My Dad’s Top 25 All Time Films
We always get lists of the Top films of all time according to critics, and most of the time the movies on the lists make sense from a critic’s point of view, but I thought that I would ask a regular moviegoer what his Top 25 all time films were for a change. So I decided to ask my dad, who is a movie lover, but definitely not a critic.
Now I’d like to take credit for a few movies that made it on the list like Shrek, which is pretty much the only animated film my dad likes, The Matrix, which is kind of an anomaly since my dad is not a fan of sci-fi, Chasing Amy (yep my dad is likes Kevin Smith movies), Forrest Gump, and Crash, which as you can see made the top of his list.
However, my dad can take credit for making me discover quite a few movies himself including a few of the ones on this list like The Godfather, Dances with Wolves, The Dinner Game, Scent of a Woman, A Bronx Tale, Havana, The Pianist, The Bridges of Madison County, and Midnight Express.
As you can see my dad has had some influences over my movie watching choices and I trust his opinion when he recommends something. That’s why I thought he was the perfect candidate for this. So here are my dad’s Top 25 All Time Films, and please remember that this is only the opinion of one person and you don’t have to agree. In fact, feel free to share your top all time films in the comments.
Synopsis: Tensions erupt when the tangled lives of a Brentwood housewife, her district attorney husband, a Persian shopkeeper, two cops, a pair of carjackers and a Korean couple converge over a 36-hour period in the diverse metropolis of post-9/11 Los Angeles. Sandra Bullock, Brendan Fraser, Don Cheadle, Matt Dillon, Thandie Newton and Terrence Howard co-star in this Oscar-winning Best Picture from writer-director Paul Haggis.
Synopsis: When organized crime family patriarch Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) barely survives an attempt on his life, his youngest son, Michael (Al Pacino), steps in to take care of the would-be killers, launching a campaign of bloody revenge. Francis Ford Coppola brings Mario Puzo’s multigenerational crime saga to life in this Oscar-winning epic that also spawned Best Actor honors for Brando, who refused the prize for political reasons.
Synopsis:Wounded Civil War soldier John Dunbar (Kevin Costner) tries to commit suicide — and becomes a hero instead. As a reward, he’s assigned to his dream post, a remote junction on the Western frontier, and soon makes unlikely friends with the local Sioux tribe. This special edition of Costner’s Oscar-winning directorial debut features an extended cut of the film, an audio commentary from Costner, a behind-the-scenes featurette and more.
4. Forrest Gump
Synopsis:Winner of six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, director Robert Zemeckis’s charming blend of comedy and drama stars Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump, a simpleminded man who finds himself in the middle of nearly every major event of the 1960s and ’70s. Along the way, he makes friends, changes lives and searches for a soul mate. Hanks nabbed a Best Actor Oscar for his remarkable portrayal of the unsophisticated yet surprisingly wise Forrest.
5. Life is Beautiful (La Vita E Bella)
Synopsis: In this poignant tragicomedy, a clever Jewish Italian waiter named Guido (Roberto Benigni, who also directs and won an Oscar for his role) is sent to a Nazi concentration camp during World War II, along with his wife (Nicoletta Braschi) and their young son (Giorgio Cantarini). Refusing to give up hope, Guido tries to protect his son’s innocence by pretending that their imprisonment is an elaborate game, with the grand prize being a tank.
6. The Dinner Game (Le Diner de Cons)
Synopsis: Writer-director Francis Veber’s clever comedy shadows a group of French intellectuals who gather each Wednesday night for a dinner game, in which the challenge is to bring along the most idiotic guest. Pierre (Thierry Lhermitte) thinks he’s found a ringer in François (Jacques Villeret), a civil servant whose passion is making architectural models out of matchsticks. But Pierre gets more than he bargained for when François becomes his houseguest.
