The 100 Greatest Films Of All Time(50-1)... According To Me And In Detail
Submitted by grandpa_chum on Mon, 04/11/2005 - 03:30
50. For A Few Dollars More
- Sergio Leone, 1965:
49. Play It Again, Sam
- Herbert Ross, 1972: This, in a tight race with another Woody Allen film Take The Money And Run, is one of the funniest movies out there. Sure those two may not be as good or as philosophical or brilliant as his other masterpieces, but they are probably the two funniest movies of all time, at least for my money. Every situation Allen Fumbles through in this film is hilarious. It's amazing to me that someone with such smart, witty comedy can be such a master at physical comedy. Every time Allen lets his nerves get the better of him(once every 10 minutes or so) in this film I keel over laughing histerically.
48. Annie Hall
- Woody Allen, 1977: Two quotes, from the movie even, will suffice to describe my love for this movie... "That was the most fun I've ever had(watching a movie) without laughing." and... "Hello? I forgot my mantra."... that second one is just a great example of the little funnies that Woody stuffs his movies full with... I love it.
47. The Great Silence
- Sergio Corbucci, 1968: This film has one of the best spaghetti western stories out there. Essentially it puts bad guy up against bad guy. The trick is that throughout the movie you get the idea that one is the hero and the other the villain, but by the end you begin to realize they are both equally as bad. The only real difference between the characters is that one of them sidesteps the law using his amazing talent, and the other does so by manipulating men with prices on their heads. It's a story of a man, who's vocal cords were cut as a kid. He's a mute who kills people for a price, but he is so fast on the draw he never shoots until his opponent draws first, therefore he is never arrested claiming self-defense. This is the man we are to believe is the hero of the story. The other man is his arch enemy, a ruthless bounty killer who lures his victims out with promises of being brought in alive, and then gunning them down upon surrender. This is the villain, and the only real discretion between who we percieve as the hero and who we see as the villain is that one falls in love and works for a widow as a hired killer, and the other is a nihilistic killer who works for the local land baron. Throw in a band of mormon folk living run out of town and one of the best and most tragic endings of all time, although when you think about it it's not that tragic. However, no matter who you percieve as right or wrong, it still stands as probably the least 'happy' ending I've ever seen anyway.
46. The Searchers
- John Ford, 1956: Arguably the most influential film of all time... basically remade, according to film-historian christopher frayling, as star wars, taxi driver, finding nemo, and even the inspiration for one of buddy holly's biggest hits "that'll be the day"... but that isn't why i love it so much, I love it because it's not only john ford's darkest film(along with the man who shot liberty valance) but it also contains nearly all of Ford's truly great sequences(direction-wise)... I've always loved his films and his simple direction but the searchers along with the flashback sequence in the quiet man are the few times he really took directorial risks and did anything but shoot the film straight up, without a lot pizazz... another great thing about this film is it presents john wayne with one of his few "morally flawed" characters... a racist... the only things that really put Red River ahead of this is the searchers lack of suspense and corny Ford comical relief(excluding ward bond getting stuck in the ass with a sickle of course)
45. Key Largo
- John Huston, 1948:
44. The Color Of Money
- Martin Scorsese, 1986: If there was ever a movie that was perfect in every category but the story, this would be it. This movie could be about ANYTHING and the story could be the most horrendous piece of crap in the known universe and this film would still be enjoyable. Luckily it's not a bad story, but the direction, the cast, the soundtrack, the locations, and the score are all perfect. How could Newman top his first performance as Fast Eddie, he couldn't, but he came as close as anyone could possibly come. Cruise and company are also fantastic, there is nothing Cruise plays better than a cocky prick, and he does it to perfection here. Fun to watch, very quotable, Newman and Cruise together, great soundtrack, great score, outstanding car, perfect direction(as Scorsese is known to pull out once in a while), it all equals a masterpiece of a film.
43. The Night Of The Living Dead
- George Romero, 1968: "They're Coming To Get You, Barbara"
42. Touch Of Evil
- Orson Welles, 1958: coming sooon
- Sidney Lumet, 1976: coming sooon
40. Fistful Of Dollars
- Sergio Leone, 1964: The grandaddy of all spaghetti westerns, and one of the best, Leone took the average yojimbo and made a masterpiece. Not exactly one of Clint's best performances, but he's not bad, he just gets a whole lot better as the dollar trilogy moves on. The thing is he doesn't have to be all that great for this movie, it all just works and he still plays the man with no name better than anyone(besides himself 3-5 years down the road). This movie has to be best example of how a movie can be ALL direction and nothing else, everything else is pretty standard, but leone really makes it all work on the highest of scales. And it's gotta be the best looking 200,000 dollar movie ever made... and has to share the title of best low-budget film with duel.
39. Apocalypse Now
- Francis Ford Coppola, 1979: coming sooon
38. Blues Brothers
- John Landis, 1980: Elwood: 'shit!'... Jake: 'what?'... Elwood: 'rollers'... Jake: 'no?'... Elwood: 'yup'... Jake: 'shit!'... I love the comedy in this movie, for every subtle well crafted joke there is a crazy, outrageous joke that knocks your socks off, on top of all that it might be the 'coolest' movie of all time. The music is great, akroyd is great, belushi is great, landis is great, you got nazis, missile launchers, thousands of national guard soldiers, cars that defy gravity, and a two hoodlums on a 'mission from god'(there is no way to spell the awesome way akroyd says god, but if i had to i'd say it's 'gauhyd')... what more could you ask for from a rock and roll musical... oh and it can't start off any better, nor end any better for that matter, possibly the most flawless begining/ending combo i've ever seen, the stuff in the middle is great too though.
