NOTE: An updated version of this column can be found here
27. The Raging Bull (1980)
The most represented director on this list, with nine of my top 200 films, Scorsese checks in at #27 with this story of the career and life of boxer Jake LaMotta, brilliantly portrayed by Robert DeNiro in another classic performance … a role in which he gained 60 pounds to play. Joe Pesci is similarly excellent as LaMotta’s brother, and the dynamic and eventual tension between these two characters is fantastic.
28. Reservoir Dogs (1992) Already in at #25 with Pulp Fiction, Quentin Tarantino comes right back at #28 with the gripping Reservoir Dogs, the story of a team of previously unacquainted criminals hired to pull off a bank heist. What a cast here! Keitel, Roth, Buscemi, Madsen, Chris Penn … all are brilliant. 29. Office Space (1999) A cult film, beloved by any that have spent time working in an office setting. A true comedic classic, hysterical from start to finish in exposing the woes of the cubicle life. Ron Livingston is superb as slacker supreme Peter Gibbons. 30. Clerks (1994) Low budget and politically incorrect, “Clerks” is an absolute work of genius from director Kevin Smith. The writing and the dialogue is as good as any film ever in this story of two slacker New Jersey convenience store clerks called into work on a Saturday. 31. Requiem For A Dream (2000) Dark, disturbing, and powerful … this film shows the dark and disturbing side of drug abuse from a couple of different perspectives. Both Jennifer Connelly and Ellen Burstyn deliver absolutely amazing performances in this film, which leaves chills running down your spine. 32. Mystic River (2003) An all-time great performance from Sean Penn as Jimmy Markum, who reunites with childhood friends Kevin Bacon and Tim Robbins following the death of his oldest daughter. This is Clint Eastwood’s coming out party as a director, and in almost any other year (same year as the last Lord of the Rings) this would have won Best Picture at the Oscars. 33. A Few Good Men (1992) "Son, we live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by men with guns. Whose gonna do it? You? You, Lt. Weinburg? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for Santiago, and you curse the marines. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know. That Santiago's death, while tragic, probably saved lives. And my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives. You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punch line. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom that I provide, and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way, Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon, and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you are entitled to." ~ Colonel Jessup 34. A Bronx Tale (1993) A different kind of gangster movie, and a different type of role from DeNiro in this one, which he also directed. In it, DeNiro plays the working class good guy father of a boy growing up in a New York neighborhood with a Mafia influence. The boy struggles balancing his relationships with three characters, his father (DeNiro), the neighborhood crime boss, and an African American girl he is falling in love with. 35. Munich (2005) "Crash" winning best picture in 2005 over "Munich" is one of the all-time robberies in Academy history in my view. The movie starts with the recreation of the apprehension and murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics. The movie centers around what happened next, the Israeli government hiring five Mossad agents to track down and kill the individuals responsible for the attack. 36. Scarface (1983) Pacino plays Tony Montana, a determined Cuban immigrant in early 80’s Miami that takes over a drug empire before greed and a pesky coke addiction get the better of him. Almost three hours long, and littered with powerful scenes and profuse swearing, violence, and drug use … this is the best film ever from Brian DePalma, who also brought us The Untouchables and Carlito’s Way. 37. Revenge of the Sith (2005) The last of the six Star Wars movies to be released, and the segway from the new trilogy and the old trilogy. This is the story of the transformation Annakin Skywalker goes through in turning to the dark side and eventually morphing into Darth Vader. The special effects and conclusion to this one are very good, somewhat atoning for disappointing efforts from Spielberg in the first two installments of the newer trilogy. 