The following is a list of films that I consider memorable and worthwhile. This list is obviously a personal one and is ongoing and subject to change**. The films listed here are not all great films but they are films that made an impact on me or I have found joy in watching them. And it's not in any particular order, although the first few films on the list were the first that came to mind. I've probably seen "Singin' In the Rain" more often than any other film. Why? Because I am delighted every time I see Gene Kelly, umbrella in hand, skipping off down the rainy street with the wonder of new-found love, humming to himself, and breaking into that wonderful Arthur Freed/Nacio Herb Brown song.
**Occasionally, I revisit one of these films. When I do look at them again, often after many years, I'll add comments to whether I've changed my view of the film. These updated comments, based on re-viewing, will be in red.
Updated March 6, 2014
(1) Singin' In The Rain (with Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds, and Jean Hagen) (1952)-the best movie musical ever. Kelly, O'Connor, and Reynolds are superb, and Jean Hagen was hysterical as the silent star with the impossible voice. The "Singin' In The Rain" sequence is sublime.
(2) Paths of Glory (with Kirk Douglas, Ralph Meeker, Adolph Menjou) (1957)-one of the great anti-war films, directed by Stanley Kubrick.
(3) Casablanca (with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman) (1942)-no color, car crashes, or special effects--just simply great acting, memorable sets, and a perfect script.
(4) A Clockwork Orange (with Malcolm McDowell and Patrick Magee) (1971)-there had never been anything quite like it before--a deep, colorful and unusual exploration of evil. Another Stanley Kubrick masterpiece. Viewed recently on DVD, this film has aged well. For a film more than 30 years old, it looks like a current motion picture.
(5) 2001: A Space Odyssey (with Keir Dullea) (1968)--another of Stanley Kubrick's breathtaking films. It was the first of the modern "realistic" science fiction films-it left us breathless and awestruck. And can anyone who ever saw it forget HAL? Another great Kubrick film which has aged well as seen on DVD. This film is more than 40 years old and is amazingly up-to-date in its special effects and the quality of its photography.
(6) Kind Hearts and Coronets (with Alec Guinness, Dennis Price, and Valerie Hobson) (1949)--Guinness in memorable multiple black comedy roles as the various victims of an ambitious family member. This was released on DVD (2002) in a set of Guinness' early British films, including "The Man In The White Suit," "The Lady Killers" and "The Lavender Hill Mob." They are all wonderful and highly recommended.
(7) The Man In The White Suit (with Alec Guinness and Joan Greenwood) (1951)--Guinness as a man who invents an amazing fabric and the effect it has on management and labor. See comments in 6. above.
(8) The Bridges At Toko-Ri (William Holden, Grace Kelly, Frederic March, and Mickey Rooney) (1954)--a Korean War saga in which William Holden plays Lt. Harry Brubaker, a lawyer recalled to the Navy to fly jets in Korea. Holden is sent on a mission to destroy the bridges of the title and has to ditch his plane on land, just before reaching the water. Mickey Rooney and Earl Holliman play the men sent by the helicopter force to try to rescue him from a very precarious situation as the Communist forces approach him in a muddy ditch. This film was released on DVD in May 2001. Upon seeing it again, I reiterate that it is a fine and shocking film. In addition to a strong performance by the always handsome, slick, and tough William Holden, Mickey Rooney is wonderful as the combative Mike Forney, the helicopter pilot with the green top hat; Grace Kelly is her usual elegant upper class self as Holden's wife Nancy who visits him in Tokyo; and Frederic March is outstanding as the brooding Admiral, disturbed by the absurdity of war.
(9) The Bridge On The River Kwai (with Alec Guinness, William Holden, and Jack Hawkins) (1957)--a great blockbuster WW II film with the memorable "Colonel Bogey March."
(10) Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (with Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden, Slim Pickens, and Keenan Wynn) (1964)--another Kubrick original--a commentary on the cold war and the atom bomb madness--the final scene was changed from pie throwing to nuclear holocaust. Sellers is unforgettable as Strangelove.
(11) The Graduate (with Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, and Katherine Ross) (1967)--the movie of the generation--and those of us who lived through it will never forget the ultimate thrill of the final scene at the wedding and the Simon and Garfunkel music.
(12) Annie Hall (with Woody Allen and Diane Keaton) (1977)--one of the early Woody Allen semi-autobiographical films, it defined a style for the late 1970's.
(13) Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (with Paul Newman, Robert Redford and Katherine Ross) (1969)--a charmer about vulnerable and human western thieves. "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head." Who are those guys?
(14) Citizen Kane (starring Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Everett Sloane) (1941)--one of the all-time greats, the black and white photography alone is worth the price of the film. "Rosebud!"
