Jump to content
zen

Rank the 7 best films from the recently watched ones (2021 list)

Recommended Posts

With the year about to end, will attempt to rank the best (not necessarily favorites which can include guilty pleasures too) 7 films that I saw in the last couple of years or so (2021 list) in the ascending order ... The list excludes 007, Hitchcock, Indian, and 1940s and earlier films:  

 

 

Let's begin with one of the finest examples of storytelling and acting, elements that can make films stand out. 

 

7. The Godfather 1 & II (1972 & 1974): I am not a fan of mafia films where you have a bunch of gangsters munching spaghetti and fighting at the dinner table. However, Godfather has a brilliant cast paired with an interesting screenplay of the Mario Puzo novel and a memorable score. Godfather II combines two stories - a) Don Corleone's early years, and b) Michael Corleone journey to become a villain. Lumped them together as the two films complete the picture and can be viewed as a series. 

 

 

Next we move on to a film that combines good story telling with memorable images: 

 

6. Apocalypse Now (1979): Best film on Vietnam, screenplay adapted from "Heart of Darkness".  Gets bonus for its visual-aural impact. 

 

 

Now we will go on a philosophical journey transversing through the metaphysical:

 

5. Stalker (1979):  Tarkovsky takes the viewers on a philosophical journey. Visually stunning and studied by many for its cinematography. 

 

 

Next we stop by to not only peek at the future but also visit the outer space:

 

4. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968): A Kubrick Sci-Fi masterpiece. Shows you a glimpse of an AI influenced future.  

 

 

Time to get back to the earth for a revisionist historical journey through the pristine desert of the Middle East: 

 

3. :third: Lawrence of Arabia (1962): Screenplay, cinematography, locations, background score - you name it, it has it. To make Lawrence of Arabia like it was filmed at that time, it could cost close to $300M. A David Lean's masterclass on filmmaking. Also a 4 hour long epic. 

 

 

Next we stop by to observe the life of Samurais: 

 

2. :second:  Seven Samurai (1954): Superb filmmaking. It has all the elements that great films have but also adds emotions in the right amount. Kurosawa's classic has inspired many films. 

 

 

Finally, we arrive at films that can be classified as experimental, a tough space to be in and succeed, and works of art:

 

1. :first: Persona (1966) and In the Mood for Love (2000): 

 

 

Persona - Ingmar Bergman's experimental psychological drama which not only blends a variety of topics but also sports an emotive B&W photography. The film may require multiple viewings to understand its various angles:

 

 

 

In the Mood for Love - A perfect film if we can call any film that! Two neighbors attempt to find out how their spouses fell in love with each other’s to discover that love happens. Wong Kar Wai's work is mesmerizing!  

 

 

 

:beer:

 

 

PS Why 7? Because of seven wonders, seven deadly sins, seven days, and so on! 

 

PPS added Persona (1966)

Edited by zen
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 11/21/2021 at 11:06 AM, vayuu1 said:

No place for silence of the lambs,shawshank redemption ,saving private ryan,django unchained,ben hur,good fellas

 

In top 7? No!! ... I would be more worried about not finding a place for Journey to Italy, Battle of Algiers, L'aventura, Schindler's List, 8 1/2, etc. :((

 

A good place to begin to get perspectives on great films are polls such as Sight and Sound 2012 Critics Poll ... This poll happens every 10 years so SIght and Sound should do the next one in 2022. 

 

 

PS comparing with S&S' critics poll, below is how the films are ranked w/ S&S 2012 ranking in brackets:  

 

1. Persona (#17) and In the Mood for Love (#24)

2. Seven Samurai (#17)

3. Lawrence of Arabia (#81)

4. 2001: A Space Odyssey (#6)

5. Stalker (#29)

6. Apocalypse Now (#14)

7. The Godfather I (#21) & II (#31)

 

I have picked films from the ones that I saw in the last couple of years or so. 

Edited by zen
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, bharathh said:

Other than Godfather 1 don't like/can't watch any of the others.. Too boring/slow.

 

Surprised you didn't like Shakespeare in love Or The English Patient going by this list

 

 

Yeah, many of the films on a "best" list may not be ideal for casual viewing. It would require one to be in the right frame of mind and devote an uninterrupted time to watch them. Many of the films are epics so one may have to watch those in 2 or more viewings at times. Some of these films could be like an acquired taste (as they may be attempting to create a work of art rather than cater mainly to box office to target general audiences). 

