Six Degrees 100 Film List

History of The 100

1.      To Kill a MockingbirdVoted by the AFI, along with many other esteemed film organizations, as one of the best films ever made, this is Harper Lee’s moving, simple story set in the Depression-era South. The plot-within-the-plot includes the courtroom drama and trial within the sweet and innocent coming-of-age story of three children.

Six Degrees of Film: All courtroom dramas, coming-of-age films, A Few Good Men, Juno

  1. 2.      Wizard of Oz—Also a masterpiece of film simplicity, The Wizard of Oz is a children’s story first and foremost, a fantasy that weaves magic and spectacle within a simple black-and-white screen story. The picture explodes into vivid color as it tells the tale of a young girl from Kansas who wants to find her way home again.

Six Degrees of Film: Fantasy[ , children’s films, musicals, Harry Potter

  1. 3.      The Sound of Music—One woman made her way into the Guinness Book of World Records by sitting through this movie daily over several years. She must have seen it hundreds of times, and I think about her when the film plays religiously on television at all major holidays and at Christmastime. In recent years, movie chains have held sing-alongs for The Sound of Music as well as The Wizard of Oz

Six Degrees of Film: Costume pieces, beautiful location films, [musicals, Moulin Rouge, Chicago

  1. 4.      Lawrence of Arabia—This movie is a not-so-simple tale based on the real-life exploits of T. E. Lawrence, the famous English adventurer. The deceptively simple quality to this complex man is introduced at the beginning of the film when various people at his funeral try to describe him and each comes up with a different description (see appendix for the Six Degrees of Film blog post, “The Timeless Appeal of Lawrence”).

Six Degrees of Film: Psychological dramas, epic films, Indiana Jones

  1. 5.      Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid—Considered by many Hollywood insiders to be the best screenplay ever written, this film originally included some scenes that were reportedly scrubbed because Paul Newman couldn’t say the lines without laughing. Yet this is a poignant film at times that focuses on two real-life outlaws on the run for their crimes. The parts we remember most vividly are those that give the movie the aura of a “buddy” picture, then an action-adventure comedy, and finally a western very much of the sixties.

Six Degrees: Buddy pictures, westerns, costume-period pieces, comedy-drama

  1. 6.      The Godfather—This much-anticipated film launched the careers of Francis Ford Coppola and Al Pacino and reinvigorated the career of the legendary Marlon Brando. When watching in a packed audience, I remember the hush in the theater and the shock and horror during the scene when the horse’s head was used as a symbol of the brutality of the Corleone family. Italian American groups raised so many objections that the word Mafia was not used in the film.

Six Degrees of Film: Drama, period pieces, mob movies, Goodfellas, The Departed, The Sopranos (TV)

  1. 7.      2001: A Space Odyssey—This great film works on many different levels and is the gold standard for most science-fiction films of the latter part of the twentieth century. The beginning and end of the film take place in very different settings than one would think of as “outer space.” The scenes with the apes on earth and the old man in a sterile room contrast directly with the high-tech world associated with science fiction, and they are vital for the film to work.

Six Degrees of Film: Science-fiction films, futuristic and innovative speculative fiction, Aliens, Blade Runner, The Matrix

  1. 8.      Jaws—So realistic were the shark attacks in this film that when I saw it for the first time, someone actually shouted out in the packed theater, “Is there a doctor in the house?” The intensity lasted through the drive home from the theater. Now that is a masterful piece of filmmaking!

Six Degrees of Film: Suspense and horror movies, Halloween

  1. 9.      The Birds—Most people associate Hitchcock with horror films, but he was such a master of suspense and the thriller that one can argue a case for him in several different categories of film, and he would be at the top of his craft as a director in each one. He was just that good. Most people remember him for Psycho, but he was equally well known for The Birds.

Six Degrees of Film: Thrillers

  1. 10.  The Gold Rush—Chaplin was one of the most recognized and beloved figures in film history. The character of The Little Tramp was so well known that he eclipsed Laurel and Hardy and Greta Garbo in the early days of cinema.

