10 Movies

If someone were to come up to me and say ‘Rachel, I’ve never seen a movie.  What are 10 movies I should start with?’.  What 10 movies would I pick?  It’s a really hard question.  I figure I’d want to pick 10 films that showed different genres and styles.

1. Vertigo- Got to include a Hitchcock and this is my favorite. The imagery is amazing. The story is layered.  It’s so suspenseful because we as viewers are never sure if Jimmy Stewart is insane or not.

2. The Shining- The only horror movie I like.  It builds tension so well and it is scary because it is about a man slowly going crazy over the course of the movie.  It’s so well filmed.  The imagery stays with you but not in an uncomfortable way.  The music is perfect.

3. Bringing Up Baby- A hilarious comedy and romantic comedy in one.  Great performances and showcases a lot of different kinds of comedy.

4. Mary Poppins- It was either Mary Poppins or Wizard of Oz for my children’s flick. So tough to decide but Mary Poppins is basically a perfect movie.  The songs are amazing.  The story is wonderful.  Mary is actually a pretty complex character.  Mr Banks isn’t the one note workaholic Dad in a million other movies.  When he is walking back to be fired from his job at the end it is so moving.  The whimsy is perfect.  The animated scenes charming.  Mary Poppins is also my nod to the musical in this top 10.

5. Casino Royal- I figure you have to pick one spy/mystery type movie and my favorite Bond movie is Casino Royal.  It has heart, amazing action and some of the best poker in movies. Very well filmed and great stunt work.

6. Star Wars- Again, how can you not put Star Wars on the list? It is such a well edited movie.  Everything clips along and by the time we reach the climatic ending we are cheering (literally when I saw it in theaters for a rerelease everyone stood up and cheered).  Charismatic performances, layered and vibrant world, and a great story about good vs evil.

7. Avengers- Got to put one comic book movie and I know most of you would put Dark Knight and I get that but I prefer comic book movies that are a little bit fun.  Avengers is my favorite.  The action is fun.  Loki is a great villain and the actors are so charismatic in their ‘dream team’ roles.

8. Godfather Pt 2-  I am not as in love with these movies as everyone else.  I just don’t like mob movies that much but mafia movies are a huge part of cinema and this is certainly the most well made of them all.

9. Lord of the Rings- I don’t know which Lord of the Rings I’d pick so perhaps this is a cheat and I’d do all 3.  They would be my nod to fantasy and epic storytelling. Great acting, special effects, battles, and a completely immersive world.

10. Schindler’s List- Tough to decide between Saving Private Ryan and Schindler’s List. They should both be included. Everyone should see Schindler’s List once to know about evil and what horrors humans are capable of. What moves me the most is Oscar Schindler is a bad guy but even he is forced to look upon great evil and do something good.  That’s how bad it was. The black and white cinematography is stunning and when we get the single image of a girl with a red coat it is something I will never forget.

Boy is that hard!  Seriously try it and you will find how tough it is. No room for To Kill a Mockingbird,  Wizard of Oz, Citizen Kane, Casablanca, Harry Potter, Raiders of the Lost Arc, The Mission, Fantasia, It’s a Wonderful Life, and a million other amazing movies.  These are not my favorite movies or the movies I would most like to rewatch. It’s what introduces a non-moviegoer to as many genres in 10 movies as I could pack in.

What do you think?  I would love to read your lists.

Here’s watchmojo’s list.

