What are your top 10 favorite movies of all time?

I figured since I made the top 10 tv shows of all time topic, I’d also ask what your top 10 favorite movies of all time were. You can count movie trilogies as one if you wish. Here is my list:

1 Star Wars: the Original Trilogy (Despecialized)

I feel the unaltered, original theatrical versions of the Star Wars Trilogy are the best. I dislike most of the cgi heavy insertions George Lucas put in…

2 The Matrix Trilogy

While the fist Matrix movie is the best I still view the other movies as a complete narrative. It was just so impressive for its time. You had bullet time with multiple camera angles, exciting fight sequences, and an existential story which took you for a wild ride!

3 The Princess Bride

This is a movie that makes you feel all warm inside. A charming fairy tale done right. I love the performances of Cary Elwes, André the Giant, and Billy Crystal! I also really admire the fencing sequence between Cary Elwes and Mandy Patinkin; one of the many highlights of the movie!

4 The Fifth Element

Some may think this movie was a bit cheesy, but I thought it was a highly imaginative piece of Sci-fi. Bruce Willis was an average guy pulled into an incredible journey to save the planet. It had great alien creature and set designs, all inspired by the art of Moebius.

5 Return to Oz

This is a childhood favorite of mine. There is just something about practical effects which just seem to capture your imagination more effectively. This movie made me feel like I was really in Oz with Dorothy and her companions, as she braved her way to face off against the Nome King. In a way, It was also a very creepy movie for kids which made it even more memorable for me. Those Wheelers freaked me out!

6 Dune 1984/Dune Sci-fi mini series/Children of Dune Sci-fi mini series

I’m a big fan of the 1984 Dune movie, as well as the 2 Sci-Fi Channel mini series. A desert planet called Arrakis, the only place in the galaxy you can find a substance called, the Spice. A powder produced from giant sandworms which can extend life, alter consciousness and bend space. Two great houses fight for control of the planet as prophecy unfolds. While the books are leaps and bounds better than the films, I’ll still take what I can get.

7 Blade Runner

A visual masterpiece. Ridley Scott made a cult classic here. The practical effects and matte paintings (hand painted backgrounds on film) alone, should draw you in to this dystopian world.

8 Legend

The only movie I can stand watching with Tom Cruise…Joking aside, if you are a fan of the fantasy genre, then this is one movie you have to watch. Legend is not your average fantasy film. This is another Ridley Scott film and I admire his attention to detail. The set designs are exquisite and practical. From a sound studio which was filled with massive trees and real birds, to a dark castle interior full of massive, towering pillars. You just have to respect all of the little set pieces which brought this move to life. Tim Curry’s performance as the Darkness is pretty hard to top and one that you won’t soon forget.

9 Hook

Dustin Hoffman and Robin Williams acted their hearts out in this 90’s tale of Peter Pan. Seeing Peter all grown up gave us a new perspective on this age old story. Dustin Hoffman’s performance as Captain Hook was especially memorable and IMO, to this day, I haven’t seen anyone top it!

10 Princess Mononoke

I didn’t really want to have my list comprised of all Hayao Miyazaki movies, because well…it very well could have been! But, my list wouldn’t be complete without at least one of his masterpieces! Princess Mononoke is the fist Miyazaki film I ever saw and it’s what drew me into his world and the subsequent movies that followed. The relationship which formed between Ashitaka and San was unique; both living in different worlds, but unifying together to save the land from a crazed spirit god with no head! I also liked the themes of nature and the struggle we all have trying to live in harmony with it.

Honorable Mentions:

  1. The NeverEnding Story
  2. Nausicaa of the Valley of the WInd
  3. Spirited Away
  4. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
  5. Harry Potter movies
  6. Laputa: Castle in the Sky
  7. Back to the Future Trilogy
  8. Rush Hour Trilogy
  9. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
  10. Howl’s Moving Castle
  11. Dark Crystal
  12. Ladyhawke

I thought about this for a while, and while I often don’t find films to be as immersive as TV shows, novels, or game stories (there typically isn’t enough time to get to know the characters), some films in particular do stand out. So without further delay, here is my top ten, starting with the greatest film of all time:

  1. The Panzer Dragoon Original Video Animation

Just kidding.

