Other movies that are totally worthy of mention: The 13th Warrior, Starship Troopers, Aladdin, The Iron Giant, Superman, Brick, Dazed and Confused, The Incredibles, X2, The Mummy, Conan the Barbarian, and many, many others.
#10 - The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (extended edition). The first of the three is the best, in my opinion. It does the best job of painting the world, from the Shire to Mordor to Lothlorian and Bree, I got the real impression that this was a huge world full of people and monsters. Boromir's betrayal and redemption, played out by Sean Bean, is just fantastic drama.
#9 - Fight Club. Tyler Durden rules. The only thing wrong with this movie is that you can never again watch it for the first time.
#8 - The Empire Strikes Back. Also, incredibly hard to leave out of the top 5. The battle on Hoth is still tops, as ATAT walkers are my favorite sci-fi vehicles, and all the characters get awesome dialogue in this flick. ("I'd rather kiss a Wookie."-"I can arrange that!", "That's not true, that's impossible!", "I love you."-"I know.") It also has Lando. That was a mighty mustache, Lando.
#7 - Raiders of the Lost Ark. It was really hard to bump Indiana Jones out of the top five, as he's probably the coolest character in film after Ferris Bueller. This movie had it all, snakes, a guy getting blended by and air plane propeller, melting Nazis. The total package. Oh, and never bring a sword to a gunfight.
#6 - Back to the Future. Damn but this movie holds up well. The adventures of Marty McFly and Doc Emmett Brown are so much fun. It may be a little dated, but really, that's sort of the point. The sequels are good too, but the first one is still the cream of the crop.
#5 - Die Hard
Directed by: John McTiernan
Starring: Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman
The greatest action movie of all time, that all action movies that followed were desperately trying to copy. John McClane redefined the action hero, which before was trapped in the uber-macho, confident and indestructible mold of Rambo or Commando, infusing self-doubt, fear, and pain (running on broken glass, barefoot?) and allowing the hero to be more heroic just by overcoming these frailties.
The good guy has to match up with the villain, and Alan Rickman's Hans Gruber is quite possibly the best action villain of all time. He's not stupid, and he even manages to trick McClane for a while, saving his own skin. But as shrewd as he is, he's so sleazy and greedy, that you never find yourself liking him.
The best scene in the film? After killing the first of the theives, McClane sends his body to the rest of the gang via the elevator, but not before painting a message on the dead guy's shirt. "Ho ho ho. Now I have a Machine Gun." Message sent.
#4 - Aliens
Directed by: James Cameron
Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Paul Riser and Bill Paxton
Okay, maybe Paxton doesn't really merit a tag under "starring", but he does have some of the best lines in the movie. Besides, this isn't up for debate here. Trust me, I'm right.
Ellen Ripley is the most awesome heroine in film, hands down. It's not even up for debate. She's not even the toughest woman in this movie (that'd be Vasquez, the heavy machine-gunner), but Ripley never backs down, not from the marines, not from Paul Riser's creepy Carter Burke, and not from an monstrous Alien brood-queen. I would argue that no character has ever looked more bad-ass than Ripley when she walks out in the yellow cargo loader and screams at the alien queen "Get away from her, you bitch!" Go on, try to think of a more bad-ass moment. You can't. I told you.
Comedian Paul Riser (who would win an Emmy award in 1994 for his role in Mad About You as a lovable filmmaker) plays the sleaziest corporate lawyer in science-fiction history, and you cheer for the alien that gets him. Bill Paxton plays the marine that does what we expect people would do when faced with an alien attack; freaks the fuck out. Not enough people freak out in these movies, but Private Hudson does us proud and whines and bitches and swears about the problem like a champ.
Everything about this movie is about building up the action. As Ripley's situation slides from bad to worse, the harder she fights, and she wins. Like John McClane in Die Hard, Ellen Ripley changed action heroes. Now, as she showed everyone, they could be women. Without Ellen Ripley there is no Sarah Conner in T2, there is no Buffy the Vampire Slayer, there is no Bride in Kill Bill.
#3 - Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Directed by: John Hughes
Starring: Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, Jeffrey Jones and Jennifer Grey
This is the greatest comedy of all time. More than that, aside from "Transformers: The Movie", this is the movie I have seen the most number of times in my life (well over 75 times), and just watching it provides great insight into the development of my character from childhood to today. There is no one in the world that I aspired to be more like than Ferris Bueller.
