With the Christmas holiday right around the corner I thought I would do something a little different. I want to offer my “top-ten” list of movies. These could be great movies to rent for some holiday family viewing, or you could even consider them as gifts for your own family or other family members and friends.
While I would be hard-pressed to come up with a top-ten list of books or songs, several years ago I decided to compile a top-ten list of movies, and here it is:
- Chariots of Fire – The true story of Christian missionary Eric Liddell who refused to run in the 1924 Olympics because the race was to take place on a Sunday. So many great storylines run through this movie. Additionally, it won four Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Soundtrack. Favorite line: “I believe that God made me for a purpose. But He also made me fast, and when I run, I feel His pleasure.”
- Fiddler on the Roof – Probably needs no introduction. Is there any character in movies more hilarious than Tevye? I think not. Lots of great lines in this movie but possibly the best is: “I know we’re you’re chosen people, but once in a while, couldn’t you choose someone else?”
- Sargeant York – Another movie based on a true story. Alvin York was the most-decorated serviceman of WWI. A superior marksman, he originally resisted entering the war due to the fact that he was a conscientious objector. When his CO status was rejected, he entered the Army with misgivings. However, during the Meuse-Argonne offensive his unit was pinned down by enemy fire and York was the only NCO not killed. He took command of his unit and then, with precision marksmanship, took out the German’s machine-gun nests, one by one. Eventually, with only a small group of soldiers he captured 132 German prisoners. For his heroics he was awarded the Medal of Honor. Oh, and one other little attraction of this movie – it stars Gary Cooper. Favorite quote: “Well I ain’t never learned Sergeant! Folks back home used to say I could shoot a rifle before I was weaned, but they was exaggeratin’ some.”
- Casablanca – A classic. Humphrey Bogart at his growly best. Ingrid Bergman never looked lovelier. War is the backdrop. There are many classic lines from this movie, but my favorite is: “I’m no good at being noble, but it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you’ll understand that.” (I’m going to have to stop here for a moment *sniff*)
- A Night at the Opera – My favorite Marx Brothers movie hands-down. Absolutely love the scene where they’re playing baseball in the theater. And the scene on the ship where they’re piling into the one stateroom is a classic. Favorite line (actually my favorite bit): “The party of the first part shall be known in this contract as the party of the first part…”
- Galaxy Quest – If you have never seen this movie, run out and get it now. I’ll wait. I’m waiting. Okay. Good. So…Galaxy Quest is basically a spoof on the Star Trek series starring Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Tony Shaloub, and Alan Rickman (a great British actor – love him!) It is a laugh riot. One of my many favorite lines: “MINERS, not MINORS!” (Okay you have to see the movie to understand it…you did go out and get the movie, right?!)
- Yankee Doodle Dandy – The story of musician, singer, songwriter, actor, dancer, playwright, producer George M. Cohan who was “born on the Fourth of July!” If you are looking for a great patriotic movie, one that reveals some of the history of the theater, has fantastic song and dance bits…this is the movie for you. I have a particular affinity for the vaudeville scenes since my paternal grandparents both starred in Vaudeville. James Cagney portrays George M. Cohan and his dancing is phenomenal. Yankee Doodle Dandy also shows a close-knit loving family, something we’re told doesn’t really exist anymore. Yeah, whatever. Favorite quote: “My mother thanks you, my father thanks you, my sister thanks you, and I thank you!”
- The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer – Probably my favorite actor of all time is Cary Grant. I can’t resist his good looks and his voice makes me melt. He stars in “The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer” with the lovely Myrna Loy and a teenage Shirley Temple. An absolutely hilarious movie. Favorite quote (of course!): “You remind me of a man…”
- Along Came Jones – Gary Cooper in a comedic Western? Yes, I know it sounds perhaps…counterintuitive? But this movie so works! Gary Cooper’s character Melody Jones is saved from a case of mistaken identity by Cherry de Longpre (played by Loretta Young) who is the girlfriend of notorious gunman Monte Jarrad – the criminal the townspeople of Payneville have mistaken Jones for. This spoof is thoroughly entertaining. I dare you not to love it. Favorite quote: “If there’s anything in the world I like, it’s getting saved from being shot.”
- It’s A Wonderful Life – Okay, I know you’ve seen it. Probably a hundred times. So have I. But Jimmy Stewart is one of the greatest actors of all time, Donna Reed is absolutely lovely, and I still cry at the end when George, Mary, and Zuzu are standing in front of the Christmas tree…At any rate, the whole concept of how our lives impact other’s in ways we may not even realize is certainly something worth reflecting on. There are also plenty of fun moments – the swimming pool opening up during the dance – Bert and Ernie singing outside the house on George and Mary’s wedding night. And there are many great quotes, but one of the best has to be when George says to the evil Mr. Potter: “You sit around here and you spin your little webs and you think the whole world revolves around you and your money. Well, it doesn’t, Mr. Potter. In the whole vast configuration of things, I’d say you were nothing but a scurvy little spider…”
So what do you think of my list? And what are some of your favorite family movies?