(15) Midnight Cowboy (with Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight, Sylvia Miles and Jennifer Salt) (1969)--Who was Jennifer Salt? She was the daughter of the man who wrote the screenplay (Waldo Salt), she played Voight's girlfriend back home in Texas at the beginning of the film, and she was a friend of my brother--I had a crush on her when I was in my first year of law school. Dustin Hoffman as Ratso was memorable, and Jon Voight established his career with this performance.
(16) Bonnie and Clyde (with Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Gene Hackman and Estelle Parsons) (1967)--another incredibly original film loaded with wonderful performances and that shocking hail of bullets and blood at the end (it was a precursor to similar scenes in "The Godfather" a few years later). Great banjo music.
(17) Holiday Inn (with Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby, and Marjorie Reynolds) (1942)--charm, charm and more charm. Bing and Marjorie sang "White Christmas" and Fred danced his away through the film--the best Christmas film as far as I'm concerned, and they sing "Easter Parade" too. Marjorie Reynolds, who was lovely, went on to play William Bendix's wife in "The Life of Riley" in 1950's TV.
(18) The Best Years of Our Lives (with Frederic March, Dana Andrews, Myrna Loy, Teresa Wright, and the amazing Harold Russell who didn't need special effects to play a man who had lost both of his hands) (1946)--the great American film of returning WW II veterans. Wonderful performances.
(19) An American In Paris (with Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron, Oscar Levant, and Georges Guetary) (1951)--a beautiful love story with Kelly's spectacular choreography and dancing, gorgeous color, and the music and lyrics of George and Ira Gershwin. Released in Blu-ray in mid-2009, "An American in Paris" is a joy to behold, especially the astounding ballet based on impressionist paintings and performed to Gershwin's "An American in Paris." Kelly's Toulouse-Lautrec number (photo below) has to be one of the most inspired moments in movie musical history.
(20) Annie Get Your Gun (with Betty Hutton, Howard Keel, and Louis Calhern) (1950)--Hutton replaced Judy Garland at the last minute and made a splashy and delightful appearance as Annie Oakley. The Irving Berlin score is fabulous ("There's No Business Like Show Business.") This film was released in late 2000 on DVD. I recommend a look at it, despite the really embarrassing portrayal of American Indians. Betty Hutton is a sight and sound to behold.
(21) La Dolce Vita (with Marcello Mastroianni, Anouk Aimee, and Anita Ekberg) (1960)--a Fellini film that established an era and commented on a great deal of what was to come in society--I will never forget Mastroianni's amazing presence on the screen and Anita Ekberg's dance in the Trevi Fountain. Released on an excellent DVD (2004).
(22) The Pawnbroker (with Rod Steiger) (1965)--Steiger is a Jewish pawnbroker in Harlem with vivid and horrifying memories of the concentration camps--a dark and shocking film based on the Edward Lewis Wallant novel.
(23) The Virgin Spring (with Max Von Sydow) (1959)--I saw this Bergman black and white masterpiece when I was 14 and I remember feeling breathless as a result of the theme of the rape and murder of a young woman and the effect of this crime on her medieval family.
(24) A Man and A Woman (with Anouk Aimee and Jean-Louis Trintignant) (1966)--Memorable romance and wonderful theme music.
(25) Claire's Knee (by Eric Rohmer) (1971)--a French film of love and romance, and one for people who are fascinated by conversation and romance--no car crashes here.
(26) The Wizard of Oz (with Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, Burt Lahr, Margaret Hamilton and Frank Morgan) (1939)--I don't really have to comment on this one, do I?
(27) Easter Parade (with Fred Astaire, Judy Garland, Peter Lawford, and Ann Miller) (1948)--more charm and wonderful Irving Berlin songs--this is one of the movies that makes you feel good--and if it doesn't it may already be too late for you. In March 2005, this was released on DVD for the first time.
(28) Lilies of the Field (with Sidney Poitier and Lilia Skala) (1963)--Poitier helps a group of nuns and makes film history.
(29) The Harvey Girls (with Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, John Hodiak, and Angela Lansbury) (1946)--On The Atchison Topeka and the Santa Fe. And imagine, it has Angela Lansbury so many years ago!!
(30) The Band Wagon (with Fred Astaire, Nanette Fabray, Cyd Charisse, Oscar Levant, and Jack Buchanan) (1953)--I saw this at age 8 and it was one of the films that made me love the musical genre--"Dancing In the Dark," "Shine on your Shoes," and "Triplets"--a marvelous musical. In March 2005, this was released on DVD for the first time.
(31) Oklahoma (with Gordon MacRae, Shirley Jones, Rod Steiger, Gloria Grahame, Eddie Albert, and James Whitmore) (1955)--I've been in Oklahoma and it's never looked quite as nice as it does in this wonderful musical. There is a current DVD version which has both the Cinemascope and Todd-AO versions of the film (made with two different cameras). If you've never seen this film, don't miss it. It is possibly the most perfect translation of a great Broadway musical to the movies ever made. And Rodgers and Hammerstein produced it and thus controlled the production. Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones were absolutely perfect. The opening scene in which MacRae sings "Oh What a Beautiful Morning" while riding through a cornfield is simply sublime.
