M (1931)

A German city is terrorized by Hans Beckert (Peter Lorre), a pudgy young man who compulsively whistles Grieg’s Hall of the Mountain King as he approaches the children he murders (and, it is implied, molests). Fritz Lang’s first sound film is an incredibly influential psycho-thriller, establishing conventions still used by serial- killer movies as it intercuts the murderer’s pathetic life with the investigation of his outrages. While Lorre provides a horribly sympathetic focus for the film, Lang shows how his crimes affect the entire city — even prompting professional criminals to track him like an animal through the streets after Beckert draws an inconvenient police presence. — BFI, RT, Empire 500

 

Madame de … (1953)

Tragic consequences ensue when a society woman pawns the earrings her husband gave her, in Max Ophüls’s graceful and opulent period drama. — BFI

 

Mad Max 2 (aka The Road Warrior, 1981)

The Road Warrior (the much cooler U.S. title) makes the first movie look like CBeebies, boasting truly white-knuckle carmageddon. And forget about Riggs — Rockatansky is Gibbo’s finest creation. Mad Max 2 (1981) was voted the greatest action film of all time in a readers' poll by American magazine Rolling Stone in 2015. — Empire 500, wiki

 

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

In which old dog George Miller taught Hollywood some new tricks. Stripping the chase movie down to its raw essentials (the plot is basically: run away … then run back again!), Miller expertly built the narrative through some of the most astonishing and gloriously operatic action scenes we'd seen in yonks. While also ensuring his female characters are the film's strongest; Charlize Theron's Furiosa and Immortan Joe's ex-brides are inheriting a world "killed" by men. — Empire, RT

 

The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)

Among the most famous of broken films, Orson Welles' family drama is of the greats somehow, despite the fact that it was infamously molested by the studio while Welles holidayed. The suits blamed Pearl Harbour for the insertion of an upbeat ending. — Empire 500, BFI

 

The Magnificent Seven (1960)

Can you remember all seven? Really? Get a piece of paper and write them down. You will get six, unless you cheat. Go on, do it. Write in if we’re wrong. — Empire 500

 

Magnolia (1999)

An ensemble piece about the bonds that bring a disparate group of Los Angelinos together, it’s no coincidence that Anderson’s instant classic is loved by so many. — Empire 500

 

The Maltese Falcon (1941)

In this 1941 mystery, Humphrey Bogart plays private detective Sam Spade, one of his most iconic roles. In the film, Spade must navigate through a treacherous maze of murder and betrayal, as he searches high and low for a priceless missing statue, the Maltese Falcon. Along the way, he crosses paths with three dangerous criminals and one devious dame. Walter Huston’s first film as a director is still his best, in which Spade slaps dames, cracks wise and solves crimes in a plot that is gloriously unfathomable. — Empire 500, AFI, Trib, RT

 

Manchester by the Sea (2016)

Modern dramas don’t get much more depressing than this one from 2016. The film is about a traumatized handyman named Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) who’s asked to look after his nephew after his brother dies. Haunted by his past mistakes, Lee struggles to fulfill his parental duties or even forge a connection with his newfound housemate. However, he ends up wallowing in remorse instead. Michelle Williams and Kyle Chandler co-star. — Trib, RT

 

The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

Frank Sinatra stars in this 1962 thriller about a former POW who’s brainwashed into becoming a political assassin. Released at the height of the Cold War, the film kicked off what’s now known as Frankenheimer’s “paranoia trilogy.” It opened to solid reviews but underperformed at the box office. In the time since, however, “The Manchurian Candidate” has garnered appreciation among a wider audience, and the film was even remade in 2004. — AFI, Trib

 

A Man Escaped (1956)

A magnificent prisoner-of-war drama, directed with spare economy by a director who was himself an ex-POW. Tense and un-schmaltzy, Shawshank fans would do well to seek it out. — Empire 500

 

A Man for All Seasons (1966)

Henry VIII (Robert Shaw) slaps his thigh and barges about the Thames trying to get a divorce, while conscience-stricken Thomas More (Paul Scofield) lumbers tragically towards an appointment with the axe. — Empire 500

 

Manhattan (1979)

A black-and-white love letter to New York, George Gershwin and the mess of relationships, this is Allen at his most poignant but funny. — Empire 500

 

The Man Who Would Be King (1975)

In Walter Huston's steady, calloused hands, this Rudyard Kipling yarn becomes a rip-roaring adventure, its central buddy-buddy dynamic as entertaining as you could expect from the pairing of Brit stalwarts Connery and Caine. — Empire 500

 

A Man Escaped (1956)

True story of the hazardous and daring wartime escape of a French officer from the condemned cell of a Nazi prison, with action set to Mozart’s Great C-Minor Mass. — BFI

 

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

As far as the residents of Shinbone are concerned, the man who shot ruthless outlaw Liberty Valance was Ransom Stoddard (James Stewart), who went on to become a senator. However, when Stoddard comes back into town years later, he reveals he might not have been the shooter after all. As it turns out, Tom Doniphon (John Wayne) is the film’s real hero. — Trib

 

Man with a Movie Camera (1929)

An impression of city life in the Soviet Union, The Man with a Movie Camera is the best-known film of experimental documentary pioneer Dziga Vertov. It was voted the greatest documentary film of all time with 125 votes (100 critics and 25 filmmakers) in a 2014 Sight & Sound poll of 238 critics, curators, and academics (including many documentary specialists) and 103 filmmakers. — BFI, wiki

 

Marriage Story (2019)

Noah Baumbach's incisive and compassionate look at a marriage breaking up and a family staying together. — RT

 

Mary Poppins (1964)

Julie Andrews did the film because she lost My Fair Lady to Audrey Hepburn. But Andrews got the last laugh: She won the Oscar. — THR

 

M*A*S*H (1970)

The staff of a Korean War field hospital use humor and high jinks to keep their sanity in the face of the horror of war. — AFI

 

The Matrix (1999)

How two sibling indie film-makers with only a slick, sexy little crime film to their name (Bound) created their own blockbuster sci-fi franchise. And opened up western audiences to the truth that kung-fu acrobatics are so much more fun than watching American or European muscle-men waving guns around. While also making everyone examine some fundamental philosophical questions about reality. Thanks to the Wachowskis, we all took the red pill, and we've never regretted it. — Empire 500, Empire, THR

 

A Matter of Life and Death (1946)

In Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s audacious Technicolor fantasy, WWII airman David Niven finds himself summoned to heaven after surviving a plane crash that should have killed him. — Empire 500, BFI

 

McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971)

So unconcerned with Western tropes of glamour, excitement and gunfights, and yet one of the most engaging portraits of frontier life on celluloid. You’ve embraced Altman’s America. — Empire 500

 

Mean Streets (1973)

This gritty 1973 movie wasn’t director Martin Scorsese’s first film, but it might as well have been. Made on a shoestring budget of just $500,000 (half of which reportedly went toward the soundtrack), Mean Streets follows a small-time criminal named Charlie (Harvey Keitel) who struggles to reconcile his moral inclinations with his dangerous lifestyle. This film not only marked the first of many collaborations between Scorsese and actor Robert De Niro, but it furthermore cemented their respective statuses as veritable cinematic forces. — Empire 500, Trib

 

Meet Me in St. Louis (1945)

Judy Garland leads the cast of the popular family musical. Margaret O’Brien, who was 7, plays her little sister and was given a special Academy Award for outstanding child actress. Director Vincente Minnelli and Garland met while making the movie and later were married. — Trib

