27 August 2009


As I can't simply enjoy something I like in an unstructured fashion, for some time, it has been a cinematic goal of mine to watch at least half of the movies in the IMDb Top 250 films. There have always been several caveats:

1. I would have made the goal to watch all 250 but there are some weird Asian films in there that I know I will never see. Ditto Citizen Kane, Lawrence of Arabia and (probably) Ben-Hur.
2. The Top 250 is constantly changing and so while I might have watched half of the films in it one day, the next I might lose this accomplishment.
3. Obviously, the Top 250 is not a very good measure of the best films ever made; however, it is a good indicator of films that are currently popular and in any case, I use IMDb more than any other movie resource and so it is most appropriate that my challenge should be use their Top 250 list.

I had been hovering at around 120 films for the first half of this year but more recently, my drive to acquire films on my laptop that are in the Top 250 (particularly those that are higher up and so less likely to drop out) has meant I've been at the 123 mark for the past couple of months. It was, then, to my surprise this evening when I went to the IMDb page for Inglourious Basterds and discovered that it had shot up to #35 in the Top 250 (having not made it into the chart at all on the day I saw the film). Given this film's reviews, which have hardly been dripping with praise, and given that I enjoyed it a lot less than Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction and even the Kill Bill films, for IB to have reached #35 sounds like a clerical error to me. It will, of course, drop down the chart in time (and probably drop out sooner or later) but it doesn't seem right that Tarantino's latest film should reside 36 places higher up the chart than my favourite, Reservoir Dogs.

Regardless, mission is finally accomplished. So, does this mean I can sit back and simply watch whichever films sound interesting or in some way worth watching even if they aren't in the IMDb chart? Of course not. The next challenge will be to have watched 200 films in the chart. As I have Unforgiven on my computer, The Great Escape on my DVD shelf and the intention of seeing (500) Days of Summer as soon as it comes out, that is at least three more to cross off the list. I'm sure it will take at least another year to get to 200, though, even with some concerted viewing efforts. For now, though, here is the full list of films I have seen in the IMDb Top 250--in order, of course:

1. The Shawshank Redemption
2. The Godfather
3. Pulp Fiction
4. Schindler's List
5. 12 Angry Men
6. The Dark Knight
7. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
8. Casablanca
10. Goodfellas
11. Rear Window
12. Cidade de Deus
13. Raiders of the Lost Ark
14. Fight Club
15. C'era una Volta il West
17. The Usual Suspects
18. Psycho
19. Silence of the Lambs
20. Sunset Blvd.
21. The Matrix
22. Dr Strangelove
23. Memento
24. North by Northwest
25. It's a Wonderful Life
26. Se7en
27. LOTR: The Two Towers
28. Inglourious Basterds
29. Léon
30. American Beauty
31. Taxi Driver
32. American History X
33. Vertigo
34. Wall-E
35. Double Indemnity
36. Amélie
37. To Kill a Mockingbird
38. Clockwork Orange
39. Terminator 2
40. The Shining
41. The Departed
42. The Pianist
43. Chinatown
44. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
45. LA Confidential
46. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
47. Reservoir Dogs
48. Slumdog Millionaire
49. All about Eve
50. The Maltese Falcon
51. Some Like It Hot
52. Gran Torino
53. Rebecca
54. The Prestige
55. The Apartment
56. Nuovo Cinema Paradiso
57. Amadeus
58. Ladri di Biciclette
59. Back to the Future
60. The Sting
61. Sin City
62. Braveheart
63. Star Trek
64. Batman Begins
65. Hotel Rwanda
66. Jaws
67. Strangers on a Train
68. No Country for Old Men
69. Blade Runner
70. The Wrestler
71. Gladiator
72. Notorious
73. The Manchurian Candidate
74. The Big Sleep
75. Fargo
76. The Wizard of Oz
77. There Will Be Blood
78. Donnie Darko
79. Heat
80. Annie Hall
81. The Sixth Sense
82. Kill Bill Vol. 1
83. Million-Dollar Baby
84. Life of Brian
85. The Big Lebowski
86. Stand by Me
87. Finding Nemo
88. Brief Encounter
89. Dog Day Afternoon
90. The Lion King
91. Gone with the Wind
92. Trainspotting
93. Groundhog Day
94. The Terminator
95. Sleuth
96. The Wild Bunch
97. Toy Story
98. V for Vendetta
99. The Princess Bride
100. The Incredibles
101. 12 Monkeys
102. Children of Men
103. Casino
104. Dial M for Murder
105. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
106. In Bruges
107. A Streetcar Named Desire
108. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
109. His Girl Friday
110. The Exorcist
111. The Conversation
112. Bonnie and Clyde
113. Le Scaphandre et le Papillon
114. Changeling
115. All Quiet on the Western Front
116. Manhattan
117. Network
118. Crash
119. Moon
120. Kill Bill Vol. 2
121. Big Fish
122. Good Will Hunting
123. Mystic River
124. Magnolia
125. Little Miss Sunshine

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