Jeff's Favorite Movies
As of today, I've watched and rated 2,319 movies, assigning each a numerical rating 1 (a waste of life) and 10 (loved it). Of course, this rating took place over many many years and I can't claim that my ratings have been consistent over the long haul; I'm sure that my tastes have changed during this journey. But although I'd like to, I can't watch all 2,319 movies over again to try and be more consistent, so for what it's worth, here is the list of the 60-or-so movies I've rated 9 or 10, followed by the 300-or-so-next-best films I've rated as 8.
I generally favor movies that are heavy in the plot department; there are many movies which are highly regarded on the Internet Movie Database or by critics which I don't like at all. Breathless is one such example. To me, it felt like nothing happened, and I rated it a 4 (I've since re-rated it as 7, because I now better appreciate it's allure, but it's still not a favorite). Even the highly-regarded Citizen Kane falls into that category; I rated it a 7 since although it might have introduced lots of new film techniques and had many interesting perspectives, the plot itself was totally boring to me. I didn't ever really care what "Rosebud" meant, so the rest of the film's goodness was lost on me. So those are two movies that don't quite make it onto my list of favorite movies. If you strongly disagree with both of these non-recommendations, you might as well stop reading here because my tastes don't align with yours. But if you tentatively agree, keep reading.
To rate a movie highly (that is, rate it as if I'd really enjoy watching it again, which is what my rating of 8 means), it has to have at least one of the following: a great plot, gorgeous photography, be a musical, contain beautiful music such as the way Kubrick used music, be a great science-fiction movie, or include anything about Italy, or especially Rome, for which I'm a total slut. I'm not at all adverse to non-American films; many of my 300-or-so-next-best films are black-and-white subtitled films. So if you're still reading and these things also tickle your fancy, here are my favorite 300-or-so movies out of the 2,319 I've watched.
I welcome you to send me an email with any comments on my choices.
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My Favorite 60 or so Movies, listed alphabetically
- The Best Years of Our Lives: Three World War II veterans return home after the war with difficult adjustments to make. This movie touches a lot of people, including me, and shows a time capsule of an America long gone. Plus, geez, that musical score is just delicious.
- (subtitled) The Big Parade: In my opinion, this silent film is the best ever made demonstrating the horrors of World War I, especially after the innocence and idylism of the first two acts. Difficult to find, but if you come across it, don't miss it.
- The Birds: A classic Hitchcock horror flick. It'll leave a lasting impression on you that you'll contemplate whenever you see an electric power line where a flock of birds are perching. Yikes it maes me shiver just to think about it. Watch this movie!
- Blade Runner 2049: The sequel.
- (subtitled) Das Boot: Settle down for the slow pace of this movie, with the pay-off that you'll gain an understanding about life in a submarine during wartime. A German U-Boat crew terrorizes British convoys and pays a heavy price for their actions.
- Brief Encounter: The story of an affair, proficiently told with beautiful photography, perfect pacing, great acting by two every-people, and accompanied by Rachmaninov's great Second Piano Concerto. Sit down and enjoy 90 minutes of well-told romantic indulgence.
- (subtitled) Cinema Paradiso: If you're reading this you probably love movies, as I most assuredly do, so you owe it to yourself to watch this love story to the movies. Plus, a thousand bonus points for being an Italian movie.
- A Clockwork Orange: Every Kubrick movie is great, but a few are even greater than the others. This one's about violent youth, and society's way to deal with them, with a typically-superb Kubrick soundtrack. (if you haven't already watched every single movie that Stanley Kurbrick directed, you should stop here and watch them all. Every Kubrick movie is exceptional. After you've watched them all, please continue)
- Crash: I like movies which weave seamingly-disparate stories into a unified theme, and this one does it superbly, with a compelling soundtrack that builds to the climax.
- Donnie Darko: Wierd wierd wierd sci-fi, watch it a few times.
- Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: Another wierd sci-fi masterpiece. Can you erase someone from your past? Are you sure you want to?
- Fargo: Jeez I hate that I like this movie so much, but a lot of people do so I guess it's all right. Crime mystery, great likable cops, terrible aweful murderous criminals, the climactic scene has stuck with me for a long time now, makes me squirm in my chair as I write this. Maybe that's part of what makes a movie great?
- Fiddler on the Roof: This one's probably my favorite musical of all time. The songs are fantastic, Topol was born to play the part of Tevye, the other actors are also great, the photography is beautiful, and I can identify with Tevye's loss of control over his children. It's a lesson of humility many of us must learn.
