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my top 100 films — movies I think about when I think about movies

What this is not: This is not my own personal assessment of the “best” or “greatest” or “most influential” movies ever made, or any categorization that pretends to objectivity.

What this is: These are the movies that I think about when I think about movies. If you want to know where I’m coming from as a critic and a movie fan, take a look at these movies. Many of these are the movies I’ve memorized, the movies I quote from all the time. Some of these are movies that haunt my nightmares. All are movies that warped my brain. Many could be called my favorite movies; many could be called my comfort movies. All of them have been a profound influence on me, for good or ill.

Why: This list grew out of a project I and my fellow members of Cinemarati put together years ago, our group canon. I have just [October 2006] updated the list with a few films from the early 2000s; most of the titles that dropped off the list were TV shows — perhaps eventually I’ll put together a top 100 list of TV shows that I think about when I think about TV.

  1. The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the Eighth Dimension (1984)
  2. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
  3. The Princess Bride (1987) [review]
  4. This Is Spinal Tap (1984) [review]
  5. Ghostbusters (1984) [review]
  6. The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-3) [review]
  7. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) [review]
  8. A Night at the Opera (1935)
  9. Beauty and the Beast (1991) [review]
  10. The Empire Strikes Back (1980) [review]
  11. Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) [review]
  12. GoodFellas (1990) [review]
  13. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) [geek retrospective]
  14. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
  15. The Wizard of Oz (1939) [review]
  16. Fantasia (1940) [review]
  17. Star Wars (1977) [review]
  18. Gladiator (2000) [review]
  19. A Christmas Story (1983) [review]
  20. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) [review]
  21. Aliens (1986)
  22. The Matrix (1999) [review]
  23. Brazil (1985)
  24. Airplane! (1980)
  25. Truly Madly Deeply (1991)
  26. Until the End of the World (1991)
  27. Back to the Future (1985)
  28. Edward Scissorhands (1990) [review]
  29. The Silence of the Lambs (1991) [review]
  30. Memento (2000) [review]
  31. The Hunt for Red October (1990) [review]
  32. Raising Arizona (1987)
  33. Blade Runner (1982)
  34. Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
  35. The Producers (1968)
  36. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
  37. Die Hard (1988)
  38. Say Anything (1989) [geek retrospective]
  39. O Brother Where Art Thou? (2000) [review]
  40. Terminator (1984)
  41. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
  42. Babe (1995)
  43. Casablanca (1942) [review]
  44. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) [review]
  45. Being John Malkovich (1999) [review]
  46. Robocop (1987)
  47. The Fugitive (1993)
  48. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
  49. Ocean’s Eleven (2001) [review]
  50. The Day After (1983) [review]
  51. Braveheart (1995) [review]
  52. Moulin Rouge! (2001) [review]
  53. Earth Girls Are Easy (1989)
  54. Monty Python’s Meaning of Life (1983)
  55. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
  56. Testament (1983) [review]
  57. Threads (1984) [review]
  58. Superman: The Movie (1978) [review]
  59. Dances with Wolves (1990) [review]
  60. A Fish Called Wanda (1988)
  61. Batman (1989)
  62. Groundhog Day (1993)
  63. The Lion King (1994)
  64. Spider-Man (2002)
  65. Roxanne (1987)
  66. Superman II (1980) [review]
  67. Toy Story 2 (1999) [review]
  68. Lethal Weapon (1987)
  69. Jaws (1975)
  70. Back to the Future II (1989)
  71. Forrest Gump (1994) [review]
  72. Spirited Away (2001) [review]
  73. Shallow Grave (1994)
  74. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
  75. Toy Story (1995)
  76. Adaptation (2002) [review] [geek retrospective]
  77. Pump Up the Volume (1990)
  78. Big (1988) [review]
  79. Miracle on 34th Street (1947) [review]
  80. Apollo 13 (1995) [review] [geek retrospective]
  81. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)
  82. Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979) [review]
  83. The Muppet Movie (1979)
  84. The Stand (TV miniseries) (1994)
  85. The Usual Suspects (1995)
  86. Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) [review]
  87. Rear Window (1954)
  88. Repo Man (1984) [review]
  89. Duck Soup (1933)
  90. Bob Roberts (1992) [review]
  91. Jurassic Park (1993) [review]
  92. The Player (1992)
  93. The Truman Show (1998) [review]
  94. The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash (1978) [review]
  95. Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)
  96. Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
  97. The Hudsucker Proxy (1994)
  98. JFK (1991)
  99. Witness (1985)
  100. Donnie Darko (2001) [review]

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