Last week, I decided it was time to make a list of all my favourite films. I started with my top 10, which I have always had in my head, in no particular order. I then thought of all the films I watch on an annual basis, and these are the top 40.
The next 60 are films that I really love and enjoy watching every time, but that I choose to watch on a less regular basis for one reason or another.
Two of the films in my top 10 are directed by Alfred Hitchcock, the ‘master of suspense’, so as you can probably guess, he is my favourite director of all time. Overall, four of his films appear on my list. Eight films starring Adam Sandler, six starring James Stewart and three starring Cary Grant appear. These are my favourite actors, along with Robert Downey Jr and Joseph Gordon Levitt, who unfortunately have not made as many good films as they should have, and so only appear twice and once on this list respectively.
There are 4 films from 2011 on this list, which means that as 2012 progresses, this list could dramatically change, with the likes of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, ‘The Avengers’ and ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid 3’ at the top of my ‘Most Anticipated List’.
I hope you enjoy reading, and feel free to comment underneath with your opinions!
1. North by Northwest (1959)
Cary Grant, Eve Marie Saint, James Mason, Martin Landau. A cast list that makes any fan of 50s/60s cinema cry with excitement and joy… and this film deserves that kind of reaction. It is the inspiration for almost every fast-paced action movie made today, including ‘The Bourne Identity’ and ‘National Treasure’ franchises. Grant stars as a business-man, enjoying a fairly average day of meetings, who raises his hand at the wrong time and is pulled into a world of suspense and danger, which involves him being chased by a plane in the legendary ‘crop-duster’ sequence, chased over Mount Rushmore and chased across the United Nations. A must-see for any fans of the ‘action-mystery’ genre.
2. The Incredibles (2004)
Considered by many to be Pixar’s greatest non-Toy Story film, if this were live-action it would most certainly be directed by Christopher Nolan. It has all the makings of a great superhero film, a villian turned evil because of rejection, a mad fashionista based on Edith Head, a midget boss who gets all his bones broken, a giant robot gone rogue, and a demented super-baby. Hollywood were so impressed with director Brad Bird’s skill at making an animated film seem so real that they hired him to direct ‘Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol’, which has gone on to be a huge hit with critics and audiences alike. In my opinion, one of the greatest animated, and overall, films of all time.
3. National Treasure (2004)
Nicholas Cage has had a lot of ups-and-downs in his career, but in my opinion, this is one of his high-points. It’s basically a cross between The Bourne Identity, The Da Vinci Code and Indiana Jones, but with a PG certificate and just enough violence to be suitable for all the family..and the whole family will love it! I have never met a person under the age of 45 who saw this film and din’t enjoy it! Although some of the plot may be slightly historically inaccurate, the twists and turns of the mystery are exciting, and the acting by Cage, Jon Voight (Mission: Impossible), Justin Bartha (The Hangover) and Sean Bean (Game of Thrones) is superb. Also, this is the first major film for Diane Kruger who has gone on to star in ‘Inglorious Basterds’ and is set to be Tarantino’s new female lead.
4. Bednobs and Broomsticks (1971)
Made 7 years after the more beloved Mary Poppins, this seriously underrated Disney family musical stars Angela Landsbury (Murder, She Wrote) as an apprentice witch who is forced to take 3 orphans under her wing during WWII. One of several links to ‘Poppins’ is David Tomlinson (Mr Banks in MP) who plays a failed street magician living in a run down abandoned London townhouse, with an unexploded bomb in the front garden. The fantastic songs were written by Richard Sherman and his brother Robert, who passed away last week at the age of 86. Perhaps the film’s best known sequence is when, Poppins style, the live-action characters are transported to a world of hand-drawn animated creatures, under the sea and on the island of Nabooboo (no, that isn’t a location from the ‘Star Wars’ prequels). The technology used is quite impressive, and shows how passionate Disney was about making these films perfect, so children and adults alike could enjoy them for decades to come.
5. Finian’s Rainbow (1968)
This is Fred Astaire’s last major musical, where he travels to my home country of Ireland in search of leprechauns and gold. It is directed by Francis Ford Coppola, and has been almost forgotten due to the release in 1972 of a little film called ‘The Godfather’. Petula Clark and Tommy Steele co-star as Astaire’s daughter and favourite leprechaun, respectively, and there are great plot-lines about a racist millionaire (Keenan Wynn) turning black by magic, and a deaf-and-dumb girl getting her lost senses back, after falling in love with the leprechaun. It also features wonderful songs about homesickness and the nostalgia associated with visiting Ireland, a trip I would recommend you all to make!
6. Funny People (2009)
As you can probably tell from reading this list, I am a big fan of Adam Sandler’s films. To be honest, I even found ‘Jack and Jill’ slightly funny, although I do admit his earliest work was his best. This is not one of his ‘Happy Madison’ films, and it was directed by raunchy comedy supremo Judd Apatow. It is over 2 and a half hours long, and when it finishes, you feel much closer to the characters played by the brilliant ensemble cast (including Seth Rogen, Leslie Mann, Jason Schwartzman, Jonah Hill, Aziz Ansari, Eric Bana…need I go on?) than you do in most shorter comedies. Sandler plays a succesful stand-up and film star comedian, who has been diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia, and believes he has only a few months to live. About halfway through the film, he is cured, but then he must get back into the flow of his life, and reconnect with his friends and family. At points it is hilarious and at points it will make you cry, but it is a must-see for fans of any sort of comedy or stand-up comedians.
