LORD HEATH'S TOP 100 MOVIES
Constructing a list of one's personal favourite movies is no easy task. There are so many to choose from. Some are cinematic masterpieces, and others are simply films that make you laugh, cry or just be entertained. Most film lists will have the likes of Gone With The Wind, Citizen Kane, The Godfather, Casablanca (I know, don't laugh!) and many other great and famous films. Those are considered by others as the greatest movies ever made. But that is not THIS list. This list is MY personal favourites and the films appear in the exact order as per the presentation.


100   EYES WIDE SHUT  (Stanley Kubrick / Warner Bros. 1999)
Kubrick's last film is nothing short of a breathtaking masterpiece. Yes it's long ride but excellently photographed, and looks both professional and expensive. The film builds suspense, has tons of nudity and takes us into a world of orgies, deceit, infidelity, Nicole Kidman's arse, tits everywhere, face masks and sexual intrigue. On a personal note, it was also the very first DVD I ever bought.
99   DIRTY HARRY  (Don Siegel / Warner Bros. 1971)
Clint Eastwood at his finest in one of the roles that established him as a serious contender for one of Hollywood's leading men of the 1970s. His unorthodox and unconventional methods of bringing criminals to justice as Detective Harry Callahan in a non-PC world makes his character unpredictably captivating. The first sequel, Magnum Force narrowly missed this list and is almost as good. I'm sorry I couldn't make his day by placing this great film higher in the list, but none can argue about the importance of Dirty Harry in the incredible body of work of Clint Eastwood's film career.
98   JURASSIC PARK  (Steven Spielberg / Universal 1993)
Well what can you say about Jurassic Park. It broke the mould for dinosaur movies. Based on Michael Crichton's novel, it went on to be one of the most profitable movies ever made. Directed by Steven Spielberg, the film manages to get away with not using A-list actors and using A+ CG shots. After seeing the special effects in this film you will actually believe those creatures are real. Saw this at the cinema twice.
97   FIVE CARD STUD  (Henry Hathaway / Paramount 1968)
Okay, sure this one isn't a masterpiece and certainly cannot be compared to the previous three films on this list in terms of fame or box-office success, but as this list is about the films I personally like, yes, I like it more than the last three. Robert Mitchum, who takes second billing to Dean Martin here, plays a fake preacher who rides into a western town to avenge his brother's death after he was lynched when he was caught cheating in a poker game. The only problem is, the preacher makes one crucial error... Good supporting cast too from Inger Stevens, Roddy McDowall and Yaphet Kotto. I don't want to give away the ending so if you haven't seen this one I definitely recommend checking it out.
96   SCREAM  (Wes Craven / Miramax 1996)
This has got to rank up there as one of the best horror-thrillers ever made. Wes Craven really brought back the horror genre with this mid-90s shocker where a masked killer (known as 'Ghostface') begins offing youngsters. Drew Barrymore gets the Alfred Hitchcock treatment by being a leading character who is killed off early in the film, setting the who-dunnit suspense up until the end. Very good production, and with more film references than you can shake a stick at, and a reasonably likeable cast too.
95   A PERFECT MURDER  (Andrew Davis / Warner Bros. 1998)
Michael Douglas's first appearance on this list is for his portrayal of a wealthy businessman who suspects his wife is cheating on him (which she is, by the way) and so hires a hitman to kill her. What he doesn't realise is that it's actually the hired killer who is the guy screwing his wife. Douglas is at his best when playing the villain and he pulls this off brilliantly. But it's David Suchet as the detective who steals the show for me; there's something about his performance which outshines Douglas in every scene. The super-skinny Gweyneth Paltrow plays his gorgeous wife who is 28 years Douglas's junior. No comment on THAT!
94   THE EIGER SANCTION  (Clint Eastwood / Universal 1975)
Now if you were to ask people to name 10 Clint Eastwood movies, I would be surprised if The Eiger Sanction would get a mention. I regard this as one of his hidden gems. His fourth movie as director, and with a decent supporting from George Kennedy, we get to see Clint doing his own stunts as well as climbing the north face of the Eiger, some stunning photography, a beautiful score from John Williams and a dog called Faggot. What more do you want?
93   UNFORGIVEN  (Clint Eastwood / Warner Bros. 1992)
If you had formed an opinion that I enjoy Clint Eastwood's movies then you'd be right. It's mere coincidence that two should be next to each other in this list. And his films don't get much better than this. What SCREAM did for ressurecting the horror genre in the 90s, Unforgiven did for westerns: by bringing them back into the spotlight. The rewards were plenty for Clint; deservedly winning the Best Picture Academy Award, as well as a first Oscar for himself as director. He plays a retired gunman who comes out of retirement to avenge a wrong that has been done to a prostitute in a small town in the middle of nowhere. But he meets with resistance from Gene Hackman (who also won an Oscar) as the brutal sheriff. Morgan Freeman and Richard Harris have decent sized roles too. So that's 3 Clints in the list already!
92   CROCODILE DUNDEE  (Peter Faiman / Paramount 1986)
Paul Hogan became an overnight celebrity when this came out and it's not hard to see why. It has comedy, drama, suspense, a beautiful leading actress and an often-quoted famous line about Crocodile Dundee's knife being somewhat larger than that of one being carried by a mugger. And who could ever forget that shot of Linda Kozlowski in a one-piece bikini crouching down to fill her water canteen when the crocodile strikes. That arse! God bless the 1980s!
91   ALIENS  (James Cameron / 20th Century Fox 1986)
We stay in the 80s for what was possibly Sigourney Weaver's finest hour? It's not an easy task to take on a project of making a sequel to an already popular film and making it even better, but James Cameron managed it by adding depth to Ridley Scott's original movie and giving it muscles! Surely nobody can argue that this is one of the best movie sequels ever made? The Extended Director's Cut is the version to see. It's long, it's tense and it's bloody great! A nod has to go to Lance Henriksen also for his part as Bishop, the android.
90   AWAKENINGS  (Penny Marshall / Columbia 1990)
A bearded Robin Williams plays a doctor assigned to treat a mentally handicapped Robert DeNiro in this wonderful yet powerful drama set in the 1960s. For me, DeNiro doesn't ever do much wrong and is one of the most extraordinary actors who ever lived, whereas Robin Williams still finds time to offer moments of his comic genius in a serious role ("Where are my glasses?" - "They're on your head") Powerful film, brilliant performances from two legends who just seem to gel in ever scene they have together.
89   HALLOWEEN  (John Carpenter / Trancas International 1978)
To be honest I was surprised this film ended up so low down the list because it played a very important part in my younger years when I was really starting to get into films. It's undeniably one of the best horror films ever made. Even a few of the sequels were decent, but this John Carpenter original, made on such a tiny budget, still holds up even today. Masked killer stalks teenage babysitters on... wait for it... Halloween (can you imagine?) Dr. Donald Pleasence saves the day. Sort of.
88   FINDING NEMO  (Andrew Stanton / Disney-Pixar 2003)
Oh come on, you can't deny it - you like it too! The animation, the art, the seagulls that say "mine" at random, and of course Dory. What's not to like?