 

Memento (2000)

Christopher Nolan made the world sit up and pay attention to him by crafting (with his brother Jonah) a revenge-fueled crime thriller that dared to demand that its audience sit up and pay attention to its every last detail. It's precision-engineered: Apart from the carefully inserted Sammy Jankis subplot, every scene lasts as long as the span of damaged protagonist Leonard Shelby's short-term memory, as well as running in reverse order. And. It. Works. — Empire 500, Empire, THR

 

Men in Black (1997)

A comedy hit that slyly spoofs that X-Files mix of government conspiracy, secret agents and E. T.s on Earth. — Empire 500

 

Metropolis (1927)

Lang’s pioneering work of science-fiction depicts a dystopian future in which a privileged elite rule over the futuristic city of Metropolis until one day the workers rise up from underground to rebel against their masters. — BFI, RT

 

Midnight Cowboy (1969)

Bittersweet, Oscar-winning drama with Jon Voight's cowboy hustler struggling to make it in the Big Apple, only to find a weird kind of solace in the company of show-stealing Dustin Hoffman as shrewish bum Ratso Rizzo. John Barry's music injects memorable pathos. — Empire 500, AFI

 

Midnight Run (1988)

Quietly, hilariously, this odd-couple thriller was one of the films of the '80s. The teaming of a droll but square Charles Grodin (as the dodgy accountant on the lam) and a restrained and likable Robert De Niro (as the bounty hunter sent to retrieve him) proved perfect. — Empire 500

 

Miller's Crossing (1990)

The Coens in Dashiell Hammett gangster territory, recounting the near-tragedy of an honorable crook undone by a single gesture of mercy. Albert Finney sees off hitmen with a Thompson while smoking a cigar and listening to Danny Boy in a bravura sequence of Coen magic. — Empire 500

 

Mirror (1975)

Andrei Tarkovsky drew on memories of a rural childhood before WWII for this personal, impressionistic and unconventional film poem. — BFI

 

Mr. Hulot’s Holiday (1953)

Like Mr. Bean’s Holiday. But in French. And without Rowan Atkinson. And it’s really funny. Okay, not like Mr. Bean’s Holiday at all. Except it has holiday in the title; give us that. — Empire 500

 

The Misfits (1961)

Perhaps a surprise inclusion, given it’s not generally considered Huston’s best picture, but holds a place in hearts as the final film of both romantic leads: Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable. — Empire 500

 

Mission: ImpossibleFallout (2018)

Ethan Hunt and his IMF team, along with some familiar allies, race against time after a mission gone wrong. — RT

 

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)

A naive man (James Stewart) is appointed to fill a vacancy in the United States Senate. His plans promptly collide with political corruption, but he doesn't back down. — AFI

 

Mr. Turner (2014)

An exploration of the last quarter century of the great, if eccentric, British painter J.M.W. Turner's life. — RT

 

Modern Times (1936)

The final outing for Charlie Chaplin’s beloved Tramp character finds him enduring the pratfalls and humiliations of work in an increasingly mechanized society. — AFI, BFI, RT

 

Monsters, Inc. (2001)

Another Pixar charmer that zips along on a buddy-movie premise, most notable for the novel concept that the horrors slithering under your bed are nothing more than regular working schmoes. — Empire 500

 

Monty Python and The Holy Grail (1975)

The knights who say "Ni" + the killer bunny rabbit + the extraordinarily rude Frenchman + The Bridge Of Death over The Gorge Of Eternal Peril + the three-headed knight = genius. — Empire 500, THR

 

Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979)

Life of Brian was voted the greatest comedy of all time in a poll of over 22,000 people conducted by the British TV network Channel 4 in 2006. It was also voted the greatest comedy film in polls conducted by British film magazine Total Film in 2000, and British newspaper The Guardian in 2007. The Pythons originally intended to skewer Christianity — until they read the gospels and decided "we have no quarrel with Mr. Christ". Their second feature actually eviscerates religious bigotry and hypocrisy. And is funny as hell. — Empire 500, wiki

 

Moonlight (2016)

The debut feature film from writer/director Barry Jenkins, 2016’s “Moonlight” takes place in Miami and chronicles three separate time periods in the life of an African-American gay man named Chiron. Growing up in a broken home, Chiron falls under the wing of a local drug dealer (Mahershala Ali). Later in life, Chiron becomes a drug dealer himself, all while still coming to terms with his sexuality. The film won many awards, including Best Picture at the 2017 Oscars. — Trib, RT

 

Mother And Son (1997)

A Russian cine-poem meditating on maternal love, the transience of existence and the bonds of time. Stuck between Animal House and South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut on most critics’ lists. — Empire 500

 

Moulin Rouge! (2001)

A whirligig of song, dance and romance. The skill with which Luhrmann stitches together bizarre but effective cover versions of pop classics is extraordinary; the shock is still the way that Kidman and McGregor anchor the theatricality with emotion. — Empire 500

 

Mulholland Drive (2001)

David Lynch messes with Hollywood itself in a mystery tale that's as twisted as the road it's named after, while presenting Tinseltown as both Dream Factory and a realm of Nightmares. It also put Naomi Watts on the map; her audition scene remains as stunning as it was 16 years ago. Lynch's best work for 15 years, a dark look at the underbelly of Hollywood with enough impenetrability to support 1,000 theories. Hot girls get it on, too! — Empire 500, BFI, Empire

 

Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)

First mate Fletcher Christian (Clark Gable) leads a revolt against his sadistic commander, Captain Bligh (Charles Laughton), in this classic seafaring adventure, based on the real-life 1789 mutiny. AFI

 

My Darling Clementine (1946)

Ford’s take on Wyatt Earp — with Henry Fonda as the legendary Tombstone sheriff — is unapologetically poetic, concerning itself less with the O. K. Corral than Earp’s friendship/rivalry with Victor Mature’s Doc — Empire 500

 

My Fair Lady (1964)

The musical classic stars Sir Rex Harrison as Professor Henry Higgins whose task is to transform a Cockney working-class girl — Eliza Doolittle played by Audrey Hepburn — into a presentable member of high society. Actors James Cagney, Cary Grant, Rock Hudson, Peter O'Toole and Sir Michael Redgrave all were considered for the male lead before Harrison, who played Higgins on Broadway, was selected. Hepburn took lessons with a vocal coach and expected to do her own singing, but in the end most of her numbers were dubbed. — AFI, Trib

 

My Left Foot (1990)

One of legendary actor Daniel Day-Lewis' quality performances is his turn as Christy Brown in this biographical film from Jim Sheridan. Afflicted with cerebral palsy, Brown learns to paint and write using only his left foot, becoming a successful artist in the process. To prepare for the role, Day-Lewis spent eight weeks at a cerebral palsy clinic in Dublin, where he learned how to paint and write using just his left foot. It’s also been reported the actor stayed in character throughout the entire shoot, never once getting up out of his wheelchair. — Trib

 

My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

Two girls move to the country and have magical encounters with wondrous forest sprites. Miyazaki in genteel and languid mode, but deeper and without the familiarity factor of Spirited Away. — Empire 500

 

Napoléon (1927)

At its restored length, Abel Gance's silent masterpiece runs to five-and-a-half hours. It was designed as a gigantic biopic in six 90-minute parts, but ended up this magnificent giant (about a shortarse) with groundbreaking visuals, literate captions and pulsating energy. — Empire 500

 

Nashville (1975)

