I have been tracking all of the movies I see for years now and have a data base with about 1700 entries. I rate each movie on a scale of 1 – 10. Out of the 1700, I would estimate there are about 10 with a rating of 9.0 or higher.
There are grave limitations to the idea of “rating” films, as if it were contest to get the highest score. But it can be useful as a guide to finding good films to see that you may have missed around their release dates (like “The General”, released in 1926)!
- City Lights (Charlie Chaplin)
- Babette’s Feast (Gabriel Axel)
- The Third Man (Carol Reed)
- Dr. Strangelove (Or How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb) (Stanley Kubrick)
- Seventh Seal (Ingmar Bergman)
- Crimes and Misdemeanors (Woody Allen)
- Leolo (Jean-Claude Lauzon)
- Wild Strawberries (Ingmar Bergman)
- Manhattan (Woody Allen)
- The General (Buster Keaton)
- Rashomon (Akira Kurosawa)
- Wings of Desire (Wim Wenders)
- The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola)
- The White Ribbon (Haneke)
- Pan’s Labyrinth (Guellermo del Toro))
- Act of Killing (Documentary)
- The Great Beauty (Paolo Sorrentino))
- Tree of Life (Terence Malick)
- A Hidden Life (Terence Malick)
- Gatekeepers (Documentary)
- Gomorrah (Matteo Garrone)
- Fanny and Alexander (Ingmar Bergman)
- Late Spring (Ozu)
- Do the Right Thing (Spike Lee)
- Cool Hand Luke (Stuart Rosenberg)
- Night at the Opera (Marx Brothers)
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Milos Forman)
- The Apartment (Billy Wilder)
- Some Like it Hot (Billy Wilder)
- Blade Runner (Ridley Scott)
- Terminator (James Cameron)
- Bourne Identity (Doug Liman)
There are not many other films that would deserve to be rated so highly. In some cases, I admire a film deeply even though I am not in love with it’s actual form. But sometimes I love a film even more than I respect it, and that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with that. We are all very, very open minded.
I think we can add a couple of recent films to the list: “White Ribbon”. “The Master”. “Moonrise Kingdom”. “Pan’s Labyrinth”? Perhaps. List updated.
Films that definitely will not be making the list: “Les Miserables”, “Hugo”, “On the Road”, and “The Great Gatsby”. These are films that look like they are serious and artistic but are more interested in the affectation of substance than the reality. And we can now add “The Butler” to the list, which doesn’t have an authentic scene in it anywhere, except, ironically, for the shot of Gloria Gaines (Oprah Winfrey) applying lipstick in the mirror while berating Cecil. But be it noted that a scene in which Gloria considers adultery, with neighbor Howard, was rewritten because Oprah, who couldn’t write a movie if her life depended on it, decided she was a brilliant author and needed to edit the plot. She didn’t think her character would do that. She is an idiot: that is precisely what her character would do and should have done and someone needs to explain to her the difference between being an actor and being a celebrity. The difference between having a talent and having a brand.
The year in which “Pan’s Labyrinth” was made was a remarkable year for film, though I can’t remember the other brilliant films that came out that year. I should look it up.
If you really want to read more of my ruminations on movies. Bill’s Movie Reviews