The Top 50 List
Director: Peter Jackson
Starring: Elijah Wood, Sean Astin, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen, Orlando Bloom, John Rhys-Davies, Billy Boyd, Dominic Monaghan, Sean Bean, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Liv Tyler, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Andy Serkis, Bernard Hill, Miranda Otto, Karl Urban, John Noble, David Wenham, Bruce Hopkins, Brad Dourif,
Fellowship of the Ring: In a small village in the Shire a young Hobbit named Frodo has been entrusted with an ancient Ring. Now he must embark on an Epic quest to the Cracks of Doom in order to destroy it.
The Two Towers: Frodo and Sam continue on to Mordor in their mission to destroy the One Ring. Whilst their former companions make new allies and launch an assault on Isengard.
The Return of the King: The former Fellowship of the Ring prepare for the final battle for Middle Earth, while Frodo & Sam approach Mount Doom to destroy the One Ring.
The number 1 spot, of course, goes to the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy - extended and back-to-back. Yes, this one entry represents the entire LOTR trilogy. I consider the trilogy to be one movie.
TIE FOR #2 SPOT WITH COMMANDO
Director: John McTiernan
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jesse Ventura, Kevin Peter Hall, Bill Duke, Carl Weathers, Shane Black, Sonny Landham, Richard Chaves, Elpidia Carrillo
Plot: A team of commandos, on a mission in a Central American jungle, find themselves hunted by an extra-terrestrial warrior.
1987's Predator is simply the perfect '80s movie, offering an amalgamation of the three most popular mainstream genres of that decade: action-adventure, horror, and science fiction - and it's a Schwarzenegger flick to boot. All of these components are mixed up to form this heady brew of violent action, macho posturing and ridiculously quotable dialogue, which is all set at a breakneck pace.
Click here for my full review of this masterpiece.
In the beginning, there was the masterpiece known as Commando. And the God of '80s Action Excess did look upon it and see that it was good. And lo did Arnold Schwarzenegger massacre hundreds of mercenaries in displays of awesome ultra-violence, and Alyssa Milano did rejoice. Amen.
My full review of this, the greatest thing mankind has ever created, is available here
Director: John McTiernan
Starring: Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia, Reginald VelJohnson, Alexander Godunov, Paul Gleason, William Atherton, Hart Bochner, James Shigeta
Plot: New York cop John McClane gives terrorists a dose of their own medicine as they hold hostages in an LA office building.
A groundbreaking blockbuster, this film is a masterpiece of suspense and action, overseen by filmmaking wunderkind Steven Spielberg. Written for the screen by David Koepp and Crichton himself, Jurassic Park remains every bit as potent and enjoyable as it was back in the '90s; an enormously accomplished action-adventure supported by astute direction, glorious photography, pitch-perfect performances, and an overwhelming sense of cinematic escapism.
You'll find my full review here
Full of belly-laughs, contagious energy, toe-tappingly terrific tunes, hundreds of endlessly quotable one-liners, sharp suits and cool shades, The Blues Brothers deserves multiple viewings. No matter what appeals to you, this is a movie that can sustain your interest for 140 minutes. Personally, I cannot imagine anyone feeling dissatisfied after indulging in this marvellous movie.
Click here for my full review of the next Citizen Kane.
Director: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Tom Hanks, Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns, Barry Pepper, Adam Goldberg, Vin Diesel, Giovanni Ribisi, Matt Damon, Jeremy Davies
Plot: Following the Normandy Landings, a group of US soldiers go behind enemy lines to retrieve a paratrooper whose brothers have been killed in action.
Director: Tim Burton
Starring: Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, Timothy Spall, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jamie Campbell Bower, Laura Michelle Kelly, Jayne Wisener
Plot: The infamous story of Benjamin Barker, a.k.a Sweeney Todd, who sets up a barber shop down in London which is the basis for a sinister partnership with his fellow tenant, Mrs. Lovett. Based on the hit Broadway musical.
It is indeed rare to behold a sequel which surpasses its predecessor, but Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior is a textbook illustration of such a case. Furthermore, this follow-up to the low-budget 1979 Australian grindhouse gem stands as a phenomenal achievement as a standalone motion picture, a gonzo post-apocalyptic action-adventure that remains one of this reviewer's personal all-time favourites.
