This is the start of my Top 1000 Countdown, the 1000 best films made in the first Century of Film (1912-2011).  A reminder that the introduction should probably be looked at first and will answer any questions about abbreviations.

Every film in this group of 50 earns an 86, which is high ***.5.


Mitt liv som hund
(My Life as a Dog)

  • Director:  Lasse Hallström
  • Genre:  Comedy
  • Distributor:  Skouras Pictures
  • Year:  1985  (OE: 1987)
  • Country:  Sweden  (Swedish)
  • Major Awards:  Director (DGA, AA), A. Screenplay (AA), Foreign (NH, BAFTA, GG, BSFC, NYFC)
  • N.A. Gross:  $8,345,266
  • WW Gross:  $8,349,284  (ic)
  • Entry Rank:  #528
  • TSPDT Rank:  #685  (hr: #387)
  • The Film:  The film that turned Lasse Hallström from a small little Swedish director into a man who would have back-to-back Best Picture nominees some 15 years later.  Hailed by such a diverse group as Kurt Vonnegut and Jack Nicholson, this little film that did earned surprise Oscar nominations in 1987, knocking former Oscar winner James L. Brooks out of the Director race.  Fully reviewed here, as is the original novel.


Le Havre

  • Director:  Aki Kaurismäki
  • Genre:  Comedy
  • Distributor:  Janus Films
  • Year:  2011
  • Country:  Finland  (French)
  • Major Awards:  Foreign (NH, BFCA)
  • N.A. Gross:  $611,709
  • WW Gross:  $12,959,706
  • Entry Rank:  #999
  • The Film:  This might be a surprise entry to be Kaurismaki’s greatest film.  He’s been a funny and interesting Swedish filmmaker for a long time with a long list of very good films but he rose to his best with this tale of a man who has retreated from the bustle of big city life and trying to be a writer only to find his life upended by his wife’s illness and becoming intertwined with an African immigrant who’s hiding out from the police.  A strong piece of social satire, which is right in Kaurismaki’s wheelhouse.  Oscar submitted but not nominated even though it was the third best of all the submissions (see #977, below for more).



  • Director:  Oliver Stone
  • Genre:  War  (Random War)
  • Distributor:  Hemdale Releasing
  • Year:  1986
  • Country:  U.S.
  • Major Awards:  Screenplay (AA, WGA), Actor (NH, AA)
  • N.A. Gross:  $1,500,000
  • Entry Rank:  #543
  • The Film:  James Woods has always been rather unlikeable and Oliver Stone has seemed to try to become more and more so over the years but that doesn’t take away from the power of their little film.  When Stone would lament to Woods that he should have gone to El Salvador to do research, Woods retorted “This picture was released in two theatres for ten minutes and I get a nomination.  Aren’t you happy yet?” (Inside Oscar, p 690)  This film is a bit of an oddity for Stone, the only film on the full list between #200 and #1500.


Absolute Power

  • Director:  Clint Eastwood
  • Genre:  Suspense
  • Distributor:  Columbia
  • Year:  1997
  • Country:  U.S.
  • N.A. Gross:  $50,068,310
  • Entry Rank:  #719
  • The Film:  Fully reviewed already as one of the Top 10 Adapted Screenplays of 1997.  This is one of Eastwood’s most under-rated films, a taut, tight thriller that keeps you moving from start to finish, making great use of a fantastic ensemble cast (Hackman, Ed Harris, Judy Davis, Scott Glenn).  A good example of why you shouldn’t feel like you have to show complete fidelity to a best-selling book since this film corrects the stupidities of the original novel.  Eastwood isn’t huge in the Top 100 though he’ll pop up with a film every several posts.  He does have a large number of films that make the initial list but couldn’t quite make the Top 1000 (seven of them in fact).  In fact, his six films between #1001-1500 are the second most of any director.


Everyone Says I Love You

  • Director:  Woody Allen
  • Genre:  Musical
  • Distributor:  Miramax
  • Year:  1996
  • Country:  U.S.
  • Major Awards:  Picture  (GG); S. Actor (BFCA, LAFC, NSFC, BSFC, NBR)
  • N.A. Gross:  $9,759,200
  • Entry Rank:  #701
  • The Film:  A film after my own heart, since, just a couple of years before I had actually written an entire screenplay using the same concept (a jukebox musical).  One of Allen’s most genuinely romantic films, it really brings the old standards to life with one of his wonderful ensemble casts.  A reminder, even before he really got into the dirty, dark roles, that Edward Norton could be fun and light-hearted.  This is the first of a lot of Allen films on the list but he also had six films that don’t make the Top 1000 but make the full list.  Also, as you can see from the awards, this is the first Globe nominee for Best Picture – Comedy / Musical.  Through 2011, 310 films had earned that distinction but only 83 of them are going to make the Top 1000.  There are 21 years where none of the Globe nominees make the list, though only four since 1976 (1981, 1990, 2006, 2009).


