Lists are great. They inspire discussion, create arguments, and tend to spiral off into fun new lists. When you do a list about the “BEST” of anything it goes from being fun to becoming a hotbed for arguments. There’s no such thing as a definitive list but I’ve decided to pull from my rather extensive life of film watching and put it to good use.
This is not the “film critic’s top 100” list. There’s no guarantee Citizen Kane or The Bicycle Thief will be in the top echelon or even on the list. This is the 100 movies I would put my name on as my top 100. If I died tomorrow this would represent the 100 films I find most vital, special, or ones that bonded to whatever it is that makes me me. I’m not including documentaries, though that might make for a nice supplemental list.
The first 80 will be in no particular order. The last 20 will be in very particular order. One a day, you have my word.
#35 – The Fellowship of the Ring
Why is it here:
Note: Remember that the first 80 are in no particular order.
If cheating were allowed, The Lord of the Rings as a trilogy would rank higher and occupy a premier place on this list but I’m staying rigid to my plan and thusly this fantastic and game-changing film lands here in the second tier. Though the architecture of Peter Jackson’s vision requires that each film is a third of a larger story and don’t feature the same kind of structure audiences may expect it’s this film that shines the brightest. It sets the tone so well, establishes a host of iconic characters, and delivers many signature moments that the spectacle of The Two Towers and emotional payoff of The Return of the King cannot match. It’s easy to forget what the world of film was before this film. It really opened the gates for the epic event films we’re experiencing now, both in ambition and in the way it harnessed hundreds of people for massive amounts of time to create several films at once. Some of the effects have lost their punch but this is a movie and a trilogy (The Hobbit not so much) that will endure like The Wizard of Oz, Star Wars, and Peter Jackson’s beloved King Kong. I cannot wait to share these with my kids.
Moments to savor:
The warmth of Ian McKellan as Galdalf. Seeing Viggo Mortensen finally get his due. Forced perspective. The first appearance of the Balrog. “They’ve got a Cave Troll!” Watching a filmmaker really create something from nothing and build an industry before our eyes.
High, especially since a new movie or version of the movie comes out every eight months it seems.
I never thought I’d say this, but had The Hobbit not happened this film and its sequels would probably shine a little brighter for me. The series started to feel a little Star Wars-esque in how the disappointment from the prequels softened the legacy of the franchise.