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.
#14 – Treasure of the Sierra Madre
This is the top twenty. These are in order.
Why is it here:
A pivotal adventure by one of the best actors in history, one of the best directors in history, and one of the best scripts in history. Less of an adventure than it was in my head, but just as brimming with greed, fear, betrayal, and richness. Humphrey Bogart is one of those “they broke the mold” performers and every moment he’s onscreen is magical. Watching him prowl the screen all haggard and beaten by life is a joy and Walter Huston’s wise and scruffy old prospector mixes delightfully with Tim Holt’s morality. I used to consider this a soulmate to Raiders of the Lost Ark and though there are some parallels this is more straightforward and stagey. But an utter classic and such a bedrock for the genre. Such rich character work.
Moments to savor:
Worst stunt doubles ever in the fight scene in the bar. The Gila Monster scene. The badges scene. Bogart’s descent into paranoia. Bruce Bennet’s sober stoicism.
Low, but valuable.
The Huston family is loaded with talent and accolades, but Walter Huston’s performance here may be the best example of the family’s prowess of all.