The ensemble cast of Nashville features Karen Black, Ned Beatty, Lily Tomlin, Keith Carradine, Geraldine Chaplin, and Henry Gibson. The songs were written and performed by the actors themselves, and Carradine’s “I’m Easy” won an Oscar and a Golden Globe. The movie was nominated for a record 11 Globe awards, including acting nods to Chaplin, Gibson, Tomlin, Ronee Blakley, and Barbara Harris. — BFI, Trib

 

National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978)

The gross-out comedy, but still with a keen sense of satire for U.S. campus rituals. Let’s face it: This is why toga parties, food fights and road trips are so damned attractive. — Empire 500

 

Natural Born Killers (1994)

What do you get when you cross combustible provocateur Oliver Stone and (the then) enfant terrible of Hollywood Quentin Tarantino? Answer: Natural Born Killers, a volatile re-working of the Badlands/Bonnie and Clyde couple-on-a-killing-spree formula that (predictably) shocked the system, and (predictably) had Tarantino throwing a creative huff over Stone's liberal changes. The film is all the more fascinating for being a product of its time, strobing through the mid-'90s zeitgeist (from daytime soaps to news docs), and populated with such (as of then) wild children as Robert Downey Jr., Tom Sizemore, Juliette Lewis and Woody Harrelson. The mystical mumbo-jumbo harks back to Stone's predilection for '60s motifs, making it half-crazed, but iconic all the same. — Empire 500

 

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)

It was the highest-ranking film in a 2006 poll of the greatest animations conducted at the Japan Media Arts Festival, voted by 80,000 attendees. — wiki

 

Network (1976)

Sidney Lumet’s satire of television’s morals has grown more chillingly relevant with age. Peter Finch’s on-air breakdown, screaming at the cameras, entices the audience rather than repels them. — Empire 500, AFI

 

Never Rarely Sometimes Always (2020)

A pair of teenage girls (Sidney Flanigan, Talia Ryder) in rural Pennsylvania travel to New York City to seek out medical help after an unintended pregnancy. — RT

 

A Night at the Opera (1935)

A sly business manager (Groucho Marx) and two wacky friends (Chico, Harpo) of two opera singers help them achieve success while humiliating their stuffy and snobbish enemies. — RT

 

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

What's this? What's this?! A spindly, stop-motion delight, ingeniously entwining the appeal of Hallowe'en with Jesus' birthday. — Empire 500

 

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)

A new breed of cinematic killer who literally climbed inside your dreams, Freddy Krueger was a truly scary creation, with Craven riffing on almost Jungian fear of what sleep might bring. — Empire 500

 

The Night of the Hunter (1955)

The sole behind-the-camera gig of character actor Charles Laughton, a psycho-thriller shrouded in spectral majesty, with a mezmerising act of evil from another underrated actor, Robert Mitchum. “Chilll ... dren?” — Empire 500, BFI

 

Night of the Living Dead (1968)

The greatest zombie movie ever made. Stripped of the cackle and glee of modern horror, this plays its emotions and viscera straight, the lo-fi feel adding to the unease. — Empire 500

 

Ninotchka (1939)

"Garbo laughs," said the tag of this rom-com. And it was the relaxing of her usually haughty façade that made this cement an icon. — Empire 500

 

No Country for Old Men (2007)

The Coen brothers' Cormac McCarthy adaptation is a tension-ratcheting, 1980 Texas-set chase movie, which also thoughtfully considers the question: how can good people ever possibly deal with a world going to shit? It also revealed that Javier Bardem makes an awesome villain; ever since he played No Country's cold-blooded assassin Anton Chigurh, Hollywood can't stop making him the bad guy. — Empire, Empire 500

 

North by Northwest (1959)

The modern-day action genre might have well begun with this 1959 spy thriller from Alfred Hitchcock. It stars Cary Grant as a New York ad exec named Roger Thornhill who gets mistaken for a wanted spy and framed for murder. To clear his name, Thornhill embarks on an adventure of epic proportion, paving the way for a deadly showdown on Mount Rushmore. A droll and debonair Cary Grant slaloms between spy rings, suspicious blondes, mother issues and a psychopathic cropduster. — Empire 500, AFI, BFI, Trib, RT, THR

 

Nosferatu (1922)

Vampire Count Orlok expresses interest in a new residence and real estate agent Hutter's wife. — RT

 

Notorious (1946)

Alfred Hitchcock is back on the list with this noirish thriller starring Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman. Bergman plays Alicia Huberman, a German woman who’s sent undercover to spy on the Nazis. But how far will she go to earn their trust? Noted French critic and filmmaker (and major Hitchcock fan) François Truffaut called “Notorious” a personal favorite, referring to it as the “very quintessence of Hitchcock.” — Empire 500, Trib

 

Ocean's Eleven (2001)

Slick, suave and cooler than a penguin's knackers, Soderbergh's starry update of the Rat Pack crime caper not only outshines its predecessor, but all the lights of The Strip combined. — Empire 500

 

Oldboy (2003)

Chan-wook Park's revenge drama does extremity with a capital Eeek. Torture through 15 years of solitary? Check. Hammer-wielding violence? Check. Incest? Check. Live octopus-eating? Check, check, chuck-up. But it never feels crowbarred-in. It's all part of the deliciously dark and stylishly executed journey. Popular with readers, critics and the most unlikely of filmmakers — Cameron Crowe loves it — this ferocious thriller explores the appeal and futility of revenge. — Empire 500, Empire

 

Once Upon a Time in America (1984)

It took Leone years to realize this chronicle of the lives of Jewish ghetto youths, and he couldn’t quite let it go in the editing suite. Still, it’s a majestic drama that repays endless viewings. — Empire 500

 

Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood (2019)

A faded television actor (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double (Brad Pitt) strive to achieve fame and success in the final years of Hollywood's Golden Age in 1969 Los Angeles. — RT

 

Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)

This epic ballad of revenge, redemption and the painful rooting of civilization in the Old West is peak Sergio Leone. Like The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, it concerns three men — one mysterious (Charles Bronson), one seemingly amoral (Jason Robards) and one evil (Henry Fonda, playing brilliantly against type) — but this time Leone gets to shoot it against the epic vistas of the real American West. — Empire 500, BFI, Empire

 

A One and a Two (1999)

Edward Yang’s second film in our top 100 films offers a lucid, novelistic tapestry of contemporary Taiwanese anomie through the layers of multiple generations of a Taipei family. — BFI

 

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

Ken Kesey's era-defining novel was in good hands with screenwriters Lawrence Hauben and Bo Goldman, not to mention director Milos Forman — five Oscars were testament to that, including one for Jack Nicholson, who's arguably never been better as a man destined to be chewed up by the unfeeling system (ditto Louise Fletcher, who represents that system in the form of softly-spoken sadist Nurse Ratched). — Empire 500, AFI, Empire, THR

 

On the Town (1949)

Sailors on 24-hour shore leave. The pursuit of a pin-up girl. New York in the ’40s. If On the Town isn’t the most famous musical, it is perhaps the most archetypal. Created by the musical galácticos (Kelly, Donen, Sinatra, Bernstein), the classic premise is embroidered with great numbers (New York, New York, Prehistoric Man, the title song), ballsy innovation (it was the first musical to partly shoot on location) and some of the most muscular, inventive choreography ever committed to celluloid — in Ann Miller, Kelly found that rare thing: a dancer who could match him step for step. Between the songs Kelly makes the central romance affecting, Betty Comden and Adolph Green’s script sparkles (“Did you see The Lost Weekend?” “Yes, I’m living through it!”), and forget New York — the whole thing has enough energy to get to the moon. And back. — Empire 500

