Friday, January 11, 2008

After Movies 101, Here are the greatest 101 Critically Acclaimed Movies Of all time

After Movies 101, Here are the greatest 101 Critically Acclaimed Movies Of all time

When you think about it that way, it's pretty hard to come up with the definitive list of the best movies ever made. Put together, the 11 film critics at haven't even seen every film ever made. We haven't even seen a fraction of them.

The hushed truth is that no one who puts together lists like these, not even the American Film Institute has seen them all. And as one of our staffers puts it, most critics lie, anyway. They say their favorite film is L' Age d'or when it's really Caddyshack.

We've tried not to lie. But telling it like it is is easy. The real challenge in lists like this is comparing the merits of films like Doctor Zhivago and Young Frankenstein. Which is a better film? Who are we to say?

Still, some caveats. For better or worse, we are all young guys, and the list is top-heavy toward the latter half of the century. That said, the top 101 list doesn't crack the '90s until #9. I think you'll find some surprises herein, but nothing too shocking. After all, every film on this list is a classic.

So without further ado, we are extremely proud to present the definitive Top 101 Films of the Millennium, courtesy of

1. Dr. Strangelove (1964) - Stanley Kubrick directed four of the films in our top 100, and they're all in the top 20. That's impressive. But what makes Dr. Strangelove the greatest film ever made? It's not just Kubrick, who puts the Cold War into a twisted perspective unchallenged to date. It's Peter Sellers, in the three best roles of his career -- all in one film. It's George C. Scott, wreaking havoc in the War Room. It's Slim Pickens and his crazy pilot determined to deliver his cargo of nukes to the Rooskies. And it's Sterling Hayden as General Jack Ripper, the man who single-handedly choreographs the end of the world. Dr. Strangelove improves with every viewing, and it's just as relevant today as when it was produced.

A Clockwork Orange (1971) - The fix is in for Kubrick, it seems. The wonderful, horrible life of Alex and his droogies made a monster out of Malcolm McDowell, and the role haunts him still. This alterna-futuristic study of the nature of man, and what can go awry when you try to tinker with it, is timeless. Clockwork's whining, squeamish critics be damned.

Citizen Kane (1941) - It's on every top 100, top 10, and top 1 list ever written. Naturally, it's on ours as well, and rightfully so. Orson Welles' thinly-veiled attack on William Randolph Hearst is a biting examination of power, lust, greed, and megalomania. Its structure broke new ground almost 60 years ago, which might be why more films seem to have been made about Kane than any other.

Vertigo (1958) - Awesome and brilliant, Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo was recently restored, and its power is immense. Jimmy Stewart never did finer work, and Hitchcock's masterpiece, though its meaning may be lost on many, reveals a man at his most obsessed -- an apt metaphor for Hitch himself. The greatest of five Hitchcock films in our top 100.

Brazil (1985) - Monty Python troupe member Terry Gilliam turned his eye toward a dystopic future with a film that pays homage to 1984 and Metropolis. Gorgeous and wonderfully crafted, you couldn't ask for a better bad vision of the future.

Annie Hall (1977) - Woody Allen's undisputed finest film is filled with the voice of someone who has known love and loss. Diane Keaton has never been better than in the title role, and cameos by the likes of Christopher Walken and Jeff Goldblum make Annie unforgettable.

Blade Runner (1982) - Perpetually underrated, Ridley Scott's Blade Runner is the greatest strictly-sci-fi movie ever made. We'll forgive Harrison Ford a dozen Random Hearts for one of these.

The Empire Strikes Back (1980) - Not only is Empire the best film of the Star Wars trilogy -- er, four-logy -- it's one the best films ever made. George Lucas's epic about the most dysfunctional father-son relationship you can imagine should not be missed.

Pulp Fiction (1994) - With Pulp Fiction, young punk director by the name of Quentin Tarantino revived the cinema and launched a trend in film that has drawn countless imitations, none with the power of Pulp. Quentin, were are you now?

