All Things Said & Done (50 All-Time Greatest Films)

50 Days 50 Films…One a Day for 50 Straight Days: My All-Time 50 Favorite Films

(Just a single rule: mix-tape-style, no more than one film per director. You know, because otherwise the whole thing would be pointless.)

(#1) Badlands

Crime     •     dir. Terrence Malick     •     1973     •     USA

For how long, I wonder, have you been along for the ride? This is my 50th consecutive day writing about my 50 favorite films. Will you indulge me just the littlest bit, this one final time? See, in the course of writing about your 50 favorite films, it turns out you pause every now and then to ask a nagging little question: why bother? Now, at last, I’ve two answers. One… you know what, it was fun! (Maybe I’ll do it again sometime.) And two, the real reason for this preamble: no matter what particular movies I like – honestly, who gives a shit? – cinema makes me go all giddy like a love-sick teenager. I’m a fan! And just maybe, I reckon, you are too. Just maybe all sorts of favorite films also hold a cherished place in your memory, for all sorts of different reasons. That trip to the video store with dad. That first film you remember really caring about. And all those hours at the cinema: the time you went to hide from the world; the first date; the wave of laughter; the pin-drop silence; the lights coming back on again too soon, your face wet with tears. That’s why. In a small, inconsequential way, I came to celebrate something wonderful.

Oh, and it really is the greatest thrill to have a favorite film. If you haven’t already, pick one – and then stick to your guns! Mine, for sure, is Badlands. Why? Let me count the ways. It’s beautiful. It’s romantic. It’s thrilling. It’s funny. It’s got a mighty fast car chase… and stars the future president of The West Wing, alongside a never-better Sissy Spacek. It inspired one of Bruce Springsteen’s best albums (Nebraska). And it was the first (and still the best) film Terrence Malick ever made – just blows my mind that he swung so hard at his first pitch in the major leagues and hit it out the park. And, in one immortal scene, the whole damn movie stops for its two lovers on the run to slow-dance: to Nat King Cole, in the Great Plains miles from anywhere, at nighttime, in the solitary beam of their car headlights. Stop me already – maybe, after all, I’m too much a fan to write anything halfway articulate.


If you haven’t already, check ’em out – my 49 other favorite films:

(#2) Journey to Italy (Rosellini)
(#3) North by Northwest (Hitchcock)
(#4) It’s a Wonderful Life (Capra)
(#5) Annie Hall (Allen)
(#6) The Rules of the Game (Renoir)
(#7) Lawrence of Arabia (Lean)
(#8) Shoot the Piano Player (Truffaut)
(#9) Once Upon a Time in the West (Leone)
(#10) Sherlock Jr. (Keaton)
(#11) Goodfellas (Scorsese)
(#12) Withnail & I (Robinson)
(#13) Raiders of the Lost Ark (Spielberg)
(#14) The Conformist (Bertolucci)
(#15) The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters (Gordon)
(#16) Pulp Fiction (Tarantino)
(#17) Shaun of the Dead (Wright)
(#18) Persona (Bergman)
(#19) Trainspotting (Boyle)
(#20) The Godfather (Coppola)
(#21) Dr. Strangelove… (Kubrick)
(#22) Breathless (Godard)
(#23) Life of Brian (Jones)
(#24) There Will Be Blood (Anderson)
(#25) Dog Day Afternoon (Lumet)
(#26) The Apartment (Wilder)
(#27) Don’t Look Now (Roeg)
(#28) Amélie (Jeunet)
(#29) The Color of Paradise (Majidi)
(#30) Borat… (Charles)
(#31) Man With a Movie Camera (Vertov)
(#32) Together (Moodysson)
(#33) Fargo (Coen brothers)
(#34) Gravity (Cuarón)
(#35) Close-Up (Kiarostami)
(#36) Touch of Evil (Welles)
(#37) Belle de jour (Buñuel)
(#38) Johnny Guitar (Ray)
(#39) The Palm Beach Story (Sturges)
(#40) L’Atalante (Vigo)
(#41) The Trip (Winterbottom)
(#42) Dumbo (Armstrong et al)
(#43) Das Boot (Petersen)
(#44) Time Indefinite (McElwee)
(#45) Home Alone (Columbus)
(#46) (500) Days of Summer (Webb)
(#47) Casino Royale (Campbell)
(#48) Volver (Almodóvar)
(#49) Four Lions (Morris)
(#50) Top Hat (Sandrich)

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About newjonnytransit

Same as ever, only better.
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2 Responses to All Things Said & Done (50 All-Time Greatest Films)

  1. Mary says:

    A fantastic achievement Jon! You have given me, and no doubt others, a real insight into films that I wouldn’t have thought of viewing, and to have the fifty listed is extremely helpful. Well done.

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