37. Dog Day Afternoon
- Sidney Lumet, 1975: The first third of this film is very, very, funny. The second third of this film is touching. The last third of this film is very suspenseful, and it even manages to be fairly suspenseful and gripping throughout the funny and touching first two thirds of the film. It all fits together perfectly in a great film with great acting all around. I had seen and loved Serpico, I had loved Pacino's performance in Insomnia, and then there are bits and pieces I had seen from Scarface, but this film makes me officially an Al Pacino fan. Pacino is one of the best actors of all time as long he's: A. Yelling and screaming, B. Quietly thinking. Scarface had one, Insomnia and Serpico the other, Dog Day has both. Don't get me wrong he's still fantastic the rest of the time, but I mean no one sit's quietly and thinks(specially in desperation) or yells and screams as well as Pacino. The other thing I absolutely love about this film is the fact that Pacino is neither the stupid criminal, nor the smart, always one step ahead, criminal who makes a stupid mistake. He's simply an out-smarting, always one step ahead, never buys the bullshit criminal who relaxed a little; but he never made the stupid mistake as is normal for his type of character. Well written, well acted, well directed, amazing film. And I do have a thing for films well made films that can pull off the extremely limited setting... for example dog day afternoon where just about everything happens at one bank, or Lumet's other example, 12 angry men. If they are done well, they are very intriguing in my opinion.
36. Sudden Impact
- Clint Eastwood, 1983: This film is, in my mind, THE essential Dirty Harry film, it's got all the best punch lines, Harry is more of a badass than ever, and it's even got the best villain and plot. A women who was raped by a bunch of goons at a carnival goes around killing them one by one. First shooting them in the genitals, then in the forehead. Among all of this Harry's life is being sought after by the mob and a handful of petty criminals, all of which want him dead and will stop at nothing. This makes for not only an extremely high body count, but some kick ass Dirty Harry running loose on the streets of California killing spree stuff, which, along with the flashbacks is amazingly directed by eastwood. Not many directors make use of the zoom effect, outside of spaghetti westerns, but here Eastwood really uses it well. Aside from the famous 'go ahead, make my day' here are a few great quotes to go out on... 'Listen, punk. To me you're nothin' but dogshit, you understand? And a lot of things can happen to dogshit. It can be scraped up with a shovel off the ground. It can dry up and blow away in the wind. Or it can be stepped on and squashed. So take my advice and be careful where the dog shits ya!' ... and ... 'Harry Callahan: We're not just going to let you walk out of here.
- Crook: Who's we, sucker?
- Harry Callahan: Smith, and Wesson, and me.' ... and ... 'we got a finger in the hole and the dyke's crumbling around us'... oh and did I mention he bluffs a mob boss into having a heart attack and then gets shit from his superiors because of all the money they had now wasted trying to get him put in jail and it was bad for PR... great stuff!
35. Paths Of Glory
- Stanley Kubrick, 1957: coming sooon
34. Cross Of Iron
- Sam Peckinpah, 1977: This film is basically a 70's version of Paths Of Glory. The story is similar yet different, the setting is similar yet different, the feel is similar yet different, and the overall message is basically the same. There are 4 reasons I rank this ahead of the aforementioned Paths Of Glory, James Coburn(who else could out do Kirk Douglas?), Peckinpah's style(finally get to see the slow-mo master work on a war film), and the climactic 'killing of thine own' finale, it's Paths of Glory counterpart is almost surreal, slow paced, and has a very meloncholy feel to it. Here Peckinpah puts together a moving, climactic, operatic, bang of a finale. It's probably one of the most moving scenes I've ever witnessed in a war movie, which is really saying something. It is made with basically everything I love about Paths Of Glory, but because I'm partial to the way Peckinpah goes about things, for me he one-ups Kubrick, which is hard to do.
33. Raising Arizona
- The Coen Brothers, 1987: The Coen's best, and that is really saying something coming from a fan. This film is amazing, and possibly the most original movie you will ever see, it's smart, it's slapstick, it's funny as hell, it's exciting, it's surreal, it's got one of the best villains of all time, and it's all about the family and has a sentimental side to it. Aside from some of the best dialogue around, the movie is perfectly cast, i mean what could go wrong with a Coen comedy staring nic cage, holly hunter, john goodman, tj kuhn, and tex cobb as the warthog from hell. Aside from all of that stuff it really is wonderfully directed, as is the case with all coen brother movies, but this one especially, the arizona landscape and the many wild and crazy characters are all dealt with amazingly in their own way... it really is the perfect comedy... most will tell you that the big lebowski is the better film and if i had to compare this to anything it would be that, only it's got a more poignant story, is less creepy and more cooky, has multi-dimensional characters, has a real conclusion, and is a little less junior high and a little more adult... thats why i would say it's much much better.
