This is a list of my 30 all-time favourite films as of now. Tomorrow it may be different, but the top 5/10 usually stay in the same order and rarely change. There’s no real criteria, it’s just the films that I love and adore, and always bring up when talking about the best movies of all time. It’s a common expectation that a film buff will have a list full of obscure films that no one has heard of! Me, on the other hand, do not. I’m not trying to impress people by including unique films, if there are any, it will be because I love them, not because I’m trying to be cool. And for the same reason, I won’t ignore a film simply because it’s so popular, this is just my personal opinion of the films that I love and watch regularly. Here we go!
- Jackie Brown (1997) ~ Dir. Quentin Tarantino
- The Bourne Identity, Supremacy and Ultimatum (2002, 04 & 07) ~ Dir. Various directors
- A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) ~ Dir. Wes Craven
- 12 Angry Men (1957) ~ Dir. Sidney Lumet
- Seven Samurai (1954) ~ Dir. Akira Kurosawa
- Schindler’s List (1993) ~ Dir. Steven Spielberg
- Blade Runner 2049 (2017) ~ Dir. Denis Villeneuve
- Rocky (1976) ~ John G. Avildsen
30 – The Shining (1980) ~ Dir. Stanley Kubrick
One of Kubrick’s most iconic films and possibly the greatest horror film ever made. Jack Nicholson is easily my favourite actor of all time and he’s legendary in the role of Jack Torrance.
29 – Interstellar (2014) ~ Dir. Christopher Nolan
Christopher Nolan has the greatest discography in film history; there’s no doubt about that, and Interstellar is a masterpiece that everyone needs to watch at least once.
28 – Halloween (1978) ~ Dir. John Carpenter
Halloween is one of my favourite horror films ever made. It’s a flawless movie which created an iconic horror villain and launched seven sequels and two remakes.
27 – Unbreakable (2000) ~ Dir. M. Night Shyamalan
M. Night Shyamalan graced us with a unique spin on the superhero genre and ends it with a fantastic twist. And we can’t forget about Samuel L. Jackson’s hair!
26 – The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) ~ Dir. Tobe Hooper
Now this is my all-time favourite horror movie. Made with just $300,000 so no money for cheap special effects or ridiculous, over the top gore. Just pure horror, and it’s masterful.
25 – Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) ~ Dir. Rian Johnson
Nearly a year after it’s release, I still genuinely think this is the greatest film in the entire Star Wars saga. I said that when I was walking out of the midnight release IMAX screening and I’m still saying it today. And it’s by far the most divisive film in the series as well. Many people hate it, but I’m of the group that think Rian Johnson nailed this movie in every single way.
24 – La Dolce Vita (1960) ~ Dir. Frederico Fellini
Frederico Fellini is known to be one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, and in La Dolce Vita he shows that best. This film is marvellous in every way, and while it is 3-hours long, there is not a dull moment at all; It’s the greatest Italian film ever made. No question.
23 – Aliens (1986) ~ Dir. James Cameron
An absolute classic that never gets old. Many say this is better than the original and while I prefer the original, this one definitely comes close. Some times I actually prefer James Cameron’s sequel! The action Is fantastic and the characters are so likeable too. And of course, Ripley is badass!
22 – A Few Good Men (1992) ~ Dir. Rob Reiner
Rob Reiner’s court room drama is full of outstanding performances and a stellar cast. Jack Nicholson gives one of the most iconic lines in cinema history in some of the greatest acting I have ever seen as well.
21 – Blade Runner (1982) ~ Dir. Ridley Scott
This sci fi masterpiece still holds up and looks fantastic. Definitely a film that grows on you the more you watch it. This is a film that I got to see in the cinema when they re-released It for the sequel (2049) released last year. And I probably loved it even more than before after that!
20 – As Good as it Gets (1997) ~ Dir. James L. Brooks
This is my favourite Jack Nicholson film; it’s such an enjoyable and entertaining experience, and Jack won his third Oscar for his charming yet despicable performance as Melvin Udall.