 

On the Waterfront (1954)

Marlon Brando's Terry Malloy may be a landmark in screen acting, but Elia Kazan's still stunning hymn to individualism set new levels of realism, finding enough gritty atmosphere and street poetry to power 1,000 episodes of The Wire. Contrary to popular belief, Brando's most famous line — "I coulda been a contender" — was not improvised. — Empire 500, AFI, RT, THR

 

Ordet (1955)

The penultimate film by the Danish master Carl Theodor Dreyer is a parable on the power of faith, set in a remote religious community. — BFI

 

Out of Sight (1998)

So smart, so sexy. Soderbergh returned from the indie wilderness with this snappy Elmore Leonard adaptation the best yet made, with only the possible exception of Jackie Brown precipitating tingly chemistry between then-on-the-cusp George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez. Playing charismatic bank robber Jack Foley, former TV doctor Clooney finally arrived as a bona fide movie star, and has hardly broken his stride since. Playing spunky US Marshall Karen Sisco, Lopez revealed promise as an actress that you wish she'd since lived up to, rather than going off and swishing her curves as J-Lo. As for Sodey, while Out of Sight wasn't a smash, it got critics gushing enough for him to bag the projects that rocketed him to the A-list. Without this, we might never have seen his Erin Brockovich, Traffic or Ocean's Eleven. — Empire 500

 

The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)

It’s not hard to argue this is Clint Eastwood’s finest behind-camera work; we’re just surprised many of his movies didn’t make the 500. Here, Eastwood makes his “Man With No Name” persona truly human, while offering (he says unintentional) involving critique on Vietnam. — Empire 500

 

Paddington 2 (2018)

Paddington, now happily settled with the Brown family and a popular member of the local community, picks up a series of odd jobs to buy the perfect present for his Aunt Lucy's 100th birthday, only for the gift to be stolen. — RT

 

Pain and Glory (2019)

A film director reflects on the choices he's made in life as the past and present come crashing down around him. — RT

 

The Palm Beach Story (1942)

This bit of screwball Preston Sturges magic concerns itself with marital fidelity beneath the lure of money. An improbable inspiration for Indecent Proposal. — Empire 500

 

Pandora’s Box (1929)

Even if you don’t know the film, you’ll know the image of pouting, bob-haired Louise Brooks. This story of a doomed woman is a symphony of style. — Empire 500

 

Pan's Labyrinth (2006)

Guillermo del Toro fuses personal and commercial interests with a tale of the power of fairy tale, even against the grimmest of political settings: the Spanish Civil War. Del Toro's fairy tale for grown-ups, as pull-no-punches brutal as it is gorgeously, baroquely fantastical. There's an earthy, primal feel to his fairy-world here, alien and threatening rather than gasp-inducing and 'magical' — thanks in no small part to the truly cheese-dream nightmarish demon-things Del Toro conjures up, sans CGI, with the assistance of performer Doug Jones. — Empire 500, Empire, Trib, THR

 

Parasite (2019)

The film depicts the intersection of a poor family living in a squalid basement with members of a wealthy family living in a mansion in Seoul. Made with subtitles, it was the first non-English language film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. It also won Oscars for best director and for best original screenplay. — Trib, RT

 

Paris, Texas (1984)

It's Kramer Vs. Kramer on wheels as Harry Dean Stanton's Travis goes on the road with his son to find his ex. Emotionally restrained, beautifully shot and memorably scored by Ry Cooder. — Empire 500

 

Partie de campagne (1936)

This featherlight, 40-minute romance directed by Jean Renoir and based on a Guy de Maupassant story follows a love affair over the course of a summer afternoon in the countryside outside Paris. A brief feature, abandoned by Jean Renoir during the 1930s but revisited and edited together after the War — a trifle, perfectly played and with a lovely, riverside feel. Renoir claimed he made it solely to take close-ups of lead actress Sylvia Bataille. — Empire 500, BFI

 

The Passenger (1975)

Many would argue that Jack Nicholson has yet to better his lead performance in Michelangelo Antonioni's complex, disquieting thriller as a frazzled reporter who assumes the identity of a dead gun-runner. — Empire 500

 

The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)

Silent cinema at its most sublimely expressive, Carl Theodor Dreyer’s masterpiece is an austere but hugely affecting dramatization of the trial of St Joan. — BFI

 

Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973)

Arguably Sam Peckinpah's masterpiece. Sequences of violence are interspersed with tenderly beautiful, melancholy moments, scored by Bob Dylan songs. — Empire 500

 

Pather Panchali (1955)

The first part of Satyajit Ray’s acclaimed Apu Trilogy is a lyrical, closely observed story of a peasant family in 1920s rural India. — BFI

 

Paths of Glory (1957)

With recent events in Iraq, the relevance of Paths of Glory grows year on year. Kirk Douglas excels as Colonel Dax, defending three soldiers up for court martial, to cover up a military mistake on World War I’s Western Front. The film was banned in France until 1975, yet is far more anti-establishment than it is anti-war or anti-France. If unsung Stanley Kubrick, it’s the first movie to reveal the director’s true colors, blessed with a cool, intellectual thrill, spare economical characterization and precise tracking shots. Cementing Kubrick’s relationship with Douglas, it led to him taking over Spartacus, but more importantly, in the small role of “German Singer,” Kubrick found Christiane Harlan, who became his wife up until his death. Sometimes, war is swell. — Empire 500

 

Patton (1970)

The World War II phase of the career of controversial American general George S. Patton. AFI

 

Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure (1985)

Tim Burton’s debut is a Bicycle Thieves for the ’80s, as Paul Reubens’ man-child quests for his missing bike. A live-action, eye-popping cartoon. — Empire 500

 

Performance (1970)

Roeg and Cammell fused sensibilities as much as gangster James Fox and rocker Mick Jagger do in this acid-tinged freak-out. — Empire 500

 

Persona (1966)

A nurse (Bibi Andersson) and an actress who refuses to speak (Liv Ullmann) seem to fuse identities in Ingmar Bergman’s disturbing, formally experimental psychological drama. — BFI

 

The Philadelphia Story (1940)

The quintessential movie “they don’t make anymore.” Can you imagine three better people for a love triangle than Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn and Jimmy Stewart? Even if you think you can, you can’t. — Empire 500, AFI, RT

 

The Piano (1993)

In the mid-19th century, a mute woman is sent to New Zealand along with her young daughter and prized piano for an arranged marriage to a wealthy landowner, but is soon lusted after by a local worker on the plantation. It was voted the best film made by a female director in a 2019 BBC poll of 368 film experts from 84 countries. — wiki

 

Pickpocket (1959)

Robert Bresson chronicles the life of a petty thief in this philosophical film, with a screenplay inspired by Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, and a cast featuring several non-professional actors. — BFI

 

Pierrot le fou (1965)

Riffing on the classic couple-on-the run movie, enfant terrible Jean-Luc Godard took the narrative innovations of the French New Wave close to breaking point. — BFI

 

Pinocchio (1940)

The childhood favorite tells the tale of the little wooden puppet created by the woodworker Geppetto. It won two Oscars — one for best original song, which was “When You Wish Upon a Star,” and one for best original score. The expected budget for the film was $500,000, but it cost five times that amount to complete, and it was one of the most costly films of its time. — Trib, wiki

