100 films to see before you die

The staff at Yahoo! Movies has put together this list of the 100 films you must see before you die. How many have I seen? I'm going to make the ones I've seen bold, and italicize the ones I want to see. I will also star * those I definitely agree are must-sees.

(Before anyone asks, since I've said before I choose not to see R-rated films, the ones on the list I mark as seen will be the edited for TV versions. Thanks!)

*12 Angry Men
2001: A Space Odyssey
400 Blows
8 1/2

The African Queen
*All About Eve
Annie Hall
Apocalypse Now

The Battle of Algiers
The Bicycle Thief
Blade Runner
Blazing Saddles
Blow Up
Blue Velvet
Bonnie and Clyde
The Bridge on the River Kwai
Bringing Up Baby
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
*Citizen Kane
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Die Hard
Do the Right Thing
Double Indemnity
*Dr. Strangelove
Duck Soup

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
Enter the Dragon
The Exorcist

Fast Times At Ridgemont High
The French Connection

The Godfather
The Godfather, Part II
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
The Graduate
Grand Illusion
Groundhog Day

A Hard Day’s Night

In the Mood For Love
It Happened One Night
*It’s a Wonderful Life


King Kong (1933)

The Lady Eve
Lawrence of Arabia
The Lord of the Rings

*The Maltese Falcon
The Matrix
*Modern Times
Monty Python and the Holy Grail

National Lampoon’s Animal House

On the Waterfront
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Paths of Glory
Princess Mononoke
Pulp Fiction

Raging Bull
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Raise the Red Lantern
Rear Window
Rebel Without a Cause
Roman Holiday

Saving Private Ryan
Schindler’s List
The Searchers
Seven Samurai
The Shawshank Redemption
The Silence of the Lambs
*Singin’ in the Rain
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Some Like It Hot
The Sound of Music
*Star Wars
*Sunset Blvd.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day
*The Third Man
This is Spinal Tap
*To Kill a Mockingbird
Toy Story

The Usual Suspects


When Harry Met Sally…
Wild Strawberries
Wings of Desire
*The Wizard of Oz
Women On the Verge of Nervous Breakdown
The World of Apu

There's several on here that are on my mostly-seen list (I've seen part or almost all of the film and know the story) but if I didn't sit through and watch from beginning to end I didn't mark it off.

I'm not sure about some of these choices. In particular I've always disliked Groundhog Day, but hey, that's just me. I know my foreign film knowledge is pitifully small, so I should probably try to remedy that.

If it were my list, I would add some more classics, like An American in Paris, The Apartment, The Magnificent Ambersons, West Side Story, Out of the Past, The Philadelphia Story and Gone With the Wind.

So, how many of these have you seen? Mark them off and link back to share your list. Don't forget to include what movies you would have added to the list and what you disagree with!


These are the movies that try men's friendships.

For my brother, it was Torn Curtain. There was a time when he showed this movie to everyone he could get to sit through it, claiming that he learned a lot about people in the process. I'm not sure if it was the crazy oven scene or the frustrating communication issues between the Paul Newman and Julie Andrews characters, but somehow the way his friends reacted to the movie told him everything he wanted to know about them.

While I don't personally have a movie I test people out on like this, there have been a few times when watching a movie with friends changed the way I viewed them. The friends, I mean, not the movies. (Although the reverse has also been true.)

For example, I saw The Fugitive in the theater with a girl who was convinced Harrison Ford's character was guilty. (Did she think the one-armed man was an apparition? I don't know.) Another time I watched The Miracle of Morgan's Creek with some girlfriends, one of whom somehow didn't pick up on the pregnancy until the very end. (I know they kept it subtle back then, but come on! It's a major plot point!)

This is not to say that I have ever ended a friendship with someone based on their reaction to a movie. But I have changed my mind about what type of movies (if any) I will share with them.

What about you? Is there a movie that tested your friendship with someone based on how they viewed it? Is there a movie you use to test people out, perhaps an obscure title you reference when someone claims to be a film buff? Or is there a movie you love to watch with people because it's so open to interpretation that you use it like a Rorschach inkblot test of film?


What's better than a witty woman?

A bunch of witty women, of course! And it seems that the only requirement for being able to stay in the Footlights Club boarding house in the movie Stage Door is this: You must be a wise-cracking female. (OK, you must be an aspiring actress, as well.)

Katharine Hepburn as Terry Randall passes on both counts. She waltzes into this world of theater hopefuls with a few minor differences: she has money and she takes her craft seriously. She quickly butts heads with the girls, particularly her down-to-earth roommate Jean (Ginger Rogers). The women in the movie date, dish, and dream of landing the perfect part, with mixed results.

Less important to the movie than the overall plot is the sheer star power and the sharp writing. In addition to Hepburn and Rogers, the women at the Footlights Club include Eve Arden, Lucille Ball, and Ann Miller. (I'm almost ready to believe they really did all live like this, waiting to get their big breaks.) And here's just a sampling of some of the endless snappy dialogue:

"Evidently you're a very amusing person."

"Unfortunately I learned to speak English correctly."
"That won't do you any good here, we all talk Pig Latin." (Ginger isn't bluffing.)

