Top 50 Movies, Directors, Actors List

Here is my Top 50 “movie industry” list. These 50+ items represent a broad cross-section of talented actors, screen writers and directors I love and/or admire tremendously.

I’m sure I could have kept going, and I know the second I post this I’ll remember 25 more that could have made this list…

This is NOT in priority order because that wouldn’t be possible….I tried to mix it up to keep it interesting. That said, if an individual movie is listed, it means I’ve seen it more than once – and in some cases – many more than that.

  1. The Piano
  2. Groundhog Day
  3. The Ten Commandments
  4. Good Will Hunting
  5. His Girl Friday
  6. The Shining
  7. The Harry Potter series
  8. Fried Green Tomatoes
  9. Blue Sky
  10. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape
  11. Some Like It Hot
  12. Tombstone
  13. Blade Runner
  14. Glory
  15. American Beauty
  16. Rounders
  17. Misery
  18. Rain Man
  19. Addicted to Love
  20. The Red Violin
  21. An American in Paris
  22. Raise the Red Lantern (Chinese)
  23. Only the Lonely
  24. Sling Blade
  25. The Crying Game
  26. The Wizard of Oz
  27. Platoon
  28. Sea of Love
  29. Out of Sight
  30. 12 Monkeys
  31. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  32. The Hunt for Red October
  33. Star Wars (the first 3 movies released)
  34. Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan (but I saw every single ST movie ever released and loved them)
  35. Steven Spielberg, including but not limited to: uh, a LOT. Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Schindler’s List, ET, Empire of the Sun, Jurrasic Park, Saving Private Ryan, Catch Me If You Can, Munich, etc.
  36. Charlie Kaufman, including but not limited to: Adaptation; Synecdoche, New York; Being John Malkovich, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  37. The Coen Brothers, including but not limited to: Fargo, No Country for Old Men, O Brother Where Art Thou, Miller’s Crossing, Barton Fink, The Big Lebowski, Raising Arizona, etc.
  38. Mel Brooks, including but not limited to: Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, The 2000 year old man (not a movie, so sue me), Spaceballs, The Producers, History of the World Pt I, etc.
  39. David Mamet, including but not limited to: Heist, The Spanish Prisoner, Ronin, The Edge, Glengarry Glen Ross, etc.
  40. Woody Allen, including but not limited to: Bananas, Hannah and Her Sisters, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Match Point, etc.
  41. Albert Brooks, including but not limited to: Defending Your Life, Lost in America, Mother, Broadcast News, Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World, etc.
  42. Martin Scorsese, including but not limited to: Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Goodfellas, The Age of Innocence, Casino, The Departed, Kundun, etc.
  43. Quentin Tarantino, including but not limited to: Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, and Inglorious Basterds
  44. Wes Anderson, including but not limited to: The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Fantastic Mr. Fox
  45. Jim Jarmusch, including but not limited to: Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai, Broken Flowers, Down By Law, Dead Man
  46. John Hughes, including but not limited to: Uncle Buck; Planes, Trains and Automobiles; Ferris Bueller’s Day Off; Home Alone; The Breakfast Club;
  47. Meryl Streep, including but not limited to: The French Lieutenant’s Woman, Sophie’s Choice, The Bridges of Madison County, Silkwood, Out of Africa, Defending Your Life, Death Becomes Her, Adaptation, The Devil Wears Prada, A Prarie Home Companion, Julie and Julia, Fantastic Mr. Fox, It’s Complicated, etc.
  48. Tom Hanks, including but not limited to: Big, The Money Pit, A League of Their Own, Sleepless in Seattle, Apollo 13, Forrest Gump, Catch Me If You Can, The Green Mile, Saving Private Ryan, Toy Story, etc.
  49. Robert Redford, including but not limited to: (Directing) The Milagro Beanfield War, A River Runs Through It, The Horse Whisperer, The Legend of Bagger Vance, etc. AND (Acting) Out of Africa, Indecent Proposal, The Horse Whisperer, The Sting
  50. Gene Hackman, including but not limited to: The French Connection, Hoosiers, Mississippi Burning, Unforgiven, The Firm, Get Shorty, The Birdcage, Enemy of the State, Heist, The Royal Tennenbaums
  51. Robert Duval, including but not limited to: Get Low, The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, Colors, A Family Thing, etc.
  52. Edward Norton, including but not limited to: Primal Fear, Rounders, American History X, Fight Club, The Illusionist, 25th Hour, Keeping the Faith (directed & acted), etc.
  53. Michael Keaton, including but not limited to: The Dream Team, Clean and Sober, Multiplicity, Jackie Brown, Batman Returns, etc.

