My Favourite Films

Everyone, especially film lovers, needs a good list of their favourite films. So here are mine.

As I wrote in my second post, I have two different versions of a favourite film list: the funny, happy ones that I re-watch often, and the ones that are beautiful and thought-provoking, but I need time after them to fully absorb them. This list is all of these mixed together and, apart from the first two, they are in no particular order.

Some Like It Hot
'Nobody's perfect!' - Except this film. The cast, the writing, the direction, costumes, music, the black-and-white cinematography - wonderful.

The Lady Eve

2001: A Space Odyssey
Grabbed me, held me, transported me. Looks amazing over forty years later. Masterpiece.

Trois Coleurs: Bleu
Juliette Binoche is perfection, and Kieslowski's use of colour is subtle but evocative.

When Harry Met Sally

The Thin Man
One of my favourite screen pairings, and a brilliant script.

Steve McQueen is a favourite director of mine, and for me this is his best film, with a heartbreaking performance from Michael Fassbender. McQueen takes 'ugly' subjects and presents them with great beauty.

I knew I would like this, but by the end of Act One I loved it. The ending is pitch perfect.

It Happened One Night
Gruff Clark Gable, spoilt Claudette Colbert; the Wall of Jericho, the Daring Young Men on the Flying Trapeze; the right way to undress, dunk a doughnut, and hitch a ride. Lovely.

To Have and Have Not
Chemistry between leads have never been bettered. Bogey and Bacall sizzle, crack ... and whistle. 

Still nail-biting all these years later. And it was Spielberg's second film!

When I was about three I watched this three times a day for two weeks. It does not get old. 

Romeo and Juliet (1968)
Proof that I am a traitor to my generation, I probably bugged everyone in my year 9 class with my unapologetic love for this film (they seemed to prefer the 1996 one). Everything about this film is gorgeous: the leads, the costumes, the music, the language (duh).

The Princess Bride
What does one say of this film: nothing, because it speaks for itself.

Don't Look Now
Venice in winter; the red coat; the love scene; the mosaics; the blind psychic; the shadow of death; the denouement. 

Beauty and the Beast 
The opening scene is one the best in any film. The songs a delightful, Belle is a lovely, eccentric heroine; the beast a wounded hero. The definition of enchanting.

The Castle
It's Mabo, it's the vibe; this is going straight to the poolroom.

Almodovar makes great films about women, and for me this is the best. Penelope Cruz and Carmen Maura are wonderful.

12 Years a Slave
Painful and beautiful. All the elements of cast, story, cinematography, sound and editing are perfect. The part that actually drew tears was the final scene at home; the passage of time finally hit me.

Brief Encounter
Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard fall deeply in love; which is what I did with this film. Their love brings back youthful feelings, but also ages them through it burden.

Dr Strangelove, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Still incredibly funny; the conversation between Merkin Muffley and Dimitri is a personal favourite.

Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amelie Poulain
Gorgeous, very French, utterly charming.

Sherlock Jr.
Possibly the best 45 minutes of film ever committed to celluloid. The going-into-the-film scene is still striking.

My favourite Hitchcock film. Dark and sexy, it has a cast of complex characters and brilliant cinematography. No one does suspense like Hitchcock.

Rosemary's Baby
A body horror film with depth. Mia Farrow carries this film (along with Satan's Son), supported by a wonderful motley crew of Satanists.

Annie Hall
My favourite Woody Allen film. Well written, well directed, well cast, great music with a lovely bitter-sweet ending. 
Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown)
Almodovar's take on screwball comedy. Very funny, goes down well with a glass of gazpacho.

A haunted house in space, this is wonderfully scripted. It introduces one of the best characters ever put one screen, lauching Sigourney Weaver's reign as Science Fiction Queen.

One of the best sequels, this continues Ripley's story, using her gender as a strength.

Singin' in the Rain
The best film musical of all time, and one of the best film about films. Funny, romantic, wonderful dancing, clever plot, great characters ... I'm happy again.

The Lion King
I am 90% certain this is the first film I saw at the cinema. As an adult I now tear up at Mufasa's death. Disney at its best.

It may not have survived in tact (there are pieces of film missing), but this science fiction film is jaw-droppingly good. The set pieces and imagery are staggering, with the futuristic mixed with the medieval. The film's love for humanity shines through with a freshness that is common in many silent era films.

