Greatest film ever made....Go!

twietee

macrumors 603
Jan 24, 2012
5,298
1,557
Impossible? No, easy! Metropolis, what else did we need to understand modern life?


This or Zoolander, can't decide.
 

Scepticalscribe

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Jul 29, 2008
51,495
35,040
The Far Horizon
How do you define what you think might be the 'Greatest Film Ever Made?' What criteria do you use?

By that I mean, are you simply asking what film you liked best (when I was a small child 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' was a firm favourite of mine, and has left me with an insane veneration of and fascination with vintage cars which I expect I shall retain until the day I pop my clogs).

Or, do you mean a film which altered the way in which movie making was viewed, which stretched boundaries, used film as a means of telling a story in a new radically different (and challenging) way? Or a film which has stood the test of time? Or one which was extremely popular?

I'm an historian by background, and I love challenging, nuanced thoughtful movies. As someone who enjoys theatre, I also admire excellent acting, sharp and literate scripts, and those who can inhabit a character so well that you forget that you are looking at someone pretending to be someone else. So, I prefer character actors to conventional leading men; I also prefer actors with lived in faces, faces where it is clear that life has been lived, and such experiences have been etched as laugh lines, crinkles, and dare one admit to it, wrinkles, too, on the broad canvas of the human face. Bland perfection holds no attraction for me. Botox even less.

I also love atmosphere, and, if it is supposed to be history, accuracy. In movies, I love a form of cinematography that uses light intelligently; I am a keen photographer, and love art where the mastery of light plays a key role; thus, it should come as no surprise to learn that I love the Renaissance and post Renaissance painting of the Low Countries, artists such as Velazquez, and of course much of the work of the Impressionists.

Comedy, horror, and romance don't interest me as much, unless the tale is exceptionally well told. My personal preference when emerging from a movie is to be made to think - and not to feel - and to be made to look at something in the world in a new way. If feelings are to be explored, I have the European preference for the bitter sweet integrity of art rather than the more popular 'feel good' outcome often demanded by US film studios.

Thus, I don't much like conventionally happy endings, desirable though such an outcome is; I prefer scenes such as the superb scene at the end of 'The Third Man' (a scene which took courage to even think of filming, let alone to insist on keeping it as the end of the movie when it was later released) when it is clear That Holly Didn't Get The Girl, for she coolly and coldly walked past him, and out of his life, shunning him and snubbing him, as the credits rolled. Magnificent, and yes, heart-breaking - heartbreaking for them both, in different ways. But brilliant.

This is all by way of explanation as to the criteria I would use for 'Greatest Movie of all Time', rather than a response to a question of 'what movies have you really liked?'

Therefore, none of the movies cited above would I regard as the 'Greatest Movie Of all Time'; some were merely entertainment, some were terrific movies, (Casablanca and The Godfather in particular) but not ground breaking or transformative in any way.

The movie that still blows me away is 'Citizen Kane'; this was nothing short of revolutionary when it was made.

The script; direction; the ensemble acting (none of the Mercury Theatre - bar perhaps Welles himself for his radio work were even known before the movie); the multiple narrators; the nuanced narrative; the stunning lighting; the epic scope and range of the story told; the sheer depth of the exploration of the possibility of human greatness and the cost to lives (and a life) of human flaws in the morality tale the movie told; the splendid cinematography - the angles, how film was used to convey the passage of time (the way Kane's disintegrating marriage was conveyed was stunning; as was the scene after he took over his first paper), the various startling and new narrative devices (i.e. the fake documentary news reel at the outset), and the sheer brilliance of the pacing. And of course, the famous 'red herring' which also told its own story.

This is a work of cinematic genius, and a brilliantly told jaw-dropping tale of hubris and nemesis. And it stands the test of time. Even though it was made in 1940, the tale it tells is an eternal one which has permanent and universal relevance. It is a movie I could watch again and again, as the story it tells is one which is so richly and magnificently told.

I have posted elsewhere that when I first saw it I was blown away, bowled over, awestruck; this is nothing short of superlative on every conceivable level of using the medium of film to tell a story.
 
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GoCubsGo

macrumors Nehalem
Feb 19, 2005
35,741
146
Super hard but in my opinion one would be Fight Club, then Casablanca, The Shawshank Redemption, American Beauty, Star Wars, and Almost Famous.

It is truly impossible for me to pick an all-time favorite movie. I qualify this only by how many times I will watch the movie and never find a moment of boredom.
 

Mousse

macrumors 68020
Apr 7, 2008
2,153
3,417
Flea Bottom, King's Landing
Manos: The Hands of Fate

My sole criteria is entertainment value. I can't think of any other movie I'd watch 3x in a row and have each viewing be different.;) Oh hey, I didn't notice that mistake the first 2 times.:D:D:D
 

rdowns

macrumors Penryn
Jul 11, 2003
27,397
12,511
Very hard to pick one so I'm going to pick 3.

Rear Window
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Wizard of Oz
 

rhett7660

macrumors G5
Jan 9, 2008
12,531
2,494
Sunny, Southern California
Super hard but in my opinion one would be Fight Club, then Casablanca, The Shawshank Redemption, American Beauty, Star Wars, and Almost Famous.

It is truly impossible for me to pick an all-time favorite movie. I qualify this only by how many times I will watch the movie and never find a moment of boredom.
Nerdgasm! :D:)
 

CaptHenryMorgan

macrumors regular
Original poster
Apr 27, 2013
196
0
The District
How do you define what you think might be the 'Greatest Film Ever Made?' What criteria do you use?

By that I mean, are you simply asking what film you liked best (when I was a small child 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' was a firm favourite of mine, and has left me with an insane veneration of and fascination with vintage cars which I expect I shall retain until the day I pop my clogs).

Or, do you mean a film which altered the way in which movie making was viewed, which stretched boundaries, used film as a means of telling a story in a new radically different (and challenging) way? Or a film which has stood the test of time? Or one which was extremely popular?

I'm an historian by background, and I love challenging, nuanced thoughtful movies. As someone who enjoys theatre, I also admire excellent acting, sharp and literate scripts, and those who can inhabit a character so well that you forget that you are looking at someone pretending to be someone else. So, I prefer character actors to conventional leading men; I also prefer actors with lived in faces, faces where it is clear that life has been lived, and such experiences have been etched as laugh lines, crinkles, and dare one admit to it, wrinkles, too, on the broad canvas of the human face. Bland perfection holds no attraction for me. Botox even less.

I also love atmosphere, and, if it is supposed to be history, accuracy. In movies, I love a form of cinematography that uses light intelligently; I am a keen photographer, and love art where the mastery of light plays a key role; thus, it should come as no surprise to learn that I love the Renaissance and post Renaissance painting of the Low Countries, artists such as Velazquez, and of course much of the work of the Impressionists.

Comedy, horror, and romance don't interest me as much, unless the tale is exceptionally well told. My personal preference when emerging from a movie is to be made to think - and not to feel - and to be made to look at something in the world in a new way. If feelings are to be explored, I have the European preference for the bitter sweet integrity of art rather than the more popular 'feel good' outcome often demanded by US film studios.

Thus, I don't much like conventionally happy endings, desirable though such an outcome is; I prefer scenes such as the superb scene at the end of 'The Third Man' (a scene which took courage to even film let alone insist on remaining as the end of the movie when it was later released) when it is clear That Holly Didn't Get The Girl, for she coolly and coldly walked past him, and out of his life, shunning him and snubbing him, as the credits rolled. Magnificent, and yes, heart-breaking - heartbreaking for them both, in different ways. But brilliant.

This is all by way of explanation as to the criteria I would use for 'Greatest Movie of all Time', rather than a response to a question of 'what movies have you really liked?'

Therefore, none of the movies cited above would I regard as the 'Greatest Movie Of all Time'; some were merely entertainment, some were terrific movies, (Casablanca and The Godfather in particular) but not ground breaking or transformative in any way.

The movie that still blows me away is 'Citizen Kane'; this was nothing short of revolutionary when it was made.

The script; direction; the ensemble acting (none of the Mercury Theatre - bar perhaps Welles himself for his radio work were even known before the movie); the multiple narrators; the nuanced narrative; the stunning lighting; the epic scope and range of the story told; the sheer depth of the exploration of the possibility of human greatness and the cost to lives (and a life) of human flaws in the morality tale the movie told; the splendid cinematography - the angles, how film was used to convey the passage of time (the way Kane's disintegrating marriage was conveyed was stunning; as was the scene after he took over his first paper), the various startling and new narrative devices (i.e. the fake documentary news reel at the outset), and the sheer brilliance of the pacing. And of course, the famous 'red herring' which also told its own story.

This is a work of cinematic genius, and a brilliantly told jaw-dropping tale of hubris and nemesis. And it stands the test of time. Even though it was made in 1940, the tale it tells is an eternal one which has permanent and universal relevance. It is a movie I could watch again and again, as the story it tells is one which is so richly and magnificently told.

I have posted elsewhere that when I first saw it I was blown away, bowled over, awestruck; this is nothing short of superlative on every conceivable level of using the medium of film to tell a story.
Wow, someone took this thread way too seriously. You don't happen to teach film studies at a state university by chance do you?
 

Scepticalscribe

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Jul 29, 2008
51,495
35,040
The Far Horizon
Wow, someone took this thread way too seriously. You don't happen to teach film studies at a state university by chance do you?
'Too seriously'? I answered the question that was asked, in a way that seemed to treat it thoughtfully. Too many posts, threads, comments (and indeed movies) offer little that indicates any sort of thought before posting a response. Most people have answered the movie that they either 1) liked best or 2) were most impressed by.

One of the subtext of my posts on any movie thread is that so much of what comes out of the US cinema industry these days is so awful, trite, banal, vapid......that it is really deeply depressing to think about it. I suppose, at the end of the day, I see a good movie as 'art' not 'entertainment' although I accept that at its best it should be both. And the US movie industry did much to define and mould what is probably the sole art form which was unique to the twentieth century. The collapse in standards and trite drivel offered up for public consumption nowadays in deeply depressing.

Most of all, if someone wants to say that a stated movie is 'the greatest movie ever made' I am interested in why they think that; if you make a statement of that nature, be prepared to say why.

And, no, I don't teach film studies at a 'state university' or anywhere else. Actually, I don't teach in a state university.
 
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