Here is my long awaited list of my Top Ten Old Movies. The only qualification for this list is that the movies be more than 20 years old approximately. As we all know, the best films were made back in the day with the exception of a few new films like the Departed or The Dark Knight. To introduce my Top Ten List I provided a trailer from the original film.
Top 10 Old Movies
1. Breakfast at Tiffany'sis one Film that you don’t want to miss. The movie is not as dark as the book but Aubrey Hephburn is so endearing as Holly Go Lightly that you don’t want to miss this film.
No film better utilizes Audrey Hepburn's flighty charm and svelte beauty than this romantic adaptation of Truman Capote's novella. Hepburn's urban sophisticate Holly Golightly, an enchanting neurotic living off the gifts of gentlemen, is a bewitching figure in designer dresses and costume jewelry. George Peppard is her upstairs neighbor, a struggling writer and "kept" man financed by a steely older woman (Patricia Neal). His growing friendship with the lonely Holly soon turns to love and threatens the delicate balance of both of their compromised lives.
Taking liberties with Capote's bittersweet story, director Blake Edwards and screenwriter George Axelrod turn
The only sour note in the whole film is Mickey Rooney's demeaning performance as the apartment's Japanese manager, an offensively overdone stereotype even in 1961. The rest of the film has weathered the decades well. Edwards's elegant yet light touch, Axelrod's generous screenplay, and Hepburn's mix of knowing experience and naiveté combine to create one of the great screen romances and a refined slice of high society bohemian chic. --Sean Axmaker
2. Vertigo is another Head Trip that you do not want to miss. I just recently saw this film on VHS and wondered why it had taken me so long to see it. According to Amazon: This film wonderfully realized and brought to the screen by the master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock, is truly one of Hitchcock's very best, a masterpiece of the cinema. Jimmy Stewart gives perhaps his finest performance in this Hitchcock classic, as Stewart is able to express many emotions with just the look in his eyes, fear, longing, love, desperation, anger, and finally total despair. Stewart plays a detective forced to retire fom the police force because of his fear of heights (vertigo).
He later is hired by an old college chum who fears his wife may be possessed by a spirit of a long dead ancestor,and in danger perhaps even from herself. Stewart is asked to follow her to insure that no harm will befall her.
There are many plot twists and turns and for those who may not have seen this classic, I don't want to give away any more of the plot. This film was beautfully restored, but unfortunately released in letterbox form a few years ago. Now thankfully this edition is in widescreen where it can truly be appreciated. The cover art of this DVD edition gives us a glimpse into the magic of Stewart's performance. Not a great success originally at the box office, this film is now universally recognized as one of the finest films ever made.
3. The Shiningwas a spooky thriller that would have made old Al Hitchcock proud. There are probably old movies that are better than this one but I never hesitate to give Steve King some props and he deserves on the list. Plus it is a nice follow up to Vertigo.
Stanley Kubrick's The Shining is less an adaptation of Stephen King's bestselling horror novel than a complete reimagining of it from the inside out. In King's book, the Overlook Hotel is a haunted place that takes possession of its off-season caretaker and provokes him to murderous rage against his wife and young son. Kubrick's movie is an existential Road Runner cartoon (his steadicam scurrying through the hotel's labyrinthine hallways), in which the cavernously empty spaces inside the Overlook mirror the emptiness in the soul of the blocked writer, who's settled in for a long winter's hibernation.
As many have pointed out, King's protagonist goes mad, but Kubrick's Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) is Looney Tunes from the moment we meet him--all arching eyebrows and mischievous grin. (Both Nicholson and Shelley Duvall reach new levels of hysteria in their performances, driven to extremes by the director's fanatical demands for take after take after take.) The Shining is terrifying--but not in the way fans of the novel might expect.
When it was redone as a TV miniseries (reportedly because of King's dissatisfaction with the Kubrick film), the famous topiary-animal attack (which was deemed impossible to film in 1980) was there--but the deeper horror was lost. Kubrick's The Shining gets under your skin and chills your bones; it stays with you, inhabits you, haunts you. And there's no place to hide... --Jim Emerson
4. Jack Nicholson plays another great psycho in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest This is another fine example of a great film that still wasn’t as good as the book but was still good. The casting of this film was perfect.
One of the key movies of the 1970s, when exciting, groundbreaking, personal films were still being made in Hollywood, Milos Forman's One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest emphasized the humanistic story at the heart of Ken Kesey's more hallucinogenic novel. Jack Nicholson was born to play the part of Randle Patrick McMurphy, the rebellious inmate of a psychiatric hospital who fights back against the authorities' cold attitudes of institutional superiority, as personified by Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher).
It's the classic antiestablishment tale of one man asserting his individuality in the face of a repressive, conformist system--and it works on every level. Forman populates his film with memorably eccentric faces, and gets such freshly detailed and spontaneous work from his ensemble that the picture sometimes feels like a documentary.