(32) Sleeper (with Woody Allen and Diane Keaton) (1973)--hysterical, Woody Allen may have been right when he ridiculed health food-now they're telling us that weight may not matter.
(33) Doctor Zhivago (with Julie Christie, Omar Sharif, and Tom Courtenay) (1965)--Also not a great film, but a spectacular one--I saw it with the first love of my life.
(34) Little Big Man (with Dustin Hoffman) (1970)--An epic story of an old man who saw a lot of what was going on in the old west, especially to the Indian tribes. "Sometimes the magic works and sometimes it doesn't." I saw this classic again in September 2006. 36 years later and the film hasn't aged. Dustin Hoffman and Chief Dan George are wonderful. This is an astounding account of the white man's genocide against American Indians. Richard Mulligan was brilliant as the crazed Gen. Custer, and Faye Dunaway is marvelous as the hypocritical and naughty Mrs. Pendrake. If you haven't seen this film, don't miss it on DVD. Directed by Arthur Penn, who also made the great "Bonnie and Clyde."
(35) Star Wars (with Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, and Alec Guinness) (1977)--a zip of a sci-fi film, this one has worn well. It didn't need the "improvements" added recently by George Lucas to be considered a classic.
(36) Psycho (with Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Martin Balsam and Vera Miles) (1960)--Hitchcock, that house, the Bernard Hermann score, and the shower scene--watched over and over by many.
(37) Rear Window (with James Stewart and Grace Kelly) (1954)--Stewart hobbled, watching out a window which reminded me of my childhood view in the Bronx--and Raymond Burr as the evil one.
(38) Jules and Jim (by Francois Truffaut) (1962)--A classic film of the French new wave. Long considered one of Truffaut's greatest films, a classic, and thrilling when I saw it at approximately age 17, I watched this film again in August 2000 and was surprised to find that it was an amazingly silly film. The romantic triangle between Jules (Oskar Werner), Jim, and Catherine (Jeanne Moreau) covers at least two decades, and yet Catherine and Jules' daughter, Sabine, disappears from the film without a trace and Jim is still promising to marry his girlfriend, Gilberte, both of whom look exactly the same after twenty or so years, despite his obvious and continuing interest in Catherine. Meanwhile, Catherine is the woman who always has to have the man she doesn't have at the moment and she jumps constantly among Jules, Jim, and another man, Albert. She kicks Jim out of her life many times, including once at gunpoint. It is inconceivable to think that if Jim was in his right mind, and there's nothing else to indicate insanity, he would go back for more, and yet Jim not only goes back but innocently and without question gets into an auto with Catherine at a lake with an unbarricaded bridge leading, you guessed it, right into the lake. The film is warmly photographed in black and white, has an excellent score, and is humorously performed by the actors, but the silliness of the story becomes laughable and destroys its credibility.
(39) Goldfinger (with Sean Connery, Honor Blackman, and Gert Frobe) (1964)--the most memorable of all the James Bond films--who would have imagined they'd still be making Bond films in 40+ years later?
(40) Nashville (with Keith Carradine, Lily Tomlin, Henry Gibson, and Ronee Blakely) (1975)--I'll never forget the hype this Robert Altman film got or the obnoxious woman who sat behind me when I saw this film in Washington, DC. She talked throughout the film. Every time I asked her to be quiet she spoke louder. When the film ended, I turned to her and loudly asked her what was her problem. Her response, the first sign of a new era in selfishness: "I paid for a ticket and I have a right to do what I want. If you want quiet, stay home."Released on DVD/Blu-ray in late 2013.
(41) The Right Stuff (with Ed Harris, Scott Glenn, Sam Shepard, Barbara Hershey, Dennis Quaid, and Fred Ward) (1983). The birth of the space program and the original seven astronauts. I lived through this era and thought it was darn exciting. I watched this wonderful film again in 2003, on DVD. Just as "2001, A Space Odyssey" was the very first of the modern sci-fi films, "The Right Stuff" was the very first of the great films about the US space program. And the cast was superb, led by Dennis Quaid as Gordon Cooper and Ed Harris as John Glenn, both of whom literally stole the film. Others worthy of note were Scott Glenn as Alan Shepard and Sam Shepard as Chuck Yeager, the first man to break the sound barrier.
(42) Alien (with Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt and Tom Skerritt) (1979)--the singular scariest film I've ever seen--my hands were numb when I left the theater. Since it was occurring on a spaceship in outerspace, it was easy to suspend disbelief.
(43) Modern Times (with Charlie Chaplin) (1936)--one of Chaplin's great films, it was made when talkies were already in the theaters and it represented a satirical comment on industrialism.
(44) Breaker Morant (with Bryan Brown and Edward Woodward) (1980)--the Boer War from an Australian point of view--a fascinating, tough film.
