Writing this post was a lot harder than I expected it would be, simply because it was difficult to find ten movies that all spoke to me on the same level – passionate adoration or something similar to that, at least. There are movies I hate, movies I dislike, movies I like, movies I love, and then movies that I could watch every day. Those are the movies that make me grin just because, movies I literally hug, movies that instantly take me to my happy place, even if they aren’t particularly happy themselves. And the problem is, I couldn’t really find ten that fit that category. So I had to put in a couple ones that I just really, really like (which is fine – it really is) so a couple of films on this list could be switched out for others, depending on my mood. But, for the most part, these are my top ten favorite movies of all time.
I recently re-watched Mag7 (for about the seventh or eighth time) and yes, it’s been confirmed as my favorite movie EVER. (Sometimes I think it a bit odd that my #1 movie is a western, because I used to dislike the genre, but that’s how it is.) I’m sure you’re tired of hearing me rave about how much I love this movie, but please allow me a little more time to do so. Because I LOVE THIS MOVIE SO INCREDIBLY MUCH. There isn’t a single thing I’d change about it (not even Chico) because every element – cast, music, screenplay, characters, setting, dialogue, plot – works together in harmony to make what I consider a perfect film. Words fail me right now, actually, (my fingers have been hovering over the keyboard for several minutes now) because the depth and breadth of my admiration and adoration for The Magnificent Seven is so great. (I’m not going to say ‘magnificent’ – the humor in that play on words died out a long time ago.) All I can say is, even if you don’t like westerns, I encourage you to give this movie a shot because it truly transcends the genre.
// Casablanca (1942) //
Another perfect cast, another perfect movie. Casablanca almost made it to the position of ‘my favorite movie of all time’ and there’s a reason why it’s called one of the greatest films ever made: it’s that good. Casablanca is the movie that convinced me that not all old black & white movies are boring and Not Very Good In General, so I have that to thank it for. There are plenty of historical inaccuracies sprinkled throughout (including the whole premise), but you know what? I couldn’t care less. Not when one of the most heartbreaking romances ever put to screen is playing out in front of me. Not when Humphrey Bogart and Claude Rains verbally spar with some of the most sparkling and witty movie dialogue in the history of Hollywood. Not when ‘As Time Goes By’ swells and goosebumps run up and down my arms. There’s a timeless magic surrounding Casablanca that will never be taken away, and I never fail to get caught up in it whenever I watch the film.
// Stalag 17 (1953) //
This is going to sound weird, but Stalag 17 is one of the movies that I associate with my childhood. Yes, that’s right. While other kids grew up with Disney & Co., Dad had my siblings and I entranced with war movies like Stalag 17, serious (and rather dark) classics like Treasure of the Sierra Madre, and gory action films like The Vikings. No chick-flicks or talking animals, but I didn’t mind. In fact, I’m glad that my parents introduced me to ‘grown up movies’ early in life, because I believe that it’s shaped my taste in both movies and books to this day. Anyway… I really, really, really enjoy this film. It’s funny, it’s dramatic, it’s tragic (in parts), it’s a spell-binding story even when you know how everything will turn out, and the cast is perfect (I know I say that for all my favorite movies, but it IS). Stalag 17 is one of those films that I have a special bond with, one that’s unexplainable (though it probably has something to do with my watching it when I was six or seven – NOSTALGIA WINS), and, yeah, it’s great. (Plus, it’s just as much a Christmas movie as, say, Die Hard – perhaps even more so.)
SQUEEP. The Indiana Jones film franchise is one of my favoritest things ever (I’ll even suffer through Temple of Doom because, hello, Harrison Ford) which is actually kind of odd because I’m really not the action-movie type (and throw in some weird stuff, like people’s faces melting or exploding, and I’m so not into that). And to tell the truth, some of the big chase scenes in the films bore me a little, but it’s HARRISON FORD and John Williams’ thrilling score and the movies are just plain fun. What’s not love? The fact that Last Crusade is my favorite of the four films isn’t surprising because there’s a depth to it that the other three films lack (though there’s just something about Raiders that has me coming back to it over and over again). Harrison Ford and Sean Connery perfectly capture the relationship between Indy and his dad which is, of course, at the very heart of the film. I love watching the two of them together and I believe that that’s the biggest reason for my love of The Last Crusade.
