Top 10 Favorite Films

Saving Private Ryan (1998)
If you’re a movie-watcher, it’s probably not hard for you to pick out an all-time favorite – a film that has affected you, and still affects you, in a uniquely powerful way. For me, that special film is Saving Private Ryan. Nothing else I’ve seen has quite matched it in terms of sheer magnificence. It’s brutal. It’s heartbreaking. It’s inspiring. And there’s a reason it’s often considered the greatest war film ever made.

Inception (2010)
Christopher Nolan is one of my favorite directors, and science fiction is one of my favorite genres. Put the two together, and what do you get? Inception – a thoughtful, stimulating, and utterly gripping Sci-Fi film that ranks among the best of this decade or any decade. To borrow the words of another critic, “Inception is proof that people are not stupid, that cinema is not trash, and that it is possible for blockbusters and art to be the same thing.”

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2000-2003)
Rich, captivating, epic, and breathtaking – just like Tolkien’s books. With a perfect cast, brilliant special effects, and energetic storytelling, this is a masterful fantasy film trilogy. Director Peter Jackson’s book-to-screen adaption is one of the best I’ve ever encountered, and he is to be highly commended for staying so faithful to Tolkien’s vision.

The Bourne Trilogy (2002-2007)
My one word review of this brilliant action trilogy would be simple: Wow. Impeccably casted and perfectly paced, it brings a superb sense of gritty reality to a genre that’s too often over-produced. The story is intelligent and believable, the characters are well-conceived, and the action sequences are absolutely stunning to watch. Expert cinematography, smooth pacing, smart script. Seriously, what’s not to love?

The Dark Knight (2008)
Another Christopher Nolan film in my top five. For those old enough to handle it, The Dark Knight offers a breathtakingly rich and thought-provoking viewing experience, mostly because it’s so much more than just a well-done superhero film. It’s a piece of art; an explosive morality play on an epic scale. Despite succumbing to neo-existentialism toward the end, it concerns itself with a number of profound and weighty themes, and I guarantee you’ll find yourself thinking about it long after the end credits have finished rolling.

District 9 (2009)
An exceptional movie. Harsh and brutal though it is, Neill Blomkamp’s envisioning of the “alien vs. human” scenario offers an intensely powerful story of redemption and self-sacrifice; by proxy, we also get a thoughtful exploration of mass persecution, segregation, and genocide. If you’re a Sci-Fi fan, you’ve simply gotta give District 9 a look. It has potent allegory, ambitious sci-fi action, and emotionally-wrenching drama thrown together in a spectacular combination.

The Matrix (1999)
A classic, and it’s not even 15 years old. With a one-of-a-kind premise, fabulous execution, and mind-blowing special effects (most notably “bullet-time”), The Matrix is complete and utter awesomeness. The action sequences will leave you stunned and the themes will get you thinking. I can’t recommend this one enough. Now, excuse me while I choose between the blue pill and the red pill…

Gladiator (2000)
Despite some flaws in its historical accuracy, Gladiator is a magnificent epic: thoughtful, stirring, and poignant. It’s a thrilling story that also functions as an indictment of the bloodlust of the Roman Games. Plus, it’s not hard to see why Russell Crowe garnered an Oscar for his role. He plays the heroic protagonist brilliantly: his Maximus is a man of honor and unflinching resolve, a man who loves his country, loves his family, and never backs down from fighting for what is right.

Cinderella Man (2005)
This became a favorite of mine when I first watched it, and it has been ever since. Fantastic stuff. By the time I got to the end credits, I wanted to stand up and cheer. Why? Because Cinderella Man isn’t merely the story of a great boxer: it’s the story of a man fighting for his family. I’ve seen it 3 or 4 times now, and it still packs a tremendous punch. (And yes – that pun was totally intended.)

Collateral (2004)
Not only one of Michael Mann’s best thrillers, but also one of the best thrillers, period. Collateral is a gritty crime film that requires your brain to come along for the ride – and believe me, it’s a ride you won’t soon forget. The script is brilliantly written, the plotting is superb; and best of all, the raw performances of Cruise and Foxx provide ample opportunity for rich, thoughtful character studies that will provoke plenty of intelligent discussion long after the film is over.

The Road (2009)
A top-notch adaption of Cormac McCarthy’s brilliant novel, The Road is a remarkable film. Ugly, yet beautiful; touching, yet devastating; poignant, yet terrifying. The story, though grim, offers an incredibly powerful depiction of sacrifice, devotion, and the bond between a father and his son – all against the backdrop of a ravaged world. I’m not joking when I say that this should be required viewing for older male audiences.