(45) The Last Picture Show (with Cybill Shepherd, Ben Johnson, and Jeff Bridges) (1971)--a beautiful black and white film about a small Texas town and its inhabitants and Cybill Shepherd made a real splash.
(46) Atlantic City (with Burt Lancaster and Susan Sarandon) (1980)--You should have seen the Atlantic Ocean in those days; now THAT was an ocean!!!
(47) Hud (with Paul Newman and Patricia Neal) (1963)--Newman and Neal were wonderful.
(48) The Hustler (with Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason and George C. Scott (1961)--Newman and Gleason owned the screen--Gleason was Minnesota Fats to a tee and Newman, as usual, was Mr. Cool.
(49) Cool Hand Luke (with Paul Newman, Strother Martin, and George Kennedy) (1967)--rough life in a southern prison--What we got here is a failure to communicate!
(48) The Wild Bunch (with William Holden and Ernest Borgnine) (1969)-- a classic western, Sam Peckinpah, the director, became famous for the the slow-motion scenes of violence.
(49) Henry V (with Laurence Olivier) (1945)--the opening scene in which the actors in the Globe Theater become the real Shakespearean characters is timeless--one of the great films, starring one of the great actors. And also see the Kenneth Branagh version (1989) with Derek Jacobi and other outstanding British actors.
(50) Fargo (with Frances McDormand, William H. Macy, and Steve Buscemi) (1996)--an hysterical look at modern day crime in Minnesota--Frances McDormand was utterly perfect as the pregnant sheriff Marge. Yah!
(51) Z (with Yves Montand) (1969)--an exciting and thoughtful political thriller about assasination by the director Costa-Gavras.
(52) Chinatown (with Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway) (1974)--LA, water, and mystery. A re-viewing of this film in early 2000, shows that it has traveled well. Other than a few minor points, it could have been made today. The production values were excellent. It was a mystery with a point and very well done. The young Jack Nicholson was excellent as the private detective Jake Gittes who has an unfortunate nasal run-in with Roman Polanski (also the director), and Faye Dunaway was lovely and mysterious as Mrs. Mulwray.
(53) MASH (with Donald Sutherland, Eliot Gould and Sally Kellerman) (1970)--Robert Altman's spectacularly successful precursor to the long-running TV show. Suicide is painless.
(54) The Manchurian Candidate (with Laurence Harvey, Frank Sinatra, Janet Leigh, and Khigh Deigh) (1962)--it was almost as if the makers of this film knew how bizarre the world was to become only the following year. A pretty scary and shocking film in its day.
(55) The Tin Drum (with David Bennent) (1979)--Gunter Grass' novel was a classic and the film is almost its equal--a towering commentary on the Nazi era.
(56) Tootsie (with Dustin Hoffman and Jessica Lange) (1982)--Sidney Pollack's hysterical comedy about an actor in drag--one of Hoffman's great roles.
(57) Schindler's List (with Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, and Ben Kingsley) (1993)--one of those larger than life films about an important subject, the Holocaust--done with reasonable taste and cinematic skill by Stephen Spielberg.
(58) All The President's Men (with Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, and Jason Robards) (1976)--I was there in Washington when Watergate was going on--this film tells it like it was--and I especially enjoyed seeing Hoffman and Redford walking through the Great Plaza parking lot just behind the building in which I worked for 13 years--(the lot is gone, now occupied by a gigantic Federal building rather inappropriately and ironically named after Ronald Reagan.)
(59) Cabaret (with Liza Minelli, Joel Gray, and Michael York) (1972)--a sharp, stylish musical of Berlin in the 1930s. Money makes the world go round.
(60) Fanny and Alexander (Directed by Ingmar Bergman) (1983)--a young boy's view of a Swedish family early in the century--exquisite cinematography.
(61) The French Connection (with Gene Hackman and Roy Scheider) (1971)--drugs, smuggling, and that absolutely incredible chase under the elevated train. One of the most wonderful feats of editing I've ever seen.
(62) Top Hat (with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers--who else?) (1935)--Fred, Ginger and one memorable Irving Berlin song after the next: "Cheek to Cheek," "Isn't It a Lovely Day to be Caught in the Rain," and "Top Hat, White Tie, and Tails."
(63) The Unbearable Lightness of Being (with Daniel Day-Lewis, Juliet Binoche, and Lena Olin) (1988)--Czechoslovakia in a time of crisis--erotic and political. Beautifully filmed.
(64) Manhattan (with Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, and Mariel Hemingway) (1979)--ultra-Woody Allen New York--a sophisticated and funny tale of careless and confused love. Some of the most gorgeous black and white shots of New York to be seen on film combined with delicious Gershwin music. One of Allen's best.
(65) The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (Directed by Luis Bunuel) (1972)--another of Bunuel's surrealistic and difficult films. It's witty and humorous and makes you think about the human comedy.