You can read my full review of this masterpiece here
Director: Irvin Kershner
Starring: Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Kenny Baker, Frank Oz
Plot: After the rebels are overpowered by the Empire on the ice planet Hoth, Luke Skywalker begins Jedi training with Yoda. His friends accept shelter from a questionable ally as Darth Vader hunts them in a plan to capture Luke.
The Empire Strikes Back succeeds because it's not just a simple, light-hearted victory lap for George Lucas and his crew - it's a bold, dark sequel which closes on an uncertain note and leaves more questions than answers. It isn't just a terrific sequel on its own terms, but also one of the best follow-ups in feature film history, and it's arguably superior to the motion picture which spawned it.
Click here to read my full review of the best Star Wars movie.
Director: Mel Gibson
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Teresa Palmer, Vince Vaughn, Sam Worthington, Hugo Weaving, Luke Bracey, Nathaniel Buzolic, Rachel Griffiths, Richard Roxburgh
Plot: WWII American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, who served during the Battle of Okinawa, refuses to kill people, and becomes the first man in American history to receive the Medal of Honor without firing a shot.
A stunningly vivid World War II picture, Hacksaw Ridge dramatises the heroic story of conscientious objector Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield), who determinedly set out to serve his country without ever picking up a weapon. Almost impossibly, Gibson transforms what could have been a preachy religious fable into a frequently gripping and emotive war film.
Full review of the best war film in years here
Director: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton, Carl Gottlieb, Jeffrey Kramer, Susan Backlinie
Plot: When a gigantic great white shark begins to menace the small island community of Amity, a police chief, a marine scientist and grizzled fisherman set out to stop it.
Though decades have passed since it first entered theatres in 1975, Steven Spielberg's Jaws still assuredly holds its position as one of the greatest thrillers of all time, and remains an important cinematic artefact. Central to the film's brilliance is the riveting suspense, the colourful cast of characters, the humour, the terrific dialogue, the unforgettable score, the thrills, and, above all, the way it taps into the most primal of human fears: fear of the unknown.
Click here for my full review
Director: Sylvester Stallone
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Julie Benz, Matthew Marsden, Graham McTavish, Reynaldo Gallegos, Jake La Botz, Tim Kang, Maung Maung Khin, Paul Schulze
Plot: In Thailand, John Rambo joins a group of mercenaries to venture into war-torn Burma, and rescue a group of Christian aid workers who were kidnapped by the ruthless local infantry unit.
For Rambo (a.k.a. Rambo IV), Sylvester Stallone returned the character to his roots; emulating the tone and emotion of First Blood in order to craft a gritty, poignant war picture that doesn't skimp on the action. What's truly daring about Rambo - and what a lot of critics have missed - was Stallone's decision to resurrect the ironic warrior to lament his soul rather than celebrate his strength.
This masterpiece of action cinema...reviewed here
James Cameron's Titanic demonstrated the profitability of epic sagas in a modern age, and that films in the tradition of Ben Hur and Lawrence of Arabia were not a thing of the past. Meticulous in detail, and vast in both scope and intent, Titanic is a film you don't merely watch but experience - from the launch of the luxurious ocean liner to the night of the tragic sinking, it's impossible not to get swept up in the emotion and exhilaration of the picture.
Click here to read my full review...
The Terminator is one of the most important motion pictures of the 1980s - it launched the career of director James Cameron, and catapulted star Arnold Schwarzenegger to stardom. Cameron went on to helm a number of groundbreaking blockbusters in later years (Aliens, Terminator 2, Titanic, Avatar, and so on), while Arnie developed into a legendary big-name action star (with such movies as Commando, Predator, Total Recall and The Running Man). 1984's The Terminator begat these two Hollywood legends for good reason - this is one of the most remarkable, original science fiction/action films in history. While produced on a comparatively low budget, the film is suffused with a myriad of positive attributes and several justifiably legendary images and sequences. Benefitting from a number of still-impressive special effects, fine acting, lots of excitement and a mesmerising pace, The Terminator is one of the finest motion pictures of all time.
