Today marks our one year anniversary. It’s hard to believe it’s gone by so quickly, and it’s even harder to fathom how quickly our site has grown. We never thought when we started that we’d be getting tens of thousands of readers and listeners. We humbly thank you all for reading.
Surprisingly, there is only one film on our list that won the Academy Award for Best Picture. All of them, with the exception of Paths of Glory, were nominated for best picture. We scanned all genres, decades, and nations to pull together a list we’re very happy with. It wasn’t easy, but it sure was fun. We’re not ranking them. Instead, we’re simply naming these The Ten Greatest Movies Ever Made:
Paths of Glory: This is an anti-war film that looks at the true inhumanity we don’t often speak of in war, and that is how we treat our own soldiers. Paths of Glory has a script that is wise without ever wagging a finger in our faces and has some of the best war cinematography ever seen. It gives a sense of gloom and a foreboding destiny for the soldiers. Kirk Douglas was fantastic.
The Wrestler: This is simply a phenomenal film. We’ve heard people say it was nothing but violence and a “dumb guy movie.” They missed the point. This is a father/daughter story. It’s about a man who makes every wrong decision, but always tries to make it right. He has a great heart, but can’t get out of his own way. It’s a heartbreaking story with a performance by Mickey Rourke that is rarely seen. He is the only man that could have been Randy “The Ram.”
Forrest Gump: Is one of those rare films that touch on every aspect of our lives: love, loss, hope, fear, humor, confusion, growth and being lost before you find your way. This film was brilliantly directed and acted and had incredible waves of emotion, from complete hilarity to disbelief, heartbreak and fear. It’s a masterpiece.
Dr. Strangelove: It’s hard to believe that someone could make the Cold War funny, but that’s exactly what Stanley Kubrick did in this dark, smart comedy he co-wrote and directed. He took something that gripped two nations with fear and had the intelligence to make a script with absolute levity. We couldn’t be happier to have this film on the list.
Raging Bull: Which film won best picture at the Oscars the year Raging Bull was nominated? Anyone? Anyone? Exactly. It was “Ordinary People,” a good but forgettable film. Raging Bull will always stand the test of time. It’s unforgettable. As the great Roger Ebert said: “(Raging Bull) is a movie about brute force, anger, and grief. It is also, like several of Scorsese’s other movies, about a man’s inability to understand a woman except in terms of the only two roles he knows how to assign her: virgin or whore.”
Jaws: The perfect action thriller. Amazing acting, tight and suspenseful directing, and an antagonist that lived up to the hype. Each time we watch it, we think it’s even more than the last. It put Steven Spielberg on the map and ushered in the first summer blockbuster.
The Shawshank Redemption: It takes an amazing story to grip you for three hours with little or no action. Stop and think about it. What was Shawshank’s big action scene? There wasn’t one. Even the jail break at the end was told in flashback. And yet, we cannot remember a film that gripped us more than this one did. The dialogue is thought provoking and honest and the acting of the entire collaborative cast gets you hooked right from the beginning. This is the kind of movie that people can relate to and understand 100 years from now. A gem.
Seven Samurai: Akira Kurosawa’s masterpiece is a triumph of the human spirit. It shows what can happen when a group of people decide to rise up against all odds and defend the life and people they love. We are introduced to a foreign land in a foreign time spoken in a foreign tongue and yet there’s not a person on earth that can’t relate. That’s a testament to not only Kurosawa the filmmaker but also Kurosawa the writer. A true artist and genius.
The Exorcist: The most unnerving and frightening film ever made. Why did it end up on this list? Because it’s about more than pea soup vomit and curses thrown at holy men from a foul demon. It’s about good winning over evil when it feels like all hope is lost. It’s also about a faith challenged man, who despite his questioning of God, still finds his heart when he needs it most. William Friedkin’s work here is stupendous and timeless.
Pulp Fiction: The greatest and most important independent film ever made. It not only made Quentin Tarantino a household name, it also put Miramax on the map and opened doors for so many indepedent filmmakers. Not only is the movie historically important but it is also amazing entertainment wrapped in possibly the greatest script ever written for the silver screen. The dialogue is spot on perfect, the casting is perfect, the progression is perfect, and his direction is flawless. You see where I’m going with this? Perfect.