my top 5 favorite movies from each decade.

Inspired by something I said in this post.

1930’s to 2020’s. *cracks knuckles* Let’s go!

the 1930’s.

A Tale of Two Cities (1935) – A pretty thirties-ized version of Charles Dickens’ classic story (at least in some respects), but one that captures the heart and soul of the book (mainly due to Ronald Coleman’s pitch-perfect Sydney Carton).

Gone with the Wind (1939) – Not the sort of film I’ll sit down and watch of an evening, but one that I do enjoy re-visiting from time to time. The visuals are glorious. (Also, my pastor’s wife is exactly like Melanie. Not kidding, not exaggerating. BE JEALOUS. :D)

The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) – This movie is incredible. The performances, the costuming, the music…#happyplace.

Captain Blood (1935) – Okay, so I don’t remember a lot about this movie but I had to get five 30’s movies on this list. 😛 I definitely prefer The Sea Hawk (for some reason, the two films go together in my mind). But you can’t go wrong with Basil Rathbone and Olivia de Haviland, amiright?

The Lady Vanishes (1938) – One of the best Hitchcock films, in my opinion. The plot is really intriguing and the characters (Iris, Gilbert, Miss Froy, and some of the other passengers) are really nice and brave and sweet. Makes the film more enjoyable than if, say, Iris screamed and fainted all the time.

the 1940’s.

Casablanca (1942) – Iconic. Tragic. Swoon-worthy. And again with the amazing characters! I need to re-watch this gem.

Laura (1944) – My favorite film noir, because Dana Andrews and it’s not horribly depressing like some of those films can be and also the characters are a treat. (I’ve come to realize that most–if not all–of the films in this post have awesome characters and that’s a big part of why I enjoy them so much.)

Lifeboat (1944) – So I’ve only seen this ?twice? and that was quite a while ago, so I don’t remember the plot/characters as well as I’d like in order to give my opinion. But from what I can remember, it was one of my favorite Hitchcock films. Tense and full of humanity.

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) – This film speaks for itself. (As do the billions of articles/blog posts written about it.)

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) – One of my dad’s favorite movies–a love he passed on to me. As a child, I was told that James Cagney usually played bad guys (which weirded me out because I’d only seen him in Yankee Doodle Dandy) and that Humphrey Bogart usually played heroes…which also weirded me out because I’d only ever seen him in Treasure. If you’ve never seen this brilliant, gripping film, check it out!!!

the 1950’s.

3:10 to Yuma (1957) – I watched the remake and, while it was pretty good, it didn’t do much for me. Glenn Ford is just SO GOOD as Ben Wade. He makes the movie what it is.

Ben-Hur (1959) – This is another film that I won’t ‘just’ sit down and watch. In fact, there are a lot of parts that bore me. But at the same time, #mychildhood. The overture music always gives me the best nostalgic vibes.

Singin’ in the Rain (1952) – I love how my mom banned this when I was a kid because we sang the songs too much. They are really catchy, y’all! And I like how Singin’ actually has an interesting plot, unlike some musicals from this decade.

Roman Holiday (1953) – Possibly my favorite romance movie of all time.

The Vikings (1958) – Another childhood classic (and quite a not-child-appropriate one, with heavily implied rape, an eye getting torn out, a hand getting chopped off and immediately cauterized with a flaming torch…yikes). Kirk Douglas will always be Einar to me, first and foremost. Also, Lord Egbert is played by that cool officer from The Great Escape!

the 1960’s.

Exodus (1960) – I can’t really describe how this movie makes me feel, or why it’s so special to me. It Just Is.

The Sound of Music (1964) – With the recent passing of Christopher Plummer, I’m doubly glad I included TSoM on my list. His performance as Captain von Trapp (despite how he disliked the film) really adds an extra special dimension to the whole thing. And then there’s also the gorgeous scenery and songs and JULIE ANDREWS.

The Manchurian Candidate (1962) – This movie is reeeeeally depressing and heavy. I still find it fascinating and Great though.

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) – Southern Gothic is one of my favorite aesthetics, so there’s that. And Gregory Peck is simply perfect as Atticus Finch. 10/10 would marry.

Ocean’s Eleven (1960) – You know, I wouldn’t have thought that O11 would have ended up as one of my top five favorite 60’s films. On a different day, it would totally swing over to The Great Escape or Mary Poppins. But there’s something about this less-famous-than-its-Brad Pitt-remake film that is just my kind of movie.

the 1970’s.

Image result for benji 1974

Yes, I found five movies from the 70’s that I actually like!

Robin Hood (1973) – My sister played ‘Love’ the other night and oh my worrrrrd the feels. This movie is EVERYTHING.

Benji (1974) – Yet another nostalgic childhood film! I haven’t actually seen this one in ages, but Benji and Tiffany are both cute and the human characters are alternately nice or horrible, depending on what’s required. And the storyline isn’t bad either. Peter Breck and Edgar Buchanan are in the cast, for those old western movie fans out there. (Looking at you, Rachel.)