The Good Thief

  • Director:  Neil Jordan
  • Genre:  Crime  (Heist)
  • Distributor:  Fox  (Fox Searchlight)
  • Year:  2002  (OE: 2003)
  • Country:  Ireland
  • N.A. Gross:  $3,517,797
  • WW Gross:  $5,756,945
  • Entry Rank:  #817
  • The Film:  One of Neil Jordan’s most under-appreciated films is this really good heist film with Nick Nolte as an aging gambler who decides to rob a casino in Monte Carlo.  It also makes good use of Ralph Fiennes, who had been so brilliant in Jordan’s End of the Affair.  This is the first of four Jordan films on the list but the others won’t show up for quite a while.



  • Director:  Gore Verbinski
  • Genre:  Kids  (Animated)
  • Distributor:  Paramount
  • Year:  2011
  • Country:  U.S.
  • Major Awards:  Animated  (NH, AA, BAFTA, BFCA, GG, LAFC, BSFC, CFC, NBR)
  • N.A. Gross:  $123,477,607
  • WW Gross:  $245,724,603
  • Entry Rank:  #994
  • TSPDT Rank:  #729  (21-C)
  • The Film:  Other than the first Pirates film, Verbinski’s career as a director was mostly uninteresting.  But he took Johnny with him from Pirates and gave him a fascinating role as a chameleon lost in the desert.  In an odd year for the Animated Film race, it managed to win most of the awards including the Oscar.  Fully reviewed hereRango is obviously the first Oscar winner for Best Animated Film to make the list.  Only two of the winners through 2011 don’t make the list (Shrek, Happy Feet) and 2006 is the only year with no nominee on the list.



  • Director:  Lee Daniels
  • Genre:  Drama
  • Distributor:  Lionsgate
  • Year:  2009
  • Country:  U.S.
  • Major Awards:  Picture (AA, PGA, GG, BAFTA, BFCA), Director (AA, DGA, BFCA), A. Screenplay (AA, WGA, BAFTA, BFCA), Actress (NH, AA, SAG, BAFTA, BFCA, GG), S. Actress (NH, AA, SAG, BAFTA, BFCA, GG, NYFC, LAFC, NSFC, BSFC, CFC), Ensemble (SAG)
  • N.A. Gross:  $47,566,524
  • WW Gross:  $63,649,529
  • Entry Rank:  #954
  • TSPDT:  #891  (21-C)
  • The Film:  One of the most genuinely depressing films I have ever seen.  This is the story of an over-weight black girl who must deal with a truly horrific mother and a life that just continues to beat down upon her.  Fantastic ensemble acting from a cast that had mostly not done much good work on film.  Reviewed in full herePrecious is the first Best Picture nominee to make the list.  Of the 496 Best Picture nominees through 2011, just over half will make the list.


Bob Roberts

  • Director:  Tom Robbins
  • Genre:  Comedy  (Mockumentary)
  • Distributor:  Paramount
  • Year:  1992
  • Country:  U.S.
  • Major Awards:  Actor (GG)
  • N.A. Gross:  $4,479,470
  • Entry Rank:  #636
  • The Film:  In the same year that he did The Player, Robbins wrote, directed and starred in this film that kind of looks at the old 1957 A Face in the Crowd and re-imagines it as a straight comedy but still with all the same kind of political insight (and songs that are deliberately funny).  The Globes nominated it for Actor but passed it over for Picture in favor of Sister Act.


Man on the Moon

  • Director:  Milos Forman
  • Genre:  Comedy  (Biopic)
  • Distributor:  Universal
  • Year:  1999
  • Country:  U.S.
  • Major Awards:  Picture (GG, BFCA), Actor (SAG, GG, BSFC)
  • N.A. Gross:  $34,607,430
  • WW Gross:  $47,434,430
  • Entry Rank:  #747
  • The Film:  Much of Milos Forman’s career after coming to America was making films about outsiders who defied expectations, three of them based on real people.  It wasn’t just the outsider aspect that linked Mozart, Larry Flynt and Andy Kaufmann, but also the magnificent performances that helped bring the men to life.  It made all of them feel vibrantly alive.  In spite of having the best song written for a film in 1999 (“The Great Beyond”, the magnificent R.E.M. single they wrote since of course, the song which gave the film its title wouldn’t be eligible) it would be bypassed by both the Globes and the Oscars.


Margin Call

  • Director:  J.C. Chandor
  • Genre:  Drama
  • Distributor:  Roadside Attractions
  • Year:  2011
  • Country:  U.S.
  • Major Awards:  Screenplay (NH, AA)
  • N.A. Gross:  $5,354,039
  • WW Gross:  $19,504,039
  • Entry Rank:  #990
  • The Film:  Who would have expected a man who had been mostly directing commercials for 15 years to suddenly debut with a feature film that was good enough to earn an Oscar nomination for Original Screenplay (and one at the Nighthawks as well)?  What’s more, it’s a fascinating, deep story that explores why things happened the way they did in the financial meltdown in 2008 without skimping on the characters or the acting with a fantastic ensemble cast.


