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May 6, 2012

The Greatest Films of All Time [Bumped]


Aguirre, Wrath of God (Herzog) Apocalypse Now (Coppola) Citizen Kane (Welles) Dekalog (Kieslowski) La Dolce Vita (Fellini) The General (Keaton) Raging Bull (Scorsese) 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick) Tokyo Story (Ozu) Vertigo (Hitchcock) --- Roger Ebert's Journal

Posted by gerardvanderleun at May 6, 2012 6:38 PM. This is an entry on the sideblog of American Digest: Check it out.

Your Say

I have actually heard of some of those.

Posted by: Fat Man at May 3, 2012 1:43 PM

My say? Ebert is an old queen. Any list without The Big Lebowski was clearly written by a fellow with a cleft asshole.

Posted by: Casca at May 3, 2012 2:16 PM

This selection taken in total has to make some top ten worst list.

Posted by: james wilson at May 3, 2012 2:51 PM

Ebert's full of crap but he's not completely wrong in all those choices. Yes it has the typical crap art boutique picks like La Dolce Vita (boring) and 2001 (really awful but well designed) but yeah Citizen Kane really is a fantastic movie.

Posted by: Christopher Taylor at May 3, 2012 2:52 PM

Humbly submitted: "The Lion in Winter"

Posted by: GaGator at May 3, 2012 3:23 PM

Given my idiosyncratic definition of a great movie as one that you'd watch the whole thing every time it was on, and it never grows old, and everybody else feels the same way ...

I've lived long enough that I've should have seen all of these multiple times. I've only watched two of Ebert's, and only one multiple times, and that wasn't because it was a great movie.

Ebert: Great = movie critic's picks. Sorry, doesn't work that way.

Posted by: John A. Fleming at May 3, 2012 3:33 PM

I'm disappointed Dr.Zhivago wasn't on the list.
It was first and only movie I saw twice at a walk-in.

The music was wonderful, or was it Julie Christie.

Posted by: Rocky at May 3, 2012 6:11 PM

Every David Lean movie is a masterpiece. Speaking of masterpieces, so is Julie Christie.

Posted by: Casca at May 3, 2012 7:48 PM

If you want a great movie with Joseph Cotten and Orsen Wells forget Citzen Kane and replace it with The Third Man which also starred Trevor Howard and Alida Valli.

Posted by: John Cheeseman at May 4, 2012 8:44 AM

"Aguirre" was unwatchable. Too bad, because it was an interesting story.

Gerard, did you mean this post as sarcasm?

Posted by: Don Rodrigo at May 4, 2012 8:57 AM

The Third Man was great except for the damned music. It ruined the movie for me, I wanted to beat the zither player to death by the end. The theme ruined several very tense, critical scenes.

Posted by: Christopher Taylor at May 4, 2012 11:48 AM

I love to watch, over and over, "All About Eve" (a perfect film), "Groundhog Day", "Shane", "The Day the Earth Stood Still" (the Michael Rennie one), "Warlock" (the Richard Widmark, Henry Fonda one), the extended battle scenes from the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and the last third of "My Cousin Vinnie".

Posted by: Minta Marie Morze at May 4, 2012 1:43 PM

By the way, M is an incredibly good movie, I recommend it as strongly as I can.

Posted by: Christopher Taylor at May 4, 2012 7:11 PM

How can you say that about Aguirre? He was a good player for a long time, won two titles with the Pistons, and averaged 20 ppg over a 13 year career.

Posted by: Fat Man at May 4, 2012 7:23 PM

Agree with The Third Man. Another Welles great is A Touch of Evil. The way some of the scenes were shot in that movie make me shake my head in disbelieving admiration. Best film of all time is The Maltese Falcon. The dialogue...damn. and who doesn't love Alisha Cooke, Jr as the punk fall guy?!

Well, that's my 2 cents.

Posted by: Kerry at May 4, 2012 7:52 PM

I'm with the Third Man as well. Saw it again a couple of nights ago. Virtually every single shot is a masterpiece. Incredible cinematography. Fascinating story that deepens and mellows with age. Complex psychology. The zither? The zither is one of the characters. Superb.

Posted by: ahem at May 4, 2012 8:26 PM

Casablanca is the best movie of all time but I do really love Maltese Falcon. The book is even better, although he lifted most of the dialog straight out.

Posted by: Christopher Taylor at May 4, 2012 8:49 PM

The genius in The Third Man was Carol Reed's.

Posted by: Casca at May 4, 2012 9:19 PM

I understand that "best ever" lists are entirely subjective, but Ebert's picks sounds like those of a film studies student at Belt Parkway Community College, or maybe some bow-tied, old-money Democrat at a fundraiser. The - almost obligatory - presence of "Citizen Kane", along with something by Fellini, is a dead giveaway that a given list is just a name-dropping, exhibitionist attempt to display filmic cred.

Godard's Pierrot le fou, or just about anything Antonioni did before Blow Up, are better by orders of magnitude than anything Fellini ever did. But hey, what do you expect from a critic who called Forrest Gump a "magical movie" and "a meditation for our times"?

Posted by: EBD at May 5, 2012 10:44 AM

+1 on M

Check out Fritz Lang and his soon to be National Socialist ex-wife (Thea von Harbou - who also co-wrote M & Metropolis) in their artistic tug of war over the fascist zeitgeist (uggg...But it fits) of the day, check out "Frau im Mond".

YouTube has a full copy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUN00FiwP7s

Posted by: monkeyfan at May 5, 2012 10:46 AM

Gone with the Wind
Wizard of Oz

Posted by: Rick at May 5, 2012 11:50 AM


Now we're getting somewhere.