- Fight Club: This movie is just so wacked out, so fresh and original, and so much fun to watch over and over, that I've gotta believe that once you watch it it'll become one of your favorites, too.
- Forrest Gump: One of the few best movies of all time. We just weave through Forrest's life, the mundane, the improbabilities, the impossibilities, and all the while we admire the plain and simple value of being good.
- The Godfather: The life of a New York mafia boss and his sons.
- (subtitled) The Great Beauty: You've made it to my absolute favorite movie of all time (so far). It's a love story to Rome, with gorgeous cinematography, an incredible soundtrack, and all-to-brief visits to many of the incredibly beautiful places I love in Rome. I wish I could meet Stefano, who has the keys to all the best places in Rome. And if none of this was enough, this movie has the best, most peaceful closing credits in any movie from any era. This is modern Italian cinema at its very best. Plus, a thousand bonus points just for being an Italian movie. If I've convinced one reader to watch this movie, then I'm happy, because this movie deserves to be watched over and over again.
- The Green Mile: A faithful adaptation of a Stephen King book about the inmates and guards on death row. One of the inmates has a special power which the guards discover.
- (subtitled) The Hidden Fortress: Peasants, general, princess and lots of gold travel across borders, similar plot to Star Wars (R2D2 and C3P0 help Solo and Skywalker get Princess Leah to safety). Superb comedy, superb direction, love the scene where the generals fight with spears.
- Interstellar: Superb sci-fi thriller depicting the search for a new home for humanity after we've finished ruining the Earth due to the poor decisions made during the Trump administration. (I hope I'm wrong about this, but truly fear that the election of this moron is the tipping point)
- It's A Wonderful Life: One of the two best all-time Christmas movies, along with White Christmas (see below). This one beautifully tells the story of a desperate man being shown what the world would have been like without him. Brings tears to my eyes every time I watch it.
- The King and I: I just love the songs in this musical. The story is cliche, the acting might not be the best, but wow I do love the music.
- King Kong: A pretty darned good modern remake of the original King Kong.
- (subtitled) La Dolce Vita: Just a great glimpse of 1960's Rome, the story of a stale reporter attempting to enjoy 'the sweet life', but not really enjoying anything at all. Great Italian music, plus, a thousand bonus points just for being an Italian movie.
- (subtitled) Metropolis: Silent sci-fi film which wrote the book on science fiction in the movies. Watch this film and consider how many of its scenes have been copied over and over again, even still in modern sci-fi movies.
- 1917: Two men from the trenches of WWI France are given the assignment of warning troops some distance away to not attack the Germans tomorrow morning since it’s a trap. Amazingly shot in a few no-cut segments which were cleverly blended together to make a movie that looks like it has no cuts at all. The director’s commentary is excellent, explaining a lot about how the movie was made. The cinematographer’s commentary is superb, though, explaining the shots, cameras used, lighting, etc.
- The Pianist: A terrific holocaust movie that will leave you a changed person. Beware that this will be depressing and disturbing, but it's a film you won't forget.
- (subtitled) The Piano Teacher: A young student falls in love with his much older sadistic and masochistic piano teacher.
- The Prestige: Watch carefully to this rivalry between two magicians.
- (subtitled) Raise the Red Lantern: Wicked treachery between the four wives and servants of a Chinese prince, with the real star of the show being the superb photography, especially of the gorgeous palace.
- (subtitled) Rashomon: Conflicting testimony of crimes of rape, murder and robbery are told by the three participants in these actions. Then they are recalled during a pounding rainstorm by three people taking refuge under the Rashomon Gate in 12th-century Kyoto, Japan. They seek to figure out the truth, but are frustrated in this effort. Perhaps each testimony is the truth that each witness would have been proud of? This 1950 Japanese movie, directed by Akira Kurosawa and featuring Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura is a true classic, along with The Seven Samurai. So influential worldwide that the term 'the Rashomon Effect' has come to mean what occurs when an event is given contradictory interpretations by the individuals involved.
- (subtitled) Run Lola Run: Lola run through Berlin to help her criminal boyfriend, and you gotta love it. Rinse & Repeat. All with fast-paced nearly non-stop action. My favorite non-war-related German movie.
- Schindler's List: The very best holocaust movie ever made. You will never forget this one.
