My Top Ten

1: The Big Lebowski

Directors: Joel & Ethan Coen

A cult classic from the brothers Coen that features some of their sharpest writing and eclectic colourful characters. The performances, from a first rate cast, are flawless throughout with not an ounce of dialogue wasted.


2: Once Upon A Time In America

Director: Sergio Leone

An multi-layered gangster epic that defines the genre. Masterfully told in the grandest of scales. Based on the novel “The Hoods” by Harry Grey.


3: One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest

Director: Milos Forman

One of only three films to ever win the top Five Oscars, and deservedly so. A free-spirited, anti-establishment classic that perfectly sums up the thoughts of the decade in which it was written. Based on the novel by Ken Kesey.


4: Blade Runner

Director: Ridley Scott

A visionary and existential science fiction film, that despite being made in the 80’s, still surpasses the technological effects of today. Based on the novel “Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep” by Philip K. Dick.


5: Trainspotting

Director: Danny Boyle

A harrowing, hilarious and surrealistic look at the underground drug culture of Edinburgh, Scotland. Star making roles throughout and a groundbreaking UK film. Based on the novel by Irvine Welsh.


6: Taxi Driver

Director: Martin Scorsese

A revered 70’s classic that hasn’t lot any of it’s power to this day. DeNiro’s iconic antihero, Travis Bickle is arguably his finest work while Scorsese depicts his psychological turmoil and spiralling decent as a hell on earth.


7: L.A. Confidential

Director: Curtis Hanson

Convoluted and atmospheric tale of a corrupt Police force in 1950’s LA. Such attention to detail is rarely captured these days. Marvellous performances permeate this rich modern classic. Based on the novel by James Ellroy.


8: Memento

Director: Christopher Nolan

Storytelling conventions are toyed with throughout. The viewer, as well as character, are embroiled in one of the finest psychological thrillers in years. The word “twist” doesn’t even begin to describe it.


9: Pulp Fiction

Director: Quentin Tarantino

An exquisitely written, performed and directed modern masterpiece. Tarantino reinvented the crime genre with this pop-cultural phenomenon and it remains revered to this day, for very good reason.


10: The Thin Red Line

Director: Terrence Malick

The brutality of war is ethereally and philosophically handled. Beautifully shot with an endless cast of familiar faces. War captured as a meditation and a surprisingly poetic baptism. Based on the novel by James Jones.


53 Responses to “My Top Ten”

  1. Great list, Mark! I absolutely love #1 as well as 5 through 8. I’ve yet to see 2, 9 and 10.


  2. The Big Lebowski is a movie that never gets old, I can watch that once a week. 4 of these movies are in my top 50, and the other 6 I have yet to see. Trainspotting seems like and interesting movie, will try to see that one anytime I can. Nice list.


    • I adore the big Lebowski. I need a regular fix of that movie. I’ve yet to add my review though. I can’t seem to find the words that do it justice. Yeah, Trainspotting is a great film but apparently it didn’t go down too well in America. It was seen as glorifying drug use, which simply isn’t true. You may struggle with the Scottish accents aswell but definitely check it out.


  3. Great list Mark, The Thin Red Line and LA confidential are close to my top ten too, and who would of thought Guy Pierce in two of them. From ‘Neighbours’ to global stardom, I thought he was brilliant in LA confidential and it’s Russell Crowe’s best for me.


    • Thanks man. I actually had to omit a few great movies, it harder than I thought trying to compile a top ten. Pulp Fiction and The Usual Suspects were close, as were the greats like Raging Bull, Goodfellas and The Godfather.

      I totally agree on Guy Pearce. It would look like I’m a fan. I like him but let’s face it, he ain’t no DeNiro. It just shows how lucky Pearce was around this time, to be involved in the two of these fantastic films.

      Russel Crowe apparently appeared in Neighbours also and that’s a tv show I just can’t stand. I think L.A. Confidential and The Insider are Crowe’s finest shows. It’s a toss up between the two.


