Top Twenty Movies




UPDATE:  I realized it had been a decade since the last time I revisited this list, so I’ve made a few changes.

These are my top twenty favorite movies of all time, because I just couldn’t narrow it down to ten (and even then, I had to add a “runners up” list). As usual, my only criterion is “How much I thought it kicked ass.” Notice I am not calling this “The BEST Movies of All Time,” because that’s more objective. This is a subjective list that reflects not only how I felt about the film at the time I watched it, but what kind of lasting impression it left on me. Also, can I resist watching it if I see that it’s on, even though I own the VHS, DVD, Blu-Ray, and digital versions? Unlike other films that others may find more worthy, my answer to that question for all of these is “No.”


I know for a fact I’m forgetting some, but then, if I’m forgetting it, does it really deserve to be here?


1.  Blade Runner – This movie is a combination of my favorite genres (sci-fi, noir, thriller, action, suspense) with the type of darkness I like in films, based on one of my favorite books and starring one of my favorite actors.

 2.  Star Wars (The Original/Episode IV: A New Hope) – I saw this movie eleven times during its first run in the theaters. Those of you who aren’t too young to remember NO DVDs, NO VHS, and waiting three years for a movie to come on premium cable understand why I would do something like that. Plus, it’s just so much cooler on the big screen, and for back then, those were brain-melting special effects.

 3.  Raiders of the Lost Ark – Hmmm…no, I don’t have a Harrison Ford fetish, but have you ever noticed how many kickass movies that guy has been in? For pure, old-fashioned, action-adventure it just doesn’t get any better than this.

 4. Back to the Future – This movie is perfect in practically every way. And the mall where the time travel happened is right down the street from me!

 5. Pulp Fiction – This movie made my brain hurt. In a good way. I knew it would be good after seeing Resevoir Dogs, I just didn’t know how good.

6. The Incredibles– Another nearly-perfect movie, and a family film. I’m sure we can all agree that most Pixar films are fantastic movies, and this is my favorite of the bunch. The only animated feature in my top ten.

7.  The Dark Knight – This spot used to be taken by Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman, but this one kicked its ass off the list. Don’t get me wrong–I still love the Burton film, it’s just no longer in my top 20. This is the ultimate non-comic version of Batman for me, and Heath Ledger’s performance is one of the greatest in film history.

8. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan – Since I’m such a huge Trekkie, I had to include one in my top ten, and it doesn’t get any better than this. “KHAAAAAAAAANN!”

9.  The Big Lebowski – This is the film I choose to represent the brilliant Coen Brothers in my top ten. It could have been Fargo, O, Brother, Where Art Thou?, or even The Hudsucker Proxy, but The Dude abides.

 10.  The Terminator – Most people prefer the fancy, big-budget sequel, but they’re wrong. Special effects can never replace one of the coolest ideas in film history, including a cyborg assassin sent from the future to destroy the future of mankind and a temporal paradox that actually makes sense. Well, sort of.

11. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back – Oddly enough, when I look at the Star Wars films as a group, this one is my favorite (V, IV, VII, VIII, III, VI, II, I is the order), but as a stand-alone movie it doesn’t really work, so it’s just out of my top ten. Still, there was no way I wouldn’t have it on this list. Does that make any sense? Ah, who cares.

12.  Highlander – “There can be only one!” And there should have been. This was a great movie that should have ended when it ended, ‘cause the sequels suck. I do cringe a little when I watch it now, but when I saw it originally it blew my mind.

13.Groundhog Day – In the same vein as Back to the Future, but not quite as good. What a fantastic concept and execution, though.

 14. Iron Giant – An incredibly beautiful film in so many ways. For some reason, I find that I get something in my eye every time I watch it.

 15. Twelve Monkeys – Terry Gilliam deserves to be on my list, if not for this, then for Brazil. Plus, TIME TRAVEL!

 16.  Donnie Darko – I prefer the director’s cut, but either way this was another mind-blowing film.

 17. Planet of the Apes (the original) – I love the entire series, even though I see its cheesiness as an adult. The original is such a classic. And that ending!

 18. Desperado – Robert Rodriguez is a great filmmaker, and he had to be represented here. The opening scene is one of the best sequences in film history. EVER.

19. Memento – I cannot believe how brilliant this story is. A guy who can’t keep any new memories in a story that takes place backwards until we discover what the hell is really going on. Wow.

20. Escape From New York –  Yes, I realize that this film is a total cheese-fest. No, that does not preclude it from being on my list due to the joy it brings me.


Runners-Up (or: Look! I’m not completely ignorant of film history!)


1.  Casablanca – This movie sounds like it’s full of clichés when you see it, until you realize this movie is where so many cliché’s came from.


2.Chinatown – Screenwriting just doesn’t get any better than this. And the acting ain’t bad, either. “My daughter! My sister! My daughter! My sister!”


3. Citizen Kane – See Casablanca above. Unless you know the background and understand the fact that movies just didn’t jump around in a non-linear way or have camera shots that weren’t straight on until this film, it may be difficult to understand why it’s so great.


4. Reservoir Dogs – Could have made the top ten if Pulp Fiction didn’t exist, but, like Batman films, there just isn’t room for two Tarentino films.


5.  Batman (1989) – This movie used to be in my top ten until Batman Begins and The Dark Knight showed me how it could be done even better.


6. Touch of Evil (Special Edition) – I’m talking about the version re-cut to match what Orson Welles wanted, not the one butchered by the studio in 1958 because the suits there were too stupid to recognize genius when they saw it


7. Fight Club – “The first rule of Fight Club…”


8. Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb – Brilliant. Just brilliant.


9. It’s a Wonderful Life – My favorite Christmas movie and a great alternate universe story all rolled into one.


10. Die  Hard – Another great Christmas move. Yeah, that’s right, I said it, Bruno!



6 Responses to “Top Twenty Movies”

  1. […] Top Twenty Favorite Movies Check out my top twenty favorite movies. Then […]

  2. There you have it, folks! A man after my own Kick-Ass heart!

  3. I’ll agree with you on these…

    Star Wars (The Original/Episode IV: A New Hope)
    Raiders of the Lost Ark
    The Incredibles
    Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
    Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl
    Back to the Future

  4. You have good taste.

  5. Thanks!

  6. […] TOP TWENTY MOVIES […]

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