(66) Deliverance (with Jon Voight, Ned Beatty, and Burt Reynolds) (1972)--this was a shocker in its day and one of the most exciting male adventure films. One of those films everyone saw and talked about.
(67) Days of Heaven (with Richard Gere, Brook Adams, Sam Shepard, and Linda Manz) (1978)--this film was gorgeous and sensuous--Linda Manz had a one of a kind opportunity as the young girl (I don't remember seeing her again until she showed up in a small part in the recent film "The Game.")
(68) On The Town (with Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Jules Munshin, Betty Garrett, Vera Ellen and Ann Miller) (1949)--three sailors with one day to spend in NY and the trouble they get into and the women they meet--MGM destroyed the original Leonard Bernstein Broadway musical and the film is a little corny, but there's nothing quite like watching Kelly, Sinatra and Munshin dance all over New York singing about "New York, a wonderful town, the Bronx is up and the Battery's down....."
(69) Genevieve (with Kay Kendall, Kenneth More) (1953)--one of the loveliest British comedies about two couples racing vintage cars from Brighton to London--with wonderful background harmonica music. I waited many years for this film to be released on video. At long last, it was released on DVD/Blu-ray in September 2011. A very charming, humorous, and simple film..
(70) The Godfather (with Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, James Caan, Talia Shire and Diane Keaton) (1972)--is any list complete without this masterpiece? After the recent release of "The Godfather" collection on DVD, I viewed this film again in December 2001. Although I always felt that it "glorified" mafia gangsters, there is certainly enough in this incredible film to be seen as a true commentary on the nature of evil, including especially the transformation of Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) from an innocent war hero to a tough, decisive murderous mafia don. The slow but inevitable pacing is perfect; the performances are outstanding. Brando's Don Corleone is masterful and unforgettable. And James Caan seems perfectly cast as the impetuous Sonny. This is without a doubt one of the great films and worth re-viewing.
(71) The Searchers (with John Wayne, Natalie Wood, John Ford and Ward Bond) (1956)--Wayne searching for his niece who was kidnapped by Indians, the movie was beautifully done. I remember at age 11 having an incredible crush on the young Natalie Wood. One of the great westerns of all-time.
(72) Tom Jones (with Albert Finney, Susannah York, Hugh Griffith, and Joyce Redman) (1963)--I'm not certain that this film has aged well, but in its day it was considered a classic, topped, of course, by the eating scene between the young Finney and the voluptuous Redman.
(73) West Side Story (with Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, George Chakiris, Rita Moreno, and Russ Tamblyn) (1961)--the ultimate Bernstein/Sondheim/Robbins musical filmed partially and beautifully on the streets of New York where Lincoln Center now stands--the dancing is out of this world. It would have been even better if the stars could actually sing and didn't need dubbing. One of many films in which the voice of Marni Nixon starred and yet she got little or no credit. " The film has been released in a special DVD edition. I recommend this DVD very highly. After watching the film again after many years, I was astonished at how excellent it is, even better than I remembered. It has aged well. The Bernstein music, the Sondheim lyrics, and the Robbins choreograpy are joys to behold. And the new edition DVD contains a special feature documentary about the making of the film that is incredibly insightful about geniuses in the process of creating a masterpiece (it won 10 Academy Awards). So many of the dancers in this film never made another film, probably returning to the theater to perform. It's a shame.
(74) Some Like It Hot (with Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, and Marilyn Monroe) (1959)--a Billy Wilder comedy classic with Lemmon and Curtis in drag. Combined with a gorgeous and sensual Monroe, what could be wrong? Seen again on DVD in early 2001, this classic is everything it's cracked up to be. Lemmon is perfection. Curtis is wonderful, including his Cary Grant accent. And Monroe. Oh that Monroe!
(75) One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (with Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher and Brad Dourif) (1975)--Nicholson at his best, a delightful Milos Forman film about the subject just who are the crazy ones. It won lots of Academy Awards.
(76) Hans Christian Andersen (with Danny Kaye, Jeanmaire and Farley Granger) (1952)--one of the most delightful children's films ever made. With wonderful songs sung by Kaye, including "The Ugly Duckling" and "Copenhagen."
(77) A Place In The Sun (with Elizabeth Taylor, Montgomery Clift, and Shelly Winters) (1951)--based on the great Theodore Dreiser novel "An American Tragedy," it was the story of a poor young man's desire to be equal with the rich and his ultimate failure.
(78) The Swimmer (with Burt Lancaster) (1968)--a film about John Cheever's exurbia, Lancaster plays a man swimming across a Connecticut county, apparently on his way home. This is a brilliant and little-known film.
(79) Cat Ballou (with Jane Fonda and Lee Marvin) (1965)--Lee Marvin played two parts and Jane Fonda was cat. An hysterically funny film of some darn strange western characters.