Intolerable Cruelty

  • Director:  Joel and Ethan Coen
  • Genre:  Comedy  (Screwball)
  • Distributor:  Universal
  • Year:  2003
  • Country:  U.S.
  • N.A. Gross:  $35,327,628
  • WW Gross:  $120,801,243
  • Entry Rank:  #836
  • The Film:  Screwball Comedies had been mostly absent from the screen for 60 years when the Coen Brothers took their own stab at it with the middle film in their “Idiot Trilogy”.  It definitely wasn’t for everyone as the 6.2 IMDb rating shows and it did much better overseas than in the States.  But it’s sharp and funny and has lines that continue to be memorable (two that continually get referenced in our household are “I call Heinz, the Baron Kraus von Espy” and “It’s a no go.” – the last especially whenever an inhaler is used and we recall poor Wheezy Joe).  The Globes blanked it but it earned two Nighthawk Comedy nominations, even in a tough year.  This is the first of a considerable number of Coen films on the list though they won’t show up again for several more parts.  They also had two films bumped from the list (Hudsucker Proxy bumped in 1994, Raising Arizona bumped in 2004) and one film that couldn’t quite make the list (Burn After Reading).


(Whisper of the Heart; Mimi wo sumaseba)

  • Director:  Yoshifumi Kondo
  • Genre:  Drama  (Animated – Ghibli)
  • Distributor:  Toho
  • Year:  1995
  • Country:  Japan (Japanese)
  • Major Awards:  Foreign (NH), Animated (NH)
  • N.A. Gross:  $498,156
  • WW Gross:  $585,013  (ic)
  • Entry Rank:  #688
  • The Film:  A charming and beautiful lesser known film from Studio Ghibli because it’s one of the rare ones not directed by Miyazaki or Takahata.  It’s a bizarre love story involving a girl, a boy, a library where the books she wants are gone and a cat (which will return in a quasi-sequel).



  • Director:  M. Night Shyamalan
  • Genre:  Fantasy  (Comic Book)
  • Distributor:  Disney  (Touchstone)
  • Year:  2000
  • Country:  U.S.
  • N.A. Gross:  $95,011,339
  • WW Gross:  $248,118,121
  • Entry Rank:  #763
  • TSPDT Rank:  #529  (21-C)
  • The Film:  When this film debuted as a slight come-down from The Sixth Sense (but still a very, very good film), no one would have predicted that Shyamalan would continue to trend downward for over 15 years.  This film wasn’t marketed well, because how do you market what is essentially a comic book film but without a lot of the trappings of a comic book film?  It’s a fascinating film with a good score and an ending that comes a bit too quickly but it gave hope that Shyamalan wasn’t a one-hit wonder when it turns out he was headed downward badly.


Rabbit-Proof Fence

  • Director:  Phillip Noyce
  • Genre:  Drama  (True Story)
  • Distributor:  Miramax
  • Year:  2002
  • Country:  Australia  (English / Aboriginal)
  • Major Awards:  Director (NBR)
  • N.A. Gross:  $6,199,600
  • WW Gross:  $10,017,811
  • Entry Rank:  #783
  • TSPDT Rank:  #572  (21-C)
  • The Film:  After a mostly disappointing decade in Hollywood following Dead Calm, Phillip Noyce finally left and found his true talent again, making this right after making The Quiet American.  This is the true story of three young Aboriginal girls who are pulled from their houses under old, racist Australian policies and decide to walk back home in a 1500 mile trek.


Brute Force

  • Director:  Jules Dassin
  • Genre:  Crime  (Prison)
  • Distributor:  Universal
  • Year:  1947
  • Country:  U.S.
  • Entry Rank:  #155
  • The Film:  Jules Dassin did his best work years before the Oscars would finally nominate him for Best Director in 1960.  Brute Force goes a bit against type with Hume Cronyn as a nasty guard who’s got it in for Burt Lancaster’s prisoner and a brutal war erupts inside the prison.  Very good use of sound in a dark, rather violent film for its era.


All or Nothing

  • Director:  Mike Leigh
  • Genre:  Drama
  • Distributor:  United Artists
  • Year:  2002
  • Country:  England
  • N.A. Gross:  $201,546
  • WW Gross:  $2,845,696
  • Entry Rank:  #810
  • TSPDT Rank:  #922  (21-C)
  • The Film:  This is Mike Leigh doing what Leigh does better than anyone – creating vivid, realistic working class characters who endure.  In this case it’s Lesley Manville and Leigh-favorite Timothy Spall as a couple who must get past a tragedy that marks not just them but their entire community.  The first of several Leigh films in the Top 1000.  Of all the great British directors, he was the best who never strayed into Hollywood.