- (subtitled) A Separation: Superb story of a married Iranian couple in which the wife decides to separate, setting off a chain of events that might destroy her husband. Prepare for intense drama from start to finish.
- Se7en: Detectives chase a serial killer who picks his victims according to the seven deadly sins. Terrific thriller. Shocker of an ending.
- (subtitled) The Seven Samurai: This is another superb Japanese film directed by Akira Kurosawa and featuring Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura, as is Rashomon. In this one, seven unemployed samurai soldiers are hired in 1587 by a small peasant farming village to defend the village from impending attack by bandits. It took me a few viewings (and listening to the DVD commentary tracks) to understand the Japanese culture and history in this movie, but once I did so the movie advanced from a really fun action movie into a masterpiece. It's been imitated many times, but never bettered.
- The Shawshank Redemption: This is one of the very best movies of all time. Based on a Stephen King short story, a man is wrongly convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison. The characters he meets and friends he makes there will pull at your heartstrings. Perhaps it's all a bit contrived and unrealistic, but it's a terrific way to spend 2 hours or your life. Or 4, or 6, or...
- The Shining: The ultimate horror movie, based on a book by the master of horror, Stephen King.
- A Simple Plan: Three guys happen upon a stash of lost cash and decide on a simple plan to keep it for themselves. Things unravel and become less and less simple as time goes on.
- (subtitled) Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans: This silent film tells the story of a farmer and his girlfriend who plan to murder the farmer's wife. Be careful what you wish for! This is a great example of a well-done silent film: the musical soundtrack is perfect, and the story is so well told visually that very few intertitles are needed.
- Titanic: Spectacular disaster film meets love story meets standing on the bow of a ship and flying through the air. What could be better? If you're the person who hasn't seen this yet, you should watch it.
- To Kill a Mockingbird: A father teaches tolerance to his children by example. If only this lesson had been learned back in 1962 instead of still not yet...
- Twelve Angry Men: No color, no special effects, almost completely one setting, but superb acting and great storytelling combine to show how a great movie was made back in the day.
- (subtitled) The Umbrellas of Cherbourg: A musical (actually an OPERA, since all words in this movie are sung, none spoken) about idyllic young love interrupted by separation due to war, and the long-term impact of that separation on it’s young lovers.
- West Side Story: Everybody knows the musical about the Jets against the Sharks, right? Romeo and Juliet in 1960's New York. Great music by Leonard Bernstein, great dancing, great singing.
- Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?: Wow, if there was an opposite of White Christmas, it's this one. A bitter married couple tear each other apart during a night of drinking. Be prepared to be depressed and to hate the characters, but Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton do a heck of a job of acting in this one.
- (subtitled) The Young Girls of Rochefort: Superb lighter-than-air pastel-colored musical about 3 couples searching for love in care-free Rochefort, France, during the construction and the weekend of a carnival. Lots of singing and dancing, humor, likable characters, a forward-moving plot, and some really enjoyable music.
In case you agree with my list of favorite movies, here are my 300-or-so-next-best films that you might also enjoy, again listed alphabetically
(The best 34 in this bunch are in bold font)
- Ace in the Hole
- Advise and Consent
- (subtitled) After the Wedding: The owner of a poor orphanage in India tries to obtain funding from a wealthy man in Denmark, and after the wedding of that man's son, everything changes bit by bit.
- All Quiet on the Western Front: World War I disillusionment.
- All the President's Men: The Watergate scandal
- (subtitled) Alphaville: A mix of sci-fi, film-noir, comedy, and over-the-top music
- Amadeus: Mozart's life story
- American Beauty: Disturbing drama of suburban America
- American History X
- (subtitled) Amores perros: A Spanish film similar to Crash. Three interwoven stories: a young man who wants to make enough money from dogfighting to steal his brother's wife away, a model who gets in a car accident and falls apart from her husband, and a hired murderer who wants to avoid his last assignment.
- The Apartment
- (subtitled) Apocalypto: I enjoyed the heart-pounding action from minute one through minute 139. There's very little dialog, so the subtitles are pretty easy to keep up with.
- Arlington Road: A spy thriller
- (subtitled) Ashes and Diamonds
- Atonement: The 5-minute steadicam scene of the British retreat from the Germans at Dunkirk is spectacular, but the entire movie is a beautiful masterpiece. Maybe that's why it won an Oscar and was nominated for 6 others?
- (subtitled) The Battle of Algiers: The story of Algerian resistance fighters during their 1950s fight for independence from the French government.
