Top Ten (10) Best Movies of All-time<

Top Ten Movies of All-Time


01) American Graffiti (1973)
I had seen this movie both in parts and whole a few times on TV growing up and always really enjoyed it, but when I first saw it in college I really started to appreciate it fully. It has so many things that I really enjoy…Awesome old cars cruising and street racing, coming of age nostalgia for a time before I was born that inexplicably I’ve always been drawn to, great dialogue and realistic interactions between young adults, an amazing soundtrack, plus it was set in Modesto, CA where I lived for some years of my youth and still visit my family often there. I spent a lot of time in high school and early college cruising around Lompoc on weekend nights, and it reminds me of that time of my life that was so much fun and the kind of shenanigans that we would get into back in the day.You won’t find this movie on IMDB’s top 250 or most people’s all-time lists, but it’s my all-time favorite movie.


02) Star Wars (1977)
In May 1977, we went to visit my grandparents in Reseda, CA. First thing when we got there, my grandma Nixon said that she had seen an amazing movie the night before and that she was going to take me to see it that night. While already an exciting proposition, I had no idea what I was in store for. It was opening weekend for Star Wars at the Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. When we got there, I was intrigued by the footprints in the cement outside the theater and I was initially disappointed that we were rushed and didn’t have time to check them out more. That disappointment quickly faded as soon as the movie started. The opening crawl of text with the awesome John Williams score, I knew I was in for a treat. The following two hours would be my all-time favorite movie going experience. I’m am so happy that I got to share that with my grandma Nixon. She was such an awesome person and I love so much that she was so excited to take me to see Star Wars. Something I will never forget. I didn’t realize at the time it was a limited release and none of my friends would get to see the movie for a couple months. It sure didn’t keep me from talking to them about how awesome it was. I have since seen Star Wars dozens of times, and I still love it just as much as when I was that 7 year old kid seeing it for the first time. While I’m very much not a fan of edits George Lucas would later make to the movie, it’s hard to be too critical of director of my two all-time favorite movies.


03) The Godfather (1972)
I always been enamored with good gangster movies, and it doesn’t get any better than The Godfather. While I could never condone the violent and criminal lifestyle which often ends in tragedy, there’s something about the loyalty and respect that has always appealed to me. There is a line in the Jimmy Buffett song, Son of a Sailor, “Read dozens of books about heroes and crooks, and I've learned much from both of their styles”. I think this is something I’ve been fairly good at doing in my life, learning both good and bad from a variety of sources and hopefully embracing the good things and dismissing the bad as much as possible. I grew up with this movie and have seen it several times throughout my life. The Corleone family is near and dear to me. Similarly to Star Wars, the first sequel is arguably just as good and both The Godfather II and The Empire Strikes Back fall around #15 on my all-time list.


04) The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (1966)
I first saw this movie on TV with my dad in the mid-70s. I was impressed with how badass Clint Eastwood’s character was. I quickly became a huge fan of Eastwood’s westerns, and this is my favorite of the bunch. A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More are nearly as good, but this is my favorite of the trilogy. The dialogue is sparse, but what there is, along with Ennio Morricone’s amazing score and the actor’s expressions speak volumes.


05) Rear Window (1954)
Alfred Hitchcock is responsible for many of my favorite movies. Growing up, I had only seen The Birds and Psycho when they would air on TV. It wasn’t until college that I started exploring the rest on home video and my admiration for Hitchcock’s movies quickly grew. While I give eight of his movies a perfect rating and a dozen more just below, Rear Window has been my favorite since I first saw it in the early 90s.


06) Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Definitely the quintessential adventure movie of my youth. It so much fun following Indiana Jones around the globe, solving clues, and getting out of tight jams in search of the Ark of the Covenant with his rival, Belloq, hot on his tail. Harrison Ford is perfect in this role. Obviously one of my favorite actors, as he is in three of my top six movies.


07) Jaws (1975)
I saw Jaws at the drive-in when it came out and have seen it countless times since. I’ve always been a sucker for stories set on or around the ocean. I love this whole movie, but the scenes with Brody, Quint, and Hooper on the boat are some of my all-time favorites. Their interactions as they hunt the shark, and especially the stories they tell. Quint telling the story USS Indianapolis is incredibly haunting and powerful. There have been many shark attack movies since, mostly really bad, but none come close.


08) Platoon (1986)
Good war movies aren’t easy watches for me, but I’ve always been fascinated with them. Not as much for the strategies of the battles, which is interesting too, but more for an insight into what the soldiers and people affected by war have to go through. The randomness of whether or not someone will live or die is hard to swallow. I remember picking this up at a video store with my mom when it came out and how it affected me the first time I watched it. I think this movie really dove deeper into what the soldiers experienced than many of the other war movies that were coming out at the time. There have been many great war movies, but this one tops my list.


09) The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
I’ve seen this movie less than the other movies this list, but it’s one that I was fascinated with when I first saw it as a kid and have revisited from time to time throughout my life. I had a hard time imagining how Bogart could be so obsessed with greed to reach that level of paranoia, but it made me think about it. It’s a common theme I’d later read in the Pardoner’s Tale in high school and see many times in other movies/tv shows over the years, but I’ve never found it as convincing as I did in Bogart’s performance.


10) Stand by Me (1986)
Another coming of age movie, that leaves me nostalgic for my youth. I often talk about how different things are today. I grew up, going on all day adventures with my friends at a very young age, existing and interacting in the world on our own. No we never went in search for a dead body or stayed out over night, but we had many similar run ins with other kids and adults…most of which our parents never knew about. While the things that happened in this movie might seem a little foreign or unbelievable to folks who didn’t have that in their life, to me it was very believable. I am ever thankful for being able to have those experiences and this movie is a nice reminder of a different time.

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