32. Eyes Wide Shut
- Stanley Kubrick, 1999: coming sooon
31. Invasion Of The Body Snatchers
- Don Siegel, 1956: I absolutely love horror and sci-fi movies who can brilliantly capture the whole 'no one believes me' thing. There is nothing I like more in horror or sci-fi than when parents refuse to believe or acknowledge that there is a problem, no matter the evidence or even if they see it with their own eyes. That precisely is why I love Nightmare On Elm Street, and it's a big reason I love this movie, because doctors and government officials, anyone with any type of authority refuse to believe there is a problem and simply will rationalize anything, no matter what they see hear or witness. That takes up about half of this movie and it's done brilliantly. People all around town are out of nowhere accusing family members of not being their actual family members but 'someone else'. Of course the town psychiatrist dismisses it as hysteria, and no matter what evidence he gets or who tells him otherwise he refuses to accept that anything out of the ordinary is happening. I guess what I love about that idea so much is the fact that it probably would be reality if such a thing ever did happen, and normally it is(only minus the supernatural) in most situations where people ignore that there is a problem. The other half of this movie is a really well done 'run and be chased' sort of movie, where the main characters have to run from people who are emotionless, they are the last ones and they must run and can not fall asleep or they'll be 'snatched'. It's the best 50's sci-fi out there, aside from maybe the Last Man On Earth with Vincent Price, but technically that was made in the 60's so there is that.
30. Day Of The Dead
- George Romero, 1985: coming sooon
29. A Guide For The Married Man
- Gene Kelly, 1967: coming sooon
28. Salem's Lot
- Tobe Hooper, 1979:
27. Taxi Driver
- Martin Scorsese, 1990: Coming Soon
26. Land Of The Dead
- George Romero, 2005: Finally Saw it... once again the studios do a Zshit job on the marketing and trailers, it was like watching a whole different movie than what was advertised, no matter how skeptical you are, if you like romero movies, SEE THIS, it was fantastic, having seen all of the Romero Dead films, this is my favorite(as guilty as that feels)... Everything that looked stupid in the trailers was dealt with amazing clarity and cleverness in the actual film, even the "they are communicating" thing, which was overdone in the trailers, and once again(unlike portrayed in the trailers) the zombies are really just a backdrop or setting for the wonderful romero story that is the bread and butter of the films, and the gore wasn't all cgi'd, still had a lot of the old school cringe gore, including one of the most "cringeful(?)" i've seen ... surprisingly it also had one of the funniest moments I've ever seen in a movie, and it had nothing to do with a zombie.Spoiler: Highlight to viewWhen the two zombies tear the hand in half, each grabbing to fingers and pulling, in a foggy sillouhetteSpoiler: Highlight to viewI was laughing, so hard I missed the punchline(the cell phone convo i caught the second time around), when Hopper told his business partner to "holy shit get down" and then shot him in the head.
- Brian De Palma, 1983:
24. The Long Goodbye
- Robert Altman, 1973:
23. Grizzly Man
- Werner Herzog, 2005: I doubt if I've ever felt better leaving a movie theatre. This film is such a great documentary, it's the only documentary I've ever seen that was basically about a documentarist and it couldn't have been better. The greatest thing about this movie, and really the only way a documentary will ever make this list, is that every human being in this movie is an incredibly bizarre and wacky character. You have the old actor friend who is so enthralled with being a shitty actor that even when he's talking candidly he gives a terrible performance. You've got the old hippy girlfriend who is slightly crazy, and never makes any sense when she talks and is awkwardly emotional, laughing when a cry is in order and crying spontaneously. There is also the Sam Elliot impersonator for the airplane pilot, who not only talks like Sam Elliot, but looks and sings(as I imagine Sam would) like Sam Elliot. There is the big hippy-hating helicopter pilot who condemns grizzly man's endeavor with something along the lines of 'he thinks they're some sort of children of the universe or something'. Throw in a few more hippy friends who live off the land in Alaska and the creepiest coroner/medical examiner I have ever seen, complete with clenching fists and an eerie enthusiasm and vernacular for the description of 'grizzly' deaths(pun!). All these bizarre characters, and of course there is Timothy Treadwell, make for one of the funniest movies I have ever seen, but those many touching moments snuck up on you and really grip you for about half the movie, gladly the other half I was laughing my ass off. I felt as though I was watching a Christopher Guest mockumentary for half of the film, only this time it was real, and real things happened, and these weren't actors. I don't like to use the word tragic, although it was mentioned many times, because I really don't see much of a tragedy, at least not one beyond the gruesome death of two people. I don't think Treadwell was irresponsible or misguided, he made a choice to live a dangerous life and did it very well for many summers. I see no real tragedy in it. In fact I find myself slightly envious of the man because he truly lived his dream and did exactly what he wanted, he lived and he survived just as long as most bears do out there in the wilderness. Most of the things I read, and a few of the interviewed people(such as park rangers, bear experts, and the helicopter search pilot), condemn Timothy as an insane idiot who went out and got what he deserved, I've even read that it was 'irresponsible' for Herzog not to play the death audio tape because he failed to illustrate the 'consequences of doing something so stupid'. I think this attitude perfectly illustrates why Treadwell was out there, he didn't like people and the way the world worked very much, and I have to think it's people like that he's trying to get away from. Whether he was really protecting bears or whether he even believed he was or not, it doesn't matter, he loved the life he was living, and although I have to agree with Herzog about the common element being chaos and murder, not harmony and friendship, I can appreciate what Treadwell wanted to do, he wanted to be wild and away from the chaos of people. All in all I loved every second of this movie, the emotional parts concerning the couples death, the bears fighting, the bears fishing, Timothy's takes on life, homosexuality, women, foxes, bears, and what smiley faces drawn on rocks 'really meant', his playful moments, and his big outrage, he was just crazy enough to be incredibly entertaining for 2 hours, and just sane enough to feel sympathy for his cause, even if that is just living with grizzly bears for three months out of the year.
