May 20

The Top 10 (50, 100) Movies to See Before You Die

 Is “Citizen Kane” the best movie ever? The American Film Institute thinks so

Must-watch movie lists abound in cyberspace

These days, it seems that everyone has a must-see movie list.

Yahoo.com offers “100 Movies To See Before You Die.” Cable channel AMC has its own “100 Greatest Films.”

The American Film Institute, for its part, has practically built its reputation on “Top 100″ lists.

As part of its “100 Years … 100 Movies” celebration, the AFI has singled out its favorite musicals, Westerns, epics and courtroom dramas. There are lists dedicated to movie quotes and soundtracks, funny flicks and tearjerkers. There’s even a tribute to onscreen heroes and villains such as Atticus Finch from “To Kill a Mockingbird” and Darth Vader from “Star Wars.”

And then there are the lists compiled by individuals, such as movie critic Roger Ebert’s alphabetical “Great Movies” list (“12 Angry Men” to “Yojimbo”), or the IMDb Top 250 — flicks selected by users of the online Internet Movie Database.

This month, Esquire magazine leapt into the fray by coming out with “The 75 Movies Every Man Should See” – ranging from “In the Heat of the Night” to “On the Waterfront.”

It’s unclear what makes these movies particularly manly. Most people enjoy flicks like “Blade Runner,” “Do the Right Thing” and “Bridge on the River Kwai” regardless of age, race or gender.

But there’s no denying that there’s a certain masculine appeal to, say, Paul Newman in “Slap Shot,” or Sylvester Stallone in “First Blood.”

Folks fascinated by film history should check out “The 67 Most Influential Films Ever Made”, a list of innovative flicks assembled by TotalFilm.com. Highlights include the first animated film, 1914′s “Gertie the Dinosaur,” the first epic, the three-hour “Cabiria,” and the first documentary, 1922′s “Nanook of the North.

Especially notable is 1895′s “Exiting The Factory. Just 50 seconds long, this short about workers leaving Louis Lumiere’s factory in France, is the first motion picture ever made.

NewsInFilm.com takes a more near-sighted view with the “Top 10 Most Influential Films in the Last Ten Years.”

I’ll buy “Bowling for Columbine” and “The Matrix” but “The Polar Express”? Really?!?

The point is, most of these lists share the same titles and cover the same cinematic styles. All of them exhibit a bottomless love for film and its many facets, ranging from the most abstract, esoteric “art film” to the biggest, bloodiest blockbuster bonanza.

I don’t care what movies you watch, personally. Just watch ‘em. Enjoy ‘em. And relish this unique medium.


Many thanks to RopeofSilicon.com.

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  1. Pat

    What the heck? Why’s everyone dissing “The Big Lebvowski” on these lists? Then again, that’s part of what makes TBL such a cult hit — critics never did like it.

  2. Nick

    Yeah, and what about Wayne’s World 2? That should be on there, too.

  3. David Middlecamp

    Filmed in the manufactured language of Esperanto, with subtitles, anyone who has translated William Shatner into Klingon must watch.
    Have I seen it?
    Uh, no.

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