Yadon ilaheyya
(Divine Intervention)

  • Director:  Elia Suleiman
  • Genre:  Comedy  (Surreal)
  • Distributor:  Avatar Films
  • Year:  2003
  • Country:  Palestine  (Arabic, Hebrew, English)
  • N.A. Gross:  $421,343
  • WW Gross:  $1,675,596
  • Entry Rank:  #830
  • TSPDT Rank:  #426  (21-C)
  • The Film:  This is one of those films that had a trailer that made me sit up and take notice.  Once I saw that trailer and realized this was so much more than just a heavy drama about the Israeli-Palestinian border, I knew I had to see the film and it didn’t disappoint.  Oscar submitted by Palestine but not nominated even though it was better than three of the nominees.


The Angry Silence

  • Director:  Guy Green
  • Genre:  Drama  (Social)
  • Distributor:  Valiant Films
  • Year:  1960
  • Country:  England
  • Major Awards:  Picture (BAFTA), Screenplay (NH, AA, BAFTA), Actor (BAFTA), Actress (BAFTA)
  • Entry Rank:  #287
  • The Film:  Richard Attenborough plays a man who decides that when his fellow factory workers go on strike he’s not going to join them.  One of the “Angry Young Man” films that were so popular in Britain at the time, reflecting the national mood.



  • Director:  Jacques Tati
  • Genre:  Comedy
  • Distributor:  Continental
  • Year:  1967  (OE: 1974)
  • Country:  France (French)
  • Major Awards:  Foreign (NH)
  • WW Gross:  $521,990  (ri)
  • Entry Rank:  #350
  • The Film:  Tati’s wonderfully hilarious Monsieur Hulot returns and this time, he’s not just on holiday, but is wandering around Paris, contrasted against a group of American tourists.  Tati only made a handful of films and all of them are absolutely worth watching.  And yes, this film really was Oscar eligible seven years after it was originally released in France; the rules were different back then.


River’s Edge

  • Director:  Tim Hunter
  • Genre:  Drama  (Teen)
  • Distributor:  Island Pictures
  • Year:  1986  (OE: 1987)
  • Country:  U.S.
  • N.A. Gross:  $4,600,000
  • Entry Rank:  #539
  • The Film:  This dark look at teens and their nihilism and apathy won Best Feature at the Indie Spirits.  I avoided it for years, not because it has Keanu, but because I knew what it was about and it just seemed bleak and full of despair.  I finally did see it and it’s very very good, but it belies what most of the cast and crew had done before or would do afterwards.


Educating Rita

  • Director:  Lewis Gilbert
  • Genre:  Comedy  (Romantic)
  • Distributor:  Columbia
  • Year:  1983
  • Country:  England
  • Major Awards:  Picture (BAFTA), A Screenplay (NH, AA, BAFTA, GG), Actor (NH, AA, BAFTA, GG), Actress (NH, AA, BAFTA, GG), S. Actress (BAFTA), Foreign (GG)
  • N.A. Gross:  $14,648,076
  • Entry Rank:  #503
  • The Film:  A very charming Romantic Comedy about an English professor whose marriage is on the rocks and the working class woman that he starts to tutor and of course falls in love with.  This should have been the film to win Michael Caine his first Oscar.  Also wins Nighthawk Globes for Adapted Screenplay and Actress.  Fully reviewed here.



  • Director:  Bryan Singer
  • Genre:  Action  (Comic Book (Marvel-X))
  • Distributor:  Fox  (20th Century-Fox)
  • Year:  2000
  • Country:  U.S.
  • N.A. Gross:  $157,299,718
  • WW Gross:  $296,339,528
  • Entry Rank:  #757
  • The Film:  This was the first major step, paving the way for the success of Spider-Man and the path for comic book films to take over the box office.  It’s not just that it was successful (which it was) but that it was really good.  It stayed true to the roots without using any specific storyline and did a great job in casting the film, not to mention giving us the pairing of Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart which is still wowing people today.


As If I Am Not There

  • Director:  Juanita Wilson
  • Genre:  War  (Random War)
  • Distributor:  Corinth Films
  • Year:  2010 but OE for Foreign in 2011
  • Country:  Ireland  (Bosnian)
  • Major Awards:  Foreign (NH)
  • WW Gross:  $8,347
  • Entry Rank:  #977
  • The Film:  A hard movie to watch as it details the kind of horrific events going on in Bosnia during the Bosnian War in the 1990s.  Natasha Petrovic gives a magnificent performance as a schoolteacher who is caught up in some of the most awful events of the time.  Ireland’s Oscar submission in 2011, which was only allowed because they changed the rule about languages a few years before.  But it wasn’t nominated even though it was the second-best of all the submissions (including Le Havre, mentioned above), beaten out only by the Oscar winner A Separation.