Here is my actual list:

  1. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring - I can’t think of movie experience as magical as seeing Middle Earth brought to life back in 2001. As a huge fan of the books prior to the film trilogy, Peter Jackson not only succeeded in adapting the first book close to the source material, but managed to make his interpretation of Middle Earth feel like a living, historial world. The sequels were good too (especially Return of the King), but diverged in ways that lost some of the magic, focusing more on the war aspect of the story. It’s a shame that with The Hobbit films the series went so far downhill.

  2. The Shawshank Redemption - A story about a banker falsely accused of the murder of his wife and sentenced to life in prison. It’s the story of how people respond to having their freedom taken away in different ways and about how you can still find happiness in spite of that fact. I can particularly relate to the protagonist who uses his mind to excel in whatever situation he is placed in. This film is a must watch.

  3. Into the Wild - based on a true story, after graduating a young man donates his life savings to charity and leaves the safety (and restrictiveness) of society to live alone in the wild. Throughout his journey we learn of his motivations and it becomes increasingly hard not to relate to his change in lifestyle. A powerful story that makes you question many of things we’re told to value and do with our lives.

  4. Braveheart - As historically inaccurate as parts of this film are, the themes of freedom reasonated with me, and what it means to compromise (and not compromise). Add an amazing soundtrack, stunning scenery, and the outcome is an epic, moving film. Braveheart was part of my motivation for visiting Scotland.

  5. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back - the original Star Wars trilogy as a whole is a classic, but Empire is definitely the strongest of the three. I was lucky enough to first see the trilogy as a child, unspoilt by pop culture, so everything about these films was fresh. I remember watching Star Wars on a Friday night and Empire on a Saturday (both on TV). Jedi wasn’t going to screen until the following weekend. I couldn’t wait, so rented the final film to watch on the Sunday. It was a great weekend.

  6. The Never Ending Story - a childhood favourite of mine. A young boy starts reading a book he stole from a bookstore and is follows the adventures of another character within a fantastical fantasy world. The world is slowly disappearing due to a mysterious “nothing”. It’s difficult to say more with spoiling the story, but it all ties together quite well in the end. Although the film is only half of the novel, I think they focused on the important part. The two sequels were forgettable, but the original Never Ending Story remains a classic.

  7. Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind - everything by Studio Ghibli is worth watching, but if I had to choose one Miyazaki film it would be Nausicaa (technically not a Studio Ghibli title). The reason should be self explanatory to any Panzer Dragoon fan. My next favorite Studio Ghibli film would probably be Spirited Away. The Borrower Arrietty is great, also.

  8. The Matrix (the first film) - although the sequels were lacking, the first Matrix is an all time classic. Although the ideas are essentially ripped straight from Philosophy 101, it’s the execution of the philosophical ideas presented in the original Matrix in a (mostly) believable scenario that sucks you into the story. Thought provoking and exciting, The Matrix will make you literally question reality.

  9. The Road - a boy and his father struggling to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. There is no super virus, no zombies, just other humans and the psychological affects of living in world of scarcity. We don’t even learn what caused the apocalypse, but it doesn’t matter; the minimalism of the setting makes the story stronger. It’s one of the best post-apocalyptic films around.

  10. The Lion King - this one’s a classic. The circularity of the tale, the human-like animations of the characters, the soundtrack (both songs and instrumental), the themes of running away and facing up to your past, etc. It’s one of the best children’s films to date.

Honourable mentions:

12 Years a Slave - a powerful film based on a true story about one man’s life after being sold into slavery.

Fight Club - the first rule of fight club is you do not talk about fight club.

Avatar - although Avatar is essentially Pocahontas in space, I particularly liked the fact that the important themes in this film were presented in a way that’s accessible to the average movie-goer. It’s the ulimate left-wing mainstream movie. Plus the creatures they ride feel very familar to a Panzer Dragoon fan. I look forward to the sequels.

2001: A Space Odyssey - this is not a film that I’d want to watch over and over (for large parts of the film, it’s more of a screen saver than a movie) but the sense of mystery found in this film is incredibly powerful. If ever there was a case made for show over tell, this would be a prime example. Also, the ending scene is a very cleverly shot, even to this day. I tend not to get drawn in to older films that much, but 2001 is an exception.

Dragonheart - a story about a human king and a dragon who share a heart. I happen to like stories about humans bonded with dragons.

The Last Unicorn - it’s difficult to say what the appeal is with this one. I think it captured well what it means to be the last of a kind.

Back to the Future, Harry Potter, and other popular series are appealing too.

