Greg’s Movie List 100

One hundred movies that if you have not seen, perhaps liked, perhaps think represent something either important or entertaining, and remember, then you are probably not me.

I’ll make a deal with you. You can tell me to watch any movie that is not on this list and if I have not seen it, I’ll put it on my Netflix Cue. I’ll watch it as soon as I can and report back. But then you have to pick a movie on this list that you have not seen, watch it, and report back.

Feel free to make your own list and challenge the rest of us with it.

A Clockwork Orange (1971)
All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
Amelie (2001)
American Graffiti (1973)
Annie Hall (1977)
A Passage to India (1984)
Apocalypse Now (1979)
Apollo 13 (1995)
Barton Fink (1991)
Born on the Fourth of July (1989)
Brazil (1985)
Breaker Morant (1980)
Bringing Up Baby (1938)
Broadcast News (1987)
Bus Stop (1956)
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
Casablanca (1942)
Catch-22 (1970)
Chinatown (1974)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
Coming Home (1978)
Dangerous Liaisons (1988)
Dawn of the Dead (1979)
Dead Man Walking (1995)
Deliverance (1972)
Dial M for Murder (1954)
Die Hard (1988)
Dracula (1931)
Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
Dr. Strangelove (1964)
Duck Soup (1933)
Entre Nous (1983)
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Fargo (1996)
Fast, Cheap & Out of Control (1997)
Fatal Attraction (1987)
Frankenstein (1931)
Full Metal Jacket (1987)
Gallipoli (1981)
Gangs of New York (2002)
Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939)
House of Games (1987)
In the Heat of the Night (1967)
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
Jaws (1975)
King Kong (1933)
Klute (1971)
Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
La Dolce Vita (1961)
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
Like Water for Chocolate (1992)
Little Big Man (1970)
Love and Death (1975)
Manhattan (1979)
M*A*S*H (1970)
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978)
Network (1976)
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Of Mice and Men (1940)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
Ordinary People (1980)
Patton (1970)
Platoon (1986)
Psycho (1960)
Pulp Fiction (1994)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Raising Arizona (1987)
Repo Man (1984)
Reversal of Fortune (1990)
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Star Wars (1977)
Taxi Driver (1976)
The African Queen (1952)
The Big Chill (1983)
The Birds (1963)
The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
The Deer Hunter (1978)
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972)
The Elephant Man (1980)
The Exorcist (1973)
The Fly (1958)
The Godfather parts I and II (1972, 1974)
The Graduate (1967)
The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
Thelma & Louise (1991)
The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
The Naked Gun (1988)
The Piano (1993)
The Pink Panther (1964)
The Producers (1968)
The Shining (1980)
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
The Thin Man (1934)
The Thirty-Nine Steps (1935)
The Usual Suspects (1995)
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
Wrongfully Accused (1998)
Young Frankenstein (1974)

Comments

  1. #1 Greg Laden
    December 19, 2008

    I should add: I’ve excluded animations (at least I think I’ve excluded them all), documentaries, and for some movies by indicating the first in a series I mean to imply that perhaps some others in the series are included as part of that movie. Like the first and third Indiana Jones movies.

  2. #2 Hal in Howell MI
    December 19, 2008

    Very good list. I think I have seen them all. Might I suggest the following:

    “Trancers” (1985) – a sort of SF film noir (“It was July, and I was tired.”) Wouldn’t you like a time cop named Jack Deth? The film is also very short – 75 minutes – so as to not stretch one’s credulity too far. Many sequels, but don’t watch them.

    “Seven Days in May” (1964) – great Rod Serling script. Supposed to be fiction, but these days I’m not so sure.

    “Count Dracula” (BBC production 1977) – just became available on DVD. Very faithful to the novel and Louis Jourdan is a fascinating Dracula. Uses locations featured in the book.

    “The Stunt Man” (1980) – overlooked Peter O’Toole film with the tag line, “If God could do the tricks that we can do, he’d be a happy man.”

    Here endeth (for the moment.)

  3. #3 John J. McKay
    December 19, 2008

    I think I’ve seen about seventy of them. Off the top of my head I would add the silent films “Metropolis” and “The General,” the Sam Peckinpah western “The Wild Bunch” (it makes a great double feature with “The Magnificent Seven”), the first big budget comedy “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World,” and couple more Hitchcocks.

  4. #4 Stacy S.
    December 19, 2008

    I can see by your list of movies (most of which I have seen) that you and I do not have similar tastes in movies. However, after skimming your list – I still stand by my recommendation for you to watch Forest Gump.