28 thoughts on “10 Movies

  1. 1. Hitchcock you can never go wrong with, though I am more partial to Marnie or The Birds. Or Psycho if you manage to watch it before someone spoils the twist for you.
    2. If Horror, I would go for something like the Haunting (the original, not the awful remake). In general, the classics tend to be the best. For the best Stephen King: Shawshank Redemption by a long shot.
    3. My favourite Comedy is either “The Court Jester” or “Arsenic and Old Lace”. Both movies are hilarious, even after multiple watches.
    4. Mary Poppins over Wizard of Oz every day…the latter one is more an American thing (and horrible overrated due to nostalgia, if you ask me). Marry Poppins is universal good.
    5. Goldfinger. When it comes to Bonds, I either go with the original or Brosnan. Craig – urgh. I hated Casino Royal and haven’t watched another one with him after it.
    6. I can. Was never into Star Wars, and the bit which as good about it got destroyed by milking the franchise with questionable entries, the Star Wars Christmas Special being the low point. (I loooooooove Guardians of the Galaxy, though, which is in my eyes, the better Star Wars…sacrilege, I know).
    7. Can one really watch an MCU movie without the others? My favourite is The Winter soldier, but Avengers is naturally up there (did you see the Trailer for Age of Ultron? I am so hyped!).
    8. Nah…not my type of movie. Or genre. Don’t like to go too dark and bloody. I would put something more thoughtful or meta in this place, like Finding Forrester.
    9. Big Fantasy fan here, but I was never in LotR, not even in the books. I appreciate the movies, though, and they are the best in the genre (mostly because I would always point to the Harry Potter Books, not the movies). Replace that with Pirates of the Caribbean…but only the first part. Nothing like a good pirate flick for escapism.
    10. Schindler’s list. Saving Private Ryan is too American. Schindler’s list does a way better job explaining the mechanism against fascism. But in any case, a good list naturally needs a really good Spielberg on it.

    The only proper way to start watching movies is naturally a good Disney Flick, though.

    1. Great comments. I’m already second guessing myself. Seems like I need a sports movie and a drama. I don’t really think of Shawshank as a horror movie but it’s great. I think I might sub out something for To Kill a Mockingbird. Maybe Godfather for Mockingbird. It’s tough to do.

    2. I thought Casino Royal made Bond a person with feelings and it combined great action, good villain and good performances.

      1. The movie confuses me because it is supposed to be set in the past, but then a lot of stuff which looks very futuristic pops up.
        Plus, I don’t buy Craig in the role. James Bond is a very misogynist character at the best times, but I have to at least believe that this guy will make woman swoon. Not only does he nothing to me, I think that his type would appeal to a comparable small demographic. He is neither good looking enough, nor does he have that much charisma.

      2. That makes sense. It’s my favorite Bond. Your choices are also good. I Ioved Guardians too!
        It seems like I should fit in a documentary too.
        Not a fan of Wizard of Oz and Star Wars? Wowzers! I try to not let the sequels, prequels and reboots of both effect my opinion because they are such crimes of the original. I love both.
        But my top 10 favorite movies would be very different than this list.

      3. The original lives more of the effects than the actual story. The second part is better in this regard, though.

        Wizard of Oz is, I think, pretty much an US thing. There are certain movies which are really successful in certain countries.

      4. I wonder if youd have to have a western in an introduction to filmmaking. A lot of people would put Tarantino and Scorsese in but I’ve actually not been able to get through their movies. Too much language and violence for me.
        I could make a pretty interesting film course with these! :). So many good movies out there. I like all your suggestions too

      5. I am a little surprised just because I think Casino Royal has the most fleshed out Bond girl. She’s an actual person in a real relationship. I figure you’d like that? But I do see what you are saying about if you don’t buy Daniel Craig than it is a problem. I think he’s kind of cute and more human than the others so I’m a fan but I get why he might not be for everyone.

      6. The feminist aspect is for me always secondary when it comes to liking a movie or not. More often the size of the plot hole is the most deciding factor. Which is why Goldfinger is my favourite Bond…it is the most logical of all. The villain has a plan I understand, it is understandable why people would help him with it and there is a reason given why he doesn’t simply kill James Bond off.

      7. I agree with you about Casino Royale. I had never seen a James Bond movie before and I wondered how he had survived into the 21st century. My brother had bought the movie because he had never seen a Bond film either. So I started watching his DVD out of curiosity, and my question was immediately answered.

        I watched the movie again a few days ago in preparation for watching Skyfall on Netflix Instant and I still love it. It perfectly combines action with story and character, and is very well crafted to keep us entertained to the end but also genuinely absorbed to see what will actually happen next. I will admit I actually liked Quantum of Solace as well, but only as an okay movie. The villains were not memorable and it is very weak. The only classic Bond I have seen is For Your Eyes Only which was… well, fun but I liked seeing the revenge themes that recurred in Quantum of Solace.

