We're one week away from releasing our list of the Top 10 films of all time. This week, we count down from #20 to #11, with some absolutely fantastic films, both classic and modern. This is where it really gets tough, as there are so many deserving movies. But we had to narrow it down, and narrow we did.
20. Rear Window
One of Alfred Hitchcock’s absolute best and the reason is the suspense is so thick in the Jimmy Stewart-starring classic, you could cut it with a knife used for murder. The man who became known as the “Master of Suspense” solidified that title with this story of a man (Stewart) stuck in a wheelchair recovering from an injury. He becomes obsessed with the goings-on of his neighbors. When he witnesses what he thinks is a crime, he starts to become part of the mystery. Inhabiting the “Hitchcock” blonde role in this thriller was the outstanding Grace Kelly. Even the Rear Window quotes give us the chills.
19. There Will Be Blood
I maintain that this is the best movie I’ve ever seen first-run, in theaters (for a frame of reference, I was born in the 80s and started seeing movies in theaters in the 90s). Paul Thomas Anderson’s dark, beautiful, pathos-filled tale of a greedy oil man is perfect in almost all its elements. Daniel Day-Lewis leads an extraordinary cast of actors with his mind-blowing performance as Daniel Plainview. Combine that with Anderson’s impeccable script (“I drink your milkshake,” anyone?), stunning cinematography from Robert Elswit, and a perfectly complimentary soundtrack by Jonny Greenwood, and There Will Be Blood captures a well-deserved spot in the Top 20 Films of All Time. Head to our There Will Be Blood quotes page for more.
18. Being John Malkovich
Spike Jonze announced himself as a filmmaker with huge promise with this wildly original adventure of a kind not seen before onscreen. John Cusack and Cameron Diaz played a loveless married couple who end up on the adventure of a lifetime heading, literally, into the world of John Malkovich. The actor was such a good sport and played a wild-eyed version of himself. And Catherine Keener killed it as Maxine, the object of affection of both Cusack and Diaz. No one will ever make a movie like Being John Malkovich...period. Check out our section on Being John Malkovich quotes and try not to think about them the rest of the day!
17. Gone with the Wind
When adjusted for inflation, Gone with the Wind is the highest-grossing film of all time. It’s also extremely long, with a 3 hour and 44 minute run time. But each minute is well worth it, with outstanding performances from Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh. The American classic is set in the 19th Century Reconstruction-era South, with a script by Sidney Howard and direction by Victor Fleming. Gone With the Wind won 10 Academy Awards, setting a record that lasted until Ben Hur beat it in 1960. Check out some Gone with the Wind quotes for more.
16. Dr. Strangelove
When Dr. Strangelove arrived in 1964, its humorous look at the out-of-control arms race between the Soviet Union and the U.S. was right from the headlines. Russian leaders had said at the U.N. recently, “We will bury you.” And a presidential candidate that year, Barry Goldwater, was advocating the use of nukes to put Russia in its place. Toss in a career-best performance by comic acting mastermind Peter Sellers, and an instant classic was born. Then there’s the direction of Stanley Kubrick, who announced to the world that his films would change the way we look at movies and ourselves. Few films of that era produced as many great lines as is found in the Dr. Strangelove quotes.
One of the best coming-of-age films of all time, Diner tells the story of a group of friends in Baltimore during the last week of 1959, as they struggle with transitioning into adulthood. Barry Levinson wrote and directed the poignant and hilarious film, which stars Steve Guttenberg, Daniel Stern, Mickey Rourke, Kevin Bacon, and Paul Riser. If you like Swingers, Reservoir Dogs, I Love You Man, and even Seinfeld, you have Diner at least partly to thank. Read through some hilarious Diner quotes to see why it deserves to be here.
14. Pulp Fiction
Quentin Tarantino had become a cult favorite with his script for Tony Scott’s True Romance and then for his first feature that he wrote and directed, Reservoir Dogs. When Pulp Fiction first premiered at the normally stuffy Cannes Film Festival and shocked the world with its Best Picture (Palm D’Or) win, an entire world raised its collective eyebrow. Then, audiences saw it and a phenomenon was born. To this day, Pulp Fiction quotes dominate conversation between movie fanatics, and every film since that the auteur made, and will make into the future, will always be compared to Pulp Fiction.
13. Full Metal Jacket
Stanley Kubrick’s classic war film is famously split into what feels like two separate movies: basic training, and active duty in Vietnam. Vincent D’Onofrio stars as the disturbed Private Pyle, who struggles with the rigor of basic training. Matthew Modine, Adam Baldwin, and R. Lee Erney round out an excellent cast, as FMJ recreates some of the witty “absurdity of war” commentary Kubrick achieved with Dr. Strangelove (mentioned above), while achieving a brand of gritty realism that had become a must for most modern war films. Head to our Full Metal Jacket quotes page for more.
12. Citizen Kane
Considered by many (including AFI) to be the best film of all-time, Movie Fanatic agrees it is one of the titans of cinema, but just out of our top 10. Orson Welles’s 1941 iconic movie showed Hollywood what a triple threat could do if allowed to accomplish his or her dreams. Prior to that film, few were given the opportunity to write, direct and star in a motion picture. Welles also made history by winning the Oscar Best Original Screenplay and Best Actor. The movie would lose the Oscar to How Green Was My Valley, which is still considered one of the biggest upsets of all time. Check out the Citizen Kane quotes and you decide if the film is based on the life of the patriarch of the Pulitzer family...
While not necessarily his funniest film, Manhattan is certainly Woody Allen’s prettiest and most personal. A true love letter to New York City, Allen’s black-and-white masterpiece follows the life of a hapless writer, dealing with the aftermath of a divorce and a newfound relationship with an under-aged girl, played by Mariel Hemmingway. All of Allen’s acerbic wit is present, but Manhattan exudes far more vulnerability and charming despair than most of his other work. Check out our Manhattan quotes page for some of Allen’s gems.