Gary's 1988 PERSONAL Top 100 English Language Film List

Rank Title   Director   Year Comment
1 Vertigo * Hitchcock * 1958 The eerie obsessive aura is as haunting as the product of "film" has ever achieved.
2 City Lights * Chaplin * 1931 The absolute perfect combination of pathos and humor.
3 2001: A Space Odyssey * Kubrick * 1968 Visually stunning, cerebrally contemplative.
4 It's a Wonderful Life * Capra * 1946 The ultimate feel-good fable on disarmingly simple values!
5 West Side Story * Wise * 1961 The work put into making this masterpiece… its unimaginable.
6 Rear Window * Hitchcock * 1954 Absolute pinpoint composition... its as if this film invented celluloid "suspense".
7 The English Patient * Minghella * 1996 The tragic effects of war on love never destined to be.
8 My Darling Clementine * Ford * 1946 Masterful film with proclivity toward the history of the olde west.
9 Magnolia * Anderson * 1999 An interrelated group seek recovery from mistakes of their past.
10 The Best Years of Our Lives * Wyler * 1946 Great interacting character study of three war veterans merging back into society. God this is a great film!
11 The Hustler * Rossen * 1961 Dark, jazz-filled, noir-like… on loneliness, winning and love.
12 The Sound of Music * Wise * 1965 Light love and longing prefaced with breathtaking scenery, suspense and echoing musical score.
13 Shawshank Redemption * Darabont * 1994 Fear can hold you prisoner, hope can set you free.
14 The Stranger * Welles * 1946 Not considered Welles best by critics nor himself, but my favorite.
15 The Straight Story * Lynch * 1999 An elderly gentleman, a trek of self-forgiveness dispensing his own brand of frank subtle wisdom.
16 Night of the Hunter * Laughton * 1968 Unrecognized masterpiece respecting the basic interplay of innocence and evil.
17 Casablanca * Curtiz * 1942 "If I were forced to choose between my country and my friend, I hope I would be brave enough to choose my friend"
18 Schindler's List * Spielberg * 1993 An enigmatic man's discovery of personal redemption in the face of catastrophic human horror.
19 Buffalo 66 * Gallo * 1998 The redeeming of a soul, done in a sly comedic fashion while resonating universal truths.
20 12 Angry Men * Lumet * 1957 Flawless and gripping portrayal of 12 men who help each other seek justice.
21 Glengarry Glen Ross * Foley * 1992 Mamet's own personal language delivered by the most complete male ensemble cast… ever?
22 Brief Encounter * Lean * 1946 True love doesn't have to be overly complex and can confront one with tumultuous lost opportunities.
23 Raging Bull * Scorsese * 1980 Brutality filmed with poetic grace and beauty. Scorceses repeated theme of inability to trust and relate to women.
24 Walkabout * Roeg * 1971 The ever present battle of civilization vs. the natural world. Exquisite, touching, wholesome.
25 All That Heaven Allows * Sirk * 1955 "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away."
26 The Ice Storm * Lee * 1997 Strong 70's thematic articulation on dysfunctional family members surrounding abject tragedy.
27 Crimes and Misdemeanors * Allen * 1989 Interspersed with hilarious vignettes, a human story exploring deep inside an individual soul… the decisions and consequences.
28 The Crossing Guard * Penn * 1995 Anger, revenge, guilt and closure role into the lives of two men dealing with a tragic event… one a victim, the other the perpetrator.
29 Black Narcissus * Powell * 1947 Lust, religious conviction and jealousy painted on a flush canvas. So memorable.
30 The Man Who Knew Too Much * Hitchcock * 1956 Everyday people caught in a web of perceived knowledge and clandestine secrecies.
31 The Hunchback of Notre Dame * Dieterle * 1939 A "misshapen man" and his limelight display of unselfish nobility.
32 The Red Violin * Girard * 1998 Tale following the historical exploits of an well-traveled antique violin and its long dead secret.
33 Treasure of the Sierra Madre * Huston * 1948 Unrelenting macho adventure playing on the strong undercurrent of fanatical greed.
34 Godfather 2 * Coppola * 1974 "A man who doesn't spend time with his family can never be a real man."
35 King Kong * Cooper * 1933 The precursor for modern special effects drawn as a touching fable of cruelty, love and fear.