87   GONE WITH THE WIND  (Victor Fleming / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer 1939)
Definitely in the top three best movies ever made... but that doesn't necessarily qualify it as being my personal favourite. The production on this cinematic masterpiece cannot be overstated. Clark Gable, an absolutely drop-dead gorgeous Vivien Leigh and a much loved Hattie McDaniel make up a very strong cast about the American Civil War and a love triangle which includes Leslie Howard. It takes some stamina to sit through it though; it's almost 4 hours long!
86   THE VERDICT  (Don Siegel / Warner Bros. 1946)
Don Siegel's second film on this list is an absolute gem about an innocent man being executed in late nineteenth century London. This incredibly atmospheric film noir features Sydney Greenstreet as the police chief responsible for the error who is subsequently demoted and loses his credibility. The new man in charge is determined never to let another injustice happen on his watch, but when a murder takes place in the area we are set up for a nail-biting twist ending. This isn't a well-known film, so if you get a chance to see it you really should.
85   BIG  (Penny Marshall / 20th Century Fox 1988)
A surprise second outing on this list for director Penny Marshall for this charmingly delightful comedy-fantasy-drama starring Tom Hanks as a young man forced to live inside the body of a young boy who made a wish to be "big". His wish is granted and Hanks assumes the unlikely role of a naive and innocent adult who gains success both in love and life. But at the end of it all it's just too much for him and he wishes to be "small" again. It's amazing how the child actor who plays his character looks absolutely nothing like Tom Hanks! But let's look past that.
84   SPEED  (Jan de Bont/ 20th Century Fox 1994)
A buff Keanu Reeves, whom I am not a fan of, shines in this edge-of-your-seat thrill ride about a bomb on a bus which cannot drop its speed because it will explode. A genius idea, well executed and ultimately satisfying despite the slightly lacklustre ending.
83   THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE  (Curtis Hanson / Touchstone 1992)
Rebecca De Mornay as at her psychotic best as the babysitter from Hell as she takes her revenge on the family she blames for her own miscarriage. Annabella Sciorra is the mother who has to eventually come to terms with the fact that she has just let a lunatic into her family! I'm always torn between feeling sorry for De Mornay and cheering for her when she goes flying out of the window at the end; but certainly the stand-out scene with her is when she confronts a bully in the park. Wow. Crazy! Another gem of a performance comes from Ernie Hudson who plays Solomon, the gentle giant who is wrongly accused of sexually abusing the little girl, thanks to DeMornay's wackjob character; oh and there's an early star role from Julianne Moore too. Good, solid story.
82   COCOON  (Ron Howard / 20th Century Fox 1985)
Director Ron Howard - we'll be seeing more of him further down this list, gives us a bunch of old farts who are rejuvenated when aliens from a different planet move in next door. Sounds silly, right? But the talent on offer here is nothing short of spectacular. Many elderly actors who had their best days long behind them were given an injection of fame at the end of their lives for this ensemble picture which featured Hume Cronyn, his real-life wife Jessica Tandy, Don Ameche, Wilford Brimley and Jack Gilford. It's one of those sentimental movies which you just can't help but love. One scene at the end with Jack Gilford telling Brian Dennehy that he would give him everything he's got in order to bring his dead wife back.... it always gets me.
81   CRASH  (Paul Haggis / LionsGate 2004)
The Best Picture Academy Award for this brilliant film was totally justified. Many complained that it screwed 'Brokeback Mountain' out of the win, but I disagree. When I saw this for the first time I genuinely believed it was the best film I had seen in years. A racist cop comes good when he saves the life of a woman whom he previously racially and sexually abused in the line of duty. It's powerful. Some brilliant performances all round. A must-see movie. I cannot recommend this enough.
80   HERCULES  (Ron Clements, John Musker / Disney 1997)
For years this was my favourite Disney movie, and I have seen them all. One simple reason for that: James Woods. His portray of Hades is nothing short of magnificent.
79   RUNAWAY TRAIN  (Andrei Konchalovsky / Cannon 1985)
Another one of the films on this list which means more to me for sentimental value. Jon Voight's character is pretty much unlikeable throughout yet he manages to carry off the role of an escaped prisoner who boards a driver-less train with the annoying Eric Roberts in unwanted tow as they hurtle across the country on a one-way ticket to certain doom. Who would have thought that in a list of Top 100 movies that Rebecca De Mornay would appear in one film, let alone two?!
78   THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD  (Michael Curtiz, William Keighley / Warner Bros. 1938)
Next up we have Errol Flynn doing what he does best against the nasty Basil Rathbone. That glorious Technicolor just jumps out of the screen with its rich details and exquisite costumes. It's basically the Indiana Jones movie of the 1930s, with strong reliable support from cast such as Eugene Pallette, Olivia de Havilland and Claude Rains. If you haven't seen it, you are missing out.
77   MY COUSIN VINNY  (Jonathan Lynn / 20th Century Fox 1992)
Joe Pesci versus Fred Gwynne in a courtroom comedy/drama which gave Marisa Tomei a surprise Oscar win as Pesci's mouthy, yet intelligent girlfriend whose evidence in a murder trial ends up being the difference in Pesci winning his first case. Fred Gwynne's role as the judge is definitely worthy of mention. "What's a yoot?"
76   CREEP  (Christopher Smith / Pathé 2004)
I think this film means more to me maybe because I saw this in the cinema when it came out based purely on the trailer; I live in London, I know the Underground system, have used the station seen in the film... and I liked Franke Potente in "Run Lola Run". The poor girl gets locked in a tube station at night after missing the last train. But she's not alone down there.... I do wish this one would get a Blu-Ray release.
75   HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH  (Tommy Lee Wallace / Universal-Dino De Laurentiis 1982)
Another sentimental favourite from my youth. I always embrace this as a stand-alone film, not connected with the other films in the series, and you know what, it's actually a really, really good film. A sinister toymaker wants to kill children on Halloween night by having them buy his masks which are chipped to explode when his catchy commercial plays on the TV. Tom Atkins is the doctor who takes it upon himself to investigate the mysterious death of a patient which leads him to uncover the awful plot. Another good point about this film is the open ending... we never do get to find out whether or not he succeeds.
74   MRS. DOUBTFIRE  (Chris Columbus / 20th Century Fox 1992)
The first of two films directed by Chris Columbus on this list (it doesn't take a magician to figure out what the other one is!) and the second to feature Robin Williams. I didn't take to this film much when it came out but it has grown on me over the years and deals with the sensitive subject of divorce, something I myself have been through. It's funny, it's sad, it's Robin Williams at his absolute finest. He is a riot, and pulls off the impossible task of not only playing a woman but doing the voice too. This world just isn't the same without him being here. His best film? Not quite... that's coming up a bit later.
73   THE GAME  (David Fincher / Polygram 1997)
As a big Michael Douglas fan, I was really impressed with this one when I first saw it, and even now I know the twist ending to the film, it still holds up. It's one of those films you will want to see again to see if you missed anything the first time around. Michael Douglas is a wealthy man who has everything who ends up with nothing. Or does he? Sean Penn is my only annoyance here, as the younger brother who enters Douglas into a game he doesn't want and where nothing is what it seems.