Unlike a lot of films pitched at the "youth culture" of the 1970s, One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest really hasn't dated a bit, because the qualities of human nature that Forman captures--playfulness, courage, inspiration, pride, stubbornness--are universal and timeless. The film swept the Academy Awards for 1976, winning in all the major categories (picture, director, actor, actress, screenplay) for the first time since Frank Capra's It Happened One Night in 1931. --Jim Emerson
5. Stanley Kubrick returns for the 5th spot with Full Metal Jacketwhich quite possibly could be the best film of all time. At the very least, the opening is the best comedy routine that I have ever seen. The only thing holding it back is the sequence in which we hear “Bird is the Word” That song should be erased.
Stanley Kubrick's 1987, penultimate film seemed to a lot of people to be contrived and out of touch with the '80s vogue for such intensely realistic portrayals of the Vietnam War as Platoon and The Deer Hunter. Certainly, Kubrick gave audiences plenty of reason to wonder why he made the film at all: essentially a two-part drama that begins on a Parris Island boot camp for rookie Marines and abruptly switches to Vietnam (actually shot on sound stages and locations near London), Full Metal Jacket comes across as a series of self-contained chapters in a story whose logical and thematic development is oblique at best.
Then again, much the same was said about Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, a masterwork both enthralled with and satiric about the future's role in the unfinished business of human evolution. In a way, Full Metal Jacket is the wholly grim counterpart of 2001. While the latter is a truly 1960s film, both wide-eyed and wary, about the intertwining of progress and isolation (ending in our redemption, finally, by death), Full Metal Jacket is a cynical, Reagan-era view of the 1960s' hunger for experience and consciousness that fulfilled itself in violence.
Lee Ermey made film history as the Marine drill instructor whose ritualized debasement of men in the name of tribal uniformity creates its darkest angel in a murderous half-wit (Vincent D'Onofrio). Matthew Modine gives a smart and savvy performance as Private Joker, the clowning, military journalist who yearns to get away from the propaganda machine and know firsthand the horrific revelation of the front line. In Full Metal Jacket, depravity and fulfillment go hand in hand, and it's no wonder Kubrick kept his steely distance from the material to make the point. --Tom Keogh
6. Following the Marine Tradition, I wanted to bring you a movie starring the Imperial Space Marines. No I am not talking about gay Starship Troopers, I am talking Aliens here people which is quite possibly the greatest Slasher-Sci-Fi ever created. I wish more of these films would be made. The formula for AVP should be simple: Aliens + Space Marines + Predators = Greatest Film Ever!
The Alien Quadrilogy is a nine-disc boxed set devoted to the four Alien films. Although previously available on DVD as the Alien Legacy, here they have been repackaged with vastly more extras and with upgraded sound and picture. For anyone who hasn't been in hypersleep for the last 25 years, this series needs no introduction, though for the first time each film now comes in both original and "special edition" form.
Alien (1979) was so perfect it didn't need fixing, and Ridley Scott's 2003 director's cut is fiddling for the sake of fiddling. Watch it once, then return to the majestic, perfectly paced original. Conversely, the special edition of James Cameron's Aliens (1986) is the definitive version, though it's nice to finally have the theatrical cut on DVD for comparison. Most interesting is the alternative Alien 3 (1992). This isn't a "director's cut"--David Fincher refused to have any involvement with this release--but a 1991 work-print that runs 29 minutes longer than the theatrical version, and has now been restored, remastered, and finished off with (unfortunately) cheap new CGI. Still, it's truly fascinating, offering a different insight into a flawed masterpiece. The expanded opening is visually breathtaking, the central firestorm is much longer, and a subplot involving Paul McGann's character adds considerable depth to story. The ending is also subtly but significantly different. Alien: Resurrection (1997) always was a mess with a handful of brilliant scenes, and the special edition just makes it eight minutes longer.
The Alien Quadrilogy offers the first and fourth films with DTS soundtracks, the others having still fine Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation. All four films sound fantastic, with much low-level detail revealed for the first time. Each is anamorphically enhanced at the correct original aspect ratio, and the prints and transfers are superlative. Every film offers a commentary track that lends insight into the creative process--though the Scott-only commentary and isolated music score from the first Alien DVD release are missing here.
Each movie is complemented by a separate disc packed with hours of seriously detailed documentaries (all presented in full-screen with clips letterboxed), thousands of photos, production stills, and storyboards, giving a level of inside information for the dedicated buff only surpassed by the Lord of the Rings extended DVD sets. A ninth DVD compiles miscellaneous material, including an hourlong documentary and even all the extras from the old Alien laserdisc. "Exhaustive" hardly beings to describe the Alien Quadrilogy, a set that establishes the new DVD benchmark for retrospective releases and looks unlikely to be surpassed for some time. --Gary S. Dalkin
7. Following Aliens, we have another feel good movie that will make you cry as well. Stephen King returns with Stand By Me. This film should be a rite of passage for any male adolescent. This is the one movie besides The Lost Boys in which Kiefer Sutherland did not totally stink up the place.