      • I had the same trouble. There are so many more I could have put in my own, I think it changes daily and gets more and more contemporary as time passes, so it’s ever changing. I can’t see anyone to be such a big fan of Guy Pierce so much they would purposely include in a Top Ten, so don’t worry you’re in the clear, I didn’t think you was a fan, Ha. and Crowe, yeh, I hated neighbours daily, it was a house fixture, he played the local bad boy for a bit i think, but he is a great actor, no doubt.


      • Crowe’s a superb actor. The first time I seen him was in Romper Stomper where he played a neo-nazi. Shit film, but you could tell he had acting chops. Have you posted your top ten? Id be interested in having a look.


      • Yeh i did sometime ago now it’s just a list, it’s here


  4. I feel stupid that the only one on the list I’ve seen is #3. D:


  5. Aaaww, my man! You have some treats coming to you. I know what it like trying to get through stuff but you must check the rest out. Some sublime pieces of work await you.


  6. Chris Weber Says:

    Great choices on this list man. I’ve seen all of them but City of God, and have to agree with you almost 100% on your assessments of them.


    • Cheers Chris. Much appreciated bud. It’s hard trying to condense and I feel a bit shot at the some that I’ve left out but it’s a forever changing list. This is the ten for the moment though. City Of God is essential viewing man, you should try to get around to it. Unfortunately, I’ve not mangaged to get a review up for that one yet but I’m workin on it.


  7. Oh, a lot of great ones here. LOVE Blade Runner, LA Confidential, The Thin Red Line and Amelie,


  8. Alrighty, so here goes.

    Confession time. I havent seen Amelie or City of God. I know, I know. I have a decidely american ized bent in my film selection. I WILL get to them… in the meantime, I’ve heard more than enough to know they’re worthy of inclusion here.

    The others are all great choices, Blade Runner is top ten for me, and Lebowski is top 20 Cuckoo’s, Memento and LA are top 50. (Flickchart power!) Trainspotting and Thin Red are great choices, too, just not my choices…

    I DO have to rewatch Once Upon a Time, though. It’s been too long. I remember liking it, but its been well over 15 years lets say… and thats too long. So I’ll keep an eye out for it.

    Nice list. Very nice. Off the top of my head, I believe mine are

    Godfather, Empire, No Country for Old Men, Jaws, Pulp Fiction, Raiders, Blade Runner, Crouching Tiger, Pan’s Labrynth, The Shining.


    • Thanks for taking the time to have a look Fogs. I feel guilty about excluding No Country For Old Men and Pulp Fiction. By rights, they should have made it. I can’t argue with your choices at all. Some great ones in there. Pan’s Labyrinth is another I love.


  9. Yeah, its great isnt it? Beautiful flick. Del Torro’s masterpiece.

    He’ll never top it. I only hope he can come close again.


  10. GREAT LIST! I love the Guy Pearce love! He’s such a underrated actor. Some fantastic pictures on this list.


  11. I do like Guy Pearce but I would never have tipped him to be in my Top Ten. Never mind twice. Two great movies though.


  12. This is a great list Mark. I haven’t seen Once upon a time in America yet otherwise seen all of ’em. Trainspotting is truly Parallel Cinema at it’s best. Danny Boyle’s best followed by 28 days Later. I love One Flew… too. And even Forman’s Amadeus which in my opinion is the best film on music. Amelie… Hands down, no words. Watched Memento countless times and Scott/Malick’s classic films are pure art cinema that I adore very much. Big Lebowski as you said is a cult classic, nice choice. It’s a film filled with rich perspective and don’t get tired watching it again and again… I will confess that L.A. Confidential and City of God didn’t impress me at all. Still, I honor your personal views, opinions. Take care… 🙂


    • Thank you for that very in depth comment there Mithil. I appreciate your taking the time to have a look. You seem to like most of the choices also, so I admire your taste sir. 😉