7. The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
Although it is absolutely nothing like ‘North by Northwest’, this is the second Hitchcock film on this list. Jimmy Stewart and Doris Day star as the parents of Ben, who is abducted in Morocco and taken to London, where they must track him to a rural church and uncover a plot to murder an important political figure. Bernard Herrmann, in my opinion the greatest film composer of all time, appears on screen as himself, performing in the Royal Albert Hall, and conducting the orchestra when the cymbals clash and the gun is shot. Fast-paced, well scripted and featuring some of Doris Day’s most beautiful songs, this is a truly magnificent piece of filmmaking.
8. The April Fools (1969)
One of many great Jack Lemmon comedies that could have filled this spot, this co-stars Catherine Deneuve and Peter Lawford, and features songs by Burt Bacharach. Lemmon and Deneuve meet at a party and go on a mad all-nighter, visiting a jungle-themed club, a privately-owned castle occupied by a fencing champion, and more! Over the next few days, Deneuve starts to pull apart from her husband (Lawford) and eventually, her and Lemmon are reunited in the film’s climactic scene at JFK Airport. An example of how a good rom-com should be made.
9. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
Any of the Potter films apart from ‘Order of the Phoenix’, which I dislike very much, could have filled this slot, but I chose this one because, at the helm of director Mike Newell, it really feels like a separate film which can be watched outside of the series. ‘Prisoner’ is the most artfully directed, but this is the real ‘blockbuster’ of the sires, pulling out all the stops with dragons, sea creatures, dancing, romance, mild swearing and of course, THE MAZE! Robert Pattinson also contributes largely to the film, in his first major role as Cedric Diggory.
10. A Series of Unfortunate Events (2005)
The adaptation of the Daniel Handler novels was overlooked by many when it was released, but in my opinion, Jim Carrey’s performance as Count Olaf, the demented actor who tries and fails several times to kill the Baudelaire children and steal their inheritance, by dressing up as numerous wacky characters, was deserving of an Academy Award. Another wonderful thing about this film is the fact that almost every character shares a name with a great writer, such as Mr Poe, Esmé Squalor, Uncle Monty, Edgar Guest, Ish, the Baudelaire children and many more. It does have a PG, but young children may find it scary. Other actors that appear include Meryl Streep, Timothy Spall, Billy Connolly, Jude Law and Craig Ferguson.
12. The Sound of Music
13. Mary Poppins
14. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
15. The Polar Express (2004)
16. The Wizard of Oz
17. Inception (2010)
18. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
19. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
20. Doctor Doolittle (1967)
21. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
22. Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003)
23. Bell, Book and Candle
24. The Cat in the Hat (2004)
25. Batman Begins (2005)
26. Spider-Man 2 (2004)
27. Click (2006)
28. The Spongebob Squarepants Movie (2005)
29. Mr Deeds (2002)
30. Twilight (2008)
31. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)
32. Star Wars: Episode II- Attack of the Clones
33. The Maltese Falcon
34. Rear Window
36. State Fair (1945)
37. Toy Story 3
39. Enchanted (2007)
41. The Third Man
42. To Kill A Mockingbird
43. Lili (1953)
45. The Help (2011)
46. Singin’ in the Rain
47. The Apartment
48. Star Wars: Episode IV- A New Hope
49. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
50. Sunrise (1927)
51. Grown Ups (2010)
52. Groundhog Day (1993)
53. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
54. Ratatouille (2007)
55. Big Daddy (1999)
56. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules (2011)
57. Shrek the Third (2007)
58. Barefoot in the Park
59. The Birds
60. Hugo (2011)
61. The Shop Around the Corner
62. It’s A Wonderful Life
63. Goodbye Mr. Chips (1969)
64. The Nightmare Before Christmas
65. X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
66. The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
67. Paul (2011)
68. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
69. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001)
70. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
71. Spider-Man 3 (2007)
72. The Dark Knight (2008)
73. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
74. Odd Man Out
75. Easy A (2010)
76. Billy Madison
77. The Devil & Miss Jones (1941)
78. 2001: A Space Odyssey
79. The Thin Red Line
80. Sherlock Holmes (2009)
81. The Quiet Man
82. Alice in Wonderland (1951)
83. The Santa Clause
84. Breakfast at Tiffanys
85. The Royal Tennenbuams
86. Batman Forever
87. Spider-Man (2002)
88. 23 Steps to Baker Street
89. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
90. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- Part 1
91. Laurel and Hardy’s Way Out West (1937)
92. Batman: The Movie
93. The Railway Children (1970)
94. Forrest Gump
95. Happy Gilmore
96. Anger Management
97. The Ghost and Mrs Muir
98. Laurel and Hardy’s Swiss Miss (1938)
99. Iron Man (2008)
100. The African Queen