This Top Ten list is a very personal list of “Favorite Films,” but I think most will agree that these films all deserve a high place of honor. These movies embrace themes including heroes, adventure, mentors, courage, responsibility, friendship, family and relationships between men and women – and a lot of laughter.
So here you are – spread over a few posts, I start with number 10:
10 – Saving Private Ryan – Rated R for graphic war violence and language (1998) – War/Drama – In my humble opinion, it was a crime that Shakespeare in Love received the Best Picture award at the 1999 Oscar’s over Saving Private Ryan.
Most everyone knows about the amazing, emotionally riveting first 25 minutes of the film that depicts the assault on Omaha Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944.
A few years back I took a Film Class at a local college. The teacher showed that 25 minute clip. I had the same reaction then as when I first saw the movie in a theater. My body stiffened and my muscles tensed up. An automatic reflex, my head tilted and moved to the side as if to turn away but my eyes continued, fixed on the images. My neck and shoulder muscles were almost painfully tense.
That night, as I drove home after film class, again thinking about the images, the tension in my neck and shoulder muscles returned. That beginning sequence, so realistic, went far beyond the emotional response I’ve had with many other powerful movie moments.
Saving Private Ryan then goes on to skillfully tell the story of a group of men on a mission, summed up by the film’s title. At the heart of the story are these men, doing their best, fighting in World War II – men we often refer to as part of “The Greatest Generation.” Tom Hanks’ character, Captain Miller, sums up this dichotomy – fulfilling this duty and just wanting to be back home with his wife, “I don’t know anything about Ryan. I don’t care. The man means nothing to me. It’s just a name. But if… You know if going to Rumelle and finding him so that he can go home. If that earns me the right to get back to my wife, then that’s my mission.”
9 – The Princess Bride – Rated PG (1987) – Comedy/Adventure/Fantasy – This film has it all – adventure, courage, friendship, romance, family – and a lot of laughter. I was hooked from the opening scene of an elderly man attempting a connection across the seemingly ever widening generation gap with his grandson. As this grandfather reads the book that his father read to him, passed down from generation to generation, we step into one of the most amazing, hilarious and enjoyable adventure stories brought to the screen.
This year I plan to read the book the movie was based on. I really, really, Really Love movies, and came to reading (maybe 15-25 books a year) just in the last 10 years. This movie is so amazing that I find it hard to believe, as some people have told me, that the book is better. I am a bit embarrassed that I haven’t made an effort to read it sooner. It’s my hope and expectation to like it in the same way I thoroughly enjoyed reading Nick Hornby’s book About a Boy last year.
The movie The Princess Bride delightfully takes many turns, often as a result of the wildly engaging dialogue, such as these lines from Miracle Max, “Whoo-hoo-hoo, look who knows so much. It just so happens that your friend here is only MOSTLY dead. There’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead.”
More to come soon in my next post. Let me know some of your All Time Favorite movies.