Is this a top 100 films of all time or a top 100 personal favorites? I don’t know. I happen to think all of these films are great, but I’ll admit that some are higher than others due to the fact that they speak to me personally. But some are higher than others simply because I think they’re the better film. What I do know is that without a doubt my #1 is both my favorite film of all time and the film I would call without equivocation the greatest film I’ve ever seen.
Also, I’m not afraid of change. Sure, I have this weird idiosyncrasy where I refuse to carry any change in my pockets, but when it comes to my top 100, I’m constantly finding myself shifting around orders and adding films in my head. From time to time I will solidify these and I’ll have them laid all out for you so you can see the progression and evolution as I go. Some of you probably don’t care, but I think it will be interesting to see how my list changes over the years so I’ll keep the backlog of top 100 for myself so ignore later dates if you aren’t interested in why I thought back when I was a College Junior. I was so naive then.
Images are key with these lists. There’s nothing more intimidating on the internet than a wall of text so I’ve decided to break it up with lots of pretty images from the films. I’ll strive to keep a variety of images throughout the years so that each list has a fresh set of images. But as the site grows, I might reintroduce some old favorites or maybe find something else entirely to put there. Who knows. It’s always changing.
What won’t change are the films. They remain the same. What changes is me. My perception of them, what I focus on in watching and how I see them in the context of all the movies I’ve seen. Sometimes, A film will appear just because it does something I wish more films would do and I loved it. But once I find another film that does the same thing, but better, it might take its place instead. Also, some films simply won’t hold up. I could see a lot of the newer films dropping off as I delve further into the past or get some distance from the novel experience of seeing them.
It’s been two years since I’ve made a proper top 100 list. This time around, I went mostly from memory and I think the list gets more interesting the further down it goes. There are some glaring omissions. The more I iterate on this list, the more it gets closer to the favorites end of the spectrum as I drop more great films for films that mean more to me personally.
For this list I decided to do something fun and use a random method to compose a top 100. My inspiration was Ignaty Vishnevetsky’s method for making his Sight & Sound ballot, but with 100 films. I took a pool of 125 films I loved, crammed them in a randomizer and took the first 100 ranked results and made this list. If nothing else, the ordering of the film is a bit more interesting. There’s also some shocking omissions. The randomizer moves in mysterious ways!
I completely scrapped the old list and made this one mostly from memory. A lot of titles you’ve seen before, but the order is quite different and I think this is the most new additions I’ve made to the list. I didn’t count them, but I’d estimate at least 20 new titles on the list. Also, a few really awesome shorts are now on the list. Because short films are people, too.
This list is actual a product of a two step process. Back in January, I redid the list and planned on posting it but then school started back up and I never got around to it. Therefore, a good handful of films have been shaken around or completely knocked off the list. This time around, I didn’t catch up with a whole lot of big, well-known greats, but found tons of delightful hidden, misunderstood or underrepresented films I thought were worthy of the list. However, I did remember to add 12 Angry Men this time!
Not a lot of huge drops or rises in films, although Ferris Bueller jumped high up there. Also, I did some shifting to my top 20 after a handful of rewatches and pushed down a couple of films that I need to watch again. A noticeable swap is My Neighbor Totoro in the place of Treeless Mountain as it does the same idea better. Also, an egregious oversight was 12 Angry Men, which I had the full intention of putting on this list but somehow got lost in the shuffle. Even worse is that minutes before posting this list I saw it playing on TV and realized my mistake.
I absolutely hated making this list. Then I posted it, looked over it, looked over it again, and loved it. Scrolling over it again, I still love it. Every time I look at it, it inspires me to revisit and old favorite. Like right now, I want to watch M again. Luckily, it’s the next film I’m watching for my German Film Class. I also love how deceptive I am about some of the images. I make Rashomon look like some film about the natural world when it’s really about human nature. And the Potempkin shot makes it look like some navel gazing arthouse film when it’s really action packed and quite violent. Take that as a lesson, class. Never trust the frame of one film to exemplify the whole film, especially when I’m picking the frame.