#100-51: An assessment of the IMDb Top 250 so far

This next group of films is hard to characterize without using the term “controversial”. Several of these movies are psychologically demanding, some of them terrifying, and a handful overtly sexually thematic or otherwise shocking to the point of discomfort. I didn’t have to skip any films in this range; every one of them proved to be quality enough, in my opinion, to remain one of the top films of all time, and while a few were certainly pushing my limit in terms of explicit content, none warranted a shutoff.

Rising to the top of the list is Amadeus, a spectacular epic tale of a genius composer and his jealous contemporary who resorts to underhanded means to dethrone him and earn the applause himself. The Lion King is a masterpiece of animation that blows away most live-action films in just about every category, remaining friendly to children while sporting depth that transcends mere entertainment and experience. Jim Carrey’s magnum opus Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind burns images and memories into your subconscious like few films can, forcing you to reconcile your own emotions and memories that you’ve always felt would be better off forgotten, but in the end might be worth keeping. The top three from the previous 50 kept a strong footing in my rankings.

As in the first 150, I’ve re-ranked the films thus far, not as some sort of high-brow attempt at appearing to be a competent film critic, but as a way of assessing what I’ve seen, giving recognition to films that might simply be underviewed or underrated. The list below, from best to worst, includes the original ranking alongside:

Aggregate 250-51

1 (89) Amadeus (1984)
2 (149) The Deer Hunter (1978)
3 (54) The Lion King (1994)
4 (86) Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
5 (105) A Separation (2011)
6 (107) Metropolis (1927)
7 (91) Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
8 (58) The Shining (1980)
9 (75) Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
10 (53) Alien (1979)
11 (83) Requiem for a Dream (2000)
12 (88) The Sting (1973)
13 (85) Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
14 (115) 3 Idiots (2009)
15 (118) The Hunt (2012)
16 (104) The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
17 (218) Barry Lyndon (1975)
18 (235) Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring (2003)
19 (195) The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
20 (186) Ben-Hur (1959)
21 (102) The Apartment (1960)
22 (60) Paths of Glory (1957)
23 (173) Network (1976)
24 (152) Gone With the Wind (1939)
25 (194) The Wizard of Oz (1939)
26 (66) Citizen Kane (1941)
27 (62) WALL·E (2008)
28 (63) American Beauty (1999)
29 (67) North by Northwest (1959)
30 (246) Departures (2008)
31 (110) Batman Begins (2005)
32 (64) Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
33 (180) Annie Hall (1977)
34 (82) Taxi Driver (1976)
35 (174) There Will Be Blood (2007)
36 (97) For a Few Dollars More (1965)
37 (117) Downfall (2004)
38 (101) Toy Story (1995)
39 (113) Unforgiven (1992)
40 (158) Dial M for Murder (1954)
41 (192) Shutter Island (2010)
42 (130) Ran (1985)
43 (99) Rashomon (1950)
44 (79) Braveheart (1995)
45 (127) The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
46 (135) The General (1926)
47 (138) The Elephant Man (1980)
48 (81) Double Indemnity (1944)
49 (114) Up (2009)
50 (132) The Gold Rush (1925)
51 (80) A Clockwork Orange (1971)
52 (134) Blade Runner (1982)
53 (77) Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
54 (72) M (1931)
55 (100) All About Eve (1950)
56 (147) Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)
57 (164) The Thing (1982)
58 (68) Vertigo (1958)
59 (125) Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
60 (225) La Haine (1995)
61 (163) Mary and Max (2009)
62 (214) Fanny and Alexander (1982)
63 (151) How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
64 (154) Trainspotting (1996)
65 (205) Twelve Monkeys (1995)
66 (76) Toy Story 3 (2010)
67 (55) The Lives of Others (2006)
68 (137) Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
69 (108) Yojimbo (1961)
70 (122) Good Will Hunting (1997)
71 (116) Raging Bull (1980)
72 (139) Casino (1995)
73 (184) In the Name of the Father (1993)
74 (200) Strangers on a Train (1951)
75 (211) Throne of Blood (1957)
76 (69) Oldboy (2003)
77 (121) Die Hard (1988)
78 (222) The King’s Speech (2010)
79 (146) Rebecca (1940)
80 (224) Ip Man (2008)
81 (179) The Princess Bride (1987)
82 (202) Wild Tales (2014)
83 (219) The Truman Show (1998)
84 (197) The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
85 (111) Some Like It Hot (1959)
86 (52) Inside Out (2015)
87 (141) Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)
88 (155) It Happened One Night (1934)
89 (160) Rush (2013)
90 (221) Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
91 (57) Cinema Paradiso (1988)
92 (90) Bicycle Thieves (1948)
93 (56) The Great Dictator (1940)
94 (144) V for Vendetta (2005)
95 (71) Das Boot (1981)
96 (143) Gran Torino (2008)
97 (207) Infernal Affairs (2002)
98 (98) L.A. Confidential (1997)
99 (234) The Night of the Hunter (1955)
100 (203) Jurassic Park (1993)
101 (96) The Kid (1921)
102 (70) Princess Mononoke (1997)
103 (84) To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
104 (93) Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
105 (51) The Prestige (2006)
106 (95) 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
107 (106) Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
108 (156) Gone Girl (2014)
109 (209) Jaws (1975)
110 (157) Into the Wild (2007)
111 (159) The Sixth Sense (1999)
112 (212) Groundhog Day (1993)
113 (166) Hotel Rwanda (2004)
114 (189) Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
115 (177) Stand by Me (1986)
116 (190) Diabolique (1955)
117 (162) Finding Nemo (2003)
118 (148) A Beautiful Mind (2001)
119 (92) Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
120 (129) Ikiru (1952)
121 (126) Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
122 (150) Cool Hand Luke (1967)
123 (198) Donnie Darko (2001)
124 (169) The Wages of Fear (1953)
125 (170) Platoon (1986)
126 (176) The 400 Blows (1959)
127 (215) Monsters, Inc. (2001)
128 (217) Rocky (1976)
129 (229) Castle in the Sky (1986)
130 (230) Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
131 (236) La Strada (1954)
132 (239) Beauty and the Beast (1991)
133 (187) The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
134 (241) Before Sunset (2004)
135 (243) The Killing (1956)
136 (61) The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
137 (78) Reservoir Dogs (1992)
138 (204) Before Sunrise (1995)
139 (247) The Graduate (1967)
140 (153) Fargo (1996)
141 (120) The Great Escape (1963)
142 (131) The Seventh Seal (1957)
143 (175) Touch of Evil (1958)
144 (161) The Maltese Falcon (1941)
145 (109) The Third Man (1949)
146 (133) Wild Strawberries (1957)
147 (165) No Country for Old Men (2007)
148 (172) Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
149 (167) Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
150 (178) 12 Years a Slave (2013)
151 (232) Roman Holiday (1953)
152 (123) On the Waterfront (1954)
153 (65) Aliens (1986)
154 (181) Persona (1966)
155 (59) Django Unchained (2012)
156 (185) Million Dollar Baby (2004)
157 (193) Stalker (1979)
158 (119) Chinatown (1974)
159 (87) Full Metal Jacket (1987)
160 (196) Gandhi (1982)
161 (112) Scarface (1983)
162 (199) 8½ (1963)
163 (248) Elite Squad: The Enemy Within (2010)
164 (249) Three Colors: Red (1994)
165 (250) Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
166 (182) The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
167 (94) Snatch. (2000)
168 (231) The Help (2011)
169 (206) The Battle of Algiers (1966)
170 (228) Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
171 (208) The Terminator (1984)
172 (238) X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
173 (226) A Fistful of Dollars (1964)
174 (73) Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983)
175 (213) Memories of Murder (2003)
176 (220) High Noon (1952)
177 (124) Heat (1995)
178 (74) Amélie (2001)
179 (227) Notorious (1946)
180 (103) Inglourious Basterds (2009)
181 (245) Akira (1988)
182 (244) Laura (1944)