Six Degrees of Film: All epic and recognized film characters of the latter part of the twentieth century, Star Wars characters, Schwarzenegger’s Terminator, Shirley Temple, Lassie, Disney characters, Harry Potter, all well-known film icons

  1. 11.  An American in Paris—Gene Kelly stylishly executed many dance moves that broke the rules when he filmed this beautiful musical with Paris and a host of Gershwin tunes as the backdrop.

Six Degrees of Film: Musicals, musical scores that are instantly recognizable

12.  Breathless/Manon of the Spring—French film cinema

Six Degrees of Film: French cinema that still innovates and paves the way

  1. 13.  Casablanca—The most famous of all B movies ever made.

Six Degrees of Film: All B movies made on a budget with word-of-mouth notoriety

  1. 14.  The Freshman—A classic Harold Lloyd comedy

Six Degrees of Film: Comedies, Buster Keaton, Laurel and Hardy, the Marx Brothers, Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, Richard Pryor, Jim Carrey, Lily Tomlin, Steve Martin

  1. 15.  The Birth of a Nation—One of the first epic blockbusters, noteworthy also because of the nature of the content (the Ku Klux Klan are the heroes of the film!). D. W. Griffith became one of the first famous directors after making this now-controversial classic.

Six Degrees of Film: The Last Temptation of Christ, all controversial films that sell tickets

  1. 16.  The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari—One of the first films to have the distinction of being known as a psychological study.

Six Degrees of Film: Martin Scorsese paid homage to Dr. Caligari in Shutter Island with DiCaprio.

  1. 17.  The Quiet Man—John Wayne and John Ford at their iconic best.

Six Degrees of Film: Movies with iconic “tough guys,” Clint Eastwood, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger

  1. 18.  The Wages of Fear—A foreign film in the category that once you’ve seen it, you will never forget it.

Six Degrees of Film: Slumdog Millionaire

  1. 19.  8½—Another foreign classic t hat makes many top-ten film lists, and this one deserves to be there.

Six Degrees of Film: Recently remade as the musical Nine with Daniel Day-Lewis

  1. 20.  It’s a Wonderful Life—Jimmy Stewart as Everyman in this classic Christmas story. It probably would have been a hit had it opened anytime near Christmas.

Six Degrees of Film: Tom Hanks takes the mantle from Stewart. It’s called Capra-corn, and the hokey and corny labels are always applied. Recently, the Six Degrees blog recognized The Blind Side with Sandra Bullock for its Capra-esque qualities. The critics usually pan them, but the filmmakers are crying all the way to the bank, because the American public loves to root for the underdog—always have, always will.

  1. 21.  Annie Hall—Among Woody Allen films, this one typifies his best work. It is, at times, self-conscious and overly smug, but Allen is always funny.

Six Degrees of Film: Any film that imitates Woody Allen’s distinctive style, Seinfeld (TV)

  1. 22.  Spartacus—The declaration, “I am Spartacus!” from this landmark film became a catchphrase. Kirk Douglas struggled to make the film, and it helped to put the genius of director Stanley Kubrick forward and established his reputation as a superior filmmaker.

Six Degrees of Film: The Hunger Games and Gladiator

  1. 23.  Dr. Strangelove—This dark comedy directed by Stanley Kubrick highlights the anxiety arising from the nuclear arms race.

Six Degrees of Film: Black comedies owe something to this blackest of dark and hopelessly funny comedies with a frightening element of truth.

  1. 24.  North by Northwest—Another Hitchcock thriller.

Six Degrees of Film: Charade, the Bourne movies, Three Days of the Condor

  1. 25.  Schindler’s List—Spielberg’s true story of one man’s bravery and the heroism of many in the shadow of the Nazi era

Six Degrees of Film: Films that bring a new dimension to World War II, Saving Private Ryan, Defiance, Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds

  1. 26.  The Outlaw Josey Wales—One of Eastwood’s best westerns, made in the waning days of the genre.

Six Degrees of Film: Modern westerns, the gunslinger with another dimension

  1. 27.  Young Frankenstein—This film brought the genius of Mel Brooks’s comedy to the forefront.