 

Which is why I differentiate between a "best" films list and a "favorite" films list. To illustrate the difference, a Bollywood best films list could have Naya Daur, M-e-A, Sangam, Anand, Pakeezah, etc. A Bollywood favorite films list could have Johny Mera Naam, Zanjeer, Sholay, Don, Qurbani, etc. In many cases, there can be an overlap too. 

 

I like most films including the two you mentioned. It is just that the list is limited to 7. One of the other films that I could not add is "Dances With Wolves". It is a western epic (Westerns are usually long but this one is close to 4 hours). Sports a superb cinematography and a memorable background score. The story is brilliant too highlighting positive interactions with the natives. For a change, the white man is the bigger villain. The film won 7 Oscars and said to revitalized the western genre. 

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, bharathh said:

Yes I wanted to mention Dances with the Wolves. Story is good... but I prefer the Last Samurai which is pretty similar in story

 

I take it that you haven't watched (or remember) something like a Seven Samurai. Give it a shot:

 

 

 

Many films have tried to remake Seven Samurai but still haven't captured its magic. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No I haven't watched Seven Samurai.. may just be me - but I somehow don't like/prefer watching B&W movies. Just a bias I have towards them. I can count on my fingers the number of B&W movies I like - Gumnaam, Madhumati, 12 Angry Men, Half Ticket - can't think of any more

 

I'll give this a shot though. Is it on Netflix/Prime? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, bharathh said:

No I haven't watched Seven Samurai.. may just be me - but I somehow don't like/prefer watching B&W movies. Just a bias I have towards them. I can count on my fingers the number of B&W movies I like - Gumnaam, Madhumati, 12 Angry Men, Half Ticket - can't think of any more

 

I'll give this a shot though. Is it on Netflix/Prime? 


I don’t think it will be on Netflix or Prime. You may need to rent it on some platform like ATV, Google/Youtube, etc., or get the 14-day free trial of the Criterion Channel - https://www.criterionchannel.com


B&W films (and photography) can be impactful. The Film Noir genre depended on B&W cinematography.
 

PS the Criterion Channel will also have In the Mood for Love and Stalker.

Edited by zen
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The OP list was for 50s and later films excluding 007, Hitchcock, and Indian films, and watched in the last couple of years or so.  Will also do a 2021 best (not necessarily favorites) list for 1940s and earlier films with the same parameters but only for the "talkies" (i.e., no silent films. As we know at first movies were silent. When the new technology for the time enabled actors to talk on screen, these films were called "talkies", which now is almost every film). 

 

 

Let's begin with an epic that became a sensation of its time. A remarkable example of storytelling:

 

7. Gone with the Wind (1939): “There was a land of Cavaliers and Cotton Fields called the Old South. Here in this pretty world, Gallantry took its last bow. Here was the last ever to be seen of Knights and their Ladies Fair, of Master and of Slave. Look for it only in books, for it is no more than a dream remembered, a Civilization gone with the wind...” ... A film that presents a revisionist history. The Southern atmosphere is captured magically.  Overall, it has everything that makes an epic - Link

 

 

Next we move on to one of the finest examples of Film Noir, one of the most followed genres:

 

6. The Third Man (1949): Great cast, a war time Vienna as the location, brilliant B&W cinematography, and a memorable background score - Link

 

 

There are war/anti-war films and there is The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp:

 

5. The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943): The film tells the tale of a rotund Clive Candy (played by Roger Livesey) through 3 wars - Boer War, First World War & the Second World War. It weaves in romance (with 2 Deborah Kerr, who plays 3 roles) and a tale of friendship with a German officer (played by the magnificent Anton Walbrook) in a witty manner.  Visually it is pleasing too. It is one of the best war/anti-war films - Link

 

 

Let's touch up on a musical that blends an excellent story: 

 

4. Red Shoes (1948): An engaging tale with mesmerizing musical sequences. It has Anton Walbrook in it too. The colors pop in the film to make it one of the best looking films of all-time - Link

 

 

After the fairytale experience of the Red Shoes, let's get real: 


3. Ladri di biciclette (Bicycle Thieves, 1948): A great example of an Italian neorealism film. A well crafted story about how circumstances push the common man. The film keeps getting better with every watch - Link

 

 

Time to look at a work of art:

 

2. Citizen Kane (1941): A film in which almost every frame stands out. A groundbreaking work of art - Link

 

 

What can top a groundbreaking work of art? The inimitable Charlie Chaplin in not one but two roles:

 

1. The Great Dictator (1940): Most of Charlie Chaplin's great work is within the silent films domain. Luckly, Chaplin first talkie is also a masterpiece. Satire at its best. A powerful anti-war message as well. Charlie Chaplin has a tremendous screen presence. In this film, he is in two roles - therefore difficult to put the film anywhere else except at #1:

 

 

 

 

Edited by zen
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 11/21/2021 at 1:46 AM, zen said:

With the year about to end, will attempt to rank the best (not necessarily favorites which can include guilty pleasures too) 7 films that I saw in the last couple of years or so (2021 list) in the ascending order ... The list excludes 007, Hitchcock, Indian, and 1940s and earlier films:  

 

 

7. The Godfather 1 & II (1972 & 1974): I am not a fan of mafia films where you have a bunch of gangsters munching spaghetti and fighting over the dinner table. However, Godfather has a brilliant cast paired with an interesting screenplay of the Mario Puzo novel and a memorable score. Godfather II combines two stories - a) Don Corleone's early years, and b) Michael Corleone journey to become a villain. Lumped them together as the two films complete the picture and can be viewed as a series. 

 

6. Apocalypse Now (1979): Best film on Vietnam, screenplay adapted from "Heart of Darkness".  Gets bonus for its visual-aural impact. 

 

5. Stalker (1979):  Tarkovsky takes the viewers on a philosophical journey. Visually stunning and studied by many for its cinematography. 

 

4. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968): A Kubrick Sci-Fi masterpiece. Shows you a glimpse of an AI influenced future.  

 

 

3. :third: Lawrence of Arabia (1962): Screenplay, Cinematography, Locations, Background Score - you name it, it has it. To make Lawrence of Arabia like it was filmed at that time, it could cost close to $300M. A David Lean's masterclass on filmmaking. Also a 4 hour long epic. 

 

2. :second:  Seven Samurai (1954): Superb filmmaking. It has all the elements that great films have but also adds emotions in the right amount. Kurosawa's classic has inspired many films. 

 

1. :first: In the Mood for Love (2000): A perfect film if we can call any film that! Two neighbors attempt to find out how their spouses fell in love with each other’s to discover that love happens. Mesmerizing! … Also the shortest film on the list running in at around 100 minutes:  

 

 

 

 

:beer:

 

 

PS Why 7? Because of seven wonders, seven deadly sins, seven days, and so on! 

I've seen none of these films.

 

Godfather I could see till when some mafia guy unnecessarily had a horse beheaded.

 

That Marlon Brando old man brooding speaking in his breath routine is very over rated. Borderline comical.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Mariyam said:

I've seen none of these films.

 

Godfather I could see till when some mafia guy unnecessarily had a horse beheaded.

 

That Marlon Brando old man brooding speaking in his breath routine is very over rated. Borderline comical.

 

Among these 7 you will probably like In the Mood for Love ... I guess, you can do a best 7 films (in terms of quality, not necessarily favorites but among quality films you could pick the one that is closer to you) list for Hindi films :dance: 

 

 

Edited by zen
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Let me do the 7 best Bollywood films list as well ... Will focus on the 20th century as I keep revisiting many of the films from Bollywood's golden age from time to time.

 

 

At #7, I will slot one of Bollywood's most loved masala action films: 

 

7. Sholay (1975) 

  • Reasons: a) Cinematography and score, b) Action choreography, c) Tons of Memorable characters such as Gabbar Singh, Thakur, Jai, Veeru, Basanti, Radha, etc., d) Technically, the film is as good as any western from that period, e) etc.
  • Zen's cut: If there is to be a Zen's cut, I would streamline the film and try to make it more intense. Angrez ke zamane ke jailor, Hariram Nai, and Soorma Bhopali are popular characters but, to streamline the film, I would cut out their parts since it would not be a huge write off (their sequences will still be in the original, so viewers can enjoy that version too). After Thakur asks about Jai and Veeru, I would cut straight to the scene where Jai and Veeru come out of jail. If possible, I would try reduce scenes of Dharmendra's dream about his kids (which were repetitive iirc). The "Yeh dosti" song would be moved to be a part of the end credits. Removing these popular parts is a tough call but these changes would make the film not only shorter but also more coherent. 

 

 

Since the king of masala entertainers is at #7, the other films will have a relatively decreased dose of masala in them. Next we move to another popular genre - love stories: 

 

6. Sangam (1964)

  • Reasons: It is a very sophisticated film. The film is relatively less formulaic than those of the period where sad sequences would be followed by comedy sequence featuring specialist comedian (Tun Tun and co). The acting is top notch, oozing style through understatedness of the Rajendra Kumar and the display of pain sophisticatedly and the use of sarcasm by Raj Kapoor once he learns what is going on. Vaijantimala completes the triangle with some good acting displaying both disdain and love eloquently. The finale is mind blowing. 

 

 

At #5, I have a film that is a great example of how a director's passion and patience created a work of art designed as a tribute to an actor:  

 

5. Pakeezah (1972)

 

 

Next, we have a film that highlights the victory of underdogs while bringing rural culture to life: 

 

4. Naya Daur (1957)

  • Reasons: An epic story about the triumph of an underdog against all odds. Throw in a classic tale of friendship and love to forge a great Bollywood film. 

 

 

At #3, I have two films since they work together as a group due to its key character Raju: 

 

3. Awara (1951) and Shree 420 (1955)

  • Reasons: These films were among the first ones to perfect and demonstrate the Bollywood style of filmmaking. 

 

 

At #2, we have an epic that is art: 

 

2. Mughal-e-Azam (1960) 

  • Reasons: Art that can be observed in almost every frame. The passion and sophistication displayed on screen. And the work of a producer-director who spared no expenses to bring his vision to screen, refusing to take "no" for an answer to never compromise on quality or creativity (Even a reluctant Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan had to sing for this film - Link. It is said that the Ustad asked for a sum that was 20 or more times the norm to turn the director away, but the director placed the twice the amount on the table and asked Ustad to record a couple of songs for the film.) 

 

 

So what can top M-e-A? Well, something that focuses on simplicity and more importantly passes on a life-changing message: 

 

1. Anand (1971)

  • Reasons: A positive message about creating long lasting friendships and to keep smiling no matter the situation delivered through one of cinemas iconic characters - Anand. 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Considering tied positions, we have recognized 23 "talkies" across genres, time periods, and regions in 2021. I think 24 or two dozen is the more interesting number, therefore, will add one more film to one of the three lists.
 

Recently, I reconnected with Ingmar Bergman's Persona (1966), which is a great example of an experimental metaphysical psychological drama encompassing the interplay of two key characters while sporting emotive B&W photography. It is not only a unique film but also a work of art that has inspired many films. I will add it to 1950s and later list at #1 tied with In the Mood for Love, which also showcases an interplay between two key characters! On Sight and Sounds Critics Poll 2021, Persona tied at #17 with Seven Samurai. 

 

 

Edited by zen
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are several that I have rewatched in the past few yrs. But I don't remember which yrs I watched them. So I'll just throw out a random 7. I could come up with 100 more such lists, but that's not the point here.

 

1. The Dekalog: probably one of the greatest ever meditations on the human condition in any format (not just movies)

2. Persona: the best ever Bergman film. 'nuff said. A dazzling psychological drama/mystery/horror, with the greatest description (but not depiction) of s*x that I have ever seen.

3. Citizen Kane: no justification needed.

4. Late Spring: the greatest film of all time in my book. Its simplicity is breathtaking, its direction and acting is masterful, and the ending is incredibly moving. And all of these events could happen to any one of us. Indeed, they have happened to many of us.

5. Monsieur Verdoux: Given how much I like Chaplin, at least one film should be selected. I will go with Verdoux because I think it shows him at his peak not just as director but also as writer and actor. Delicious dark comedy.

6. Meet Me in St. Louis: Many will consider the musical genre to be a waste of time. I see it as a genre for incredibly inventive visuals and novel ways of storytelling. Hence, I will go with Minnelli's sublime take on an ordinary family in the early 20th century and their simple joys and sorrows. breathtaking technicolour and cinematography, great songs, and superb acting + directing.

7. the passion of joan of arc: dreyer's film is the greatest silent film of all time in my book. outstanding cinematography, exquisite directing, and perhaps one of the greatest ever acting performances.

 

Honorary mention: Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind: it will always have a special place in my heart as my fav animated film of all time.

Edited by Vijy
Link to comment
Share on other sites

So the Anand clip posted here has been made unavailable by someone associated with digital content for Bollywood reading this forum. I have seen the trend where something posted here from YT which is not by the respective studios is read by someone or a group of people following such platforms for such content to make videos unavailable. Does not matter if the clip on YT has been available for years but when posted on such platforms, these "bots" go around making them unavailable. 

 

If these dumbarses are reading this -> NOTE that people posting such short clips, which do not hinder anything, on YT are actually promoting such films/videos on the behalf of these studios who do nothing much to market or keep these classics relevant. By constantly making such short clips unavailable (and that too only when you see it on such platforms when they can be available on YT for years) in the name of displaying that you are doing your mundane 9 to 5 job, you are acting like some programed tool going around making such short clips unavailable without realizing its promotional merits. Use common sense! 

Edited by zen
Link to comment
Share on other sites



×
×
  • Create New...