The 100 best movies I’ve ever seen

About a year ago I attempted to write down every movie I had ever watched. At first I listed them from memory, but then I dug further – I went through Wikipedia’s list of yearly movie releases to see which one’s I missed. As of today, the total number stands at 426 movies.

Using those movies as my guide, I did my best to come up with the 100 best. They aren’t necessarily the best reviewed movies or the most universally popular. This is an entirely personal list – some of these movies received terrible reviews, but somehow stuck with me.

Let me add this: I am NOT a movie buff. I haven’t seen most of the classics and don’t go to theaters very often. I’m certainly no Roger Ebert. And I’m pretty sure that my top 100 would look different on any given day. But I have seen a good amount of movies in my life, and I like making lists.

Joe Posnanski did this on his blog a few years ago, and I think his words perfectly describe my feelings about these movies: The movies that are on this list are the ones that, one way or another, transported me into another time and another place. They made me laugh so hard I couldn’t stop, or they changed the way I looked at the world, or they made me fall in love, or they made me ridiculously happy, or they chilled me to the bone. What they did was take me outside of myself for an hour and a half or two hours or however long.

A few ground rules:

– I tried to make this list as honestly as possible.
– I had to remember seeing the movie in its entirety.
– It would be impossible to rank the films 100-1, so I have just listed them in alphabetical order.
– I wasn’t sure what to do with the eight Harry Potter movies, so I cheated and put them all as one.


127 Hours
Almost Famous
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
Annie Hall
Apollo 13
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
Back to the Future Part I
Back to the Future Part II
Back to the Future Part III
The Best of Youth
Black Swan
The Blind Side
The Breakfast Club
Cast Away
Cinema Paradiso
The Count of Monte Cristo
Crimes and Misdemeanors
Dan in Real Life
Dazed and Confused
The Dark Knight
Dead Poets Society
Dumb and Dumber
Eight Below
Fever Pitch
Field of Dreams
Fight Club
Finding Nemo
The Fly
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Forrest Gump
The Godfather
Good Will Hunting
The Great Debators
The Great Santini
The Hangover
Happy Gilmore
Harry Potter
The Holiday
Home Alone
I Am Sam
Independence Day
Inglorious Basterds
Iron Man
It’s a Wonderful Life
The King’s Speech
Life is Beautiful
The Lion King
Live From Baghdad
Lords of Dogtown
Mary Poppins
Monsters, Inc.
Mr. Holland’s Opus
Mrs. Doubtfire
National Treasure
Office Space
One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest
Patch Adams
Pineapple Express
The Princess Bride
Pulp Fiction
The Pursuit of Happyness
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Remember the Titans
The Sandlot
Saving Private Ryan
School of Rock
The Shawshank Redemption
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
Shutter Island
Silence of the Lambs
Slumdog Millionaire
The Social Network
Star Trek
The Terminal
This is Spinal Tap
Toy Story
Toy Story 3
True Grit
Wet Hot American Summer
Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory
The Wizard of Oz


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