Synopsis: Hoping to earn some extra cash during the Thanksgiving holiday, poor prep-school student Charlie Simms (Chris O’Donnell) agrees to look after blind — and cantankerous — Lt. Col. Frank Slade (Al Pacino, in a tour-de-force performance). Though the callow student and jaded colonel are mismatched, their relationship grows as Simms follows Slade around Manhattan on a string of wild escapades, and Slade is unmasked as a sentimental romantic.
8. A Bronx Tale
Synopsis: In this evocative slice-of-life film, a Bronx boy (Lillo Brancato) grows to adulthood worshipping disparate heroes: his hardworking father (Robert De Niro), who drives a city bus, and the neighborhood mob boss (Chazz Palminteri), who becomes a kind of surrogate dad. Joe Pesci co-stars in De Niro’s debut as a feature film director, adapted from Palminteri’s funny and touching play of the same name.
Synopsis: High-stakes poker player Jack Weil (Robert Redford) is looking to make a buck in pre-revolutionary Havana before Castro takes over. When beautiful Bobby Duran (Lena Olin) asks Weil to help her smuggle contraband, he has no idea she’s married to the well-known communist revolutionary Arturo Duran (Raul Julia). When the police take Arturo away, Bobby is immediately drawn to Weil. Although he wants to help her, he also wants his one big score.
Synopsis: It ain’t easy bein’ green — especially if you’re a likable (albeit smelly) ogre named Shrek (Mike Myers). On a mission to retrieve a gorgeous princess (Cameron Diaz) from the clutches of a fire-breathing dragon, Shrek teams up with an unlikely compatriot — a wisecracking donkey (Eddie Murphy). This is the full-screen version of the film and includes a featurette, character interviews and more.
11. The Pianist
Synopsis: Famed Polish concert pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman (Adrien Brody, in an Oscar-winning role) struggles to survive the onslaught of Nazi tyranny during World War II in this Roman Polanski-directed drama based on Szpilman’s memoirs. In spite of his well-known musical talents, Szpilman spends several years holed up in Warsaw, barely alive and subsisting on scraps, until grace comes in the form of a second chance — at music, at freedom and at life.
Synopsis: In 1950s Los Angeles, three wildly different cops (Guy Pearce, Russell Crowe and Kevin Spacey) form an uneasy alliance to ferret out deep-seated police corruption. But some people will do anything to land their faces in the pages of trashy Hollywood tabloids such as Hush-Hush magazine. A must-see whodunit, Brian Helgeland’s script adaptation won an Oscar, as did Kim Basinger for her supporting role as a Veronica Lake look-alike.
13. The Matrix
Synopsis: In this complex story that aspires to mythology, a computer hacker (Keanu Reeves) searches for the truth behind the mysterious force known as the Matrix. He finds his answer with a group of strangers led by the charismatic Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne). What they encounter in confronting that truth makes for a lightning-paced, eye-popping thrill ride of a movie that cleverly combines sociopolitical commentary with cutting-edge special effects.
Synopsis: When her family is off at the state fair, vaguely discontented Iowa housewife Francesca Johnson (Meryl Streep) meets National Geographic shutterbug Robert Kincaid (Clint Eastwood), who’s in Madison County to shoot Iowa’s covered bridges. What begins as a guarded friendship soon erupts into an intense affair that rekindles Francesca’s forgotten passions. But she finds her emotions in conflict when the time comes to choose her future.
15. Pretty Woman
Synopsis: When millionaire wheeler-dealer Edward Lewis (Richard Gere) enters a business contract with Hollywood hooker Vivian Ward (an Oscar-nominated Julia Roberts), he loses his heart in the bargain in this charming romantic comedy. After Edward hires Vivian as his date for a week and gives her a Cinderella makeover, she returns the favor by mellowing the hardnosed tycoon’s outlook. Can the poor prostitute and the rich capitalist live happily ever after?
Synopsis: Filmed on location in Eastern Europe, this beloved musical based on Sholem Aleichem’s stories was nominated for eight Academy Awards and won three. Director Norman Jewison chronicles the trials of Jewish peasant Tevye the milkman (Israeli actor Topol), humble father of three strong-willed daughters and husband to oft-objecting wife, Golde (Norma Crane), in pre-revolutionary Russia. Violinist Isaac Stern provides the haunting music of the fiddler.