    I think it would fit your style of movie. — Anyone disagree?? I think it won “Best Picture” the year it came out.

    Personally, I enjoy stupid fraternal humor movies. (Adam Sandler, Will Farrell, etc…)

    Come to think of it – I notice that “the classic” fraternity house movie is not on your list -
    “Animal House”. I am now sad :-( .

  5. #5 stillwaggon
    December 19, 2008

    Interesting list. I’ve made a copy to take to the library and pick up some DVDs. In the meantime, I have two recommendations of classics:

    Christ Stopped at Eboli: The true story of an Italian dissident artist/physician who was exiled by the Fascists to a town so remote that even Christ didn’t go there. The austerity of the scene makes our depression look like a golden age.

    The Siege of Algiers: Also based on a true story, the uprising of the native population against the occupying power, France.

  6. #6 The Science Pundit
    December 19, 2008

    Rashômon (1950) – Academy award winning Kurosawa film about a murder and how everyone remembers it differently. Spawned the term “Rashômon Effect”

  7. #7 Greg Laden
    December 19, 2008

    Stacy: There is no movie called “Animal House.” It is called “National Lampoon’s Animnal House and it is very definitely on the list. Be happy!

    By the way, not being on this list might mean that it was in the 40 or so that I deleted to get the list to 100.

    Sadly, there was only room for two Leslie Nielson movies ….

  8. #8 Stephanie Z
    December 19, 2008

    I’ve only seen a quarter of these in full. I don’t think you and I see movies for the same reasons. However, there are a few here I’ve been meaning to see. Trade you.

  9. #9 Greg Laden
    December 19, 2008

    Reasons? There are reasons?

    OK, here are two examples of reasons. All the good, and older movies I saw because Dan wanted to see them. All of the 1980s movies (and there are not many) I saw because I was on an airplane. The others, mostly not possible to articulate.

    Going to look at your list now …

  10. #10 ggab
    December 19, 2008

    There are only about a dozen or so here that I haven’t seen.
    I’ll get right on it.
    teehee Movie Marathon!!
    I’ll stock up on Wine and BBQ chips (I know, I know, it sounds gross. I don’t have them together.).

  11. #11 Greg Laden
    December 19, 2008

    Could work. Depends on the wine. I think I’ll have the bottle of Crozes-Hermitage Cuvee Louis Belle 1999 I’ve been saving with something meatier. Like a hamburger or something. No, no, cheeseburger. No, no, wait … La Berger avec Fromge. Yes, that’s it.

  12. #12 chezjake
    December 19, 2008

    I’ve seen the vast majority of your list and agree with most of them.
    May I suggest a couple older ones that are both great movies in their own right and which also showcase some of the best stars of an earlier time:

    Cat on a Hot Tin Roof -1958 – Paul Newman, Liz Taylor, Burl Ives
    The Lion in Winter – 1968 – Peter O’Toole, Kate Hepburn, Anthony Hopkins

    You also seem to be a bit short on Alec Guinness, but there are so many good ones, both serious and comedy, that it’s hard to name just one.

  13. #13 Stacy S.
    December 19, 2008

    OH Thank Goodness!! My Bad – I was looking under “A” obviously when I took a peek back to make sure it was there and of course I didn’t see it. I AM happier now! … WHEW!!

  14. #14 george.w
    December 19, 2008

    I thoroughly enjoyed Bubba Hotep, if you’re looking for comedy with chin.

  15. #15 J-Dog
    December 19, 2008

    LIFE OF BRIAN!!!??? Monty Python takes on religion. It is a must see – & must laugh. With an ending to die for. I don’t know how or why it is not on your list, but do yourself a favor and go get it and watch it.

  16. #16 R. Totale
    December 19, 2008

    You know who also makes great movies? Non-Americans..I know, I know..you have La Dolca Vita and maybe a couple other ones I missed but c’mon Greg. Kurosawa, Bergman, Herzog, Truffaut, Godard…They’re worth your time. Unless you have watched them and decided you didn’t like them. In which case, I’ll say good day to you sir! :)

  17. #17 Stephanie Z
    December 19, 2008

    Well, I have reasons for seeing movies. Actually, I have reasons for not seeing movies. I’ve read some of your picks (Forster, du Maurier) that I don’t want to see. I don’t need the extra impact of the visual medium or a score, and I want time to take them at my own pace.

