From cult classics to gangster greats, family favourites and big-budget blockbusters, there are countless movies from which to choose when compiling a top 100 list. There are some however that seem to frequent “Best Of” lists time and time again, so what makes these movies so great? Whether it’s the ability to withstand the test of time or the impact made by the powerful performers, the groundbreaking special effects or memorable dialogue.
These films have made a permanent mark on the face of cinematic history.
Here, we take a look at some of the most defining films ever made, many of which are films to watch with our DVD and Blu-Ray delivery service…
In one of cinema's most influential and gripping roles, James Dean plays Jim Stark, the new kid in town whose loneliness, frustration and anger mirrored those of most postwar teens - and reverberates more than 60 years later. Natalie Wood (as Jim's girlfriend Judy) and Sal Mineo (in his screen debut as Jim's tag-along pal Plato) were Academy Award nominees for their achingly true performances.
The Godfather trilogy is the best known and loved franchise that falls into our genre list of best gangster and mafia films. In late 1940's New York, Mafia 'Godfather' Vito Corleone gathers his three sons around him for daughter Connie's wedding; the hot-headed Sonny, ineffectual Fredo and war hero Michael, who chooses to distance himself from the family 'business'. When Vito is shot and wounded for refusing to sanction a rival family's heroin sales on his territory, Sonny temporarily takes over and embarks on bloody gang warfare. This results in him being killed in an ambush, and Michael finds himself nominated to succeed the ailing Vito.
We click our heels in anticipation. There's no place like home and no movie like this one! From generation to generation, The Wizard of Oz brings us together - kids, grown-ups, families, friends. The dazzling land of Oz, a dream-come-true world of enchanted forests, dancing scarecrows and singing lions, wraps us in its magic with one great song-filled adventure after another.
This critically acclaimed gangster flick sees Robert DeNiro take the leading role as James "Jimmy the Gent" Conway, starring alongside an all-star array of talent. Directed by Martin Scorcese, GoodFellas was a commercial and critical success upon it’s release in 1990. The film is based on a true story, and as such has been praised for it’s honest potrayal of the lives of individuals existing within organised crime syndicates.
The British flick “Whithnal & I” made a star out of then-little-known Richard E. Grant, who starred as the titular character opposite Paul McGann in this cult classic black comedy. The film chronicles the lives of two out-of-work young actors who, whilst perpetually drunk, squander their time in Camden before heading out to the Lake District on holiday. Though the film enjoyed a modest performance in theatres, it has since been named among the funniest comedies of all time by several sources, and is regularly listed among the best British films ever made.
Another Dustin Hoffman favourite, The Graduate (and indeed Simon & Garfunkel’s theme tune “Mrs. Robinson”) has stood the test of time. The film depicts college student Benjamin Braddock (Hoffman) and his seduction by the “older woman” femme fetale, Mrs. Robinson. The film resulted in numerous accolades including Golden Globe, BAFTA and Academy Award wins, and Mrs. Robinson currently occupies the number 17 spot on the “AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies” 10th anniversary edition.
Diane Keaton takes the starring role in this feature film, which was not only directed by Woody Allen, but also starred him in the role of Alvy Singer. Released in 1977, the film chronicles Signer’s relationship with aspiring nightclub singer Annie Hall. The film was met with critical acclaim at the time of it’s release, and has since gone on to leave a legacy in a motion picture history. Keaton’s performance won her an Academy Award for best picture, and her costume styling had a strong impact on women’s fashion in the late 1970s. The film also won Oscars for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Picture, and in 1992 it was submitted to the National Film Reigstry for preservation on the grounds the comedy was "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
This 1982 comedy starring Dustin Hoffman was voted by actors as the best film of all time in Time Out New York. Directed by Sydney Pollack, the movie also boasts an all-star supporting cast, including Geena Davis, Jessica Lange and Bill Murray. The film’s plot sees Hoffman’s difficult character adopt a fake identity as a woman in order to score more acting roles. The film was a critical and box office success, garnering 10 Academy Award nominations including a nod for Best Actor in a Leading Role for Hoffman. Film critic Roger Ebert heaped praise on Tootsie, proclaiming: “Tootsie is the kind of Movie with a capital M that they used to make in the 1940s, when they weren't afraid to mix up absurdity with seriousness, social comment with farce, and a little heartfelt tenderness right in there with the laughs.”
Another strong contender for the best film ever made is The Shawshank Redemption. Unlike The Godfather however, the film was considered a box office disaster. Though it received positive reviews, it’s release around the timing of Pulp Fiction meant it suffered disasterous viewership during it’s theatrical run. It wasn’t until three years afterwards when it was released on DVD and then on Blu-Ray that the film started to garner substantial recognition. Tim Robbin’s portrayal of tortured, wrongly-convicted Andy Dufresne coupled with an outstanding performance from Morgan Freeman has since made this film an absolute classic. In 2015, it was chosen for preservation in the National Film Registry by the United States Library of Congress, on the grounds that the film was "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". While it may have got off to a slow start, director Frank Darabont's defining motion picture is now widely considered to be one of the best ever made.
Giuseppe Tornatore's loving homage to the cinema tells the story of Salvatore (Marco Leonardi, Salvatore Cascio, Jacques Perrin), a successful film director, returning home for the funeral of Alfredo, his old friend who was the projectionist at the local cinema throughout his childhood. Soon memories of his first love affair with the beautiful Elena and all the highs and lows that shaped his life come flooding back, as Salvatore reconnects with the community he left 30 years earlier.