  13. ray brayne Says:

    Hi mark. I just linked over from FMR. Great list. Very esoteric! Couldn’t help but think of some companion films like— “Shallow Grave” alongside “Trainspotting”. That film broke the mold for me on an preconceived ideas I had about “Scottish” films. If you liked “Amelie” you might dig “Mic Macs” fun French farce. “City of God” is great. I watched “City of Men” after. It was a TV series following those boys. Very Affecting. And “LA Confidential”? Well that IS LA. So much of it looks and feels just like the film. Captures it. Nice list. Think I’ll cruise your site now. Good stuff.


  14. Hey there Ray. Thanks for stopping by. Please do have a browse. The film’s you mention I have seen. Shallow Grave is absolutely superb and I’m surprised that Boyle managed to better it. Mic Macs was good but a disappointment after Delicatessan and Amelie. City of Men the tv Series was brilliant but wasnt overly impressed by the film version. If didn’t have what the series had and was nowhere near as good as City Of God. Elite Squad was a good film that took it from the angle of the Brazilian police.


    • ray brayne Says:

      Wow. You’re quite the cineaste! I did see “Elite Squad” via Netflix and was very surprised. I think at the moment Korean flix are, in general, a hot item. I liked the “Chaser”. Have you seen it?


      • No I haven’t seen “Chaser” but I’ll be looking into it now. Lol. I’ll check the IMDb for more info. Did you know that Elite Squad has a sequel also. It’s not long been released and is apparently better than the first, which I loved.


      • I just had a quick look on the Chaser. It sounds brilliant. My kinda flick. Although Korean stuff is something I have to look into more.


      • ray brayne Says:

        If you see the “Elite Squad” sequel, post up on it so I can track it down. The “Chaser” is a true story based loosely on what has to be the world’s most incompetent police. There are moments that had me screaming in disbelief. Good enough film that Scorcese picked up the American rights.


      • I will do man. It’s called Elite Squad: The Enemy Within and shouldn’t be too difficult to get hold of. I’ll be hunting for The Chaser, that sounds excellent. Speaking of Scorsese, he will be adapting writer Jo Nesbo’s book The Snowman also. If you haven’t already seen it, check out the Norwegian film Headhunters which was also by Nesbo. It’s one of the best thrillers I’ve seen in a long time.


  15. Fantastic list.


  16. ray brayne Says:

    Wow Mark are you a mind reader or what? I’ve had a copy of “Headhunters” on my hard drive for a week for viewing tonight. You’re freaking me out! I will definitely check “The Enemy Within”, thanx for that.


    • No problem man. I’ve yet to see the Elite squad sequel myself but I have a copy of that on my hard drive (as of yesterday when we spoke 😉 it’ll probably take me some time to get around to it but I will eventually. Hope you like Headhunters. By the way, do you have a blog of your own? I’d like to hear more of your thoughts on stuff.


      • ray brayne Says:

        The “Enemy Within” is now in queue. No, no blog for me. I just like to shoot my mouth off on other peoples.LOL. I do think we see eye to eye on some flix. I can’t believe the number of movie bloggers turned off of great movies because of subtitles. I just checked out your “sit-Down” series. You do know you’re insane,right?LOL. Well I will definitely check in again, thanx.


      • It’s always nice to have a likeminded cineaste in my corner Ray. Glad you stopped by (even if they do think I’m insane LOL) Let me know how you get on with Headhunters. Here’s my take when you’ve watched it


  17. I always thought The Thin Red Line was better than Saving Private Ryan. Both are great movies, but The Thin Red Line seemed more war like – truer to the war atmosphere.


    • I totally agree man. Originally I prefered Private Ryan but Malick’s movie has more staying power. It’s such a poetic and brutal masterpiece and sadly not looked upon as it should be. Thanks for stopping by man.


