that I’m not the greatest fan of Westerns. But High Noon is one of the few that I can’t help but like. It’s so suspenseful and Gary Cooper’s performance was brilliant. I just love it.
95. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
2001: A Space Odyssey is the cinematic puzzle I refuse to give up on. I’m not going to lie and say that I completely understand this movie, because I don’t, but that’s the reason I’m willing to keep watching it. I like movies that I can see multiple times and find something new in it each time, and 2001 is certainly one of those movies.
94. The Awful Truth (1937)
There are a lot of scenes in this movie that never fail to make me laugh, but my personal favorite is the one in the clip. Cary Grant and Irene Dunne’s performances were so superb. Unfortunately, the clip cut off the best part, which is after the performance, Irene Dunne very coolly saying, “Well, I guess it was easier for her to change her name than for her whole family to change theirs.” The way she delivers that line is simply fabulous.
93. M (1931)
After watching this movie, it’s no wonder that German films heavily influenced the film noir style. In Fritz Lang’s talkie debut, Peter Lorre plays a menacing child killer. When the criminal underworld gets tired of the police being unable to catch the killer, they band together to enact some vigilante justice. M is a thrilling, suspenseful masterpiece with a fantastic performance by Peter Lorre. The song “In the Hall of the Mountain King” has never sounded more threatening.
92. Possessed (1947)
Mildred Pierce is widely regarded as Joan Crawford’s best performance, but I think she was even better in Possessed.
91. Baby Face (1933)
Everybody needs to see at least one really great pre-code at some point in their life. Baby Face is undoubtedly one of the most pre-code of all the pre-codes, it’s so wonderfully tawdry. Barbara Stanwyck is at her grittiest, tough-talking finest here.