72   THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE  (Ronald Neame / 20th Century Fox 1972)
It's Hackman versus Borgnine leading an all-star cast in one of the biggest movies of the decade about a cruise ship that is hit by a tidal wave on New Years' Eve. It's a race against time as they fight their way through the upturned boat to safety. Only six survive. If you haven't seen this, you must have been hiding under a rock. It's a classic.
71   STAR WARS  (George Lucas / 20th Century Fox 1977)
What can I say about Star Wars? It's incredible. The characters, the special effects, the lightsabers, the Trench battle, Darth Vader, the Millennium Falcon. Was it my favourite film in the over-stretched series? Hmmm, you'll have to read on a bit further to find out! As a child, I watched this film to death and knew almost every scene of it. As I have grown older I think maybe the novelty of its magnificence has worn off a little.
70   DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE  (John McTiernan / 20th Century Fox-Cinergi 1995)
My favourite film in the series. I just like its simplicity, the characters, the plot. It does outstay its welcome late on and starts to drag a bit but I can excuse that in light of the first two-thirds of the otherwise brilliant action-suspense blockbuster that this was. Samuel L. Jackson makes the difference here.
69   ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN  (Alan J. Pakula / Warner Bros. 1976)
Redford and Hoffman - two of the biggest box-office draws of their generation play the two Washington Post reporters who uncover the Watergate scandal with tremendously confident performances. So many bonus performances on offer here too from Martin Balsam, Jason Robards Jr. and Hal Holbrook. Another cinematic masterpiece.
68   SINK THE BISMARCK!  (Lewis Gilbert / 20th Century Fox 1960)
Set in 1941 during World War II, this naval battle pits the British Royal Navy against the most-feared German warship ever built as they go head-to-head in the North Atlantic. Based on real events. The Blu-Ray is definitely worth a look (when it was announced it was being released I pre-ordered it a month before the release date - which is something I never do.) My reasoning for embracing the film to begin with was to familiarise myself with the history of it. I must confess I don't particularly like Kenneth More's miserable character in the film.
67   WOLF CREEK  (Greg McLean / Dimension 2005)
This Australian horror movie was brilliant. Based on true events, three backpackers on holiday in Australia get into difficulty and end up accepting the help of Aussie outbacker Mick Taylor (played by relatively unknown John Jarratt). His loveable charm soon reveals him to be a maniacal, twisted psychopath with only one agenda. What's so unusual about it is that the bad guy does NOT get his comeuppance, and no matter how nasty he gets you just can't help liking him!. There was a sequel in 2013 which was also pretty decent. One of my favourite modern-day horrors, although some people might not regard this as a 'horror' film at all? Saw this one at the cinema with my wife and we both agreed at the time how bloody good it was.
66   CRIMSON TIDE  (Tony Scott / Hollywood 1995)
Gene Hackman AGAIN.... this time squaring off against Denzel Washington in this tense brink-of-nuclear war submarine thriller directed by the very competent Tony Scott (brother of Ridley). Hackman is the highly respected commander of an American nuclear sub and gets a bit pissed when new First Officer Washington comes aboard and starts disagreeing with his rationale. This leads to a mutiny on board. Plenty of testosterone flying about, some incredibly tense scenes and two leading actors going head-to-head with each other in a confined environment. What could go wrong? Jason Robards Jr. giving them both a bollocking at the end is a good scene too. Better than The Hunt For Red October in my opinion. Weird-but-true fact: Gene Hackman's dog in the film was the reason I bought myself a Jack Russell as a pet.
65   BLOODSPORT  (Newt Arnold / Cannon 1988)
Let's get one thing straightened out right up front here: I am definitely not a Jean-Claude Van Damme fan, not by any stretch of the imagination... but this film is just excellent. Easily his best film, nothing else he ever did comes close. Based on a true story, JCVD plays Frank Dux taking part in the Kumite (pronounced koom-e-tay), a martial arts competition in Hong Kong every 5 years. He wins of course, but the fight sequences are not overbloated and drawn out, the editing is done well and okay we get to see Van Damme's athletic abilities (which to his credit are reasonably good). Don't be put off seeing it just because you are not a fan of his stuff. It's better than you expect it to be.
64   IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE  (Frank Capra / Liberty 1946)
Here is another example of a tremendous film which I regard in the same mould as Gone With The Wind in being among the best ever made. But again, in the scheme of things it ranks down here on my list of favourites. A charming film starring James Stewart, whose best film is still to come, about a man who is on the brink of losing everything. In his darkest hour he contemplates suicide but is saved by the most unlikely of allies who shows him what his life would have been like if he had never be born. Lionel Barrymore is just superb as the evil Potter. He is the 'Mr. Burns' (The Simpsons) of movie characters. My favourite Christmas movie.
63   FORCE 10 FROM NAVARONE  (Guy Hamilton / Columbia 1978)
One of Robert Shaw's last films and just after Harrison Ford's success in Star Wars comes this decent film which supposedly carries on from the end of the 1961 movie The Guns Of Navarone. Good cast, including Richard Keil and Carl Weathers (post-Rocky). A group of military experts head to Yugoslavia to destroy an important bridge. There's some great locations, decent cast, sabotage, and Barbara Bach's tits.
62   PSYCHO II  (Richard Franklin / Universal 1983)
For me, this is one of the best movie sequels ever made, especially as it was so brave to try. Hitchcock's original will of course remain untouched (so by that logic you can expect to see it later on in this list!) but to take such a famous film and get a second story out of it took guts. And it works so well. Set (and made) 22 years after the original, the film takes us back to the Bates Motel with Anthony Perkins ressurecting his infamous Norman Bates character (I am a bit biased here because I love Perkins as an actor). Vera Miles also returns to cause him grief. Lovely haunting score from Jerry Goldsmith and seeing the original location of the movie brought back into the modern day and now in colour are bonuses. The shock ending is just the cherry on the cake!
61   PULP FICTION  (Quentin Tarantino / Miramax 1994)
Quentin Tarantino was on a role after Reservoir Dogs when he followed it up with this tremendous multi-story feature about a boxer (Bruce Willis) who deliberately wins a fight he was paid to lose. We have two hitmen in the shape of John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson, as well as strong support from Uma Thurman, Ving Rhames, Tim Roth, Harvey Keitel and others. QT's best film... until 1997. Seeing Ving Rhames with one hole being stuffed with a ball-gag whilst the other is being stuffed from behind was quite shocking to see. But hey, it's Tarantino, right?
60   AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON  (John Landis / Polygram 1981)
Okay, this film has definitely stood the test of time when it comes to great horror, comedy, atmosphere and just damn good overall feel. In terms of my personal life this film still holds the distinction of being the one that scared the shit out of me the most when I first saw it as a young teenager. The Slaughtered Lamb, the scene where Jack gets ripped to bits on the moors, Rick Baker's werewolf transformation of David Naughton, and that howl! That HOWL! Still sends shivers down my spine. I wanted this to be much higher in my list, but wants and facts are different things. Such a great film.