 

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

Remember when the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise wasn't misguidedly obsessed with character depth and darkness, and was just plain old fun? — Empire 500

 

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006)

While it's confused and bloated, the first Pirates sequel pleased crowds by giving them exactly what they wanted: more Captain Jack. — Empire 500

 

A Place in the Sun (1951)

Not the Channel 4 foreign property show but George Stevens’ character study of the American male in meltdown (a superb, poignant Montgomery Clift), underpinned with masterly filmmaking control. — Empire 500, AFI

 

Planet of the Apes (1968)

This trippy piece of new-Hollywood sci-fi mixes in issues of race, science, even politics, with its tetchy dystopian thrills and Charlton Heston's bronzed chest. The twist ending alone lands it on this list. — Empire 500

 

Platoon (1986)

Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen), a neophyte recruit in Vietnam, finds himself caught in a battle of wills between two sergeants, one good (Willem Dafoe) and the other evil (Tom Berenger). A shrewd examination of the brutality of war and the duality of man in conflict. Born out of his own experience, Oliver Stone’s searing exposé of the Vietnam War remains the most authentic picture to come out of the conflict. "Y'all know about killing? I'd like to hear about it." — Empire 500, AFI

 

Playtime (1967)

Jacques Tati directs and stars in this fun account of the bumbling M. Hulot’s day in Paris. — BFI

 

Point Break (1991)

Before Neo there was Johnny Utah: young, dumb and full of come-on, can’t-you-spot-the-subtext? beauty. Surfin’ and stealin’, buddy beefcakes Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze forge the ultimate bromance. — Empire 500

 

Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)

Set in 18th-century France, this movie tells the story of the relationship that develops between an aristocratic bride-to-be and a young woman commissioned to paint her wedding portrait. The film has only brief lines of dialogue by men, and it has no musical score. — Trib, RT

 

The Poseidon Adventure (1972)

Nine people explore a cruise ship at sea in a manner that turns their whole lives upside down. (Captain’s note: Because the S.S. Poseidon has capsized and is upside down, get it? They’re going to the bottom, which is now the top, in the hopes of being rescued. Boy, sometimes these descriptions leave a lot to be desired, don’t they?) It was voted best disaster movie in a poll of 500 members of the UCI Cinemas staff in May 2004. — wiki

 

Predator (1987)

A pumped-up men-on-a-mission movie with an ingenious science-fiction tweak. When you've got the world's baddest asses on the march, it'd be rude not to have them stalked by an intergalactic hunter with space-dreads and a shoulder-mounted laser cannon. "You're one ugly motherfu ..." Never a truer word. — Empire 500, Empire

 

The Prestige (2006)

Christopher Nolan's last “little” movie concerned warring stage magicians (Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale) in late 19th century London, but was less a period thriller than a stealth sci-fi. In some ways, it can also be seen as a metaphor for his film-making philosophy: Keep the magic practical, don't give away how you do your tricks, and stay well away from “real” magic (i.e. CGI). It’s gorgeous to look at, even if the 'cleverness' of its ending remains open to debate. — Empire 500, Empire

 

The Princess Bride

This may be the most widely quoted obscure film in history, because it’s the one that even your sister can recite at length. William Goldman’s perfectly parodic script both nails the adventure and romance of heroic adventures while ripping the piss out of them. It’s funny, it’s smart, it’s perfectly cast, and has immense, unstoppable charm. Without this, no Shrek, no Enchanted. Director Rob Reiner mentioned on a recent commentary that one of New York kingpin John Gotti’s gangsters once walked up to him and quoted the never-bettered, “You killed my father, prepare to die” — nearly giving the director a heart attack. As he says, “When one of Gotti’s wiseguys is quoting your lines, you know you’ve penetrated the culture.” Indeed. Great lines, superb sword fights and rodents of unusual size. What's not to love? — Empire 500, Empire, THR

 

Princess Mononoke (1997)

The Studio Ghibli head honcho weaves a tale of swords and sorcery with his trademark stunning style. He intended this to be his swansong; thankfully, it wasn't. — Empire 500

 

Psycho (1960)

The movie Universal originally didn't want Alfre Hitchcock to make not only turned out to be a hands-down masterpiece but also effectively invented a genre: the psycho-killer slasher movie. No longer were movie monsters just big, hairy wolf-men, or vampires, or swampy fish-things. They could now look completely normal. They could be the guy sat right next to you, in fact. Hitchcock claimed this was a comedy it does make cruel fun of everything Americans were supposed to take seriously in 1960: psychology, cleanliness, money and mothers. — AFI, BFI, Empire, Trib, RT, THR, Empire 500

 

Pulp Fiction (1994)

If Reservoir Dogs was a blood-spattered calling card, Pulp Fiction saw Quentin Tarantino kick our front door off its hinges — and then get applauded for doing it with such goddamn panache. It wore its numerous influences on its sleeve and yet felt utterly, invigoratingly fresh and new. We happy? Yeah, we happy. — AFI, Empire, Trib, THR, Empire 500

 

A Quiet Place (2018)

In a post-apocalyptic world, a family is forced to live in silence while hiding from monsters with ultra-sensitive hearing. — RT

Quo Vadis, Aida? (2021)

Set in Bosnia in 1995, Quo Vadis, Aida? tells the story of a United Nations translator whose family seeks refuge when the Serbian army takes over their town of Srebrenica and commits mass slaughter. Director and writer Jasmila Žbanić lived in Sarajevo during the Serbian siege. The film was submitted by Bosnia and Herzegovina in the International Feature Film category of the Academy Awards. — Trib

 

Radio Days (1987)

Made towards the end of Allen's early, funny phase, this is a sweet-natured homage to the big-band days of early radio, beamed across America through tub-sized Magnavox radios. Slight, by his early standards, but evocative and lovable all the same. — Empire 500

 

Raging Bull (1980)

Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro have together made movies better than their boxing biopic, but it's hard to argue that any of those movies feature a more jaw-dropping performance than De Niro's here as self-destructive pugilist Jake La Motta. It also features some of cinema's best-shot fights; hard to believe that before Scorsese, no director thought to put the camera inside the ring. Bruising, beautiful and a never-bettered showcase for De Niro’s once-legendary physical immersion into a role. We’re not just talking about the weight gain: look into those eyes and try telling us they’re anyone else’s but Jake LaMotta’s. — Empire 500, AFI, BFI, Empire, THR

 

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

In 1981, it must have sounded like the ultimate pitch: the creator of Star Wars teams up with the director of Jaws to make a rip-roaring, Bond-style adventure starring the guy who played Han Solo, in which the bad guys are the evillest ever (the Nazis) and the MacGuffin is a big, gold box which unleashes the power of God. It still sounds like the ultimate pitch. Of the Spielbergs, Jaws and Schindler’s List traditionally score more highly, but it appears this year’s final jaunt for the man in the hat has re-whetted appetites for the pre-gopher Indy. Quite right, too; no adventure movie is quite so efficiently entertaining as Steve ’n’ George’s B-inspired blockbuster. — Empire 500, AFI, Empire, THR

 

Rain Man (1988)

The best film about a slickster and his autistic brother ever made, the unsung hero here is Barry Levinson, who tells the tale in crisp, confident beats. Tom Cruise also knocks it out of the park. — Empire 500

 

Raising Arizona (1987)

For their sophomore effort, those versatile Coen boys swung from the stark chills of Blood Simple into screwball territory with this hyperactive comedy of apocalyptic bikers, serial robbery, infant kidnap, and the value of family. — Empire 500

