Monday, April 2, 2012


* This post really has nothing to do with Chariots of Fire, I just needed a blog heading.

I think anyone that goes through the 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die list makes at least a mental note on what movies they think were unfairly left off the list and which ones that are in the book and probably shouldn’t be.

I compiled a list of 130 possible alternatives. Why 130? Well, the explanation is…ok, I have no explanation. It’s just 130, all right?

1.Animal Crackers (1930, Victor Herman)
2.The Old Dark House (1932, James Whale)
3.Easy Living (Leisen, 1937)
4.Lost Horizon (Capra, 1937)
5.Way Out West (Horne, 1937)
6.The Roaring Twenties (Walsh, 1939)
7.The Great Dictator (Chaplin, 1940)
8.Tom Brown’s School Days (1940)
9.Among the Living (1941, Heisler)
10. Buck Privates (1941, Arthur Lubin)
11.Never Give a Sucker an Even Break (Edward Cline, 1941)
12.Bambi (Hand, 1942)
13.Day of Wrath (Dreyer, 1943)
14.Lifeboat (1944, Alfred Hitchcock)
15.Dead of Night (various, 1945)
16.Kiss of Death (Hathaway, 1947)
17.Hamlet (1948, Laurence Olivier)
18.Late Spring (1948, Ozu)
19.Key Largo (Huston, 1948)
20.Othello (Welles, 1952)
21.Miracle in Milan (1953, Vittorio De Sica)
22.Sawdust and Tinsel (1953, Ingmar Bergman)
23.Stalag 17 (1953, Billy Wilder)
24.Mister Roberts (1955, John Ford)
25.Oklahoma! (1955, Fred Zinneman)
26.The Killing (1956, Stanley Kubrick)
27.Lust for Life (1956, Vincent Minelli)
28.A Face in the Crowd (1957, Elia Kazan)
29. Jailhouse Rock (1957, Richard Thorpe)
30.Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Brooks, 1958)
31.Hidden Fortress (Kurosawa, 1958)
32.Plan Nine From Outer Space (1959, Ed Wood)
33.Compulsion (1959, Richard Fleischer)
34.Inherit the Wind (1960, Stanley Kramer)
35.The Virgin Spring (Bergman, 1960)
36.One, Two, Three (1961, Billy Wilder)
37.Judgement at Nuremberg (1961, Stanley Kramer)
38.Yojimbo (1961, Akira Kurosawa)
39.Lonely Are The Brave (Miller, 1962)
40.Birdman of Alcatraz (1962, John Frankenheimer)
41.Carnival of Souls (1962, Herk Harvey)
42.It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963, Stanley Kramer)
43.High and Low (1963, Akira Kurosawa)
44.The Silence (1963, Ingmar Bergman)
45.A Fistful of Dollars (1964, Sergio Leone)
46.The Pawnbroker (1964, Sidney Lumet)
47.Zorba The Greek (Cacoyannis, 1964)
48..A Thousand Clowns (Coe, 1965
40.For a Few Dollars More (1966, Sergio Leone)
49.The Professionals (1966, Richard Brooks)
50.A Man for All Seasons (1966, Fred Zinneman)
51.King of Hearts (1966, de Broca)
52.Endless Summer (Brown, 1966)
53.Morgan (1966, Reisz)
54.The Knack and How to Get It (1967, Richard Lester)
55.The Dirty Dozen (1967, Robert Aldrich)
56.How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1967, David Swift)
57.A Guide for the Married Man (1967, Gene Kelly)
58.The Swimmer (1968, Frank Perry)
59.Bullitt (Yates, 1968)
60.Head (1968, Bob Rafelson)
61.Monterrey Pop (1967, James Desmond)
62.The Magic Christian (McGrath, 1969)
63.Medium Cool (Wexler, 1969)
64.The Passion of Anna (1969, Bergman))
65. Catch-22 (1970, Mike Nichols)
66.Watermelon Man (1970, Melvin Van Peebles)
67.Brewster McCloud (1970, Robert Altman)
68.Macbeth (1971, Roman Polanski)
69.1776 (1972, Peter Hunt)
70.Carnal Knowledge (1972, Mike Nichols)
71.Duck, You Sucker (1972, Sergio Leone)
72.Slaughterhouse Five (1972, George Roy Hill)
73. Marjoe (1972, Howard Smith)
74. Private Parts (Bartel, 1972)
75.The Last Detail (1973, Hal Ashby)
76.Paper Moon (1973, Peter Bogdanavich)
77.The Paper Chase (1973, James Bridges)
78.O Lucky Man! (1973, Lindsay Anderson)
79.Scenes From a Marriage (1974, Ingmar Bergman)
80. Hearts and Minds (Bert Schneider, 1974)
81.Love and Death (1974, Woody Allen)
82.Lenny (1974, Bob Fosse)
83.The Towering Inferno (1974, Irwin Allen)
84.Animal House (1978, John Landis)
85.Watership Down (Rosen, 1978)
86.Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Kaufman, 1978)
87.Magic (1978, Richard Attenborough)
88.The China Syndrome (1979, James Bridges)
89.The In-Laws (Hiller, 1979)
90.Hair (1979, Milos Forman)
91.Phantasm (1979, Don Coscarelli)
92.Caddyshack (1980, Harold Ramis)
93.The Gods Must Be Crazy (Uys, 1980)
94.Kagemusha (Kurosawa, 1980)
95.My Dinner With Andre (1981, Louis Malle)
96. Superman II (1981, Richard Lester)
97.Arthur (1981, Steve Gordon)
98.The World According to Garp (1982, George Roy Hill)
99. Flashdance (1983, Adrian Lyne)
100.The Meaning of Life (Gilliam/ Jones, 1983)
101.Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (Nicholas Meyer, 1982)
102.Stop Making Sense (1984, Jonathan Demme)
103.Repo Man (Cox, 1984)
104.Risky Business (1984)
105.Choose Me (1984, Alan Rudolph)
106.My Life as a Dog (1985, Lasse Hallstrom)
107.Pee-wee's Big Adventure (Tim Burton, 1985))
108.Something Wild (1986, Jonathan Demme)
109.Wild at Heart (1990, David Lynch)
110.Jungle Fever (1991, Spike Lee)
111.Barton Fink (1991, Joel Coen)
112.Malcolm X (1992, Spike Lee)
113.The Fugitive (1993, Andrew Davis)
114. Much Ado About Nothing (1993, Kenneth Branagh)
115.Richard III (1993, Richard Loncraine)
116.Searching for Bobby Fisher (1993, Stephen Zallian)
117.Speed (1994, Jan de Bont)
118.Quiz Show (1994, Robert Redford)
119 Ed Wood (1995, Tim Burton)
120.Sling Blade (1996, Billy Bob Thornton)
121.Twelth Night (1996, Trevor Nunn)
122.Hamlet (1996, Kenneth Branagh)
123.Contact (1996, Robert Zemeckis)
124.The Truman Show (1998, Peter Weir)
125.A Beautiful Mind (2001, Ron Howard)
126. Master and Commander (2003, Peter Weir)
127. Shrek (2003)
128. Mystic River (2003, Clint Eastwood)
129. The Fog of War (2003. Errol Morris)
130. Sin City (2005, Frank Miller)

