Top 10, 20, 30 Movies September 16, 2014

A Facebook post this morning challenged those ‘tagged’ to name their 10 favorite movies in 15 minutes. What started as a whim, (since I was not tagged) to write down mine in 15 minutes in no particular order, became an interesting thought exercise. The first ten I wrote down, I learned, were not necessarily my top ten. I ended up listing a second ten and then ranked both lists from 1 to 20. In other words, those movies that came quickest to mind were not my actual top ten favorites when I took a moment to reflect on them. Seems I had forgotten some of my favorites.

Likewise, after ranking my top 1 through 10 and then 11 through 20 I found more surprises. When I checked my rankings against the American Film Institute’s (AFI) ranking of “100 Greatest American Films of All Time” (2007) I was surprised at three things. First, only four of my top ten were on the list of AFI’s 100; second, their number one (Citizen Kane) wasn’t even on my list; and three, I found ten more movies that I liked (on their list) that I ranked from 21-30. Obviously, my personal preferences are not in line with AFI. Additionally, movies I ranked 11-14 are almost interchangeable in terms of their like-ability’. Their ranking was most often dependent on which I had not seen lately.

Another surprise came when I thought about the movies themselves and what had drawn me to them and why I loved/liked them.  When I asked myself this question I quickly rattled off five things: visual scene or place; movie theme/original soundtrack; story; acting; and actors. Then on deeper reflection I realized that the most often thought of, most compelling feature of each of the movies I truly loved, and repeatedly watched, was the music.

Now why did this surprise me? I have always thought and believed myself a very visual person. Someone impacted first by the visual. But in a greater, larger sense, if you will indulge the metaphor, for me the music carries the tune of the visual. They are, or become, inextricably linked. This led me to want to include, at #31, Saturday Night Fever (higher possibly if I wanted to take the pains to find its exact place). Then I remembered Summer of ’42, Elvira Madigan and Dr. Zhivago. Oh my… then there’s Annie Get Your Gun; Showboat; No Business Like Show Business; 42nd Street; Phantom of The Opera; A Star is Born (1976); Sharky’s Machine (which introduced me to the incomparable singer Randy Crawford); the sweet, sophomoric and prescient Bernadine starring the then teen heartthrob Pat Boone and on and on.

Clearly, once we pull the heartstrings of memory any list can quickly get out of hand. With that in mind, what are  your top ten. twenty, or thirty favorite movies and why? 

2 Responses to “Top 10, 20, 30 Movies”

  1. Steve Hodel Says:

    I’m with you on many/most of your personal choices. But, what, no PATTON?

  2. Robert Sadler Says:

    Hmmm… Patton? All though I love a good shoot-m-up be it a western, cop/detective, or war movie, I guess Patton has to lurk outside my top 30. Perhaps my action-adventure favs fail to break my top-30 consciousness because of their music or lack thereof. Although I seem to remember one haunting melody when Patton is standing on an old Carthaginian battlefield reliving his past lives… but that’s all that comes to mind. Music, looking at my list, seems to be a very strong component to accompany the ‘visual fabric’… Having said that, were I to be invited for ‘movie night’ and Patton was the movie on the bill, I wouldn’t hesitate, I’d be there.

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