Casablanca (1942) - Everybody goes to Rick's. In war-torn Morocco, Bogie and Bergman made film history on one of the most memorable airstrips in the movies.

House of Games (1987) - David Mamet was quiet and unknown back in 1988 when he put together this true sleeper, the best con-game movie ever made, hands down. Joe Mantegna's career was built by this film.

JFK (1991) - Oliver Stone a crackpot? Sure, but his semi-revisionist version of the assassination of John F. Kennedy is still and probably will forever be his finest hour. Er, three hours.

Apocalypse Now (1979) - Coppola's adaptation of "Heart of Darkness" is creepy to an extreme, and far more memorable than the Godfather series or, quite frankly, anything else Coppola has done. The horror...

Star Wars (1977) - The rare case where the sequel beats out the original. The first Star Wars was obviously an amateur effort, though you have to give it credit for reviving the sci-fi genre and, of course, building an institution.

Fargo (1996) - Best black comedy ever produced? You betcha! The Coen brothers have yet to repeat the magic of Fargo, but it's great to watch them try.

Heavenly Creatures (1994) - Peter Jackson's brilliant and haunting true story of two teenage girls who decide to murder one's mother is a rare surprise, working double time as a fantasy and a drama.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) - Kubrick's sci-fi epic is probably the greatest freak-out of all time. We're still waiting for HAL, and he seems awfully close. Chilling.

Paths of Glory (1957) - Another from Kubrick: This time, the quintessential anti-war war movie.

The Godfather (1972) - It has to be on the list, if for no other reason than for spawning hundreds of sorry imitators in a relatively brief 25 years.

Taxi Driver (1976) - It did for taxis what Psycho did for showers.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) - Ken Kesey's memoir. Jack Nicholson's most memorable character. Put "Nurse Ratched" into the American lexicon.

Schindler's List (1993) - Spielberg finally redeemed himself for 1941 with this widely-hailed return to WWII.

23. Grand Illusion (1937) - Jean Renoir's keen eye turned to WWI in this French escape movie that goes so much deeper.

Manhattan (1979) - Woody pays homage to his two favorite things: New York City and younger women.

Rear Window (1954) - Hitch and Stewart together again in a powerful and thrilling meditation on voyeurism and murder.

26. His Girl Friday (1940) - The romantic comedy wasn't invented by Howard Hawks, but it may as well have been. Grant, Russell, hilarity.

Shallow Grave (1995) - The British Pulp Fiction, underseen, underrated, underground.

Gone With the Wind (1939) - As God is our witness, our wives will never let us forget the pleasures of Gone With the Wind.

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) - Has it really been that long since Indy first whipped his way onto the big screen?

Dead Poets Society (1990) - Carpe diem, seize the day. Dead Poets Society gave legions of teens something to dream about.

The Graduate (1967) - Where have you gone, Mrs. Robinson? Nowhere -- she's as vibrant now as she ever was.

Wall Street (1987) - Charlie Sheen and Daryl Hannah may not be the power pairing of Bogie and Bergman, but it was Michael Douglas's Gordon Gecko and his "Greed is good" credo that made Wall Street the voice for the entire decade of the 80's.

Real Genius (1985) - Perhaps the best flat-out comedy ever made, that no one ever saw. Val Kilmer ruled, before he got his attitude.

Network (1976) - "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this any more!" Try Howard Beale's speech the next time you quit a job.

A Fish Called Wanda (1989) - John Cleese and Jamie Lee Curtis... would that their follow-up, Fierce Creatures, were this flat-out hilarious.

The Crying Game (1992) - Who knew the name Jaye Davidson would cause such a stir? Neil Jordan's finest work, which he hasn't really mustered since.

Happiness (1998) - Todd Solondz wowed us with Welcome to the Dollhouse, then upped the ante with this follow-up. A tale of extreme family dysfunction, Happiness hurts.

