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.
#3 – The Godfather
This is the top twenty. These are in order.
Why is it here:
This is one I simply have no time to mince words over. If this movie doesn’t work for you I really have no time for you. It’s an easy film to understand, be entertained by, and be in awe of. It takes no science. It’s all there on the screen. A person who doesn’t appreciate this is a person beneath a standard worth continuing. The litmus test is failed. Period.
Francis Ford Coppola made this movie amid many pitfalls, his own big ego and bluster among them. It was a bloated junk food troublesome project that no one expected a great deal from. And then it somehow fought its way into bliss. Through tons of static. It’s a miracle film really, and it almost didn’t happen. Easy Riders, Raging Bulls may be filled with horseshit but the stuff centered around Coppola and this movie is Hollywood legend. Ego, drug abuse, and pretentiousness aside… this is one that will never fade. The work by the entire cast, the music, the cinematography, and the marriage of Mario Puzo’s now canon prose and the screen is impeccable and the resulting film is better than Chicken Soup for the Soul because it actually does something that heals you.
Moments to savor:
Seeing the brothers Corleone and Tom Hagen interact. The famous scenes of dialogue. Revenge on a wife beater. Watching Michael assume the mantle. James Caan, as powerful as powerful can be onscreen. Duvall’s moments with the Don. Fredo. Johnny Fontane gets lectured. Luca. Bonasera. Moe Greene. Clemenza. So much greatness.
The list of people they almost cast for the now signature roles could have been disastrous. Burt Reynolds! Rod Steiger! Stallone! Martin Sheen. Dean Stockwell! Haley Joel Osment!!!!!!