Star Wars (1977) – So I know that technically there’s a 70’s ‘look’ to SW, but at the same time…is there really? I just see the Star Wars-verse, in all its glory. *heart eyes*

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977) – Maybe this doesn’t quite count, since I know a couple of the shorts they threw in were from the 60’s. But I’ll take it. I know I’ve already used the word ‘nostalgic’ a lot in this post, but this movie is uber-nostalgic. ❤

Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (1977) – What more could you ask of a movie than two hilarious, bumbling idiots trying to steal a ridiculously huge diamond in Europe? Plus a sentient car and Eric Braeden and, y’know, DON KNOTTS? Nothing, that’s what.

the 1980’s.

Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)Last Crusade used to be my favorite Indy movie, but I think Raiders has won that spot for all time. It’s a straight-up fantastic adventure story with Harrison Ford at, arguably, his most handsome. 😉

Terminator (1984) – Totally wasn’t expecting to enjoy this movie much, but it did something to me–in a good way.

Witness (1985) – I guess a fascination with the Amish is a typical human trait, if the proliferation of Amish romance novels is anything to go by. But while Witness does include a romance between an Amish woman and an ‘Englisher’ (a stock trope!), it’s so much more than that. I always find the scene where the little kid points out the murderer’s photo spine-tingling. An excellent film.

Anne of Green Gables (1985) – The stars aligned (or something) to create this magical movie. Possibly the best book-to-screen adaption ever.

Dead Poets Society (1989) – Carpe Diem! Also, carpe cryalot. (Okay, that was super lame.)

the 1990’s.

The Fugitive (1993) – The fourth Harrison Ford movie on this list because he’s awesome and he stars in awesome films. I still don’t know if I prefer his Kimble to David Janssen’s, but it’s close. Really close. And Tommy Lee Jones makes everything better. #donutswithsprinkles

My Girl (1991) – For a while I didn’t realize that Thomas J. was the kid from Home Alone. That doesn’t really have anything to do with my opinion of the movie, but I just thought I’d mention it instead of WEEPING OPENLY. I’ve got a Feminista article about this film coming out sometime in the March/April edition, so keep your eyes open for that.

Jurassic Park (1993) – Annnnd this will also be featured in a March/April Feminista article! Honestly, I think that JP is about as close to perfection as a movie can possibly get. Not even exaggerating.

Shining Through (1992) – Yes, yes, it was panned by the critics. But, again, my dad loved it and watched it with me and my siblings and now I unashamedly love it too. Shining Through has a beautiful soundtrack, a tense plot, and a dazzling (if sometimes frustrating) romance. I recommend it if you’re a fan of WWII movies (and if you’re an adult :P).

Titanic (1997) – I love the scope of Titanic. The epic, grand story that’s also extremely human and personal. Plus, Kate Winslet is a gorgeous queen with impeccable fashion choices. (Okay, I know it was all the costume designers. Don’t @ me.)

the 2000’s.

Gladiator (2000) – “I will see you again. But not yet…not yet.” *dissolves into tears*

Shrek (2001) – Another movie I didn’t think I’d like, but it ended up on my top five of the 2000’s, so there you go. I think this is one of the only movies where the heroine has a reverse Princess Diaries-esque transformation? And it’s great! I love the message of the film and the soundtrack score.

Minority Report (2002) – I haven’t seen Minority Report enough. It’s got insane worldbuilding and a great main character (as in, not just a paper-thin ‘action guy’ played by a famous actor just so that there’s someone to keep the plot going). The moldy sandwich and chunky milk part is, frankly, iconic in my home.

The Four Feathers (2002) – If you’ve watched and enjoyed this movie, read the book! It’s not the exact same, but it’s really, really good. As for the movie itself, Heath Ledger does an A+++ job playing a cowardly, then brave guy. (His cowardice is explained better in the book, fyi.)

Enchanted (2007) – Okay, I may have over-watched this movie just a tad. But I still love it. It’s kind of a parody, while also knowing when to take the over-the-top or utterly romantic stuff as seriously as needed. ❤

the 2010’s.

Avengers: Infinity War & Endgame (2018/2019) – They go together. They just do. And, as I’ve said before, they’re a near-perfect duology, with Far From Home as a brilliant little epilogue.

Tangled (2010) – Quite possibly the first CG-animated Disney movie I ever saw. Rapunzel is still my favorite Disney princess. Eugene is still my favorite Disney prince. And Pascal will forever be my answer to “who would you choose as your sidekick?” in all those Buzzfeed quizzes.

Saving Mr. Banks (2013)Mary Poppins and Mary Poppins Returns are also HUGE favorites of mine. (In fact, I want to go back now and switch Ocean’s 11 out for Mary Poppins. But I’ve already worked so long on this post…so no.) Again, this is another film I’ve over-watched. 😛 (I never learn.) Emma Thompson still knocks it out of the park though.

