Some of My Favorite Films

ALASTAIR SIM SCROOGE (1951 Stock Photo - Alamy

Our friend Mike has asked me to name the movies that I really like. Fair enough–although I have so many favorites, I couldn’t possibly name them all. So I’ll just trot out a few that would always be on the list regardless.

Scrooge. This is the 1951 “Christmas Carol” starring Alistair Sim. We make sure to watch it every Christmas. Nothing beats Alistair Sim’s performance.

Gunga Din. You’re only young once, but you can be immature forever. We might call this movie a celebration of male silliness–only it’s so much fun! I don’t know whether to call this “ham acting” or histrionic brilliance. Either way it works for me.

Jurassic Park. I can’t help it, I’m a lifelong dinosaur freak. But what I love even more about this movie is the way it totally shreds the whole idea that Science Is Always Right And We’re In Control And What Could Possibly Go Wrong!

Never Let Go. (1960) Peter Sellers takes a break from comedy to be a villain–and turns in a great performance. Richard Todd is the poor underdog who has to go up against a ruthless criminal. No kidding, it’s up there with The Iliad.

Treasure Island. The 1934 version, with Wallace Beery and Jackie Cooper and a fantastic supporting cast. Another one of my absolutely all-time favorites–starting with the titles (“Sixteen men on a dead man’s chest, yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum”)! If this movie can’t crank you over, better see if you can still fog a mirror.

Jason and the Argonauts. Glorious musical score by Bernard Herrmann, and some of the best-ever special effects by Ray Harryhausen. See the colossal statue of Talos come to life! Fight off an platoon of animated skeletons! It just doesn’t get better than this.

The Uninvited. Understated film in black and white, widely regarded as one of the best ghost stories ever filmed. Starring Ray Milland and Cornelia Otis Skinner. No sex, no gore, no cussin’, no computer-generated razzle-dazzle… but really, truly creepy! Its reputation is well-earned.

That’s seven of my favorites. I could do this all day, but can’t spare the time.

Yo! out there! I’d very much enjoy seeing your list of favorites.

17 comments on “Some of My Favorite Films

  1. You’re in for a treat! Be sure to watch the 1939 version. Four friends believe our hero is a coward and present him with their calling cards and a white feather as they leave for military service. Our hero sets out to prove them wrong in a most unusual way.

  2. I also like Jason and the Argonauts and Jurassic Park. I have liked every Jurassic Park movie, (of course, some were better than others). I liked the three Jurassic World films. Although I was disappointed with the newest, Jurassic World Domination.

    Ben Hur. The 1959 epic directed by William Wyler and starring Charlton Heston. Not the lemon produced in 2016.

    The Fugitive. 1993, starring Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones, Sela Ward

    2012. What can I say, I like disaster movies. There is one “F” bomb uttered. There was a bit of irony and humor sprinkled here and there. I loved the special effects throughout. The Yellowstone caldera erupting and watching the aftermath as the ash cloud spreads out across the land, California sliding into the ocean, the waves washing over Washington DC, Hawaii just a mass of molten lava, and so many other interesting events that take place.

    Von Ryan’s Express. A 1965 World War II adventure film starring Frank Sinatra and Trevor Howard. An American POW leads a group of mainly British prisoners to escape from the Germans.

    Stalag 17. 1953 black and white, starring William Holden, Don Taylor, Otto Preminger. After two Americans are killed while escaping from a German P.O.W. camp in World War II, the barracks black marketeer, J.J. Sefton, is suspected of being an informer. Great plot, acting, drama, and never would have guessed the twist at the end.

    The Sound of Music. A 1965 musical starring Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Eleanor Parker. It’s the story of the Trapp Family Singers. Set in Austria on the eve of the Anschluss in 1938. The story revolves around a young novitiate, Maria, sent to a convent in the 1930’s Austria to become a governess to seven children of a widowed naval officer.

    1. Ben-Hur–oh, yeah, definitely! The scenes with Charlton Heston and Jack Hawkins are truly great. I love the book, too.

      Have you had any trouble getting comments posted?

  3. No problems posting today.

    I read the book “Jurassic Park” before I watched the movie. The book was much better.

    Such great scenes with Heston and Stephen Boyd. Like the one, right before Judah is sent to the gullies and swears to return and get revenge. And Messala, questioningly and hauntingly states: “Return?” What an epic response with just one word! So many great scenes. The whole movie is just wonderful scenes.

  4. Among my favorites are:
    * “Marty” with Ernest Borgnine.
    * “Night of the Hunter” with Robert Mitchum.
    * “The In-Laws” with Peter Falk and Alan Arkin.
    * “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” with Howard Keel, Jane Powell, and some of the best male dancers I’ve ever seen, including one on loan from the NYC Ballet.
    * “Little Fugitive” – a low-key gem about a little boy who’s tricked by his older brother and friends into thinking he’s killed his brother and who runs away to Coney Island to avoid arrest. The older brother has to find him and bring him home before their mother returns from her overnight trip to help an ailing relative.
    * “The Wizard of Oz” – a classic.

    Wow, there are so many that I can hardly list them all. The above are just a handful off the top of my head — which sounds as though I’ve been pulling out tufts of my hair but oh well. 😛

    1. Gah, and I accidentally hit “post” too soon and wound up not editing my screen name properly or checking the “notify me” boxes. Grrr. Well, this addendum will take care of the latter.

  5. Whenever someone asks me to list my favorite movies, my first thought is Life is Beautiful (if you have not seen it, you must!) Laugh and cry. I also love Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Steel Magnolias (for fun), and the movie I’ve seen the most times and can quote almost verbatim is The Princess Bride.

  6. I liked the “Princess Bride.” I loved the “Forbidden Planet.” And “Groundhog Day,” starring Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, and Christ Elliott. I love Murray’s sense of humor. I have watched it so often, I can also quote many lines verbatim. Oh, let’s not forget, the 1946 “It’s a Wonderful Life” with James Stewart and Donna Reed. What a wonderful film!

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