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What do you consider the single greatest film ever made, and why?


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Showing 51-75 of 1000 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2011, 6:21:02 PM PDT
The university near me is having an outdoor screening of Strangelove this month. Promises to be a good time. I think it will be interesting to see such understated satire in the company of total strangers. I've seen such diverse reactions to the film in my private experience, from infatuation to bewildered boredom.

Posted on Jun 11, 2011, 6:58:15 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 11, 2011, 7:03:01 PM PDT
Laust Cawz says:
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Posted on Jun 11, 2011, 7:23:32 PM PDT
"Strangelove" is the best black comedy on film. It's so subversive, so naughty, and so entertaining.

Over the years, I've encountered people who dismiss it as overrated trash or unfunny, juvenile muck. Some people find that it was much too irreverent, and exceedingly mocking of the 'duck and cover' years. It is interesting to hear different viewpoints and reactions.

I am usually drawn to dark comedies and satires, like The Loved One. That one's a riot.

Posted on Jun 11, 2011, 7:31:41 PM PDT
Without a doubt, the best movie of all time is "Not As A Stranger" with a young Olivia de Havilland and Robert Mitchum. Charles Bickford gives a stellar performance. Probably one of Harry Morgan's first performances and he has a very small part, but he does it credit.

Probably the second best, in my opinion, is "Sayonara" with Marlon Brando and an Oscar winning performance by Red Buttons. I never cared for Marlon Brando except in this movie but even though he's OK, he's so overshadowed by Red Buttons that you tend to forget his role.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2011, 7:40:07 PM PDT
Baron---
Long time no see!!! As usual you make a good point, this time as to the futility of answering the call on this one--though your toss-in titles of The Godfather and Sunset Blvd would likely be on my short-list as well...Strangelove, Apocalypse Now, Wizard of Oz, Casablanca, American Beauty, Hard Day's Night, Maltese Falcon, Rashomon, Pulp Fiction, Taxi Driver, Paths of Glory, Sullivan's Travels, Gaslight, Manchurian Candidate, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, City Lights, Shoah, Blade Runner,La Dolce Vita, Rain Man, It's a Wonderful Life, Groundhog Day, Burn!, Vertigo...well, the list is not staying so short, is it?

If I was going to say "Greatest" I certainly wouldn't rely on the number of Academy Award nominations or winners, and Ben-Hur, quite honestly, wouldn't even come to mind....I'd take Spartacus over that just among Gladiator films...If we are talking multi-Oscars as the measure, then Gone With the Wind, Dr. Zhivago, or Bridge on the River Kwai would be on my mind before Ben-Hur....Anyway, the Oscars often miss the boat on the best picture in any given year, let alone for all time...

I think it is hard to determine "Greatest" because people are going to respond with their "Favorite" much of the time, or what they consider to be the most "Important" or the "Biggest" in terms of box-office gross. Obviously, you are looking for elements like story, visual appeal, score, acting, script, editing, technological innovation, historical and cultural impact...It has to pull us, absorb us entirely into its unique dream world... And then what can it do--as cinema--to enrich our Humanity....I don't really think box office or Oscars are much of an indicator of those kinds of things...

I know it has become a bit of a cliche, but I still have to go with Citizen Kane as the single greatest film ever made. It rewrote all the rules, and they have stayed re-written ever since. Every film made since Citizen Kane is in its debt in one way or another. It is stunning in terms of cinematography, narrative structure, musical score, visual beauty, and quality of writing. It is mysterious, suspenseful, humorous, and entertaining. And, it is a profound poetic meditation on the meaning of life, love, and loss...I'm enthralled every single time I see, and I've seen it many, many, many times....

Posted on Jun 11, 2011, 7:44:03 PM PDT
Laust Cawz says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2011, 7:58:32 PM PDT
Gone With The Wind was a great movie, though not the best, in my opinion. I have to confess that I've never seen Casablanca though I've heard an awful lot about it over the years. One of these days I'll have to correct my failure to see it.

Posted on Jun 11, 2011, 9:07:21 PM PDT
Green Meanie says:
Two Movies I always can watch on TV at any part are Foul Play and What's Up Doc?.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2011, 9:27:55 PM PDT
lookingfaps3 says:
Laust Cawz,
I think you look at Star Wars way too simply. Luke Skywalker was hardly a perfect cut out character, neither was Han Solo. Darth Vader wasn't just evil for evil's sake. He served the empire and believed in his cause. So perhaps you should delve a little deeper especially if you haven't even bothered to watch the sequels.
Further, if you're looking for "real life", you're not going to find it in Superman in any incarnation. After all, the character can fly and is from another planet (and Superman is at his very essence the quintessential "hero" who children enjoy watching all over the world). Some people like to promote the intellectual snobbery of certain films as a qualifying feature, but what it all boils down to is what each individual finds entertaining. Some people also like to debate the realism in sci-fi films, but I don't believe in aliens so that makes it very difficult.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2011, 9:43:40 PM PDT
Harvey,

Good to see you! Hope all is good.

