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My Top Ten Movies Of All Time

By David Harper


one-eye-jacksMy criterion for judging great movies is can you watch them three or four times and still be enthralled by them? Some great movies can be a “one time only” experience and a second or third viewing may be boring.  Here is my list:

Casablanca (1942) – The quintessential all-time great movie and it makes most lists. A combination of great cast, great screenplay and great direction. A little known fact is that despite having a big name cast, including, Bogart, Bergman, Paul Henreid and Claude Rains, the highest paid actor in it was Conrad Veidt who played the evil Nazi.

And next time you watch it see if you can see Jack Benny!

Godfather 1 & 2 (1972) – Two for the price of one here. Without doubt the greatest crime/mafia movies ever made. Like Casablanca enjoys the best of everything.

Some Like it Hot (1959) – Greatest comedy ever made. The combination of Lemmon, Curtis and Monroe is irresistible. None of them were ever better in anything they did.

The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) – Errol Flynn at his swashbuckling best. This story has been made many times but never better than this one.

L.A. Confidential (1997) – Rivals Godfather in the best crime film category. Who would have thought to cast two Australians (Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce) as L. A. cops. Great story (by James Ellroy), great cast and great director Curtis Hanson.

Breaker Morant (1980) – An Australian movie and my top war themed movie based on a true story (Scapegoats for an Empire). It could have been titled “The Court Martial of Breaker Morant” and with Edward Woodward in the lead and great supporting actors it holds your attention from start to finish. Veteran Australian director Bruce Beresford (Driving Miss Daisy, Tender Mercies) at his best.

One-Eyed Jacks (1961) – My #1 western, sorry Shane fans. This pick will surprise many but I believe this film suffered from being a Marlon Brando tour de force. The only movie he ever directed and its one failing is that it is a little long at 141 minutes. A wonderful revenge story that has all the elements of a great western but anti Brando critics hurt it.

Last of the Mohicans (1992) – Produced, directed and written (with co writers) by Michael Mann and starring the magnificent Daniel Day-Lewis as Hawkeye in James Fenimore Cooper’s classic tale.

M*A*S*H. (1970) – Robert Altman directed with a screenplay by Ring Lardner, Jr. The brilliant satirical comedy about war that spawned the wonderful long running TV series. Donald Sutherland in the lead as Hawkeye Pierce is perfect as is Robert Duvall as the hapless Major Frank Burns.

Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) – Quintessential Brit romantic comedy that introduced Hugh Grant to the American audience. If you’re not into Brit comedy then maybe it’s not for you.

One cannot make a top ten list without missing other people’s favorites. Bridge on the River Kwai and Lawrence of Arabia didn’t make it because I thought they had draggy moments that I found on the second and third viewings became boring.

There were some wonderful underappreciated gems that I would have liked to include but couldn’t displace those listed. Gems such as: Annie Hall, The Ipcress File, Absence of Malice, Shawshank Redemption, The Crying Game, Pulp Fiction, Absolute Power (and other Eastwood movies) and I could go on.

Try it yourself and see how hard it is to just list your top ten.

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