The Tempest

  • Director:  Julie Taymor
  • Genre:  Fantasy  (Shakespeare)
  • Distributor:  Miramax
  • Year:  2010
  • Country:  U.S.
  • N.A. Gross:  $277,943
  • WW Gross:  $405,861
  • Entry Rank:  #959
  • The Film:  It’s a coincidence that Felicity Jones plays Miranda and resembles the image of Natasha Petrovic above.  The real star of the film is Helen Mirren as a female Prospero in Julie Taymor’s fascinating, visually magnificent version of Shakespeare’s play.  Fitting that one of Shakespeare’s last plays should also be the last film released by Miramax.  One of my favorite plays and made all the more personal because when my sister’s class did it in sixth grade, she also played Prospero (though played him as a male, if I recall correctly).



  • Director:  Djibril Diop Mambéty
  • Genre:  Comedy
  • Distributor:  Kino International
  • Year:  1992  (OE: 1995)
  • Country:  Senegal  (Wolof)
  • Major Awards:  Foreign  (NH)
  • N.A. Gross:  $24,672
  • Entry Rank:  #630
  • The Film:  I first saw this film in college because my old roommate had put together an international film series.  A fascinating, very dark Comedy about a man in charge of a town who gets his comeuppance.  Not even submitted to the Oscars but better than any of the nominees from 1992.


The Chalk Garden

  • Director:  Ronald Neame
  • Genre:  Drama  (Play Adaptation)
  • Distributor:  Universal
  • Year:  1964
  • Country:  England
  • Major Awards:  Picture (GG), Actress (NH, BAFTA), S. Actress (AA, NH, NBR)
  • N.A. Gross:  $5,720,000  (@-re)
  • Entry Rank:  #327
  • The Film:  Did any father and daughter ever play opposite each other in films as many times or as effectively as John and Hayley Mills?  Here, John is the butler on an estate while Hayley is the spoiled child.  Deborah Kerr comes into both of their lives and upends them.  A full review here because it has one of the ten best adapted scripts of 1964.


Jurassic Park

  • Director:  Steven Spielberg
  • Genre:  Horror  (Monster – Dinosaur)
  • Distributor:  Universal
  • Year:  1993
  • Country:  U.S.
  • N.A. Gross:  $402,828,120
  • WW Gross:  $1,032,020,521
  • Entry Rank:  #644
  • The Film:  What a perfect pairing – the most popular director of all-time with the most popular writer of the day.  If it’s not as good as Spielberg’s previous films to hold the all-time box office title (Jaws, E.T.), it is still incredibly thrilling and the visual effects still stand up as magnificent with a fantastic John Williams score to top it off.  The first Spielberg film on the list but there will be more, even before the end of this post as he will contend for the most spots on the list.  He also had a couple of films fall off the list before 2011 but most of his films make the list and stay.



  • Director:  Christopher Nolan
  • Genre:  Suspense  (Cop)
  • Distributor:  Warner Bros
  • Year:  2002
  • Country:  U.S.
  • N.A. Gross:  $67,355,513
  • WW Gross:  $113,758,770
  • Entry Rank:  #801
  • The Film:  Can a remake be as good as the original?  Well, in the hands of a director like Christopher Nolan, a taught Swedish Suspense film becomes something even more, with strong performances from Al Pacino as a very weary cop and Robin Williams as a crafty killer.  Vitally important to Nolan’s career as this was the first film he made at Warners.  This is Nolan’s lowest ranked film and by that, I don’t mean on the list.  I mean at all.


Superman II

  • Director:  Richard Donner
  • Genre:  Action  (Comic Book (DC-Superman))
  • Distributor:  Warner Bros
  • Year:  1980  (OE: 1981)
  • Country:  U.S.
  • N.A. Gross:  $108,185,706
  • Entry Rank:  #476
  • The Film:  Yes, Richard Donner was bounced and his vision was amazing and his cut should definitely be watched.  But that doesn’t mean that the finished product wasn’t the rare sequel better than the original (the original didn’t make the list – coming in at #1154), and, for a long time, the best (and then, from 1989 to 2002, the second-best) comic book movie ever made.  Great action, great villains and a fun storyline.  Fully reviewed here.


State and Main

  • Director:  David Mamet
  • Genre:  Comedy  (Satire)
  • Distributor:  New Line  (Fine Line)
  • Year:  2000
  • Country:  U.S.
  • N.A. Gross:  $6,944,471
  • WW Gross:  $9,206,279
  • Entry Rank:  #752
  • TSPDT Rank:  #914
  • The Film:  Hollywood meets small town but by way of David Mamet.  So we get a great ensemble cast, some really biting lines (“What does he like?”  “14 year old girls.”  “Well, get him something else. We want to get out of this town alive. Get him half a 28-year-old girl.”) and a satire that really hits it to both small towns and to Hollywood without flinching either time.