So there you are: my top 10 (okay, 11) favorite films. Now, what are yours? Share your thoughts down below in the comments section!

54 thoughts on “Top 10 Favorite Films”

  1. I’ve not seen them all, but judging from the quality of the few I’ve seen, I trust that the rest are as superb. The only other thing I need to know, really (and you can whisper if you need to) is how many boxes of tissue you needed during each of these. :-) You think I’d like The Matrix?

    1. If you’re going to watch Saving Private Ryan, District 9, Gladiator, Cinderella Man, or The Road, several boxes of tissues are probably required. :)

      Would you like The Matrix? If you like clever ideas, awesome action, and sunglasses, then my answer is an unequivocal “yes.” :D

  2. Great list! Having recently put a lot of thought into my own top ten list, I closely considered a few that you have here, and of course all guys like Gladiator! :) Saving Private Ryan, The Matrix, Cinderella Man, and Bourne would probably be in my top 20. By the way, if you liked The Matrix, check out Equilibrium. I should probably give District 9 and Inception another try. After reading The Road, I was too depressed to get all the way through the movie too, haha. I would go with The Book of Eli as my favorite post-apocalyptic. Lord of the Rings is always great, but after reading the books I found Frodo’s weakness and tendency to quarrel with Sam in the movies to be frustrating. Collateral is very cool. My opinions of movies tend to change over time, so I’m glad to get your insight to keep me open minded about some that I may not have otherwise paid enough attention to. As usual, keep up the great posts.

    1. Of course – ‘cuz Gladiator is awesome. I like the fact that Russel Crowe generally plays “manly man” roles. He’s one of my favorite actors. :)

      The Book Of Eli is one of my favorite post-apocalyptic films, too (Denzel Washington is phenomenal), and I’ve also seen Equilibrium. Great film, and severely underrated.

      Thanks for the thorough comment, Ben. I appreciate it! :D

    1. Life Is Beautiful is brilliant, and I recently added K-Pax to the queue (along with Schindler’s List). I own both A Beautiful Mind and The Shawshank Redemption, just haven’t watched ’em yet. :D

      Thanks so much for the comment!

      1. If you are going to watch them, start with A Beautiful Mind. It’s a movie based on a true story that left a mark in my life. My wife loved it and I cannot wait to watch it with my daughter when she turn 13teen in 2025.

      1. If you’re referring to my list as having “too much action and little thought,” then I must confess to being puzzled and amused. :) All of the films listed are far from unintelligent or lacking in food-for-thought.

          1. Thanks for sharing. I have several of those films in the NF queue… I’ll have to bump them up a few places. :) (Glad to see The Prestige mentioned – a true mind-bender)

  3. Like many other comments, I too found several of my top 10 in your list as well, such as Lord of the Rings, the Matrix, and Gladiator. However, you missed one of my absolute favourites – Braveheart! My family is from Scotland, so that is why it is one of my fave’s…
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Ah yes… Braveheart. :) I think I’m one of the only guys I know who didn’t particularly care for that one. A rousing and well-made film to be sure – I just found it hard to enjoy due to the very innaccurate portrayal of William Wallace. Since he’s pretty much my favorite historical figure/hero, it was kinda hard for me to swallow. :)

      That’s totally cool that your family hails from Scotland. Scottish history is so fascinating. :)

      1. I hear ya, Ink Slinger… I think I’ve yet to see any historical fiction movie that is accurate in their portrayal of events… Hollywood liberties and all that! But… still a fun movie. I’d love to visit Scotland one day myself…

  4. I think “Cinderella Man” was an outstanding movie that didn’t get as much attention as it should have. Anyone who missed out on seeing it, missed a fine film. My favorite film of all time is “Out of Africa.”

    1. Thanks for commenting! :) Totally agree about Cinderella Man. I haven’t seen Out Of Africa, but this is the second time it’s been recommended to me in the last 24 hrs, so I’m going to hafta check it out.

