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.
#25 – Lawrence of Arabia
Why is it here:
Note: Remember that the first 80 are in no particular order.
David Lean. You can’t discuss the history of film without landing on this man’s name countless times. His work is legend and speaks for itself. This is arguably his most celebrated work and for good reason. Its seeds still bear fruit in today’s films but no modern film can achieve the majestic tempo Lean achieved here. Audiences just don’t have the patience. Even that first shot of a figure on the desert taking shape is too much to bear for a person who wasn’t alive when CGI was just an assembly of letters. This movie is the most epic of epics, rich in texture and built wholly on a bed of attention to detail and love and opulence. Peter O’Toole has never been better and most everyone involved are at the top of their game. This is a cornerstone movie, as vital as Citizen Kane or any other. Must see before you die.
Moments to savor:
Those striking blue eyes. The darkness after the intermission. Jose Ferrer, highly billed but barely seen but when he is, hell yes. The vista as only David Lean can showcase it.
Low, but plop this on Thanksgiving after the food in lieu of sports and watch grumpiness give way to curiosity give way to riveted.
Alec Guinness got a role intended for Laurence of Olivier. The “Greatest Actor of All Time” couldn’t have done a better job.