59   PRESUMED INNOCENT  (Alan J. Pakula / Warner Bros, 1990)
Maybe Harrison Ford's last really good film is this courtroom drama directed by Alan K. Pakula (second film in this list for him) with Ford being charged with his secret lover's murder. It's a very good performance from Raul Julia as his lawyer with Brian Dennehy, Greta Scacchi (an incredible naked shot of her in the film, by the way) and Bonnie Bedelia in support. Did you see the twist ending coming?
58   PHONE BOOTH  (Joel Schumacher / Fox2000 2002)
Colin Farrell stars as the conman who answers a random telephone call and is told by the caller that if he puts the phone down he will be shot and killed, Claustrophobic and compelling. Forest Whitaker is the cop who tries to talk him down and the unseen Kiefer Sutherland is the sniper on the other end of the phone. It's a really tense situation and you cannot help but watch every minute of it. Joel Schumacher on top form as director, though better is still to come from him on this list.
57   DEVIL  (John Erick Dowdle / Universal 2010)
When the opening scene is shown upside down you know something isn't quite right about this film! Penned by M. Night Shyamalan, Devil is a group of strangers who get trapped in an office block elevator. One by one they start getting killed off by something every time the lights temporarily go out. One of the people in the elevator is actually the Devil in disguise. But which one of them is it? I didn't get it right. And to date this is the only film I have ever seen that actually made me physically go cold when the reveal is made. Seriously, I was watching it in the dark and my whole body suddenly went cold when THAT scene came up. I definitely do not want to spoil this, so go and see it for yourself.
56   PER QUALCHE DOLLARO IN PIÙ
(FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE)
  (Sergio Leone / United Artists 1965)
Every one of Sergio Leone's 'Spaghetti Westerns' are legendary cinematic masterpieces, and each has their own superb qualities. This is my favourite. It's not only Clint Eastwood, but Lee Van Cleef is a great inclusion in the cast. Then we have Massimo Dallamano's beautiful cinematography and that unforgettable musical score by Ennio Morricone. A step up from Fistful of Dollars and slightly superior to The Good, The Bad And The Ugly, I love the Eastwood-Van Cleef relationship; the bank heist; and that wonderful showdown at the end with Gian Maria Volonte.
55   THE DIRTY DOZEN  (Robert Aldrich / MGM 1967)
Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine and George Kennedy - three of my favourite actors all come together for this one, an intriguing idea for a film, based on Erwin Nathanson's novel of the same name about a bunch of condemned prisoners who are offered a chance to redeem themselves and earn a pardon by participating in a suicide mission during WWII. Marvin's character stands out for being somebody who does things his way, which is not quite the army way. Some decent and memorable performances in support as well including Charles Bronson, Jim Brown, Donald ("number 2!") Sutherland, Telly Savalas, Richard Jaeckel and Robert Ryan. How's THAT for a cast!
54   MIDWAY  (Jack Smight / Universal 1976)
Definitely one of my favourite war movies, which I remember first watching as a way of educating myself of the facts. The cast varies between average to strong. Robert Mitchum and Toshiro Mifune - two of my favourite actors have relatively small roles, but there's enough of Henry Fonda, Charlton Heston and Hal Holbrook to go around. Some live action footage shot during actual battle is incorporated into the film, making that a good bonus. A laughable, flashy and massively inferior remake was made in 2019, which I watched out of nothing more than intrigue, but comparing the films would be the equivalent of comparing caviar to a cow shit.
53   IN THE LINE OF FIRE  (Wolfgang Petersen / Columbia 1993)
Clint Eastwood again. An intelligent story about him being an FBI agent who is haunted by the memory of when he failed to protect President Kennedy in his assassination, Clint now has to deal with a new threat from wacko John Malvokich who is now threatening to kill the current President. Malkovich is magnificent, Clint has another strong outing and there is good support from an up-and-coming Rene Russo as well. Clint stepped away from his company Malpaso to make this one and it paid off, with a good look to the finished film, believable story and well directed by Wolfgang Petersen (who was most famous for Das Boot).
52   THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY  (Peter Jackson / MGM-New Line 2012)
I was a big fan of The Lord Of The Rings trilogy so when it was announced they were going to undertake The Hobbit - and with Peter Jackson at the helm, I was excited but also reserved with the thinking of the huge task at hand to top those three films. I wasn't disappointed. The first offering in this new series is pretty much faultless. A lot of the old cast return and are made up to look younger, and Martin Freeman is instantly likeable as Bilbo. The cast who represented the dwarves are all outstanding, as well as Sir Ian McKellen who recreates his famous Gandalf role. It's long, but definitely not dull. The photography and location shooting is just brilliant. I just can't get my head around how they made this!
51   JFK  (Oliver Stone / Warner Bros. 1991)
Again, this 3-hour marathon was something I watched to educate myself of the story of Kennedy's assassination, which at the time it came out I didn't know too much about. Oliver Stone pulls no punches here and delivers a powerful thought-provoking insight into the "who really killed the President" theory. The movie is presented in such a way that it almost forces you to agree with Stone's reasoning. Kevin Costner is just about acceptable as the DA who brings the case against the government in an attempt to secure a conviction for the murder. Lots of small roles for well-known stars, including a brief scene with John Candy of all people! Costner's long speech at the end can get a bit too much on repeat viewings.
50   THE WIZARD OF OZ  (Victor Fleming / MGM 1939)
There cannot be too many films on this list that most would consider to be a masterpiece, but this surely has to be one of them. Again, more of a nostalgic entry for me here. The Technicolor, the fantasy storyline, the Wicked Witch of the West. It's hard to find any fault with the film except maybe a few too many viewings of it? If you were looking to introduce kids to watching movies you could do yourself (and them) a favour by starting here. They'll thank you for it.
49   GOOD WILL HUNTING  (Gus Van Sant / Miramax 1997)
If only this wasn't up against James Cameron's Titanic at the 1998 Academy Awards, it could have easily won the Best Picture Oscar. Robin Williams finally won his Oscar as the bearded professor who tries to counsel Matt Damon (the title character) whose genius talents are wasted in life. For me, the roles of Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Minnie Driver are nothing more than distractions in a superbly-written script (which ironically they wrote and won the Oscar for!) Williams is at his most serious and shows a completely different side to him as opposed to his comic genius he is often noted for. But as good as he is here, there are still two more films higher up this list in which he stars! Can you imagine? Also, there is a scene in this film which always nearly makes me cry too. The Williams/Damon hug at the end.
48   THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW  (Jim Sharman / 20th Century Fox 1975)
I remember being blown away the first time I saw this film (in 1999). Richard O'Brien (whom I have met and spoken with) is an absolute genius for his work on this cult classic. The songs, the characters, Tim Curry in drag, Susan Sarandon's massive cleavage, the production, the failure of the film on its initial run... Rocky Horror is just amazing. When I first watched it I was initially apprehensive about it because on the outside it did not appeal. But don't judge a book by its cover! Upon watching it, this film will have you singing the songs from it very quickly! "The Time Warp", anybody?
