Updated: Feb 26
My twenty-one-year-old son asked me to pick my ten favorite movies of all time. He didn’t tell me the reason to do this, so I can't tell you why. But, being supportive and cooperative, I have come up with my Top-10 list and have provided it below.
I'm certain there are thousands of movies superior to these. But, I haven't seem them. When I do, I promise I'll revise my list. If you have a suggestion to help me in my noble quest, please email me at email@example.com.
To give you some feel for how I made this list, here are my three criteria for choosing the best movies movies.
Movie must be perfect for its genre. It cannot contain one flaw in a single frame.
It must be a movie I have seen repeatedly over the years, and one I expect to never lose interest in no matter how many more times I see it. Like a true movie star, the movie must grab my attention by force and demand that I watch it and keep watching it.
It must be devoid of lecture. When I see a movie, I want be entertained, not receive a scolding.
My Top-10 movies, in order of release date
Dial M for Murder (1954)
Rear Window (1954)
Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
True Grit (1969)
The Sting (1973)
Paper Moon (1973)
Star Wars: A New Hope (1977)
Notice that the most recent movie is thirty-six years old. What happened to Hollywood in the past 3.5 decades?
Runners-up, in order of release date
Unlike my ten most favorite movies that require no introduction or explanation, here is my list of runners-up. All of them are exceptionally fine films. Out of fairness (I'm a reasonable and thoughtful person), I feel I must offer some explanation for not including them in my Top-10:
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)—The parents leave their son in the hands of relative strangers in Morocco. This is difficult for me to believe.
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)—Stories centering on race issues are difficult to watch.
Father Goose (1964)—Cary Grant is too old for Leslie Caron. There’s a scene that shows age spots on the back of his hand.
Flight of the Phoenix (1965) —Jimmy Stewart in a tantrum shoots to death an injured camel (which uses up bullets) instead of bringing the camel to his fellow stranded friends to use as food and other precious resources.
Midnight Cowboy (1969) —I don’t know why. It's an exceedingly well-done movie.
Young Frankenstein (1974)—I don’t know.
Jaws (1975)—I think it's because Robert Shaw does such a good job compared to the other actors (and they all do superbly!), he makes the others look less than perfect.
The Gods Must be Crazy (1980)—Poor sound; dubbed voices don't match lips.
Back to the Future (1985)—Very tough to say; virtually all critics declare this movie to be perfect.
The Princess Bride (1987)—I don’t know. This is an extremely well-done and beloved movie.
Batman (1989)—The only truly superior Batman movie. I don’t know why it’s not in the top ten.
Sense and Sensibility (1995)—Can someone tell me the reason?
The Matrix (1999)—I hated the ending (last two seconds). It destroyed the movie for me.
Galaxy Quest (1999)—It's impossible not to like this movie. Nicholas Meyer (director of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan) said that Galaxy Quest is the best Star Trek movie ever made. David Mamet (playwright, film director, screenwriter) wrote that there are only four perfect movies: The Godfather, A Place in the Sun, Dodsworth, and Galaxy Quest.
Princess Mononoke (1999)—Heavy sermonizing on environmentalism. But it’s done so well I still enjoy the movie immensely and want to keep seeing it.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)—Very tough decision.
The Village (2004)—Wish the movie went on for another five minutes, or even better, another two hours.
The Incredibles (2004)—I don’t know. Perhaps because they’re digital characters that don’t require human acting?
Battleship (2012)—The flawless, effective, jaw-dropping special effects during the water battles are diluted by hideous special effects during the hand-to-hand combat scene in the end.
Knives Out (2019)—Sermonizing on the unfairness of enforcement of illegal immigration and that rich, successful people are lying, scheming creeps.
His Top-10 movie list
For your information, here is my son's Top-10 movie list. You can see he has good taste.
Rear Window (1954)
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1954)
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
Places in the Heart (1985)
My Neighbor Totoro (1993)
Jurassic Park (1993)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2011)
Moonrise Kingdom (2012)