Top-10 Movies

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

To give you some feel for how I made this list, here are my three criteria for choosing the best movies movies.

  1. Movie must be perfect for its genre. It cannot contain one flaw in a single frame.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

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.

  • Planet of the Apes (1968)—Screenplay written by Rod Serling, and acted by Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowall, and Linda Harrison. Even people who don't like science fiction movies like this movie.

  • 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.

  • War Games (1983)—I don't know why. It's a great movie!

  • Back to the Future (1985)—Very tough to say; virtually all critics declare this movie to be perfect.

  • Fletch (1985)—Clearly the best Chevy Chase movie.

  • 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.

  • Finding Forrester (2000)—I don't know why.

  • Frequency (2000)—Excellent family movie, showing love between father and son.

  • 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)

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