22. Red River
- Howard Hawks, 1948: This film is simple, but great... it's basically John Wayne and Montgomery Clift, both giving amazing performances, with beautifully shot black and white landscapes and a few dozen great cattle-driving moments with a pinch of suspense added on for good measure... definitly one of the lost classics that far too few people under 30 take the chance to see, and it's really a shame...Spoiler: Highlight to viewthe only thing that could have made this film better was a final shootout, or at least someone getting hurt, then the reconciliation, the only flaw i had a problem with was the fact that all the suspense ended with a happy-go-lucky wrestle and make up at the end, maybe a bullet in the shoulder or some other non-fatal wound at least, that is if you would want to preserve the happy ending, which i have mixed feelings on.
21. L'Ultimo Pistolero
- Alessandro Dominici, 2002: I watched this spaghetti western short film(10 minutes) starring Franco Nero about 6 or 7 times the other day, it's just as entertaining back to back a bunch of times as most feature lenght spaghetti westerns. Just about every shot in this film is mesmerizing, specially for a spaghetti western fan, and the idea is perfect for a short film. The film came on a mini-disc accompanying blue undergrounds Django dvd and I have to say, although personally I do love Django, if it were the worst movie of all time the purchase would be worth it for this short film alone. If this Dominici guy, who has done nothing else that registers on IMDB, never directs anything again I will be very dissapointed, and if he made a full length spaghetti western I'd be first in line to see it, even if I had to travel all the way to Italy.
20. Dawn Of The Dead
- George Romero, 1978:
19. Carlito's Way
- Brian De Palma, 1993: coming sooon
18. Dr. Strangelove
- Stanley Kubrick, 1964: coming sooon
17. The Hustler
- Robert Rossen, 1961: Paul Newman at his very best, but then again, when isn't he at his best? George C. Scott, Jackie Gleason, and Piper Laurie chime in to create one of the best collective performances in any movie. The fact that I'm a huge pool player probably helps explain why I love this movie, but it's just as likely that the fact I love this movie helps explain why I'm a huge pool player, as this film really skyrocketed my interest of the game. The direction in this movie is great, but the only thing that is really on par with the acting is the story. The Hustler has that rare sort of script that can stay interesting throughout and simultaneously build up to the emotional finale at the same time. The beginning seems like it could be the end, the middle is slow and all the same, and the end is amazing, but oddly enough the middle is so well done and written that it all works without the middle hour dragging on forever, which happens much to often in other films. It also deserves special recognition for setting up one of the greatest sequals of all time, while still blowing it's successor out of the water.
16. Once Upon A Time... The Revolution
- Sergio Leone, 1971: The least known of Leone's masterpieces. Probably because Leone was only supposed to produce it and Peter Bogdanovich was supposed to direct it, that came to a halt when Bogdanovich realized that when leone produced a film he was all but credited as director. Eventually when Peter quit, the two stars insisted that Leone Direct it. Speaking of stars, this is by far James Coburns best and most involved performance, not to mention he is one of my favorite actors, although underused. Stieger is okay but nothing special, even annoying at times, but that doesn't ruin this wonderful movie. A very underrated, always great, Morricone score, at top form blaring during the best flashback sequences in movie history... the flashback is perfected as only Leone can do, if you get lucky enough to see a full version of this movie that is(should have a special edition dvd soon, it's in the works). A very fun, somewhat political, and moving film about a poor bandit stuck in the middle of the mexican revolution and an IRA fugitive there to help out, they meet, realize they need each other and the rest is history. Quite a grand glorious ending, for two grand glorious heros of the revolution... you wanna see top notch war battle scenes and some great morricone scoring... here it is at it's best... Probably the most underrated film of all time... but then again it is the only leone movie not to get a respectable US release, and it's the only leone movie not to be realized as a masterpiece... you do the math.
15. Stardust Memories
- Woody Allen, 1980: Woody Allen just goes all out, the way every director should at least once, and the way the great ones do shot after shot, without over doing it. The direction in this film is mesmerizing, and i don't care where he got the influences for this movie from or how much is taken from fellini or whatever, it is just fantastic. The best way for me to describe this movie is Woody Allen doing surrealism in the reality of movie-making, you never know whether your watching one of sandy's films or if your just an onlooker in one of his dreams, and the conclusion you come to is that it doesn't really matter, because either way it's straight from sandy's imagination. Granted, there are some funny moments here too, but not as often riotous as clever 'hey look at that' moments. The things some of sandy's fans say in this movie are hilarious, and incredibly true to what average folk do in the face of mass fanhood. This film also includes possibly the funniest moment of any movie(yeah so I say that a lot), the hash brownies bit. Apparantly this film didn't go over well with fans because they thought woody was condemning them and making fun of them, which he denies, but is obvious(only as an exageration of course), but who cares, the film is great. For anyone who thinks Woody is to self-indulged a filmmaker, stay away, anyone like myself who loves that about him, I highly recomend this, his most self-indulged piece by far.
