Thursday, September 10, 2015

Miles' 200 Favorite Films

Often when I meet new people, they eventually find out that I like movies and ask "Oh, what's your favorite movie?" It's a casual question. And it's a question that I proceed to answer in a three hour-long tangent.

Because it's an impossible question. How can one have a FAVORITE film? There are so many different types of films that it's impossible to compare them. I love Monty Python and the Holy Grail for very different reasons than I like, say, There Will Be Blood, but both are excellent movies in their own right. When you love, and I mean truly love movies, that enthusiasm is impossible to focus onto a few individual films. So, "What are your favorite movies" is an impossible question to answer. It's not so simple where you can just have a list where everything is ranked in order.

And so, that being said, here is a list of my 200 favorite films, with the directors included. Ranked in order. This isn't a definitive list--there might be days where some films are higher than others, but this is the first time I've been able to compile a list that I'm actually happy with and could stand by if confronted with it in a court of law.

So, for the fans of this blog who have heard my musings, THESE are examples of films I like. Some are here because I enjoy them, some are here because they make me think, some are here because I respond to them on an emotional level, and some are here because I simple admire their craft. Many of them are quirky and weird.

Pictured: quirky and weird.
And I enjoy talking about all of these movies, so if there are any films you want to hear my more complete thoughts on, let me know and I will produce a full review by request. So far, I've already written reviews for my #2 pick, my #9 pick, and my #80 pick, so you can feel free to peruse those as you wish. Anyway, enjoy and discuss!


1)      Delicatessen (Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Marc Caro)
2)      Twelve Angry Men (Sidney Lumet)
3)      Nashville (Robert Altman)
4)      Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock)
5)      Network (Sidney Lumet)
6)      Little Miss Sunshine (Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris) 
7)    In Bruges (Martin McDonagh)
8)      The Nightmare Before Christmas (Henry Selick)
9)      Birdman (Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu)
10)   Airplane! (David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, Jerry Zucker)
11)   Best in Show (Christopher Guest)
12)   Rosemary’s Baby (Roman Polanski)
13)   Dr. Strangelove… (Stanley Kubrick)
14)   Fargo (Joel Coen)
15)   The Purple Rose of Cairo (Woody Allen)
16)   The Truman Show (Peter Weir)
17)   Up (Pete Docter)
18)   Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (Robert Zemeckis)
19)   Galaxy Quest (Dean Parisot)
20)   Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (George Roy Hill)
21)   Brazil (Terry Gilliam)
22)   Young Frankenstein (Mel Brooks)
23)   The Lives of Others (Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck)
24)   My Cousin Vinny (Jonathan Lynn)
25)   The Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton)
26)   MASH (Robert Altman)
27)   Zelig (Woody Allen)
28)   Adaptation (Spike Jonze)
29)   The Triplets of Belleville (Sylvain Chomet)
30)   To Kill a Mockingbird (Robert Mulligan)
31)   Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones)
32)   The Shining (Stanley Kubrick)
33)   Strangers on a Train (Alfred Hitchcock)
34)   The Producers (Mel Brooks)
35)   The World’s End (Edgar Wright)
36)   One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Milos Forman)
37)   Citizen Kane (Orson Welles)
38)   Moon (Duncan Jones)
39)   The Big Lebowski (Joel and Ethan Coen)
40)   Kung Fu Hustle (Stephen Chow)
41)   Harold and Maude (Hal Ashby)
42)   M (Fritz Lang)
43)   The Player (Robert Altman)
44)   Do the Right Thing (Spike Lee)
45)   Phoenix (Christian Petzold)
46)   Babe (Chris Noonan)
47)   Once (John Carney)
48)   Synecdoche, New York (Charlie Kaufman)
49)   Slumdog Millionaire (Danny Boyle)
50)   Rashomon (Akira Kurosawa)
51)   Amadeus (Milos Forman)
52)   Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel and Ethan Coen)
53)   The Talented Mr. Ripley (Anthony Minghella)
54)   Quiz Show (Robert Redford)
55)   There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson)
56)   Moulin Rouge! (Baz Luhrmann)
57)   Capote (Bennett Miller)
58)   Beauty and the Beast (Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise)
59)   Legally Blonde (Robert Luketic)
60)   Children of Men (Alfonso Cuaron)
61)   Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki)
62)   The Silence of the Lambs (Jonathan Demme)
63)   North by Northwest (Alfred Hitchcock)
64) Anomalisa (Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson)
65)   West Side Story (Robert Wise, Jerome Robbins)
66)   Aliens (James Cameron)
67)   On the Waterfront (Elia Kazan)
68)   Murder on the Orient Express (Sidney Lumet)
69)   Ed Wood (Tim Burton)
70)   Pan’s Labyrinth (Guillermo Del Toro)
71)   Amelie (Jean-Pierre Jeunet)
72)   Casablanca (Michael Curtiz)
73)   The Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer)
74)   Zodiac (David Fincher)
75)   Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino)
76)   Lifeboat (Alfred Hitchcock)
77)   The Maltese Falcon (John Huston)
78)   Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry)
79)   Chinatown (Roman Polanski)
80)   Throne of Blood (Akira Kurosawa)
81)   Sunset Boulevard (Billy Wilder)
82)   Zoolander (Ben Stiller)
83)   Short Cuts (Robert Altman)
84)   Shattered Glass (Billy Ray)
85)   Wall-E (Andrew Stanton)
86)   Dancer in the Dark (Lars von Trier)
87)   Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Pedro Almodovar)
88)   Mighty Aphrodite (Woody Allen)
89)   Shadow of the Vampire (E. Elias Merhige)
90)   Chicago (Rob Marshall)
91)   Judgment at Nuremberg (Stanley Kramer)
92)   Hero (Zhang Yimou)
93)   2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick)
94)   Kramer vs. Kramer (Robert Benton)
95)   Back to the Future (Robert Zemeckis)
96)   The Lion King (Roger Allers, Rob Minkoff)
97)   The Third Man (Carol Reed)
98)   The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky)
99)   Matchstick Men (Ridley Scott)
100)   Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino) 
101) Roma (Alfonso Cuaron)
102) Eight Men Out (John Sayles)
103) Inherit the Wind (Stanley Kramer)
104) Blade Runner (Ridley Scott)
105) Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (Mel Stuart)
106) Suspiria (Dario Argento)
107) Get Out (Jordan Peele)
108) Hot Fuzz (Edgar Wright)
109) Rope (Alfred Hitchcock)
110) A Wedding (Robert Altman)
111) Billy Elliot (Stephen Daldry)
112) Toy Story (John Lasseter)
113) Edward Scissorhands (Tim Burton)
114) Notes on a Scandal (Richard Eyre)
115) The City of Lost Children (Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Marc Caro)

