Okay, so let’s get the obvious disclaimer over. No top 10 list is ever going to be definitive or objective. Everyone sees things in a different light, but of course that is what makes such lists interesting reading. Without further ado, here’s this particular writer’s top 10 movies of all time.
1: The Godfather
Of course this is hardly a controversial or surprising choice, but the first gangster movie ever just happens to be the best. Francis Ford Coppola’s defining masterpiece.
No top 10 list would be complete without a Hitchcock film. It just so happens that I have chosen Psycho as the most complete representation of his style. Nobody has been capable of matching his capacity for creating unease and tension since.
3: The Big Lebowski
The Coen Brothers have arguably been among the most important directors of the modern era and although some might choose the equally inspired Fargo, The Big Lebowski just edges it onto the list for me. Hilarious, poignant and brilliantly cast – “the Dude abides.”
4: Withnail and I
When was the last time you saw a comedic film that you would label a masterpiece? Thought not. Withnail and I is arguably the most quotable comedy movie of all time – taking a brilliant script and sprinkling it with a copious dose of magic thanks to once in a lifetime performances across the board. “A coward you are, Withnail, an expert on bulls you are not!”
5: The Shawshank Redemption
For what was a cinematic flop, The Shawshank Redemption deserves its place here for its resilience and for serving as the long-standing reminder that the critics aren’t always right. A masterpiece brim-full of human emotion, intriguing characters and a wonderful story.
6: The Dark Knight
Christopher Nolan is a stone cold genius. Let’s get our cards on the table from the get go. With The Dark Knight, he created indisputably the best comic book movie that has ever been made. Marvel and DC have been striving to create this sort of magic ever since, but nothing has come close.
7: Let the Right One In (Låt den rätte komma in)
Tomas Alfredson took a decent but by no means flawless horror novel and two teenagers who were not even actors and managed to create the best vampire movie ever made. Equal parts coming of age movie, drama, romance, horror and revenge movie, Let the Right One In is a magical film that captures the dark heart of Scandinavia and the intrigue of the vampire quite beautifully.
8: Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back
Of course, no self-respecting nerd would create a top ten movie list without a Star Wars movie! This one just about trumps episode IV for the evocative frostbitten wastelands of Hoth and the more complete storyline.
9: Amélie (Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain)
Amélie is arguably the most idiosyncratic post-millennial movie and at the hands of Jean-Pierre Jeunet and with leading lady Audrey Tatou in sparkling form a true masterpiece was made. Visually gorgeous and benefitting from some unforgettable characters, it is a heart-warming and charming film of the ages.
10: Oldboy (Oldeuboi)
Imagine waking up in a characterless cell with no windows, padded walls and no explanation. Now imagine that every day food and water appears on a tray through a flap in the door, there is no communication from the person bringing it and this continues for years and years. Such is the fate of our protagonist in Oldboy and we are dragged kicking and screaming into his search for the truth. Brilliant.