200 – 151 re-ranked

89. Amadeus (1984)
54. The Lion King (1994)
86. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
91. Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
58. The Shining (1980)
75. Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
53. Alien (1979)
83. Requiem for a Dream (2000)
88. The Sting (1973)
85. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
60. Paths of Glory (1957)
66. Citizen Kane (1941)
62. WALL·E (2008)
63. American Beauty (1999)
67. North by Northwest (1959)
64. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
82. Taxi Driver (1976)
97. For a Few Dollars More (1965)
99. Rashomon (1950)
79. Braveheart (1995)
81. Double Indemnity (1944)
80. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
77. Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
72. M (1931)
100. All About Eve (1950)
68. Vertigo (1958)
76. Toy Story 3 (2010)
69. Oldboy (2003)
70. Princess Mononoke (1997)
55. The Lives of Others (2006)
52. Inside Out (2015)
57. Cinema Paradiso (1988)
90. Bicycle Thieves (1948)
56. The Great Dictator (1940)
71. Das Boot (1981)
96. The Kid (1921)
84. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
93. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
51. The Prestige (2006)
95. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
92. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
98. L.A. Confidential (1997)
65. Aliens (1986)
59. Django Unchained (2012)
87. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
94. Snatch. (2000)
73. Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983)
74. Amélie (2001)

I’ll be keeping this list and revisiting it every 50 films until all of them are shuffled in there.

Meanwhile, I’ll also be updating the following list of “eliminated” films — in no particular order, these are movies I believe don’t deserve a place among the greatest of all time.

ELIMINATED
210. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
216. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)
223. The Imitation Game (2014)
233. Prisoners (2013)
237. Underground (1995)
240. Papillon (1973)
242. The Big Sleep (1946)
201. The Avengers (2012)
188. Hachi: A Dog’s Tale (2009)
168. Incendies (2010)
145. The Big Lebowski (1998)
142. Warrior (2011) 

A few of these were parts of larger pieces that didn’t work as standalone films.  Others were either recent favorites that aren’t really “great” at all, or films that simply didn’t make any sense.  It’s possible that some others on the list will fall into this category as I make my way up the list.

I also skipped a few due to availability or content. It’s possible that these will be revisited later, either as they become available or I grow more brazen:

191. Sin City (2005)
171. Life of Brian (1979)
183. Amores Perros (2000)
136. The Secret in Their Eyes (2009)
128. My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
140. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

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