19 – Alien (1979) ~ Dir. Ridley Scott
Ridley Scott’s greatest work is Alien, released in 1979. This is yet another film I managed to see at the cinema — which was a great experience — when Covenant was being released. Stunning visuals and a hypnotic pace makes this phenomenal masterpiece excellent in every way.
18 – It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) ~ Dir. Frank Capra
Frank Capra’s beloved Christmas film is such a joy; I make it a tradition to watch every Christmas eve, simply because it’s such a heart warming movie. The ending always gets me, and I’m sure many other people as well!
17- 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) ~ Dir. Stanley Kubrick
Stanley Kubrick’s absolute masterpiece is one of the most argued over movies ever made. No one can explain the ending, but it’s magnificent. I had the rare opportunity to see this motion picture in the cinema earlier this year to mark the 50th anniversary and it keeps blowing me away every time I see it. The special effects are breath taking and the cinematography is beautiful.
16 – Reservoir Dogs (1992) ~ Dir. Quentin Tarantino
Tarantino’s bloody debut master work has a stellar cast with great characters. Easily one of his greatest movies for his innovation and simplicity, and the soundtrack is one of the greatest I’ve ever heard!
15 – Pulp Fiction (1994) ~ Dir. Quentin Tarantino
Everyone knows this film. Whether it’s for Samuel L. Jackson’s signature performance as Jules Whinfield, or for his iconic Ezekiel 25:17 monologue, or for it’s non-linear structure, or for it’s exceptional cast, or for it’s fantastic soundtrack, or simply for the fact it’s one of the greatest movies ever made. Everyone knows Pulp Fiction.
14 – Inglourious Basterds (2009) ~ Dir. Quentin Tarantino
This is my personal favourite Tarantino film. It’s just so amazing; there’s no other way of putting it. It’s just absolutely fantastic and perfect in every frame and every line of dialogue, and Christoph Waltz gives his best performance as the menacing Col. Hans Landa. It’s just perfection, and it never gets old.
13 – Vertigo (1958) ~ Dir. Alfred Hitchcock
This is Hitchcock’s masterpiece. Now he’s made many, many masterpieces but Vertigo deserves the title of “Hitchcock’s masterpiece”. However it’s still not my favourite Hitchcock film…
12 – Heat (1995) ~ Dir. Michael Mann
The restaurant scene above in Heat is one of my favourite scenes in a film. De Niro and Pacino talking to each other for the first time on film. Two acting legends in one shot and it’s legendary. This bank heist film is excellent and, while long, it’s full of intrigue and suspense so it’s never boring!
11 – The Godfather (1972) ~ Dir. Francis Ford Coppola
The Godfather is widely considered to be the greatest film ever made, and it’s easy to see why. Masterful storytelling. A cast filled with icons (Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, John Cazale etc.). And a staggering performance from Brando as Vito Corleone aka The Godfather. Add in the iconic soundtrack and you truly do have the recipe for the greatest film ever made.
10 – The Dark Knight Trilogy (2005, 08, 12) ~ Dir. Christopher Nolan
I’m kind of cheating with this one, but the whole trilogy fits together like a jigsaw. Heath Ledger as the Joker is my favourite acting performance and possibly the best. He sadly passed away before the release of the film and I still wish he had been alive long enough to see his success, and how incredible everyone thought he was as the iconic Batman villain. He’s still the best Joker (yes, better than Jack Nicholson!) and I doubt anyone will beat him. This series is probably my favourite trilogy, and for the record, it’s better than every Marvel movie put together…
9 – Citizen Kane (1941) ~ Dir. Orson Welles
Now this is usually tied with The Godfather as the greatest film ever made — or very often it’s considered better than The Godfather. And it took me a long time to finally watch “the greatest film ever made”, simply because I didn’t feel like I was ‘ready’. It felt like such a big thing to watch the iconic Citizen Kane, and before, I often scoffed when people kept naming it the best motion picture in history; I always thought people only said that because EVERYONE ELSE said it was! But how wrong was I?! It really is that good. Every shot is breath taking, and Welles completely changed cinema with this film — which he made when he was 25 by the way! Everyone needs to watch Citizen Kane at least once in their life, just to see where all modern movies came from.