38. Return of the Jedi (1983) With the new and improved Death Star nearing completion, Leia, Luke, and Chewy rescue Hans Solo from Jabba and rally to action to stop the Empire from ruling the galaxy in this, the final chapter in the Star Wars series. 39. Jackie Brown (1997) One of the most underrated movies ever in my view, and the third entry in my top 39 movies from Tarantino. Samuel L. Jackson is excellent as gun dealer Ordell Robie. Pam Grier is great as Jackie Brown, a flight attendant caught up with Ordell, as well as bail bondsman Max Cherry. DeNiro and Bridget Fonda also deliver excellent supporting roles in this entertaining tale that gets overlooked because of the more popular Tarantino films listed above. 40. The Taxi Driver (1976) An epic, epic performance from DeNiro as Travis Bickle, a New York cabbie that slowly goes insane witnessing the scum of the city from the drivers seat of his cab. This is a dark, disturbing film with a stunning and brutal ending, that also features great supporting roles fro, Jodie Foster, Harvey Keitel, and Peter Boyle. 41. Rocky (1976) A small time boxer gets a shot at the heavyweight champ in this enchanting tale that became a wildly popular series. Stallone was born for the role as Rocky Balboa, a dim witted, down on his luck, no name heavyweight boxer from the mean streets of Philadelphia. 42. Cast Away (2000) Tom Hanks plays a Fed Ex executive that finds himself hopelessly stranded on a deserted island following a plane crash. Hanks is forced to transform himself emotionally and physically as he spends several years alone on the island, not speaking a word through a long stretch of the film. 43. Seabiscuit (2003) The true story of the Depression-era undersized racehorse “Seabiscuit”, who lifted an entire nation through some very tough times. Not just the horse, but the jockey, trainer, and owner are all long shots as well in this incredibly uplifting film that had the patrons standing and cheering at the end when I saw this when it was released in the theaters. 44. Mulholland Drive (2001) The type of movie that just leaves you silent in thought for a while after the film concludes and the credits are rolling. An off the wall thriller from David Lynch, a movie you can rewatch over and over again and still pick new things up. Naomi Watts is phenomenal as the main character, a perky young gal in LA seeking to become an actress. Her world gets turned upside down as another woman, the sole survivor of a car accident walks into her apartment and her world. 45. Se7en (1995) Good, good stuff here. Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman are homicide cops on the trail of a serial killer (played by Kevin Spacey) who is modeling his killing after the seven deadly sins. The ending is shocking, horrific, and genius … and the action is tense throughout. 46. Jaws (1975) This all-time classic is the tale of a giant great white shark that terrorizes a small island community. The entire film leads up to the superb conclusion … which consists of a showdown between the shark and a police chief, marine scientist, and grizzled fisherman set out to stop it. 47. Old School (2003) The greatest comedy of this decade in my view. An absolutely hysterical film about three men (Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn, Luke Wilson) trying to relive their glory days when one of them buys a house on a college campus after catching his wife cheating on him. 48. Glory (1989) As the US Civil War protracts and drains even the vast resources of the north, an experiment is made with black troops, serving in a special regiment under an all-white officer corps. Matthew Broderick and Denzel Washington are both brilliant as the key characters in this classic. 49. Titanic (1997) The tale of the sinking of the unsinkable ship back in 1912 was finally brought to the silver screen in 1912 by director James Cameron, and pulled off very well in my view. The love story between a penniless artist (Leonardo DiCaprio) and a beautiful socialite (Kate Winslet) is woven in, but not in a way that detracts from the story like we saw in “Pearl Harbor”. 