Saturday, 2 June 2012


Greggles On Film: Top 101 Films Of All Time.

Well, here it is, the wait is over

This list is an unashamedly personal one, so I acknowledge freely that some of the best films ever made are nowhere to be seen here, and some considered less than brilliant are present and correct.

Star Wars (Any of them), Citizen Kane, The Third Man,  The Good the Bad and the Ugly, Casablanca, 12 Angry Men, The Dark Knight, Chariots Of Fire, Singin' In The Rain, Gone With The Wind, Lawrence Of Arabia, Some Like It Hot, Saving Private Ryan.

None of these classics are on my list.

This is because the films you see are films that have spoken to me in some way, through their sheer brilliance, or subject matter, or performances, or something else. Note, this is not called 101 'BEST' films, as I know full well that there are films on my list which are questionable to say the least, but heck, i love 'em! 

It is interesting to note what information comes out when you don't plan on looking for it. I see looking down the list that I have 6 entries by Martin Scorcese, 4 films a piece from Stanley Kubrick, Steven Speilberg and Quentin Tarantino, and 3 each from Tim Burton, Francis Ford Coppolla and Frank Darabont.

I make it Robert De Niro with 8 entries as my most listed actor. No shocks there.

Here's the list, in full. I STRONGLY WELCOME any comments, good, bad or ugly.


101. The Majestic (2001)
100. Philadelphia (1993)
99. Labyrinth (1986)
98. Avengers Assemble (2012)
97. The Naked Gun (1988)
96. La Vita E Bella (1997)
95. As Good As It Gets (1997)
94. Sin City (2005)
93. Drive (2011)
92. Juno (2007)
91. Grease (1978)
90. Midnight In Paris (2011)
89. The Lost Boys (1987)
88. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
87. The Wedding Singer (1998)
86. A Few Good Men (1992)
85. Somewhere In Time (1980)
84. Donnie Darko (2001)
83. Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
82. The Matrix (1999)
81. A Hard Days Night (1964)
80. Safety Last (1923)
79. Trainspotting (1996)
78. Annie Hall (1977)
77. The King Of Comedy (1983)
76. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
75. Superman: The Movie (1978)
74. Memento (2000)
73. Jurassic Park (1993)
72. Ferris Buellers Day Off (1986)
71. Gladiator (2000)
70. L.A. Confidential (1997)
69. On Her Majestys Secret Service (1969)
68. Batman (1989)
67. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
66. The Great Dictator (1940)
65. School Of Rock (2003)
64. The Omen (1976)
63. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
62. Jerry Maguire (1996)
61. West Side Story (1961)
60. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
59. The Green Mile (1999)
58. The Truman Show (1998)
57. WALL·E (2008)
56. The Running Man (1987)
55. The Artist (2011)
54. The Exorcist (1973)
53. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
52. Rosemary's Baby (1968)
51. North by Northwest (1959)


50. The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1920)
CHECK OUT- The imagary throughout, all painted shadows and jagged lines.

49. The Terminator (1984)
CHECK OUT- The chilling arrival of the T-800

48. Amadeus (1984)
CHECK OUT- Mozart effortlessly owning Salieri by playing back-and improving upon- his new composition after just one hearing. 

47. Cape Fear (1991)
CHECK OUT-Max Cady cornering Juliette Lewis in the school theatre. Creepy, seductive and just plain wrong!

46. Die Hard (1988)
CHECK OUT- Alan Rickman pretending to be a german pretending to be an American.

45. Ed Wood (1994)
CHECK OUT- Martin Landaus oscar winning turn as horror great Bela Lugosi.

44. Moulin Rouge (2001)
CHECK OUT- Every scene with Richard Roxburgh as The Duke.

43. Watchmen (2009)
CHECK OUT- The opening title sequence, set to Dylans' Times They Are A' Changin'

42. Seven Samurai (1954)
CHECK OUT- The fights!

41. Rocky (1976)
CHECK OUT- Stallones brilliantly subtle playing of a larger than life character.

40. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
CHECK OUT- Gandalf and the Ballrog. (Not a Cornish folk duo)