(80) Exodus (with Paul Newman, Sal Mineo, Eva Marie Saint, and Lee J. Cobb) (1960)--the earliest epic of the founding of Israel. Paul Newman was Ari Ben Canaan from Leon Uris' novel. This was a big movie for the Jewish population of the Bronx. I saw it at the gorgeous Loew's Paradise on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx with my parents. I recently watched this film again after so many years and was genuinely impressed with the grandness of its theme. Notable are performances by Eva Marie Saint as the American Christian woman in the middle of the British/Arab/Jewish conflict and Jill Haworth as the young girl who comes to symbolize all the young founders of Israel.
(81) The Thin Man (with William Powell and Myrna Loy) (1934)--Nick and Nora Charles and Asta. All charm and good humor.
(82) The Apartment (with Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, and Fred MacMurray) (1960)-- a beautiful theme song surrounded a story about a corporate employee hoping to advance by lending his apartment to execs. Great performances by Lemmon, MacLaine, and MacMurray.
(83) American Graffiti (with Ron Howard, Richard Dreyfuss, Candy Clark, Harrison Ford, Charles Martin Smith, and Suzanne Somers) (1973)--a great and clever film about teenagers driving up and down Main Street, this film helped launched the incredible careers of several of its young stars, especially Dreyfuss and Ford.
(84) Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (with Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, George Segal, and Sandy Dennis) (1966)--a bitter evening occurs when one young academic couple meets the older, more experienced couple. Everyone was outstanding in this Edward Albee story.
(85) The Entertainer (with Laurence Olivier, Joan Plowright, and the young Alan Bates and Albert Finney) (1960)--another great performance by Olivier as a run-down English music hall performer who is simply not happy with his life.
(86) Bullitt (with Steve McQueen) (1968)--without a doubt some of the best scenery of San Francisco combined with some of the best and earliest car chases over the SF hills ever filmed.
(87) Bull Durham (with Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon, and Tim Robbins) (1988)--the spectacular introduction of Tim Robbins, both to the movie-going public and to Susan Sarandon. One of the really good baseball movies about minor league characters dreaming of going to the "show."
(88) Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings (starring Billy Dee Williams, James Earl Jones, and Richard Pryor) (1976)--a rebellious and charming group of Negro League All-Stars battling the league owners. One of the best baseball films.
(89) A League of Their Own (starring Geena Davis, Tom Hanks, Madonna, and Lori Petty) (1992)--a brisk and thorougly enjoyable film about a women's league baseball stars. Ironically, one of the best sports films ever. On the eve of the 2007 baseball season, I decided to watch this wonderful film again and everything I felt about it upon initial viewing in a theater in 1992, was confirmed many times over by the re-viewing on DVD. This is definitely one of the best baseball films ever and that it is about women playing baseball makes that even more amazing. Penny Marshall did a marvelous job directing and performances by Geena Davis, Lori Petty, Rosie O’Donnell, Madonna, and Tracy Reiner, among others, are unforgettable. And let’s not forget Tom Hanks as the alcoholic manager, Jimmy Dugan, who once hit 58 homers.
(90) The Man Who Would Be King (starring Sean Connery and Michael Caine) (1975)--two British soldiers living high on the hog in a remote Asian country. Connery and Caine were fantastic in this delightful film.
(91) There's No Business Like Show Business (starring Dan Dailey, Marilyn Monroe, Johnny Ray, Ethel Merman, Donald O'Connor, and Mitzi Gaynor) (1954)--a delightful show business family, suffering various forms of angst, and delighting the movie viewer with their performances of great Irving Berlin songs.
(92) Gandhi (with Ben Kingsley, Edward Fox, John Mills, John Gielgud, Trevor Howard, and Candice Bergen) (1982)--an epic film portraying the great Mahatma. Unforgettable.
(93) Brief Encounter (with Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson (1945)--this is what romantic films are all about.
(94) From Russia With Love (with Sean Connery, Robert Shaw, and Lotte Lenya) (1963)--next to "Goldfinger," the best James Bond film ever. Bond's fights with Shaw and Lenya are utterly memorable. That's what I thought when I originally set up this page. A recent viewing of the film (2007) showed how little action there was in the film relative to the action films of today, and how tame was Bond's fight with the Shaw character.
(95) The Turning Point (with Shirley MacLaine, Anne Bancroft, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and Leslie Brown) (1977)--a wonderful ballet film about the rivalry of two older ballet stars and the trials and tribulations of the daughter of one. It's worth seeing just to see Baryshnikov dance.
(96) The Great Escape (with Steve McQueen and an all-star cast) (1963)--the classic POW escape film. Spectacular, and extremely well done. McQueen had a certain something.
(97) Divorce-Italian Style (Marcello Mastroianni and Stefania Sandrelli) (1961)--an hilarious Italian comedy about love, marriage and divorce. Mastroianni was wonderful.
