Welcome back to the countdown of my favourite films of all time. Once again I’ll be sharing a few of my favourites from an extensive list of films I’ve seen and enjoyed over the years. My initial list of just 100 films has since grown as I remembered dozens of other favourites that need to be on the list. Some you will have heard of and seen, some you might not. Some you will wonder why they are here at all – I will try and justify their appearance, but nine times out of ten its because I like the film and can watch it over and over again!
So, without further a do, let’s crack on shall we?
Noted for its use of long takes, this thriller from Alfred Hitchcock sees two young men strangle their “inferior” classmate, hide his body in their apartment, and invite his friends and family to a dinner party as a means to challenge the “perfection” of their crime. It is considered to be Hitchcock’s most controversial film and the only film that James Stewart made with Hitchcock that he didn’t like. Stewart thought he was miscast as the professor.
WATCH IT FOR: The long takes and trying to see the join!
SHAUN OF THE DEAD (2004)
A rom-zom-com, or a romantic comedy with zombies. From the creators of hit tv show Spaced, this horrifying comedy is a breath of fresh air to British cinema. It centres around a man who decides to turn his life around by winning back his ex-girlfriend and saving the community from a hoarde of zombies. Packed full of references and knowing nods to their inspirations, Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright have created a modern masterpiece that is both gory and funny at the same time!
WATCH IT FOR: The bar fight
BACK TO THE FUTURE (1985)
Oh, there is so much to love about this film. The construction of the whole thing is sublime, telling the story of Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) who is sent back in time to 1955 where he must ensure his parents meet and fall in love otherwise he won’t exist. Christopher Lloyd, as Doc Brown, is outstandingly eccentric and the perfect foil to Marty’s confused traveller. The film captures the essence of 1950s America beautifully from the surroundings to the music. Using a DeLorean car as the time machine is an inspired and iconic choice and the little kisses with history make this film simply perfect.
WATCH IT FOR: “Johnny B Goode”
THE BOYS IN BLUE (1982)
Now, I know what you’re going to say but before you do, let me say just say that of all the guilty pleasures out there, this is one of mine. I’ve been a fan of Cannon & Ball since I was a kid and love their style of comedy so you can imagine my delight at having a feature length movie with them in leading roles. Based loosely on the old Will Hay comedy, Ask A Policeman, The Boys In Blue is your old fashioned British comedy film set in a seaside town with bungling heroes and even more bungling villains. Featuring a who’s who of British comedy legends, this is one guilty pleasure that I’m not at all guilty about liking!
WATCH IT FOR: The stellar line-up of guest stars and cameos
DIE HARD (1988)
The ultimate high-rise thriller. Bruce Willis is John McClane, a New York cop in Los Angeles to see his estranged wife (Bonnie Bedelia) on Christmas Eve when the party they are attending at Nakatomi Plaza is interrupted by a group of terrorists who didn’t count on the extra guest. This film has been rehashed and mimicked many times but it has never been bettered. Willis is at his wisecracking best as McClane, the wrong guy in the wrong place at the wrong time who comes up against uber-villain Alan Rickman in a deadly game of cat and mouse. Rickman steals the show as Hans Gruber, but the action and set-pieces are also a major player in the films success. Director John McTiernan moves the film along at a thrilling pace and creates an action thriller to beat all action thrillers.
WATCH IT FOR: Alan Rickman’s bravura performance
NIGHT WATCH (2004)
A fantasy-thriller set in present-day Moscow where the respective forces that control daytime and nighttime do battle. This film owes much the the success of The Matrix films in its use of special effects and the whole good versus evil thing. Although its not an amazing film, it still sticks in the mind with all the bizarre imagery and trickery, not to mention the clever use of subtitles.
WATCH IT FOR: The special effects
CASINO ROYALE (2006)
The film that reinvented the James Bond franchise and gave it new life. Daniel Craig is an inspired choice for the role of 007, although not everyone agreed at the time of the announcement, and is a Bond for the 21st century. Owing a lot to the Bourne franchise, the action is frenetic and fast paced, a lot more so than the previous films. It reignited the franchise that had become stale with Pierce Brosnan’s last outing in Die Another Day and paved the way for things to come…
WATCH IT FOR: The opening sequence; The parkour and the thrilling card game
A young boy makes a wish at a carnival machine to be big. The next morning he wakes up as an adult. Tom Hanks plays the lead with suitable childlike qualities which adds to the charm of the whole picture. We watch as he tries to come to terms with adult life while still only being thirteen years old and living and working in the big city. Hanks is supported by a brilliant cast, including Robert Loggia as his boss and duet partner. Its a film for every generation and for anyone who ever wished to be something they’re not.
WATCH IT FOR: That piano scene
SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN (1952)
One of the greatest ever musicals starring one of the greatest ever song and dance men, Singin’ In The Rain has the feelgood factor in bucket loads. Its the story of a silent movie company making the difficult transition into sound and features some of the best known songs and routines of all time. Gene Kelly is on superb form as Don Lockwood, the main attraction at the studio who’s career is threatened by the advent of talking pictures. His pal, Cosmo, played brilliantly by Donald O’Connor is there to help as is new girl Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds) who Lockwood falls for, much to the distain of Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen), Lockwood’s silent movie partner. The film zips along with all the pace of a modern day action blockbuster and has just as much kapow in the memorable numbers. Quite simply, perfection
WATCH IT FOR: “Good Morning”
TOY STORY 3 (2010)
There aren’t many films that boast sequels that are as good as, if not better than, the original. Toy Story 3 is just as good as the first film and miles better than the second yet it still retains all the charm and sophistication of a stand alone movie. The animation, as you’d expect from Pixar, is superb as is the story which sees our heroes Woody and Buzz mistakenly boxed up and sent to a nursery where strange things are happening. The beauty of the Pixar films is how the make animation for children yet manage to keep the adults entertained with jokes and references that go over the kid’s heads. Be warned, though, Toy Story 3 is likely to make you cry.
WATCH IT FOR: Ken plays dress up
Another ten films there in the countdown. Still plenty more treats to come so come back soon!