- (subtitled) A Beautiful Mind
- Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
- Being John Malkovich: A puppeteer discovers a portal into John Malkovich’s mind in this very funny and clever movie.
- (subtitled) The Bicycle Thieves: Great story of the desperation of a man struggling against society in post- WW II Rome.
- Big Fish
- (subtitled) Black Book
- Black Hawk Down: Intense modern war movie about a helicopter shot down during fighting in Somalia.
- The Box: Married couple receives the Box with a button inside. Push it and someone dies, you get a million dollars, and by the way your life will become hell.
- Breach: An aide in the Pentagon is charged with exposing his boss as a spy.
- Breakfast at Tiffany's: Audrey Hepburn falls in love with George Peppard in the New York of 1960.
- Bridge of Spies: Spies in cold-war Berlin.
- The Bridges of Madison County: All right, maybe it's a glorified soap opera, but it sure did leave a silky milk chocolate taste in my throat.
- The Bridge on the River Kwai: Epic tale of rebellion and sabotage by prisoners of war charged with building a bridge for the enemy.
- The Bucket List: Dying guys Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman decide to see stuff on their bucket lists before death.
- The Butterfly Effect
- (subtitled) The Captain (Der Hauptmann): In the last days of WW II, a German soldier who is deserting finds an abandoned Captain's uniform. He puts it on to save himself from pursuit, other solders see him and follow him as a leader, and we watch as he commits a series of atrocities as more and more people follow him and no one steps forward strongly enough to stop him.
- (subtitled) Carmen: Bizet's opera Carmen features great music and a story involving a soldier who falls into unrequited love.
- Cinderella Man
- (subtitled) Cleo from 5 to 7: Two hours in the life of a gorgeous woman singer in Paris who is awaiting the results of a biopsy, fearful of a cancer diagnosis.
- Cloud Atlas
- Contact: The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence finally detects a signal; one with a difficult message to decode that leads to the journey of a lifetime
- (subtitled) Cranes are Flying
- Crimson Tide
- Curious Case of Benjamin Button
- Dancer in the Dark: Wow, I watched this for the first time in December of 2016, and it's the most unique musical I've ever seen (and I've seen a lot of them). I recommend this one very highly if you want a unique instance of the genre, along with some superb music and dancing.
- The Dark Knight
- The Day the Earth Stood Still: One of the great sci-fi films of all time. A space traveller has important news for Earth, but a hostile greeting from humans makes it difficult to deliver.
- The Devil All the Time: A young boy is surrounded by evil through his entire life with disasterous results.
- (subtitled) Les Diaboliques
- (subtitled) Divorce Italian Style
- Dog Day Afternoon: A suspenseful bank robbery goes bad and becomes a media circus
- Dogville: This one offers a fresh way of storytelling, and is worthy of a watch if only to enjoy great art expressed through creative filmmaking. If you have the attention span for this one, there is a nice pay-off.
- (subtitled) Downfall (Der Untergang): Powerful story of Hitler's last days in the bunker, and the surrender of Germany.
- Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close: A search for closure after 9/11.
- Eye in the Sky: How to deal with civilians during wartime?
- Eyes Wide Shut: Kubrick's last film, a married couple plays with fire when they reveal temptation and jealousy.
- Fail-Safe: 1960's tale of military’s control of nuclear weapons going wrong. A real thriller.
- Falling Down: Michael Douglas, a successful engineer, suddenly snaps.
- Femme Fatale: Erotic thriller
- (subtitled) A Film Unfinished
- (subtitled) Floating Weeds: Well-made movie about the leader of a troupe of travelling actors who returns to the city where his illegitimate son and one-time-girlfriend live. The troupe returns there occasionally, where he sees his son, masquerading as an uncle. The son is now grown and falls in love with a girl in the troup. This is Ozu’s remake of his own 1934 silent film ‘A Story of Floating Weeds’ (Floating Weeds means Drifters). This version of the film features superb photographic compositions in every scene, with splashes of color (especially red) in most compositions, especially in the lower-right corner.
- The Fly: Superb sci-fi horror movie with great character development, great acting, a love triangle, and a super-intense last half hour. A scientist has developed a teleportation machine that works great for inanimate objects. He must make adjustments to let it work on living flesh.
- Full Metal Jacket: Kubrick's tribute to the harshness of boot camp, the horror of combat, and the effect they can have on their pawns.