(98) Hello, Dolly! (with Barbra Streisand, Walter Matthau, and Michael Crawford) (1969)--I have a soft spot for uplifting movie musicals and this is one of the best. Directed by Gene Kelly, Streisand is perfect as Dolly Levi and Matthau is hysterical as Horace Vandergelder, the object of Dolly's matchmaking and affections. The "Hello, Dolly" scene with Louis Armstrong is a little long, but otherwise unforgettable.
(99) Closely Watched Trains (1966)--a Czech tragicomedy about a young railroad worker who learns the hard way about sex and the Nazis.
(100) Town Without Pity (with Kirk Douglas, Christine Kauffman, Robert Blake (1961)--this was a film about GIs accused of raping a young German girl--not a great film, but the highlight of the film to me was the title song, "Town Without Pity" sung by Gene Pitney. The song was a hit in the days when outstanding songs were still being written for movies. I saw this film on a double feature with "Breakfast At Tiffany's" and remember walking out of the theater entranced by "Town's" title song and "Moon River." How many times have you seen two movies at the same time with such memorable songs? After more than 40 years, I saw this film again on May 27, 2002, on DVD, and was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. Kirk Douglas is outstanding as Major Steve Garrett, brought in to defend four American soliders (Robert Blake, Richard Jaeckel, Frank Sutton, and Mal Sondock) in Germany accused of rape, and ultimately to try to destroy the reputation of the victim played by teenager Christine Kauffman in order to save the lives of the defendants. The music is still there, but this time I saw a first-rate court drama. Recommended.
(101) Lili (with Leslie Caron, Mel Ferrer, Kurt Kasznar, Jean Pierre Aumont, and Zsa Zsa Gabor) (1953)--one of the most romantic and charming of the MGM musicals, "Lili" is the story of a young orphan, played by a young Leslie Caron, who joins a carnival and helps creates a magnificent puppet act. Mel Ferrer is the bitter puppeteer who is really, deep down, prince charming. The memorable tune "Hi Lili, Hi Lo" is the theme song.
(102) David and Lisa (with Keir Dullea and Janet Margolin) (1962)--a beautifully acted film about two mentally disturbed teenagers. Dullea went on to star in "2001, A Space Odyssey".
(103) Shoot The Piano Player (with Charles Aznavour) (1960)--Francois Truffaut's film noir, the story of a piano player on the descent who gets involved with gangsters and descends even further.
(104) Close Encounters of the Third Kind (with Richard Dreyfuss, Teri Garr, and Francois Truffaut) (1977)--Steven Spielberg thinks big and this one was spectacular. Who can ever forget Richard Dreyfuss obsessively seeking out Devil's Tower only to find that wonderful "close encounter."
(105) Blowup (with David Hemmings, Sarah Miles, Vanessa Redgrave, and Jane Birkin) (1966)--Michelangelo Antonioni's mesmerizing film about a photographer who, while exploring the greenest parks one has ever seen, may or may not have witnessed a murder. This film definitely influenced my desire to operate a darkroom. "Blowup" was released on DVD (March 2004). Viewing it for the first time in many years, I found that the grass wasn't quite as green as I remembered. Also, the theme of illusion vs. reality, which seemed brilliant at the time it was originally released, comes across as fairly vapid in the context of current times. Despite this, it's still an intriguing film.
(106) Ran (1985)--Akira Kurosawa's great film about a Japanese warlord who creates a power struggle among his sons, a la King Lear. A spectacular film.
(107) Raise the Red Lantern (with Gong Li) (1991)--this is a wonderful movie by Director Zhang Yimou about a Chinese concubine in the 1920's. Gong Li plays the youngest wife of a Chinese nobleman, and the film is about how she deals with this difficult role as well as with the other wives. The scenery and photography are memorable.
(108) House of Games (with Lindsay Crouse, Joe Mantegna and Ricky Jay) (1987)--David Mamet's clever story of a woman who becomes involved with the ultimate con men.
(109) Saving Private Ryan (with Tom Hanks and Matt Damon) (1998)--the opening scenes at D-Day are so frightening and realistic that this must go down, among other things, as one of the great horror movies of all-time. Directed by Steven Spielberg.
(110) Topsy-Turvy (with Jim Broadbent, Allan Corduner, Martin Savage, Timothy Spall, Eleanor David, Lesley Manville, Shirley Henderson, Wendy Nottingham, and Dorothy Atkinson) (1999)--the story of Gilbert and Sullivan's production of "The Mikado," this is one of the great films of all-time about theatrical creativity--and the acting, direction (Mike Leigh), scenery, sets, theme, and overall production are simply perfection! It was out-of-print for awhile, but was re-released on DVD/Blu-ray by Criterion Collection in 2011. See it!
(111) Hannah and Her Sisters (with Woody Allen, Barbara Hershey, Mia Farrow, Dianne Wiest and Michael Caine) (1986). I watched this again in December 2002, and was surprised that I had forgotten to list it among my favorites. This is Allen at his absolute best: torn, anxious, witty and warm. The story of three competitive sisters and the men in their lives, it's an hysterical look at medical angst, religious doubts and dogma, and the difficulties people have appreciating just what and who they have in their lives.