38. The Gold Rush (1925) - Actually, we'll take anything and everything by Charlie Chaplin – the man who continues to make us wonder whether sound was a truly a technological advancement for motion pictures. City Lights gets honorable mention.

39. The African Queen (1951) - Bogart had chemistry with just about every woman he met. He proves it again here with Kate Hepburn, in a paragon of screenwriting excellence.

The Piano (1993) - Jane Campion has had her share of hits and misses. The Piano is one powerful story of love, jealousy, and a willing mute.

The Wild Bunch (1969) - One of the greatest westerns of 1960’s that helped pioneer independent filmmaking as it’s seen today. Sam Peckinpah’s editing and character development heralded a new era of motion picture history.

The Godfather Part II (1974) - More of the classic tale, with the same intensity.

WarGames (1984) - You think Y2K paranoia is bad. Here's the "PC" film that started the panic.

American Beauty (1999) - Gorgeous, stunning, and the last best film of the century. Sure to be an Oscar contender, if not the champ.

Blood Simple (1984) - A complex story of intrigue and deception handled beautifully by Joel and Ethan Cohen. The film became the catalyst for every noir film of the 80's and 90's.

In the Company of Men (1997) - Misogyny made fun.

Amadeus (1984) - Mozart made fun.

Rope (1948) - Murder made fun, courtesy of Hitchcock's inventive single-shot picture.

Chinatown (1974) - Filmmakers study Citizen Kane. Screenwriters study Chinatown.

Rashomon (1950) - All those movies told from multiple points of view, none of which is the real truth -- this is where it all started.

North by Northwest (1959) - Some consider this Hitchcock's finest work. At the very least, it's Cary Grant's best. The cropdusting sequence is cinema history.

The Princess Bride (1987) - Farce/fantasy done right, a star-studded cast in a kid's movie that has found a true following among adults.

Lawrence of Arabia (1962) - File under epic. David Lean dropped Peter O'Toole in the desert and let him do his thing.

Psycho (1960) - An inimitable Hitchcock masterwork, that is, before Gus Van Sant decided to imitate it, butchering the movie in the process.

Platoon (1986) - One of Oliver Stone’s finest films. The shattering of innocence and of hope reborn are driven home strongly among the horrors of warfare.

Trainspotting (1996) - Amazing examination of people living within the complex world of drug addiction, with a breakthrough role by Ewan McGregor.

The Producers (1968) - Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder star as entrepreneurs who aim to make the worst play imaginable, and in the process, make the funniest. Mel Brooks at his best.

The Terminator (1984) - Arnold Schwarzenegger has made a lot of movies, most of them god-awful. Here's the exception to the rule.

Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) - When Audrey Hepburn sang "Moon River," she made her way into the hearts of America and cinema history.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) - It's probably not PC nowadays, but Disney's first animated feature launched an empire yet to be leveled.

Toy Story (1995) - And 62 years later, that empire reached its height, ushering in a new age of computer animation.

62. Double Indemnity (1944) - Film noir at its best, in Billy Wilder's virtuoso double-cross tale.

63. It Happened One Night (1934) - Frank Capra united Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert as opposites who fall in love. Definitely ahead of its time and Capra's best work.

The Wizard of Oz (1939) - The munchkins, the wicked witch, the yellow brick road, the man behind the curtain: What isn't a piece of Americana?

Braveheart (1995) - Private Ryan may have brought battle scenes to a new level of technical brilliance, but this film bleeds emotion throughout.

66. Rocky (1976) - Adrian! Adrian! Sylvester Stallone wrote and starred in this boxing fable, which spawned countless awful sequels.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994) - Nothing warms the heart like a good, old-fashioned prison movie. This one's the best.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) - Although one critic says, "I thought this was mainstream pap when I was 12," we still get a little teary-eyed when we see a Speak & Spell.

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) - Great story plus groundbreaking camerawork, Mockingbird is a film legend.

The Big Chill (1984) - Lawrence Kasdan tapped into yuppie angst and threw it up on screen for the world to bask in.