116) Seven Samurai (Akira Kurosawa)
117) Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (Sidney Lumet)
118) Jaws (Steven Spielberg)
119) Images (Robert Altman)

120) Custody (Xavier Legrand)
121) Oldboy (Park Chan-wook)
122) The Shawshank Redemption (Frank Darabont)

123) Y Tu Mama Tambien (Alfonso Cuaron)
124) Clue (Jonathan Lynn)
125) Gregory's Girl (Bill Forsyth)
126) Contact (Robert Zemeckis)
127) Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Ang Lee)
128) Prêt-à-Porter (Robert Altman)
129) The Wizard of Oz (Victor Fleming)
130) Snowpiercer (Bong Joon-ho)
131) Gosford Park (Robert Altman)
132) The Music Man (Morton DaCosta)

133) Solo Con Tu Pareja (Alfonso Cuaron) 
134) Muppet Treasure Island (Brian Henson)
135) My Neighbor Totoro (Hayao Miyazaki)
136) You Can't Take It With You (Frank Capra)
137) The World of Henry Orient (George Roy Hill)
138) Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola)
139) Seventh Seal (Ingmar Bergman)
Footnote (Joseph Cedar)
141) Little Voice (Mark Herman)
142) Begin Again (John Carney)
143) Wag the Dog (Barry Levinson)

144)  Witness for the Prosecution (Billy Wilder)
145) Bedazzled (Stanley Donen)
146) Alien (Ridley Scott) 
147) E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (Steven Spielberg)
148) The Godfather Part II (Francis Ford Coppola)
149) Black Swan (Darren Aronofsky) 

150) The Double Life of Veronique (Krzysztof Kieślowski)
151) Mystic River (Clint Eastwood)
152) Paprika (Satoshi Kon)

153) Creed (Ryan Coogler)
154) Thelma & Louise (Ridley Scott)
155) Doubt (John Patrick Shanley)
The Big Sleep (Howard Hawks) 
157) Arthur (Steve Gordon)
158) A Mighty Wind (Christopher Guest)

159) A Very Long Engagement (Jean-Pierre Jeunet)
160) Schindler's List (Steven Spielberg)
161) The Hustler (Robert Rossen)
162) A Serious Man (Joel and Ethan Coen)
163) Take the Money and Run (Woody Allen)
164) Nosferatu (F.W. Murnau)
165) Rear Window (Alfred Hitchcock) 

166) Clouds of Sils Maria (Olivier Assayas)
167) The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (Sergio Leone)
168) Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Frank Oz)
169) The Others (Alejandro Amenábar)
170) The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson)

171) Amores Perros (Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu)
172) The Babadook (Jennifer Kent)
173) Letters From Iwo Jima (Clint Eastwood)
174) The Tune (Bill Plympton)
175) Paterson (Jim Jarmusch)
176) Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi, Vincent Paronnaud)
177) Chocolat (Claire Denis)
178) Deconstructing Harry (Woody Allen)