47   THE TOWERING INFERNO  (John Guillermin / 20th Century Fox-Warner Bros. 1974)
The epitome of the 1970s disasters genre that everybody remembers. This film is almost as famous for its off-screen politics (arguments over top billing of its two top stars as well as the two film companies arguing over which of their names should be recognised more in the credits) as it was for its on-screen delivery (all star cast, special effects etc.) Tallest building in the world catches fire half-way up and spreads out of control, trapping a lot of residents, V.I.P's and guests on the top floor. The three things that went through the roof here were the fire itself, and the egos of Paul Newman and Steve McQueen. Even William Holden tried to get in on the act with wanting that all-important top billing slot. But all that aside, is the film actually any good? Yes, it is. There is a brief sound effect in the film which I always find chilling: when Paul Newman has to walk across the top of the empty lift shaft near the end of the film.
46   QUADROPHENIA  (Franc Roddam / Polygram 1979)
Based on a 1973 studio album by The Who, this drama, set in the early 1960s tells of a young man - a 'mod' whose life spirals out of control through drugs, where he loses the respect of his parents and all of his friends until all he has left in the world is his motor scooter. The Who provide the soundtrack which really enhances the film with songs such as Love Reign O'er Me and I've Had Enough. I have seen this film probably more times than most others and it still holds a very special place in my heart. Phil Daniels was such a perfect choice, with a show of support from rising star Ray Winstone and more surprisingly Sting, the lead singer of the group The Police.
45   ROLLERCOASTER  (James Goldstone / Universal 1977)
Now we are getting into the very important films which mean a lot to me. This is one of those unusual films where it's hard to put your finger on just why I love it so much, but I do! It's a simple concept too - young man threatens to blow up rollercoaster rides if his extortionate demands aren't met. Timothy Bottoms is nicely on the borderline psycho list as the saboteur, whilst George Segal has to figure out how to put an end to his dangerous pass time. Richard Widmark and Henry Fonda put in their small-but-important appearances which make it better. And there's even an appearence from 70s rock band Sparks as well. Would have been interesting to experience in a cinema with the short-lived Sensurround feature which this movie had.
44   HOME ALONE  (Chris Columbus / 20th Century Fox 1990)
Chris Columbus's second film on the list was written by John Hughes (more on him later!) The story of a young boy accidentally left at home during the Christmas holidays whilst his family bugger off to France on vaction. Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern are the two intruders whom Macaulay Culkin defeats in an monumentus effort to protect his home. Roberts Blossom is the mysterious but likeable neighbour who is wrongly fingered for being a wanted murderer. It's funny, it's clever and it's ludicrously unrealistic but above all it's great fun. The sequel two years later wasn't bad either. And there's the ever-reliable John Williams again providing a memorable score to underline it all.
43   GHOST  (Jerry Zucker / Paramount 1990)
So there you have it - two of the biggest movies of 1990 back-to-back in this list (not deliberate, it's just how it worked out) I remember seeing this at the cinema when it came out and it was a great experience. I was put off seeing it when I saw that Patrick Swayze was the star but after seeing him in the film I found some respect for him afterwards. It's one of those films that makes you wonder about the afterlife and whether or not it's real? Whoopi Goldberg makes this film so much more entertaining as the phony psychic (she won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress), and those spirits (both the light and dark ones) are really thought-provoking. Good story. Unlike Demi Moore's haircut.
42   HALLOWEEN 4: THE RETURN OF MICHAEL MYERS  (Dwight H. Little / Trancas International 1988)
Surprised? A massively important film for me when I was growing up because it really made me fall in love with the Halloween film series. Donald Pleasence is back on form as the doctor searching for the once-again escaped killer Michael Myers who is now trying to hunt down his niece in this atmospheric sequel. But why is this one so high up my list? It's a number of factors: the eerie opening credits, the production feel, the slow build, Michael's mask, and even the new characters do well. No Jamie Lee Curtis, but that isn't a bad thing either. The whole film has a subdued look about it and it lends to it feeling authentic. I really like this one. By comparison, Halloween 5 was shit.
41   THE GREEN MILE  (Frank Darabont / Warner Bros.-Castle Rock 1999)
Stephen King admitted that this was the best film adaptation of his work he had seen, and it's hard to disagree with him. Having read the book, and seen the film TWICE on the day it was released this is still to date the only time I have cried whilst watching a film at the cinema. And I wasn't the only one either. Grown men sniffing in the audience all around me in the dark. The word 'powerful' doesn't quite cover it. Set in the 1930s, the prison guards on Death Row feel sorry for an innocent man they have to execute for a crime they know he didn't commit. Michael Clarke Duncan was robbed of a much deserved Oscar. "Do you leave the lights on after bedtime?" Oh yeah, and Tom Hanks is in it too... More from him later.
40   AS GOOD AS IT GETS  (James L. Brooks / TriStar 1997)
Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt: what a great combination. They work so well together on screen both as friends and as moderate strangers that it's difficult to pick a winner between them for Best Performance from this film. And let's not overlook Greg Kinnear either. The cast is so strong, the script is so interesting, the characters are so well written. I love this film. The Blu-Ray release was limited to just 3,000 prints, and you would be correct in assuming that I was one of them who bought it!
39   RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK  (Steven Spielberg / Paramount 1981)
If Harrison Ford's Han Solo wasn't enough he ups his game here as he takes on the role of archaeologist Indiana Jones in one of cinema's most famous characters. It spawned two sequels (as far as I am concerned, at least!) both of which couldn't light a candle to this one. Raiders has everything: drama, excitement, comedy, adventure, action, some stylish sets and awkward predicaments, not to mention a slightly worrying conclusion. Ford looks in his prime and somehow makes it all believeable.
38   THE GAUNTLET  (Clint Eastwood / Universal 1977)
Clint again. One of those films that tends to remain under the radar for him which is such a shame because it is a strong film with a great performance. Sondra Locke, fresh off The Outlaw Josey Wales with Clint shows up as the whore who is being escorted to Las Vegas to testify in a mob trial despite several attempts being made against her to make sure she doesn't make it. Clint has to endure a group of hippie bikers as well as a corrupted high ranking cop on the force out to kill him. Strangely, one of my favourite scenes in the film is when Bill McKenney is driving Clint and Sondra to the border at dusk through the desert. The location shooting helps a lot here too.
37   TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY  (James Cameron / Carolco 1991)
Most people will nominate this film to be the best sequel ever made. It's hard to argue with because T2, as it was affectionally known, is amazing with special effects that were ahead of its time in 1991 with those revolutionary liquid metal shots of the T-1000 walking through steel bars and the puddles which reform after its injuries. The only annoyance here is that brat kid Edward Furlong, but Arnie is in the form of his life.
36   WALL STREET  (Oliver Stone / 20th Century Fox 1987)
Michael Douglas's only Academy Award came for his role of Gordon Gekko, a Wall Street investment banker who takes rookie Charlie Sheen under his wing and teaches him a few tricks of the trade. Sheen's conscience gets the better of him when he chooses wealth over family ties with his (real-life) father Martin Sheen and he ultimately does the right thing and exposes Douglas as the ruthless cheat that he is. Terence Stamp lends his presence to enhance the casting for the film. It's definitely one of those 80s films that takes you right back to the era whenever you watch it. Not Michael Douglas's best role, but it certainly has to be number 2.