14. The Last Man On Earth
- Ubaldo Ragona, 1964: Honestly, did I ever think I'd find a 60's zombie movie I loved more than Night Of The Living Dead? The answer is no... did I think I'd ever find a zombie move that was in the same league as a Romero film? The answer is again no... And I was (un)dead wrong on both of those assumptions. This film is amazing, and obviously a huge influence on the entire genre I've come to know and love, this is how a zombie film should be made, and Romero has stuck right with it. Even more surprising than all this are the reasons I love this film so much. This time around it's not about the direction(which is pretty good, but not fantastic) nor the editing(which is alot like a 50's sci-fi, average). This time it's all about the story and the acting(which is rare for me), this could have been directed by any old hack in the world and I'd still love it for Richard Matheson's wonderfully depressing yet surprisingly intriguing story and the always amazingly impressive Vincent Price. Really the only gripe I have about this movie is that it ends a little quickly after the(well, let's call it a twist) twist, if I had made this film I probably would have spent another 15 or 20 minutes dealing with the idea that Price IS A LEGEND(I won't spoil it). And a little more time on the idea that he'd 'put a stake through his heart, just like all the others' refering to his former friend, now a zombie/vampire. And to get the real importance of that and why I would have spent more time on it you'd have to see the movie, and I highly reccomend you do. It's nearly flawless if you can handle average direction(maybe slightly above average, but nowhere near the rest of the movies on this list).
- Martin Ritt, 1963: This one just feels right, the cast is perfect, one of the best ensambles ever put together, specially Paul Newman and Melvyn Douglas. Personally I felt for both characters, just as Lon did. Hud was the alcoholic realist who had been through hard times and was simultaneously disowned and worked to the bone by his father, Homer was the idealist struggling to keep the farm going while raising a young man. It's a beautiful story, that is acted perfectly and directed to the hilt, you really get a feel for a small texas town, just as with McMurtry and Bogdanovich in the last picture show, only Ritt does him one better, in my opinion anyway. Although not on the short list of films that made me cry, I don't think I've felt worse or more sad watching a film than when (very very minor spoiler)Homer had to shoot those two longhorns.
12. Once Upon A Time In America
- Sergio Leone, 1984: Considered Leone's masterpiece, probably because he spent nearly his whole film life trying to get it made right, it started when he read a book, "hoods" by Harry Grey, just before he started shooting The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly. As soon as he finished he decided he wanted to make a movie out of it. Took him almost 2 decades to get it off the ground and even turned down directing The Godfather just to do it. OUATIA is not just a shoot 'em full of cliches gangster movie, which is the reason he turned down The Godfather in the first place. He wasn't interested in cliche Italian gangsters, instead he focused on a semi-biographical book on a group of Jewish friends who got into the business of organized crime. But like The Godfather, this is a film about friendship and family, and the things that come between them. OUATIA also has one of the greatest stories I've ever witnessed and made me very eager to get my hands on the book. It may not have the commercial success The Godfather had, mainly because of the hack job the production company ordered the editor from Police Academy 4(no kidding) to do on this film, which included putting the non-linear story in chronological order and cutting the run time in half from nearly 4 hours to 2 hours, and oh yeah, they changed the ending as well. Either way the cast rivals that of The Godfather, with De Niro and Woods in the leads and significant performances from Tuesday Weld, Treat Williams, Joe Pesci, Burt Young, and Danny Aiello. Again with a masterful Ennio Morricone score which includes a moving version of "Yesterday" by The Beatles that accompanies two of the best scenes in the movie. Overall quite an accomplishment for one of the most talented directors of all time and the closest film to perfection I have ever seen... if you get a chance see it on the big screen, it made all the difference in realizing it was the greatest movie I had ever seen... UPDATE: in fact I think traveling 3000 miles to see it on the big screen may have caused me to overrate it slightly... still one of the best.
11. Violent City
- Sergio Sollima, 1970: Sollima gets my pick for the greates underrated and unknown director of all time. He also gets my pick for most full of himself. In every interview I've seen, usually in making-of featurettes, he starts off by saying how horrible the script was that was presented to him and how ridiculous the actors offered the parts were and how he turned it all around by rewriting and recasting everything into what it is. This film looks like exactly what you would expect from a 70's Bronson action film. Cars explode, Charlie gets chased through the streets, Charlie fights the mob, Charlie smacks a few unruly woman around, but what takes the cake is that it's done 10 times better than what you would expect from a 70's Bronson action film. The flashbacks are brilliant, the slow motion is gripping, the story is amazing, and it has bar-none the best ending of all time. I was cringing and my heart was racing with the image of simple gun shot wounds from a sniper, I don't know how he did it(well I sort of do, but I won't give anything away). Above all that, Violent City has to be the least talky action film ever made. There is almost NO dialogue yet the 2 hours rolls by so quickly I thought there should have been more. In conclusion, the best way to describe this film is as follows. Charles Bronson is the man, a hired killer who spends his time cruising on his boat with beautiful half-naked woman. He gets double-crossed and for the rest of the film EVERY character introduced dies, if not at the hands of Bronson than as a death for Bronson to avenge later. In the middle there are a few car chases and some shit blows up and it is all wonderful and brilliantly done. It's hard for me to explain how much I love this film, which might explain the sucky review I just belted out attempting to be critical... Just to add, is there anything Morricone can't do better than everyone else when it comes to music, he even blew me away with his whack at 70's crime film music.