Six Degrees of Film: Spoofs of genres, Scream, Scream 2, Scary Movie

  1. 28.  Ben Hur/Becket—Films with historical backgrounds, and in Becket’s case, the true story surrounding historical figures, is always persuasive if there is a good script.

Six Degrees of Film: The period piece, the psychological and historical figure

  1. 29.  Bullitt—This film is arguably one of Steve McQueen’s best works, and it is also an example of the rebel hero that James Dean portrayed. There comes a time when the rebel will have to grow up, so why not become a detective?

Six Degrees of Film: All detective films, the loner type, James Dean, Paul Newman

  1. 30.  Father Goose—This film represents an astonishingly courageous move for the aging but always debonair Cary Grant. He played the part of a kind of antihero, a role he had never played before.

Six Degrees of Film: The hero playing against type

  1. 31.  Cat Ballou—Jane Fonda stars in this comic take on a “liberated woman” of the old West

Six Degrees of Film: The antihero, female hero

  1. 32.  The Fog of War—An extraordinary antiwar documentary.

Six Degrees of Film: Nanook of the North, Waiting for Superman, Super-Size Me, Sicko

  1. 33.  The Big Sleep—An example of film noir at its best.

Six Degrees of Film: Film noir of the twenty-first century

  1. 34.  The Empire Strikes Back—Lucasfilm and Team Lucas are at their rebel best. Lucasfilm formed an industry where science fiction and graphic arts meld to form something other than the old-timey science-fiction bad Bs. The funny thing is, the plots are not any better, but the technology outstripped the content at some point along the way.

Six Degrees of Film: Bad B science-fiction movies

  1. 35.  Apollo 13—Ron Howard filmed this history-making space flight using just the deftest of touches to give us pathos, comedy, drama, action, and the Hollywood happy ending. The tagline, “Houston, we have a problem,” is now part of the popular vernacular.

Six Degrees of Film: Historic reenactments.

  1. 36.  The Verdict—Paul Newman is another James Dean rebel from the fifties school of acting who has grown up through the movies. After the rebel hero fails, he may become the antihero whom Newman portrays in this film.

Six Degrees of Film: James Dean

  1. 37.  Cat on a Hot Tin Roof—The adaptation of a stage play made a classic drama for the big screen.

Six Degrees of Film: Plays adapted for film, Doubt

  1. 38.  National Velvet—Arguably one of Elizabeth Taylor’s best films and a model for all family films.

Six Degrees of Film: Family films, films with dogs or horses

  1. 39.  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone—J. K. Rowling’s books created a monster of cash plus the bonus of a generation of young readers with this film and the series that followed.

Six Degrees of Film: Fantasy films, children films, good versus evil films

  1. 40.  Blade Runner—One of the best science-fiction films of all time. Ridley Scott invents the future.

Six Degrees of Film: Speculative fiction, one step beyond science fiction

  1. 41.  Goodfellas/Raging Bull—Scorsese’s best, with Robert De Niro, of course.

Six Degrees of Film: Scorsese and his mean streets, Scorsese as film student, great director, with De Niro, DiCaprio

  1. 42.  Cleopatra—This film invented buzz and hype! The love story between Rex Harrison and Elizabeth Taylor is one of the better parts of this rather long film.

Six Degrees of Film: The epic film, historical epics, “buzz” films that bust, Liz and Dick, behind-the-scenes Hollywood gossip

  1. 43.  Jurassic Park—The gold standard of digital blockbusters.

Six Degrees of Film: Spielberg-ese in the movies

  1. 44.  Forrest Gump“Run, Forrest, Run!” entered the vernacular after this movie starring Tom Hanks as the mentally challenged but loveable everyman.

Six Degrees of Film: Jimmy Stewart films

  1. 45.  One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest—This book-to-film about personal freedom starred Jack Nicholson and swept the Oscars in 1976.

Six Degrees of Film: Oscar sweeps such as It Happened One Night, book-to-movie scripts

  1. 46.  Sons of the Desert—What can be said about such a perfect gem of a comedy? Laurel and Hardy were the best at what they did.

