Here are my Top 10 Films of all Time (in no particular order):
1. Pulp Fiction (1994, dir. Quentin Tarantino)
My go to film every time someone asks me what my favorite movie is. This is as close as anyone will ever get to a perfect film. One of the best screenplays ever written. When I saw this film at the age of 12 I was blown away. Almost ten years later and on countless rewatches it still blows me away every time. This is the film that made me want to become a filmmaker. This is also the film that opened my eyes to what Cinema can really do.
My favorite scene (the ending *Spoiler*!!!):
2. The Shining (1980, dir. Stanley Kubrick)
Another film that blew me away in my preteen years. I remember going to my father after watching it for the first time and asking him what the ending meant. His response to me is that it is open to interpretation. He said, “It’s art, the ending doesn’t have to make sense.” This was a hard idea for me to get around because I was used to movies spelling everything out for me. Nevertheless, this was an important lesson for me to learn. I even read the book to try to understand the ending, but of course the book is much different. All in all, this is a beautiful work of art and one of the best horror films ever made.
3. Taxi Driver (1976, dir. Martin Scorsese)
Another beautiful work of art. This film showed me the importance of character. Travis Bickle is one of the greatest film protagonists ever created. Robert De Niro gave a star defining performance and showcases why he is one of the best actors of all time. The themes of isolation and longing for escape, struck a big chord with my teenage self. Scorsese has many great films, but this is his best work by far.
4. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966, dir. Sergio Leone)
The best of the Spaghetti Western genre. Some of the greatest cinematography of all time. This film blew me away the first time I watched it, and every time I go to rewatch I find myself wondering how they put this film together. It is just a visual masterpiece. Not to mention the great score by master musician Ennio Morricone.
One of the many great score tracks:
5. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001, dir. Peter Jackson)
I saw this film when I was six years old and it blew my mind. The way Peter Jackson brought Middle Earth to the screen is unbelievable still today. My favorite Lord of the Rings film growing up was always Return of the King, but as I’ve aged I’ve realized that Fellowship is the best. The entire trilogy is great, but this is definitely the one true masterpiece. As much as I love Star Wars, this was to me what Star Wars was to my parent’s generation of filmmakers.
6. The Seventh Seal (1957, dir.Ingmar Bergman)
I started digger deeper into film history and foreign Cinema during my college years. The Seventh Seal was a defining moment of that time period. Not only is the film beautifully photographed, acted and directed, it is also one of the most deeply touching films I have ever seen. This film got me on a philosophical as well as cinematic level. It made me think, which is something modern American Cinema often times fails to do.
7. Stalker (1979, dir.Andrei Tarkovsky)
This is another film that opened my eyes to World Cinema during my college years. The beautiful cinematography is just the tip of the iceberg for this one. It is also a deeply philosophical film that is difficult to talk about. Regardless, like a few others on this list, the film made me think about it for long after I’d watched it. That is something that is hard for filmmaker’s to achieve, but not for a master filmmaker like Tarkovsky.
I couldn’t find an original trailer for this one, but you should go watch it now. You will not be disappointed!
8. Blazing Saddles (1974, dir. Mel Brooks)
This is hands down one of the funniest films I’ve ever seen. Mel Brooks has made a lot of great parody films, but none of them quite touch the brilliance of Blazing Saddles. This film takes the Western genre and turns it on its head, while also satirizing racism in the West and the lack of Hollywood’s attention to this. It is truly brilliant satire and unmatched by the Hollywood comedies of today. Not to mention the great performances from the entire cast. This is a solid parody film through and through, and only gets funnier on rewatches.
9. Easy Rider (1969, dir. Dennis Hopper)
I love this film not only because it is a great movie in its own right, but also because of its historical significance, and the fact that it opened my eyes to greatest period of Hollywood filmmaking (New Hollywood). This film is a terrific first film for Director and co-star Dennis Hopper. He gives a powerful performance as does Peter Fonda and Jack Nicholson. The film is beautifully photographed and the best road movie ever made. It also has a poignant message behind it about the long gone era of hippy culture.
10. Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972, dir. Werner Herzog)
Last but not least is Herzog’s masterpiece Aguirre, the Wrath of God. This was another defining film of my college years. I had never quite seen a performance like Klaus Kinski’s take on the Aguirre character, and honestly haven’t since. He truly was a brilliant actor. The film also has beautiful location cinematography of the jungle and a tense narrative that ends on a heavy down note. This was another film that caused me to think, and continues to inspire me today.