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.
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What Every Movie Needs – A Few Good Men

While I enjoy movies with the top stars: Tom Hanks, Johnny Depp, Matt Damon, Denzel Washington, Leonardo DiCaprio, George Clooney, and Brad Pitt, why does Hollywood always have to go back to the same pool everytime? And even if they do decide to have these men in the lead roles, why can’t they mix it up on the supporting actor roles?

What would have happened if Clint Eastwood who worked with Morgan Freeman on Unforgiven, had selected Keith David for Million Dollar Baby?  We’ll never know.

Why isn’t Don Cheadle, who gives his heart in roles like Hotel Rwanda, tapped for serious lead roles? He should be. Maybe it should go without saying that black male actors don’t get lead roles nearly as often as they could, or should. That said, I’ll watch Don Cheadle in Crash and Ocean’s Eleven anytime.

And where is Paul Giamatti these days?  He was amazing in the John Adams mini-series, Sideways and The Illusionist but then he also took a role in Fred Claus which is a waste of his talent in my opinion. Why couldn’t he be in a movie like Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey Jr.? I think they’d play off one other very well.

Daniel Day Lewis was unbelievable in There Will Be Blood but he has had long stretches in his career when we don’t see him.  I don’t know if that is his personal choice, and if we look at this filmography he picks winning roles for himself whether In The Name of the Father or My Left Foot but I for one would like to see more of him.

And although he has a very long career behind him, Gene Hackman adds depth to any film he is in from Enemy of the State, and The Royal Tennenbaums to his absolutely stunning performance in David Mamet’s Heist. I’m not as big a fan of all the second-rate bad guy roles he takes on, but when he is given a character with depth and great lines, he will deliver every time.

I could go on and on… Christian Slater has done some great work like Interview with a Vampire, and Untamed Heart but then got sucked into movies like Broken Arrow and unfortunately it looks like he’s been doing a lot of television roles and smaller parts since.

So, take a longer look at all the massive talent sitting on the shelf out there and support films that might be a little further off the beaten Hollywood path.

Who do YOU want to see more of in Hollywood (or Indie) films?  What fantasy movie match ups would you create?  Please comment!