Tag Archives: M

Top 100 Films – Full List & Stats


Top 100 Films – Full List

100. Rope (1948) (dir. Alfred Hitchcock)
99. The Jerk (1979) (dir. Carl Reiner)
98. Office Space (1999) (dir. Mike Judge)
97. American Movie (1999) (dir. Chris Smith)
96. Touch of Evil (1958) (dir. Orson Welles)
95. Zero Dark Thirty (2012) (dir. Kathryn Bigelow)
94. The Wrestler (2008) (dir. Darren Aronofsky)
93. The Virgin Spring (1960) (dir. Ingmar Bergman)
92. United 93 (2006) (dir. Paul Greengrass)
91. Brokeback Mountain (2003) (dir. Ang Lee)
90. Election (1999) (dir. Alexander Payne)
89. Close-Up (1990) (dir. Abbas Kiarostami)
88. Minnie and Moskowitz (1971) (dir. John Cassavetes)
87. Chungking Express (1994) (dir. Wong Kar-wai)
86. Stand By Me (1986) (dir. Rob Reiner)
85. Blazing Saddles (1974) (dir. Mel Brooks)
84. Metropolis (1927) (dir. Fritz Lang)
83. Boyz n the Hood (1991) (dir. John Singleton)
82. A Man Escaped (1956) (dir. Robert Bresson)
81. Manhattan (1979) (dir. Woody Allen)
80. Sunset Boulevard (1950) (dir. Billy Wilder)
79. All That Heaven Allows (1955) (dir. Douglas Sirk)
78. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927) (dir. F.W. Murnau)
77. No Country for Old Men (2007) (dir. Joel Coen, Ethan Coen)
76. The King of Comedy (1982) (dir. Martin Scorsese)
75. Short Term 12 (2013) (dir. Destin Daniel Cretton)
74. The Fighter (2010) (dir. David O. Russell)
73. Ben-Hur (1956) (dir. William Wyler)
72. There Will Be Blood (2007) (dir. Paul Thomas Anderson)
71. Playtime (1967) (dir. Jacques Tati)
70. My Darling Clementine (1946) (dir. John Ford)
69. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007) (dir. Andrew Dominik)
68. The Sting (1973) (dir. George Roy Hill)
67. Sherlock Jr. (1924) (dir. Buster Keaton)
66. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) (dir. Michel Gondry)
65. Kagemusha (1980) (dir. Akira Kurosawa)
64. Citizen Kane (1941) (dir. Orson Welles)
63. Raging Bull (1980) (dir. Martin Scorsese)
62. Dog Day Afternoon (1975) (dir. Sidney Lumet)
61. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004) (dir. Wes Anderson)
60. Some Like it Hot (1959) (dir. Billy Wilder)
59. Pulp Fiction (1994) (dir. Quentin Tarantino)
58. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) (dir. Jacques Demy)
57. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) (dir. Frank Capra)
56. This is Spinal Tap (1984) (dir. Carl Reiner)
55. M (1931) (dir. Fritz Lang)
54. When We Were Kings (1996) (dir. Leon Gast)
53. The Gold Rush (1926) (dir. Charlie Chaplin)
52. Rosemary’s Baby (1968) (dir. Roman Polanski)
51. The Wages of Fear (1953) (dir. Henri-Georges Clouzot)
50. The Great White Silence (1924) (dir. Herbert Ponting)
49. Autumn Sonata (1978) (dir. Ingmar Bergman)
48. Withnail and I (1987) (dir. Bruce Robinson)
47. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) (dir. Wes Anderson)
46. Before Sunrise (1995) (dir. Richard Linklater)
45. True Romance (1993) (dir. Tony Scott)
44. Before Sunset (2004) (dir. Richard Linklater)
43. Inglourious Basterds (2009) (dir. Quentin Tarantino)
42. 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days (2007) (dir. Cristian Mungiu)
41. The African Queen (1951) (dir. John Huston)
40. A Matter of Life and Death (1946) (dir. Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger)
39. Days of Heaven (1978) (dir. Terrence Malick)
38. Rushmore (1998) (dir. Wes Anderson)
37. What We Do in the Shadows (2014) (dir. Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi)
36. 12 Angry Men (1957) (dir. Sidney Lumet)
35. It’s Such a Beautiful Day (2012) (dir. Don Hertzfeldt)
34. Casablanca (1942) (dir. Michael Curtiz)
33. Scenes from a Marriage (1973) (dir. Ingmar Bergman)
32. A Woman Under the Influence (1974) (dir. John Cassavetes)
31. Brief Encounter (1945) (dir. David Lean)
30. The Godfather Part II (1974) (dir. Francis Ford Coppola)
29. Do the Right Thing (1989) (dir. Spike Lee)
28. Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) (dir. Vincente Minnelli)
27. The Godfather (1972) (dir. Francis Ford Coppola)
26. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) (dir. Stanley Donen)
25. Wild Strawberries (1957) (dir. Ingmar Bergman)
24. Seven Samurai (1954) (dir. Akira Kurosawa)
23. All That Jazz (1979) (dir. Bob Fosse)
22. Fargo (1996) (dir. Joel Coen)
21. Dersu Uzala (1975) (dir. Akira Kurosawa)
20. Grizzly Man (2005) (dir. Werner Herzog)
19. The Thing (1982) (dir. John Carpenter)
18. A Serious Man (2009) (dir. Joel Coen, Ethan Coen)
17. The Searchers (1956) (dir. John Ford)
16. Dazed and Confused (1993) (dir. Richard Linklater)
15. The Social Network (2010) (dir. David Fincher)
14. The Apartment (1960) (dir. Billy Wilder)
13. Rear Window (1954) (dir. Alfred Hitchcock)
12. Winter Light (1963) (dir. Ingmar Bergman)
11. The Graduate (1967) (dir. Mike Nichols)
10. Harakiri (1962) (dir. Masaki Kobayashi)
9. The Night of the Hunter (1955) (dir. Charles Laughton)
8. Paris, Texas (1984) (dir. Wim Wenders)
7. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) (dir. Frank Capra)
6. Rocky (1976) (dir. John G. Avildsen)
5. Harold and Maude (1971) (dir. Hal Ashby)
4. The Exorcist (1973) (dir. William Friedkin)
3. Annie Hall (1977) (dir. Woody Allen)
2. City Lights (1931) (dir. Charlie Chaplin)
1. Punch-Drunk Love (2002) (dir. Paul Thomas Anderson)