  5. Dear Ink Slinger,

    Have not seen any of your movies (have only watched a handful in the last 20yrs:), but should the the occasion arise think we will start with the Bourne series. “Life Is Beautiful” is probably my all time favorite.
    Did see a movie called “They Call Me Sirr”, which to me was very rich. Also, the film “Quo Vadis” from 1951, may bore you to tears, but Peter Ustinov’s portrayal of Nero is worth seeing. Speaking of Sir Ustinov did anyone mention “Luther”?
    In Christ alone, charisse

    1. Great choice! The Bourne films are downright awesome. Hence their placing in my top 5. :D I added both Quo Vadis and They Call Me Sirr to the NF queue. I’ve seen Luther – very good film, though I prefer the 1953 version, starring Niall MacGinnis. Have you seen that one?

      Thank you for the comment, Charrise! :)

      1. OK, super excited about the 1953 version of “Luther”! Will see if they have it on NF. One other recent release, “October Baby” I would highly recommend.

          1. One additional movie is “The Jack Bull”. Along the western lines with a twist of American grit.

  6. What?!? No westerns?? *grin*

    I am so with you on LOTRs. Those have got to be my all time favorites…..of course, excepting the way they twist the storyline and characters. *shaking head at Hollywood*

    I know this is an old one, but another one of my favorites is The Great Escape.

    Thanks for the list and ideas!!

      1. I’ve actually never seen a Clint Eastwood but I have a friend who’s not too keen on him. I’m a total John Wayne fan :)

        Haha :D

        1. I don’t care for all of Eastwood’s stuff, but he’s made some real humdingers in his career: Josey Wales, Flags Of Our Fathers, and Gran Torino, so name a few.

          Oh, and I like The Duke, too. :D

          1. Hmmmm…..maybe I should check out some Eastwood stuff. Variety can be nice :D

            Glad to hear you like The Duke…you just raised yourself a couple notches in my esteem LOL

  7. Wow, you picked some of my favorites here, so there’s gonna be some repeats.

    Favorite films:

    1. Misery (1990)
    2. The Dark Knight (2008)
    3. Inception (2011)
    4. The Matrix Trilogy (1999-2003)
    5. Rocky 1-4 (1977-1985)
    6. Mission Impossible 1-4 (1996-2011)
    7. The Patriot (2000)
    8. Bourne Trilogy (2002-2007)
    9. The Box (2009)
    10. First Blood (1982)

    1. Awesome! Thanks for sharing, Mike! :) First Blood is a terrific film ( and so much better than its sequels), and My Dad and I love The Patriot. Haven’t seen Rocky – I’ll have to check it out. :)

      1. Since I saw you liked Warrior I believe you will like Rocky. Kind of similar, but still different. I like then altogether as a piece, aside from the last two, which I didn’t include in the list.

    1. Hi! Thanks for dropping by! :) Are you referring to Movieology? For a while, they were sharing posts from The Film Dissectors (which I write for), but their website hasn’t been updated for awhile. Probably doing some “remodeling.” :) At any rate, you can still read reviews by The Film Dissectors here, at our website:

  8. Well, don’t tell anybody–but I’ve just recently seen a…..a……*ahem* a sci-fi movie of sorts and….er……um……..I…….I liked it. Shhhhh! Don’t breath a word of it to anyone! I watched this , and even though it freaked me out at some points, I came to the conclusion that it was a good movie, after all. This was Gene’s first starring role, and I think it gives a pretty good indication of his future success as one of America’s (and my) very favorite singing cowboys of the silver screen. :D

    1. *shouts* You watched WHAT? *lowers voice* Ahem, are you serious? A sci-fi film? ;) Good for you, CG. I have seen that one, but thanks for bringing it to my attention. I’m always a sucker for that kind of thing… :D

      1. I only watched it because it stars a singing cowboy. *looks very stubborn* And really, you shouldn’t shout. Now everybody knows. Humph. Thanks.

        Oh, you have seen Phantom Empire? Not all in one sitting, I hope? I thought it was….*shady glances*….I’ll admit it, I did enjoy it. How could I not?
        {gasps} What am I saying? I really must be losing it…….

        1. Whoops… that should be “I haven’t seen that one…” :) Sorry ’bout that. I’ve added it to my TBW list, though. Cowboys and Sci-fi should make an interesting watch. :)

          1. it’s not really cowboys, actually. I mean, it’s placed on a ranch, and Gene wears a cowboy hat, and they ride horses……but it’s not a western at all.

            I just watched “The Giant Gila Monster” (1959). I’m not going to ruin my reputation by telling you what genre it was. :D But I really enjoyed it. That’s one thing about B-Westerns, after a little while you can go to sleep watching them because it’s not exciting enough. At least with the not-western-movies, you’ve got a little bit of adrenal-draining factor. Hee hee!

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