Full review of James Cameron's masterpiece here
Director: George Lucas
Starring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, David Prowse, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness
Plot: Luke Skywalker joins forces with a Jedi Knight, a cocky pilot, a Wookiee and two droids to save the galaxy from the Empire's world-destroying battle-station while also attempting to rescue Princess Leia from the evil Darth Vader.
In 2015, this first Star Wars movie - which was later re-titled Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope - has lost none of its potency; it's still an insanely enjoyable space opera fantasy epic, imbued with breathtaking action scenes and top-flight technical specs. Adults will appreciate the compelling storytelling, while kids will be enraptured by the film's colourful special effects.
Click here to read my full review of this enduring classic.
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rachel Ticotin, Sharon Stone, Ronny Cox, Michael Ironside, Marshall Bell, Mel Johnson Jr.
Plot: When a man goes for virtual vacation memories of the planet Mars, an unexpected and harrowing series of events forces him to go to the planet for real, or does he?
What do you get when you merge Paul Verhoeven's ability for directing ultra-violent action films with the conventions of an Arnold Schwarzenegger action vehicle? The answer is Total Recall; an exciting, thought-provoking and violent science fiction action spectacle.
You'll find my full review of this awesome epic of epic awesomeness here
Director: James Cameron
Starring: Sigourney Weaver, William Hope, Paul Reiser, Bill Paxton, Lance Henriksen, Michael Biehn, Jenette Goldstein, Carrie Henn, Al Matthews
Plot: The planet from Alien has been colonized, but contact is lost. This time, the rescue team has impressive firepower, but will it be enough?
Director: Martin McDonagh
Starring: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes, Clémence Poésy, Jordan Prentice, Ciarán Hinds
Plot: Guilt-stricken after a job gone wrong, hitman Ray and his partner await orders from their ruthless boss in Bruges, Belgium, the last place in the world Ray wants to be.
Director: Edgar Wright
Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Jim Broadbent, Paddy Considine, Timothy Dalton, Bill Bailey, Olivia Colman
Plot: Jealous colleagues conspire to get a top London cop transferred to a small town and paired with a witless new partner. On the beat, the pair stumble upon a series of suspicious accidents and events.
Director: Edgar Wright
Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Kate Ashfield, Lucy Davis, Dylan Moran
Plot: A man decides to turn his moribund life around by winning back his ex-girlfriend, reconciling his relationship with his mother, and dealing with an entire community that has returned from the dead to eat the living.
Not a one-joke spoof, the film is more of a loving ode to the walking dead genre created by George A. Romero, taking its horror elements and story with sincerity while also providing plenty of huge belly-laughs amid the vicious violence. It's a much-needed reminder about how fun zombies can be, and the fact that it's delivered via boundlessly energetic and skilful filmmaking is the icing on top.
Click here for moar!
Road House is the very definition of a guilty pleasure - it's packed with rousing action, a ludicrous story, a great soundtrack, gratuitous nudity, huge bare breasts, monster trucks, sex in strange places, roundhouse kicks and a great lead performance from Patrick Swayze in his prime. There isn't much weight to Road House, nor does it have any lofty ambitions, but it's a very enjoyable, breezy romp, and a perfect late night "guy flick".
Click here for my analysis of the perfect "guy flick"
Note: This list started out as a non-serious top 50, as I just stuffed it with my favourite cheesy action titles as a gag. But now I've evolved it into my actual top 50 list. Before you point it out, I'll explain the rationale behind having 4-star movies on here while I haven't included a tonne of movies to which I've awarded 5 stars. Well, as much as I like the 5-star movies, I feel that my actual top 50 should include movies that I really, REALLY love, even if rating them on a critic-ey scale does reveal flaws. It's my list, I'll make up my own rules.
You see, I've created self-serious top 50s before, which are nothing but a ranking of the movies I've rated the highest but don't feel too strongly about. This list represents a mix of my self-serious and non-serious lists, presenting the 50 movies that I really do love the most. It's the definitive representation of my film tastes.
There are 51 titles here, but that's because Commando and Predator tie for second spot. I cannot decide between them.
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