Walk the Line

  • Director: James Mangold
  • Genre:  Musical  (Biopic – Musician – Rock)
  • Distributor:  Fox  (20th Century Fox)
  • Year:  2005
  • Country:  U.S.
  • Major Awards:  Picture (GG, PGA), Actor (AA, SAG, BAFTA, GG), Actress (NH, AA, SAG, BAFTA, GG, NYFC, NSFC, BSFC)
  • N.A. Gross:  $119,519,402
  • WW Gross:  $186,797,986
  • Entry Rank:  #865
  • The Film:  Yes, it’s easy to dismiss this as Ray with white people.  But this is actually a much better constructed film than Ray, with two great performances anchoring it instead of one (Phoenix just misses out on a Nighthawk nomination).  Also, there’s the music, which I much prefer.  Provides some very good moments to be parodied in Walk Hard.


Deconstructing Harry

  • Director:  Woody Allen
  • Genre:  Comedy
  • Distributor:  New Line  (Fine Line)
  • Year:  1997
  • Country:  U.S.
  • Major Awards:  Screenplay  (NH, AA)
  • N.A. Gross:  $10,686,841
  • Entry Rank:  #706
  • The Film:  This film, about a writer who alienates all the people that he knows by thinly disguising them in his fiction was released just a couple of months after I sent out a short story as a serial to my friends without even bothering to disguise them in it, so it was perfectly timed for me.  One of Allen’s darkest, most bitter comedies, but with significant bite to it, and a great ensemble cast as usual.  Allen is the first director to appear twice on the list.


Angst essen Seele auf
(Ali: Fear Eats the soul)

  • Director:  Rainer Werner Fassbinder
  • Genre:  Drama
  • Distributor:  New Yorker Films
  • Year:  1974  (OE: 1976)
  • Country:  West Germany  (German)
  • Major Awards:  Actress (NH), Foreign (NH)
  • N.A. Gross:  $8,144  (ri)
  • WW Gross:  $15,698  (ri)
  • Entry Rank:  #419
  • The Film:  For the most part, Fassbinder’s films haven’t worked for me.  This is the definite exception, a strongly told tale of a romance between a late middle-aged German woman and a much younger Moroccan immigrant.  Things don’t go well for them but Fassbinder tells the tale with care and pathos.  Ebert included it in his first Great Movies book.


La Reine Margot
(Queen Margot)

  • Director:  Patrice Chéreau
  • Genre:  Drama  (Historical)
  • Distributor:  Miramax
  • Year:  1994
  • Country:  France  (French)
  • Major Awards:  Actress (NH), Foreign (BAFTA, GG)
  • N.A. Gross:  $1,304,237
  • WW Gross:  $1,318,578  (ic)
  • Entry Rank:  #661
  • The Film:  On the other hand, Ebert missed the boat with this one.  Isabelle Adjani gives one of the best performances of 1994 (which no one acknowledged) as the queen who marries the converted Henri de Navarre and the historical disasters that followed, derived partly from history and partly from the Dumas novel.  Covered a bit more here.


La sirène du Mississippi
(Mississippi Mermaid)

  • Director:  Francois Truffaut
  • Genre:  Drama  (Romance)
  • Distributor:  United Artists
  • Year:  1969  (OE: 1970)
  • Country:  France  (French)
  • Major Awards:  Director (NH), Foreign (NH)
  • N.A. Gross:  $33,725  (ri)
  • Entry Rank:  #369
  • The Film:  Francois Truffaut takes a bit of a pulpish novel and manages to craft a fascinating Drama with a real element of suspense to it as well, transplanting a story from the Mississippi Delta to the Indian Ocean with two of the great stars of French cinema.  Fully reviewed here because it’s one of the 10 best adapted screenplays of 1970.  Remade very badly in America over 30 years later.  It’s good to have Truffaut here.  He had two films that fell off in the late 00s (Last Metro, Story of Adele H) and he won’t appear again until the seventh post.


After Hours

  • Director:  Martin Scorsese
  • Genre:  Comedy  (Black)
  • Distributor:  Warner Bros
  • Year:  1985
  • Country:  U.S.
  • Major Awards:  Actor (GG), S. Actress (BAFTA)
  • N.A. Gross:  $10,609,321
  • Entry Rank:  #519
  • The Film:  Imagine a dark night of the soul, where everything you come across turns to darkness and then things just get worse and worse.  Now imagine that same night, but instead it’s a very black Comedy and it’s being directed by Martin Scorsese (the first of many appearances on the list).  Poor Griffin Dunne can’t seem to have anything good happen to him but then everything comes back around.  It doesn’t manage any Nighthawk nominations but it earns Picture, Director and Supporting Actress noms in the Comedy awards.  It also was a the winner of the first Indie Spirit for Picture and Director.  Surprisingly, Scorsese only had four films fall off the list before 2011.