Now that all that is out of the way, I can tell you why this movie rules. Ferris Bueller is a rich kid from the burbs, spoiled, conceited and a smart-ass. There is no reason, on paper, for him to have been a hero to a generation, but Matthew Broderick really hit a home run in taking these flaws and making them qualities, and when countered byt Jeffrey Jones' antagonist extra-ordinaire Ed Rooney, you want to root for Ferris, who is, in essence, just a kid who wants to have a good time.
Alan Ruck as Cameron Frye is oft overlooked in his contribution to this film. His little "I've gotta take a stand." speech at the end of the movie is poignant, and heartfelt.
Look, I can go on about this movie for hours, but the point of it all is that this movie is funny as hell, and really, if you think you're my friend and you haven't seen this movie, well, you probably don't know anything about me.
I want to take a day off like this one.
#2 - Rocky
Directed by: John G. Avildsen
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Carl Weathers
I cannot stand it when I tell people that Rocky is one of my favorite movies of all time, and they look at me all funny as they picture Mr. T and Dolph Lundgren saying "I vill break yoo!"
Look, the sequels were garbage. Sometimes fun garbage, but trash none the less.
"Rocky", however, is one of the greatest movies of all time. If you have not seen it, I implore you to. It won three Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director, four actors were nominated for Oscars, and Sly also got a nom for Best Screenplay, and was nominated to the AFI's 100 best films list. It's a pop culture icon. You owe it to yourself to see it.
Rocky is the guy you're worried you are, deep down. He does his thing, day to day, and is generally okay in his life, but beneath it, he's sad, he's lonely, and he's insecure. He likes this girl, Adrian, who is excruciatingly shy, and his attempts to get through to her are sweet and painful to watch.
Then, there's the training and boxing, which you can try to be cynical about, and has since become a Hollywood cliche, but it's still inspiring and you end up cheering for Rocky, despite your best efforts.
Rocky is a love story, a story of a normal guy who gets a shot, it's about a boxer, but also about anyone who's afraid that life will just pass them by, leaving them cold and alone. It's got a lot in the movie that a cynic could pick on, but that's okay too, because we learn that you don't have to be perfect to be great.
#1 - Ghostbusters
Directed by: Ivan Reitman
Starring: Bill Murray, Dan Ackroyd, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis.
1984. This movie is nearly 25 years old. Wow.
Let me say that it wasn't easy to pick this number 1, and I did a lot of shuffling of my top 5 before settling here. But I think it's as sound a choice as I could make.
Ghostbusters has it all. Action, comedy, snark, a ginger-haired bad guy, a boppin' 80's soundtrack, special effects that aren't digital. When it's funny, it's funny in one of two ways; Bill Murray's caustic wit unleashed on screen, or it's absolutely absurd (like the appearance of Gozer the Gozarion as a Giant Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man).
When funny people do action movies, it is usually for the win.
Each of the Ghostbusters have a unique role on the team and for telling the story. Ray Stantz, Egon Spengler, Peter Venkman and Winston Zeddmore are the team supreme, and make such a solid ensemble that they just carry the movie the whole way through. Bill Murray was at the very top of his game for this movie, so it's hard to accept that the role of Venkman was actually written with John Belushi in mind. Venkman is so beautifully unlikeable, nasty, and sleazy, that you just have to cheer for him, and in the end, he, and the other Ghostbusters, step up and show they have big brass ones in a total "fuck yeah!" moment when they fight Gozer.
It was the highest grossing comedy of all time during it's release, and stayed that way until 1990. (Home Alone actually knock it off top spot. Seriously.)
And it's got some of my favorite movie lines of all time:
"Ray, when someone asks you if you're a god, you say "YES"!" - Winston
Dr. Egon Spengler: There's something very important I forgot to tell you.
Dr. Peter Venkman: What?
Dr. Egon Spengler: Don't cross the streams.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Why?
Dr. Egon Spengler: It would be bad.
Dr. Peter Venkman: I'm fuzzy on the whole good/bad thing. What do you mean, "bad"?
Dr. Egon Spengler: Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.
Dr Ray Stantz: Total protonic reversal.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Right. That's bad. Okay. All right. Important safety tip. Thanks, Egon.
God damn but that movie is good. It's awesome. Er. Est.
Sarcasm, Nerd Humour, and giant Marshmallow Man attacking New York City.