Rogue One (2016) – I need to rewatch this masterpiece. Say what you want about Disney, they did Star Wars fans proud with this gritty, original war movie. It can be hard to make a fandom care about brand-new, never-before-seen characters, but it totally happened with Rogue One.

A Quiet Place (2018) – Another movie that I believe is nearly perfect. (And, like Jurassic Park, it’s a monster flick. Hmmm…) The fact that Emily Blunt and John Krasinski are married in real life makes it even better. Plus the eerie soundtrack!

the 2020’s.

I haven’t seen enough movies from the 2020’s, I feel. Clouds was pretty good. Oh, so was Mulan and the Star Wars LEGO Holiday Special. And Hamilton. So that’s almost five. *shrugs*

Anyway! Thanks for reading through this long, long blog post. I’d really like to see this type of list pop up on your guys’ blogs–it would be very interesting. Or in the comments! I look forward to seeing your picks. 🙂


18 thoughts on “my top 5 favorite movies from each decade.

  1. Interesting idea for a post. I won’t even try to pick a top 5 for most of those decades. I’m not even sure I’ve seen 5 movies from the 30’s or 40’s. So I’ll pick between one and three up until the 70’s. There are some shared movies between our lists.

    30s – Dracula
    40s – Casablanca, Citizen Kane, Dumbo
    50s – Ben-Hur, Peter Pan
    60s – From Russia With Love, The Good The Bad and the Ugly,

    70s – Star Wars, Superman, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Revenge of the Pink Panther, Monty Python and the Holy Grail

    80s – The Empire Strikes Back, Indiana Jones (put 1 and 3 here combined because I find it hard to pick between them), ET, Die Hard, Back To The Future (the trilogy as a whole)

    90s (really hard decade for me to choose from) – The Lion King, Apollo 13, Toy Story, Terminator 2, Good Will Hunting

    2000s – Lord of the Rings trilogy (the trilogy is one story in three parts), Gladiator, The Dark Knight, WALL-E, Casino Royale

    2010s – Tangled, Inception, Avengers: Infinity War & Endgame, Toy Story 3, Inside Out (yup, more animated movies in the last decade than live-action)

    2020’s – I’ve only seen two movie from this current decade so far – Pixar’s Onward, which I thought was decent but nothing special, and Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic is a surprisingly entertaining movie with some good dramatic moments, and one where you don’t need to be familiar with the video games to understand.


    1. I’ve only seen the first Back to the Future, but I’d like to see the others.

      Also, I feel like I almost prefer recent animated films to recent live-action films for the most part. So I ‘get’ your 2010’s list. =)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Such fun! Like Rachel, I may steal this idea . . . I’d like to, but I don’t know if I could feel confident that I’d picked my actual five favorites from each decade! Haha.

    Also, love to see “Saving Mr. Banks” get some appreciation! That’s such an excellent film. Wow.


  3. I. Love. It.

    Totally stealing this idea.

    I kind of equate Captain Blood and The Sea Hawk in my head too, and I think it’s cuz they’re both Flynn swashbucklers that are based on books by Rafael Sabatini.

    Laura and Casablanca, mmmmmmmMMMMMmmmmmm.

    Oh my word, 3:10. All the yesses. (And the remake just… just… sigh.) I haven’t seen The Vikings, but I am here for all the rest of your ’50s choices.

    We are going to have WAY different choices for favorite ’60s films. But two of your ’70s picks will be on my list. Not hard to guess which two, I bet.

    Your ’80s choices are cool! I don’t love The Terminator, but the others, yeah, totally love them.

    We will have one choice in common for the ’90s, and it is my 2nd-favorite movie of all time ❤ ❤ ❤

    Oh, wow, our 2000s will be way different too.

    Rogue One will hit mine too, I’m sure. I don’t think I’ll do a 2020s though because… this decade has barely started, and I haven’t really loved any films released last year or this year.


  4. Oooh, nice list! Some of these are my favorites also GWTW, Gladiator, Titanic, Anne of Green Gables, etc, and many more) and some I really want to or need to see — like Lifeboat. I’ve heard good things about it. Not gonna lie, a lot of movies I love just for the PRETTY (like Titanic… so, so gorgeous…).


  5. Great list! My favorites of these movies you mentioned would definitely be Infinity War, Endgame, and Rogue One. Rogue One is the VERY BEST of all the Star Wars movies, in my ‘umble opinion. 😉

    I’d like to do a list like this, but I don’t think I’ve seen enough movies from each decade … and I have a hard time keeping track of which movies I HAVE seen … hmmm.


    1. I totally agree with you about Rogue One!

      You should think about creating an IMDb account to keep track of everything you’ve watched. Just a suggestion! 😀


  6. I’ve only seen Casablanca and The Treasure of Sierra Madre once. But I enjoyed them, and would like to watch them again sometime.
    And, of course, Star Wars and Sound of Music will always be great classics in my household. I was sorry to hear of Christopher Plummer’s passing.


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