- The Game
- Ghost World: Interesting story about a punk rocker and an older lonely dork.
- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
- Gone Girl
- The Good Earth
- The Good Liar: Swindler old man romances an old rich woman to fool her into giving him her money. Things turn more serious than he’d hoped for.
- Good Will Hunting
- Grand Canyon: A study in friendships, especially an unlikely one that lasts.
- Gravity: An accident on the space station threatens the lives of the astronauts
- Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
- (subtitled) High and Low: An employee’s son is kidnapped, and the rich executive boss has to decide whether to pay to have the son recovered. Then the 2nd half of the film deals with the attempt by the police to find the kidnapper and bring him to justice.
- His Girl Friday
- A History of Violence: A small-town family man is visited by people claiming to be from his criminal past
- Hotel Rwanda: Compelling story about genocide in Rwanda
- The Hurt Locker
- I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang: Returning vet looking for a career falls in with bad friends and participates (at gunpoint) in a $5 robbery. He's sentenced to a chain gang, and we follow his life as he tries to rehabilitate himself.
- I, Robot
- (subtitled) Ikiru: A worker in the bureaucracy of the post- WW II Tokyo city hall with terminal cancer decides to make a contribution to society that will outlast him.
- In Bruges: Can murder in a picturesque city be high comedy? Yup.
- In Cold Blood: Two drifters murder a rural family because they think that family has a stash of cash in their home, then the police try to catch them.
- In the Heat of the Night: A talented black homicide policeman passes through a southern town during the 1960s and is arrested for a murder. He clears himself with the good-old-boy sheriff and goes on to lead the murder investigation, proving the worth of a black man to this town of bigots.
- (subtitled) Infernal Affairs: This is the original version of 'The Departed", and is a much tighter film than the remake, being more cinematic, with a great succinct plot. A gangster infiltrates the police and a policeman infiltrates the gang. Each team wants to find and eliminate the traitor.
- Inside Man: Can the bank robber walk right out the front door of the bank and get away with it all?
- Into the Wild
- (subtitled) La Jetee: The precursor to Twelve Monkeys
- Joker: The back-story of the Joker’s life before he became Batman’s arch-enemy.
- (subtitled) Kapo: Superb story of a Jewish girl who, with the help of a kind man, outsmarts the Nazis to survive WW II in a work camp.
- The Killing: A superb early-Kubrick movie about a heist at a racetrack, what can go right, and what can go wrong.
- (subtitled) The King of Kings: Cecil B DeMilles' legendary silent film about Jesus Christ's oppression, death and resurrection.
- Kramer vs. Kramer
- La La Land: Music and aspiring performers in today's Los Angeles
- (subtitled) Last Year at Marienbad: A real brain-twister. Sit back, enjoy the photography, the sounds, the mirrors, the talking, the circles that don't quite return to their starting point, sit forward, hear the sights, fuggetabout figuring it out, ovals. This one's a blast!
- The Life of David Gale
- Life of Pi
- Little Children: Sarah & Brad and their small children, and their spouses and friends, and the town pervert and an ex-town-cop intersect and build to a crashing climax.
- (subtitled) The Lives of Others: The East German habit of spying on each other
- Lolita: A middle-aged man goes to all lengths to win the heart and the body of a teen-aged girl who is the daughter of a woman who takes him in as a boarder for the summer.
- (subtitled) Love Me If You Dare: Childhood friends taunt each other through life. The final 15 minutes will leave you reeling.
- The Maltese Falcon
- The Man Who Wasn't There: Superb black-and-white film-noir about barber who bumbles his way into setting off a chain of events which has tragic consequences for everyone involved. Great cast, great acting, great photography. Didn't like the ending, but still, its a great movie.
- Manhattan: A Woody Allen romantic comedy about friends in New York and a midlife crisis.
- Marnie: Hitchcock thriller about a man who gets involved with a disturbed woman
- Marriage Story: Couple (director and actress in New York plays) with a young child, decides to get divorced. Wife and child move to LA for her to act in a TV show, and the divorce turns ugly.
- The Martian: an astronaut stranded on Mars tries to survive.
- (subtitled) Modern Times: Silent Charlie Chaplin comedy
- Moulin Rouge!
- Mr. Smith Goes to Washington: The nice-guy (Jimmy Stewart) finishes first for once.
- My First Mister
- My Man Godfrey
- The Next Three Days
- No Country for Old Men: Horror chase thriller about a man who discovers a drug transaction gone bad and tries to steal the money he finds on the scene.