36 The Seven Year Itch * Wilder * 1955 Marilyn Monroe moves in upstairs while your wife is on holiday with your son… the ultimate fantasy!
37 Bottle Rocket * Anderson * 1996 Group of friends follow an irrepressible leader who helps feed their own delusions of romanticized criminal life.
38 The Boys From Brazil * Schaffner * 1978 Awesomely horrific scenario deemed implausible and over-acted. This reviewer bought it all though.
39 This Island Earth * Newman * 1954 The pen-ultimate classic "B" sci-fi film  of the 50's. Absolutely delightful!
40 Raider's of the Lost Arc * Spielberg * 1981 The classic young man's pulp adventure hero brought to life.
41 Cool Hand Luke * Rosenberg * 1967 A hero in spite of, of perhaps because of his inability to conform.
42 Invasion of the Body Snatchers * Siegel * 1956 Most obvious of the 50's B films dealing comparatively to paranoia toward a harmful ideology such as Communism or the sweeping paranoia mass hysteria of McCarthyism… OR just a great sci-fi film!
43 The Tenant *   * 1976 "I am not Simone Choule!!"
44 The Searchers * Ford * 1956 Racist Cowboy goes on obsessive quest for niece captured by Comanche's. Wayne as an actor… not simple "The Duke".
45 The Lady From Shanghai * Welles * 1948 Strong visual Film Noir with murder and a funhouse hall of mirrors. This is how I want to remember Welles.
46 The Day the Earth Stood Still * Wise * 1951 The quintessential prototype for thoughtful, intelligent science fiction.
47 Days of Wine and Roses * Wilder * 1950 Adept and heart breaking account of alcoholism on a relationship.
48 Sergeant Rutledge * Ford * 1960 Unknown Ford masterpiece on racial grounds with stirring courtroom sequences.
49 Sunset Boulevard * Wilder * 1950 ``You used to be big,'' he says. Norma responds, ``I am big. It's the pictures that got small.''
50 Strangers on a Train * Hitchcock * 1951 How an innocent conversation with a stranger can lead to dire consequences.
51 Great Expectations * Cuarón  * 1998 Adept, sexy modern adaptation of one of the greatest stories of all time.
52 The Shop Around the Corner * Lubitsch * 1940 Deft touch surrounding the irony and comedy of romantic communications.
53 Unbearable Lightness of Being * Kaufman * 1988 Political drama with strong themes of free-love, commitment and surrendering principles.
54 Safe * Haynes * 1995 Kubrick-like filming of environmental illness masking as a symptom of emotional lacking.
55 Ed Wood * Burton * 1994 Delightful story of a truly bizarre character and his unique impact on the world of film.
56 The Lady Vanishes * Hitchcock * 1938 Comedy, romance, mystery, thriller, spies... about ordinary people on an ordinary train trip.
57 Jaws * Spielberg * 1975 "Don't go in the water" macho battle of men vs. beast.
58 Body Heat * Kasdan * 1981 Modern, sultry film-noir of seduction into a twisted con-job. Sweaty, steaming and entrancing.
59 To Kill a Mockingbird * Mulligan * 1962 The greatest courtroom drama. An intelligent script exposing staunch courage and moral outrage.
60 Silence of the Lambs * Demme * 1991 One of the most intriguing takes on modern serial killing
61 Eye of the Beholder * Elliott * 1999 Highly stylized…dynamic chemistry and grace of the leads pulls you into an improbable suspense drama.
62 True Romance * Scott * 1993 Creative Tarantino dialogue backed with stirring suspense and memorable performances.
63 The Big Lebowski * Coen * 1998 Diverse out-of-era refugee's trapped in the 90's in a multi-genre crime story.
64 The Pledge * Penn * 2001 Detective Jerry Black has made a promise he can't break, to catch a killer he can't find.
65 The Exorcist * Friedkin * 1973 The creepiest theological horror infused with Friedkin subconscious embeds to chill right to the spine.
66 An Affair to Remember * McCarey * 1957 Love's labors lost... and refound…
67 Clean and Sober * Caron * 1988 Very adept commentary on modern day alcoholism and drug addiction.
68 The Red Shoes * Powell * 1948 A fairytale of haunting beauty based on Hans Christian Anderson backed with the breathtaking cinematography of Cardiff.