(Kuroneko; Yabu no naka no kuroneko; A Black Cat in a Bamboo Grove)

  • Director:  Kaneto Shindo
  • Genre:  Horror  (Supernatural)
  • Distributor:  Toho
  • Year:  1968
  • Country:  Japan  (Japanese)
  • Major Awards:  Foreign (NH)
  • Entry Rank:  #359
  • The Film:  Two women are brutally raped by passing samurai.  The women’s ghosts then return to wreck a brutal vengeance.  A dark, supernatural Horror film from Japan that would get more recognition when Criterion would give it a DVD release over 30 years later.  Dark and disturbing but worth every minute.


Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
(“the one with the whales”)

  • Director:  Leonard Nimoy
  • Genre:  Sci-Fi  (Star Trek)
  • Distributor:  Paramount
  • Year:  1986
  • Country:  U.S.
  • Major Awards:  A Screenplay (NH)
  • N.A. Gross:  $109,713,132
  • Entry Rank:  #531
  • The Film:  This is the first real attempt to bring comedy into a Star Trek film (it had been used quite well in some of the best episodes of the original series).  Generally regarded (not just by me) as the second best of the original cast films, this is the one where they go back to 1986 San Francisco to bring back some humpback whales to save humanity.  Mentioned here because of being one of the best adapted screenplays of the year but that will also link to the full review.


Groundhog Day

  • Director:  Harold Ramis
  • Genre:  Comedy
  • Distributor:  Columbia
  • Year:  1993
  • Country:  U.S.
  • Major Awards:  Screenplay (NH, BAFTA)
  • N.A. Gross:  $70,906,973
  • Entry Rank:  #636
  • The Film:  It says a lot about the Academy and the Globes that they went for the soppiness of Sleepless in Seattle (for Picture at the Globes and Screenplay at the Oscars) rather than the brilliance of this film.  It also says a lot about karma or coincidence or whatever you want to call it that when my best friend and I came out of the theater after seeing this, “I’ve Got You Babe” was actually on the radio.  What happens when you live one day over and over?  What would you do?  How would you cope?  This film brilliantly answers that question with a lot of hilarity.


Les dimanches de Ville d’Avray
(Sundays and Cybele)

  • Director:  Serge Bourguignon
  • Genre:  Drama
  • Distributor:  Columbia
  • Year:  1962  (OE: 1963)
  • Country:  France  (French)
  • Major Awards:  A Screenplay (AA), Foreign (NH, AA, NBR)
  • Entry Rank:  #305
  • The Film:  Fully reviewed here because of its Adapted Screenplay Oscar nomination and because it’s one of the ten best adapted screenplays for 1963.  A man and a young girl who has just been dumped at an orphanage by her father find an odd friendship that allows him to try and escape from his past and her to escape from her present.  I summed it up as such: “It is the beautiful story of two lost souls who try to find something in each other and in the end, it is life that takes it away.”



  • Director:  Bennett Miller
  • Genre:  Drama  (Sports – True Story)
  • Distributor:  Columbia
  • Year:  2011
  • Country:  U.S.
  • Major Awards:  Picture (AA, PGA, GG, BFCA), A Screenplay (AA, BAFTA, GG, BFCA, NYFC, NSFC, BSFC, CFC), Actor (NH, SAG, AA, BAFTA, BFCA, GG, NYFC, BSFC), S. Actor (SAG, AA, BAFTA, GG)
  • N.A. Gross:  $75,605,492
  • WW Gross:  $110,206,216
  • Entry Rank:  #959
  • TSPDT Rank:  #578  (21-C)
  • The Film:  A really good film that doesn’t let the truth get in the way of its good story.  To be fair, it was the book that didn’t let the truth get in the way of the narrative it wanted to sell (see my original review for more on that).  But it makes great use of Brad Pitt (certainly his best lead performance up to that point by a long way) and it manages to distill the art of what Billy Beane was trying to do into a narrative that’s easy to understand for the viewers with some really good film-making.  Just the second Oscar nominee and both are from the expanded BP Era.



(Red Beard; Akahige)

  • Director:  Akira Kurosawa
  • Genre:  Drama
  • Distributor:  Toho
  • Year:  1965  (OE: 1966)
  • Country:  Japan (Japanese)
  • Major Awards:  Picture (NH), Director (NH), Actor (NH), Sup. Actress (NH), Foreign (NH)
  • N.A. Gross:  $46,808  (ri)
  • Entry Rank:  #330
  • The Film:  Fully reviewed here because 1966 was a really weak Oscar year, making this one of the lowest films on the Top 1000 to actually earn a Nighthawk nomination for Best Picture.  Very good story of a doctor who is training a younger doctor in a rural area with a tour-de-force performance from Toshiro Mifune in what turned out to be his last collaboration with Kurosawa.  The first of a lot of Kurosawa films on the list although he also has a lot that didn’t make the list with a whopping 10 films that were on the list and got bumped by 2011.