- Nocturnal Animals
- The Notebook: An old man reads his demented wife the notebook that detailed their love.
- (subtitled) Le Notti Bianche: Romantic story of a love triangle, with superb filming and compositions, beautiful sound track, and some unforgettable scenes, set in a small neighborhood of Venice.
- Olive Kitteridge: a great character study that grabbed my interest at the start and held on through the 4 one-hour episodes.
- On Golden Pond: Grumpy old grandpa is mellowed out by a month-long visit from his 13-year-old step-grandson.
- On the Waterfront: Good story about bad boy Marlin Brando rebelling against the crooked shipping bosses. He gets the babe, too.
- (subtitled) Open Your Eyes
- Ordinary People
- The Painted Veil
- (subtitled) Pan's Labyrinth (Laberinto del Fauno)
- (subtitled) The Passion of the Christ
- (subtitled) The Past: A man returns from Tehran to Paris at his wife's request for divorce finalization, and walks into a complicated family situation from events of the past year or so.
- (subtitled) Pather Panchali: The story of an impoverished family in India at a time of great crisis.
- Paths of Glory: Kubrick explores the divide between leaders and workers, in the context of WWI trench warfare. After soldiers take extraordinary losses during a battle and therefore retreat, the general raises charges of cowardice and their commander must defend them in a court martial which might result in executions.
- (subtitled) Persona: Gorgeous abstract film something like Last Year At Marienbad in that there is no way to make complete sense of the movie, you can attempt several theories but none of them work correctly to explain the entire film. The closest, for me, is that an insane woman actress, who didn’t want children and wished her newborn son would die, goes crazy, and splits into two personalities who argue the facts of her life to try and reconcile her insanity. Roger Ebert, on the other hand, argues for a literal interpretation: the actress Elizabeth suddenly stops talking in the middle of a play, is committed to a psychiatric hospital, and nursed and cared for by the chatty Alma at a summer house on the water, where the two women somehow merge. Regardless of interpretation, this movie contains many many gorgeous photographic compositions and is an interesting romp through unreality. Plus, we get to watch two beautiful women for 90 minutes.
- The Place Beyond the Pines: Relationship between a cop and a robber transfers 15 years later into a relationship between their children
- A Place in the Sun
- (subtitled) Il Postino: The Postman gets an education about poetry, love and friendship.
- The Prince and the Pauper
- (subtitled) Purple Noon: The original French version of "The Talented Mr Ripley", interesting to see the differences in interpretation of the story. I like both, but probably the American version better.
- The Railway Man
- A Raisin in the Sun
- The Reader: Young man in Germany is seduced by a 30-year-old woman who turns out to have been a Nazi guard, who is subsequently tried. The movie probes the guilt felt by the after-WWII generation in Germany due to their love for parents, teachers and clergy who they later learned might have done terrible things during the war.
- Red River
- Red Sparrow: The masochist in me loves the training of this Russian agent.
- Reign Over Me
- Requiem for a Dream
- Reservoir Dogs: A jewel theft goes very wrong and the gang members suspect one of them tipped off the cops, in this very brutal film that features great storytelling technique.
- (subtitled) The Return: The absent father of two boys returns after 12 years to take them on a fishing trip which exposes his poor fathering skills and abusive personality, and which ends in tragedy and mystery in this contemporary Russian masterpiece.
- The Revenant
- (subtitled) Rififi: The perfect heist.
- The Right Stuff: The heroic story of the 7 original astronauts for NASA
- Russian Ark: A single-scene steadicam walk through The Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, Russia
- (subtitled) Le Samourai: A hitman evades capture despite the police suspecting his alabis are faked
- Saving Private Ryan: Heroism and sacrifice set over a week of time beginning with the D-Day invasion at Omaha Beach, then searching for a soldier named Private Ryan in order to send him home, and finally helping his platoon defend a strategic bridge from the Germans.
- Seance on a Wet Afternoon
- The Searchers: Macho John Wayne hunts down the Comanches that captured his niece through Monument Valley
- (subtitled) The Secret in their Eyes
- Seven Pounds: Will Smith's character donates his organs to seven deserving people
- (subtitled) The Seventh Seal: Crusaders return home, but death is never far behind. The knight valiantly tries to figure things out.
- The Shape of Water: A cleaning lady at a top-secret government facility falls in love with the sea monster being studied.