9 Responses

  1. I can’t even keep up with all these (you’ve picked a LOT of good ones), but I LOVE Mel Brooks and Albert Brooks movies. I also enjoy just about every Tom Hanks film. I’ve watched The Green Mile and Forrest Gump each about 5 times.

    But my fave has to be Clint:

    “You feeling lucky today, punk?” And “Go ahead…make my daaaay.”

    What’s more fun: thinking about all the movies/actors/directors you like, or the ones that you can’t stand? 🙂

    • Oh shoot, see? I forgot Clint Eastwood, damn it.

      and Christopher Walken (The Dead Zone, Wedding Crashers and everything in between.)

      and Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler, Angel Heart, etc.)

      and Al Pacino (City Hall and The Devil’s Apprentice, uh, among others – I did mention Sea of Love though)

      and probably about a gazillion other things.

      You’re right though, I was thinking about things I don’t like, and the two that top my list are (possibly controversial:)
      – Titanic, and
      – Avatar
      (Hmmm, what do these two movies have in common…….)

      • And Heathers, with Christian Slater doing a hysterically funny Jack Nicholson impression

        And Matthew Broderick, for Election and Biloxi Blues (even tho I did mention Addicted to Love, and Ferris Bueller)

        I can see this list could easily be never ending – argh!

  2. […] this link: Top 50 Movies, Directors, Actors List « Cdeminski's Blog Share […]

  3. Tom Hanks is amazing!! I think he should be higher ahaha

  4. Saw your comment on ‘annoyingfimperson’ The only conclusion after reading his and your lists – and comments – is

    “So many movies, so little time.”

    Then there’s this: They’ve been making them since around 1900. They’ve been making them in Europe, too (England, France, Germany, Sweden).

    There are more than a few movies from 1900 – 1940 that are a lot better than a lot of moves from 1960 – 2010.

    • It’s true, human beings are all about “what have you done for me lately” and therefore tend to focus on the latest material… but I do at least want to point out that a few of my selections in my Top 50 are from before 1940, like The Wizard of Oz, The Ten Commandments, and His Girl Friday. All three of those are completely brilliant films, even though The Ten Commandments probably doesn’t hold up quite as well as the other two (especially the choice of Edward G. Robinson…).

      Since you brought it up, Lector, what are your top 10 favorite films between 1900-1940? Please share with the rest of the class!


      • “top 10 favorite films between 1900-1940? ”

        OK, now I have to sort through the list. It’s all a blur. One that popped up is “Ben Hur” (1959). It has one of the nicest scenes in all filmdom (as well as some of the most powerful). It comes up somewhere near the middle, when Ben Hur is in the Sheik’s tent, and they’re about to turn in for the night. The sheik (Hugh Griffiths) says, “Just a minute. I have to say goodnight to my children”, then he brings in the four white horses. The affection between the sheik and his horses is a joy to watch.

        I’ll be back later with a list. One that comes to mind is Sunrise (1927, F. W. Murnau, Germany), featuring a young upcoming actress named Janet Gaynor.

        Don’t be put off by the synopsis or the comments – it’s a fine film.

        That and Nosferatu (1922) are two of the earliest films I can remember. I just might not be able to go all the way back to 1900. (I think they were still trying to figure out what this “lens” thing was for. But for more about that, see Hugo (2011) (Which gives you a chance to see Sasha Baron Cohen acting like a more-or-less normal person.))

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