- Clint Eastwood, 1992: I don't know how I avoided watching this for nearly a year, in fact it had been so long I began to dislike it by association of simply not wanting to watch it. This movie is simply amazing, and I can't believe I ever contested to the idea that it could be considered one of the best westerns of all time. William Munny has to be one of my favorite characters in western film history, he was a killer for all the wrong reasons, then he turns into a guy who prays every day and doesn't even like to cuss. He gradually but reluctantly gets thrown back into the business of killing because he's down on his luck and as he says he 'only get's lucky when it comes to killing folks'. Eventually he ends up killing ruthlessly again, but this time for a half-decent reason. The way Eastwood, as both actor and director, creates the mythological rebirth of the feared cold-blooded killer William Munny. It's almost as if we're reading beauchamp's recollection of the account rather than the actual account, and I must have missed it the first time, because it really jumped out at me when Munny first walks into Greely's bar for the final showdown. Even after seeing this multiple times over a year ago I was not convinced any of the Eastwood directed westerns could even come close to comparing to those of peckinpah and leone, but now I know the one that does was simply sitting on the shelf for 12 long monthes.
- Enzo Castellari, 1976: This movie is the perfect place for Franco Nero, possibly my favorite actor and definitly my favorite action star, which is saying a lot. He plays a bastard indian with three brothers who not-so-lovingly refer to him as 'half breed'. This sounds somewhat conventional for an obscure spaghetti western, but in this case, the term obscure spaghetti western is an understatement. This film is to 60's spaghetti westerns what the 60's spaghetti western was to the 50's american western, yes it's that odd, obscure, daring, and fantastic. Keoma even makes Django look like The Searchers. Keoma, the film, is what happens when you put old school spaghetti style to the hilt and mix it with stylized slow-motion deaths that make those of the Peckinpah variety look conventional. The stylized slow motion deaths are a mixture of the Peckinpah intercutting style and the Leone/spaghetti style, defying gravity, fly ten feet backwards after being gunned down deaths, and let me tell you with all honesty that it makes me smile everytime I see it, which in the case of Keoma is a few dozen times and they get better every time it occurs. Beyond the slow motion deaths, this is possibly the most elaborately shot film of all time, there are about 10 shots that pan more than 180 degrees and every third shot in the movie is has at least 3 layers to it, all of which are addressed in new and unique ways, although still uniform enough to be easily associated with the spaghetti western genre, like I said before this is an old school spaghetti western taken to the next level and beyond. For Example, possibly my favorite shot in the whole film is when Keoma shoots two men behind his back without looking, turns around and wills another man to throw down his pistol just by looking at him, simultaneously putting his pistol back in the holster, as Keoma turns back around towards the bar another man picks up a rifle, but Keoma simply tells him to unload it, and scared shit-less that he'll be gunned down without Keoma even turning around, he unloads the rifle. Keoma then walks towards two of his other challengers, takes one man down with a series of punches to the head and torso, the second he goes down another man comes at him from the right, but Keoma simply turns and points his finger at the man as a mother would at a son with a hand in the cookie jar, stopping him dead in his tracks with his stare, as if to say 'don't even think about it, friend'. The only legitimate complaint about this film in my eyes is most absolutely despise the music, which I happen to love, and I feel like a traitor for saying this because it's one of those lyrics narrate the action sort of deals, with singers belting out 'I wanna die' and 'standing with pa' and 'he was a friend', but for some reason, for me anyway, it works.