39. Shine (1996)
CHECK OUT- The exhilerating madness of the Rach. 3 performance.

38. Almost Famous (2000) 
CHECK OUT- The 'Tiny Dancer' scene. Obviously.

37. American History X (1998)
CHECK OUT- The excellent -and revealing- flashback sequences involving the family home.

36. The Departed (2006)
CHECK OUT- Marky Marks' best performance, bar The Fighter.

35. Apocalypse Now (1979)
CHECK OUT- Brando essentially making up his lines, as he refused to learn them.

34. A Matter of Life and Death (1946)
CHECK OUT- The colour/black and white contrast of here and 'there'.

33. A.I-Artificial Intelligence (2001)
CHECK OUT- Feels like Kubrick had a baby with Spielberg. In a good way.

32. Back to the Future (1985)
CHECK OUT- The under rated comic brilliance of Crispin Glover as George McFly

31. Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
CHECK OUT- Visually, the entire film. Dazzling.

30. It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
CHECK OUT- James Stewarts' final euphoric run through Bedford Falls

29. Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
CHECK OUT- The longest anyone has ever let the phone ring....ever....

28. Forrest Gump (1994)
CHECK OUT- The brilliant title character played to brave perfection by Tom Hanks.

27. Kill Bill (2003-2004)
CHECK OUT- The crazy 88 getting owned. By a girl.

26. The Usual Suspects (1995)
CHECK OUT- Chazz Palminteri realising who he just let walk away...
25. Pleasantville (1998)
CHECK OUT- JT Walsh bursting into glorious technicolor.          

24. The Silence of the Lambs (1991) 
CHECK OUT- Anthony Hopkins' career defining performance.

23. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
CHECK OUT- The brilliant opening action sequence.

22. Stand by Me (1986)
CHECK OUT- Gordies' tale of Lard Ass.

21. Psycho (1960)
CHECK OUT- How little you ACTUALLY see in the most famous horror movie kill ever.

20. Four Weddings And A Funeral (1994)

Part of me wanted to also include Notting Hill, Love Actually and The Boat that Rocked, such is my affection for Richard Curtis films. I always feel-a bit like when I watch Cameron Crowe films- like it has been made specifically to suit my tastes. Humour, heart, and always a great soundtrack. This was a smash hit when it appeared in '94, and as with most Curtis stuff, it's so delightfully British you could serve it at room temperature with some Pimms and a portion of fish and chips.

CHECK OUT- Charles and Carrie comparing their 'numbers'.

19. Edward Scissorhands (1990)

Slightly sentimental of me, but this film has been one of my favorites for years. My favorite of Tim Burtons hit and miss filmography. But when he hits, he really hits. The darkly comic, classicly 'Burton' theme of gothic outsider thrown into a colourful, morally questionable real world has never been better realised than here. From its fairytale opening, it weaves its way into your heart and stays there for the duration. Credit where it's due, much of the haunting beauty is supplied by Danny Elfmans' fantastic score.

CHECK OUT- The Ice Dance. It's beautiful.

18. Groundhog Day (1993)

One of the quirkiest, most original ideas out there, this story of EPIC Deja Vu sees one man,
 embittered weatherman Phil Conners (played with the usual deadpan brilliance by Bill Murray
living the same day over and over again, for what may well be years. Never dull or repetetive,
 this is as inventive as storytelling gets, full of memorable sequences revolving around Murray,
 from reckless abandon to discovering that knowledge is power, to eventual self discovery and

CHECK OUT- The inventive suicide montage. I mean, you would!

17. Alien (1979)

The highest placed sci-fi film on my list by a huge margin. Why this is so high up is largely
due to fact that it plays more like a thriller/horror film, set in a sci-fi world, than conventional sci-fi. The build up to what is to come is expertly handled. Asking questions of its discoveries that don't always get answered, but never fail to intrigue. It is a gruelling, non-stop assault on the nervous system once it gets going, and it is thanks to Ridley Scotts involvement that we have a genre defining classic rather than a cheap, low budget space slasher.

CHECK OUT- The famous clip, and the reason John Hurt should always stick to cheap Primark T-shirts. They'll only get ruined.

16. Life of Brian (1979)

Controversial for its subject matter at the time -and still today- this is the best of the Python
films, and the funniest thing based on religion since The Bible. Full of quotable lines and
lovably eccentric, typically British characters, it is still as funny as it has ever been. 
The fact that the film throws around the idea of how preposterous living with blind faith in a 
religion CAN SOMETIMES be, without ever mocking it, and, to boot, manages to also be one of
the funniest films ever made is really deserving of...erm...praise.

