The Ten Greatest Movies Ever Made

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.


23 responses to “The Ten Greatest Movies Ever Made

  1. Nice job! Dead on with Pulp Fiction, second only to The Godfather for me. Glad to see Shawshank as well. Love Forrest Gump, but always liked Shawshank better. Great job, had fun watching the list shape up.

  2. Congrats on the anniversary! The dutch version of my site (which was started just a little bit earlier as myfilmviews) is also celebrating its first year today.

    I’ve seen all of them except for Exorcist as it’s in a genre I generally don’t watch. Very clear that you are big Stanley Kubrick fans with two films making the cut. Great to see Pulp Fiction in there. Have to watch Raging Bull again, it’s been way too long.

  3. You forgot the epic horror movie “CHUD”.

  4. Congrats on your blog anniversary, guys, keep up the great work!

    Though I don’t agree with some on your list, I applaud you for taking the time to list your rationale, not only for those that made your top ten, but also those you cut. Glad to see Shawshank here, one of the best prison movie that speaks more about redemption and good ‘ol faithful friendship. I’d be a lot happier if It’s A Wonderful Life make the list, but hey, at least it would be in your top twenty, right? 😀

  5. Wow! Happy Birthday, guys! What a way to celebrate.

    Wasn’t expecting to see The Wrestler here, but I’m all for it and way to throw in Paths of Glory, too. And you’re right, Pulp Fiction is the one movie of the past two decades that completely changed the way people made and watch movies and is absolutely the most important independent film ever made. Perfect is right. Great list, guys.

    • Hey Aiden!

      Thanks for reading. We always enjoy your site!

      Paths of Glory is in my top five ever. Love that movie! It doesn’t get enough love. The Wrestler is in that boat, too, as is Pulp Fiction. It really is a flawless film.

  6. I just wanted to drop a comment to thank all of our readers for an awesome first year of The Movie Brothers blog. It’s something Matt and I talked about doing for years and I’m thrilled it finally happened. Matt really drives this site and deserves most of the credit for its design. He does an awesome job! So does our conetent contributors in Lauren, Kyle, Shawn, and particularly Victor. If I knew he could write creative criticism this well, it might have inspired us to do it even earlier. Now, you just have to return my calls once in a while, lol. And last but not least, the readers of this blog. I feel like we have attracted a little niche readership of passionate film fans that love to share ideas and opinions without alienating one another. The website has outdone all my expectations and would not be what it is without each one of you. Happy 1 year Anniverary and here’s to many more!

  7. Congrats on the anniversary! Love the blog. As a film buff myself, I don’t completely agree with all of the choices. If it were up to me I would have included Raiders of The Lost Ark and The Godfather. Forrest Gump is great but I’ve always felt it is overrated. How it beat out Pulp Fiction and The Shawshank Redemption at the Oscars is beyond me. Nonetheless, solid list!

    • Hey Jenna,

      Thanks for reading! I love your design of the Take the Cannoli poster. Nice work!

      Thanks for the shout-out. Godfather was the one movie we heard repeatedly that was left out. It didn’t make our initial list of films we even considered. We both feel it’s a touch overrated. I get what you say about Forest Gump. Of any of the film in the Top 10, it was the one that squeaked in. But I’m proud to have it on the list.

    • 1994 was a great year for films. 3 of them made the list.

  8. Hello, happy anniversary.
    I’ve enjoyed watching this countdown it’s been good fun.
    Have you considered doing something similar but by Director??

  9. Wow… great website, Brian.

    This is my first time to your site – and I didn’t go back and look at the vetoes – so, I’m only commenting on the final list. This is going to be random and all over the place.

    I’ve never seen “Paths of Glory” or (oddly enough) “Seven Samuari.”

    “Dr. Strangelove” is an incredibly funny satire, way ahead of its time. And, “Raging Bull” should be on everyone’s Top 10 List.

    1994 was one of film’s most outstanding years. It also produced possibly the greatest documentary of all-time – “Hoop Dreams.”

    I’m surprised with the inclusion of “The Wrestler.” Mickey Rourke gave us a phenomenal performance (and was snubbed for Best Actor) and it’s certainly in the discussion for Best films of 2009, but of all-time? That’s a large reach for me.

    The only movies from the 2000’s decade I’d consider would be “No Country For Old Men” or “There Will Be Blood.” I think we’ll still be talking about those films 20 years from now.

    I like that your list is unique to yourselves; you don’t give in to the industry’s pressures to include movies like “Casablanca” or “Citizen Kane.” Hey, those are classic films that helped define and change cinema, but your list is original and meaningful to you. I respect that and enjoyed reading it. Great job.

    • Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts Cory and stopping by the site. Be sure to subscribe an share more of your thoughts on future reviews.

  10. “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room.”

  11. Pingback: 5 LAMB Blogs you should be reading « Modest Movie

  12. When was “Paths of Glory” actually made? I know I saw it in Korea in 1954/55!

  13. When was “Paths of Glory” actually made? I saw it in Korea in 1954/55!

  14. I’m a little surprised of The wrestler and the Exosrcist, but I guess the reasons you gave seem pretty convincing. The only thing I don’t understand is how you put in “Paths of Glory” and left out 2001!!

    Other than that it’s a great list! I’m loving this blog!

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