8. Navajo Joe
- Sergio Corbucci, 1966: I made a big mistake for a long time. I believed all the horribly negative reviews of this film(even from some spaghetti western lovers) and took it as educated analysis of a horrible film. I even lent no discredit to Burt Reynolds for thinking this film was a joke of a movie. After having seen it, I can safely say to anyone who loves spaghetti westerns, this is all anti-spaghetti bullshit. This is a great spaghetti, one of the best. Definitely(although it's a very tough and close choice) Corbucci's finest and as it stands now my favorite non-leone spaghetti western. All the things people complain about when reviewing this film are things that ALL spaghetti westerns exagerate, but they make it sound like this one is especially illogical; well, it isn't. They say 'why would the villain only send three men out after people with very important information?' Well, because the very important information is being carried by an old man and 3 dancers. 'Why would the villain only assign one man to guard Navajo Joe?' Well, because the town is weaponless, all communication to the outside world is cut off, and no one outside of the town even knows there is a problem. 'Why does the villain get Joe to buckle under the pressure of killing a young indian woman but then decide to try and beat information out of him?' Well, because threatning someone's life for a surrender and having to actually kill an important persuasive tool to get information are two very different things. Plus, I doubt if they didn't at least try that first anyway. Basically every complaint that is made about this film by spaghetti-haters is something that lingers among nearly all great spaghetti westerns. The point is it's belivable enough and it makes for one hell of a movie. You think Corbucci is a mad man in his other films, he really goes off the deep end with this one and I love it. Numerous scalpings, skulls on sticks, bloody scalps blowing in the wind, a town that only cares about saving the money, an indian out for revenge helps them anyway and they still only care about the money, and last but not least . The music is maybe the best film score I've ever heard and put to great use, near perfection. The last thing I will comment on is a criticism I've read in a few reviews about how this film is horribly inaccurate for another reason. More than three times reviewers basically said that this movie should be thrown into the chasm of hell because Navajo's weren't a war-like or violent people and for that reason the whole movie is a sham. I would have to ask these people if they even watched the film(my educated guess is that they didn't) because it's very clear that the villain started out killing nuisance war-like tribes and that his more recent massacres were of peaceful native americans. Just because Joe can handle a gun and kill like nobody's business doesn't mean the movie is implying the Navajo's were war-like, in fact it makes damn sure that isn't the case. In the first thirty seconds of the movie Joe's woman smiles invitingly at the gang of white men that approach her, just before they scalp her. How can this be taken as a John Ford-like depiction of wild ferocious Indian killers? It makes no sense.Spoiler: Highlight to viewNavajo Joe's Horse rides off into the sunset with Joe dead back in the mountains while the townfolk rejoice because 'the money is all that matters'. If that isn't a sadder, more anti-hollywood ending than the end of The Great Silence I don't know what is
- Sergio Corbucci, 1966:
7. Ride The High Country
- Sam Peckinpah, 1962: Ride The High Country is where Ford's sentiment, Peckinpah's violence, and Leone's Operatic style all collide and it makes for one hell of a western... Forget about John Wayne, Gary Cooper, Clint Eastwood, Gregory Peck, or anyone else for that matter, Joel McCrea in this film is the perfect man's man in a western. You can even forget William Holden as the old honorable western hero who's losing his touch in the Wild Bunch, Joel as Steve Judd is simply better than anyone I've seen at capturing the honorable western hero, and randolph scott only adds to it in the way he approaches all his interactions and even the way he prods Judd with old stories that all start with 'steve, remember...'. This is very nearly the perfect melodramatic, wide western american landscape, honorable John Wayne type all-american hero film, added in with a stylistically superb peckinpah-esque story about an old aging past his prime proud as hell western hero... and the score is one of the best around.
6. Conan The Barbarian
- John Milius, 1982: Absolute perfection for what it is, a fantasy epic, not being much of a fan at all of the genre, that puts this on the edge of the top 10, if that all makes any sense... anyway it is the perfect fantasy sword and sorcery movie, and i never thought i'd utter that phrase but John Milius is one of those amazing directors that can do so much no matter what he's given. Despite what some people say Arnold is amazing, even if it is "JUST playing a barbarian". Also, gerry lopez(non-actor surfer buddy of john milius), James Earl Jones, and Max Von Sydow are all perfectly cast and amazingly executed performances. The story is well written, with a great central theme of steel and the best "prayer" monologue I've heard delivered flawlessly straight from arnold's mouth "Crom, I have never prayed to you before. I have no tongue for it. No one, not even you, will remember if we were good men or bad. Why we fought, and why we died. All that matters is that today, two stood against many. Valor pleases you, so grant me this one request. Grant me revenge! And if you do not listen, to HELL with you!"... this brings me to the last piece of the puzzle and that is one of best musical scores of the 80's along with raging bull and OUATIA, yeah, it's THAT good... bravo arnold, poledouris, and milius... bravo.
5. The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly
- Sergio Leone, 1966: The best of the dollars trilogy, and i know this doesn't mean much because I think they are all great, but up there with leone's best, just not quite the masterpieces that West and America are. Obviously the best known of his movies, it's simply amazing the feel he gave to this movie, atmosphere is probably the thing Leone does best and it's amazing the different atmospheres he can put out with each movie, they are all so different. Basically it's a three-way cutthroat race for the gold, Eastwood is amazing, the gunfights are top notch and often, some of my favorite war sequences... the civil war that is. And again, of course a bridge gets blown up, that would make 3 of leone's 6 movies where this happens. The last half hour will amaze you, whether you like the movie or not, whether you like westerns or not, whether you like showdowns or not, it truly is a triumph of filmmaking. The music in the last half hour is also quite amazing and fits perfectly... probably because they made the music before they shot the showdown. Another Morricone Gem that far exceeds the popular theme song, which isn't all that good compared to the rest of the score.
4. The Shining
- Stanley Kubrick, 1980: The best thing about this film is the casting, and that is say a whole lot! People say this alot, but it really is impossible to imagine anyone else in any of the roles in this movie, all the way down to the last part. It's the epitome of the perfectly casted movie. Nicholson, Duvall, Scatman Crothers, Barry Nelson, and, not to mention the greatest child performance I've ever seen, Danny Lloyd. Couple this with a great Stephen King story and impeccable Kubrick direction, and you have one hell of a masterpiece. It's also one of the few horror movies that manages to be great, horrific, and scary at the same time. It's often said that most of the time a film is either a horror movie or it's a scary movie, and rarely do they succeed on both levels, being deeply horrifying and all together scary at the same time. But The Shining does. It starts out slow, but in a good way, and by the time Jack is having his horrible nightmare asleep at the typewriter it really picks up and becomes fascinating. The sets are really a wonder, along with the performances, story, and direction.
