The Middle: Hail The Oscars! Here Are The 100 Best Movies. Ever.

image: internet

image: internet

I was recently challenged by another blogger I follow, to put together a list of my 100 favorite movies of all time. Given that the Oscars (probably one of my favorite nights all year!) are just days away, the timing seems perfect. As a film junky however, it was hard. I thought I’d fire them off, but then had to think… a lot. The first ones were easy, say down to 30. They are not in order. The first few are definitely absolute favorites, but then the order becomes less relevant. Many on this list are special because our family enjoyed them over and over: Princess Bride (we may know every line); Hook (Love this movie); and Stand By Me, are probably three of our favorite movies of all time, collectively.

After the initial 30 or so, it started getting harder. I dug, and thought, and tried to think of all the great years of watching great films… and they came to me again. Some top favorites are further down the list than they deserve to be. When I got to 100, I suddenly started thinking of others that should be on there: Vertigo, The Pianist, The Green Mile, The 6th Sense, Atonement, Loopers (a new favorite)… Oh, I’m afraid I’d need to do a list of my top 200! Here’s the list of my 100 Favorite Movies of all time, and a short post—for a change:

1.  Dances With Wolves

2.  Stand By Me

3.  Princess Bride

4.  What’s Eating Gilbert Grape

5.  Gladiator

6.  The Wizard of Oz

7.  Singing In the Rain

8.  It’s a Wonderful Life

9.  Star Wars

10. The Empire Strikes Back

11. Return of the Jedi

12. Lawrence of Arabia

13. The Godfather

14. Sophie’s Choice

15. Intouchables

16. Incredibly Loud and Extremely Close

17. The Artist

18. Beasts of the Southern Wild

19. Pulp Fiction

20. Hook

21. Schinderler’s List

22. The Piano

23. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

24. Titanic

25. The Way We Were

26. True Grit (the original)

27. To Kill a Mockingbird

28. Philadelphia Story

29. Dr. Zhivago

30. Last of the Mohicans

31. About A Boy and 500 Days of Summer (twofer)

32. The Christmas Story

33. Fellowship of the Ring

34. The Two Towers

35. Return of the King

36. The Shawshank Redemption

37. ET

38. The Bridge on the River Kwai

39. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

40. The Sound of Music & Mary Poppins (another twofer)

41. Breakfast Club

42. Little Mermaid, Lion King, Beauty & the Beast (Disney night)

43. Forrest Gump

44. The Deer Hunter

45. Platoon

46. 12 Angry Men

47. Breakfast at Tiffanys

48. Simon Birch

49. Big Fish

50. Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham

51. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon

52. American Beauty

53. The Snowman

54. Jurassic Park

55. Rear Window

56. Life is Beautiful

57. Toy Story

58. Amadeus

59. Cinema Paradiso

60. Braveheart

61. The Apartment

62. Midnight Express

63. Cool Hand Luke

64. Almost Famous

65. Full Metal Jacket

66. The King’s Speech

67. The Departed

68. Fargo

69. Good Will Hunting

70. Into the Wild

71. Life of Pi

72. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf

73. The Ten Commandments

74. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (original)

75. In the Name of the Father

76. The Harry Potter series, for sentimental reasons

77. Harold and Maude

78. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

79. Gone with the Wind

80. The Usual Suspects

81. The Pianist

82. Au Revoir Les Enfants

83. Beauty and the Beast (Disney)

84. Gallipoli

85. Dead Man Walking

86. Deliverance

87. The English Patient

88. Fanny and Alexander

89. Monty Python

90. Gandhi

91. In The Bedroom

92. Jean De Florette

93. The Killing Fields

94. Argo

95. Little Big Man

96. Midnight Cowboy

97. Planes, Trains and Automobiles

98. The Assassination of Jesse James (by the Coward Robert Ford)

99. Taxi Driver

100. Lincoln

What would make your top 100? If you dare, put your list in my comments section; I’d love to read it. Or just tell me a few of your favorites. What you think about movies in general? Are movies just a waste of your time (be warned, I will lose respect for you)? Which movie would you definitely take off my list, and what would you add?   If you had fun reading this, or got some good ideas for movie night, hit Like. Check out Tales From the Motherland on Facebook and hit the Like. I love to be loved.