Six Degrees of Film: Laurel and Hardy, existential man, little guy pushing the boulder up a hill

  1. 47.  Some Like It Hot/Sunset Boulevard—Billy Wilder classic comedy and Billy Wilder black comedy.

Six Degrees of Film: Prizzi’s Honor

  1. 48.  The Apartment—This sophisticated comedy features Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine, each portraying their versions of the Lovable Loser.

Six Degrees of Film: The lovable loser on film

  1. 49.  Singin’ in the Rain—Classic film about the movies. Gene Kelly hit it out of the park with this one.

Six Degrees of Film: Films about film, classic dance sequences in film

  1. 50.  Gone with the Wind—The real gold standard for blockbuster hits.

Six Degrees of Film: A sacred cow, a beloved film, such as Citizen Kane

  1. 51.  Thunderheart—One of Val Kilmer’s best films, this one has a great cast. Michael Apted directed the film with a backdrop in the Badlands, which drives the plot.

Six Degrees of Film: Lesser-known films, great acting, character actors, time-sequence photography

  1. 52.  They Might Be Giants—This film, which is not often shown, stars Joanne Woodward and George C. Scott, arguably two of the best actors of their generation.

Six Degrees of Film: Sherlock Holmes genre, plot within a plot, great actors, black comedy, A New Leaf with Elaine May and Walter Matthau

  1. 53.  Many Rivers to Cross—Also rarely shown, this film has a strong cast. Eleanor Parker (Ilsa, the sophisticated countess from Vienna in The Sound of Music) is good as a strong-minded frontier woman, and Robert Taylor is better than average in this light comedy

Six Degrees of Film: Ensemble casts, strong female leads, Doris Day

  1. 54.  I Was a Male War Bride—Hard to pick a favorite Cary Grant comedy, but this is one isn’t shown nearly as often as some of his later color films.

Six Degrees of Film: Lesser-known Cary Grant comedies, backdrop of bombed-out European cities, strong female leads, Ann Sheridan

  1. 55.  Rachel and the Stranger—William Holden, Robert Mitchum, and Loretta Young star in this period tale with a strong female lead and a message about enslavement and freedom.

Six Degrees of Film: Amistad and Amazing Grace

  1. 56.  The Dish—Sam Neill and the rest of the cast are good in this eye-opening slice of life depicting the impact that the moon landing had on the world outside of the United States.

Six Degrees of Film: Lesser-known films depicting true events and some small slice-of-life stories that ring true and stand the test of time

  1. 57.  The Navigators—This haunting film about a young boy with visions of the future who is charged with finding a cure for the Black Plague defies expectations. The film foreshadows a young boy’s ability to see into the future in which a small group of medieval youth is somehow transported into a modern-day big city.

6 Degrees of Film: The Sixth Sense, Let the Right One In

  1. 58.  The Year of Living Dangerously—Early film of Peter Weir starring a young Mel Gibson, who give one of his best performances as an antihero. Sigourney Weaver and Linda Hunt are also perfectly cast in this film.

Six Degrees of Film: Foreign correspondents; culture, politics, and money; good intentions gone awry; Syriana; A Mighty Heart; The Quiet American

59.  Picnic at Hanging Rock—Another early film of Peter Weir, this film is based on a true story of a group of Australian girls picnicking at a popular tourist attraction called Hanging Rock during the Victorian era. They are lost and some never return, but the ones who do seem to have suffered a life-altering experience. The event has undertones of horror and sexual tension as the returning girls struggle to tell the adults what happened.

Six Degrees of Film: The Haunting

  1. 60.  Giant—This film was James Dean’s third—and last—film as a leading actor, and one for which he was nominated for an Academy Award. Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson were costars.

Six Degrees of Film: Australia was a recent epic that is reminiscent of this blockbuster production.

  1. 61.  The Life of Brian—The irreverence of Ricky Gervais  with the addition of perfect comic timing makes this Monty Python movie such a gem.

