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All Time Favorite Movies

Updated on May 9, 2009

Movies, Movies, Movies...

Gone with The Wind, Stella Dallas, Angels with Dirty Faces, On The Town, West Side Story, South Pacific, oh my god the list is endless...

My grandmother was a Movie buff. So when the night was quiet and no one was around and she could sit alone and knit, she watched "The Late Show", then she watched "The Late Late Show" and then I would hear her snoring before she could catch "The Late Late Late Show" (yes there really was one). I would sneak out of my room in our little 3 bedroom ranch house and quietly sit at the end of the hallway and watch the movies with her. By the time I was 11 she allowed me to sit up with her, but only in the summer when there was no school.

I was in love. With the night, with movies, black and white ones especially as those had the best stories and the best acting!!

You cannot compare any actors of today with those of yesteryear. This is the advantage of younger people today. They have no idea that back in the 40's Meryl Streep's were plentiful in fact most actresses were as good if not better than Meryl. Hell, even Meryl knows that. The best actors admire the actors that came long before them and even emulate them to a certain extent.

My romance started with Susan Hayward in 1958's "I Want to Live". My grandmother loved Susan Hayward and I liked her too. But the movie is what moved me. The performance she gave!! I was awe struck!! And stuck on movies...

So here are some of my favorites...

West Side Story- I root for the Puerto Ricans but then I am half Puerto Rican. But at the time I did not know that and fell in love with Bernardo anyway. My sister loved Biff. Ugh, I couldn't understand her liking a pasty faced white boy...but that isn't the point...The score, the choreography, the performances by Rita Moreno and Natalie Wood, George Chakaris of course and Richard Bremer. Romeo and Juliet set to music in the modern time, or so it was then. I can't get enough of this movie. When it is on TV I have to watch it. But I warn you now, I am a musical movie buff, so there will be more ...

On The Town- Is that really Frankie??? Oh yeah. That skinny kid from Jersey (pronounced Joyzee of course) was not of any interest to me. It was Gene Kelly. I fell in love with him and waited night after night for another 2 hour course of Gene. Yes, I loved Signin In the Rain and An American In Paris was alright, but perhaps because I was so young and impressionable, I fell in love with this one first and I remain true to that. Naturally because I AM a New Yorker, my favorite song in this movie is "New York, New York" (yep, its a helleva town).

Gone With The Wind- Oh come on, I'm a girl. Of course this one was going the be here. Now, not to get personal or anything but wasn't Ashleigh Wilkes a bit of a simp? I mean all I could think throughout this movie was "Scarlett,  are you nuts???" Rhett...oh Rhett. Even Melanie knew he was a catch!! What a man What a man. Okay, you want to know why most of us women love when Rhett carries her up the stairs? Because she wakes up the next morning singing? Nooo, well, kind of, but mostly we love men who ARE MEN, without being CAVE men. We want control, but once in a while guys, can't you just grab the reins from us and ride that pony to a new destination?

I'm no fashionista either, but I loved those gowns and I loved Mammie (Hattie McDaniel) and how she spoke and the amazing way she had with Miss Scarlett. I loved her sweet and oblivious father (Thomas Mitchell), the magnificent camera angles and the scenes where Atlanta is burning and the bodies are just endless...the dramatic impact! The faces Vivien Leigh made. Oh you just loved watching her no matter what she did. I realize there are those in the south who do not enjoy Gone With the Wind but history cannot be changed, not even by Clark Gable.

Speaking of classics - here is another one I have to watch whenever it is on although I know all the dialogue, To Kill a Mockingbird. While I do love Gregory Peck (sensing a theme with men here?) as Atticus Finch, you couldn't help but enjoy Scout (Jean Louise) and her brother Jem (Jeremy). And the very young Robert Duvall as Arthur "Boo" Radley. Needless to say the book is a classic, but SEEING the movie acted out to perfection as it was. Incredibly enjoyable and tense. Mary Badham as Scout did a magnificent job for such a young girl. And watching a lawyer with ethics, morals and honor, I mean really, what are the odds???

