Which is the best film/movie of all time?


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I’ve often seen this question asked in magazines, on the television and on online blogs and forums. Still, I don’t think that I am any clearer as to which film or films are the ‘best’. Can any one film be defined as the best? I very much doubt it (but that’s my opinion). What does it need to be the best?

  • The biggest box office hit of all time?
  • The biggest budget?
  • The most Oscar wins?
  • The most ‘talked about’ film?
  • The one that most people choose as their ‘personal favourite’?

I’m thinking of films that I would class as being possible contenders for the ‘best’ of all time. Here is my short and perhaps clichéd list. (These are not my favourite films by the way).

  • Stars Wars
  • Schindler’s List
  • Inception
  • Titanic
  • Gone With The Wind

If I cheat, I would probably add these films (even though they are a series of films)…. I’m allowed to cheat. It’s my blog.

  • Lord Of The Rings (Trilogy)
  • Harry Potter (from beginning to end). *I haven’t seen the final and most anticipated ending yet….. Roll on Summer 2011.

I did some important research today. I chatted with colleagues at work today (ah, that sounds better) about this blog entry and asked which films popped into their heads.

  • E.T.
  • The Sound of Music
  • Blade Runner
  • Silence of the Lambs

These were their answers…. I had to agree with some. A debate started……….”Well it depends on which era you’re thinking of” or “Well there are different genres too”. Good points, making it even more difficult to pick an all time great.

This weekend I watched ‘The Shawshank Redemption‘. I was challenged by a friend of mine to watch it. My friend was shocked (and I mean visibly shocked) when I explained that I had never seen the film. Not only had I never seen the film – I had no idea what it was about.

The film is a mammoth. It’s 143 minutes of film….. But, worthwhile in every way. I was told that I would become a ‘more rounded individual’ for watching it. Perhaps I am now? I am debating whether the film should be added to my provisional list – ‘best films of all time’.

Maybe whoever you are and wherever you are reading this you think I have missed a movie great. maybe you think Disney’s ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ should be listed too……. I like a challenge.

Why am I even doing this blog? (Perhaps you’re wondering?)

If anything, I really enjoyed being challenged to watch a film that I’d never seen before. Not just because I hadn’t seen it, but because it had been so highly regarded by a close friend. I might end up with some classics to add to My List for 2011.

10 thoughts on “Which is the best film/movie of all time?

  1. Your point is correct. It’s completely subjective. You can evaluate movies for technical or artistic merit–poll the “experts” (i.e. other filmakers or critics). You can look at box office numbers, ask your friends, aggregate online ratings, all of this–and try to come up with the “best”. But even then, in the end, it’s still just opinions. That, to me, is the cool thing about movies. We can each enjoy what we like–there’s something for everyone. I even like bad movies. 🙂 Personally I like to distinguish between “best” and “favorite”. Some of my favorite films are not the best, and visa versa. Food for thought: Try IMDB’s top 250 list, or view their top lists by genre. There are enough really good movies out there to keep movie-lovers busy for a very long time. 🙂

    • Thanks for your reply. It’s nice to see a fellow-film-lover commenting. Opinions of films can be great to share (as I found out earlier). It is quite true that you say that ‘favourite’ is a better word than ‘best’.

  2. Way too difficult question for sure. I have favorites, but they’re all broken into categories. Guilty pleasures, comedies, dramas, Kevin Bacon films, etc. lol. If you do want some new movies to see, try anything by Almodovar. Pedro Almodovar is my favorite director. There’s something raw and humane about his work. My favorites are Talk to Her and Volver.

    Amelie is one of the few films I watched, rewound (cause VHS was still in), and immediately watched again. Happy film, quirky and adventurous in a slightly scheming way.

    An Affair to Remember made me cry, but so did Sling Blade, and those movies are nothing alike. lol. Happy movie nights!

    • Wow – thanks! You’ve given me films to think about.
      I’ve not heard of some of them. I will do some investgating online to find out more about them. I have so many guilty pleasure films I like to watch. They tend to be teary-chick-flicks. I cannot resist a sob story or the totally unrealistic love story. Hey ho. I’m not for the high-brow stuff. 🙂

  3. The Shawshank Redemption always seems to be in the best movie of all time lists. I agree with jesswords10 though as Amelie is way up there for me and I never thought I would admit to even liking, let alone loving a subtitled film.

    • The Top 100 list that I looked at online had The Shawshank Redemption as #1 film of all time. That’s quite some credit. I’ve never seen Amelie, though so I cannot comment on what it’s like. Maybe I should add that to a ‘2011 Films to Watch’ list.

  4. Everyone always says that Citizen Kane is the best film of all time. While I like the film, I agree with you and the other comments – there is definitely a difference between a great film and a favourite film.

    Great films are films that are timeless, or films that do something in a unique or novel way. Great films are trend setters and spawn hundreds of copy cats trying to cash in.

    For me, thinking about a film that does all of those things, I think the original Wizard of Oz is pretty hard to beat. That moment when it goes from black and white to technicolor is one of the greatest moments in cinema.

    And if you’re looking for ideas for your 2011 Films to Watch list, I would recommend Pan’s Labyrinth. It’s subtitled but I can guarantee it will be quite unlike anything you’ve seen.

    • Citizen Kane and Pan’s Labyrinth are two films that I haven’t seen. The more replies I get, the more I realise that I haven’t seen so many good films. I do have a cinema card here in Holland and go to the cinema twice a week. I’m quite familiar with films between 2008 and now. 🙂

      Thanks for your response. I’m loving hearing about other people’s opinions on the film topic.

  5. Personally, I would interpret ‘best film’ to mean one that held your attention; made you think for days (at least) afterwards; was well written and acted – good realistic dialogue and body language, etc; and was well shot with interesting use of camera angle, colour, etc. However, it would not have to be the most enjoyable to watch. Perhaps that would be best movie, since a movie is meant to entertain and a film is meant to be more artistic. In saying that, my favourite is what I’d consider a film – Let the Right One In (the Swedish one, not the American remake) but I just generally prefer films to movies. But is Let the Right One In the best film/ movie? No, actually, I think ‘Synedoche, New York’ is – of the ones I’ve seen – mostly because I could not stop thinking about if for weeks afterwards.

    Ultimately, there is no way of knowing which film/ movie is the best of all time because no-one could watch them all. Besides, it might even have been made yet.

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