50. American Beauty (1999) Kevin Spacey is great as Lester Burnham, a man who is suffering a mid-life crisis that affects the lives of his family … made up of his super bitch of a wife Carolyn and rebelling daughter Jane who hates him. The lives of all the main characters change in this film, and in different and revealing ways. 51. Cinderella Man (2005) 52. Major League (1989) 53. Apocalypse Now (1979) 54. Braveheart (1995)55. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) 56. Back To The Future (1985) 57. Escape From Alcatraz (1979) 58. Rounders (1998) 59. Eight Men Out (1988) 60. Casino (1995) 61. A Beautiful Mind (2001) 62. Rocky IV (1985)63. E.T. (1982) 64. Babel (2006) 65. Pay It Forward (2000) 66. About Schmidt (2002) 67. Rocky II (1979) 68. The House of Sand and Fog (2003) 69. Catch Me If You Can (2002) 70. 21 Grams (2003) 71. American History X (1998) 72. Rocky III (1982) 73. Miracle (2004) 74. Cape Fear (1991) 75. Apollo 13 (1995) 76. World Trade Center (2006) 77. Million Dollar Baby (2004) 78. Copland (1997) 79. Heat (1995) 80. The Green Mile (1999) 81. Oldboy (2003) 82. Fatal Attraction (1987) 83. Match Point (2005) 84. Unfaithful (2000) 85. Closer (2004) 86. Patton (1970) 87. Chinatown (1974) 88. Field Of Dreams (1989) 89. Bull Durham (1988) 90. The Godfather – Part III (1990) 91. The Unforgiven (1992) 92. Traffic (2000) 93. Fight Club (1995) 94. Big Fish (2003) 95. United 93 (2006) 96. Return To Paradise (1998) 97. We Were Soldiers (2002) 98. Diehard (1988) 99. Top Gun (1986) 100. Airplane (1980) 101. Good Will Hunting (1997) 102. Mallrats (1995) 103. Gangs Of New York (2002) 104. The Insider (1999) 105. V For Vendetta (2005) 106. Full Metal Jacket (1997) 107. Deliverance (1972) 108. Poltergeist (1982) 109. The Patriot (2000) 110. Dirty Harry (1971) 111. Training Day (2001) 112. Green Street Hooligans (2005) 113. Aliens (1986) 114. The Life Of David Gale (2003) 115. Do The Right Thing (1989) 116. L.A. Confidential (1997) 117. The Game (1997) 118. Wall Street (1987) 119. Brian’s Song (1971) 120. Chasing Amy (1997) 121. The Fugitive (1993) 122. Capote (2005) 123. Blazing Saddles (1974) 124. The Goonies (1985) 125. Blackhawk Down (2001) 126. Basic Instinct (1992) 127. Flags Of Our Fathers (2006) 128. The Doors (1991) 129. Sling Blade (1996) 130. The Princess Bride (1987) 131. The Blues Brothers (1980) 132. Sea Of Love (1989) 133. Fletch (1985) 134. Bang The Drum Slowly (1973) 135. Lucky Number Slevin (2006) 136. Sideways (2004) 137. When Harry Met Sally (1989) 138. The Hurricane (1999) 139. Mean Streets (1973) 140. Dog Day Afternoon (1975) 141. The Fly (1986) 142. The Midnight Express (1978) 143. Ghandi (1982) 144. Fast Times At Ridgemont High (1982) 145. Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971) 146. Ghostbusters (1984) 147. Crash (2004) 148. Ray (2004) 149. The Sixth Sense (1999) 150. Little Miss Sunshine (2006) 151. The Hunt For Red October (1990) 152. The Siege (1998) 153. Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (1977) 154. Stand By Me (1986) 155. Empire Records (1995) 156. Kramer Vs. Kramer (1979) 157. The Thin Red Line (1998) 158. Forrest Gump (1994) 159. Bugsy (1991) 160. The Neverending Story (1984) 161. Saw (2004) 162. The Red Dragon (2002) 163. Breaking Away (1979) 164. Frequency (2000) 165. Big Night (1996) 166. Fargo (1996) 167. Real Genius (1985) 168. Slap Shot (1977) 169. The Natural (1984) 170. Dumb And Dumber (1994) 171. The Assassination Of Richard Nixon (2004) 172. Boogie Nights (1977) 173. Mystery, Alaska (1999) 174. JFK (1991) 175. Internal Affairs (1990) 176. The Exorcist (1973) 177. Born On The Fourth Of July (1989) 178. Stir Of Echoes (1999) 179. The Big Lebowski (1998) 180. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) 181. The Grifters (1990) 182. The Breakfast Club (1985) 183. Entrapment (1999) 184. Two Days In The Valley (1996) 185. Arthur (1981) 186. Reality Bites (1994) 187. Swingers (1996) 188. A Fish Called Wanda (1988) 189. Batman (1989) 190. Ghost (1996) 191. Leaving Las Vegas (1995) 192. Trainspotting (1996)193. Matchstick Men (2003) 194. The Illusionist (2006) 195. The Untouchables (1987) 196. Insomnia (2002) 197. Eyes Wide Shut (1999)198. The Ice Storm (1997) 199. Terminator 2 – Judgement Day (1991) 200. The Color Of Money (1986)
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