"If it's not food, it's men. Can't you talk about anything else?"
"What else is there?"

"May I come in?"
"Oh, sure, I guess you'll be safe. The exterminators won't be here until tomorrow."
"How did they miss you on their last visit?"

One other very minor thing I loved about the movie: Ginger's character sleeps with a little doll! Sure, she's a hard-talking, ambitious, independent woman making it in the big city. But when it comes right down to it, she's still just a little girl with dreams.

Stage Door is one of those movies that lived for a long time on my Mostly-Seen list; that is, I had seen bits and pieces of it here and there and had a vague idea what it was all about. The sad thing about the movies populating this list of mine is that when I finally take the time to watch them from start to finish, I am almost always pleasantly surprised by the bits I'd been missing and wonder why I didn't watch the whole movie sooner. Stage Door was no exception, and I've happily moved it from my list of Mostly-Seen Movies to the Finally Watched! list.

4/5 wings


How does an obsession begin?

This started as a Q&A on Classic Hollywood Nerd, and I couldn't resist joining in with my answers.

Who was the actor/actress that you were first interested in?
When I was maybe ten, I remember my best friend and I were filling out lists of our favorites, and for actor I put Clark Gable. (She had no idea who he was.) I'm not sure why I picked him at the time, although I always liked Gone With the Wind and I vaguely remember that It Happened One Night was one of the first movies my family recorded off TV with our new VCR.

How old were you when you really began watching old movies?
I don't remember a time when I didn't watch old movies. My love of them began in childhood, thanks to my classics-loving father, and never really stopped.

What was the first old movie that caught your interest?
As a kid I had all the dialogue (though a few lines were off) to The Wizard of Oz memorized. My parents had to ask me not to say every line along with the movie.

Who is currently your favorite actor?
I always like Bogart and Spencer. I like to look at Paul Newman, Dana Andrews, William Holden and Brando. I am strangely fascinated by George C. Scott and George Sanders. I think Ray Milland and Fred MacMurray are underrated. The more I see of Kirk Douglas and James Mason, the more impressed I am with them. And most recently I've been enjoying Edward G. Robinson.

Who is currently your favorite actress?
For a while now I've been identifying with Ginger Rogers.

What is your favorite old movie and why?
Only one? I really enjoy The Maltese Falcon for the unfolding mystery and Humphrey Bogart's great reactions to the assorted crazy characters. The Third Man is also high on my list. While it's artistic and moody it also has some great little moments of humor.

How many old movies do you own? How many old movies do you have recorded/on the dvr?
How should I know? What am I, an accountant? ;-)

Not as many as I'd like to own. I haven't counted, probably around 50, but I have a lot more recorded from television. And maybe 10-15 taking up space on the dvr. Putting my collection at what I would guess to be more than 100, but less than 200.

If you could go back in time and visit any actor/actress, who would it be?
I imagine that conversations with Orson Welles and/or Katharine Hepburn (if I could keep up with them) would be interesting. I think visits with Jimmy Stewart and/or Jack Lemmon would be pleasant.

Who is one actor/actress that you want to know more about?
It seems the more I learn about actors, the less I like them. Since learning about the real lives of actors is often disappointing to me, I usually prefer to know and appreciate them on-screen only. However, I did just watch an American Masters about Gene Kelly that was pretty interesting and not entirely depressing.

What film could you watch over and over again?
Among my go-to favorites for re-watching are The Big Sleep, Laura, and The Philadelphia Story.

What is your favorite Hitchcock film?
Probably North by Northwest.

Who is your favorite director?
Billy Wilder is genius.

Share your answers here or on your own blog. :-)


I didn't have a speech prepared...

All I can say is wow. Not one, not two, but three wonderful bloggers have passed along the Premio Dardos award to me!

My humble thanks go to R.D. Finch of the excellently written The Movie Projector, Anders from the highly entertaining Cut, Print, Review, and Vanessa at the fun and fabulous The Movie Ness. The feeling is mutual; I think you guys are great.

If you haven't seen this baby yet, here is what it means:

The Dardos Award is given for cultural, literary, and personal values in the form of creative and original writing. These stamps were created with the intention of promoting fraternization between bloggers, a way of showing appreciation and gratitude for work that adds value to the Web.

And so I must:
  1. Accept the award by posting it on your blog along with the name of the person that has granted the award and a link to his/her blog.
  2. Pass the award to another five blogs that are worthy of this acknowledgment, remembering to contact each of them to let them know they have been selected for this award.
In choosing five blogs to pass the award along to, I decided to go with fellow movie bloggers who keep me coming back for more. (I'm choosing blogs I personally have not given a shout-out to before, although they may have already been chosen for this award by someone else. Because they are good. And you should check them out.) What do I like? Quality writing, a touch of personality coming through, and a passion for classic films, of course!

Out of the Past ~ A Classic Film Blog

Fire and Music
Classic Film Oasis
Hollywood Dreamland
Cinema Splendor

This list certainly leaves out some excellent blogs. If you want more, check out my list of fellow movie lovers to the right.
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