        I’m embarrassed to admit the only other movie I’ve seen on this list is Mary Poppins, which is of course wonderful.

        I remember my sister curled up on the couch watching The Shining, practically shivering with her eyes wide, talking desperately to the TV “Run, get out of there. No, no, what are you doing? Oh, yeah, just write all over the walls! That’s a good idea!…. Now, why couldn’t they make the mom go insane? ‘Cause the dad looks really scary when he’s crazy……..”

        I did like you complimenting Schindler’s List for having “[stunning] black and white cinematography”. I hate colorization and unlike my sister, I agree with the late Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert that “There is inherent drama in it, there’s no question about it.” (from Hail Hail Black & White, 1989 show)

      8. Hurray someone agrees with me on Casino Royal. I think it is such a fun movie and the only Bond where I ‘bonded’ with Bond ;). Great stunts, fun action and he’s a real person. Plus, best poker in a movie.

        Shining is super scary but it is more of a psychological horror movie along the lines of Vertigo (but more bloody). You should give it a shot. I do not like horror movies but it is one I like.

        And the rest on the list you should definitely check out. Never seen Star Wars? How’d you manage that? It’s so good!

      9. I’m seeing it in the theater christmas eve! Did your family not watch a lot of movies?

      10. No, we did. I watched literally every Disney animated movie growing up many times except the majority of the package films and Fantasia/Fantasia 2000. I was mostly turned off of Fantasia because my father thought it was boring. I did start to watch it once at my grandparents’ house but then I turned it off and I went to bed.

        I can’t explain why I never saw It’s a Wonderful Life except that my mother mostly introduced us to the Rankin-Bass specials and How the Grinch Stole Christmas and my aunt liked to read Christmas books with me such as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Miracle on 34th Street.

        I was unable to escape the American experience of getting sucked into watching The Wizard of Oz by every side of my family, of course.

        I have never seen Back to the Future or the Indiana Jones movies, either.

      11. Oh no! My heart hurts for you! No Back to the Future, no Indiana Jones. They are so good. At least watch BTF 1 and IJ 1 and 3. I love Wizard of Oz? To me it is just about a perfect movie. I’m a bit of a Judy Garland nut.

        Those are some good one’s you watched too. Can’t go wrong with a Disney education. But seriously come out to Utah and we will watch Indian Jones, Back to the Future, Star Wars, It’s a Wonderful Life. That would be best movie weekend ever! 😉

      12. “I wonder if youd have to have a western in an introduction to filmmaking. A lot of people would put Tarantino and Scorsese in but I’ve actually not been able to get through their movies. Too much language and violence for me.”

        I do love Django Unchained so I would eagerly put that on my list for recommending Westerns. I know it’s ultra-violent, amoral and profane, and I have no real excuse except that it’s amazing how skilled Tarantino was at making me enjoy the revenge-themed violence that populates the majority of the picture and horrified and angry at the violence he despises.

      13. I’ve heard that is a good movie. Ive held off because of the violence but been tempted.
        If I picked a western I would probably choose High Noon or Rio Grande. Of course I havent seen that many of them.

      14. Well, it wasn’t that much fun watching Bond tortured by having his testicles beaten or realizing his true love was a double-agent and desperately trying to save her from committing suicide and failing. But I do enjoy the general craft of the movie and the classic final shot.

        I don’t know how I got out of watching any of the Star Wars movies on DVD. My father saw the first one in the theater and my brother has them all on DVD.

      15. I guess that’s true. It wasnt too much for me. The stunts and card scenes were fun

      16. You should totally watch star wars (not the prequels) before the new one comes out. They are really good movies. Plus just a part of our cultural lexicon

    3. But alas it is easy to find fault with my list. A lot harder to make one of your own which I would love to see. 😉 My goal was to introduce someone to as many genres as possible in 10 movies. I do think 90% of moviegoers would have Godfather and Star Wars on their list.

    1. I felt like I only had room for one movie like that and so Mary Poppins got the spot. Sound of Music I’d love to include. Jaws is another one I thought of. I know you arent a fan but I also wanted to put Up in or Walle.

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