Top 100 Films – Statistics

Movies by Decade:
2010’s: 6
2000’s: 15
1990’s: 13
1980’s: 9
1970’s: 18
1960’s: 8
1950’s: 15
1940’s: 8
1930’s: 3
1920’s: 5

Best Year:
2007 – 4 (No Country for Old Men, There Will Be Blood, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days)

Most Popular Actors/Directors/Writers:
Ingmar Bergman5
Diane Keaton – 4
Wes Anderson – 3
John Cassavetes – 3
Seymour Cassel – 3
John Cazale – 3
Joel & Ethan Coen – 3
Robert De Niro – 3
Akira Kurosawa – 3
Richard Linklater – 3
Bill Murray – 3
Al Pacino – 3
Brad Pitt – 3
Talia Shire – 3
James Stewart – 3
Max von Sydow – 3
Quentin Tarantino – 3
Billy Wilder – 3
Owen Wilson – 3

Counting down 100 films in just 50 days was one heck of an adventure, and something I was fully prepared to give up on halfway through. The list got me through some tough times recently, and provided a nice goal and distraction for me to build towards. I’ve never been more proud of myself as a writer, and seeing #1 finally pop into my feed has been the most rewarding experience yet here at Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Film Club! Thanks to everybody who joined me in the journey, liking, sharing, and commenting on posts, and to all those who read them in their spare time. Your support means the world to me, and I couldn’t have done it without you. Here’s to another great year of films and writing for everybody!