A sleeper hit when released in 1986, Stand by Me is based on Stephen King's novella "The Body" (from the book Different Seasons); but it's more about the joys and pains of boyhood friendship than a morbid fascination with corpses. It's about four boys ages 12 and 13 (Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Jerry O'Connell) who take an overnight hike through the woods near their
Their journey includes a variety of scary adventures (including a ferocious junkyard dog, a swamp full of leeches, and a treacherous leap from a train trestle), but it's also a time for personal revelations, quiet interludes, and the raucous comradeship of best friends. Set in the 1950s, the movie indulges an overabundance of anachronistic profanity and a kind of idealistic, golden-toned nostalgia (it's told in flashback as a story written by
But it's delightfully entertaining from start to finish, thanks to the rapport among its young cast members and the timeless, universal themes of friendship, family, and the building of character and self-esteem. Kiefer Sutherland makes a memorable teenage villain, and look closely for John Cusack in a flashback scene as
8. We follow Stand by Me with another Great Rob Reiner Film aforementioned… The Princess Brideis another rite of passage although this movie appeals to both boys and girls and is essential for anyone searching for their true love.
Screenwriter William Goldman's novel The Princess Bride earned its own loyal audience on the strength of its narrative voice and its gently satirical, hyperbolic spin on swashbuckled adventure that seemed almost purely literary. For all its derring-do and vivid over-the-top characters, the book's joy was dictated as much by the deadpan tone of its narrator and a winking acknowledgement of the clichés being sent up. Miraculously, director Rob Reiner and Goldman himself managed to visualize this romantic fable while keeping that external voice largely intact: using a storytelling framework, avuncular Grandpa (Peter Falk) gradually seduces his skeptical grandson (Fred Savage) into the absurd, irresistible melodrama of the title story.
And what a story: a lowly stable boy, Westley (Cary Elwes), pledges his love to the beautiful Buttercup (Robin Wright), only to be abducted and reportedly killed by pirates while Buttercup is betrothed to the evil Prince Humperdinck. Even as Buttercup herself is kidnapped by a giant, a scheming criminal mastermind, and a master Spanish swordsman, a mysterious masked pirate (could it be Westley?) follows in pursuit. As they sail toward the Cliffs of Insanity...
The wild and woolly arcs of the story, the sudden twists of fate, and, above all, the cartoon-scaled characters all work because of Goldman's very funny script, Reiner's confident direction, and a terrific cast. Elwes and Wright, both sporting their best English accents, juggle romantic fervor and physical slapstick effortlessly, while supporting roles boast Mandy Patinkin (the swordsman Inigo Montoya), Wallace Shawn (the incredulous schemer Vizzini), and Christopher Guest (evil Count Rugen) with brief but funny cameos from Billy Crystal, Carol Kane, and Peter Cook. --Sam Sutherland
9. I wanted to get Stephen Spielberg on the list so I gave him E.T. - The Extra-Terrestrialwhich is another great film for kids. I was tempted to do Indiana Jones but George Lucas and I are finished. I will not whore my blog out with any affiliate links that will make him more money. As it is Spielberg owes me an apology for Indy 4. Still ET was one of the greatest films ever and it deserves on the list.
Steven Spielberg's 1982 hit about a stranded alien and his loving relationship with a fatherless boy (Henry Thomas) struck a chord with audiences everywhere, and it furthered Spielberg's reputation as a director of equally strong commercial sensibilities and classical leanings. Henry Thomas gives a strong, emotional performance as E.T.'s young friend, Robert MacNaughton and Drew Barrymore make a solid impression as his siblings, and Dee Wallace is lively as the kids' mother. The special effects almost look a bit quaint now with all the computer advancements that have occurred since, but they also have more heart behind them than a lot of what we see today. --Tom Keogh
10. Seppuku brings a suicidal finish to My Top Ten List. Still this is a great Samurai film. If I had my way this whole list would consist of Asian Cinema but this list of Old Movies is intended to appeal to the mainstream. Seppuku is too good of movie to leave out though. Seppuku and Lady Snowblood are two of my favorites. I couldn’t find a poster or dvd for you but if you can find a copy I highly recommend it.
I hope that you have enjoyed My Top Ten list of Old Movies that have endeared themselves into my heart. Whether it is feel good movies like Full Metal Jacket or Aliens or Rites of Passage like Stand by Me and the Princess Bride these are films that should last for all times. They are the Beatles of the Cinema…