17. Schindler’s List
Synopsis: Liam Neeson stars as Oskar Schindler, a greedy German factory owner made rich by exploiting cheap Jewish labor. But as World War II unfolds, he becomes an unlikely humanitarian, spending his entire fortune to help save 1,100 Jews from Auschwitz. Co-starring Ralph Fiennes, Steven Spielberg’s holocaust epic won seven Academy Awards (including Best Picture) and is an unforgettable testament to the possibility of human goodness.
18. Midnight Express
Synopsis: The true story of Billy Hayes (Brad Davis) is brought to life by Oliver Stone’s Academy Award-winning screenplay recounting the young American’s experience in a Turkish prison. When Hayes is caught attempting to smuggle drugs out of Turkey, the courts decide to make an example out of him and sentence him to 20 years in prison. With little hope of ever getting out, Hayes decides to attempt a daring escape. Co-stars Randy Quaid and John Hurt.
19. The Deer Hunter
Synopsis: In this Oscar-winning epic from director Michael Cimino, a group of working-class friends decides to enlist in the Army during the Vietnam War and finds it to be hellish chaos — not the noble venture they imagined. Before they left, Steven (John Savage) married his pregnant girlfriend — and Michael (Robert De Niro) and Nick (Christopher Walken) were in love with the same woman (Meryl Streep). But all three are different men upon their return.
20. Chasing Amy
Synopsis: Soon after comic book artist Holden (Ben Affleck) falls in love with Alyssa (Joey Lauren Adams), he realizes things aren’t as perfect as he once thought: Alyssa’s gay. With no help from his best friend, Banky (Jason Lee), Holden attempts to make the relationship with Alyssa work. Although he knows Alyssa cares deeply about him, her past may conspire to come between them and ruin everything.
Synopsis: Director David Lean’s Oscar-winning epic tells the true-life story of British warrior-poet T.E. Lawrence (Peter O’Toole), who helped unite warring Arab tribes so they could strike back against the Turks in World War I. Lushly filmed and expertly acted, this timeless classic underscores the clash between cultures — and within one man — that changed the tide of war. Alec Guinness and Anthony Quinn co-star.
Synopsis: Winner of 11 Oscars, James Cameron’s effects-driven blockbuster puts a human face on a tragedy of epic proportions by wedding the historical tale of the doomed ocean liner with a fictional romance between two of the ship’s ill-fated passengers. Society girl Rose Dewitt Bukater (Kate Winslet) and penniless artist Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio) struggle to survive both the sinking ship — and the wrath of Rose’s wealthy fiancé (Billy Zane).
Synopsis: Steven Spielberg’s 1982 smash hit tells the heartwarming story of the special bond 10-year-old Elliot (Henry Thomas) forges with an alien he names E.T. The adventures they share as Elliot tries to hide his new friend and E.T. tries to get back to his planet (“E.T. phone home!”) provide plenty of action, laughter and tears. Dee Wallace, Peter Coyote and a young Drew Barrymore co-star.
Synopsis: Sexy bombshell Rita Hayworth “Puts the Blame on Mame” in this silky, South American thriller that became her biggest hit. Hayworth, Glenn Ford and George Macready comprise the three sides of a steamy love triangle that threatens to destroy Macready’s thriving casino and wreck all their lives. Hayworth’s sinuous vamp of the aforementioned tune is a screen classic.
Synopsis: Charlton Heston plays Judah Ben-Hur, a proud Jew who runs afoul of ambitious boyhood friend Messala (Stephen Boyd) in this 1959 epic that boasts an unforgettable chariot race and earned 11 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Heston) and Best Director (William Wyler). Condemned to life as a slave, Judah swears vengeance against Messala and escapes, later crossing paths with a gentle prophet named Jesus.