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Top 100 Films #55 – M (1931)


maxresdefault#55. M (1931)
Directed by: Fritz Lang
Written by: Fritz Lang, Thea von Harbou, Paul Falkenberg, Adolf Jensen, Karl Vash (based on newspaper article by Egon Jacobson)
Starring: Peter Lorre, Otto Wernicke, Gustaf Grundgens

Fritz Lang’s first sound film, simply titled M, is quite possibly one of the most atmospheric films in the history of the medium.  Lang had already made a name for himself with his science fiction masterpiece Metropolis, and fantasy epic Die Nibelungen.  The story of M is simple – concerned parents and citizens of Berlin hunt for a child killer (Peter Lorre) – identified only by his whistling of “In the Hall of the Mountain King”.  After the murder of a young girl named Elsie, the panic and anxiety-stricken people of Berlin enlist the help of the city’s crime lords in order to track down the killer for themselves.  What follows is a tense, atmospheric, and morally challenging thriller from one of early film’s greatest directors.  Peter Lorre’s performance as Hans Beckert, the child murderer, is without a doubt one of the creepiest, most menacing performances in early film history.  His whistling of “In the Hall of the Mountain King” sets the tone for what’s to come, which it’s safe to say is never anything good, and his famous bulging eyes are perfect for the role.  Lang’s direction feels frantic once things ramp up, but he never let’s the film’s slow, psychological pace be forgotten by viewers.  His use of imagery is incredible, especially when it comes to the reveal of the “M” referred to in the film’s title.  The ending of M is one of the most morally ambiguous you’ll find in movies of its time, ending on the perfect note to stick with viewers for days after the credits roll.  Lang dares viewers to sympathize with Lorre’s monstrous Hans Beckert, going to several emotional lengths to make you question your own morals and values.  M is a very special film in many ways – it’s something of an anomaly for film of the 1930’s for how bleak and thrilling it is.  Lang always had a way of challenging his viewers, pushing them to reconsider their once rock solid moral code.  If you struggle with older films, I can absolutely say that M is a great place to start.

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Noirvember II #3 – Scarlet Street (1945)

scarlet-street-movie-poster-1945-1020413479Scarlet Street (1945)
Directed by: Fritz Lang
Written by: Dudley Nichols (based on La Chienne by Georges de La Fouchardiere (novel) and Andre Mouezy-Eon (play))
Starring: Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett, Dan Duryea, Margaret Lindsay, Jess Barker

“Jeepers, I love you Johnny” – These five seemingly innocuous words have haunted me since my first viewing of Fritz Lang’s brilliant film noir Scarlet Street.  Coming just two years after the previously reviewed Hangmen Also Die!, Lang shows the world exactly why he is regarded as such an innovator of the genre.  Starring the prolific Edward G. Robinson as a down-on-his-luck sad sack who gets wrapped up in an apparent love triangle, Scarlet Street offers up the trademark psychological twists and turns of the film noir genre, while also serving as an intricate and complex character study.  Today, Lang’s film is hailed as one of the best films the genre has to offer, but it didn’t fare nearly as well during its initial release.  Despite being a monetary success at the box office by more than doubling its budget, some critics felt that it was cliched and unethical – definitely not the first time in the history of the medium that the consensus would vary so wildly all these years later.

Scarlet Street follows a hapless middle-aged store clerk and aspiring artist named Christopher Cross (Edward G. Robinson) as he very literally stumbles into an unrequited romance with a younger woman named Kitty (Joan Bennett).  Cross, unsatisfied with his loveless home life, is immediately smitten with the young Kitty, who sees an opportunity to easily swindle the gullible Chris.  Together with her boyfriend Johnny (Dan Duryea), the two plot to extort money from Chris, whom they foolishly believe to be a famous and well-regarded painter.  Johnny, being the bold and mischievous man he is, steals paintings from our sad sack protagonist in order to sell them to an art dealer.  Through a series of misunderstandings, Kitty is given artistic credit for the paintings after art critic David Janeway (Jess Barker) expresses interest in them.  This triggers an unforgettable and unpredictable chain of events that will forever change the lives of Chris, Kitty, Johnny, and all those around them. In typical film noir fashion, nobody gets off easy.