Stella Dallas- oh-my-God. You would have thought that considering my age my grandma would have warned me about Stella Dallas. A young woman (Barbara Stanwyck) from a factory town succeeds in social advancement and financial security through a romantic relationship and then marries the guy. However, the marriage ends and she ends up dedicating her life to their daughter's success. What a tear jerker and what a great performance by Ms. Stanwyck. This was a 4 hankie movie to be sure and although I know the ending and I hate all the suffering and pain, I love this movie. I love the self sacrafice of a mother for her daughter. I am a sucker for this stuff!!

Pride and Prejudice- Sorry people, not the Keira Knightly one. The PBS one with Jennifer Ehle (Elizabeth) and Colin Firth (Mr. Darcy). This is a long movie on 2 CD's but I don't care. I curl up on my couch and watch it as long as I can and if I have to stay up until 2 am, I have. I just love this movie and how well done and elegant it is. Truth be told, I love just about anything Jane Austen but this one is nearest and dearest to my heart. Colin Firth does an impeccable job of making you dislike him, then care about him and then grow to adore him. Jennifer Ehle is a Perfect Elizabeth as she does have the kind of class and style that suits a Mr Darcy without having the snootiness. Keira Knightly simply does not exude that certain sense of class. It was missing and it is necessary.

Angels with Dirty Faces - This wasn't easy you know. Although James Cagney was nominated for an Oscar for this one, he actually won it for his portrayal as George M Cohan in Yankee Doodle Dandy. And rightfully so. But I also loved Public Enemy (yes, thats the one with the famous grapefruit scene). Perhaps we should just say I was a bit of a Cagney fan like my grandma. We can't overlook great performances by Humphery Bogart and Ann Sheridan either. Still, Angels with Dirty Faces just had something about it. The street thug who is admired and respected by the local delinquents. You can't help but wonder at the ending. Was he just "yella" like Father Connolly said, or was he honorable? You can't help but want to believe the latter.

The Godfather I & II- Where do I begin?  oh, ha ha no pun intended.  You know, referencing the song?  Oh never mind.  You probably don't understand "Leave the Gun, take the Canoli's" either, if you are not a Godfather fan.  Raised in an Italian family I have sort of a kindred relationship to these movies.  Marlon Brando as Don Corleone is the Patriarch as in any Italian family. Right?  Simply trying to raise his 3 boys Sonny (James Cann), Fredo (Richard S Castellano)  and Michael (Al Pacino) in the right way.  Okay so guns are involved.  These things happen.  These movies are done to perfection in acting and cinematography.  I am drawn to them again and again and again and NOT because I am afraid to sleep with the fishes.

Schindlers List - I know, Jesus Moon this is too depressing and horrific for words.  Yes, but looking away doesn't stop it from happening now does it?  It is already history and we cannot undo it so why not watch a movie about a man who was there and tried to do something about it?  Who saved thousands of lives and felt he still had not done enough?  That he had been stupid and selfish and could have done more?  Really Mr. Schindler?  And what does that make just about everybody else?  I don't know about you, but watching a movie about such an amazing individual moves me beyond words and makes me wonder "would I have been that daring and brave?"  Don't I wish....

Back to The Future - If I have watched Michael J Fox fly 30 feet back in the air with  his guitar at the beginning of this movie once, I have watched it a thousand times.  This was an amazing movie when it first came out because it was different and new.  No one had ever done anything like this before and Robert Zemeckis did it well.  A Michael J Fox fan ever since he was Alex P Keaton on Family Ties, I loved him in this movie and thought he WAS Marty McFly.   You can't rule out the great jobs done by Lea Thompson as his mom, Crispian Glover as his dad and of course the amazing Christopher Lloyd as Doc.  They had you believing the whole damn thing...Ok Ok a nod to Thomas F Wilson as Biff....eew...

Well folks those are 10 of my top all time favorites, of course there are about 75 more I am sure, but I won't list them all at once.  I hope you enjoyed remembering these and if you never did see one or a few maybe you'll be tempted to take a look...Enjoy.


