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.
#8 – Paths of Glory
This is the top twenty. These are in order.
Why is it here:
I feel bad in a way that this is the highest ranking Kubrick film on my list because it’s one of the least Kubrick movies that bear the director’s name. This movie was the first one I saw as a young man that didn’t echo the heavy patriotism that permeates most war movies. It’s obviously an anti-war film but it’s also a great showcase for the shades of gray that are so inherent in practices that result in so much loss of life. Kirk Douglas is amazing and the procedural element so engrossing it’s one of those movies that isn’t “sexy” or big but somehow winds up being one to endure for all time.
Moments to savor:
The bittersweet ending. The unfair trial. The fiasco at the anthill. Kirk Douglas and his amazing chin cementing his reputation.
This is a film I like new folks to go into blind. It’s aged but it still clicks and in a world where military and government are so under the microscope and criticized from every corner it’s a nice contrast.