Fritz Lang is a director I’ve been interested in for many years now.  I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t seen nearly enough of his films, but the ones I have seen have largely been excellent.  In my opinion, Scarlet Street stands out among classics like Metropolis and M as one of his very best.  It’s an incredibly bleak, obsessive, soul-crushing affair, but that’s where most of its charm comes from. While the story may seem contrived to some viewers, it’s one of the more focused and organic film noir’s I’ve seen.  The screenplay by Academy Award winning writer Dudley Nichols (The Informer, The Long Voyage Home, The Bells of St. Mary’s) is razor sharp, pitch black in tone, and concise.  Nichols’ focused narrative, paired with Lang’s penchant for moody, dimly lit imagery and fluid camerawork, makes for one of the most satisfying film noir experiences in the history of the genre.  Edward G. Robinson steals the show as Christopher Cross – perfectly capturing the spirit of the truly sad and pathetic character. Married to a woman who still pines for her ex-husband, stuck in an unsatisfying career, and hopelessly lusting after a beautiful young woman, it’s at times difficult to sympathize with Robinson’s character.  He very rarely sticks up for himself, letting all those around him treat him like a human doormat or a sad punchline.  He’s not particularly good at anything he does, he’s not especially charming or handsome, and yet there’s something so refreshing about the character. Edward G. Robinson’s Chris is one of the most complex, layered, and ultimately tragic characters I’ve seen in the genre yet.  It’s a shame that Scarlet Street initially opened to such a lukewarm reaction, because otherwise I would have considered it a shoe-in for a host of prestigious Academy Award nominations.
What I Liked:

  • Edward G. Robinson delivers one of the most complex and powerful performances I’ve ever seen.
  • Joan Bennett’s Kitty is another standout performance, mostly in how she successfully manages to convince both Chris and the audience that her intentions aren’t cruel.  She’s the perfect femme fatale.
  • The repetition of specific sounds and phrases (the record player skipping, “Jeepers, I love you Johnny”) throughout the run-time creates a haunting and at times hallucinatory atmosphere.
  • The film’s ending is perfectly twisted and tragic – ensuring that no single character escaped the situation unscathed.
  • Dudley Nichols’ narrative felt very unique and important, despite being so small in scope.
  • Rosalind Ivan’s turn as Adele Cross, Chris’ unhappy and spiteful wife, was perfectly grating and easy to hate.

What I Didn’t:

  • The emergence of a subplot involving Adele Cross’ deceased ex-husband feels too convenient in the context of the film.  I don’t have a problem with the actual subplot – it’s just introduced far too late into the film.
  • Dan Duryea’s performance as Johnny is slightly too ham-fisted to be a believable mastermind of the plot.  He comes off as brutish and dopey – never clever enough to be perceived as an actual threat.

While perhaps not as important as some of his earliest masterworks, Fritz Lang’s Scarlet Street is a brooding, haunting, hopelessly bleak near-masterpiece.  It features a remarkable performance by one of Hollywood’s greatest unsung stars, an excellent supporting cast, a sharp script by veteran writer Dudley Nichols, and excellent film noir imagery by one of the genre’s innovators.  It may be flawed, but it’s an unforgettable and thrilling experience that I can’t wait to revisit over and over and over again.  Much like Christopher Cross, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to purge the phrase “Jeepers, I love you Johnny” from my mind – but unlike him, I’m certainly not complaining.  Fritz Lang’s Scarlet Street gets my highest recommendation.

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Top 20 Foreign-Language Films (So far)

As of my viewing of Edward Yang’s acclaimed film Yi Yi on June 1st, I have seen exactly one hundred foreign-language films from around the world.  Through the magic of the cinema, I’ve travelled across four continents, and visited 28 different countries.  I’ve seen films from mighty nations like Russia, France, Japan, and South Korea, and some from countries people don’t normally think of as having film industries like Iran, Cuba, Chile, and Romania.

This is a list of the twenty best foreign-language I’ve seen during my time watching more slightly more challenging films (only 3 or so years now).  It hasn’t been an easy journey, as subtitled films can be hard to enjoy when you don’t have a lot of experience.  To anybody out there who is the least interested in watching some of these films, it only takes a short while to adjust to.  These films are well-worth sitting down and taking in.  You’ll thank yourself for seeing them, because some of them will change your life.  Without further a-due, these are my top 20 films of world cinema (so far):

Image20. Zazie Dans Le Metro (1960)

Country: France

Director: Louis Malle

Starring: Catherine Demongeot, Philippe Noiet, Hubert Deschamps

Runtime: 89 minutes

Rating: 87% Fresh

Why?: Zazie Dans Le Metro was my first experience with the films of legendary French filmmaker Louis Malle.  It’s a hilarious, satirical, and incredibly fun ride, and Catherine Demongeot is infinitely likeable as the titular Zazie.  I’ve never felt this much joy while watching a film for the first time.

19. Persona (1966)Image

Country: Sweden

Director: Ingmar Bergman

Starring: Bibi Andersson, Liv Ullman, Gunnar Bjornstrand

Runtime: 83 minutes

Rating: 93% Fresh

Why?: Persona is perhaps Ingmar Bergman’s most famous film (aside from The Seventh Seal), and for good reason.  There isn’t anything about Persona that I can criticize in any way, as in my opinion it is a near-perfect film.  It’s about a nurse and a mute actress who’s persona’s slowly start melding together, and it’s a heck of a trip.  This is a film that will change the way you look at the medium forever.

Image18. I Am Cuba (1964)

Country: Cuba/Russia

Director: Mikhail Kalatozov

Starring: Ensemble cast

Runtime: 141 minutes

Rating: 100% Fresh

Why?: I Am Cuba started as being essentially a propaganda film for the South American country, but it has evolved into so much more than that over the years.  Kalatozov’s long tracking shots are some of the most beautiful camera movements I’ve ever seen in the film, and the stories of Cuban revolutionists and everyday citizens are far most exciting than they sound.  I Am Cuba is truly one of the greatest films I’ve ever seen from both a technical and a storytelling perspective.

17. L’Enfant (The Child) (2005)Image

Country: Belgium

Director: Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne

Starring: Jeremie Renier, Deborah Francois, Jeremie Segard

Runtime: 100 minutes

Rating: 86% Fresh

Why?: The Child marks the second time that Belgium’s The Dardenne Brothers have won the prestigious Palme d’Or at the Cannes film festival.  This time they follow a young man with financial problems who tries selling his newborn son on the black market.  It’s incredibly tense, and is one of the most natural and realistic films I’ve ever seen.  This film was on my mind for days after seeing it.

Image16. 5 Centimeters Per Second (2007)

Country: Japan

Director: Makoto Shinkai

Starring: Kenji Mizuhashi, Yoshimi Kondou, Ayaka Onoue

Runtime: 63 minutes

Rating: n/a (90% Audience rating)

Why?: 5 Centimeters Per Second is the first of two animated films on my list, and one of the greatest stories of love that I have ever seen.  It’s one of the most beautiful films I’ve ever seen, both in its incredible animation and in its actual content.  At barely over an hour long, 5 Centimeters packs an emotional punch the likes of which I’ve never felt before.  One of my all-time favourite animated films!

15. Spring, Summer, Winter, Fall…and Spring (2003)Image

Country: South Korea

Director: Ki-duk Kim

Starring: Yeong-su Oh, Ki-duk Kim

Runtime: 103 minutes

Rating: 95% Fresh

Why?: Spring, Summer,… is one of the most beautiful films I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing unfold before my eyes.  It’s a film you have to experience rather than just watch and analyze.  It’s peaceful, quiet, and visually stunning.  It tells the story of a monk and a small boy living together on a floating temple.  The monk watches the young boy grow up and mature as the seasons wear on.

Image14. Close-Up (1990)

Country: Iran

Director: Abbas Kiarostami

Starring: Hossain Sabzian, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Abolfazl Ahankhah

Runtime: 98 minutes

Rating: 87% Fresh

Why?: Close-Up was my first real experience with Iranian cinema, and it very quickly got my addicted to it.  Close-up tells the story of a man pretending to be a famous film director, and how it affects a family who accepts him as one of their own.  It’s incredibly well told, incredibly intelligent, and very “meta” in a lot of ways.  I can’t recommend this film enough.

13. No (2012)Image

Country: Chile

Director: Pablo Larrain

Starring: Gael Garcia Bernal, Alfredo Castro, Luis Gnecco

Runtime: 118 minutes

Rating: 92% Fresh

Why?: No was easily my favourite foreign film of 2012, and was even nominated for Best Foreign-Language Film at the Oscars this past year.  It tells an incredibly intelligent and fascinating story of Chile’s 1988 referendum, and features remarkable acting from Gael Garcia Bernal.   No is fun, incredibly well shot (it’s meant to look like it was captured on video), and expertly directed by Pablo Larrain.  This is a film absolutely anybody could get a lot of enjoyment out of.

Image12. Wild Strawberries (1957)

Country: Sweden

Director: Ingmar Bergman

Starring: Victor Sjostrom, Bibi Andersson, Ingrid Thulin

Runtime: 91 minutes

Rating: 94% Fresh

Why?: Wild Strawberries was my first exposure to the works of Ingmar Bergman, and it had an incredible effect on me.  It left me wide-eyed and wanting more, but also so emotionally exhausted that it took me nearly two years to visit another Bergman film.  Wild Strawberries is truly one of those few films that will change your life, especially if you watch it at the right time in your life.  Wild Strawberries is one I’m desperate to re-visit, but one I’m also afraid to see again for fear that it might leave me stunned again.  See this film at any cost.

11. Rififi (1955)Image

Country: France

Director: Jules Dassin

Starring: Jean Servais, Carl Mohner, Robert Manuel

Runtime: 122 minutes

Rating: 93%

Why?: The heist scene.  This is all that really needs to be said of Rififi, one of the greatest crime films ever captured on film.  Rififi‘s heist is carried out in a nearly 30 minute scene of complete silence.  It is easily the most nervous I’ve ever been during a film, and literally had me on the edge of my seat the entire way through.  If you like films like Ocean’s 11, you must see Rififi at some point during your life.

Image10. City of God (2002)

Country: Brazil

Director: Fernando Meirelles, Katia Lund

Starring: Alexandre Rodrigues, Leandro Firmino, Pellipe Haagensen

Runtime: 130 minutes

Rating: 90% Fresh

Why?: City of God does the epic story of two boys growing up in Rio de Janeiro who take drastically different paths in life.  It’s violent, it’s funny, and it’s incredibly well directed and acted.  It was nominated for four Academy Awards upon its release, including Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay.  Truly one of the great crime films of modern-day cinema.

9. Kagemusha (1980)Image

Country: Japan

Director: Akira Kurosawa

Starring: Tatsuya Nakadai, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Ken’ichi Hagiwara

Runtime: 162 minutes

Rating: 86% Fresh

Why?: Kagemusha was my first ever Akira Kurosawa film, and I wasn’t sure what to expect before I went into it.  What I got was an incredible samurai film featuring epic battles, incredible colours, and unforgettable costumes.  Anybody who enjoys films like the Lord of the Rings trilogy or any of Kurosawa’s other samurai epics will love Kagemusha.  It’s a brilliant and truly underrated masterpiece.

Image8. Waltz with Bashir (2008)

Country: Israel

Director: Ari Folman

Starring: Ari Folman, Ori Sivan, Ronny Dayag

Runtime: 90 minutes

Rating: 96% Fresh

Why?: Waltz with Bashir is the second and last animated feature on this list, and is more effective than most live-action films could ever hope to be.  In the film we follow former soldiers as they tell stories of the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, a vital piece of Middle Eastern history.  Waltz with Bashir uses some of the most amazing animation I’ve ever seen, and tells one of the most emotionally draining stories I’ve ever heard.  It’s beautiful, heartbreaking, and a fascinating look at a moment in history that most people aren’t even aware of.

7. In the Mood for Love (2000)Image

Country: Hong Kong

Director: Wong Kar Wai

Starring: Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung, Ping Lam Siu

Runtime: 98 minutes

Rating: 88% Fresh

Why?: In the Mood for Love tells one of the most beautiful and subtle love stories in the history of film.  Brilliantly performed by Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung, the film tells the story of a man and a woman who suspect their partners of having an affair.  This would just be another romance film without the help of Wong Kar Wai’s brilliant direction, the amazing performances by the two leads, and featuring some of the most magical moments in movie history.  Highly recommended to anybody.

Image6. 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days (2007)

Country: Romania

Director: Cristian Mungiu

Starring: Anamaria Marinca, Laura Vasiliu, Vlad Ivanov

Runtime: 117 minutes

Rating: 96% Fresh

Why?: 4 Months… is one of the most powerful films I’ve ever seen, and it will leave you dazed and confused once the credits begin to role.  It’s a fascinating look at Communist Romania during the 1980’s, and features two of the most incredible performances I’ve ever seen.  4 Months… is the gripping story of a young woman and her best friend looking to arrange an illegal abortion during a time of hardship in Romania.  One of my all-time favourite films.

5. The Earrings of Madame De… (1953)Image

Country: France

Director: Max Ophuls

Starring: Charles Boyer, Danielle Darrieux, Vittorio De Sica

Runtime: 105 minutes

Rating: 100% Fresh

Why?: The Earrings of Madame De… is a magical film from start to finish.  It tells the story of a woman who sells a pair of earrings her husband has bought her so she can pay off her debts.  They are purchased by a young Baron, who Louise eventually falls madly in love with.  I can’t say anymore about the plot, because it really is much better to go into the film knowing very little about it.  Max Ophuls’ highly energetic camerawork is at its absolute best here, as is the performance from Danielle Darrieux.

Image4. Chungking Express (1994)

Country: Hong Kong

Director: Wong Kar Wai

Starring: Brigitte Lin, Tony Leung, Faye Wong

Runtime: 98 minutes

Rating: 96% Fresh

Why?: Chungking Express is easily one of the “coolest” films ever made, and the 98 minutes it runs for are far too short.  Quentin Tarantino cited this film as an influence on the style of Pulp Fiction, and said it was a huge inspiration to him as a filmmaker.  Wong Kar Wai’s direction is incredibly stylish and impressive, and Tony Leung is nearly as good as he is in In the Mood for Love. One of the most unique and amazing movie-going experiences I’ve ever had.  “California Dreamin'” will be stuck in your head for days after seeing this incredible film.

3. M (1931)Image

Country: Germany

Director: Fritz Lang

Starring: Peter Lorre, Ellen Widmann, Inge Landgut

Runtime: 99 minutes

Rating: 100% Fresh

Why?: Fritz Lang’s most famous film film M tells the story of a hunt for a man who murders children in 1930’s Germany.  It’s incredibly tense, builds terrific atmosphere, and is an early example of why the sound film eventually overtook the silent film at the greatest storytelling medium.  Peter Lorre as the films titular M is amazingly creepy.  Not only is it a great thriller, but it also delivers some very relevant messages about our society as a whole.

Image2. Winter Light (1963)

Country: Sweden

Director: Ingmar Bergman

Starring: Ingrid Thulin, Gunnar Bjornstrand, Gunnel Lindblom

Runtime: 81 minutes

Rating: 80% Fresh

Why?: My third and final Ingmar Bergman on the list is perhaps the most moving, the coldest, and the most thought-provoking the director has ever been.  Winter Light tells the tale of a pastor suffering from a cold and from a severe crisis of faith in the freezing Swedish winter.  Bergman’s usual cast of familiar faces are here, as are his themes of life, death, and faith.  One of the most thought-provoking films I’ve ever seen.  Just thinking about it nows gives me chills.  I can’t recommend Winter Light enough.

1. Seven Samurai (1954)Image

Country: Japan

Director: Akira Kurosawa

Starring: Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Keiko Tsushima

Runtime: 141 minutes

Rating: 100% Fresh

Why?: Seven Samurai is perhaps one of the most famous films of all-time, and it has literally every reason to be.  Kurosawa’s most well-crafted film is one that has been universally praised by critics and viewers alike.  It tells the story of seven samurai warriors banding together to defend a village from bandits.  It’s incredibly exciting, violent, hilarious, and very beautiful.  It also has one of the greatest performances in the life of legendary actor Toshiro Mifune.  Seven Samurai is literally a perfect film in every aspect, and one that everybody should see if they haven’t already.

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