#200-151: An assessment of the IMDB Top 250 so far

Reaching 100 movies into the list brought more controversy than I had realized.

The foreign films dropped off significantly.  Additionally, several of these films were Oscar hogs, some of them sweeping all of the major categories.

Availability became a problem.  I had to borrow some DVDs for films that weren’t on any major streaming service. Some were on YouTube or alternative compressed media sites, usually compromising quality considerably.  But a couple were just plain nowhere.

I also skipped past one more because the film’s content appeared too much to handle. Looking up the list, it likely won’t be the last. I almost lost a friend over this issue. People are very passionate about movies, and the films in this section of 50 are controversial and contain a lot of cult classics and underground favorites, generating a lot of emotion among fans and critics when assessed and shared on Facebook.

Finally, I reassessed the previous 50 and moved Barry Lyndon to the top.  In hindsight, this film stood firm among its peers in terms of story, pace, and cinematography.  It might not be the “best” on the list, but it’s my favorite of the most well-produced films here. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring slid up the list as well, proving to have some lasting qualities that are hard to forget.  The best among the newest batch is The Best Years of Our Lives, an outstanding film about the glamorized post-WWII vets who have to find their way back into a normalcy they didn’t expect.

As in the first 50, 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 250-151

1 (218) Barry Lyndon (1975)
2 (235) Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring (2003)
3 (195) The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
4 (173) Network (1976)
5 (186) Ben-Hur (1959)
6 (152) Gone With the Wind (1939)
7 (246) Departures (2008)
8 (180) Annie Hall (1977)
9 (194) The Wizard of Oz (1939)
10 (174) There Will Be Blood (2007)
11 (158) Dial M for Murder (1954)
12 (192) Shutter Island (2010)
13 (164) The Thing (1982)
14 (225) La Haine (1995)
15 (163) Mary and Max (2009)
16 (214) Fanny and Alexander (1982)
17 (151) How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
18 (154) Trainspotting (1996)
19 (205) Twelve Monkeys (1995)
20 (184) In the Name of the Father (1993)
21 (200) Strangers on a Train (1951)
22 (211) Throne of Blood (1957)
23 (222) The King’s Speech (2010)
24 (224) Ip Man (2008)
25 (179) The Princess Bride (1987)
26 (202) Wild Tales (2014)
27 (219) The Truman Show (1998)
28 (197) The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
29 (155) It Happened One Night (1934)
30 (160) Rush (2013)
31 (221) Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
32 (207) Infernal Affairs (2002)
33 (234) The Night of the Hunter (1955)
34 (203) Jurassic Park (1993)
35 (156) Gone Girl (2014)
36 (209) Jaws (1975)
37 (157) Into the Wild (2007)
38 (159) The Sixth Sense (1999)
39 (212) Groundhog Day (1993)
40 (198) Donnie Darko (2001)
41 (166) Hotel Rwanda (2004)
42 (189) Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
43 (177) Stand by Me (1986)
44 (190) Diabolique (1955)
45 (162) Finding Nemo (2003)
46 (153) Fargo (1996)
47 (169) The Wages of Fear (1953)
48 (170) Platoon (1986)
49 (176) The 400 Blows (1959)
50 (215) Monsters, Inc. (2001)
51 (217) Rocky (1976)
52 (229) Castle in the Sky (1986)
53 (230) Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
54 (236) La Strada (1954)
55 (239) Beauty and the Beast (1991)
56 (187) The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
57 (241) Before Sunset (2004)
58 (243) The Killing (1956)
59 (204) Before Sunrise (1995)
60 (247) The Graduate (1967)
61 (175) Touch of Evil (1958)
62 (161) The Maltese Falcon (1941)
63 (165) No Country for Old Men (2007)
64 (172) Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
65 (167) Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
66 (178) 12 Years a Slave (2013)
67 (232) Roman Holiday (1953)
68 (181) Persona (1966)
69 (185) Million Dollar Baby (2004)
70 (193) Stalker (1979)
71 (196) Gandhi (1982)
72 (199) 8½ (1963)
73 (248) Elite Squad: The Enemy Within (2010)
74 (249) Three Colors: Red (1994)
75 (250) Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
76 (182) The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
77 (231) The Help (2011)
78 (206) The Battle of Algiers (1966)
79 (228) Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
80 (208) The Terminator (1984)
81 (238) X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
82 (226) A Fistful of Dollars (1964)
83 (213) Memories of Murder (2003)
84 (220) High Noon (1952)
85 (227) Notorious (1946)
86 (245) Akira (1988)
87 (244) Laura (1944)

200 – 151 re-ranked
195. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
173. Network (1976)
186. Ben-Hur (1959)
152. Gone With the Wind (1939)
180. Annie Hall (1977)
194. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
174. There Will Be Blood (2007)
158. Dial M for Murder (1954)
192. Shutter Island (2010)
164. The Thing (1982)
163. Mary and Max (2009)
151. How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
154. Trainspotting (1996)
184. In the Name of the Father (1993)
200. Strangers on a Train (1951)
179. The Princess Bride (1987)
197. The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
155. It Happened One Night (1934)
160. Rush (2013)
156. Gone Girl (2014)
157. Into the Wild (2007)
159. The Sixth Sense (1999)
198. Donnie Darko (2001)
166. Hotel Rwanda (2004)
189. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
177. Stand by Me (1986)
190. Diabolique (1955)
162. Finding Nemo (2003)
153. Fargo (1996)
169. The Wages of Fear (1953)
170. Platoon (1986)
176. The 400 Blows (1959)
187. The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
175. Touch of Evil (1958)
161. The Maltese Falcon (1941)
165. No Country for Old Men (2007)
172. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
167. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
178. 12 Years a Slave (2013)
181. Persona (1966)
185. Million Dollar Baby (2004)
193. Stalker (1979)
196. Gandhi (1982)
199. 8½ (1963)
182. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

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

Meanwhile, I’ll 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)

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)

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