  18. I also meant to say – nice list.


  19. Nice list Mark. I’d put Amelie, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and The Thin Red Line in my top 10 too. Several others would make my top 25.

    Hey have you seen the doc Bus 174? It’s about one of the street kids who grew up in the favela. It’s a great companion piece to City Of God. Not the best trailer but the doc is absolutely riveting with an ending you have see to believe.

    The director, Jose Padilha (writer of City Of God), later went on to direct Elite Squad: The Enemy Within. Kind of a cross between City Of God and HBO’s The Wire. Brazil’s highest grossing film. Yet another one to check out.


    • Cheers Dave! You’d put as many as three in yours as well? That’s actually quite a lot considering many people’s top ten’s are vastly different.

      I haven’t seen “Bus 174” but it’s been on my list for a while. I became aware of it after watching “City Of God.” Another good companion piece to that is “Elite Squad” where it takes it from the point of view of the brazil police infiltrating the favela’s. Great film. A sequel to that was released fairly recently as well. I have it but haven’t watched it yet.


  20. Well then we have good taste in films I guess. Maybe I’ll give my top ten just to stir discussion. It’s so hard just to pick 10 though.


    • It’s always a pleasure to come across likeminded tastes man. Yeah, if you’d like to do your top ten, go for it. I’d be interested in seeing it. It is very difficult right enough. I’m still a bit unsure at not not having Pulp Fiction in mine. I’m going to rewatch it again and then make my decision again.


  21. Great list! Reminded me of a few films that I love but hadn’t seen in years – One upon a Time in America and Blade Runner are just amazing films.


    • Thanks Georgina. It’s a list that can be forever changing but this has remained consistent for a couple of years now. I’m going to rewatch Pulp Fiction soon which could go a long way for that to be included again. That’s always been in my top ten and it doesn’t look right without it.


  22. Chris Walker Says:

    Just recently watched City of God. The film is very grim, harrowing and brutal. It is even disturbing at times like every scene with antagonist I’ll Ze. All that aside it was a brilliant film; I loved the 360 rotation shot at the beginning accompanied by a jump in time, Anyway I see why it’s on your top 10 Mark.


    • Brilliant film Chris. It’s definitely brutal and hard-hitting but entirely worth it. It’s been a while since I’ve seen. A rewatch is on the cards methinks.

      You should check out the films Elite Squad and Elite Squad: The Enemy Within. Two films that deal with the subject but take it from the point of view of the police dealing with these Brazilian slums.

      There’s also a TV series called City of Men that’s good and a follow-up film that as well.


  23. Chris Walker Says:

    Cheers Mark I’ll give them a look.


  24. Mark I’d also recommend the doc Bus 174 from José Padilha, director of the Elite Squad movies. It’s a great companion piece to City of God.

    Paraphrased from wiki: Bus 174 is a Brazilian documentary about Sandro do Nascimento, a young man from a poor background, bungled a robbery and ended up holding the passengers on a bus hostage for four hours. The event was caught live on television. The movie examines the incident and what life is like in the slums and favelas of Rio de Janeiro and how the criminal justice system in Brazil treats the lower classes. Within the film, Padilha interviews former and current street children, members of the Rio police force, the highly regarded Rio BOPE police team, family members, and sociologists in order to gain insight into what led Nascimento to carry out the hijacking.

    You have to see the ending to believe it.


    • I’ve heard of this one Dave. It’s been on my list for a while now. Never managed to get my hands on it, though. Did they make a film of it as well or was it just a documentary?

      Slightly changing the subject, but have you seen Sin Nombre yet? That’s another I want to get my hands on.


  25. After seeing your list, I guess I should check out The Big Lebowski soon. The only movie from Coen Brothers I have watched is No Country for Old Men, which is a little dull for me (not that it’s a bad one) and makes me not really want to watch other Coen films. But being a movie fan, I think I’ll check out their other movies soon, starting with The Big Lebowski.


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