Man List: Top Films of All Time.

Based on an informal poll conducted among the men on the streets and cafes of Knobstock, here is a listing of the “Best Men’s Movies of All Time” listed alphabetically:

  • 12 O’clock High — Gregory Peck stars as a tough WWII Air Corps General who whips a bomber group into shape, suffering battle fatigue himself. Told from the viewpoint of air field support staff, with very little dogfighting and planes going down in flames typical of warplane films.
  • 2001: A Space Oddessy — The first really convincing use of computer-generated images and animated miniatures. A creepy message, though.
  • African Queen — Katherine Hepborn and Humphrey Bogart fight their way through a jungle in a small, rotting boat, fighting leeches and Germans along the way. The real star of this film is the boat, AFRICAN QUEEN.
  • Bourne Identity — What gives this film it’s appeal is the non-stop action (helped along by plenty of special effects and music) and sexual tension. The special agent who has had his memory erased tries to discover why people are trying to kill him.
  • Casablanca — The chemistry between Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall is overwhelming. Set in a Moroccan nightclub during WWII.
  • Crash — Hopefully, Los Angeles really isn’t composed of bad cops, manipulative politicians, drug addicts, and indifferent bureaucrats as this film depits. All of the subplots start and end with a car crash. This is a stunningly good explaination of how racial bias — not necessarily racism, per se — colors so much of society.
  • Dances With Wolves — Spectacularly scenic and a wonderful snapshot of Plains Indians life in the mid-1800’s. Lively and worth watchin, despite Kevin Kostner’s typically lifeless performance.
  • Deliverance — A group of white collar men head for the Ozarks to experience the thrill of surviving whitewater rapids, only to encounter a few backwoodsmen who had other ideas of fun. A real thriller, starring Bert Reynolds.
  • A Few Good Men — Tom Cruise as an inexperienced Navy officer defending two marines accused of murder. Jack Nicholsen gives his famous “You want me on that wall” speech as the pompous Marine Colonel.
  • Forrest Gump — The hidden star of this film is the computer-generated stuff that seemlessly takes the principal character, Forrest, from the civil rights era, through the Viet Nam War, and on to a shrimp boat. Tom Hanks. 
  • The Godfather — Gangster morality, strangly depicted as a way of life that is based on a code of condut and mutual respect. It’s warfare, really.
  • The Godfather Part II — More of the same. The same characters do hold your interest, despite this being, technically, a sequel.
  • The Good Shepard — The story of the CIA, from the Bay of Pigs to the present. For those of us who lived through that era, it’s a real eye-opener. The plot has an interesting twist.
  • The Green Mile — Death row in the 1920’s is the site for a sort of “messiah” figure who has the power to heal and, eventually, strike down evil. Tom Hanks.
  • Groundhog Day — Bill Murray puts his usual juvenile comedic style aside with this very clever story about “getting it right” through trial and error.
  • Heaven Only Knows, Mr Allison — A marine and a Catholic nun are shipwrecked on a Japanese-held island island during WWII.
  • High Noon — Classic sheriff versus the bad gunfighters western. The townspeople and the hero are all torn between responsibility and cowardice.
  • It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World — Car chases, slapstick, and selzer bottles starring virtually every comedic star of the 1960’s.
  • Master and Commander, Far Side of the World — If you enjoy traditional seamanship and want to understand sea warfare in the 18th century, this is the film for you.
  • LA Confidential — A great good cop/bad cop tale from 1950 Los Angeles.
  • Legends of the Fall — A scenic, gripping tale of a tragic family, starring Brad Pitt.
  • The Odd Couple — Jack Lemmon and Walter Matheau is this classic study of opposites sharing an apartment.
  • Picnic — A 1950’s classic about a former football star trying to find a job and romance in a small Midwest factory town. An interesting blend of characters. William Holden.
  • Platoon — A tough, gritty depiction of the desparation of the Viet Nam War. Lots of bad guys, especially on the American side. Charlie Sheen, William Devoe.
  • Saving Private Ryan — This is the sort of film you should take your child to so that the notion that war is a “romantic adventure” is dispelled. The first half hour, especially, is horribly gruesome — bodies torn in half, the inhumanity of it — will leave you speechless. Tom Hanks, Tom Sizemore and a host of great character actors.
  • Seven — As in the collection of sins: Lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath (vengence), envy, and pride, all depicted here. A bit of theology, but mostly a cop story. Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Spacey.
  • Shindler’s List — Like Saving Private Ryan, a must-see film because of the horriffic tale it tells, this time regarding the inhumanity of the Nazi War Camps.
  • Some Like It Hot — Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, and Marilynn Monroe star in this comedy with a 1920’s gangster theme. Monroe really shows off her assets and probably created the “dumb blonde” prototype with this role.
  • Stalag 13 — WWII POW camp drama. Those trecherous Nazis are at it again.  William Holden.
  • The Shawshank Redemption — A wrongly convicted accountant gets his revenge on the corrupt and oppressive criminal justice system from inside prison. Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman.
  • Stand By Me — A coming of age film about four boys who set off on an overnight adventure to find a missing boy’s body. The tomfoolery and juvenile dialogue is remarkably accurate.
  • To Kill a Mockingbird — Another classic Gregory Peck film, this time starring as Finch, an attorney defending a black man accused of rape in a small racist Southern town. Told from the viewpoint of his 10-year-old daughter, who at one point attends a school party dressed as a ham.
  • The World According to Garp — Odd, but entertaining. Robin Williams.
  • Zulu Dawn — Pure action. A british construction regiment of about 80 men holds out against repeated attacks by thousands of Zulu warriors. Presumably, based on a true event. Michael Caine and a host of English charactor actors.

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