35   A FEW GOOD MEN  (Rob Reiner / Columbia 1992)
Never a fan of Tom Cruise myself, but here, despite taking top billing, he kind of doesn't dominate the film - that is reserved for Jack Nicholson as Colonel Nathan Jessep, a highly decorated marine who is both respected and feared by his peers. It's David versus Goliath in a courtroom drama which is well scripted and riveting to watch. Good support from other cast members who prevent Cruise from running away with it. Kevin Bacon, Kiefer Sutherland and J.T. Walsh all shine as well. Oh yeah and Demi Moore makes an appearance too, and with a much more likeable haircut that she had in Ghost.
34   RANSOM  (Ron Howard / Touchstone 1996)
Mel Gibson is brilliant here. And so is his Lethal Weapon 3 co-star Rene Russo. That scene where Mel Gibson is on the phone where he refuses to pay the ransom to get his boy back - holy shit! What drama, what incredible emotion, and Rene Russo's reaction! Such a powerful film. Mel Gibson is at his very, very best here and make no doubt about it. The villains are all horrible and all deserve their fate. Gary Sinise is just someone you want to smack, right? Delroy Lindo puts in a pretty solid appearance here as the detective working on the case.
33   IT'S A MAD MAD MAD MAD WORLD  (Stanley Kramer / Universal 1963)
All-star cast about a group of complete strangers seemingly teaming up to find a stash of money which is hidden under a... under a "Big W"! So just as the guy who tells them of it's whereabouts after he goes "sailing right out there", it becomes a race across several states to get their greedy hands on the loot before the others. The characters are absolutely fabulous - even Ethel Merman. Spencer Tracy is the corrupt cop who is tracking them. Damn, even Ben Blue is likeable here too. The long version of the film was something on my bucket list that I wanted to see before I die. And now thanks to a mammoth restoration of the surviving elements of the film it is now available on a 5-disc Blu-Ray. This one is just as crazy as it sounds by the title.
32   THE ENGLISH PATIENT  (Anthony Minghella / Miramax 1996)
No matter how many times I watch this masterpiece I tell myself I will not cry at the end. I always fail. That scene where Ralph Fiennes promises to return to Kristin Scott Thomas but by the time he reaches her it's too late. Gets me every time. Naveen Andrews deserves a nod here too as Kip, the bomb defusal Seik who becomes the object of desire from Juliette Binoche's character. So this one is long, but once you settle down into it I always find it to be one of those films you just can't walk away from. Very emotional. Oh and we get to see a full frontal nude of Kristin as well, not that she is offering much!
31   THE ANGRIEST MAN IN BROOKLYN  (Phil Alden Robinson / Lionsgate 2014)
Talk about a poignant film. It's Robin Williams at his most magnificent. Where did this come from? This was released just months before Williams' suicide in 2014 and tells the a bit-too-close-to-home story of his character having a complete breakdown and trying to kill himself. If you loved the guy as an entertainer, this performance will simply stop you in your tracks. Good Will Hunting was Robin's finest moment: but this was his him at his absolute best. I cannot watch it without feeling so sorry for him, as his performance looks a bit too real at times. There are some moments where you actually wonder if he is acting or whether he was being himself! There is a knockout scene with real-life friend James Earl Jones which will make you laugh out loud. Do not listen to those film sites that would have you believe this is not any good - see it for yourself and make up your own mind.
30   MOANA  (Ron Clements, John Musker / Disney 2016)
This is Disney's finest hour. When I first saw heard about the film I wasn't overstruck by the title or the look of it from the poster. How wrong I was! Brilliant characters, excellent animation, unforgettable songs, solid storyline, and an animated female character I just want to get hold of! If you didn't like this film then you are just not human.
29   ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ  (Don Siegel / Paramount 1979)
Siegel's third movie on this list is his best. And it's Clint Eastwood again with yet another magnificent movie. Even though you know the story it's always great to revisit. I think "escape" movies appeal to me quite a bit, and there is at least one film higher up on this list which demonstrates that nicely, but Clint's films are always entertaining and the fact it feels authentic being shot on Alctraz itself makes it all the more enjoyable. Seeing the views the prisoners saw from the courtyard, seeing the real corridors and the real cells.... no fake movie sets... a proper decent film.
28   COOL HAND LUKE  (Stuart Rosenberg / Warner Bros. 1967)
I had heard a lot about this film but had never seen it. In short, it's Paul Newman's best performance - by a mile. George Kennedy is strong in support, and I don't know if it's just me but there is something about Morgan Woodward's character as the mute guard with the sunglasses. The scene where Newman eats fifty hard boiled eggs is legendary. Imagine being locked up in that small environment with the other convicts when his arse goes off after eating that lot!
27   TRADING PLACES  (John Landis / Paramount 1983)
It's John Landis again in the drivers seat, and here we have Dan Aykroyd with Eddie Murphy in a wonderful comedy with a good story. Strong support from Dom Ameche and Ralph Bellamy and I just cannot go without mentioning THAT scene where Jamie Lee Curtis disrobes. The drama element is nicely balanced with the comedy in what is a moral tale of greed, decency and an abuse of power among the more fortunate.
26   THE MAN WHO HAUNTED HIMSELF  (Basil Dearden / EMI 1970)
One of the very first films I remember watching as a kid which had a lasting affect on me. Roger Moore himself has gone on record as saying this was one of his favourite films with him in. I couldn't agree more. Made just before he became James Bond (which he even references in the film), this tells the story of an everyday guy who has a car crash and dies on the operating table. When this happens his 'ghost' comes to life, but as luck would have it, Moore's character suddenly regains consciousness and instead lives... but so does the ghost. So now there are two of them. An intriguing storyline. Not the greatest film ever made but it means a hell of a lot to me. A few years ago I went to the house where they filmed this.
25   THE FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX  (Robert Aldrich / 20th Century Fox 1965)
A plane crashes in the desert miles from anywhere and the passengers have to figure out a way to survive whilst running out of food and water. A great idea for a film - and I was intrigued enough to want to sit through the almost 2 and a half hours of it. And then I saw it and wow, what a great film. Jimmy Stewart is solid in just about anything he appears in, and then we have Hardy Kruger, George Kennedy, Richard Attenborough, Peter Finch, Ernest Borgnine. A great cast, and they aren't wasted either. How many will survive? Will they get out of the desert? Watch it and find out.
24   ONE HOUR PHOTO  (Mark Romanek / Fox Searchlight 2002)
And here we have Robin Williams again! But here he is at his darkest. He plays an obsessed stalker of a family whom he prints photographs for at the local store. When he discovers that the husband is cheating on the wife he takes it all rather personally! To say the least! I just can't find any fault with Williams in this. Really strong performance which proves how versatile he could be away from the comedy stuff he was known for. A much darker side to him. You can't help but feel a bit sorry for his character.
23   TITANIC  (James Cameraon / 20th Century Fox-Paramount 1997)
Not embarrassed whatsoever to admit I love this film and I don't care who knows it! I mean, it won 11 Academy Awards, so.... Anyway, the Jack/Rose love story is a bit mushy, but from an historical position this was a stunning show of craftsmanship from James Cameron. I saw it at the cinema when it came out on the big screen and remember being completely captivated by it even though I already knew the story. It was the production, the special effects, and the "how did they do that" factor which made it so special. 1997 was such a strong year for movies and Titanic just about edges the likes of As Good As It Gets and Good Will Hunting. If only they had made the DiCaprio/Winslet characters a bit more interesting.