- Shop Around the Corner: Jimmy Stewart is a clerk in store in Budapest, and falls in love with a pen pal he writes to, who he learns is a fellow clerk in the store. Lots of good comedy in this feel-good Christmas movie.
- (subtitled) The Silence: Crime thriller about the killing of 2 teenage girls, 23 years apart, in which the wrong man is blamed in the end
- The Sixth Sense
- (subtitled) Sleep Tight
- (subtitled) The Soft Skin: Married middle-aged author meets single young stewardess and they have an affair. They spend more and more time together and this takes a toll on his marriage and also their relationship.
- Something the Lord Made
- Sophie's Choice
- The Sound of Music
- Source Code
- A Special Day
- Splendor in the Grass
- Stalag 17
- Stonehearst Asylum
- (subtitled) Stray Dog: Excellent Kurosawa detective thriller with a superb view into life in postwar Japan.
- Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
- Synecdoche, New York: Psychotic director of plays has many unusual illnesses and directs a play to end all plays with a cast of thousands in a huge warehouse, rehearsing for several decades while working out the script.
- The Talented Mr. Ripley: Tom Ripley is hired by Dickie Greenleaf's father to convince Dickie Greenleaf to come back home from Rome to New York. Things in Italy get complicated.
- Taxi Driver: A socially-inept taxi driver deteriorates into a psychopath in his attempt to woo a campaign worker and save a child prostitute, but somehow gets away with it all after being proclaimed a hero in the newspapers.
- 10 Cloverfield Lane: A woman is held in a basement without her consent, for her own good (?), and then escapes into a totally different genre of a movie.
- 3:10 to Yuma: (2007)
- 3:10 to Yuma: (1957)
- (subtitled) Tristan und Isolde: If you'd like to try out opera, but have always been afraid, then this opera by Wagner, or 1984's Carmen by Bizet would be a great way to dip your toes into the water. Tristan und Isolde if your a bleeding Romantic like me, Carmen if you're not. This particular version of Tristan und Isolde is in great sound, unlike other DVDs of great performances you might find.
- True Grit: Feisty girl hires federal marshal to hunt down the man who killed her father.
- The Truman Show
- 12 years a slave: A free black man is sold into slavery.
- 25th Hour
- (subtitled) Umberto D
- V for Vendetta
- (subtitled) A Very Long Engagement
- Water for Elephants
- What Dreams May Come
- (subtitled) The White Sheik: An early Fellini comedy, in which a newlywed wife leaves her husband for an hour to meet a movie star she admires, until it turns into much more than an hour.
- (subtitled) Wild Tales: An excellent Argentinian movie made of 6 unrelated short stories about people under extreme stress.
- Witness for the Prosecution: Beautifully made crime/courtroom mystery with great acting and a few real twists at the end
And finally, a few TV series which I've especially enjoyed, again in alphabetical order
- All in the Family
- The Americans: Spy thriller series about a husband-and-wife team of Russian spies implanted into a Washington DC neighborhood.
- Black Mirror: a modern Twilight Zone
- Bloodline: Watch the first and second season, third season is terrible
- Breaking Bad: The best TV drama series ever, watch it start to end, it's the best series that's ever been on TV, IMHO.
- Chernobyl: 5-hour HBO documentary about the Chernobyl disaster, how it unfolded, the first responders, the attempt to prevent the disaster from becoming catastrophic, and the trial that uncovered exactly why the disaster happened.
- The Crown
- (subtitled) Deutschland 83
- Downton Abbey: I can't believe I was suckered into this soap opera, but darn if I don't love every character and wish they were still on my TV set
- The Expanse: Season 1 had a great story line and superb effects; shows great promise for a long-term great sci-fi show if they continue
- The Fall: Ice Queen policewoman solves the cases of the Belfast Strangler, a serial killer in Belfast who tortures and strangles women, and has been doing so for 15 years.
- The Good Wife
- The Handmaiden's Tale
- Homeland: Especially the first 3 or 4 seasons, subsequent seasons are not as intense
- House of Cards
- I, Claudius: 1000 bonus points for being about the Roman Empire
- Lost In Space
- Man in the High Castle
- Ozark: Another great show along the line of Breaking Bad. Accountant gets involved in money laundering, then has to scramble and get deeper and deeper into drug business trouble to launder enough to save his family.
- The Practice
- The Sopranos
- Twin Peaks
- The West Wing
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