A lot of movies are ideal for streaming or renting because, in all honesty, they’re only really worth watching once. You may watch them to ‘find out what happens,’ but once you know what happens and you’ve heard the alleged jokes and seen all the explosions, you wouldn’t see much point in watching the movie again.
Thankfully, over the decades, there have been some film-makers who have taken the trouble to create movies of lasting value that you can watch, enjoy and appreciate again and again.
It’s these rewatchable movies I’ve always been interested in. And so I decided to create a list of ‘Top 100 Movies To Own’ — the movies that are most worth owning as part of your permanent collection. I hope you find it useful!
Once Upon a Time in the West: Sergio Leone’s cinematic masterpiece. Utter perfection! Nothing more needs to be said.
Leone’s earlier westerns also easily earn their place in this list. A Fistful of Dollars was the first film in the Dollars Trilogy and was also the film that made Clint Eastwood into a major star.
For A Few Dollars More, the second film in the Dollars Trilogy, was even more entertaining.
..but the Dollars Trilogy saves its best for last. The Good, The Bad And The Ugly is the king of cool and easily one of the best, most entertaining and most acclaimed films of all time.
In High Noon, one good man faces some rather brutal truths about the seemingly civilised society in which he lives. An all-time classic.
The Shootist: A film that manages to be really good, despite the involvement of Ron Howard. An incredible achievement!
Westerns are a tough category to make a mark in, but, for a modern film, Tombstone makes a very good attempt. Thoroughly entertaining!
Unforgiven: Eastwood’s thoughtful, revisionist western depicts a frontier of human fallibilities and troubled consciences.
Any decent list of action films is bound to include some classic Bond — and The Man With The Golden Gun is one of the best. Plus, the barrel-roll car stunt is simply incredible!
For Your Eyes Only has some of the most incredible action sequences and most mind-blowing stunts of any Bond film — plus a great sense of humour. Wonderful, Sunday afternoon entertainment.
Octopussy: Great girls, great locations, great gadgets. Lots of fun!
Under Siege: Steven Seagal, the whispering martial arts expert, makes his best film, with the help of Erika Eleniak’s fantastic tits!
Gladiator: “The frost. Sometimes it makes the blade stick.” Great action. Spine-tingling music. A modern classic.
The Cannonball Run: Madcap, politically-incorrect car caper with big stars, bigger-breasted women and an insanely cool, black Lamborghini. What more do you want?
Taken: He hunts them, he finds them and he kills them — simple as that, with none of that psychological vulnerability bullshit. The ultimate, no-nonsense tough guy. Cheesy as hell, but great fun!
Callan: A hitman with scruples — but that doesn’t stop him being ruthless when he needs to be. And the fact that he questions authority is precisely what makes him the very best.
True Lies: Deliberately over-the-top action film. It doesn’t take itself remotely seriously — and is all the more entertaining as a result.
Top Gun: Fly into the danger zone, with this cheesy but iconic fighter-plane drama.
The Rock: Connery was ‘trained by the besht’ — and a good thing too, given all the times he has to save Nicolas Cage’s ‘ass.’
Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The action-packed adventures of the iconic archeologist.
The Enforcer: He’s not very PC and he’s got a very big gun! This is the most entertaining and rewatchable of the Dirty Harry series. Classic Eastwood!
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: You’re going to want some animated classics to keep the whole family entertained — and the original animated classic has never been bettered.
Kung Fu Panda: It sounds like it might be a silly film. In fact, it is an animated masterpiece. Excellent cinematography. Sublime fight choreography. Great music. Decent jokes. Wonderful characters. The attention to detail is stunning.
The Jungle Book: With an amazing cast of characters and extremely catchy tunes, this is one of the few Disney films to be able to seriously challenge their original masterpiece.
The Incredibles: “They’re penetrating the bureaucracy!” The kids will be enthralled, but there is a huge amount here for adults to enjoy, too.
The Iron Giant: If you’re not also cheering on the metal hero by the end of this film, then you have a heart of stone!
The Nightmare Before Christmas: This stop-motion classic has perhaps the most infuriatingly catchy tunes of any movie ever made. “What’s this? What’s this? Di di di di di dee!”
Tangled: Disney’s standards are not what they used to be. This, however, is the notable exception to their general malaise. Highly entertaining for the whole family.
Race For Your Life, Charlie Brown: Gentle, satirical animation, 1970s style.
The Italian Job: It’s the very British heist caper with the iconic Mini-themed car chase — but don’t forget to look out for the gorgeous scenery. The Blu Ray is one of the best ways to show off your TV’s HD capabilities.
Borat: Insanely funny, but be warned: There are things here that, once seen, cannot be unseen!
Grosse Pointe Blank: Very stylish comedy/romance/action film, with a classic 80s soundtrack.
As Good As It Gets: Perhaps rather sentimental in places, but it’s genuinely funny and Jack Nicholson really delivers.
About Schmidt: Another masterly comedy performance from Jack Nicholson.
Local Hero: Mesmerically gentle comedy with a classic soundtrack.
And Now For Something Completely Different: A collection of Monty Python’s classic TV sketches, reproduced for film-lovers.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail: Perhaps the very pinnacle of downright silliness!
Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life: Silly, as always, but with more adult-orientated content.
The Muppet Christmas Carol: It works brilliantly — thanks largely to an insanely good acting performance from Michael Caine.
The Big Lebowski: Jeff Bridges plays ‘The Dude’ — the cool and ultra laid-back hero of this very stylish comedy.
Carry On Up The Khyber: Classic bawdy British comedy, with an outstandingly stiff upper lip.
Crocodile Dundee: Aussie humour, with the unconventional outback hero.
Ghostbusters: Who you gonna call?
Midnight Run: It’s probably De Niro’s best comedy performance — but it’s James Grodin who steals the show.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation: The full horror of Christmas, fully documented!
The Naked Gun: Po-faced hilarity with the brilliant Leslie Nielson.
The Naked Gun 2 1/2: A second helping of absurdity, ‘from the files of Police Squad.’
Uncle Buck: Gentle comedy with the always endearing John Candy.
The Return of the Pink Panther: Classic Peter Sellers.
Science-Fiction and Fantasy
Star Trek II, III, IV, V and VI: Basically, a bunch of cantankerous old farts prove that age is no barrier to saving the galaxy. Why is the original movie not included? Because after the first film, they basically relaunched the franchise.
2001 — A Space Odyssey: “I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that.” You can have all the modern CGI robo-exotic-techno monster aliens you like. Probably none will ever be as menacing as a simple dot of unblinking red light in a round lens. To say it’s ‘iconic’ doesn’t nearly do it justice.
Starship Troopers: On one level; an entertaining, shoot-em-up, action blockbuster. On another level; a dark and deeply disturbing allegory about the inhumanity of mankind — not in the far-off future, but here and now!
Robocop (The original, of course!) and Robocop 2: Dystopian, nightmarish vision of a future in which mankind is losing its humanity — but with a don’t-mess-with-me, cybernetic hero who refuses to relinquish his own.
Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi: Yes, of course the original Star Wars trilogy makes it into this list — because it is fun and entertaining for the whole family, and because it is really, really cool when Darth Vader finds someone’s lack of faith disturbing.
Blade Runner: Classic sci-fi which delves deeply into the meaning of existence — but you might be so enthralled by the iconic visuals and all-round stylishness that you barely even notice it doing so.
The Matrix: Philosophise about the nature of reality and the evils of conformism — or just sit back and enjoy the breakthrough special effects and seriously cool action sequences. Just stay well away from the terrible sequels!
Equilibrium: A dystopian future, but with some really cool fight scenes!
The Fifth Element: A very good-looking film, from Luc Besson. Great action, great style!
Highlander: Classic fantasy. Classic soundtrack by Queen. Dodgy accents!
The Princess Bride: Fun, action, great characters. Perhaps the epitome of family entertainment. With Mark Knopfler’s incredible guitar work!
The Godfather: Brilliantly iconic.
Once Upon a Time in America: Another Sergio Leone masterpiece. Hypnotically brilliant!
Miller’s Crossing: With great character actors and tons of style, this is a Coen Brothers classic.
Pulp Fiction: Perhaps the ultimate Tarantino extravaganza! Now ‘this IS a tasty burger!’
The Omen and The Omen II: It seems the Devil likes to make murders look like bizarre accidents.
The Shining: Jack doesn’t want to hurt you. He just wants to bash your fucking brains in!
Jaws: Da Dum…. Da Dum….. Da Dum, Da Dum, Da Dum…
The Thing: As if the cabin fever wasn’t bad enough….
12 Angry Men: Classic, tense, sweaty and claustrophobic jury room drama. Twelve fine character actors captivate your attention for an hour and a half, despite only ever leaving the room to go to the bathroom, and without the slightest hint of any assistance from any CGI.
It’s A Wonderful Life: If you are going to be sentimental, why not forget your inhibitions and lay it on real thick? Iconic, B&W family entertainment.
Casablanca: The Humphrey Bogart classic that has stood the test of a lot of time.
Henry V: Shakespeare’s St Crispin’s Day speech has been tingling spines for over 400 years.
Ice Cold in Alex: Now that’s the way to ensure you truly appreciate your ice-cold beer!
Jacknife: The DVD cover looks intimidating, but this film is actually a sort of sweet, old-fashioned romance.
Leon: Luc Besson’s ultracool hitman. Bullets just slide off him.
Rocky and Rocky 2: Perfectly good sports-related dramas, made immortal by Bill Conti’s musical genius.
Schindler’s List: Great music and great performances all round.
The Browning Version: Albert Finney’s performance is astonishingly good.
The Karate Kid: Cheesy 80’s family entertainment — but Mr. Miyagi is simply one of the coolest characters in movie history. ‘Ah, ah, aaah, Daniel san! Wax on, wax off!’
The Lives of Others: It’s in German, with subtitles — but this state-surveillance drama is so good, it doesn’t matter.
The Railway Children: Gentle family drama, for a laid-back Sunday afternoon.
Gran Torino: Clint Eastwood in snarling-old-man mode. Get the hell off his lawn!
The Sweet Hereafter: Another acting masterclass — this time with Ian Holm. Beautifully paced and directed.
To Kill a Mockingbird: Black and White drama — in more ways than one — about liberty, progress and principle.
Zulu: Depicts the famous Battle of Rorke’s Drift — and looks absolutely stunning on Blu Ray!
The Silence of the Lambs: Hannibal Lecter isn’t terribly impressed by humanity in general. You can understand his point of view — which makes it more difficult to entirely disapprove of his methods!
Scum: Every decent film collection needs something that can really kick you in the teeth and remind you how powerful a film can be. This is one such film. Brutal!
Taxi Driver: Iconic and hypnotic, with a violent ending. “Someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets.”
One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest: Jack Nicholson at his extremely charismatic best — and a brilliant supporting cast.
That’s it! If you have any suggestions for inclusion — along with a suggestion for which movie it should replace —please feel free to let me know. Thanks for reading!