It's a Wonderful Life (1946) - Merry Christmas, 365 days a year. Perhaps the most overexposed film in history, well, there's a reason for that.

The Matrix (1999) - Unfortunately, no one can tell you what The Matrix is. You just have to see it. Then again and again. The top-selling DVD title is also the best combination of the sci and the fi.

73. The Seven Samurai (1954) - It even spawned "The A-Team," and we love Mr. T.

Swingers (1996) - We're like the guys in the R-rated movie....

The Player (1992) - A landmark film, which helped to eventually semi-dismantle the studio system it mocked and loathed.

76. The Last Picture Show (1971) - West Texas towns aren’t actually this colorful, but still, this is one of the best films of the early 70's. *** Chris Leonard writes to point out that we had a numbering problem here... and there are actually 102 films on the list. D'oh!

Doctor Zhivago (1965) - Another David Lean epic, this time in the snows of Russia instead of the sands of Arabia. Adapted from one of the century's great novels.

Young Frankenstein (1974) - Another Mel Brooks classic, deconstructing the Frankenstein myth and making him into a singing, dancing monster.

All About Eve (1950) - Bette Davis was never more ruthless. Three Best Actress (not supporting) nominations alone.

Dances with Wolves (1990) - Costner goes native and tries his hand at directing. Kev, what happened since then?

81. The General (1927) - Buster Keaton at his unforgettable, silent finest.

Slaughterhouse-Five (1972) - Proof that you can adapt a Vonnegut book and not have it suck.

Go (1999) - Doug Liman's Swingers follow-up is the first--and only--film to accurately portray the mindset of Generation X.

Saving Private Ryan (1998) - War, what is it good for? Spielberg's epic tears open the ugly face of war like it's never been seen before.

Life is Beautiful (1998) - We secretly think Roberto Benigni can speak perfect English, but we appreciate his earnestness to the contrary.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) - Where else can you hear the insult, "Your mother was a hamster, and your father smelt of elderberries!"

Duck Soup (1933) - Because the Marx brothers were excellent chefs as well.

Singin' in the Rain (1952) - Or, the second-best use of the song "Singin' in the Rain" in a film. (See also A Clockwork Orange, #2).

The Usual Suspects (1995) - One manipulative little thriller, but apparently we really like to be manipulated.

Swimming to Cambodia (1987) - Lecture or movie? Either way, Spalding Gray's finest monologue is fascinating and excellent.

The Bank Dick (1940) - Lest we forget the great (in more ways than one) W.C. Fields.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) - Because we remember what it was like to have fun at the movies.

The Sweet Hereafter (1998) - One of Atom Egoyan's most haunting. Well-directed, well-acted, and incredibly lyrical.

Time Bandits (1985) - Goofy yet incredibly entertaining, Ralph Richardson and sundry bad guys chase midgets across the universe. A revisionist Oz.

Videodrome (1983) - A surreal and bizarre examination of the mind and the effects of television images impressed upon the psyche. One of Cronenberg’s greatest.

Pink Floyd The Wall (1982) - One of the century's best bands made one of the century's freakiest films.

Swimming with Sharks (1994) - A surprise that showed up on more of our top ten lists than you would think, indicating our extreme and barely-suppressed antipathy toward Hollywood.

98. Back to the Future (1985) - "One point twenty one gigawatts!" Marty Mc Fly, Biff, and Doctor Brown live forever in this, ahem, timeless classic.

The Highlander (1986) - There can be only one top 100 film that features a battle among immortals.

Top Secret! (1984) - Another classic, excellent spoof -- of both war movies and Elvis films. More fine work from Kilmer.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) - Indy searches for the Holy Grail? Inane, yet in many ways, it's the best of the Indiana Jones series.


regina said...

Great list. I enjoyed reading those titles.

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khayce said...

honestly,, i'm not familiar with the other movies.

Hye said...

I love Casablanca... It's one of the best love story of all time indeed.

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