I recently read The Hunger Games series and have watched the first three films - although the books are better, the films are solid at least, and I found the protagonist to be a lot more relatable than in other popular series such as Harry Potter.

Very nice list! I see we have similar tastes! I forgot about Dragonheart; that was a feel good movie too. I miss the 90’s…

Right now I don’t think I could do a list justice, I remember trying a few years back and it would be very different now, there’s too many films to remember and some of the very best are oddly too forgettable as well.

I’m mainly replying to give props for mentioning The Dark Crystal and Legend, two movies that are popularly maligned or dismissed often enough, and both very unique and amazing in their own way.

As superficially childish as both those films may seem, they both offer an interesting layer of nuance around the good vs evil dichotomy and cliché as well. There appears to be something primal about the fallen angel archetype, as though the very attainment of some ultimate grace carries the same liability as any and all power, and as they say power corrupts.

…Heh, power doesn’t corrupt absolutely, power corrupts the corruptible!

Yes, Legend is very unique and visually powerful, if anything. Tim Curry did a superb job with his character!

Dark Crystal is the epitome of Jim Henson’s creative mind as well as his skills in puppetry. Again, everything is practical and those sets are masterpieces in themselves!

For some reason I thought of the film I Am Legend when Legend was mentioned and only just realised a different film was being discussed! I wasn’t overly impressed with the former (yet another zombie film), but the latter is a film I have yet to see. So thanks for the recommendation.

I saw The Dark Crystal many years ago, but the plot escapes me. Time for a rewatch, perhaps.

Another honourable mention is the film Stardust. It’s another feel good film with a sense of adventure. I recommend it if you’re feeling like something lighthearted.

No other lists then? I’m curious to learn what films others are into.

I am gonna put one together, I just need a bit of time to do it justice!

Solo when you watch Legend you need to watch the directors cut. This version is what Ridley Scott originally intended. It has Goldsmith’s original soundtrack not found in the theatrical version. Some people like the 80’s synth in the theatrical us version, but IMO the European director’s cut is best. Also, scenes where added back in which add to the story, not found in the theatrical release.

This video explains all of the versions.

Regarding the soundtrack, go to 15:50

I just watched Legend (the director’s cut). Perhaps it is due to seeing the film long after it’s time, but it was hard to feel enthusiastic watching it. The special effects were good for their time, and the film has level of quality to it, but in all honestly it barely held my attention. I guess the biggest problem is that the story felt copy/pasted from numerous other fantasy stories. Perhaps I need to reflect on the story more.

I’ve found that, even though a lot of older films that broke important ground wouldn’t make it near my top ten list, I still recognise their merits. Citizen Kane, Gone with the Wind, Casablanca, and other notable films I’ve been able to appreciate because of what they achieved in their day, even if they aren’t to my personal taste. But I’m finding it hard to find a similar level of appreciation for Legend.

Yeah, the story isn’t anything overly thought provoking. It’s basically just good vs evil at its purest.

Now this is what I do like:

I appreciate the directing/cinematography, and aesthetics of the film. I guess in an artistic sort of way, I’m judging it as you would a work of art. From the way each shot was positioned and set up, to all of the visual effects. I guess these days, if you want a movies narrative to be more fleshed out you need to plan to make a trilogy…

I mainly just appreciate the style of Legend, for its uncanny and all a little scary Fae creatures, nothing is really cliché safe or cuddly. Been a while since I’ve seen it, but it seemed to me like people couldn’t put the movie in an easy box, it seems to be for kids but it isn’t quite safe enough for kids either?

Finally I’ve gotten around to doing this. Normally I’d want to put LOTR in as a trilogy, as it is one story. However, that’s unfair to the rest of the films really and to be honest I feel like Return of the King started to become a little Hobbity for my liking…

  1. Jurassic Park
  2. LOTR: Fellowship of the Ring
  3. LOTR: Two Towers
  4. Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back
  5. Saving Private Ryan
  6. Star Wars: A New Hope
  7. Pirates of the Caribbean
  8. Gladiator
  9. The Lion King
  10. Die Hard


Black Hawk Down
Independence Day
Paranormal Activity
The Matrix

In no particular order:

The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
The Matrix
Ghost in the Shell
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
Planet of the Apes (1968)
Terminator 2: Judgement Day
Casino Royale (2006)

Some honourable mentions:
The Life of Pi
Princess Mononoke
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
A Beautiful Mind
X-Men: First Class
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl