The Cream of the Crop: personal all-time favourites

by The_True_Meller | created - 11 Aug 2011 | updated - 18 Nov 2016 | Public

These are the movies that I consider to be worth the kind of '11 out of 10' rating. Some of them near to a perfection, some of them flawed, but every one of these I consider a gem and one of the reasons why I am a movie maniac.

All of these have had a huge impact on me during the years, either since the first run or by repetetive watching, and have that mystical aura of Pure Movie Magic surrounding them, the kind that keeps me coming back to them or the movies in general, to find and experience such thrills and frills.

NOTE: The list is in roughly chronological order.

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1. Nosferatu (1922)

Not Rated | 81 min | Fantasy, Horror

Vampire Count Orlok expresses interest in a new residence and real estate agent Hutter's wife.

Director: F.W. Murnau | Stars: Max Schreck, Alexander Granach, Gustav von Wangenheim, Greta Schröder

Votes: 83,092

2. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

Not Rated | 136 min | Drama, War

91 Metascore

A young soldier faces profound disillusionment in the soul-destroying horror of World War I.

Director: Lewis Milestone | Stars: Lew Ayres, Louis Wolheim, John Wray, Arnold Lucy

Votes: 54,429 | Gross: $3.27M

3. M (1931)

Not Rated | 99 min | Crime, Mystery, Thriller

When the police in a German city are unable to catch a child-murderer, other criminals join in the manhunt.

Director: Fritz Lang | Stars: Peter Lorre, Ellen Widmann, Inge Landgut, Otto Wernicke

Votes: 132,418 | Gross: $0.03M

4. City Lights (1931)

G | 87 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

99 Metascore

With the aid of a wealthy erratic tippler, a dewy-eyed tramp who has fallen in love with a sightless flower girl accumulates money to be able to help her medically.

Director: Charles Chaplin | Stars: Charles Chaplin, Virginia Cherrill, Florence Lee, Harry Myers

Votes: 153,212 | Gross: $0.02M

5. Vampyr (1932)

Not Rated | 75 min | Fantasy, Horror

A drifter obsessed with the supernatural stumbles upon an inn where a severely ill adolescent girl is slowly becoming a vampire.

Director: Carl Theodor Dreyer | Stars: Julian West, Maurice Schutz, Rena Mandel, Sybille Schmitz

Votes: 14,373

6. Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

Not Rated | 75 min | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi

Mary Shelley reveals the main characters of her novel survived: Dr. Frankenstein, goaded by an even madder scientist, builds his monster a mate.

Director: James Whale | Stars: Boris Karloff, Elsa Lanchester, Colin Clive, Valerie Hobson

Votes: 40,440 | Gross: $4.36M

7. The Body Snatcher (1945)

Approved | 78 min | Horror, Thriller

A ruthless doctor and his young prize student find themselves continually harassed by their murderous supplier of illegal cadavers.

Director: Robert Wise | Stars: Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Henry Daniell, Edith Atwater

Votes: 7,661

8. The Seventh Seal (1957)

Not Rated | 96 min | Drama, Fantasy

A man seeks answers about life, death, and the existence of God as he plays chess against the Grim Reaper during the Black Plague.

Director: Ingmar Bergman | Stars: Max von Sydow, Gunnar Björnstrand, Bengt Ekerot, Nils Poppe

Votes: 148,301

9. The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)

Approved | 82 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Victor Frankenstein builds a creature and brings it to life, but it behaves not as he intended.

Director: Terence Fisher | Stars: Peter Cushing, Hazel Court, Robert Urquhart, Christopher Lee

Votes: 8,614 | Gross: $17.44M

This film is THE reason I am a horror buff today. The film that scared me witless when I was about five years old is still the best Frankenstein film adaptation so far. You have never seen dear old baron in such a manic state as Cushing depicts him. Overloaded Gothic visuals, cinematography in lustful colours, fatality that oozes from the screen and some heavy horror imagery of it's time make this one the winner all the way.

10. Paths of Glory (1957)

Not Rated | 88 min | Drama, War

After refusing to attack an enemy position, a general accuses the soldiers of cowardice and their commanding officer must defend them.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Kirk Douglas, Ralph Meeker, Adolphe Menjou, George Macready

Votes: 162,346

11. 12 Angry Men (1957)

Not Rated | 96 min | Drama

96 Metascore

A jury holdout attempts to prevent a miscarriage of justice by forcing his colleagues to reconsider the evidence.

Director: Sidney Lumet | Stars: Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb, Martin Balsam, John Fiedler

Votes: 619,887 | Gross: $4.36M

12. Vertigo (1958)

PG | 128 min | Mystery, Romance, Thriller

100 Metascore

A former police detective juggles wrestling with his personal demons and becoming obsessed with a hauntingly beautiful woman.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: James Stewart, Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes, Tom Helmore

Votes: 331,925 | Gross: $3.20M

13. Black Sunday (1960)

Not Rated | 87 min | Horror

A vengeful witch and her fiendish servant return from the grave and begin a bloody campaign to possess the body of the witch's beautiful look-alike descendant, with only the girl's brother and a handsome doctor standing in her way.

Director: Mario Bava | Stars: Barbara Steele, John Richardson, Andrea Checchi, Ivo Garrani

Votes: 12,504

14. The Innocents (1961)

Not Rated | 100 min | Horror

A young governess for two children becomes convinced that the house and grounds are haunted.

Director: Jack Clayton | Stars: Deborah Kerr, Peter Wyngarde, Megs Jenkins, Michael Redgrave

Votes: 24,474 | Gross: $2.62M

15. Yojimbo (1961)

Not Rated | 110 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

A crafty ronin comes to a town divided by two criminal gangs and decides to play them against each other to free the town.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Eijirô Tôno, Tatsuya Nakadai, Yôko Tsukasa

Votes: 101,552

16. Harakiri (1962)

Not Rated | 133 min | Drama, History

85 Metascore

When a ronin requesting seppuku at a feudal lord's palace is told of the brutal suicide of another ronin who previously visited, he reveals how their pasts are intertwined - and in doing so challenges the clan's integrity.

Director: Masaki Kobayashi | Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Akira Ishihama, Shima Iwashita, Tetsurô Tanba

Votes: 28,378

17. The Haunting (1963)

G | 112 min | Horror

74 Metascore

A scientist doing research on the paranormal invites two women to a haunted mansion. One of the participants soon starts losing her mind.

Director: Robert Wise | Stars: Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Richard Johnson, Russ Tamblyn

Votes: 32,359 | Gross: $2.62M

18. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)

PG | 95 min | Comedy

97 Metascore

An insane general triggers a path to nuclear holocaust that a War Room full of politicians and generals frantically tries to stop.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden, Keenan Wynn

Votes: 424,906 | Gross: $0.28M

19. For a Few Dollars More (1965)

R | 132 min | Western

74 Metascore

Two bounty hunters with the same intentions team up to track down a Western outlaw.

Director: Sergio Leone | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Gian Maria Volontè, Mario Brega

Votes: 213,838 | Gross: $15.00M

20. Repulsion (1965)

Not Rated | 105 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

91 Metascore

A sex-repulsed woman who disapproves of her sister's boyfriend sinks into depression and has horrific visions of rape and violence.

Director: Roman Polanski | Stars: Catherine Deneuve, Ian Hendry, John Fraser, Yvonne Furneaux

Votes: 45,120

21. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

R | 178 min | Western

90 Metascore

A bounty hunting scam joins two men in an uneasy alliance against a third in a race to find a fortune in gold buried in a remote cemetery.

Director: Sergio Leone | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, Lee Van Cleef, Aldo Giuffrè

Votes: 642,745 | Gross: $6.10M

Leone may have executed even better films technically and story-wise, but my heart beats for this one particularily. You may blame it on nostalgia, I won't argue. Everything in the mood hits spot on, the protagonist/anti-hero triplet makes perfect job, Morricone hits the audience with more than unforgettable tunes, and in the same time Leone re-creates the Wild West as it never had been depicted before, as well as it never was. Beautiful.

22. Branded to Kill (1967)

Not Rated | 91 min | Action, Crime, Drama

After a badly done assignment, a hitman finds himself in conflict with his organisation, and one mysterious and dangerous fellow-hitman in particular.

Director: Seijun Suzuki | Stars: Jô Shishido, Mariko Ogawa, Annu Mari, Kôji Nanbara

Votes: 7,216

23. Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)

PG-13 | 165 min | Western

80 Metascore

A mysterious stranger with a harmonica joins forces with a notorious desperado to protect a beautiful widow from a ruthless assassin working for the railroad.

Director: Sergio Leone | Stars: Henry Fonda, Charles Bronson, Claudia Cardinale, Jason Robards

Votes: 280,220 | Gross: $5.32M

24. The Great Silence (1968)

Not Rated | 105 min | Western

A mute gunfighter defends a young widow and a group of outlaws against a gang of bounty killers in the winter of 1898, and a grim, tense struggle unfolds.

Director: Sergio Corbucci | Stars: Jean-Louis Trintignant, Klaus Kinski, Frank Wolff, Vonetta McGee

Votes: 12,674 | Gross: $0.05M

25. Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Not Rated | 96 min | Horror

89 Metascore

A ragtag group of Pennsylvanians barricade themselves in an old farmhouse to remain safe from a bloodthirsty, flesh-eating breed of monsters who are ravaging the East Coast of the United States.

Director: George A. Romero | Stars: Duane Jones, Judith O'Dea, Karl Hardman, Marilyn Eastman

Votes: 108,401 | Gross: $0.09M

26. Witchfinder General (1968)

Unrated | 86 min | Biography, Drama, Horror

A young soldier seeks to put an end to the evils caused by a vicious witch-hunter when the latter terrorizes his fiancée and kills her uncle.

Director: Michael Reeves | Stars: Vincent Price, Ian Ogilvy, Rupert Davies, Hilary Heath

Votes: 8,360

27. A Clockwork Orange (1971)

R | 136 min | Crime, Drama, Sci-Fi

80 Metascore

In the future, a sadistic gang leader is imprisoned and volunteers for a conduct-aversion experiment, but it doesn't go as planned.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee, Michael Bates, Warren Clarke

Votes: 709,274

28. Straw Dogs (1971)

R | 113 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

70 Metascore

A young American and his English wife come to rural England and face increasingly vicious local harassment.

Director: Sam Peckinpah | Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Susan George, Peter Vaughan, T.P. McKenna

Votes: 53,258

29. A Touch of Zen (1971)

Not Rated | 200 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

A lady fugitive on the run from corrupt government officials is joined in her endeavors by an unambitious painter and skilled Buddhist monks.

Director: King Hu | Stars: Feng Hsu, Chun Shih, Ying Bai, Billy Chan

Votes: 4,723

30. The Godfather (1972)

R | 175 min | Crime, Drama

100 Metascore

The aging patriarch of an organized crime dynasty transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola | Stars: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Diane Keaton

Votes: 1,486,730 | Gross: $134.97M

31. The Godfather: Part II (1974)

R | 202 min | Crime, Drama

90 Metascore

The early life and career of Vito Corleone in 1920s New York City is portrayed, while his son, Michael, expands and tightens his grip on the family crime syndicate.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola | Stars: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton

Votes: 1,035,473 | Gross: $57.30M

32. Female Prisoner Scorpion: Jailhouse 41 (1972)

Not Rated | 90 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

After spending a year in solitary confinement, Matsu escapes from prison with six more convicts, followed by the guards led by the vengeful warden who wants her dead at all costs.

Director: Shun'ya Itô | Stars: Meiko Kaji, Fumio Watanabe, Yukie Kagawa, Kayoko Shiraishi

Votes: 2,195

33. Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance (1972)

Not Rated | 84 min | Action, Adventure

The story of a Ronin (i.e. a masterless samurai) who wanders the countryside of Japan with his small child, having various adventures.

Director: Kenji Misumi | Stars: Tomisaburô Wakayama, Fumio Watanabe, Gô Katô, Tomoko Mayama

Votes: 6,170

34. Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart at the River Styx (1972)

Not Rated | 81 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

Trailed by a clan of female ninja, Ogami is paid to assassinate a clan traitor accompanied by three killers known as the Gods of Death.

Director: Kenji Misumi | Stars: Tomisaburô Wakayama, Kayo Matsuo, Minoru Ôki, Akiji Kobayashi

Votes: 4,803

35. Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart to Hades (1972)

R | 89 min | Action, Drama

Ogami Itto volunteers to be tortured by the yakuza to save a prostitute and is hired by their leader to kill an evil chamberlain.

Director: Kenji Misumi | Stars: Tomisaburô Wakayama, Gô Katô, Yûko Hama, Isao Yamagata

Votes: 3,922

36. Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in Peril (1972)

Not Rated | 81 min | Action, Thriller

Ogami is hired to kill a tattooed female assassin. Gunbei Yagyu, an enemy samurai, happens upon Ogami's son, and sees his chance for revenge.

Director: Buichi Saitô | Stars: Tomisaburô Wakayama, Yoichi Hayashi, Michi Azuma, Akihiro Tomikawa

Votes: 3,437

37. Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in the Land of Demons (1973)

Not Rated | 89 min | Action, Crime, Drama

Five warriors challenge Ogami to duels. Each holds a part of information needed to complete the assassination of a mad clan leader.

Director: Kenji Misumi | Stars: Tomisaburô Wakayama, Michiyo Yasuda, Akihiro Tomikawa, Shingo Yamashiro

Votes: 3,212

38. Zatoichi at Large (1972)

Not Rated | 90 min | Drama, Action, Adventure

On the road, Zatoichi meets a dying pregnant woman and delivers the child moments before she passes. Honor bound, he sets out to find the next-of-kin who he discovers have their own problems.

Director: Kazuo Mori | Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Rentarô Mikuni, Hisaya Morishige, Etsushi Takahashi

Votes: 740

39. The Exorcist (1973)

R | 122 min | Horror

81 Metascore

When a teenage girl is possessed by a mysterious entity, her mother seeks the help of two priests to save her daughter.

Director: William Friedkin | Stars: Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Linda Blair, Lee J. Cobb

Votes: 342,934 | Gross: $232.91M

40. Lone Wolf and Cub: White Heaven in Hell (1974)

Not Rated | 83 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

In the sixth and final film of the Lone Wolf and Cub series, the final conflict between Ogami Itto and the Yagyu clan is carried out.

Director: Yoshiyuki Kuroda | Stars: Tomisaburô Wakayama, Akihiro Tomikawa, Junko Hitomi, Gorô Mutsumi

Votes: 2,947

41. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

R | 83 min | Horror

75 Metascore

Two siblings and three of their friends en route to visit their grandfather's grave in Texas end up falling victim to a family of cannibalistic psychopaths and must survive the terrors of Leatherface and his family.

Director: Tobe Hooper | Stars: Marilyn Burns, Edwin Neal, Allen Danziger, Paul A. Partain

Votes: 125,795 | Gross: $30.86M

42. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

PG | 91 min | Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy

93 Metascore

King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table embark on a surreal, low-budget search for the Holy Grail, encountering many, very silly obstacles.

Directors: Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones | Stars: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam

Votes: 473,205 | Gross: $1.23M

43. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

R | 133 min | Drama

83 Metascore

A criminal pleads insanity and is admitted to a mental institution, where he rebels against the oppressive nurse and rallies up the scared patients.

Director: Milos Forman | Stars: Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher, Will Sampson, Michael Berryman

Votes: 855,015 | Gross: $112.00M

44. Ugly, Dirty and Bad (1976)

115 min | Comedy, Drama

Four generations of a family live in a shantytown in the outskirts of Rome. The household engages in various forms of sexual idiosyncrasies, land swindles, incest, drugs and adultery.

Director: Ettore Scola | Stars: Francesco Anniballi, Maria Bosco, Giselda Castrini, Alfredo D'Ippolito

Votes: 7,053 | Gross: $0.01M