The Top Ten Movies of All Time - So Far

James Preston Reply 1:27 PM
I love movies. Since I was a 10 year old I used to record movies off South Africa's leading movie broadcaster; M-Net. I had a collection of almost 100 VHS cassettes with my own cutout covers. The thing is, I'm the kind of guy who needs a movie to impact me. If it doesn't draw me in, and leave a mark on my thinking at its end, I feel robbed.

I don't have time for films or shows that don't mean much. They have to provide something a little deeper than the surface. Make me think. Inspire me to be a better me, go out and change the world, you get the idea. At least have a level of creativity that inspires.

I wanted to create this list for those of you who may have a similar taste in film as I do.
So I have started a Google Spreadsheet in Google Drive (oh how I love Google) which lists the following:
- the basic details of the film
- my review in a percentage (I will add a decimal point to some)
- my opinion on the language in the film (I'm not a huge fan of strong language - but will endure it if it's a quality piece of art - think "The Ides of March")
- any notes worth considering

If you want to find a film based on Alphabetical Order, and can't sort it in Google Drive (I don't want you editing my list!) then visit my IMDB Movie List, and sort it there. It won't give you the same details, but will give you a basic idea of whether I enjoyed the movie or not.

Here is my IMDB Movie Page

And here is my freely shared GOOGLE MOVIE REVIEW SPREADSHEET currently with over 45 movies reviewed and rated.
This Google Spreadsheet will be updated as regularly as possible. As will my IMDB movie list.

You will notice a lot of my reviewed (and subsequently favourite) films are recent films. This is because I didn't appreciate film in my early years as much as I have since reaching adulthood (in the 2000's). So until I go back and watch some classics, my Top Ten list may be a little biased toward more recent films.

If you want to know how I get to some of these percentages, here's an explanation for you...

The perfect movie for me contains the following ingredients, in order of priority:

1. Meaningful Message 
At the end of a movie, I need to feel like the Writers were communicating a message to me. And the deeper the mark their message leaves on me, the more I appreciate the film. But if the other ingredients aren't up to scratch, it will hamper how much I enjoy the movie.

2. Engagement
I need a movie to keep me engaged. Either through a thrilling, flowing script, or through genius story-telling. Draw me in, and keep me wanting more.
This is why I love Disney films so much. Their attention to detail in their story-telling is second to none. While many of their movies have a meaningful message worth noting, some I just appreciate for the sole reason of their breathtaking animation and their masterful "easter eggs" hidden in the background that make you realise just how much thought the moviemakers put into their work.

3. Creative Script
There is nothing worse than cheese in a script. It's one of the things that I hate most about bad movies; cookie-cut boring scripts. A script should be creative, thought out, produce real-life conversation and allow for quality acting.

4. Production and Cinematography
I combine these two because they both play a similar role in my perception of a film. The quality of art has to be high for me to appreciate it. These days, with film production equipment and software cheaper than ever before; there is just no excuse for poor production. Unless film-makers want Special Effects in their movie. In which case, either do it well (and pay for it) or don't do it at all and work around it (get clever)!
A good movie-maker fills the screen with meaningful shots and breathtaking visuals, cutting at the right time, complimenting it with the right sound, and mixing it together into one beautiful masterpiece. The visual & audio portrayal of the film is one of the stars of the cast, and when poorly done, brings the whole film package down with it.

5. Acting
Acting is 5th on the list because it truly is the last major ingredient. If the other 4 ingredients are quality, you don't need the best actors in the world. The movie will act itself. But, that isn't to say it isn't a major ingredient. Quality acting can make a good film great, giving it legendary status. But bad acting can make a great film good, tarnishing its image and leaving it in the doldrums of mediocrity. Daniel Day-Lewis for instance is one who can take a good film, and make it great.


These ingredients combined together can create masterpieces, leaving me stunned before the screen as the credits roll over, not wanting to leave my seat, and soak what I have just experienced.

Here are my Top-Ten favourite films since I started rating them (about 7 years ago):

Sure, I only watched this movie a few weeks ago. But since then I have watched it a further 2 times. No movie has ever left such an impact on me as this. It was masterfully written and absolutely brilliantly woven together to produce a piece of art that will leave you shocked and enlightened to want change. I can't fault it anywhere.

Much like the above "Four Horsemen", this movie left me legless, unable to move at what I had just experienced. Left to ponder pure genius in the Theatre as the credits rolled. I watched it again on the big screen within 3 days. And have since seen it twice more. It loses 2% solely because I thought Danny Boyle could've added just a touch extra here and there. But as far as films go, this is about as perfect cinema you will ever get.

Ok sure, so I'm a Christian. But Faith aside, you cannot deny the brilliance of this movie-making? The cinematography, screenplay, editing, sound, acting! Aah! It has masterpiece written all over it. Truth be told; I'm not much of a Christian movie fan. Really. I'm actually embarrassed by movies made by my fellow brethren, but this? This was brilliance. On every level.

Another one that left me stunned in the Cinema. And what a cinema it was! I was privileged enough to watch this at IMAX Durban. Something I did twice more! Until Slumdog and Four Horsemen came along, this was my favourite movie. It rocked me. Christopher Nolan's craftsmanship of portraying a world that loves to tear down its heroes was pure genius. And Heath Ledger's "Joker"? I don't think there is an acting performance that can compare.

I was lucky enough that my landlord lent this movie to me. But unlucky enough it was only on DVD (and not the Cinema or Blu-Ray). I had noticed the film in the Theatres with Christopher Nolan directing and Christian Bale starring, but never thought it would be as remarkable as it was. It's twisting and turning plot produced one of the most thought-provoking films I've ever watched.

The Wachowski Brothers (now brother and sister) produced magic with "The Matrix", then fell off the bus trying too hard with its sequels. Then they came back with a vengeance. Literally. This movie draws on all the talents of the Wachowskis, specifically their deeply philosophical view on society. V for Vendetta trumps The Matrix for so many reasons, not least because it takes you on a journey of what society is capable of and why we can't let it happen.

I was pulled in right in from day one of seeing the trailer! I couldn't wait for its release! And sure enough, this film was one of the few that delivered on the expectation of its trailer. And beyond. George Clooney isn't just a looker and a gifted actor, he is a thinker and a talented writer. Movie Drama at its best. One of my all time favourites!

8. INSIDE JOB (96%)
I heard about this film after watching its trailer on a flight to Singapore. I knew it would be a cracker. Again, another trailer-beater. (So rare in Hollywood these days). This film is one of the most important films to hit Big Screens, and is the reason I found "The Four Horsemen". Geniusly interwoven to produce magic. Magic that leaves you breathless at what is happening on Wall Street. Deserved every ounce of its Golden Oscar Statue and more!

9. TOY STORY (96%)
One of my son's favourite movies. And was mine when it first came out in 1995. Watching it again with my son has made me appreciate it even more. This movie was miles ahead of its time, and proved John Lasseter's genius in more ways than one. The man doesn't make enough movies, bottomline.

10. CARS (95%)
I would argue this movie has one of the greatest intro sequences of all time. Pure art. And from those first frenetic 15 minutes the movie never slows down. Groundbreaking animation mixed with masterful scriptwriting combined with a brilliant soundtrack makes it my 2nd favourite Disney film, and my 10th of all time. It's just such a pity its sequel fell so short.

If you want to see the rest of my list, check it here:


What are some of your favourites?

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