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I essentially love the idea of a top ten list, but I cannot restrict myself to choosing a definitive top ten from a list of hundreds of wonderful films. I broke it down to about fifty, and eventually I wound up with ten, but do not ask me to put them in a particular order, and how much I love them comparatively will change. The fact is that I love these films, and here's why:
I would go as far as saying Fellini's masterpiece is the quintessential film on filmmaking with Truffaut's Day for Night as a close second. Besides being a direct influence to Day for Night, it inspired Woody Allen's Stardust Memories, among many, many others. It's life's difficulties all rolled into one fantastic film. It just sucks you in, which is exactly what film is meant to do.
We could argue this is Lumet's masterpiece. We could argue that Network is, but either way, this is the perfect example of pure cinema. We have a single setting, twelve actors, and a single vision. It keeps you on the edge of your seat by story alone. Now, that's impressive.
Here's a film that blows me away every time I watch it, no matter how many times I watch it. It's gripping and heartbreaking; a character study of a young boy in a world that just doesn't agree.
Ashes and Diamonds is the third in a war trilogy created by Andrzej Wadja. All of them are excellent, but this one is the best. It's dark, yet moving.
Scorsese's character piece on Jesus Christ himself is also excellent. It brings a human side to the Son of God, while reinstating his importance in our modern world. I believe too many misinterpret this film as blasphemy, as crushing a faith, but I believe only the blind could feel that way. If anything, you should walk away, feeling stronger.
The perfect film about perspective. Who's telling the truth? We're told the same story on four different accounts. It sucks you in, and really makes you think about how to take characters in future films. Just because they state something, well, you know how that goes.
The epic samurai masterpiece by Kurosawa. It's a great film that collects a bunch of outcasts to save a small village from having their crops stolen. The uniting of these people and their involvement surpassing merely wanting money will get to you, how they learn to care about one another and these people.
I have two Bergman films on this list and both deal with death, something that's always affected me deeply. It's dark and moody, and it completely draws me in.
Preston Sturges is the first writer/director, and here we have an interesting take on comedy and what comedy means to people. It grabs you unexpectedly, but any viewer will be able to appreciate the tale Sturges told.
The ultimate film about death, moving on, what life meant, and is it too late to appreciate it all.