Really, these are the films that are the ones that have had the greatest impact on me. It becomes very difficult to choose what directors to include or what film by certain directors to choose. Kubrick was particularly hard to choose for, as Paths of Glory, Dr. Strangelove, and 2001 could all make this list easily. Ultimately, I chose to go with Paths of Glory. Kirk Douglas is stunning and it is a call for humanity in the madness that is war.
In addition to Paths of Glory, there is The Thin Red Line. This is a very different way movie. While Paths of Glory is more clearly anti-war, Thin Red Line is a more phillisophical film, trying to figure out why we fight and what is it that makes us want to kill and destroy. It has stunning battle sequences and beautiful cinematography. it balances a thin line between pretentiousness and realatabilty and truth and it is the best film of my lifetime (with Hoop Dreams a close second).
Another choice I regret not being able to put down was the Three Colors Trilogy, by Krzysztof Kieślowski. On these lists, you typically can’t include a trilogy in these types of lists and honestly, those three films combined might be my choice for greatest film of all time.
Keaton not being here pains me, as The General use to be my choice for silent comedy, but after revisiting The Gold Rush, I find I love it more because while it’s not as impressive in it’s physical comedy, it’s still a hilarious and a very moving film. Chaplin always has that ability to move me, no matter what film it is. His films always so us (or at least me) that despite all the misery in the world, there is still humanity in the world and his films always remind me of this. However, many other Chaplin films could have mad it. Modern Times was my intro to his stunning work and is beautiful and politically still prevalent today. And of course, City Lights is one of the most moving ever made.
Le Samourai is my favorite film and is responsible (along with Dr. Strangelove) for creating my love of cinema and established several key concepts for film that are important for me, most importantly the importance of the background (Paris is beautiful in that film and the sets are just stunning) and the importance and beauty of silence and only saying what is necessary. Melville is my favorite director and this film is the reason why.Read less