About Dawn Quyle Landau

Mother, Writer, treasure hunter, aging red head, and sushi lover. This is my view on life, "Straight up, with a twist––" because life is too short to be subtle! Featured blogger for Huffington Post, and followed on Twitter by LeBron James– for reasons beyond my comprehension.
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49 Responses to The Middle: Hail The Oscars! Here Are The 100 Best Movies. Ever.

  1. Rebecca says:

    I have a degree in film studies and Strong Feelings.

    I’m so behind on movies, though, so my education is too incomplete to make anything more than a running list that would be entirely sentimental and incomplete.

    There are several I totally agree with thought: It’s a Wonderful Life, Singin’ in the Rain, To Kill A Mockingbird, and Harold and Maude would all make the list. Cinema Paradiso probably would, too. Have you seen Hugo? I just saw it a few weeks back and it made me want to watch Cinema Paradiso desperately!

    Your list is sadly lacking in film noir–how could Maltese Falcon and Double Indemnity not be on a list of best movies? They would be near the top of mine!


    • Admittedly Rebecca, I quake beneath your assessments… your mind is sharp as, well… SHARP! I am not a big film noir fan. I confess. I think I saw Double Indemnity year ago (I use to watch all of the old black and whites, growing up). But many of my favorites are sentimental. There are some really great ones (There Will Be Blood) that are darker, and I love them, but they didn’t pop into my head as I tried to just do this list in one sitting. Glad you weighed in! Your opinion is always of interest to me. wink,wink.


  2. Thank you for your list. I see many movies on it that I have missed and need to see. I am so far behind in my movie viewing that it’s embarrassing. However, one of my favorites that I’ll add is A Room With A View (Richard Robbins did the music for the Merchant Ivory movies, and he was the director of the music school I went to- lovely man and tremendous pianist). I am also a big fan of Jackie Chan and his Rush Hour movies. And Daniel Day Lewis blew me away in My Left Foot. I’ll add On Golden Pond, too. When Footloose came out, I must have been right in the target age demographic, because its message really spoke to me.

    These days, I find that the only time I make it to a theater is for the Friday matinees, when my son is in school, and my husband and I go out for a movie and lunch date. My son, with his attention challenges, does not like to watch movies. Looking forward to seeing the current Oscar contenders.


  3. rkilbreath says:

    I have a degree in film studies and Strong Feelings.

    I’m so behind on movies, though, so my education is too incomplete to make anything more than a running list that would be entirely sentimental and incomplete.

    There are several I totally agree with thought: It’s a Wonderful Life, Singin’ in the Rain, To Kill A Mockingbird, and Harold and Maude would probably make the list. Cinema Paradiso probably would, too. Have you seen Hugo? I just saw it a few weeks back and it made me want to watch Cinema Paradiso desperately!

    Your list is sadly lacking in film noir, however–how could Maltese Falcon and Double Indemnity not be on a list of best movies? They would be near the top of mine! Also, the only screwball comedy is The Philadelphia Story! I mean it’s great, of course, but there’s also My Man Godfrey, You Can’t Take It With You, His Girl Friday (just watched this two weekends ago for the first time in years!), Ball of Fire (there is no Barbra Stanwyck in this list and also no Liz Taylor–criminal!), or Arsenic and Old Lace (such a brilliant mix of comedy and horror).

    I could go on for days. There’s no way this list could be only 100 movies for me.


    • It’s clear that you sent 2 comments by accident. I’m not erasing the earlier one, because both comments make good points! I’m horrified that I left Barbara Stanwyck off the list, and was sure I’d put Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf, which I just watched again recently, and LOVED! Both Liz and Dick were superior in that. See, it’s a slippery slope. Sentimentality won out… on most choices!