(112) The Pajama Game (with Doris Day, John Raitt, Eddie Foy, Jr., and Carol Haney) (1957). Oh this musical is certainly dated ints subject and theme, but it's loaded with wonderful songs ranging from "Hey, There" to "Hernando's Hideaway." Doris Day not only plays a character named"Babe," but she is a babe, and the new boss at the pajama factory, Sid Sorokin (Raitt) is in love and very aggressively going after her. Foy is quite funny and charming as Heinzie, the efficiency expert, and Carol Haney is sizzling in the wonderful Bob Fosse choreographed number, "Steam Heat."
(113) Pauline At The Beach (Arielle Dombasle, Amanda Langlet, Pascal Gregory, and Féodor Atkine) (1983). One of the most delightful French films, by the great director Eric Rohmer, with cinematography by Nestor Almendros. 15-year-old Pauline goes to Brittany with her older cousin Marion (a gorgeous blonde played by Arielle Dombasle) and we see and hear all about love and romance as they interact with men they meet at the beach. A wonderful film. I saw this film when it first came out and again on March 8, 2003, on DVD. It is as contemporary a film as any 20-year old film could be. It'll make you smile. I guarantee it.
(114) A Room with a View (Helena Bonham Carter, Daniel Day Lewis, Maggie Smith, Denholm Elliot, Julian Sands, Simon Callow, and Judi Dench). One of the films I had previously forgotten to list, "A Room with a View" came out on DVD in April 2004. A viewing 18 years after it was originally released reminded me that it is a wonderfully witty and charming film, based on the novel by E.M. Forster, about a young Englishwoman whose life begins to change when she accompanies her aunt to Florence and meets an eccentric father and son (Elliot and Sands). The cast is brilliant, not surprisingly. This was Helena Bonham Carter's amazing film debut.
115) Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Howard Keel, Jane Powell, Russ Tamblyn, Jeff Richards, Jacques D'Amboise, Tommy Rall, Julie Newmar).(1954) How in the world did I ever forget this incredible MGM musical? I remember that it had an astonishing opening and run at Radio City Music Hall. Yet, despite that, it was one of the last MGM musicals. Based on a story by Stephen Vincent Benet, it has the songs of Johnny Mercer, the beautiful voice of Jane Powell, the choreography of Michael Kidd, and a wonderful cast. Despite a really silly story and mediocre scenery (it was shot on the MGM lot), it's a wonderful film. Just released on a new 2-disc DVD (11/04), it can be seen in the original Cinemascope format and in the usual DVD widescreen format.
116) Starstruck (Jo Kennedy and Ross O'Donovan) (1982)-Just out on DVD (August 2005), I was delighted once again to see this Australian film by Gillian Armstrong. A campy, wacky, and wonderful film about a young woman in Sydney, Australia, who wants to be a rock star, and her young cousin who wants to be her manager. Some of the funniest song and dance numbers that are guaranteed to make you smile.
117) South Pacific (Mitzi Gaynor, Rossano Brazzi, John Kerr, Ray Walston, and Juanita Hall) (1958) I would have liked to have seen Mary Martin reproduce her stage portrayal of Nellie Forbush, but there's no complaint about the adorable Mitzi Gaynor who was wonderful in this Josh Logan-directed film. While Logan was more of a stage director and it shows in the film, especially with his strange color filters during major musical scenes, the film brings to life the great Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. A recent Blu-ray release (April 2009) shows this movie as a breathtakingly clear wide-screen vision, especially powerful considering that it was made more than 50 years ago.
118) The Killing (Sterling Hayden, Marie Windsor, Elisha Cook, Jr.) (1956). One of Stanley Kubrick's earliest films, Hayden is fabulous as Johnny Clay, the leader of a gang planning the robbery of a race track. The story is shown from a variety of points of view. The ending would be a cliché today, but it must have been a shock back then. Tremendous supporting performances by Windsor and Cook. Released on DVD and Blu-ray in 2011 by Criterion Collection. Recommended.
119) Secrets and Lies (Brenda Blethyn, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Timothy Spall (1996). Made by one of my favorite directors, Mike Leigh, "Secrets and Lies" is about a black woman discovering the truth about her birth. A tremendously insightful film about, well, secrets and lies.
120) The Last Days of Disco (Chloe Sevigny, Kate Beckinsale, Chris Eigeman) 1998). Whit Stillman's delightful and funny look at the dying world of disco through the eyes of the youth inhabiting the disco parlors.
121) Monterey Pop (1968). One of the best documentaries about a music festival ever made. Starring the Mamas and the Papas, Otis Redding, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Canned Heat, Jefferson Airplane, and The Who. How could you go wrong?
122) Rififi (1955). Jules Dassin's classic crime thriller.