Rules & thoughts from my alternative 1001 list

1. I guess I just can’t seen ti get enough of Altman, Leone, Bergman, Hitchcock, Kubrick and Kurosawa (Brewster McCloud, A Fistful of Dollars, Scenes from a Marriage, the Killing and The Hidden Fortress)
2. Obviously I can’t get enough Shakespeare either. (Richard III, Hamlet, Macbeth)
3. I have a bias towards films from the era I first started watching films yet still fill the need to criticize others for their era bias. (Don’t think The Towering Infernois a classic, eh? What the hell is wrong with you?)
4. Got to add a few cult films. Ah, back in the day of the midnight movie… (Brewster McCloud, Private Parts (1972), King of Hearts, The Gods Must be Crazy, Head)
5. It doesn’t pay to be highbrow all the time (Caddyshack, The Dirty Dozen, Jailhouse Rock, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, Animal House, It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad Mad World)
6. Campy sci-fi is welcome on my list (Phantasm, Carnival of Souls, Plan Nine from Outer Space.)
7. In fact, we need more classic sci-fi on the list. (Contact, Repo Man, Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), Superman II and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.
8. But sometimes you gotta be a little highbrow (My Dinner With Andre, Miracle in Milan, Day of Wrath, My Life as a Dog)
9. Make sure to add a film that no one has ever heard of to make you look smart even though you haven’t seen it in thirty years but you really liked it at the time but really should see it again to see if it is as good as you remember. (Among the Living)
10. Make sure to add some that you just think should be on the list. (Everyone says how good Mystic River is, I will get around to actually seeing it one of these days!)
11. How about some more musicals? (Oklahoma!, Monterey Pop, Stop Making Sense and a personal favorite, 1776)
12. Most of the classic non-English language films I’m most familiar with are already in the book so my additions here are slight.
13. No silent comedy film additions since the great comics are covered well in the 1001 book.
14. I didn’t add many 2000-present movies since they seem to come and go in each new addition.
15. Random thought: I’d like to see a book on recommended documentaries. It’s hard to decide which ones to add.
16. Looking at my list, I’d already see the need to make some deletions. Flashdance? What was I thinking? I don’t even like that movie!
17. And additions: I left off The Time Machine? Why did I leave off The Time Machine? (The 1960 version, of course)
18. And another addition: Midnight Express! How could I leave off Midnight Express?
19. I now realize how damn hard it is to make a list like this…
20. So I won’t complain about omissions from future editions of the 1001 movie book that I think should be added…at least for now.


  1. Except for just before I started when I listed 25, I've been giving myself permission to add 10 per year. You and I have listed a number of the same films.

    I liked Branagh's Hamlet, but I liked his Henry V better. If we want a Hamlet, I'd go with Olivier's.

    And thank you, thank you, thank you! for listing Stop Making Sense and Inherit the Wind, two films that shouldn't be on a list like this because they should have been on the main list from day one.

    What? No Marathon Man or Three Days of the Condor?

  2. Yes, Marathon Man for sure. I might add The Boys from Brazil, though I may be in the minority on that one.