Six Degrees of Film: British comedy, always deviant compared to American humor, is still cutting edge with shows like The Office and other films from Ricky Gervais. Monty Python performed and aired in the UK during the sixties and seventies when SCTV was in its heyday and Saturday Night Live was cutting edge and far out of the mainstream with its cast of “Not Ready for Prime Time Players. ”

  1. 62.  The Big Country—A lesser-known Gregory Peck film, with the western vistas providing the perfect backdrop.

Six Degrees of Film: Giant and Australia

  1. 63.  Laura—Gene Tierney is perfect in this seldom-shown classic example of film noir done right. A haunting melody and B plot with an A cast help to raise this film from just another thriller to one that is a cut above the rest.

Six Degrees of Film: The Big Sleep

  1. 64.  Bent—Clive Owen gives a great performance in this sensitive film based on a stage play about a homosexual man who is captured by the Nazis and sent to a concentration camp.

Six Degrees of Film: Cabaret

  1. 65.  The Sum of Us—A young Russell Crowe plays a gay man who shares a remarkable relationship with his dad. The film is notable not only for Crowe’s performance but also for that of Jack Thompson, the Australian actor cast as Crowe’s father. This film also is based on a stage play.

Six Degrees of Film: Cabaret, dealing with the subject of homosexuality

  1. 66.  A Man for all Seasons/The Lion in Winter—These Academy Award winners take on historical events.

Six Degrees of Film: Period pieces and medieval films such as Ivanhoe

  1. 67.  True Romance—Tarantino.

Six Degrees of Film: All Tarantino films!

  1. 68.  Nadine—Kim Basinger and Jeff Bridges are good together in this quirky comedy that suits her unique acting style and vulnerable nature, as well as Bridges’ charm and comic turn.

Six Degrees of Film: Rachel and the Stranger

  1. 69.  Cinderella Man—Russell Crowe stars and Ron Howard directs in this true story of prize-fighter James Braddock in the Depression era. For some reason, this film is one that got away.

Six Degrees of Film: Depression-era films, The Set Up

  1. 70.  Jeremiah Johnson—It’s man against nature, man against man, and man against himself in this story with Robert Redford.

Six Degrees of Film: Nanook of the North

  1. 71.  The Fabulous Baker Boys—This film stars the Bridges brothers, plus Michelle Pfeiffer, who was never lovelier, as the singer who falls for a cynical Jeff Bridges.

Six Degrees of Film: Stormy Weather

  1. 72.  Zoolander—Released in September 2001 around the time of the 9/11 attacks, this film suffered because no one really wanted to see a light comedy in that time period.

Six Degrees of Film: Young Frankenstein

  1. 73.  The Frisco Kid—Harrison Ford and Gene Wilder star in this western with unlikely casting.

Six Degrees of Film: Destry Rides Again

  1. 74.  Nothing but Trouble/ Glen or GlindaThe Brain that wouldn’t die.

Six Degrees of Film: Bad movies, bad Bs, obscure comedies are these films’ legacy

  1. 75.  Tune In Tomorrow—A film within a film, with Peter Falk, Keanu Reeves, and Barbara Hershey

Six Degrees of Film: Sunset Boulevard

  1. 76.  Wings of Desire—Remade from the original German film by Wim Wenders, this film stars Peter Falk, Nicholas Cage, and Meg Ryan.

Six Degrees of Film: The remake of the original

77.  The Matrix—A classic with two sequels, this film has many imitators, which have always come up short.

Six Degrees of Film: Blade Runner

  1. 78.  Sin City

Six Degrees of Film: Storyboard movies  are a true genre these days.

  1. 79.  My Own Private Idaho—

Six Degrees of Film: Juno, Shopgirl, independents, Sundance Film Festival, and all the wannabes since then

  1. 80.  Batman/Superman

Six Degrees of Film: Hollywood sequels, the comic-book genre of films, Waltz with Bashir, A Scanner Darkly, Lethal Weapon III

  1. 81.  300

Six Degrees of Film: The advent of cartoon-graphics films

  1. 82.  Slumdog Millionaire

Six Degrees of Film: The social message film, Bollywood, foreign films, Life Is Beautiful

  1. 83.  The Right Stuff

Six Degrees of Film: Ensemble films, films with breakout casts in which several leading actors are featured in supporting roles, The Hangover, Anchorman, Taps, The Breakfast Club, LA Confidential

  1. 84.   Topper

Six Degrees of Film: Screwball comedies

  1. 85.  The Poseidon Adventure

Six Degrees of Film: Apocalyptic, gloom and doom, blockbuster big-budget films

  1. 86.  Titanic—Director James Cameron figures right behind George Lucas and Lucasfilm for moviemaking genius and artistic vision with a comic-book, storyboard mentality when it comes to plotlines.

