“Story is the breath of human connection.”
~ Stephanie Joy Russell Grable ~
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Films – Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Suspense, Thriller, Superhero, Action Adventure – they all have one main thing in common (hopefully), and that is “story.” This list is more than favorites, it’s really many cherished stories with themes of courage, sacrifice, inspiration, mentors, family, responsibility, heroes, Father/Son, Male/Female, and self-discovery.
When I read a Blog Post with the same type of list from OnTheScreenReviews, I knew I would be doing a list soon. Here is my list of favorite films, from A to Z, and starting with a film whose name begins with a number
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# – 12 Angry Men (1957)
Great cast. Great film. A lesson in doing the right thing, this courtroom drama, or rather Jury Room story presents the idea in the U.S. court system that the defendant is innocent until proven guilty. Still considered a classic, first-rate film.
A – The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
I loved this film from the first time I saw it as a kid on Saturday afternoon
TV. It’s still as good as ever. Some actors are completely identified with one character that they have played. Errol Flynn will always be fondly remembered as Robin Hood.
B – The Bourne Identity (2002)
The Bourne films with Matt Damon are the best Action films of the last 15 years. It’s hard to pick, but for me the first in the series just beats the others as my favorite.
Although my favorite Humphrey Bogart film is actually The Big Sleep, what’s not to like about the movie that often tops the best of all time lists. Funny, I watched When Harry Met Sally several times, with it’s references to Casablanca, before I finally saw, and loved it. Thus, my favorite film that begins with a “C” is Casablanca.
As is most often the case, the first in a series is the movie I like the most. Bruce Willis, perfect as off-duty detective John McClane, and Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber, he’s one of my favorite bad guys.
I really like Tim Burton and his off beat view of things as presented in his films. And when you put him together with Johnny Depp you get something as oddly different and wonderful as this film. Not to mention the well deserved Academy Award winning performance of Martin Landau as Bela Lugosi.
F – Fiddler on the Roof (1971)
I amaze myself. A musical on my Favorites list. But I was hooked from the opening song “Tradition.” I so admire Tevye, his resilience, devotion to family, faith in God, and remarkable sense of humor, as he struggles to adapt to change. He’s always been like a father figure to me.
G – Groundhog Day (1993)
I’ve always loved movies where there’s movement toward redemption. Here, the transformation isn’t forced, and makes total sense because Phil just get’s tired of being a jerk. Combine that with a movie that’s laugh out loud funny, clever, and at times a little bizarre – It’s pure comedy at it’s best.
H – His Girl Friday (1940)
In this great romantic comedy Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell share some of the best movie dialogue ever and deliver every line with delicious precision. Cary Grant, one of my favorites, at his best.
I – It’s A Wonderful Life (1946)
The movie is summed up by George Bailey’s guarding angel, Clarence, “Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?” The movie is a reminder of the power of one life, the impact one person can have.
The movie that defined the word “Blockbuster.” The screen isn’t cluttered with hundreds of space ships dodging and blasting each other or thousands of CGI warriors in battle – not that there’s anything wrong with those things. If you get to see this film in a theater, with its images of a single boat (called the Orca), or a close-up of one of the characters, police chief Brody, shark hunter Quint, or oceanographer Matt Hooper filling up the screen – along with the groans, cheers and laughter of the audience – it’s simply movie heaven.
K – Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)
A great story, wonderful soundtrack, and just a visually stunning stop-motion animated film. One of the very best non-Disney/Pixar animated movies ever made. It was a close choice as I do really like Kill Bill: Vol. 1 & 2 (2003-2004), the original King Kong (1933), and a first-rate foreign film, Kung Fu Hustle (2004). Still, Kubo slips ahead of the others for my letter “K” spot.
L – The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
It’s a story of friendship, loyalty, courage, honor, and sacrifice. The friendship of Frodo and Sam shines in the movie. As Sam says, “I made a promise, Mr Frodo. A promise. ‘Don’t you leave him Samwise Gamgee.’ And I don’t mean to. I don’t mean to.”
Keanu Reeves is great as Neo in this visually stunning Sci-Fi Action film. The film that had a big impact on many films to follow, especially it’s very cool “bullet time” visual effect.