8 – The Godfather: Part II ~ Dir. Francis Ford Coppola
It’s not often a sequel surpasses the original, but The Godfather: Part II is the perfect example of where this happened. It really is better than The Godfather, and it’s definitely the greatest sequel ever made, and if you disagree… you’re wrong! The film works as a sequel and a prequel. It shows Michael’s (Al Pacino) rise in power as the new Godfather, and also shows Vito’s early life as he began his life of crime. The young Vito is played by Robert De Niro, and the Vito (The Godfather) in the original film, is played by Brando. It’s superb, and it works perfectly.
7 – The Big Lebowski (1998) ~ Dir. Joel & Ethan Coen
This was always my second favourite film of all time, but when I was making this list, it kept moving further away, simply because I kept thinking about the films I preferred, and it turned out to be quite a few I liked more. But in terms of enjoyment, The Big Lebowski is definitely number 2. It’s just so much fun and makes me laugh every time I watch it. The Dude (Jeff Bridges) is such a great character and all the dialogue is so memorable. Definitely a classic!
6 – Apocalypse Now (1979) ~ Dir. Francis Ford Coppola
There was also a time when this was the only film that came close to beating my all-time favourite, but again I found Apocalypse Now moving further down because of the other films I seem to like more. This is my favourite Coppola film, and Marlon Brando’s performance is chilling, and it’s always the thing I look forward to the most (even though it’s only in the last 15 minutes of the film!)
5 – Rear Window (1954) ~ Dir. Alfred Hitchcock
Rear Window is my favourite Hitchcock film. And yes, I had to include Grace Kelly in the picture above for obvious reasons… James Stewart was an incredible actor, and in Rear Window, he was at his best. Hitchcock is called the master of suspense for a reason — the use of tension is absolutely brilliant, and the characters are so likeable. I never get tired of watching Rear Window.
4 – Taxi Driver (1976) ~ Dir. Martin Scorsese
Martin Scorsese’s character portrait of Travis Bickle is as relevant now as it was then. Scorsese and De Niro’s partnership was kickstarted from this masterpiece, and all of his best films star De Niro, go figure… Jodie Foster also became a star due to Taxi Driver and it’s still possibly her most memorable role. The climax is exciting and the study of Travis’ character is exceptional.
3 – Casablanca (1942) ~ Dir. Michael Curtiz
Casablanca is the definition of a classic movie. Everyone knows it, most people love it, and film students study it. And it’s popularity has transcended time, because it’s still incredible 76 years later. Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman are iconic movie stars, and this is always the movie that supports that statement. And beyond all that, it’s still such a joy to see, and I always notice something new every time I watch it.
2 – Raging Bull (1980) ~ Dir. Martin Scorsese
After much thought, Raging Bull, directed by Martin Scorsese, is my second favourite film of all time. An excellent character study of the real-life boxer Jake LaMotta, played wonderfully by Robert De Niro in what is probably his greatest performance, as the jealous, paranoid and vicious fighter. This is not a fun film, it’s not even really a boxing film — that’s just the backdrop. What this film really is, is a detailed depiction of jealousy and sexual tension between two characters. Joe Pesci also features in this film as the fighter’s brother, and the jealousy aspect stems from the progressing friendship between Pesci’s character and Jake’s wife. It really is a brilliant film, and it’s Scorsese at his most ambitious.
1 – The Shawshank Redemption (1994) ~ Dir. Frank Darabont
If you know me, you know The Shawshank Redemption is my favourite movie of all time. It’s never changed, and it never will. There’s just something so special about this film, maybe it’s the deep characters, or the feel-good ending, or the story of redemption, I don’t know. But what I do know, is that it has such a profound impact on me every time I watch it. I’ve never got tired of watching it, and I don’t think I ever will. So many iconic scenes are embedded in this monumental film — my favourite being the record player sequence in the warden’s office with Red’s (Morgan Freeman) heartfelt monologue in the background; it’s just so beautiful, and there’s no other film I would describe with the word ‘beautiful’, other than The Shawshank Redemption, because that’s exactly what it is: beautiful. No love interest. No big explosions. No action sequences. No superheroes. Yet it’s still the greatest tale ever told on film.
“Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies” ~ Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins)