Friday, July 18, 2008

100 Movies

No fear re Peking Opera Blues
being excluded from my 100 Movies list! ;b

Recently, my good friend, the proprietor of the Falling Stones are not Heavy blog, changed hosts from livejournal to Word Press. In doing so, he was able to add extra sections to his blog and now has a 100 Movies list that he feels a strong connection to that I found to make for interesting reading -- and so much so that I've decided to follow his example and post a 100 Movies list of my own too.

In my case, my main criteria when making my choices is that the films be ones which have particularly impacted and/or impressed me over the years (but, particularly, in the last 10 or so). Alternatively put, and contrary to the disparaging assertion sometimes made by people that "it's only a movie", I will venture to say that a fair few of the films on my list are not only able to move, enchant, make me happy and otherwise alter my emotional state and views of humanity but they also have changed my life and life path in addition to my film viewing habits and perspective.

To cite just one example: One big reason for my now living and working in Hong Kong is because I fell in love with Hong Kong cinema and the portraits of the place and its people that some of its best films provided me with. And, yes, here's handing out due warning that my list is undeniably heavy on Hong Kong movies.

Still, rather than order the films by territory, I'm going to list them in alphabetical title order. In doing so, I'll leave it to readers to do such as count the number of Hong Kong movies on my list, those starring Brigitte Lin or anything else that particular interests you... ;b

11'9''01 - September 11 (various directors, notably Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, 2002)
14 Amazons (Ching Gong & Charles Tung, 1972)
The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (Lau Kar Leung, 1978)
A Chinese Ghost Story (Ching Siu Tung, 1987)
A River Runs Through It (Robert Redford, 1992)
Ashes of Time (Wong Kar Wai, 1994)
Babette's Feast (Gabriel Axel, 1988)
The Ballad of Little Jo (Maggie Greenwald, 1993)
Battleship Potemkin (Sergei Eisenstein, 1925)
Beaches (Gary Marshall, 1988)

Ben Hur (William Wyler, 1959)
The Blue Kite (Tian Zhuangzhuang, 1993)
The Bride with White Hair (Ronny Yu, 1993)
C'est la Vie, Mon Cheri (Derek Yee, 1993)
Chariots of Fire (Hugh Hudson, 1981)
Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)
Cool Hand Luke (Stuart Rosenberg, 1967)
Chungking Express (Wong Kar Wai, 1994)
City of God (Fernando Meirelles, 2002)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Steven Spielberg, 1977)

Comrades, Almost a Love Story
(Peter Chan, 1996)
The Crying Game (Neil Jordan, 1992)
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Ang Lee, 2000)
Dancing with Wolves (Kevin Costner, 1990)
Dead Poets Society (Peter Weir, 1989)
Dragon Inn (Ching Siu Tung & Raymond Lee, 1992)
Early Spring (Yasujiro Ozu, 1956)
Eat, Drink, Man, Woman (Ang Lee, 1996)
Electric Shadows
(Xiao Jiang, 2005)
ET - The Extra-Terrestrial (Steven Spielberg, 1981)

Europa, Europa (Agnieszka Holland, 1990)
Festival Moon (Zhu Shilin, 1953)
Flowers of Shanghai (Hou Hsiao-Hsien, 1998)
Fong Sai Yuk (Corey Yuen, 1993)
Four Weddings and a Funeral (Mike Newell, 1994)
Fried Green Tomatoes (Jon Avnet, 1991)
The Game of Their Lives (Daniel Gordon, 2002)
Girls Without Tomorrow (Wong Chi & David Lam, 1992)
Good Will Hunting (Gus van Sant, 1997)
He's a Woman, She's a Man (Peter Chan, 1994)

Heroes of the East (Lau Kar Leung, 1978)
Hotel Rwanda (Terry George, 2004)
Impromptu (James Lapine, 1991)
Joint Security Area (Park Chan Wook, 2000)
Just One Look (Riley Yip, 2002)
Kekexili: Mountain Patrol (Lu Chuan, 2004)
Kung Fu Hustle (Stephen Chow, 2004)
Lady General Hua Mulan (Griffin Yueh Feng, 1964)
Lost and Found (Lee Chi Ngai, 1996)
The Lovers (Tsui Hark, 1994)

(Raoul Peck, 2000)
Mary Poppins (Robert Stevenson, 1964)
Mekanik (Othman Hafsham, 1983)
The Mission (Roland Joffe, 1986)
My Fair Lady (George Cukor, 1964)
My Neighbor Totoro (Hayao Miyazaki, 1988)
My Wife is a Gangster (Cho Jin-Gyu, 2001)
Needing You... (Johnnie To & Wai Ka Fai, 2000)
No Man's Land (Danis Tanovic, 2001)
Once Upon a Time in China I (Tsui Hark, 1991)

Our Sister Hedy (Tao Qin, 1957)
Out of Africa (Sydney Pollack, 1985)
Pather Panchali (Satyajit Ray, 1955)
Peking Opera Blues (Tsui Hark, 1986)
Peppermint Candy (Lee Chang Dong, 2000)
Platoon (Oliver Stone, 1986)
Police Story III: Supercop (Stanley Tong, 1992)
Porco Rosso (Hayao Miyazaki, 1992)
Postmen in the Mountains (Huo Jianqi, 1998)
Princess Raccoon (Seijun Suzuki, 2005)

Raiders of the Lost Ark
(Steven Spielberg, 1981)
Raining in the Mountain (King Hu, 1979)
Ran (Akira Kurosawa, 1985)
Rear Window (Alfred Hitchcock, 1954)
Rhapsody in August (Akira Kurosawa, 1991)
The Road to Guantanamo (Michael Winterbottom & Mat Whitecross, 2006)
Royal Warriors (David Chung, 1986)
Rebel Without a Cause (Nicholas Ray, 1955)
Red Dust (Yim Ho, 1990)
Run Lover Run (Richard Chen Yao-Chi, 1975)

Sansho the Bailiff
(Kenji Mizoguchi, 1954)
Saving Face (Alice Wu, 2005)
Secrets and Lies (Mike Leigh, 1996)
Sepet (Yasmin Ahmad, 2004)
Shanghai Blues (Tsui Hark, 1984)
The Sound of Music (Robert Wise, 1965)
Still Life (Jia Zhangke, 2006)
Suriyothai (Prince Chatri Chalerm Yukol, 2001)
Swallowtail Butterfly (Shunji Iwai, 1996)
Swordsman II (Ching Siu Tung, 1992)

Tempting Heart (Sylvia Chang, 1999)
To Sir With Love (James Clavell, 1967)
Tootsie (Sydney Pollack, 1982)
Twenty Four Eyes (Keisuke Kinoshita, 1954)
Ugetsu (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1953)
Under the Moonlight (Seyyed Reza Mir-Karimi, 2001)
West Side Story (Robert Wise, 1961)
Wild Rose (Sun Yu, 1932)
Wing Chun (Yuen Woo Ping, 1994)
Yi Yi (Edward Yang, 2000)


Glenn, kenixfan said...


You've now thrown down the gauntlet and given me something to do on my blog this afternoon.

I didn't see Swordsman 3: East is Red on there. Hmm.

Beaches? Mary Poppins?

I'm a sap too and I'm sure I'll have at least two similar things that make you go "Huh?"

And you managed to stump even me who's at least heard of the ones I've not seen but...what is Run Lover Run? It's not a Shaw film is it?

YTSL said...

Hi Glenn --

Have fun coming up with your own 100 Movies list! As for mine: I love "Swordsman 3: The East is Red" but, well, there are already a fair few Brigitte movies on the list... including "Run Lover Run"!

And yeah re "Beaches" and "Mary Poppins"... Re the former: Chalk it down to my having a weakness for female friendship movies. As for the latter: It's long been something that horrified some of my friends (notably a certain Brian of Brooklyn) but I really do like Julie Andrews a lot -- especially in her earlier musical incarnation. :b

Glenn, kenixfan said...

I'm really shocked at the tolerance of Mary Poppins and yet you don't really like musicals otherwise.

I always preferred Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to Mary as far as those British kid musicals go.

And I've been told that what of the first films I saw and liked was Oliver! but I would have been less than 3 at the time.

I am definately going to work on the list this weekend!

YTSL said...

Hi again Glenn --

Yeah, it's interesting that when I look back, I have great memories of musical movies from childhood ("Oliver!"* was a title I considered putting into the list but it ended up not making the final cut) but haven't found many to like as an adult.

OTOH, quite a few animated films that I've only first seen as an adult (notably those of Studio Ghibli) I far prefer to those I was introduced to as a child (notably those from Walt Disney).

*And speaking of Mark Lester, I now am remembering a movie with an English title like "Mark Lester in Japan" (AKA ""Sotsugyo Ryoko") that I really liked. On a related singing boy theme, memories also are coming back about movies with titles like "Hentjie, Golden Heart Orphan" and "Hentjie, Sad Heart Sings" that make me realize that as a childhood, I was exposed to a more international movie range than might be the case for children these days

sarah bailey knight said...

Hi ytsl,

The Sound of Music!!! Hehe! Do you know the words to all the songs? In junior high we had a substitute music teacher for a semester who loved the music. The last 10 minutes of class on Fridays she'd play selections on the piano and we'd all sing along at the top of our voices. So cornball, so much fun.

Am busy scribbling down my favorite movie titles.

YTSL said...

Hi sbk --

I used to know the words to all the songs -- and some dialogue besides -- but may not any more. Truth is that it's been a while since I saw "The Sound of Music" but there actually were a few months in my life when I would watch it every DAY!

Re your last remark: Does that mean we'll see a 100 movies list from you soon??? :)

Anonymous said...

Hi YTSL! Wow, what a list and this will be useful in my next DVD shopping spree ;-) Some surprises, especially so of MEKANIK and COOL HAND LUKE?? Please elaborate ;-))))

Anonymous said...

Beaches - never thought you would be a fan

Babette's Feast - great foreign movie, only wish I remember more of it

Chungking Express - only like the story with Faye Wong and Tony Leung (that guy never seem to age)

Early Spring - one of my Ozu favorites but I can't really remember which is which as they all seen to have almost the same title - ie early summer, late spring - but I would say Tokyo Story is one that stands out in my mind and also one of my favorite

My Fair Lady - one of my favorite also but I don't like the singing by the professor Higgins -forgot the actor's name

Porco Rosso - I rather prefer Miyazaki's other movie - Castle in the sky or Howl's Moving Castle

many mix of movies here, most asian movies I have not seen, I have to admit I have barely saw any asian movies lately, only americans

will have to check out the ones I haven't seen

YTSL said...

Hi fallingstones (Ho) --

Glad you've checked out the list. :)

Re MEKANIK: It's the film I consider to be the first Malaysian (as opposed to Malay, etc.) film and made an impression on me for that reason. All these years on, I still remember some dialogue that effectively translated into, "doesn't matter what you look like, you're still Malaysian"...

As for COOL HAND LUKE: "I can eat 50 eggs!" "What we have here is a failure to communicate". For that last line and the shocking retort to it alone -- woah, talk about memorable and impacting!

Hi Lissa --

BEACHES: It made me and lots of women I know weep. Also, it came out on summer when I got to see it first and then introduce it to a good friend and my mother. Viewing the movie again and again within such an emotional context made for movie experiences I really treasure.

BABETTE'S FEAST: It was the first foreign film I saw that felt truly foreign -- so foreign, I couldn't even figure out the language that was being spoken, etc. And yet to see all that food and people appreciating food -- hey, that felt universal. :)

CHUNGKING EXPRESS: Aaargh, your comments are like an arrow through my heart. Enjoy the Faye Wong-Little Tony story but, of course, it's Brigitte-Takeshi that truly makes the film for me. ;S

EARLY SPRING: Agree with you re the similarity of certain Ozu titles. Re Ozu: Actually, I'm taking my time going through his filmography as I'm hoping that, living where I live, I will get opportunities to see Ozu's films where they belong: on a big screen.

Re Studio Ghibli: They're all good, if not great, but the films you cited are far from my favorites. Indeed, if I were to add two other Studio Ghibli films to my list, it'd be SPIRITED AWAY and NAUSICAA.

Re Asia vs America: FWIW, this week, I've watched four films -- one British, two American and one Hong Kong. Enjoyed JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH -- because the 3D effects were great -- but the two films that really were class are Sidney Lumet's BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU'RE DEAD and Ann Hui's THE WAY WE ARE.

Glenn, kenixfan said...

I just did my list and boy was that hard!

Cool Hand Luke didn't make my list but that egg scene is still one of the best male bonding scenes I've ever seen -- and it's always funny!

YTSL said...

Hi again Glenn --

Will go to your blog to comment on your list. But re COOL HAND LUKE: Have you read Roger Ebert's two very different reviews -- written decades apart -- of it? If not, here are the links to them:-

...And FWIW, I agree more with the 2008 review.

1minutefilmreview said...

Great list! Thanks for sharing your 100 movies.

sarah bailey knight said...


Phew, that was fun. Put up my 100 movies. Maybe a few more as I kept changing my mind. Finally thought, enough, just post a list.

YTSL said...

Hi 1minutefilmreview --

Thanks and you're very welcome. :)

Hi sbk --

I know the feeling about changing some movies on the list. One of the fun things about compiling this list is realizing how many movies one really does love and/or has truly impacted one. :)

Stefan S said...

nice mix there!

I liked Saving Face too!

YTSL said...

Hi Stefan S --

Glad you like the list and SAVING FACE too! It's such a fun movie, isn't it? :)

Anonymous said...

Here I am, late to the party again...I can't believe you posted this 2 weeks ago, and it's taken me this long to come back and comment.

Anyhow, it shouldn't surprise you that I enjoyed seeing/reading this list. And I hope to make one of my own, too. It's just been such a struggle lately to find any time for the blog. Sigh.

(And count me as another one who was surprised to see "Beaches" on your list. I actually barely remember the movie, though I remember seeing it.)

YTSL said...

Hi Alejna --

So nice to see you reading and commenting on an entry that's off the main page! :)

Would love to see your list -- and gather that it won't have "Beaches" on it... What, "The Wind Beneath My Wings" doesn't get you crying? ;b

Anonymous said...

No, "Beaches" won't make it on my list. Though I do have a story I might write about it some day. (The short version is that it triggered a bit of a flashback for me to the time of my father's terminal illness. It was somewhat awkward, as I was watching the movie in the theater. You know many women who cried during the movie. I'm afraid "cried" would be an understatement for me.)

And the Wind song is one that I may actively dislike. Perhaps due to negative associations with the movie. (As I say, I remember very little about the actual movie.)

YTSL said...

Hi Alejna --

Oh dear, doesn't sound like "Beaches" is a movie you have good memories to associate with at all! Sorry to hear that. My own parental association with that film is remembering my mother commenting after viewing the movie about Bette Midler to the effect that it's amazing how such an ugly woman can possess such a beautiful voice! ;b