My Top 50 Films


In no particular order, but purely for the emotions they stir up, and the artistic merit they have for me personally.

  • Pepe Le Moko (1937)
  • The House on 92nd Street (1945)
  • One of our Aircraft is Missing (1942)
  • Operation Amsterdam (1958)
  • Went The Day Well (1942)
  • The Battle of the River Plate (1956)
  • Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
  • Sanjuro (1962)
  • Les Enfants du Paradis (1945)
  • The Boy on the Dolphin (1957)
  • Mayerling (1968) – for Omar Sharif I stood in a ploughed field in Austria. In the pouring rain, wearing only a tee shirt, shorts and leather sandals. The family dog was called Rudolf after the Crown Prince too!
  • Five Graves to Cairo (1941) – my obsession with this film began when I was a child!
  • Gaslight (1940)
  • Dangerous Moonlight (1944) (also known as Suicide Squadron, ghastly name which utterly destroys the dark romantic premise)
  • The Red Shoes (1948) – my trio of Anton Walbrook, authoritative, Austrian, intense and deliciously dark.
  • Night Train to Munich (1940) – Sexy Rexy and Paul Henreid playing the polar opposite of his Casablanca character.
  • The Third Man (1949) – Orson Welles is only on screen for ten minutes, but he really makes it count.
  • Seven Samurai (1954)
  • Y0jimbo (1961)
  • Laura (1944) – This film is pure genius. The casting is perfect. Everything about it is perfect.
  • Leave Her to Heaven (1945) – Gene Tierney was never better (except perhaps in Laura)
  • Sealed Cargo (1951)
  • The Silent Enemy (1958)
  • The Letter (1940) – Somerset Maughan and Bette Davis, fabulous combination.
  • All About Eve (1950) – Davis again, at her brittle, brilliant best
  • Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962) – Davis genius.
  • June Bride (1948) – Davis does comedy.
  • The Man Who Came To Dinner (1942) – Monty Woolley, Bette Davis and Jimmy Durante. Mary Wickes as the nurse. As comedies go, this is about as perfect as it comes.
  • Cover Girl (1944) – Gene Kelly, Rita Hayworth, Phil Silvers
  • I married a Witch (1942) – Veronica Lake and Frederic March
  • Charade (1963) – Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn, effortless charm.
  • Bringing Up Baby (1938) – Miss Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant, doing what they do best.
  • Keeper of the Flame (1942) – Hepburn and Tracey
  • The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952) – The first Hemingway book I ever read.
  • The Guns of Navarone (1961) – Good old fashioned adventure.
  • To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)
  • She Wore A Yellow Ribbon (1949) – John Ford and John Wayne
  • To Be or Not To Be (1942)
  • The Mummy (1959)
  • The Thin Man (1934)

Now comes the slightly more controversial bit. Films made after 1965.

  • Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) – Harrison Ford made me want to go and dig great big holes all over Egypt.
  • Alien (1979) – In space there is no one to hear you scream!
  • Aliens (1986)
  • Jaws (1975)
  • Koi Mil Gaya (2003) – For the dance in the rain sequence alone… Hrithik Roshan is incredible in this film.
  • Amelie (2001) – charming, crazy, funny and the epitome of French.
  • The Fifth Element (1997) – bonkers, but pure escapism.
  • Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
  • The Presence (2010)
  • Pig (2011)

The last two, I actually know the film-makers. So yeah, I feel a close personal connection to these films, and in both cases, I love the stories, so they both make my top fifty.

2 responses »

  1. I grew up in a theatrical household. I also grew up with much older parents. My father was born before the first war and served in the second. It was something that was rarely talked about, but from this time came a shared experience, my father, my uncles (on both sides), my British uncles fought Rommel in North Africa. My Australian uncles fought the Japanese in the jungles of New Guinea, apart from my uncle Peter who fought the Luftwaffe in a Lancaster, ten thousand miles from home. I have vague stories of this time, and some pretty gruesome tales at that. That’s why my list is so war movie heavy. It’s a way of feeling closer to my dad!

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