Posted by: vanderleun at May 5, 2012 1:23 PM

Aguirre, Wrath of God was an amazing movie and one I have looked for to see again. Kind of like Apocalypse Now, a story about what happens to "civilized" men when they find themselves in a world beyond their ken. A descent into madness.

Posted by: stephen b at May 5, 2012 3:29 PM

I never got any real sense of fascism in "Frau im Mond" - and it was a Weimar film, not a Nazi one. I see it as primarily a romance in a sci-fi frame. The first half has the plotline of the plutocrats trying to muscle in in the Moon adventure in order to make money, but I don't see any government presence at all. And that plotline pretty much dies away once the rocket takes off and everyone's on their way to the Moon. Sure, Mr. Turner's there like Dr. Smith to louse things up for everyone, but does anyone even think about the consortium behind him once their scene ends?

As far as Fritz Lang films go, I prefer "Spione", made just before "Frau im Mond" - really taut, well-plotted thriller with a few great little twists before the end. "The Testament of Dr. Mabuse" is supposed to be the real anti-Nazi one, but I still don't see it as a very strong theme. I just don't think Fritz Lang was as politically astute as he thought he was; he did want to convey the right political ideas, but I think his big interest was human nature, not politics. How to individuals behave when they're pushed to their limits? Most fail in some way, and the best they can hope for is to salvage some tiny bit of good before the end. I don't think political parties fit in much with Lang's idea of what was important.

Posted by: Dr. Mabuse at May 6, 2012 6:11 AM

Dr. Mabuse: I loved Spione too...And M...And the Mabuses...

In Frau im Mond (Fim) I was referring to the cabal of international capitalists whose plotting figured so heavily in the movie.

FiM is woven around a story of 'old' scientific dogmas and international cabals of greedy capitalists pitted against visionary men of progress and action. Having said that, I immensely enjoyed the movie. It's themes are seductive even today. It was a brilliantly executed and entertaining piece of film...Like Avatar wishes it was. Enjoying the movies (even alot) doesn't transform one into a proto-fascist, but it does help to acknowledge some of the [popular] sentiment of the day which made the films so successful.

Anyway, the sociopolitical landscape between the end of the Wiemar era and the dawning of state control over means of production after the Wiemar hyperinflation is reflected through the lenses in several of Lang and v. Harbou's films.

The emerging conflict of visions between Thea and Fritz in their collaborative efforts seems apparent to me, and is said to have figured heavily among the reasons for their divorce.

Fritz Lang ultimately rejected -and was rejected by- the collective and left Germany while Harbou embraced it and became a darling of the National Socialist movement. There is a reason for that.

Mind you, both the National and International Socialists vied to capture the hearts and minds of the same volk who were demoralized by what they believed were the failures of democracy and capitalism. The popular media of the day played a pivotal role in fostering and disseminating that belief...Much as it does today...And there is so very much more of it poking its producer's noses into every aspect of our lives.

Old stuff, in a familiar new context.

Posted by: monkeyfan at May 6, 2012 12:44 PM

Christopher, you and I should watch some movies together. I love watching 'The Day the Earth Stood Still', and 'All About Eve' over, and over. I have a friend, and colleague who works with me at Dish, who comes over once a week for a movie night, and we have a blast with the classics. I specifcally subscribe to Blockbuster @Home, so that I can stream older, and more reflective films to my TV for us to enjoy. Kubrick was a genius, and one of my favorite directors. This weekend we will be relaxing in front of the TV, and watching ‘2001 A Space Odyssey’.

Posted by: Alexia at May 6, 2012 7:08 PM

The Godfather
Wizard of Oz
Gone With the Wind
Animal House (included because it is the greatest comedy of all time - inching out Caddy Shack).

There, fixed it for Roger.

Posted by: southernjames at May 7, 2012 7:03 AM

Hope y'all don't mind, but I'd like to throw one of my all time favorites into the mix: "Münchhausen" (1943)

Goebbels' Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda controlled UFA Studios' put this out in response to the new "Technicolor" fantasy/adventure films like "The Wizard of Oz" being released by the allies.

Thankfully UFA kept the politics of the day largely out of it but it's still a great movie and a neat contrast with the modern (1988) take by Terry Gilliam in his "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen".

"Münchhausen" (1943): http://youtu.be/LvRxYZK5DSA

Posted by: monkeyfan at May 7, 2012 8:41 AM

Now that's a fascinating film I never would have heard of. Thanks.

Posted by: vanderleun at May 7, 2012 8:49 AM

You're very welcome Mr. V.

I love finding new film gems.

Saw this one as a kid and looked for it for years. It's one of the few films I'd seen as a kid that lives up to the memory.

Posted by: monkeyfan at May 7, 2012 9:20 AM

Simon Cowell has a great book, maybe two, on Orson Welles.

Welles was traveling alone to Europe and directing plays by age twelve.

In New York, on the radio and stage, he kicked some ass, including an all black 1936 production (Macbeth?). He wrote "Everybody's Shakespear" which taught old Bill as a playwright first and foremost, meaning his works should be heard and felt not read only.

The reason Citizen Kane is so tremendous is Welles, at 24, got the best talent to work for him, a kid. He pissed off people and pushed people like few others can or will. This isn't his greatest quality.

The result was greatness amid scorn and criticism that would have crushed most men, a production driven by ego and fueled by passion in the most interesting times.

"I am, have been, and always will be only one thing: An American." - Citizen Kane

PS White Stripes singer did an inspired cover of the "you buy a bag of peanuts in this town and they write a song after you" song, which I have always really enjoyed.

Posted by: notquiteunBuckley at May 10, 2012 6:08 AM

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