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My Top 100 films revisited

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About 4 1/2 years ago, I constructed a list of my top 100 films of all time and shared it with you all. It's something I like to do as a fun, little project every couple of years, but I haven't updated my list here since that original one. I thought about doing them an avatar series again, because that was super fun, but I figured it would just be a letdown in the end, because my top 2 films didn't budge at all. And I couldn't wait 100 days

Here is my list as it stands halfway through 2012. There were some interesting changes.

My original list:

The highest ranking new entry is none other than Christopher Nolan's noir masterpiece The Dark Knight. Anyone wanna guess what film I'm looking forward to this summer? Interestingly, not all of the new entries are films that were newly released or that I'd seen for the first time. Some I'd seen many, many times and on a recent viewing, it really struck me how much I adored them and always had (e.g. - Boyz N the Hood, The Matrix, Terminator 2, Taxi Driver, etc.). I'm not sure why so many of the new entries seem to clump together like that, though. I didn't notice as I was compiling it.

Lots of things took nosedives upon recent viewings. The Shawshank Redemption fell the most spots while still maintaining a spot on the list, falling from #17 to #89. It's a wonderful film, but the last 2 times I saw it, it didn't really hit me on an emotional level the same way it had for years. With that stripped away, it meant a bit less to me. An American in Paris fell 67 spots to #98 because the last time I saw it, I was horrified at what a stalker-ish jackass Gene Kelly's character is.

I think the biggest positive jump was The Princess Bride, a film I want to watch basically every single day. It jumped almost 50 spots into the top 15.

Of course, many films fell off the list completely. Some, just because I hadn't seen them in so long that they've faded from my memory and been superseded by more recent discoveries and they may return on repeat viewings (e.g. Sophie's Choice, City of God, Oldboy, Malcolm X). So there is a bit of a recency bias at work, I suspect. Others fell off because I revisited them and I simply didn't like them as much as I used to (A Hard Day's Night, Crash, Spiderman 2, Mister Roberts, Duck Soup. What can you do? The biggest tumble off the list was The Third Man, from #34 alllll the way to oblivion. It belongs in the former category. I know I love that film but I haven't seen it in maybe 7 years and I need to revisit it to remind myself why it belongs here. A Hard Day's Night was #35 and likewise fell all the way off, but that was because I watched it a couple years ago and found it pretty tedious. Completely opposite reaction from the first 3 or 4 times I'd seen it. It was a little disillusioning.

And there are a few films from last year that I think have a place on the list but I need to re-watch to be sure.


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  1. Jay's Avatar
    I'm just going to comment on the Studio Ghibli/Miyazaki films since I'd probably take up a ton more room talking about others on your list, haha.

    Anyway, Spirited Away is my favourite of Miyazaki's films as well. I should watch The Castle of Cagliostro, though. And I loved Princess Monoke as well! I'm glad you have it so high on your list. It seems to not be high on a lot of Miyazaki's fan's lists, in comparison to Howl's Moving Castle, which I think is an inferior film (but still pretty good).

    Almost everyone I've talked to lists Grave of The Fireflies the highest on their favourite Studio Ghibli film. I've been planning on watching it, but I've heard that it's incredibly depressing, and I've been kind of mentally preparing for it, haha. I'm surprised it's a bit lower on your list than the others.
  2. Moose's Avatar
    What was it about Adaptation that made it rise so high after a repeated viewing? I thought initially it might be a Charlie Kaufman thing (especially since you added "Eternal Sunshine" (one of the greatest movies ever, btw), but then I noticed that "Being John Malkovich" dropped down your list (though it is still there).

    And next time, find something to put between "American Beauty" and "Psycho". A quick glance had me at first believing you had "American Psycho" on your list, and I feared you had lost your mind
  3. munchin's Avatar
    Being John Malkovich dropped as a result of not having seen it in a while I think, Moose. That's one of the films affected by kind of a recency bias. Adaptation is a film in which I discover a new layer of cleverness every time i see it. I'm just so impressed with it.
  4. munchin's Avatar
    Jessie, go see Castle of now! It's less ambitious than most Miyazaki in terms of message and theme but it's an exceptionally fun action film (Steven Speilberg supposedly once said it's his favorite action film).

    You should also check out The Secret World of Arrietty, which just came out and is one of the best of the year so far. It's Ghibli, but I don't think it's Miyazaki. Grave of the Fireflies is probably the most heart-wrenching film I've ever seen. It's never a secret what the ending is, but the last 90 seconds reduce me to a puddle. It's too beautiful.