 

Ran (1985)

From influential filmmaker Akira Kurosawa comes this 1985 epic, which sets Shakespeare’s King Lear in Medieval Japan. After a warlord decides to leave his fiefdom to his three sons, the sons square off against one another over rights to the land. Kurosawa was 75 years old and in poor health when he made the film. For those reasons and more, critic Roger Ebert wondered if Ran was as inspired by the director’s own life as it was Shakespeare’s famous play. — Trib, Empire 500

 

Rashomon (1950)

This highly acclaimed film centers on a rape and murder as recounted by different people—a priest, a bandit, a victim, a woodcutter and the ghost of a samurai. The title of the film has come to be used to describe different accounts or perspectives of an event. Winning top honors at the Venice Film Festival, it is considered to have been director Akira Kurosawa’s breakthrough onto the international film scene.  — BFI, Trib, Empire 500

 

Ratatouille (2007)

Pixar's rat-in-the-kitchen masterwork combines perfectly orchestrated slapstick with a self-portrait about the challenges of being an artist in a sea of mediocrity. The legendary Brad Bird co-wrote and co-directed this Pixar classic, about an epicurean rat named Remy (voiced by Patton Oswalt) who puts his cooking skills to the test in the kitchen of a French restaurant. To avoid exposure, Remy hides inside the hat of a bumbling kitchen worker and controls the worker’s movements by pulling on his hair. Not only was this animated flick a huge hit with critics, but it features an elitist food critic in a prominent role. —Trib, Empire 500

 

 

Rear Window (1954)

A simple technical exercise — making a whole film in one room — is given ballsy bravura by Alfred Hitchcock as a terrific James Stewart witnesses a murder through his, um, rear window.  Photographer L.B. Jeffries (James Stewart) is on sick leave, with a broken leg. He's bored to tears, so he starts spying on his neighbors. Then he witnesses a murder. OR DOES HE? Alfred Hitchcock really knew how to take a corker of a premise and spin it into a peerless thriller (that's why they called him The Master of Suspense), but Rear Window also deserves praise for an astonishing set build: That entire Greenwich Village courtyard was constructed at Paramount Studios, complete with a drainage system that could handle all the rain. — Empire 500, AFI, BFI, Empire, Trib, RT, THR

 

Rebecca (1940)

As his first Hollywood movie, Alfred Hitchcock was pressed to adapt Daphne du Maurier's fraught classic of timid new brides tormented by tyrannical housekeepers and distant husbands. It's all a bit melodramatic for the master, but he did to win the Best Picture Oscar. — Empire 500, AFI

 

Rebel Without a Cause (1955)

As a teenage loner who involves himself in knife fights and road races, James Dean created an icon for a generation adrift, while Ray's direction created a timeless tale of teenage disaffection. — Empire 500, AFI

 

The Red Balloon (1956)

One of the world’s most famous shorts, echoing Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s fairy-tale style, as a small boy is strangely pursued by the balloon he’s forced to abandon. — Empire 500

 

The Red Shoes (1948)

Based on the story by Hans Christian Andersen, P&P's tale about a woman born to dance and the various tragedies that befall her is as beautiful as it is heartbreaking. A true British masterpiece. — Empire 500

 

Requiem for a Dream (2000)

If Pi showed that Darron Aronofsky was full of ideas, his follow-up showed we didn’t know the half of it, with the director’s toy-box of technical tricks providing the film’s big buzz amid a gripping pessimism. — Empire 500

 

Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Quentin Tarantino's terrific twist on the heist-gone-wrong thriller, which ricochets the zing and fizz of its dialogue around a gloriously intense single setting (for the most part) and centers the majority of its action around one long and incredibly bloody death scene. Oh, and by the way: Nice Guy Eddie was shot by Mr. White. Who fired twice. Case closed. — Empire 500, Empire, THR

 

The Return (2003)

Family drama in the Russian wilds as an estranged father returns to his two teenage sons: This simple premise emerges as a stunning, near-mythic tale of emergent manhood in the hands of a director fast becoming Russia's premier filmmaker. — Empire 500

 

Rio Bravo (1958)

Howard Hawks’ Western is at once roundabout — with time-outs for songs and Angie Dickinson in tights — and a model of suspense, as John Wayne, Dean Martin and Walter Brennan hole up in a town jail besieged by the bad hats. — Empire 500, BFI

 

RoboCop (1987)

Part man. Part machine. All brilliance. Verhoeven's Hollywood debut balances futuristic cop action with a skewed sense of subversive satire. We'll buy this for a dollar. — Empire 500

 

Rocco and His Brothers (1960)

Italian neo-realism a-go-go as a widow and her petty brood try to eke out a new life in Milan. If low on orderly plot, it bursts with rich characters and turbulent emotions. — Empire 500

 

Rocks (2021)

This is the story of a teenage girl and her brother struggling to survive on the streets of London after being abandoned by their mother. Written by Nigerian British playwright and screenwriter Theresa Ikoko and film and television writer Claire Wilson, the movie was made with a mostly female crew. — Trib

 

Rocky (1976)

John G. Avildsen's boxing drama is the ne plus ultra of underdog sports movies. It not only proves that winning isn't the most important thing (you gotta go the distance), but also enabled Sylvester Stallone to craft a character so convincing and emotionally absorbing, he's still appearing in movies almost 40 years later. One of the finest ever sporting movies, a celebration of the can-do spirit all the more important when it becomes clear that he can't. — Empire 500, AFI, Empire, THR, wiki

 

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

It was voted the best movie musical by readers of Rolling Stone in a 2017 poll. — wiki

 

Roma (2018)

Winner of the Golden Lion Award at the 2018 Venice Film Festival, Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” takes place in the early 1970s and depicts a year in the life of a middle-class family in Mexico City. Cuarón based the black-and-white film on his own childhood experiences, making this project arguably his most personal one to date. According to critics, it’s also one of his best — Trib, RT

 

Roman Holiday (1953)

The movie that gave the world Audrey Hepburn, this charming tale of a European royal going AWOL in Rome and falling for Gregory Peck is invested with maximum magic. — Empire 500, wiki

 

Romeo + Juliet (1996)

It’s clear that generations have been immunized against Shakespeare in dull English lessons, given that this dizzily paced romantic epic is the only Shakespeare on the list (Ran doesn’t use the Bard’s dialogue, even in translation). It clearly takes a lot to get people past that prejudice, but, by recoloring the action in Mexican kitsch and filming with the frantic energy of infatuation, Luhrmann managed it. He made Shakespeare cool, reminding us that this is a story about teens in love, defying their parents and picking fights. His interpretation opened the way for Shakespeare productions both more faithful to the original text and more outrageous in their staging. Perhaps for our next list, people will allow another couple of the Bard’s works into the fold — Empire 500

 

Rosemary's Baby (1968)

Some thoroughly haunting theme music sets the tone for this bone-chilling horror flick from Roman Polanski, in which a woman gets mysteriously impregnated. She soon finds herself in the midst of a terrifying conspiracy. Starring as Rosemary is actress Mia Farrow, who brings the ideal amount of innocence and fear to the role. As a series of ghastly events unfolds, Rosemary begins to wonder if she’s carrying the spawn of Satan himself. Still creepy after all these years, Polanski’s efficiently cold and calculating tale of devil-worshipping, nasty neighbors and labor pains should be mandatory viewing for all sex education classes — that’d cut down on “the Juno effect.” — Empire 500, Trib

 

The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

And you thought your family was crazy. Wes Anderson’s eccentric, hilarious and moving dramedy about the world’s most dysfunctional clan is almost too quirky for its own good. Almost. — Empire 500

 

The Rules of the Game (1939)

Banned on its original release, Renoir's cutting, supremely entertaining dissection of class and love (the title refers to romance, as much as anything) is just about perfect. — Empire 500

 

Rushmore (1998)

Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman) is the sort of kid every school has, but who was hitherto unseen in teen movies a smart, semi-geeky boy who polarizes the school by being at once disturbingly weird and a fashion leader. — Empire 500

 

Russian Ark (2002)

The film that famously involves one single shot, floating through the halls of the Hermitage in St. Petersburg during 19th century Russia. It's a virtuoso piece of directing, but can't quite escape the nagging sensation of stunt over content. — Empire 500

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I'll only comment on the films I've seen, with maybe one or two exceptions.

M (1931) Great, great movie,

Mad Max 2 (aka The Road Warrior, 1981) I've seen this, but don't remember much about it.

The Magnificent Seven (1960) A great film.  Kurosawa enjoyed it.

Metropolis (1927) Some amazing imagery in this, but  draggy in parts.

Mr. Hulot’s Holiday (1953) A great movie.  The humor is largely visual, so it doesn't matter if you speak French or not.

Monty Python and The Holy Grail (1975) Great stuff, but the literal cop-out ending still makes me mad 46 years later.

Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979) The lads' best film.

My Neighbor Totoro (1988) A fun, gentle picture.

A Night at the Opera (1935) Fun stuff.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) A good movie that would have been better off without the increasingly silly sequels.

Night of the Living Dead (1968) Important as the progenitor of a genre, the picture itself isn't that good.  Romero did better later.

(Note: Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984) belongs on this list.)

Nosferatu (1922) Not overwhelmed by this. I generally don't do well with silent movies.

 

The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) Interesting stuff.

 

Planet of the Apes (1968) A good film.  The packaging wrecks the reveal for anyone who doesn't know it.

The Poseidon Adventure (1972) Another old favorite.

 

Predator (1987) An OK popcorn flick.

The Princess Bride  A fun movie. Andre the Giant's best film work.

Princess Mononoke (1997) Another one I've seen but don't remember much about.

Psycho (1960) A great movie that inspired a lot of terrible movies.

Pulp Fiction (1994) Good stuff.

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)  A fun popcorn flick.  Another film ill-served by lesser sequels.

Raising Arizona (1987) Fun stuff, as I recall.

 

Ran (1985) A great film.  Often called the best film adaptation of  Lear.

Rashomon (1950)  My favorite of Kurosawa's pictures.

Reservoir Dogs (1992) Good stuff.

(Note: Ringu (1998) should be on this list as one of the great Japanese horror films.)

 

Rocky (1976) Not bad.

 

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)  Hugely overrated.  Only enjoyable in a crowd of fans.  Try watching it at home alone sometime.  It's not that good.

Romeo + Juliet (1996) Good stuff. You know, in Shakespeare's play, Juliet is thirteen. 

The Poseidon Adventure (1972) - The Mad magazine version is just as good!

The Maltese Falcon (1941)

In this 1941 mystery, Humphrey Bogart plays private detective Sam Spade, one of his most iconic roles. In the film, Spade must navigate through a treacherous maze of murder and betrayal, as he searches high and low for a priceless missing statue, the Maltese Falcon. Along the way, he crosses paths with three dangerous criminals and one devious dame. Walter Huston’s first film as a director is still his best, in which Spade slaps dames, cracks wise and solves crimes in a plot that is gloriously unfathomable. — Empire 500, AFI, Trib, RT

This is, of course, the best version. I recently saw an earlier version, The Maltese Falcon (1931). It starred Ricardo Cortez, quite a matinee idol at the time, as Sam Spade. The characters are all the same, but it was hard not to compare them to the actors in the 1941 version.

The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

Frank Sinatra stars in this 1962 thriller about a former POW who’s brainwashed into becoming a political assassin. Released at the height of the Cold War, the film kicked off what’s now known as Frankenheimer’s “paranoia trilogy.” It opened to solid reviews but underperformed at the box office. In the time since, however, “The Manchurian Candidate” has garnered appreciation among a wider audience, and the film was even remade in 2004. — AFI, Trib

An excellent adaptation of Richard Condon’s book of the same name. Richard Condon was a writer of political novels with a satiric bent. Winter Kills (1979) and Prizzi’s Honor (1985) were adapted from his novels of the same names.

Winter Kills is a roman à clef of the assassination of JFK. It has every known theory of the assassination piled on top of each other with John Huston playing the family patriarch and Jeff Bridges playing a surviving brother who is trying to get to the bottom of things. It’s really well done.

John Huston went on to direct Prizzi’s Honor, starring Jack Nicholson. It is a satirical look at the Mafia. In the book it makes it clear that they are rolling in so much money that when they mean $50,000 they say “fifty dollars.” The movie only used that gag once. Not as good as its predecessors, but worth watching.

M. Hulot’s Holiday (1953)

Like Mr. Bean’s Holiday. But in French. And without Rowan Atkinson. And it’s really funny. Okay, not like Mr. Bean’s Holiday at all. Except it has holiday in the title; give us that. — Empire 500

The movie is almost completely dialogue-free. Jacques Tati, who also directed, does a great job as the title character.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)

A naive man (James Stewart) is appointed to fill a vacancy in the United States Senate. His plans promptly collide with political corruption, but he doesn't back down. — AFI

The movie that enshrined the filibuster, but in its original form. Currently, a Senator just has to drop a note that they want to filibuster. They don’t have to do anything else to trigger the need for a 60% vote.

Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood (2019)

A faded television actor (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double (Brad Pitt) strive to achieve fame and success in the final years of Hollywood's Golden Age in 1969 Los Angeles. — RT

I recommend this to anyone who lived through the Manson murders. It’s what should have happened.

The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976)

It’s not hard to argue this is Clint Eastwood’s finest behind-camera work; we’re just surprised many of his movies didn’t make the 500. Here, Eastwood makes his “Man With No Name” persona truly human, while offering (he says unintentional) involving critique on Vietnam. — Empire 500

I don’t know where they get the Vietnam reference. As enjoyable as a Clint Eastwood western is, this one extends the Lost Cause mythology to include the terrorists known as Quantrill’s Raiders.

Paris, Texas (1984)

It's Kramer Vs. Kramer on wheels as Harry Dean Stanton's Travis goes on the road with his son to find his ex. Emotionally restrained, beautifully shot and memorably scored by Ry Cooder. — Empire 500

Harry Dean Stanton is always fun to watch, as is Nastassja Kinski, but the striking thing to me is that the little kid is left either to his own devices or with virtual strangers without fear of child molesters and serial killers, which most movies tell us are behind every bush.

M- I've read the graphic novel adaptation, but never seen the movie that I recall.

Mad Max 2 (aka The Road Warrior - I remember liking it, but I haven't seen it in years.

Mad Max: Fury Road - I thought this was way overrated.

The Magnificent Seven - I really like it it. I like the remake that came out a few years ago too.

Magnolia - I thought it sucked.

The Maltese Falcon - I've seen it and read the story. For some reason I don't remember a whole lot about it. I remember thinking both were good.

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance - I re-watched this last year. Really good.

Mary Poppins - I haven't seen this in decades. I liked it back then.