"Citizen Kane" is worthy of this conversation, naturally. I'm a fan. Aside from it being such a good movie and story, there's the whole yummy true story of the film's production, the notorious history behind its making. But I won't go deeply into that right now. Although I would urge anyone unfamiliar with "Kane" to do a little investigating and see how controversial the production was.

Citizen Kane (Two-Disc Special Edition)

Disc 2 contains the two hour documentary "The Battle Over Citizen Kane", which details the power struggle between Orson Welles and William Randolph Hearst. Very interesting.

I think "Kane" has suffered tremendously from people who find it overrated. They go in expecting one thing and somehow get something else.

And it's suffered from people who simply label it boring (amazingly, as it's a fascinating mystery). And often, people don't appreciate all the goings on: half of what we see in "Kane" is a trick or a creative innovation.

It pulls me in every time, and I enjoy the ride. I like it because it was so different and bold. It's confident and it's got style. Orson Welles could take an ordinary thing or setting and make it wondrous-- almost effortlessly, it seems. He was something else, such a visionary and storyteller. Plus, never before had a Hollywood studio given a 25 year old carte-blanche like that.

Posted on Jun 11, 2011, 10:17:16 PM PDT
NeoWolph says:
A couple of my favs;
Barbarella - Mmmmm
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
And if you want to talk about great sci-fi- Metropolis

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2011, 11:09:24 PM PDT
Yes, Baron, the documentary about the making of Kane is quite good, and I also recommend the movie-ized version, "RKO 281" with Lief Schrieber as Welles, James Cameron as Hearst, and Melanie Griffith as the Rosebud. Yes, Welles had that carte blanche but once in his life, and look what he did with it. In many ways, this was the kind of freedom directors did not have until the 60's and 70's. Hard to knock what the studio system created, but who knows? Anyway, Welles paid the price on Magnificent Ambersons, and so did we all...It is such a great film as is, but with all of it there in place as Welles saw it? Could have been mind-blowing!!!

Yes, Kane is a great mystery/suspense film, if nothing else. As much as I love a film like The Maltese Falcon, also 1941, if you put that next to Kane in terms of its technique, it is going to look like child's play--even though it is actually a masterful film from a rookie director. Yes, Kane is confident and bold, all right, and it loosens the camera from a static posture to a living, breathing, inquisitive beast, roving at will and looking from all possible angles. The breaking of the time-frame and multi-narrator technique seems borrowed from Faulkner, perhaps, and engages the mind in all its depth of conscious and unconscious processes, freeing film from the tyranny of the sequential....And its tone is pretty cynical for 1941, isn't it? It's the American Dream and the great American Man writ all large and hollow....While Capra's films might have explored the idea of corruption, cronyism, and fraud in the American process, he always answered with hopefulness, optimism, and delight by film's end. Sturges went a bit further than Capra, but think about how DARK and BLEAK both Kane and Amberson's are for pre-war films!!! Even the smiling faces grafted on to the end of Amberson's can't melt the ice from what went before...In Kane, its courage is in the technical, the artistic, and in its vision. Anything but boring!!!!

Posted on Jun 11, 2011, 11:45:29 PM PDT
Laust Cawz says:
lookingfaps3

Yes, I realize that there's nothing "real life" about Superman. I don't have a problem with fiction or fantasy, as long as I find it entertaining, imaginative &/or thought provoking & as long as it's not treated as documentary (though, in recent years, the line certainly has blurred, with such films as "The Blair Witch Project"). That doesn't mean that some story or character elements can't be applied to the reality/real lives of the audience members. I really like that on "Smallville", Lex Luthor was treated as a sympathetic character. It was set up to show that the real villain was his father, Lionel, a decision which may have been influenced by "Star Wars", which used a similar paradigm. The point is, this show was trying to make traditionally simple characters more complex & they made this clear from the start. I respected that & that's why I tuned in. I never would've been satisfied with just another "Lois & Clark" (which, unfortunately, is actually the way it sort of ended up being the last half-season or so).

Ironically, my position on "alien life forms" is along the lines of how Mr. Spock used to describe unfamiliar alien life forms on "Star Trek"--"...life, but not as we know it." Obviously, Spock himself is fictional &, even the "Vulcan" half would be too close to human form to ever have any chance of really existing anywhere outside of fiction. However, the description still rings true to me--"...life, but not as we know it." You could say I'm an agnostic about the possibility of any alien life existing. If any does exist, though, because it would not be living on earth in an environment we understand & are familiar with, I can only assume that it would not react to stimuli the way we would normally expect life forms to react. Indeed, it's doubtful we would even recognize it as life or as anything, even. Two films that, I think, present the most conceivable scenarios in this regard are 1978's "Invasion Of The Body Snatchers" (I think this is the best version) & 1958's "The Blob". That is, I think these films represent the closest we've come to approximating what (if anything) might be out there--no metal ships, no little green men, just maybe some unnoticed biological infestation, but I'm certainly not holding my breath to prove that one.

Anyhow, there are very human (& non-super-powered) heroes in movies (& TV) as well &, no matter the genre or setting, I appreciate them if they're multi-dimensional &, if I can relate to them & their situations (whether directly or symbolically), I can/will still cheer them on. There may even be, on rare occasion, a "villain" I root for (the anti-religious antagonists in "Foul Play" come to mind).