  18. #18 Greg Laden
    December 19, 2008

    Totale: I don’t like Herzog. He’s lucky I didn’t put Burden of Dreams on my list, but since that is a documentary … well, he got lucky. Kurosawa was totally on my 140 list. I specifically avoided Bergman for the same reason I avoided the american Welles… I’m not that much of a sadist. But otherwise, I really could do a whole other list of just foreign films. When I was cutting down from my original list of 140 or so, a number of non US films went.

    Still, there are seven or more non-US films on the list. That’s not too bad.

  19. #19 Greg Laden
    December 19, 2008

    Stephanie speaks in writer. Du Maurier is The Birds. I don’t know who the other one is exaclty. Jodi?

  20. #20 chezjake
    December 19, 2008

    Forster is A Passage to India I believe.

  21. #21 Stephanie Z
    December 19, 2008

    E. M. Forster: A Passage to India, Howards End, Maurice, Where Angels Fear to Tread. I quite like the movie version of A Room With a View, though, in no small part because they kept two of the chapter titles as scene titles in the movie for no good reason. “Lying to George” and “Lying to Cecil.”

  22. #22 R. Totale
    December 19, 2008

    the same reason I avoided the american Welles… I’m not that much of a sadist.

    Can you explain how you view watching Citizen Kane, Magnificent Ambersons, and Touch of Evil to be forms of sadism?

  23. #23 Phil
    December 19, 2008

    Ed Wood with Johnny Depp. Easily his best movie.

  24. #24 Greg Laden
    December 19, 2008

    I’ve never seen Magnificant Ammbersons. Citizen Kane is a perfectly good movie, I even like it. It is not, however, the best movie ever made and I dare to say so unlike many others.

    The sadism part comes from Welles Worship in which it is assumed everything he ever touched was brilliant.

    Room with a view was on my long-list.

    I’m starting to regret not making this a list of 200 films. Perhaps I should ….

  25. #25 Elizabeth
    December 19, 2008

    You LIE!!!!

    Fast, Cheap and Out of Control is a documentary!!!!

  26. #26 omar
    December 19, 2008

    It would be interesting to see the list sorted by year.

  27. #27 Doug Alder
    December 19, 2008

    Great List because with the exception of “Fast, Cheap and Out of Control” I’ve seen every one in full and I saw part of that one on IFC one time. So here’s my suggestion – If you like Peter O’Toole try The Ruling Class from 1972 it’s a very funny and disturbing movie.

  28. #28 Greg Laden
    December 19, 2008

    Well, yes, I do have to remove Fast, Cheap as it is in fact a documentary. But what do I put in its place????

  29. #29 Hal in Howell MI
    December 19, 2008

    I confess to exaggeration. I haven’t seen all the movies on Greg’s List, but I have seen about 90 of them. Sorry. Anyway, one more, if you can find it (not sure if it has been released on DVD):

    “In the Bleak Midwinter” (AKA “A Midwinter’s Tale”) (1995) – an off-beat comedy about a production of “Hamlet” in a village church at Christmas. Written & directed by Kenneth Branagh.

  30. #30 Stephanie Z
    December 19, 2008

    Black Widow, of course, Greg. That means I’ve seen one more.

  31. #31 Lurkbot
    December 20, 2008

    I can’t believe I’ve seen all but 3 or 4 of them. And anybody who put Brazil, Breaker Morant, and Repo Man on their list must be all right.

    I would suggest Eating Raoul and The Loved One (1965, with Bobby Morse, Anjanette Comer, John Gielgud, Jonathan Winters in a double role, and oh…everybody and his dog. The Liberace and Paul Williams bits are classic.) The latter can be hard to find, but it’s in my all time top 5.

    Then there’s Strange Brew, but I’m an idiot!

  32. #32 llewelly
    December 20, 2008

    I have seen 9 of these movies.

  33. #33 Colin
    December 20, 2008

    You have to watch American History X. I’m surprised nobody recommended it yet. Anyone who has seen it will remember it for a good long time. I’ve seen a lot of those movies, and you have some good taste.

  34. #34 Gray Gaffer
    December 20, 2008

    I also have seen about 3/4 of them. Here are some I’ll trade you for:

    The Man Who Would Be King (1975 – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0073341/ ) Showtime insists on starting this 3 1/2 hr movie at 2 am, when I am doing my final surf.

    The late 60′s, ear;y 70′s, saw a sl;ew of funnies:

    I Love You Alice B. Toklas (1968 http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0063115/ )

    For Peter being funny, there’s always What’s New, Pussycat (1965)

    of course there are all the Pinewood Studios comedies, all the Peter Sellers and Alec Guinness movies, and the cream of Brit slapstick and innuendo in the St Trinians movies.

    And of course Peter’s masterpieces, one well known

    Being There (1979, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0078841/ ),

    with one of the most memorable final scenes, and one almost unknown yet of almost equal brilliance:

    The Optimist (1975, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070488/ )

    For something filmed in unobtanium, a challenge, is “The Bed Sitting Room” (1969, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0064074/ ).

    Stranger than ‘A Boy and his Dog (1975, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0072730/ )

    Rita Tushingham was also in some critically acclaimed movies, in particular

    The Knack (1965, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0059362/ )

    and of course Dr. Zhivago (1965, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0059113/, better known for Julie Christie than Rita).

    No Blade Runner? No Rings? No Matrix?

    And for a truly Lovecraftian experience, see if you can find a copy of The Stone Tape (1972, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0069316/usercomments )

    So now I have to add 10 to my list. I think I’ll try these:

    A Passage to India
    Barton Fink
    Bringing Up Baby
    Dead Man Walking
    Driving Miss Daisy
    Fast, Cheap & Out of Control
    Like Water for Chocolate
    The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie

    Hmmm. Seen more than I estimated.

  35. #35 Webs
    December 20, 2008

    No American History X on that list????

  36. #36 The Pondonome
    December 20, 2008

    Nice list. Happy to see “Repo Man” and “A Clockwork Orange,” my droogie. From other comments, I strongly second “Wild Bunch,” “The Lion in Winter,” “Rashomon.”

    Speaking of Kurasowa, see any and all, but see especially “Seven Samurai,” “Throne of Blood,” “Ran,” “Sanjuro,” and “Yojimbo,” which see immediately followed by “A Fistful of Dollars.”

    My additions: “Once Upon a Time in America,” “Diva,” “Sword of Doom” and “Blade Runner,” definitely “Blade Runner,” which has several of the best death scenes ever filmed. No, wait, it has all of them.

    Here’s to your precious bodily fluids.

  37. #37 Phil
    December 20, 2008

    I just realized you didn’t have the Incredible Shrinking Man or Jason and the Argonauts on the list.

  38. #38 Paul A
    December 20, 2008

    I second Bubba Ho-Tep and Blade Runner and would like to add The Castle to the list. Finest comedy to come out of Australia or pretty much any country.

  39. #39 Greg Laden
    December 20, 2008

    The Player, The Black Wido, Blade Runner, Incredible Shrinking, Argonatus, Kurasowa (two-three by), Ronin, many/ most on Gray’s list, are all movies that I have seen, and either were or should have been on my original long list (culled down). Then there are a lot of excellent suggestions. Clearly, this list is a first draft.

  40. #40 Greg Laden
    December 20, 2008

    I think I’ll put documentaries back in (that could get controversial) and lengthen the list.

  41. #41 Greg Laden
    December 20, 2008

    No, wait. I’m going to make a separate documentary list. AND expand the original list.

    OK, enough thinking out loud here.

  42. #42 Hal in Howell MI
    December 20, 2008

    @Lurkbot
    I had forgotten about “The Loved One.” What a film! Robert Morse’s eulogy is but one of many great scenes and Rod Steiger as Mr. Joyboy has to be seen to be believed. ‘Resurrection now!’

    “Strange Brew”? Give me more Bob & Doug! ‘Give in to the Darkside, you knob.’

  43. #43 A. Willow
    December 20, 2008

    Soilent Green.Great film.Though I admit I’m not much of a film buff…I’ve seen a total of two films on the list,and only one was a real choice I made(E.T. was on at Christmas when I was little).

  44. #44 torch
    December 20, 2008

    “Local Hero,” “The Go Between,” “The Dresser,” “8 1/2,” “The Bicycle Thief,” “Roma, citta aperta (Open City),” “Cul-de-sac” (1966), “Claire’s Knee,” “Atlantic City,” “The Big Sleep” (1946), “Swept Away” (1974), “Seven Beauties,” “Teorema,” “Hawks and Sparrows (Uccellacci e Uccellini).” I could go on.

  45. #45 Toddahhhh
    December 20, 2008

    Se7en, Better off Dead and I’m Gonna Git You Sucka (Pitt, Cusack and the Wayans Bros, you can’t go wrong)

  46. #46 Monica
    December 20, 2008

    Thanks for this list! Also, thanks to all who added more, I am updating my Netflix que right now! I have never seen/heard of Breaker Morant– will watch over the holiday break.