M*A*S*H - Great movie. Ruined the TV show completely for me.

The Matrix - Really good. Still holds up.

McCabe & Mrs. Miller - I just saw this a month or so ago. It was pretty good.

Mean Streets - Its a good movie, with a weird ending I thought. Re-watched it this year too.

Memento - Really good one.

Men in Black - Its funny and good.

Metropolis - Saw this in high school when I took German. I liked it.

Midnight Cowboy - Pretty dark, but really good.

Midnight Run - I've watched this again this year. Its hilarious. I love the chemistry between DeNiro and Grodin. The scenes with Yaphet Kotto are great too. A great cast here.

Miller's Crossing - Own it, still haven't seen it.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington - They showed this to us in either 8th or 9th grade. I remember liking it,

Monty Python and The Holy Grail - Its hilarious.

Monty Python's Life of Brian - If I've seen this it was once decades ago. I know the plot, but thats about it.

National Lampoon’s Animal House - Funny, but overrated.

Network - Seen it, but barely remember it.

The Nightmare Before Christmas - Its good, but also overrated.

A Nightmare on Elm Street - I'm not much on horror, but I liked this one.

No Country for Old Men - This lives up to the hype. Great movie.

North by Northwest - Its good, not great.

Nosferatu - Another one I watched in German class. It was alright.

Ocean's Eleven - Very good

Once Upon a Time in the West - One of the best opening scenes in cinema. A very good movie, just too long.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - A good movie, but a tough watch.

On the Waterfront - It was pretty good. I got to see this in the theater a few years back.

Out of Sight - The best of the Elmore Leonard adaptations. It helps that it has a great cast. 

The Outlaw Josey Wales - Another one I've re-watched this year. Its Clint Eastwood in a Western, you can rarely go wrong.

Parasite- Very overrated. One of those movies were I don't find any of the characters likeable.

Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure - I haven't seen this in years. I wonder if it hold up?

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl - I liked this one. I saw one or two of the sequels and that was plenty.

Planet of the Apes- The only one I really think is worth watching again.

Platoon- This is good, but overrated I think. I like Full Metal Jacket better.

Point Break - I freely admit. I love this movie.

Predator- A pretty good action flick

The Princess Bride - Really good. When Cinemark was doing their classic movie series, I think this one had the most people there.

Princess Mononoke - I didn't like this at all. Very boring.

Pulp Fiction - Very good. Revitalized John Travolta's career.

Raging Bull - Terrible. So boring. Another Cinemark movie. There were 4 people in the theater when the movie started. Within 30-45 minutes it was just me and my buddy.

Raiders of the Lost Ark - I've always thought Indiana Jones movies were overrated. Its fine.

Rain Man - Pretty average.

Raising Arizona- This is hilarious, one of the best fight scenes in movie history inside the trailer home.

Rear Window - Very good.

Reservoir Dogs- Now this is the movie I've seen the most often on this list. At one point watching it once a week with a friend who had never seen it.

RoboCop - Really good. A couple of years ago Amazon had the rated X version streaming which was quite a bit gorier.

Rocky- Pretty good one.

Rushmore- Very overrated.

Princess Mononoke - I didn't like this at all. Very boring.

Travis, you'd probably enjoy find this cartoon from Short Cuts by Furuya Usamaru amusing:

Oh yeah, that's pretty funny!

Network (1976)

Sidney Lumet’s satire of television’s morals has grown more chillingly relevant with age. Peter Finch’s on-air breakdown, screaming at the cameras, entices the audience rather than repels them. — Empire 500, AFI

It's amazing how prescient this film is. 

Ocean's Eleven (2001)

Slick, suave and cooler than a penguin's knackers, Soderbergh's starry update of the Rat Pack crime caper not only outshines its predecessor, but all the lights of The Strip combined. — Empire 500

Somewhere along the way, we watched Ocean's 11, the inspiration. Notwithstanding the firepower of the entire Rat Pack, it was terrible. 

Ocean's Eleven is the movie that makes me firmly convinced more directors should do what Steven Soderbergh did here: Don't remake a beloved classic (I'm looking at you, Steven Spielberg and West Side Story) or give us yet another version of something that's been done to death (Peter Pan? AGAIN? Really?) -- remake a crappy old movie and do it better. 

The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) Another Orson Welles movie I couldn’t relate to. Ir was okay.

The Maltese Falcon (1941) – Another film that IMO didn’t live up to the hype. It wasn’t bad, but I was expecting more.

The Manchurian Candidate (1962) – This I remember being really good.

M*A*S*H (1970) – Good fun, for the most part, with just the right amount of seriousness.

Men in Black (1997) An enjoyable popcorn movie.

Midnight Run (1988) - This was okay.

Monty Python and The Holy Grail (1975) – Loved it as a kid and it still has some great moments, but I find it’s not quite as good as I remember as an adult.

Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979) I should probably watch this again at some point.

Nashville (1975) – Really good movie with an excellent ensemble cast.

National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978) – Hard to complain about this one.

Natural Born Killers (1994) – The performances were good but I found it overhyped.

Network (1976) Watched it as a kid and most of it went over my head.

A Night at the Opera (1935) – Marx Brothers. ‘Nuff said.

North by Northwest (1959) – Very good.

The Outlaw Josey Wales (1976) - A more thoughtful than usual Western.

Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure (1985) – A sign of the times. I likely wouldn’t watch it now.

The Poseidon Adventure (1972) – This wasn’t very good. When I watched it, it reminded me of a mediocre made for TV movie.

The Princess Bride – How can you not cheer for Inigo Montoya?

Psycho (1960) I was actually disappointed by this. I’d heard so much about it, but the impact just wasn’t there.

Pulp Fiction (1994) A great movie that I’ll never watch again.

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) So reminiscent of all those Flash Gordon serials I watched when I was a kid. Well executed too.

Rain Man (1988) – Pretty decent

Raising Arizona (1987) – Fun movie.

Ran (1985) – I’ve seen very few good movie adaptations of Shakespeare. This wasn’t bad.

Rear Window (1954) – As disappointed as I was with Psycho, that’s how impressed I was with this one.

RoboCop (1987) – Lots of fun for what it was.

Rocky (1976) – An iconic rags to riches tale.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) I saw this in a subdued theater with no one reciting lines or anything, and I have to say I was underwhelmed. It’s not a good movie, except in the “so bad it’s good” territory. Some great music though.



Ratatouille (2007)

Pixar's rat-in-the-kitchen masterwork combines perfectly orchestrated slapstick with a self-portrait about the challenges of being an artist in a sea of mediocrity. The legendary Brad Bird co-wrote and co-directed this Pixar classic, about an epicurean rat named Remy (voiced by Patton Oswalt) who puts his cooking skills to the test in the kitchen of a French restaurant. To avoid exposure, Remy hides inside the hat of a bumbling kitchen worker and controls the worker’s movements by pulling on his hair. Not only was this animated flick a huge hit with critics, but it features an elitist food critic in a prominent role. —Trib, Empire 500

One of my wife's relatives is married to the former head of the big-city health department. The scene he related to the most was the look on the health inspector's face when he shows up at the restaurant and finds the entire kitchen being operated by rats.

And that was my problem with Ratatouille: No matter how much anybody says anybody can be anything they want, the notion of a rat being a first-class chef is just TOO MUCH to ask me to swallow. They tried, they tried hard, like showing all those rats taking a shower in the dishwasher before they got to work, but still -- ! 

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