If I hadn't thought "Star Wars" totally sucked & just didn't understand some things or had forgotten some of it, I might've been inclined to take another look or check out one of the endless parade of sequels, prequels, re-issues, etc.,etc., but it just made no impact on me at all. Maybe if C-3PO & R2-D2 had been the main characters in a goofy sci-fi sitcom...

You'd mentioned "Logan's Run". I think that one's quite impressive. The only problem is that it feels a bit dated because of the style (the costumes, the set, the effects all SCREAM "'70s"). Don't get me wrong--I think the '70s was a very auspicious decade, but this film is not the best evidence of that. In many ways, though, it's still terrific (great story/script, mostly great acting). I've heard for a while there was supposed to be a remake in the works. If they got Christopher Nolan to direct, it could be the rare remake that tops the original.

Posted on Jun 12, 2011, 4:16:27 AM PDT
J. Turner says:
can't pick just one film. However, 'Photographing Fairies' is my current favourite, One of those underestimated little films that is always mixed up with 'Fairy Tale' (a children's film about the two girls in the Cottingley case) 'PF' is about a widowed photographer who has been through WW1 and dismisses the paranormal and the afterlife. By chance a photograph is brought to his studio and he begins a journey that can end in only one way. The film is well scripted, well cast and everything is as it should be. Although it is a British movie, it reminds me of European movies such as 'La Belle et la Bete' and 'Il Postino' (you know, the movies Disney and Costner ruined!) If I could change one thing, it's that I wonder what George C, Scott would have been like in the Ben Kingsley role (the local vicar) but then, Scott is about my favourite actor ever!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 12, 2011, 4:31:48 AM PDT
Phoenix says:
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Posted on Jun 12, 2011, 4:48:36 AM PDT
Doc says:
The greatest single film ever made...........? Well, I think you would have to isolate those with all the high tech special effects from the classics. For instance, "Avatar" and "The African Queen".

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 12, 2011, 5:00:19 AM PDT
Gwaithmir says:
sugarangel said: "The lord of the rings trilogy. need i say more."

>I agree. I read the trilogy novel while I was in Vietnam and waited nearly three decades for a film that would do it justice. Peter Jackson and a staff of technical geniuses did that with flying colors.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 12, 2011, 5:14:13 AM PDT
Gwaithmir says:
Laust Cawz said: "...plus I'm an atheist..."

>Did you know that there is an atheist forum here?

http://www.amazon.com/forum/atheist/ref=cm_cd_rvt?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=Fx3VDTKO61HE6U7

>Also, check out the social network site Atheist Nexus:

http://www.atheistnexus.org/

Posted on Jun 12, 2011, 5:43:23 AM PDT
SkyKing says:
Lawrence of Arabia. You would need to see a 70mm version in a theater to fully appreciate the impact of this film correctly.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 12, 2011, 6:42:37 AM PDT
anewday says:
I would have to say Lord of The Rings, Return of the King. I do believe it took 11 Oscars, tieing with Ben Hur and Titantic. I wanted to say the entire LOTR Trilogy, but you said to pick just one.

Posted on Jun 12, 2011, 6:52:58 AM PDT
D. Doppes says:
Nobodys picked a Pauly Shore movie yet? Come on people come to your senses!

Posted on Jun 12, 2011, 6:56:24 AM PDT
D. Larson says:
For me, the "single greatest movie" is going to change from day to day, depending on the mood I'm in or the genre I'm interested in at the moment. The Coen's "True Grit", though, falls into a similar category: movies that I wouldn't change a frame of.

There are plenty of movies I love, but which I think could use a tighter edit, or fewer clever camera tricks, or gaping plot holes dealt with. But there are a few pictures that I can't find anything to criticize. A few: "Local Hero", "Badlands", "Winter's Bone", "Kundun".

And the single best? The movie I'd watch over and over without a moment's carping about camera angles or performances that don't ring true?

John Carpenter's "Big Trouble In Little China". It's, well, perfect!

Posted on Jun 12, 2011, 6:56:57 AM PDT
Neil Brough says:
The Third Man

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 12, 2011, 7:41:08 AM PDT
lookingfaps3 says:
Laust Cawz,
A lot of people don't like George Lucas because his later films became an attempt to remove just about every human element and replace it with CGI. The argument can be made that George Lucas has gotten away from the root of what made his earlier films (Star Wars, the Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark) so loved and endearing. You can't replace the characters because they are ultimatley what drive the story and make it engaging. In my opinion, the actors were so well chosen for Star Wars that you can't remake the film.
If you believe that all the characters in Star Wars are one dimensional and can't be related to, then I think you have simply missed the point. Darth Vader is every bit as sympathetic as Lex Luthor in Smallville. And while I will quickly forget about Smallville now that it is off the air, I will always get goose bumps when Darth Vader makes his first appearance in Star Wars. In fact, I think I'm going to watch it again tonight.

Posted on Jun 12, 2011, 8:59:59 AM PDT
Cavaradossi says:
Phoenix

Your pick of the single greatest person who ever lived: Jesus of Nazareth. Amen to that!
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