Cinema Monolith

Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.

Top 5 Favorite Films of All Time

#1  –  Jaws

I’m sure everyone out there already has this one pegged as my #1, without me having to tell you. Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, and Richard Dreyfuss star as three guys who do battle with a great white shark off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, with direction from a young Steven Spielberg and memorable music from John Williams. It’s hard to believe that this movie has held the top spot on my favorites list for 43 years (and counting), and has faced no challengers to the crown, ever. And now that I own a Blu-ray player, it’s even more perfect when I watch it every July 4th.  (Read my review here)

#2  –  Back to the Future

So many indelible memories associated with this one—for one, it was the only movie I ever saw at the old Arlington Theater in Santa Barbara—and one of two (along with Raiders of the Lost Ark) that I consider to be the ultimate cinematic movie-going experience. Everything comes together so well, from the direction to the elaborate screenplay to the performances, and I love how several bits of foreshadowing early on come together in surprising ways at the end. Lots of entertaining details as well, and every scene is filled with so much information, memorable moments and lines, and eye-popping visuals, I’m surprised it’s not on everyone’s Top 5 Favorite list.

#3  –  The Sting

One of the most well-written and intricately-plotted movies I’ve ever seen, and not only do Robert Redford, Paul Newman, and Robert Shaw shine brightly, but so do the other actors as well, from the supporting cast right down to the bit players. In 1930s Chicago, Redford and Newman are a pair of grifters trying to put a ‘sting’ on mobster Shaw to the tune of a half-million dollars, while trying to stay one step ahead of Shaw’s goons, the cops, and the FBI. Winner of seven Academy Awards, and deservedly so; this movie is a real winner, and is thrilling, dramatic, and comedic all rolled into one. And congrats, Mr. Shaw, for starring in two of my Top 5 favorites!  (Read my review here).

#4  –  The Great Escape

My Dad introduced me to this 172-minute wartime classic when I was a kid, and I’ve been hooked ever since…to me, the greatest and grandest WWII prison escape movie, bar none! A group of POWs in a German prison camp plot an escape, digging three separate tunnels under the camp in hopes that at least one of them goes undetected. Watching the prisoners plan their getaway, right down the smallest detail, is worthy of a movie in itself, but then the escape takes place, and the story really takes off. One of those movies where, if I find it already playing on TV, I’ll become mesmerized and will continue watching all the way to the end.

#5  –  Roman Holiday

I never thought a romance movie could make my Top 5, but here it is: a wonderfully sweet and delightful trip with newsman Gregory Peck and princess Audrey Hepburn as they spend a day together exploring the streets, sights, and famous locales of a 1950s picture-postcard version of Rome, Italy. I can’t help but get swept away by everything associated with this movie: the romance shared by the two leads, the travelogue backdrop of Rome, and the wonderful touches given to so many scenes and moments by director William Wyler and screenwriter Dalton Trumbo. Even the opening credits get me all warm and fuzzy!  (Read my review here)

And Three Others That Would Crack a Follow-Up Top 5 Favorite List

Raiders of the Lost Ark


Out of the Past

6 comments on “Top 5 Favorite Films of All Time

  1. Dracula

    Just watched Roman Holiday a few months ago on TCM. Have to look for The Great Escape as I don’t recall much about it anymore. Will have to make sure I drink coffee instead of beer to make it through the 3 hours since I tend to nod off here and there on longer films. At least not against my laptop!

    • Todd B

      Yeah, definitely check out The Great Escape…and what did you think about Roman Holiday? And you should try that laptop trick, it’ll snap you right awake!

  2. You know I never really do this other than to tell people when pressed that my favorite movie is The Dirty Dozen with Jaws nipping right behind. The other thing I often say is my top 10 has a 100 titles so maybe I should create that list. I will say I’d have a western in my top 5 I think. 3 always stand out but I’m not telling which.

    • Todd B

      So are you saying you might do a Top FIVE favorites list, or Top HUNDRED? And now I’m supposed to guess those three Westerns? At least one will star John Wayne, and another might be Once Upon a Time in the West, which I think you’ve mentioned liking before. Am I even close?

      • You’ve got me thinking maybe I should advertise a top ten list then proceed to throw a hundred titles at the readers. Three westerns come to mind are Once Upon a Time, The Searchers and The Wild Bunch.

      • Todd B

        Ha! Nailed two out of two! And that would be a fun idea…offer ten, give one hundred!

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Review Totals

Movies Reviewed: 222

From the Monolith: 123

Movies by Decade

1920s – 0
1930s – 6
1940s – 19
1950s – 35
1960s – 34
1970s – 35
1980s – 33
1990s – 6
2000s – 13
2010s – 41

Movies by Genre

Action/Adventure – 40
Comedy – 35
Crime – 21
Documentary – 5
Drama – 24
Horror – 38
Musical – 1
Mystery/Thriller – 19
Romance – 3
Sci-Fi/Fantasy – 27
Western – 8

Movies by CM Rating

10 star – 10
9 star – 28
8 star – 35
7 star – 31
6 star – 22
5 star – 22
4 star – 23
3 star – 18
2 star – 18
1 star – 12
0 star – 3

Movies by MPAA Rating

Pre-1968 – 89
G – 1
PG – 32
PG-13 – 34
R – 58
NC-17 – 0
TV and Unrated – 8

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