22   THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING  (Peter Jackson / New Line Cinema 1999)
The first film in the series really sets the standard for all that was to follow. An absolutely mammoth task of recreating Tolkein's book and putting it on the big screen is nothing short of breathtaking. The characters, the sets, the production, the story, the adventure... everything you could ever possibly need for an exciting journey into the realms of complete fantasy as an assortment of beings heads off to destroy a powerful ring to prevent evil taking over the earth. So much fuss was made of it when the film came out and I tried hard to ignore it but I eventually succumbed and have never looked back. The content of extras on the DVD and Blu-Ray are staggering. Christopher Lee is a big bonus here.
21   THE STING  (George Roy Hill / Universal 1973)
Again, if I was compiling the 100 films I thought were the best ever made, this would be in it. Paul Newman and Robert Redford of course take the main roles but it's Robert Shaw I always come back to. I had heard about the twist ending before I first saw it and I do remember being blown away with surprise when it happened, even though in later years it became a bit more obvious to me that I was just too slow to get it the first time around. Set in the 1930s, but don't let that put you off!
20   RETURN OF THE JEDI  (Richard Marquand / 20th Century Fox 1983)
The third and originally last part of the Star Wars trilogy was pretty exciting with the introduction of new characters (let's try and forget about the Ewoks shall we?) and in particular the Emperor. The partially reconstructed Death Star, Darth Vader turning good, Han Solo grabbing Leia's boob on Endor and of course Jabba the Hutt. The space battle, Yoda's last moments and the speederbike chase through the forest. It was just brilliant. I have always had a big soft spot for this one.
19   THE BREAKFAST CLUB  (John Hughes / Universal 1985)
This film appeals more to be because of the well-written characters more than anything else. Funny thing was, even though I am a self-confessed fan of John Hughes' films, I only saw this one for the first time a couple of years ago after I had read a lot of hype about it. I was thrilled by the film and watched it several times in the first few weeks of owning the Blu-Ray of it. I just loved Judd Nelson's character and always laughed when Emilio Estevez's character says he would be able to win a fight against him. Don't think so. Paul Gleason is also worthy of a mention here. This was an instant hit for me. It's a very 80s film, if you know what I mean.
18   THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS  (Peter Jackson / New Line Cinema 2002)
The middle - and best part of The Lord Of The Rings trilogy. It's much the same as The Fellowship Of The Ring but this time there's Gollum who comes along for the ride as Frodo continues his journey to destroy the ring. I felt that this film had more depth, more darkness and more sense of adventure in it. It's just epic. Simply EPIC.
17   THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION  (Frank Darabont / Castle Rock 1994)
Based on a novella written by Stephen King, this is certainly not the greatest movie ever made as some film website would have you believe. Tim Robbins is very stiff and irritating. So now I have got that off my chest, let me explain why I rate the film as highly as I do. It's the story of an innocent man who endures a life in prison and overcomes adversity in order to escape a corrupt system through intelligence and he does so in style. Morgan Freeman lends more than a helping hand as Robbins's ally and then there is the nasty warden (Bob Gunton) and his top guard played by Clancy Brown who bring a degree of realism to the story. The film retains the attention of its viewing audience through its 2+ hours and definietly deserves the attenion it receives from fans worldwide.
16   THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK  (Irvin Kershner / 20th Century Fox 1980)
George Lucas's masterpiece sequel to the immensely popular Star Wars three years previously. Darth Vader dominates the film with menacing tencacity as Luke Skywalker discovers a horrifying truth about his past in one of cinema's most shocking revelations. Those Star Destroyers look ominous against the backdrop of space, and unusually the movie ends on an inconclusive moment where evil has triumphed over good. Very risky but it paid off handsomely and left fans wanting more. Boba Fett, Lando Calrissian, Yoda and even the first glimpse of the Emperor are all on hand here to add to an already fascinating story as it developed into something bigger than George Lucas could ever have dreamed.
15   ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST  (Milos Forman / United Artists 1975)
Jack Nicholson versus Louise Fletcher in one of cinema's most celebrated classics about a convict (Nicholson) who feigns insanity in order to avoid going to prison because he thinks the mental institution will be a smoother ride for him.. How wrong he was. Jack is splendid here in a role that was almost perfectly suited to him. But let's not forget his adversary in Nurse Ratchet (Louise Fletcher) whom I always regarded as reasonable despite many believing she was some evil bitch who had it in for Nicholson's character. The supporting cast really amplifiy the feeling of reaslism of the environment as well. For me though, it was the fishing trip that brought the film down a little bit and for that reason I do not regard it as a perfect film. Still bloody good though.
14   PSYCHO  (Alfred Hitchcock / Paramount 1960)
It may be Hitch's most famous, but I don't regard it as his best. Psycho is a masterpiece, however as Anthony Perkins delivers his role of the twisted Norman Bates with a twitch and a smile. Brave from Hitchcock to kill off the leading lady so soon into the film but hey, that's how it happens in the Robert Block novel (which I have read). The Bates Motel, looming in the darkness looks perfect for the film, and then there is that famous 'shower scene' with Janet Leigh. Bernard Hermann's stringed score and John Russell's cinematography should also be mentioned when trying to summarise just how important a film this is.
13   ROPE  (Alfred Hitchcock/ Transatlantic 1948)
Two in a row! It just goes to show how closely I regard these two films where there is not a lot to choose between them, but for me it's Rope that has always just edged Psycho as my favourite Hitchcock film. Why? Again, bravery and concept. The film plays as one long take, which was bold and inovative and it works; it really works! Very clever. Two guys kill their friend and hide his body in a trunk before inviting his family over for a get-together - just to see if they can get away with it. James Stewart is mis-cast as the professor who susses their little game out. But at only 80 minutes, it's a film you can watch repeatedly (as I have done so) and still see the development of the evening as the night sky slowly turns darker. This is my favourite Hitch.
12   WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION  (Billy Wilder / United Artists 1957)
The biggest shock twist ending in any movie I have ever seen. Period. In fact, the finale is so shocking that during the end credits there is a narration that actually asks viewers NOT to reveal the ending to anybody who has not seen the film! Charles Laughton is simply magnificent as the barrister who is hired to defend Tyrone Power after he is charged with murdering a wealthy woman. I don't want to say too much and give the story away for those reading here who have yet to see the film. But you are definitely in a unique position if you haven't seen it and want to watch the film for the first time. You will not be disappointed. Shocked maybe, but certainly not disappointed.
11   A NIGHT TO REMEMBER  (Roy Ward Baker/ Rank Organisation 1958)
It just goes to show you that some old black & white movies can be extremely good! The best telling of the Titanic tragedy with Kenneth More leading the way as one of the ship's officers who does a stellar job in saving as many passengers as he can from the stricken liner. Laurence Naismith and Michael Goodliffe (both of whom reunited with More two years later for Sink The Bismarck!) are also on form here. No mushy storyline involving two young lovers and an expensive necklace, and it doesn't need to rely on $100m worth of special effects either to get the job done. James Cameron's film was good; this version is great.
10   NORTH SEA HIJACK  (Andrew V. McLaglen / Universal 1980)
Loved the book, loved the plot, loved the film, loved the actors. Roger Moore's best film. Even he thought so and stated as such. His character of "ffolkes" is absolutely wonderful to witness. He completely runs away with the film with his brilliance and arrogance which is so well written it is hard to imagine anyone else playing his part of the leader of a unit of commandos who are brought in to sort out a group of terrorists lead by Anthony Perkins who have taken a Norwegian ship and held its crew to a ransom. It wasn't a big success at the box office, which is a shame because there is so much on offer here. In 2020 alone I have probably watched this film ten times already and read the book for a second time. One of those films I can watch on repeat.
9   JACKIE BROWN  (Quentin Tarantino / Miramax 1997)
Tarantino's finest hour. The story is pretty decent but it's the characters who deliver it which make Jackie Brown so utterly compelling. Robert Forster, for me, is the real unsung star of the film as the bail bondsman, with a constantly stoned Robert DeNiro, a flamboyant Samuel L. Jackson, the sexy Bridget Fonda, the charasmatic Michael Keaton, and of course let's not forget the delightful Pam Grier who plays the title character. I regard this film as pretty much immaculate. Some good choices of songs for the soundtrack too. QT was riding a successful wave at the time he made this.
8   THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY  (Clint Eastwood / Warner Bros. 1995)
There you go, after seeing all of Clint's great films on this list, now you know which one is my personal favourite. I fell in love with the film the moment I first saw it, read the book twice (and cried both times), and named my daughter after it. That should give you some clue as to how important this is to me, and when I was constructing this list and realised it was in my top ten I was really pleased. The film moved me so much that everybody who knows me will tell you that the number 1 thing on my bucket list before I die is to stand on Roseman Bridge. Some how, some way, some day. I love this film so very much that it makes me feel emotional just thinking about it. A few years back, film historian/friend Richard W. Bann sent me a first edition hardback version of the novel on my birthday. It is a treasured item in my home.
7   PLANES, TRAINS & AUTOMOBILES  (John Landis / Paramount 1987)
This is without any doubt whatsoever the epitome of John Candy's film career. I cannot even begin to describe this film. Where do I begin? Steve Martin encounters a pain in the arse civilian in New York, who ends up accompanying him all the way back home in Chicago. No matter what Martin does, Candy is always there. But what none of us realise is that Candy's gentle, and impossible-to-dislike character is hiding a sorry secret which we all find out at the end with lumps in our throats and tears in our eyes. The comedy aspect of the film is just so perfect and you can just see the friendship those guys have. It's a feel-good buddy-buddy movie, if that makes sense?
6   APOLLO 13  (Ron Howard / Universal 1995)
True story of the failed moon landing in 1970 with Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon and Bill Paxton playing the three astronauts who get into difficulty when part of their spacecraft blows up in space just short of reaching their destination. Ed Harris is the man at Mission Control who talks them home safely, but it's the tense atmosphere of the film, with the crew cramped into that confined space, helped along by some good dialogue and the peril of their situation that makes me keep watching. To be honest, this film has slipped down my list a bit in recent years, as it used to be in my top three. But with Ron Howard in the directors' seat, and Tom Hanks in top billing nothing can go wrong. Another one of those films where you can associate yourself with the facts of what happened during that mission.
5   STAND BY ME  (Rob Reiner / Columbia 1985)
The ultimate coming-of-age movie surrounding four boys who venture out to locate a dead body in the woods some miles away. The bond and relationships between the kids (River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Jerry O'Connell and Wil Wheaton) is evident on screen as they simply do what all boys of that age did. Rebellious, wild and adventurous, they head off down the railroad tracks on their own whilst a gang of elder bullies have the same idea and travel by car. This is a film I have studied in great detail and no matter how old I get I still come back to it with such high respect and with high regard for Reiner's film making process. The scene where the boys have to dodge the oncoming train on the tressle bridge is a moment that always stands out. That moment where River Phoenix's character fades out near the end foreshadowing his real-life fate just a few years later is hard to watch.
4   JAWS  (Steven Spielberg / Universal 1975)
Much like with Stand By Me one of the reasons this film stands out is for the on-screen chemistry of the lead characters. Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss head out to sea (eventually) to find and kill a great white shark after the greedy bastard thing has had a few too many dinners, if you know what I mean. JAWS is one of those films that scared you as a kid, thrilled you as an adult and will forever remain as one the true greats of all time. Definitely in the Best Films Ever Made list and that's a fact. John Williams's score, Verna Fields's editing, Spielberg's directing. The stories behind the making of the film are those of legend. It came in over-budget and over-schedule and became the first true summer blockbuster. Forget about the shark being a puppet and you will enjoy it.
3   THE TAKING OF PELHAM ONE TWO THREE  (Joseph Sargent / United Artists 1974)
To sum up this movie in one word would be "gritty". In terms of all the films I have ever seen, this is the one I can recite the most amount of dialogue from. A group of villains hijack a subway train and hold the passengers to ransom whilst transit cop Walter Matthau does everything he can to stall them and get them their million dollars despite meeting with resistence from the command centre. Not only are the actors on their top game, but Peter Stone's adaptation of John Godey's novel (from which it differs slightly, having read it) is simply exquisite. Honestly, I know the film back-to-front and could recite most of the entire script. Don't waste your time with the 2009 remake.
2   12 ANGRY MEN  (Sidney Lumet / Orion-Nova 1957)
A group of jurors have to decide on the fate of a young man accused of murder. Eleven of them think he is guilty but one (Henry Fonda, who helped produce it) stands against them. Another nail-biting movie in a claustrophic setting as the dozen guys sweat it out with their reasonings and rationale. The characters and the actors who portray them are strong, very strong: Lee J. Cobb, E.G, Marshall, Jack Klugman, Henry Fonda... all top class. And there's even a subtle Laurel and Hardy reference in the film too - did anybody catch it? What a powerful film. I would go as far as to say I think this is the best film ever made.
1   FALLING DOWN  (Joel Schumacher / Warner Bros. 1993)
This shouldn't come as any surprise but Falling Down is, was and will probably always be my favourite film. One reason for that is that it has my favourite movie character of all-time: Michael Douglas's D-Fens, which he plays to perfection here in this suburban drama of him taking a trip on foot across Los Angeles in order to see his estranged daughter for her birthday, which doesn't go down well with his ex-wife Barbara Hershey. Robert Duvall's cop-on-his-last-day Sgt. Prendergast soon puts the pieces of the puzzle together when a sparte of petty crimes being reported across the city all point to the same guy. The film is real, the character doesn't take any crap from anyone, and I totally admire him for it. I have even personally thanked Michael Douglas for making this film when I met him in 2016 and he told me he appreciated my comments. By the way, Douglas's character seems to always have fans divided whether or not he is the hero or the villain? You decide. For me, he's the hero.