Six Degrees of Film: Avatar

  1. 87.  To Catch a Thief/Charade—Formulaic movies with attractive stars and pedestrian plots have been around since the beginning of film. And, suckers that we are, they keep sucking us back in.

Six Degrees of Film: The Way We Were, Love Story

  1. 88.  The Passion of the Christ—Scorsese presented us first with The Last Temptation of Christ in 1988, but this film directed by Mel Gibson was a huge hit. There is always controversy when filming the life of Christ, but this was for the most part well received in the Christian community and set off a slew of Christian-themed films.

Six Degrees of Film: Religious movies were in vogue after this release.

89.  Terminator—Everyone knows who the Terminator is.

Six Degrees of Film: Terminator 2 and the ensuing genre

  1. 90.  Get Smart—A television program of the sixties that satirized secret-agent stories was resurrected for this film.

Six Degrees of Film: Land of the Lost, Bewitched, I Spy, The Honeymooners, The Flintstones—there is never a dip in the demand for the resurrection of old TV shows.

  1. 91.  Casino Royale (the James Bond franchise)—The formulaic nature of the Bond brand is what keeps this series going.

Six Degrees of Film: Dr No, From Russia with Love, Never Say Never Again

  1. 92.  The Sixth Sense/Halloween

Six Degrees of Film: Horror films are always in demand. Bad B and horror often go together.

  1. 93.  Roman Holiday—In this romantic comedy, the hero and heroine do not end up together—a twist on the standard romantic fare of the 1950s. Sometimes Hollywood takes a great notion to tell a tale right, and in this instance, the instinct for a cute and sappy Hollywood ending was curbed, and the picture worked.

Six Degrees of Film: The Nun’s Story, On the Beach

  1. 94.  Indiana Jones (the entire franchise)—The action-adventure model for the past twenty years, this brand works for the same reason that the Bond films did and do—we know the ending.

Six Degrees of Film: Indiana Jones ad nauseum

  1. 95.  The 40-Year-Old-Virgin—In this twenty-first-century comedy, Steve Carell is the Everyman. There are lots of sex jokes, but this film works because it plays against type.

Six Degrees of Film: Knocked Up, Forgetting Sarah Marshall

  1. 96.  There Will Be Blood/No Country for Old Men—Daniel Day-Lewis is a murderer who stars as the lead in There Will Be Blood, and sex symbol Javier Bardem plays a cold-blooded killer with an odd hairdo in No Country for Old Men.

Six Degrees of Film: Nihilistic visions, amoral characters, antiheroes, murderers as the lead characters, The Departed

  1. 97.  Julie and Julia/Mamma Mia—When a great actress wants to show off her acting chops, she often picks a comedy to show her versatility and range. The great Meryl Streep steps out of her usual dramatic roles and plays comedy in these two films.

Six Degrees of Film: Katharine Hepburn in Adam’s Rib and Bringing Up Baby

  1. 98.  Ninotchka—Garbo laughs!

Six Degrees of Film: The Iron Maiden

  1. 99.  The Thin Man—Upcoming remake of the same film.

Six Degrees of Film: Remakes of almost every genre are popular in Hollywood.

  1. 100.          Superman/Superman and Batman/The Dark Knight—

Six Degrees of Film: Even the comic-book films of a decade ago are being remade at a remarkably fast pace.


 

Published by

MLJ

Author of "6 Degrees of Film: The Future of Film in the Global Village", Ms. Johnson continues to blog on film and publishes a newsletter plus the Flipboard magazine 6 Degrees of Film @ the Movies. Her book is currently available on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Degrees-Film-Future-Global-Village/

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