N – North by Northwest (1959)
Alfred Hitchcock, whose more than 50 films are as a whole arguably matchless for an overall body of work. In this classic thriller, Cary Grant’s character is mistaken for a spy. So many iconic scenes. Simply wonderful.
A movie of hopes and dreams, a father and son relationship (that’s a choice theme for me), and . . . it’s got rockets! What more could you ask for.
P – The Princess Bride (1987)
Bridging the gap between generations, a grandfather shares a story with his reluctant grandson. It’s a fable packed with adventure, courage, friendship, romance and a whole lot of laughter.
Q – Quantum of Solace (2008)
A terrific James Bond movie. I almost feel guilty for liking Daniel Craig so much when Sean Connery has always been my favorite Bond.
A wonderful thriller, it’s hard to hit upon a better combination than what you find here. One of the cinema’s greatest directors, Alfred Hitchcock, an all-time favorite leading man, Jimmy Stewart, and not only a stunning actress, but one of the most beautiful women to ever walk the face of the earth, Grace Kelly. (Essential Note: Ms. Kelly is second only to my dazzling wife).
S – Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)
I just call it “Star Wars.” George Lucas, at the top of his game, delivered the perfect story. He really didn’t need to go back and mess with little bits here and there, along with the title change. But, no matter – I still love the film.
T – Toy Story 1 & 2 (1995 & 1999)
Forgetting that they’re animated, these are two amazing films. I’m unable to rate one above the other. Giving life and personality to toys – pure fantasy that makes me believe it’s actually true.
The Sixth Sense is a great movie but I love M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable more. An awesome story of a superhero unaware of his power and dealing with his family. A sequel could be great.
Another Alfred Hitchcock film, again with Jimmy Stewart. All Hitchcock’s protagonists are flawed yet likeable characters. They are people we can identify with. Kim Novak, another of Hitchcock’s “blondes” is excellent as Madeleine, and Jimmy Stewart is amazing as Scottie Ferguson who’s obsessed with her.
W – When Harry Met Sally (1989)
Easily my favorite Romantic Comedy. The insights into male/female relationships continue to ring true and are delivered with such comic delight.
X – The X-Files (1998)
The movie captures the heart of the TV series, a groundbreaking Sci-fi drama. Agents Mulder and Scully involved in a larger scale version of a TV episode, that I felt was pulled off with great style .
Y – You’ve Got Mail (1998)
Two likeable actors playing two likeable characters, though Tom Hanks’ character Joe Fox starts off a bit arrogant. And I still love the setting stated by the title that captures the beginning of our dependence on the email age. Can’t believe that was only 1998.
Z – Zelig (1983)
Woody Allen is another director with a bountiful body of work, although unlike Alfred Hitchcock, Allen is hit and miss. But when he’s on the mark, which many of his films are, he can come up with a creative and hugely entertaining film, like Zelig. Nearly all his films he writes, directs, and even stars in. This “mockumentary” is almost believeable, and so much fun.
My hobby’s are reading books and watching movies. I just love stories. I learn a lot about other people, and about myself through stories, fiction and non-fiction.
There are so many wonderful films out there, but it wasn’t too hard for me to make up the list. I’ve made lists of “Favorite Movies” before. One letter I found interesting was “S.” I realized I have a whole lot of films that I really, really like that begin with that letter. Some of those that fell just short of taking their place on the list include; Saving Private Ryan (1998), Shawn of the Dead (2004), Seven Samurai (1954), Secondhand Lions (2003), Sense and Sensibility (1995), The Shawshank Redemption (1994), and The Sixth Sense (1999).
The quote at the top of the post:
“Story is the breath of human connection.”
I love that quote.
And I love the person whom I am quoting.
It happens to be my daughter, Stephanie. Being a parent, and especially having her in my life has taught me so many things. Shes grown now and married.
I’ve always loved films, but it was my daughter Stephanie, who has taught me a lot about story. As an only child she has always loved reading, and she inspired me to become an avid reader. And discussions with her have contributed to my understanding of how important story has been for me in my life.
Thank you Stephanie. I love you!