  • Director:  Fred Schepisi
  • Genre:  Comedy  (Play Adaptation)
  • Distributor:  Columbia
  • Year:  1987
  • Country:  U.S.
  • Major Awards:  A. Screenplay (NH, WGA), Actor (NH, Globe, LAFC, NSFC)
  • N.A. Gross:  $40,054,884
  • Entry Rank:  #542
  • The Film:  When I first saw this film in the theater I had never heard of the original play or any of the film versions of Cyrano de Bergerac, let alone seen them so it was only later that I realized how brilliantly Steve Martin had transplanted the whole concept (especially the 20 insults) into the Pacific Northwest.  A wonderful Romantic Comedy that’s fully reviewed here.



  • Director:  Michael Mann
  • Genre:  Crime  (Heist)
  • Distributor:  Warner Bros
  • Year:  1995
  • Country:  U.S.
  • N.A. Gross:  $67,436,818
  • WW Gross:  $187,436,818
  • Entry Rank:  #668
  • The Film:  I remember coming out of the film with friends and one of them saying “I wish had Kilmer’s gun” and me replying “I wish had De Niro’s ability to grow that goatee.”  One hell of an Action film (though I classify it as Crime) with Pacino and De Niro finally facing off on screen over 20 years after they played father and son but not in the same time period in the second Godfather.  How this film wasn’t nominated for its sound in either category at the Oscars baffles me.


The Claim

  • Director:  Michael Winterbottom
  • Genre:  Drama  (Lit Adaptation – Hardy)
  • Distributor:  United Artists
  • Year:  2000
  • Country:  U.K.
  • N.A. Gross:  $669,258
  • WW Gross:  $216,578
  • Entry Rank:  #739
  • The Film:  Michael Winterbottom tackles Thomas Hardy for the second time (he had already made Jude) with better results.  This U.S.-set version of The Mayor of Casterbridge has already been reviewed in full because it was one of the Top 10 Adapted Screenplays of 2000.  It’s bleak and desolate and you know there’s no happiness at the end, but it’s also very well acted and written and shot.


Love with the Proper Stranger

  • Director:  Robert Mulligan
  • Genre:  Drama  (Romance)
  • Distributor:  Paramount
  • Year:  1963
  • Country:  U.S.
  • Major Awards:  Screenplay (NH, WGA, AA), Actor (GG), Actress (NH, AA, GG)
  • N.A. Gross:  $7,700,000  (@-re)
  • Entry Rank:  #316
  • The Film:  This film does have the improbability that anyone could sleep with Natalie Wood and somehow not remember it.  On the other hand, it is a well-told and very well-acted (perhaps the best performance of McQueen’s career) film about a salesclerk who is knocked up by a musician after a one-night stand and now the two have to learn to get to know each other.


Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

  • Director:  Steven Spielberg
  • Genre:  Fantasy
  • Distributor:  Paramount
  • Year:  1989
  • Country:  U.S.
  • Major Awards:  S. Actor (GG, BAFTA)
  • N.A. Gross:  $197,171,806
  • WW Gross:  $474,310,887
  • Entry Rank:  #576
  • The Film:  I loved this film from the minute I saw it, on opening day in the theater.  I loved that they went with the Grail as the object and even more that they didn’t manage to bring it back at the end of the store.  Great adventure, great music, great supporting comedic performances, great sound and great fun all combine together.  Reviewed in full here.  This makes Spielberg the second director with two films on the list.



  • Director:  Gavin Hood
  • Genre:  Drama
  • Distributor:  Miramax
  • Year:  2005  (OE: 2006)
  • Country:  South Africa  (Zulu / Xhosa / Afrikaans)
  • Major Awards:  Foreign Film (NH, AA, BAFTA, GG)
  • N.A. Gross:  $2,912,606
  • WW Gross:  $9,891,303
  • Entry Rank:  #849
  • The Film:  Only the fourth South African film ever submitted to the Oscars and a surprise winner over Paradise Now, especially since it hadn’t won the Globe or the BAFTA.  It’s the story of a young thief who steals a car only to discover that there’s a baby in the back seat.  Both this and Hanussen were ineligible in other categories because they didn’t get an L.A. release in the year they were nominated for Best Foreign Film.



  • Director:  István Szabó
  • Genre:  Drama  (True Story)
  • Distributor:  Columbia
  • Year:  1988  (OE: 1989)
  • Country:  Hungary  (Hungarian)
  • Major Awards:  Foreign (NH, AA, GG)
  • N.A. Gross:  $82,635
  • Entry Rank:  #555
  • The Film:  A fascinating story of an odd man, Klaus Schneider, whose life parallels Hitler’s rise.  He turns out to have empathic powers.  Fascinating story that earned an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Film but don’t overlook the compelling lead performance from Klaus Maria Brandauer.  This is the best of three films by Szabó in the 80s that initially made the list, all starring Brandauer, but Colonel Redl fell off in 1988 and Mephisto fell off in 2000.