69 Breakfast at Tiffanys * Edwards * 1961 No list would be complete without at least one Audrey Hepburn film… and in this she and the city of New York are at their most compelling and radiant.
70 Cape Fear * Scorsese * 1991 A pure evil man seeking revenge and attempting to show another that he too is corrupted.
71 Brazil * Gilliam * 1985 Variation of Orwellian themes with unforgettable dream sequences and a strong paranoid vision.
72 Red River * Hawkes * 1948 Given the opportunity John Wayne can act… here he is a complex, tortured and conflicted character.
73 Day of the Jackal * Zinnemann * 1973 A time where the highest level of international assassins were mannered gentlemen.
74 Heat * Mann * 1995 Career vs. family life. Action and suspense with subtle depth and strong performances.
75 Eyes Wide Shut * Kubrick * 1999 An erotic daydream about forgotten chances and avoided pratfalls.
76 Fail-Safe * Lumet * 1964 Anti-war thriller with the best portrayed president ever… done by Henry Fonda.
77 Jason and the Argonauts * Chaffey * 1963 Harryhausen's sword-yielding skeletons are just one of many reasons why this is worthy of a top 100 listing.
78 From Russia With Love * Young * 1963 The best Bond film with foreign intrigue, gypsies, knife-shoed Rosa Klebb and a titanic fight with Robert Shaw.
79 Close Encounters of the Third Kind * Spielberg * 1977 Intelligent sci-fi without relying on the tired conquering the hideous aliens ploy.
80 I Know Where I'm Going * Powell * 1945 A headstrong young lady only thinks she knows where she is going.
81 Fearless * Weir * 1993 Through a catastrophic event a mans soul needs rejuvenation.
82 Lost In America * Brooks * 1985 It was cross between this and "Defending Your Life"… both great Brooks works.
83 Key Largo * Huston * 1948 The ultimate film-noir cast with a gangster, a hero, a babe... and a turbulent hurricane.
84 The Natural * Levinson * 1984 Flawless depiction of the ultimate fantasy comeback for any armchair athlete.
85 Of Mice and Men * Sinese * 1992 Two friends work through their own handicaps at the time of failed societal economics.
86 Rain Man * Levinson * 1988 "Looking out for #1" man learns from his idiot savant brother. Top notch performances by all involved.
87 Friendly Persuasion * Wyler * 1956 Charming, gentle and perfectly crafted Wyler film on interpersonal faith and acceptance.
88 The Spanish Prisoner * Mamet * 1997 Excellent Mamet dialogue wrapped up in a mysterious con-job. "Can you really trust anyone?"
89 Peter Pan * Geronimi * 1953 Not the quintessential Disney classic, but still my childhood favorite.
90 Unbreakable * Shyamalan * 2000 Unique directorial swing on comic hero tale with subtle performances and driven suspense.
91 You Can Count on Me * Lonergan * 2000 Non-formulaic Hollywood story of a distant brother and sister.
92 O Brother Where Art Thou? * Coen * 2000 Homeric journey (The Odyssey) of unique characters running into more unique characters in the deep south.
93 Taxi Driver * Scorsese * 1976 A loner's inability to communicate and cope with the decayed urban reality. He strives towards being a savior for one young prostitute .
94 Monster's Ball * Forster * 2001 Redemption and racial overtones done in an artistic sensibility… unique camera and strong acting..
95 The Hudsucker Proxy * Coen * 1994 Stylistic satire, feast for the eyes, ode to 50's films. Enjoyable.
96 Marnie * Hitchcock * 1964 Psycho-analytical story of a faltered woman and man who obsesses on saving her.
97 Hud * Ritt * 1963 James Wong Howe's superb B+W cinematography with Newmans cult-like prototypical evil cowboy.
98 Shallow Grave * Boyle * 1994 Money and good friends can sometimes become an unmanageable combination.
99 Jurassic Park * Spielberg * 1993 Hi-tec cliché'd monster tale with deep suspense and adept performances.
100 Truly, Madly, Deeply * Minghella * 1991 Humorous and touching essay on grief and moving on with one's life.

Please don't e-mail me with "You forgot Citizen Kane" !. I am well aware of the many great films that have not been included on my PERSONAL list... thanks.

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