      • rkilbreath says:

        Do’h, I thought it ate my comment because it made me login again!

        I am obsessed with making a movie list but I’m not sure I can get to 100 without putting in a few stinkers.

        Also, I hate a lot of “sacred cow” movies! Like Dances with Wolves. Hee!


        • CAN.NOT. BELIEVE. YOU. JUST. SAID. THAT! Fightin’ words! I warned you. Dances With Wolves is definitely one of the best movies ever! I defy you and the big guy to come out, stay in my guest room and watch it with me… and say that to my face!! (After we’re done with the manuscript.) And let’s see your list Missy.


          • rkilbreath says:

            I feel like Dances with Wolves is an over-reaction to Westerns of yore and has one of my least favorite tropes: The white man helping the natives save themselves (though I do forgive Avatar for that plot because OF THE OMG SPECTACLE OF 3D AMAZINGNESS).

            I also think Dances has a problem with allllll of the whiteys being evil and the natives being extra “special” and extra “human” and it made me roll my eyes.

            But I also hate Slumdog Millionaire and refuse to see a whole bunch of movies because the trailer alone makes me roll my eyes into the back of my head (including like the Academy Award winners for something like 7 years in a row because I just know I will hate them)!

            BUT: feel free to judge my completely subjective list of movie loves:


            • Ok, you make a good point, but I disagree… admittedly, out of sentimentality more than anything, but I stand by DWW. You are a cold woman RK! I also double dog dare you to come out here and watch a whole bunch of movies that you apparently rolled your eyes at! Um, Hugo: best film nominee! Brilliant. Beautiful to watch.

              I have every intention of giving a proper response to your blog post and kudos to you for doing it! I get a healthy dose of maniacal pleasure in knowing that it got you interested enough, that I pulled you away from much bigger fish. No doubt. I love your list, and agree with almost all of them. Almost. Mine was done quickly (as yours was) and again, much consideration to family impact. I missed a bunch, that you’ve included. Feh. But DWW is a great film!! Great!!! Great!!!!!


    • OK! I just double checked and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf IS on there. Liz, in the house! Phew, felt badly all day thinking I missed that. Also just added Breakfast Club and doubled up on Disneys, to add Almost Famous. Love the edit button. But, Liz was there all along. Barbara, alas, is missing.


  4. Carrie Rubin says:

    I don’t have a list made up, but some of my favs are Moonstruck; Planes, Trains, and Automobiles; and Little Miss Sunshine. 🙂


    • Damn! See, that’s why I need a 200 list. I tried editing the 100… over and over. New movies pop into my head, and I want to move things around! Trains, Planes and Automobiles is one of my favorite! Ever. Ever. Love Little Miss Sunshine. Really enjoyed Moonstruck too… There are so many good ones!


  5. Soapsuds says:

    You left off my two all-time favorites: Oklahoma with Gordon Macrae and When Harry Met Sally. And was Forrest Gump on your list?


    • I believe Forrest was on there, but would have put Sally too. The other two, well… um… a bit before my time, and I should probably watch them now! Next year’s list. Thanks for sharing your picks! xox


      • Soapsuds says:

        Can’t help but notice suggestions to add Thin Man and Casablanca did not warrant “before my time” comments from you.


        • It’s all in how you read it, I think? I did say, that I need to go watch them right away… Casablanca, is so classic, that we all see it at some point… and I am just not a fan. Thin Man, is so old that I just avoided that one. Admittedly, my list neglects some older classics. I should have told everyone they were before my time. Hear that everyone? BEFORE. MY. TIME. (and bad form on my part.) hugs.


  6. Good for you. I’d have to give this some thought- many of yours would be on my list! Happy Oscars!


  7. Stephanie says:

    I read the list to my hubby, and he was patiently waiting to hear HIS favorite of all time, Casablanca. I would have to do a top 300 probably. I like old and new, but here are a few more for thought: The Best Years of Our Lives, The Thin Man, Breakfast Club, and Pretty In Pink (80’s nostalgia!). It is all subjective, and who knows, we all may not have seen our top movies, yet! That is the joy of watching!


