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.
#5 – Casablanca
This is the top twenty. These are in order.
Why is it here:
This is here because it’s fucking Casablanca, one of the very rare movies that live up to exceed the massive hype surrounding them. Elegant, ahead of its time, quotable, cool, and romantic in the best way possible, Michael Curtiz’s masterpiece is everything a film should be. Bogart and Bergman are perfect together and Claude Rains and Paul Henried are just as good. It’s funny how so old a movie and one that has been parodied so much still works like a charm. There’s a swagger here and Bogart is so magnetic that it seems that the movie business would be so much poorer without it. As in, we wouldn’t have the same material we have no had this not happened. It’s hyperbole but it has to be true that cinema would be poorer without this.
Moments to savor:
Rick’s sacrifice. The oft-misquoted “Sam” line. The double crosses. Claude Rains, so great at being “that guy”. Bogart making dialogue that could be arch into gold. Conrad Veidt, apparently a douche offscreen, a great, GREAT heavy.
This film will never be remade in the modern sense. You’ll never see it. They’ve tried in various formats but this one is taboo. I’m convinced it’ll never happen.