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

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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! 

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1 hour ago, 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. 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. 

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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. 

 

 

 

 

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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. 

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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? 

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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.

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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:

 

 

 

 

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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.

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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: 

 

 

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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. 

 

 

 

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