CHECK OUT- The bedroom window naked address to the masses scene.

15. The Deer Hunter (1978)

Accused of being overly long, muddled and boring, this is a film for non-morons who appreciate a neccesarilly gradually paced, honest, uncompromisingly structured, extremely powerful and downright beautiful film. A study of friendship, and how the effects of war affect those friendships and individuals, along with those left behind, it is a masterpiece. The well known scenes are as dramatic as any you will find in mainstream film, but it's the rest of it that enriches and encourages the viewer to care greatly about the outcome of this group of friends thrust into hell.

CHECK OUT- It's gotta be 'that' late scene with De Niro and Walken.

14. Inglourious Basterds (2009)

The much anticipated follow up to the mostly disappointing 2007 film 'Death Proof' saw a spectacular return to top form for Quentin Tarantino with this fantasy take on WW2 Nazi occupied France. It is constructed in chapters, typically of the director, each one as good as the last, and opens with one of the best edge-of-the-seat scenes out there, as Christoph Waltz's (star-making turn as) Hans Lander intorrogates a landowner, suspected of sheltering jews, in his own unique fashion. It is a performance so brilliant it made me want to applaud the scene. I didn't. That would've been weird. Okay I did, but no-one saw.

CHECK OUT- The underground bar scene. A lesson in build up and execution.


13. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

Milos Forman was well established in Europe when his talents were employed for this 'Loony Bin' set drama. And a perfect choice he was. His blend of infusing humour into serious subjects makes this film what it is, and it could easily have been something else. A stark white set, ruled with a clinical fist by Louise Fletchers' chilling Nurse Ratched, it is a sterile hell made into a riot of character and chaos by its steller cast and director. The film has its fair share of tension and shock and there is real tragedy to make us reflect also. It swept up all of the 'big 5' at the Oscars that year.

CHECK OUT- A perfect performance from Nicholson.

12. Raging Bull (1980)

This is a film of almost operatic scale. It is, visually speaking and in terms of natural realism, Scorceses finest work. De Niro became the first actor to significantly change his weight for a specific movie role, gaining 60 pounds/over 4 stone to play the older La Motta. It is a powerhouse performance, a studied, terrifying portrayal of a troubled, gifted man. Pesci excels in the role that brought him back from the brink of quitting the business entirely. 

CHECK OUT- De Niro doing La Motta doing Brando in On The Waterfront. Gold.

11. Marathon Man (1976)

Alot of people know the famous story from the shooting of this film. Dustin Hoffman arrives on
 set looking shabby and rough, Olivier says 'Dear boy, what on earth happened to you?',
 Hoffman replies,'I have been preparing for the scenes where my character has been sleeping
 rough, so i slept on the streets for a few days', to which Olivier says, 'Why don't you just try
 acting?'. Two different approaches to their craft combine electrifyingly in this classic thriller.
CHECK OUT- 'Is it safe...?'

10. Good Will Hunting (1997)

A modern classic, and still feels as fresh 15 years on. This story of a genius crying out for help made stars of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck (who rightly won an Oscar for their incredible screenplay) and coaxed arguably the performance of his career up to that point from Robin Williams. Sharp, funny and deftly intelligent, this is one of those films that  gets better and better with every viewing.

CHECK OUT- 'It's not your fault...'

9. Goodfellas (1990)

My first love in terms of Gangster flicks, the film which inspired me to watch The Godfather films and got me hooked on Scorcese and De Niro. If the Godfather films are the Daddy, the pinnacle of the epic, family based, complete  mafia movie, then Goodfellas is its more cock-sure, flashy, doubly cool and just as impressive offspring. From the moment that incredible Ray Liotta voiceover starts- 'As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster'- you can just tell you are in for a treat. And you are. Pesci, De Niro, Liotta, Scorcese- all on top form.

CHECK OUT-  Too many to pick! Okay. The amazing single shot of Liotta and Lorraine Bracco arriving at the Copacabana.