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    • profile image

      Pharma335 5 years ago

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    • Moonchild60 profile image

      Moonchild60 7 years ago

      Oh trust me Winsome, this is a short list. Since I LOVE movies, I have many more. I love Jimmy Stewart in "Mr Smith goes to Washington" and "It's a Wonderful Life" is a family favorite. Spencer Tracey and Katherine Hepburn in, oh darn, the name escapes me, they are both lawyers, married to each other. I do love that one though.... I adred Carey Grant. Especially when he did comedy. I should put another list together, part II. Thanks for coming by and commenting... : )

    • Winsome profile image

      Winsome 7 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      MC you have some great picks and I agree with almost all of them. I remember starting the huge paperback GWTW one day in high school and staying up all night to finish it. Ashleigh was a wimp but I think Rhett was in his own way. A lot of passive aggressiveness there. Instead of sulking and running off to Belle's every night, he should have just held his ground and told her how he felt. She would have caved eventually. BBC version of P&P rocks. It was so awesome it carried over into Bridget Jones' Diary with Colin yet again as Darcy. I'm surprised you didn't have any James Stewart movies in your B&W favorites or Spencer and Katherine or Carey Grant. Have you seen My Man Godfrey? Sometimes with great actors, like Forrest's box of chocolates, you just have to see the movie because even though you never know what you are going to get--you know you are going to enjoy it. =:) Thanks for sharing your favorites.

    • Moonchild60 profile image

      Moonchild60 8 years ago

      Wow, that is alot of documentaries. You do love to feed your mind. There are a lot of wonderful lines in Forrest Gump and that is definitley one of them. In a subtle way, he gives you things to think about. These little pearls of wisdom. "Sometimes there just aren't enough rocks", its such a simple sentence, with such a profound meaning.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 8 years ago from Chicago

      I joined right at the beginning, whenever that was. I would guess 700-800 of them have been documentaries. I have run out of those. :D

      One of my favorite movie lines is when Bubba is dying in Forrest's arms and Forrest narrates, "If I had known that was the last time I was going to see Bubba; I would have thought of something better to say."

    • Moonchild60 profile image

      Moonchild60 8 years ago

      Thank you very much James! Wow, something we have in common. Yes, Forrest Gump is an absolute favorite. 3600 films James? I have to know, how long have you been a member?

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 8 years ago from Chicago

      This is a great list! I love every one of these movies and I am a huge movie buff. Proof? My ticker on Netflix is over 3600 films! GWTW and GI and GII are my favorites listed here, but I give them all five stars. If I made a list, I would have to squeeze in Forrest Gump and Braveheart. :)

      Thanks for a finely articulated article. I enjoyed it.

    • Moonchild60 profile image

      Moonchild60 8 years ago

      S'okay GT you would be surprised how many people are NOT GWTW fans. I understand, this is why we are all different...

      Thank you LAmatadora. You know, I loved the gangster movies from Cagney to the Godfather...don't know why, just do!

    • profile image

      LAmatadora 8 years ago

      Oh Toad... haven't we had this conversation before ( gone with the wind) well "To each his own"....but its a good movie.

      I like it anyways..Classic movies are wonderful...As well as gangster movies too. GOOD HUB GIRL!!!

    • goldentoad profile image

      goldentoad 8 years ago from Free and running....

      I'll be honest. Of course the godfather movies are a given, and for some nostalgia, I like Back to the Future. I remember when it was a big deal to sit around and watch it. I believe I am the only person in America who hates Gone with the Wind. I've never seen the other movies.

    • Moonchild60 profile image

      Moonchild60 8 years ago

      Thank You VERY much Mindfield!!! I am going now to check your hub on men! I am looking forward to it... : )

    • MindField profile image

      MindField 8 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Oh, On The Town. I love that movie so much! Always been near the very top of my list. Same with Back to the Future. (If you haven't seen my hub on men, there's a couple of pics you'll especially appreciate.) And no movie makes me cry from beginning to end like To Kill a Mockingbird.

      Your instructions to men in the GWTW review is priceless - and so damned true. ;-)

      Just a great read all round, MC60!