Possibly the best acted film I have seen, everyone is at the top of their game. Particularly love Patricia Neal.

Young Frankenstein
My love for this film is abbie ... something. Should be watched in double bill with The Princess Bride.

'It's still the same old story, and fight for love and glory; a case of do or die. The world will always welcome lovers, as time goes by.'

A gorgeous film about a serious subject. Wadjda is one of my favourite characters, full of spunk, ambition and bravery.

Modern Times
Chaplin's last (largely) silent film, it is a fitting and lovely farewell to the Little Tramp. The first 15 minutes are comedy gold.

In the Hall of the Mountain King has never been more terrifying than in this film. It is a surprisingly sympathetic towards its disturbed lead, with unforgettable images (the M on the shoulder).

I managed to watch this without knowing the twist at the end (I have a good knack at avoiding spoilers!). Plays with audience expectations and manages to draw us into Norman Bates' freaky world. Deserves all the hype.

Das Leben der Anderen (The Lives of Others)
One of the most well structured films I have seen, which is a huge compliment. It is also wonderfully acted, beautiful cinematography, and has one of the best resolutions to any film.

The Slipper and the Rose

Like Beauty and the Beast, this film defines enchanting. A version of the Cinderella story that focuses on the prince's predicament, it has lovely songs, costumes, and acting. There is also a great streak of humour throughout, with the song 'Protocolligorically Correct' a highlight.

Lady Chatterley (2007)
A French adaptation of the second draft of D. H. Lawrence's infamous novel. Gently romantic and Frankishly frank about nudity and sex.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off
'When Cameron was in Egypt's land, let my Cameron go.'

The Wizard of Oz
I still get chills when Dorothy opens the door to Oz.

The Terminator
Arnie's great role as the ultimate killing machine. Also has a rather melancholic love story.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day
He said he'd be back.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Bitter-sweet, yet it is one of the most romantic movies in recent years. Memory has rarely been so cleverly explored.

Australia looks beautiful and brimming with life, even in the harsh desert.

The Heiress
Acting masterclass from Olivia de Havilland, Sir Ralph Richardson and Montgomery Clift, who plays the charming scoundrel so well, I believed he was genuine. But then, Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

Devdas (2002)
The word sumptuous almost covers this film: it beautiful to look at, epic in its length, and peppered with great songs.

I did not expect to enjoy this, and am not entirely sure what my enjoyment of film that contains male rape, ghastly death and popped limbs says about me.

Stars Wars (New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi)
It's not a perfect trilogy, but really, it is rollicking good fun!

Roman Holiday
Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in Rome. What more does one need?

To Kill a Mockingbird
'Miss Jean Louise. Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father's passing.'

Mirror (1975)
Lyrical, elliptical; I am still not entirely sure where it took me, but I was willing to go with it.

Raiders of the Lost Ark
The first and the best Indiana Jones film. Particularly love Karen Allen as Marion.

Fish Tank
Great performances and beautiful, rather unexpected poetical images draw you into this emotionally brutal coming-of-age story. Third film on my list to have Michael Fassbender give a brilliant performance.

The BDSM romance film to see: its funny, strange and has Maggie Gyllenhaal.

The Seventh Seal
Chaucerian, which is my way of saying great. Thoughtful, clever and entertaining; one of Bergman's best films.  

Moving and beautiful, from the story to the cinematography.

The Major and the Minor
Another Wilder film about role-playing. Hilarious, subversive, with a wonderful central performance from Ginger Rogers.

Wings of Desire
Incredibly beautiful, both in its look and sentiment. The spiritual elements are quiet yet very powerful.  

Allen at his best. The acting is superb, story hilarious and touching; the cinematography is beautiful, complemented splendidly by the music of Gershwin.  

Possibly the greatest film about religion, whose quiet exploration of religious and familial discord is so fantastically changed in the film's astonishing climax.

Of all the epics I have seen, this is the most perfect. Every element, from camera technique to emotion is wonderful, drawing you into a story with which most of us are very familiar.  

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Incredibly well-acted, with Burton and Taylor giving their all to performances that are hilarious, terrifying and moving. Just don't try to keep up with their drinking! 

La La Land
'Here's to the fools who dream/ Crazy as they may seem...'

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