8. The Graduate (1967)

My highest ranked comedy, this feels remarkably fresh and as funny and engaging as ever. A killer script, performances so perfectly pitched and subtely played they could be from ANY era, and all woven together by the sublime music of Simon and Garfunkel- in possibly the best example of how a soundtrack by one specific band/artist can characterize and enhance a film. Impeccable direction throughout, from the opening shot timed to perfection to the strains of 'The Sound of Silence', to the quick cuts placing Benjamin immediately from the pool into the bed of a certain Mrs Robinson, and back again.

CHECK OUT- The frantic ending. Waynes World fans will recognize the entire last 20 minutes as the inspiration for the direct (but affectionate) rip-off ending to Waynes World 2.

7. Taxi Driver (1976)

A study in the destructive forces of lonliness, isolation and obsession. This made the already Oscar winning rising star of Robert De Niro into a superstar, and the most respected and sought after actor in Hollywood. The score by Bernard Hermann is like a second leading man, causing us to feel that something is really wrong with our 'hero' and the world in which he lives. So good, it made someone want to assassinate a president, just to impress its child star, Jodie Foster. Now that's an impact.

CHECK OUT- 'You talkin' to me...?' 

6. Pulp Fiction (1994)

Although Reservoir Dogs had made the movie world sit up and take notice of Quentin Tarantino, it was this remarkably original tale of multiple characters and storylines- all linked together in some way- that made him the most exciting writer/director to emerge for many a year. I remember thinking when I first saw it that i had never seen anything like it before, so uniquely Tarantino as it is. Many have tried to copy its overall style, but none have managed it.

CHECK OUT- Jack Rabbit Slims' 'Twist Contest'.

5. The Shining (1980)

The highest ranked horror film on my list, it still consistently scares the living 'sheets' outta me. Kubrick is a master, and his obsessive methods are never more on display than here. The 5 month planned shoot spiralled to over a year of gruelling principal photography, with one scene between Halloran and Danny taking over 140 takes until Kubrick was satisfied. It is unsettling from the very beginning, and once the creepy flash cuts start appearing, you are never really given time to relax, you can be 'had' at any moment...Those bloody twins! Shudder....

CHECK OUT- The 'hottie' and the 'rottie' in Room 237.

4.  The Shawshank Redemption  (1994)

A popular top pick on lists like these. Not my number 1, but not too far off! A massive flop on its release, but a home video phenomenon, this prison-set epic takes us from Andy Dufresnes' arrival at the bleak Shawshank prison in 1947 to the sunshine and hope of two friends on a beach in 1967. It is the tale of discovery, brutality, friendship, corruption and beauty in between that have made this such an enduring, universally loved movie. 

CHECK OUT- 'The Letter Duet' over the loudspeaker scene.

3. Schindler's List (1993)

I have never managed to get through this film without getting 'something in my eye'. It is overwhelming in its sadness, it's technical beauty, the unflinching cruelty displayed, and in the moments of faith in human kindness. After extreme bravery and sacrifice, 'I could have got more..' says Schindler. Often very hard to watch-the subject matter being what it is- Spielberg has made his most personal movie here, and his masterpiece.

CHECK OUT- Ralph Fiennes devestating performance as 'Amon Goeth'.

2. The Godfather: Part II (1974)

Film perfection. Spanning 60+ years and two timelines, we see the ascension of young Vito Corleone, while continuing the story of Michael Corleone. The quality of all departments-directing, editing, cinematography, script, acting, EVERYTHING ELSE- oozes from the screen. One of the most aesthetically pleasing films you will ever see, it also has- I think- something interesting in it for everyone. Not just a lads movie!!!

CHECK OUT- Vito returning to Corleone to pay back an old family 'friend'.

1. The Godfather (1972)

Unbeatable. Rightly regarded as one of the best films ever made, we begin at what seems like an extravagant yet fairly normal Itaian wedding, and slowly unfolds into the most intricately authentic, detail-rich look at the Italian-American gangster 'family' ever made. Full of much copied and pastiched moments, and endlessly quoted dialogue, this is a true classic. 

Coppola campaigned for Al Pacino for the role of Michael, despite the studio pressuring the director to replace him with Robert Redford, even once shooting was well under way. Luckily, he stuck to his guns, and one of the great screen performances remains. 

CHECK OUT- The entire scene and build up to Michaels' first 'family service'.