    • Damn!! The Breakfast Club! I was suppose to add that. Little Man was shocked that I forgot it. I am going to edit this piece right now, and add it. As for Casablanca… I’m making it official here: I am not a fan. I know it’s a classic. I know it is beloved. I know it is one of the greatest films ever… but, not a fan. Sorry hubby. Sorry film fans. It’s my list, and Casablanca is not on it. But in ten minutes, Breakfast Club will be. Really love all of the John Hues films! Thanks for taking the time to weigh in Stephanie!


  8. Pingback: My Favorite Movies At This Moment in Time // Rebecca Kilbreath

  9. Dan Hennessy says:

    Maybe you should do a list of films you don’t like . Might be shorter . I’m seconding the film noir comment , and the two films mentioned , Maltese Falcon , and double Indemnity .


    • Dan, I’m pretty sure I could do a list of 100 Worst movies ever… that would probably provoke just as much response! Ha. Thanks for weighing in! I’m having more fun reading other people’s ideas, than putting my own list together! 🙂


  10. Julie Connors says:

    I love a good movie! Here are some of my favorites in no particular order:

    Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai
    Proof- Australian
    Dead Calm
    To Sir With Love
    The Apostle
    Burn After Reading
    The Wash- Japanese
    The 5th Element
    Time Bandits
    Billy Elliot
    O Brother Where Art Thou
    Muriel’s Wedding

    I’m sure if I gave it some thought I could come up with many, many more! Harold and Maude, Little Miss Sunshine, The Deer Hunter, a Christmas Story, Cinema Paradiso, Life is Beautiful, are also on my list of favorites!


  11. Julie Connors says:

    Correction- “Shower” was a Chinese film!


  12. My favorite made your list – Cool Hand Luke. Being a Baby Boomer, I would have included Easy Rider, American Graffiti and The Graduate. As an homage to the ‘great American Western’ I would add Silverado. I think The Odd Couple is Jack Lemmon’s best work. I think Spartacus and The Hustler are good enough to be on the list. Honorable Mention: Camelot, Lion in Winter, Bullitt, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, The Good The Bad and the Ugly, Good Morning Viet Nam, Mrs. Doubtfire, Dirty Dancing, Grand Prix, and just for fun – The Gumball Rally and Cannonball Run. It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World is an afterthought.
    It’s pretty hard to do 100 Best All Time without categories. You came up with a fine list which, like the top 500 songs of all time, is different for every New Years Eve countdown.


    • Thanks for your movie suggestions Mike! Of course, this is my list and it was distinctly tongue in cheek to call it the 100 Best Movies of All Time… they are just my selections, of course! But don’t tell anyone else. 😉 I like a lot of the ones you have included as well. Thanks for contributing to the discussion… it’s been fun hearing all of the other ideas!


  13. Wow! So many great films! An excellent and comprehensive list. Obviously you have superb taste. In the end, it’s all subjective, isn’t it? It’s amazing how some of us can love and be moved by one film and others of us could hate the same one. We bring our life experiences and our mood to each viewing and we are either transported and caught up in the story, or we’re not. It either rings true for us, or it doesn’t. So many things factor in.
    Great post, Dawn. Lots of fun!!


    • Lisa, as I just noted to Mike…. yes, of course these are only my selections, and there have been lots of other great movies to add, from previous comments! I put this together on the fly, and tried to just write what really came to mind, but I can’t take any credit for it being definitive… to anyone other than me! 😉 It’s fun thinking of all the options and trying to decide which ones to put on the list, which ones not to. It was all in fun, actually… no deeper meaning, for sure! Glad you enjoyed it, but feel free to throw out your own favorites! Another friend/blogger, actually put together her own list and put a link to it in an earlier comment… loved her selections too!