    I would recommend watching, if you haven’t already, in no particular order:

    Best in Show
    Rushmore
    Cinema Paradiso
    African Queen
    The Big Sleep
    Casablanca
    The House of Yes
    Party Girl
    The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
    Fanny & Alexander (even though I think you said you rejected Bergman)
    After the Wedding
    Il Postino
    M
    The Bicycle Thief
    Harold and Maude
    My Night at Maud’s
    The Two of Us
    My Dinner with Andre
    Au Revoir Les Enfants
    Blade Runner
    Metropolis
    Sophie’s Choice
    Sophie Scholl
    The Black Book
    Milla’s Sense of Snow
    Mon Oncle
    Talk to Her
    Indochine
    Farewell My Concubine

    and so many, many more. Happy viewing!

  47. #47 dubiquiabs
    December 20, 2008

    All-time great eye candy: Kubrick’s 2001
    No matter how often you’ve seen it already, it keeps growing on you: Babette’s Feast (Bonus for anthropologists and cooks)
    One of the most hilarious and packed 1/2 hours: The Wrong Trousers (I know, you’re not including animations, but this one transcends…)

  48. #48 Gray Gaffer
    December 20, 2008

    dubiquiabs: how could I have forgotten to include 2001? Also one of the early Cinerama productions, and I got to see it’s first release in London on that huge screen. And The Wrong Trousers: that train chase is one of the very few – if only – movie sequences that had me actually fall off my chair laughing. And I would include it for Science Bloggers for the cosmic implications of that scene alone.

    I noted I referenced “Peter” twice above – the first was O’Toole of course, the second was Sellers, sorry for not clarifying but you probably guessed.

    Greg, you have seen The Bed Sitting Room? And The Stone Tape?

  49. #49 Stacy S.
    December 20, 2008

    Here’s my list.

  50. #50 Ben Breuer
    December 20, 2008

    Two that weren’t among your 100 (methinks):

    The Great Dictator (Chaplin, 1942?)
    Once upon a Time in the West (Leone, 1968?)

    Two for me to watch:
    Night of the Living Dead (been in Pittsburgh for seven years, haven’t seen it, now in my house)
    Taxi Driver

  51. #51 Greg Laden
    December 20, 2008

    Invasion of the body snatchers

  52. #52 sbh
    December 20, 2008

    I’m not a big movie fan so I feel rather surprised that with the exception of ET I believe I have seen all of the movies on this list. Some of them (Repo Man, Casablanca, A Clockwork Orange, Duck Soup) are among my absolute favorites. A few favorites that are not on the list:

    Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928)
    Laura (1944)
    The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
    The President’s Analyst (1967)
    Americathon (1979)
    Better Off Dead (1985)
    The Revenger’s Tragedy (2002)

    Great list, by the way. Some of these I will definitely watch again. Maybe I’ll even get around to E.T.

  53. #53 Aquaria
    December 21, 2008

    Okay, I’ve seen every movie on your list. Meh. Not everybody can agree, and a lot of these I wouldn’t put on my list. Then again, I’m one of those people who does like Citizen Kane, although The Third Man is my favorite Welles film.

    Now for the ones I don’t see recommended already, and I’ll try to stay away from foreign films:

    No Blazing Saddles??? Monty Python’s Holy Grail? Meaning of Life? Come on!

    Here are some of the movies I’d have instead:

    Age of Innocence (1993)
    The Best Years of Our Lives
    Blue Velvet
    The Commitments
    Cool Hand Luke
    Double Indemnity
    East of Eden
    From Russia with Love
    Gaslight
    The Grifters
    High Noon
    His Girl Friday
    Hud
    The Hustler
    In the Name of the Father
    It Happened One Night
    L.A. Confidential
    The Long Goodbye
    The Maltese Falcon
    North by Northwest
    Notorious
    Now, Voyager
    Philadelphia Story
    The Princess Bride
    Raging Bull
    Streetcar Named Desire
    Some Like It Hot
    Suddenly Last Summer
    The Women

    Yeah, it’s a weird collection, and a lot of noir. So sue me. I’m a noir fan.

  54. #54 Mike Haubrich, FCD
    December 22, 2008

    It just occurred to me that it is rather odd that an anthropologist wouldn’t have Quest for Fire on a list like this.