3. Pat Garrett And Billy The Kid
- Sam Peckinpah, 1973: About a year ago i saw the version that was original released in theatres on the western channel and I hated it, today i saw the directors cut which is currently on video tape in the full screen format but i was lucky enough to get a dvd-r widescreen version made from the laserdisc, i was overwhelmed... This movie, the way peckinpah intended it anyhow(he fought to get his name off the credits once he saw the way the studios cut it up), is absolutely perfect... the score, by bob dylan, is amazing, full of beautiful little relaxing guitar tunes... and despite what most say i don't think he did a bad job acting, it wasn't great but he fit the part just right... james coburn on the other hand is just perfect, as always, and although kristofferson looks a little funny without the beard, he does a great job as well... if you want to see peckinpah's style perfected, this is the movie to watch... i've always loved his style but this one really caps it... the slow motion deaths are done better than ever and the direction is flawless from begining to end... Just thought since I mentioned my love of badass insulting dialogue I'd post a quote from the master of it's delivery james coburn in this film "take your 5000 dollars, shove it up your ass and set fire to it" and, this one you'd have to hear, but me and my bro think it may be the coolest thing anyone has ever said on film "you rotten son of a bitch"... yeah it may be standard but Coburn is the master.
2. Once Upon A Time In The West
- Sergio Leone, 1968: Leone's final sendup to his favorite genre... The western... filled with references to his favorites, such as High Noon, Shane, The Searchers, 3:10 To Yuma, The Iron Horse, and The Magnificent Seven. Outside of bit parts in How The West Was Won, OUATIW has probably the best cast a western has ever seen. Bronson and Fonda at their best, Robards as the romantic bandit, the beautiful, but dubbed over, Claudia Cardinale, the amazing but little known outside of Europe Gabriele Ferzetti, and small parts from some of the best in the biz including Keenan Wynn, Jack Elam, Woody Strode, and Lionel Stander. The title really is fitting, it may be a western but it doesn't have your run-of-the-mill bad guys vs. good guys plot. This movie has one of the greatest, fullest, widespreading stories in all of western history. The train baron, the man who does the dirty work, the stranger with unfinished business, the woman left all alone, the framed bandit who smells money, the dream, the railroad, it's all here and you'll have to see the movie to really appreciate it. On top of all this it has one of the greatest scores one of the greatest film composers, Ennio Morricone, ever composed. Each character has their own theme and as they interact their themes meld together untill the climax, when all we have is the finale. If you want a lesson on film to film score interaction, this is it as far as i'm concerned, perfection. Not to mention they had the score done before they shot the movie... Among all this is one of the most beautifully shot films, full of wide landscapes and big rugged faces, all choreographed perfectly together shot after shot. Many say this movie is too long and too slow and at one time I may have agreed with them, but since I've grown more and more in love with the deliberate pace and the slow delicate dance of death everytime I watch, and by now, I wouldn't want it one second shorter. The first two hours is like a very very slow drawn out version of the final showdown, and then the greatest shootout in history caps it all off with a slow 'death rattle'(as one of the theme songs is called).
1. Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia
- Sam Peckinpah, 1974: First off I gotta hand it to Stook for recommending this absolute gem of a movie and picking the perfect guy to recommend it to... This is most definitely the darkest film ever made and it shouldn't go without saying that it's got a lot in common with my favorite book, moby dick, one of the darkest ever written. Warren Oates has maybe the best performance I've ever witnessed. He plays a man that falls in love with a whore, ruins her, rises from the grave, goes mad with obsession over a head, talks to a rotting head in a bloody bag, asks it questions, kills at least a dozen men and succeeds willing each death with his desperation, makes a choice and never turns back, and goes has no escape from life. I have to agree with the gentlemen who did the commentary on the dvd, benny grieves much longer than any other character in cinema. Usually the hero grieves for a moment, declares his method of revenge and goes on with it. Benny, however, slowly and painfully slips into hatred and aggression towards the obsession that ruined what little life he had left and is willed into deadly action by his desperation. This film has the essential no way out theme, there is no point in the movie for a good hour leading up to it's finale that the viewer can think to themselves "why doesn't he just (blank) and get away", there simply is no choice to be made but his decline into absolute despair. Peckinpah shooting a tragedy in the 'real' unpolished Mexico, smoking barrels, whole families blown away, buried alive, rising from the grave, no way out, and a whole lot of the darkest comedy you will ever see. The scenes in the graveyard, where everything that sets the second half of the film up happens, is so good and so daunting that I thought it couldn't possibly get any better than this, this has to be the bread and butter of the film. Benny is ambushed and left for dead half-buried alive and what directly follows is some of the most disturbing stuff I've ever seen. Well what follows the most-disturbing stuff is a no-way-out rambling road trip into despair that darkly mocks a 70's buddy movie(remember he talks to the rotting fly-ridden head in the bloody bag). Every second from the graveyard on is gripping, dark, funny, disturbing, and wholly expected at the same time. No one could have done such an anti-hollywood dirty, dark, and depressing film better than Peckinpah, and no one has since nor probably ever will.
47. PLAY IT AGAIN, SAM
7. NAVAJO JOE
1. BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA