What makes a movie great? Why do some stand the test of time while others slowly (or rather quickly) lose their value? For some films, it’s the emotion the story invokes. Sometimes an actor’s performance is so unforgettable, it captures our attention. Occasionally a film is so visually stunning, it can’t be forgotten.
I put together a collection of the 30 best movies of all time. To warn you in advance, this isn’t the usual film snob list of black and white classics and foreign films meant to show off my knowledge of classical cinema. These are the movies we watch because we want to, not because we’re told to.
Avatar is one of the most visually beautiful movies ever made. Even people who complain about special effects in movies dropped their jaws upon seeing it for the first time. This film pushed modern cinematic technology into a new age, ushering in the age of stereoscopic 3D. Beneath its beauty, the film features a cross-species love story and a social message. Avatar is a must see for any movie fan.
Best Quote: Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) “I became a Marine for the hardship. Told myself that I can pass any test a man can pass. All I ever wanted was a single thing worth fighting for.”
There are a lot of gangster movies out there, but Scarface is easily the most quoted. The story of Cuban immigrant turned maniacal gangster Tony Montana is gritty from front to back. The chainsaw scene in the beginning still gives me quivers. As he gains more power, his greed starts to get the best of him. He makes a few bad decisions that lead to the one of the best death scenes in movie history.
Best Quote: Tony Montana “You need people like me so you can point your fuckin’ fingers and say, ‘That’s the bad guy.’ So… what does that make you? Good? You’re not good. You just know how to hide, how to lie. Me, I don’t have that problem. Me, I always tell the truth. Even when I lie. So say good night to the bad guy!”
The Notebook (2004)
In the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit I’ve never seen The Notebook. The reason I know it’s a great film is because every time I tell a woman I’ve never seen it, she tries to convince me to watch it. The basic premise is a boy falls in love with a girl. They have a budding romance, some conflict gets in the way, and they end up together when they’re older. This movie is the bar in which many women measure a man.
Best Quote: Noah (Ryan Gosling) says, “I am nothing special; just a common man with common thoughts, and I’ve led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten. But in one respect I have succeeded as gloriously as anyone who’s ever lived: I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul; and to me, this has always been enough.”