// Singin’ in the Rain (1952) //
Such a fun movie! I remember the day my mom borrowed this from the library (I think I was about ten) – my siblings and I watched it and loved it, and then a few hours later we watched it again. And I was hooked. We all ended up singing the songs and repeating the dialogue so much that Mom banned us from watching the film again for years and years. (In fact, I think it was about five years before I saw it again.) Now we own it and I still have a love affair with both the movie itself and my memories of it. (Singin’ in the Rain sparked my crush on Gene Kelly, by the way – I think he was my first crush ever.) There’s just so much to love about this movie – songs, characters, dialogue – but one thing that has always stood out to me in a big way is the costumes…and I’m not even a fashionista like my sister. All the outfits, particularly Lina’s, are spectacular. I’ve always loved the styles of the 20s, and I’m sure Singin’ in the Rain had a lot to do with that. So, girls, watch it for the costumes if nothing else.
// Laura (1944) //
Laura is such a swoonable movie. Dreamy, mysterious, entrancing… There are some great characters, amazing plot twists, and an ending that still has me on the edge of my seat to this day. I picked Laura up because of Dana Andrews (I was watching all of his films when I first saw this one) and Mark McPherson is my favorite role of his, so it’s a no-brainer that I’d enjoy watching this movie. But Dana Andrews aside, the rest of the cast is wonderful (I’ve read the book, too, so I can judge that better) and there’s an alluring, haunting air to this film noir (though it definitely isn’t as noir-ish as some) that makes it a fascinating movie to watch and re-watch. Plus, there’s so many good quotes.
// Notorious (1946) //
While Notorious is undeniably my favorite Hitchcock, I have yet to decipher just why that is so. I like it. I really, really like it. But I wouldn’t say it’s any better, in an definable way at least, than some of my other favorite Hitchcock films like Strangers on a Train, The Lady Vanishes, or Dial M For Murder. And, as you probably know by now, I don’t even like Cary Grant. But there’s just something about Notorious that puts it above all other movies that Hitchcock made in his career (though I haven’t watched all of his work, so that could change). Ingrid Bergman is one of my favorite actresses – there’s a luminescent quality to her, particularly in this film, that I find intriguing. So that could be it. Or the fact that I actually kind of really like Cary Grant in this movie (though goodness knows why, as he plays a jerk for most of it). Or maybe it’s the richness of the mystery, the romance, and the relationships that all the characters are involved in. Of course, there are several Hitchcock movies that could fit that description, but…Notorious is special.
// State Fair (1945) //
I recently wrote a post detailing all the reasons for my love of this movie, so go check it out!
// Saving Mr. Banks (2013) //
*bawls* This movie does something to me. I don’t understand it, I can’t explain it, but it’s reached into my heart and settled there and it makes me cry – actual tears, not just a lump in my throat – every. single. time. I tear up just thinking about it because, yes, there are several lighthearted moments, but all the flashbacks are achingly sad and the ending…goodness. I’m going to start crying again. Basically, it’s a brilliant film. The cast is perfectly perfect and WHY they didn’t all get Oscars is beyond me. (Particularly Emma Thompson and Colin Farrell.) I love the Sherman brothers, the songs, all the little references to Mary Poppins, the fact the Pamela Travers is a writer (so I can kind of relate to her) and so many other things. So, even though it gives me all the feels (and most of them are of the tragic kind, not the happy kind – and I still haven’t figured out if the ending is supposed to be sad, happy, or just plain bittersweet) I still adore this movie. Very much.
// Meet the Robinsons (2007) //
Choosing between Disney’s Robin Hood and Meet the Robinsons for the one animated film to put on this list was tough, but I do love time travel stories and this movie touches me in a special way with all the great themes and characters so this eventually won out (though Robin Hood had the #nostalgialove factor going for it). I watched MtR just a couple days ago with some good friends and I was reminded once again of how perfect this movie is. It’s just…I really, literally cannot put into words how special MtR is for me – it just IS. I might attempt to write a review one day, but suffice to say that the plot twists (similar, in a way, to the ones in Back to the Future, especially when Marty meets his parents as their younger selves) are unexpected and tons of fun, the music/songs really work well with the story, and Bowler Hat Guy is one of my favorite movie villains everrrr. Plus, that ending is one of the best movie endings of all time, in my opinion. “Keep Moving Forward.” YES.
Spot any favorites on this list? What are your top ten favorite movies? Let me know in the comments!