      • Actually, most of yours would be on my list as well. I agree, it’s all about picking and choosing what’s pleasing to us individually. Ultimately it’s an emotional response. Maybe I will put a list together? I think it’s great that you pulled those off the top of your head — like free-association! Very cool.


  14. I like 2, 3, 5, 8, 21, 27, 32, 38, 39, 45, 46, 55, 60, 63, 65, 68, 78, 80, 84, and 97. My top ten in this list would be in this order: 27, 46, 55, 68, 80, 84, 3, 21, 97, and 65. HF


  15. Kara Nelson says:

    Like your list would add: Caddyshack, Used Cars (w/ Kurt Russel), Vacation (original & Xmas),inglorious Bastards, Papillon, a few James Bond. Tough challenge!


    • Hola Kara! How’s it going en el sud? Nice of you to stop by and weigh in. I really liked Inglorious Bastards too, and Papillon was one of my favorite movies when I was young… a long time ago! Fun challenge; thanks for joining in! Check out some other posts and let me know what you think. 🙂


  16. mamaheidi60 says:

    One of my all time favorite movies is Hearts of the West, starring Jeff Bridges, Blythe Danner and Andy Griffith. Early 70’s. It was the first video I ever purchased and I think I paid $70 for it! It was followed next with his Rancho Deluxe, which never became a favorite for me, but definitely eclipsed Hearts. Looking at the list, makes me think of the many films we saw at the Picture Show in Fairhaven. Still miss that little venue, but awfully glad to have the Pickford!


  17. HI Dawn!
    Thank you so much…around this time of year, lots of people put together favorite movie lists. I love yours…and OF COURSE, how could you include everyone else’s favorites…those should be on THEIR lists.:) 🙂 Out of your 100, I’ve probably seen at least 90…so thanks for the new suggestions. Some of my favorites are movies I might not want to see again…too disturbing, but well worth watching. Most are ones I would see again and again…if I had the time.:) My son and his wife love quirky foreign movies and always recommend them…I also love adventure, comedy, drama, love…no horror for me though. And I tend to stay away from movies with sad endings that are filled with angst and despair…I can watch the news for that.:) You did a stellar job on your list!!!


    • Thanks Vivian! It was fun putting it together, and more fun watching them! My kids love a lot of these too. When they were little, I would wake them up singing “Good Morning, Good morning, It’s great to stay up late!” from Singing in the Rain. I still do, sometimes. When we hike, I always sing “The Hills are Alive.” Such great memories. I do not like horror, either. I did miss documentaries though, and I love them! It’s been fun to see what others add. Throw out a few of your favorites Vivian! 🙂


      • As I had said, about 90 of the ones you listed are favorites of mine….here’s one that wasn’t on your list: The Natural with Robert Redford…don’t know why but I could see that a hundred times…really enjoyed the Indiana Jones series…The Ten Commandments which is another movie I look forward to watching every year….and The Magnificent Seven (the original with Yul Brenner) I’m not sure if it is the main actor (Robert Redford, Harrison Ford and Yul Brenner do not disappoint in those films) or the story.
        Now see what you made me do, Dawn…now I will have to go and watch those movies again.:)


  18. Valery says:

    What – no “Halloween” on your list? 😉 How old were we when we saw that one in the theater down the hahbah?
    Movies can be so powerful. “Dead Calm” on Julie’s list still haunts me: I was never able to put my baby’s carseat in the back seat!
    Best Movies vs. Favorite Movies would provide a challenge for me.
    My list would have to include “Master and Commander”, strangely enough. Coppola’s “Black Stallion” is an all-time favorite. “To Sir, With Love”. “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”. “Born Free”. “West Side Story”. “The Iron Giant”. So many, many others…
    I love your list, it inspires me to do some renting.


    • Oh Val! Halloween ruined… RUINED… me!! I tell that story all the time! What a riot. And Dead Calm, terrified me. Horrible… so scary and real. These are some great additions to the list! Favorites vs best is a great point… of course, mine are THE best. 😉



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