179) Cinema Paradiso (Giuseppe Tornatore)
180) Toy Story 3 (Lee Unkrich)
181) School of Rock (Richard Linklater)
182) Babel (Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu)
183) Lady Bird (Greta Gerwig)
184) A Midsummer Night's Dream (William Dieterle, Max Reinhardt)
185) Seven Psychopaths (Martin McDonagh)
186) The Princess Bride (Rob Reiner)
187) The Orphanage (J.A. Bayona)
188) Melancholia (Lars von Trier)
189) American Splendor (Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini)
190) The Haunting (Robert Wise) 
191) BlacKkKlansman (Spike Lee)
192) Minority Report (Steven Spielberg)
193) Blue Velvet (David Lynch)
194) Glengarry Glen Ross (James Foley)
195) The Handmaiden (Park Chan-wook)
196) Benny & Joon (Jeremiah S. Chechik)
197) Be Kind Rewind (Michel Gondry)
198) Stranger Than Fiction (Marc Forster)

199) Whale Rider (Niki Caro)
200) A Single Man (Tom Ford)

That's right, Citizen Kane. You may be considered by many the best film ever made, but on my list, you only made it to #37. Suck it, Citizen Kane!
Directors with more than one film present:
8: Robert Altman
6: Alfred Hitchcock
5: Woody Allen
4: Joel Coen, Alfonso Cuaron Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Sidney Lumet, Ridley Scott, Steven Spielberg
3: Ethan Coen, Clint Eastwood, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Stanley Kubrick, Akira Kurosawa, Robert Zemeckis
2: Darren Aronofsky, Mel Brooks, Tim Burton, John Carney, Marc Caro, Park Chan-wook, Francis Ford Coppola, Milos Forman, Terry Gilliam, Michel Gondry, Christopher Guest, George Roy Hill, Charlie Kaufman, Stanley Kramer, Spike Lee, Jonathan Lynn, Martin McDonagh, Hayao Miyazaki, Roman Polanski, Quentin Tarantino, Lars von Trier, Billy Wilder, Edgar Wright, Robert Wise

The great Robert Altman at work.

And only 13 of the films on this list won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Zoolander is not one of them.

And how do I stack up to other lists? 24 of my top 100 films overlap with the list of 100 best films named by the American Film Institute in 1998 and updated in 2007. Only five of my top 100 films appear on Sight & Sound's most recent list of 50 Best Films ever made, compiled in 2012. At the time of this writing, 16 of my top 100 films overlap with the current rankings for the 100 Best Films on rottentomatoes (although this list changes constantly due to a wide range of variables).

Be sure to share your thoughts, and lists of your own, in the comments! As a note--this was originally a list of my 100 favorite films, which I have since expanded on, so some of the comments were written before seeing the full list you see above.


  1. A good amount of these films are included in my favorites, too. I love how 'Once' made the top 50.

    But what about Ingmar Bergman? I'm thinking of his Faith Trilogy and 'The Seventh Seal' (but mostly his faith trilogy). yeah, they're not that 'entertaining,' but, you know, do films have to be entertaining to be entertaining? (whatever that means...) They're intellectual, to be sure. Thoughts?

    And should see 'Holy Motors' if you haven't already.


    1. Glad you liked the list--and that you like "Once." Although, how can a person not like "Once?"

      I think Ingmar Bergman is a fantastic filmmaker, of course. And as I was narrowing down this list, The Seventh Seal was one I very nearly included (that's still my favorite ever depiction of death in a film). And if I was making a list of the best movies as opposed to my favorite movies, Bergman would definitely be on it (so would Fellini). But, ultimately, I feel like as much as I appreciate Bergman's films, and do genuinely enjoy watching them and discussing them, I've never necessarily felt a personal connection to them.

      Although, since you mentioned Bergman, have you seen the short film Die Duve? It's a parody of Bergman's films and it's brilliant (and features Madeline Kahn in her first ever role).

      I definitely know what you mean about films being entertaining. There's always talk about how popcorn movies are "fun" while Oscar-baity artsy movies are more serious. But I always find that confusing. Last year, watching Birdman or Boyhood, I found them far more gripping and, yes, entertaining to watch than something like Jurassic World. Sure, the entertainment is of a different variety, but I wish there wasn't a stigma that makes us dismiss good, thought-provoking films as being "boring," when in reality they can offer a more rewarding experience. The myth of the popcorn flick, and that you have to sacrifice quality for entertainment is a weird one for me.

      And I have not seen "Holy Motors," but I know of it and the premise sounds fascinating. I'll try to find it and I'll let you know my thoughts!

    2. Oh! I haven't seen Die Duve. I'm going to look it up! Thank you Google. Thank you YouTube.

      (note: only the 'safe' / non-explicit version of 'Holy Motors' is on Netflix, to my knowledge. Don't watch that one. Find the DVD if you're genuinely interested).


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