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The Godfather turns 50 this week. On March 24, 1972, Francis Ford Coppola paired Marlon Brando with Al Pacino, Robert Duvall and James Caan in what turned out to be the most influential, prestigious film to date.
Fifty years later, the film holds up. In honor of its anniversary, we ranked the 10 greatest films of all time.
Here’s the list:
10. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest isn’t about a good guy or a bad guy or even a well-crafted storyline. Rather, it’s merely about Randle Patrick McMurphy, one of the film industry’s most complicated characters
We always knew Jack Nicholson oozes a level of insanity, but his portrayal of McMurphy shows he can play crazy as well.
This is Nicholson and acting at its finest.
9. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
The best western and Clint Eastwood movie ever made. And the standard for both is high. Some very underappreciated classic scenes here.
8. 12 Angry Men (1957)
Twelve men sit in a single-setting room and deliberate the fate of a teen who has probably killed his father. The story is as simple as that.
When heat and exhaustion weigh down the jurors, most want to render a verdict quickly. All but one, who’s bogged down with the burden of reasonable doubt and skepticism over the boy’s guilt.
The in-color remake with James Gandolfini is well done, but the 1957 original is the best.
7. The Dark Knight (2008)
You don’t often consider superhero movies among the greats. The Dark Knight is the exception. Stack Heath Ledger’s performance as The Joker among any performance on the list — let me know how he compares.
6. Pulp Fiction (1994)
Do you remember where you were when John Travolta pops back up alive after you see him shot dead? I do too.
Pulp Fiction introduced Hollywood to the non-linear timeline, as the industry marveled at Quentin Tarantino’s vision.
“The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy My brothers. And you will know My name is the Lord when I lay My vengeance upon thee.”
What a line.
5. Goodfellas (1990)
Perhaps the most entertaining watch on this list. Dialogue at its best.
Goodfellas is an institution in filmmaking. Martin Scorsese shows us what it truly means to be a gangster.
At times goofy, a bit bloody, but always brilliant.
4. Citizen Kane (1941)
You have to put Citizen Kane on any top 10 list, the experts say.
Though its greatness is tied to its novelty and influence on films to come, Kane epitomizes masterful storytelling, taking viewers deep inside the mind of a dead man who seemingly has it all but has been happy only once, many years ago.
I’ll rank Kane No. 4.
3. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
No matter the day, no matter your planned schedule, we watch Shawshank Redemption when it comes on. We can’t help but immerse ourselves in Andy Dufresne’s journey time and time again.
A tragic tale about wrongful convictions and the sense of helplessness those inmates feel.
2. The Godfather Part II (1974)
Part II dares to tell two different stories more than 50 years apart, combining a prequel and a sequel to The Godfather. Coppola asked Robert De Niro to succeed Brando as a young Vito Corleone. And, somehow, The Godfather Part II is nearly flawless over its 200-minute run-time.
Do you still, 48 years later, get emotional when Fredo betrays his little brother?
1. The Godfather (1972)
Obviously. From the casting to the delivery, from the tollbooth massacre to the collapse of the Five Families, the Godfather is film utopia.
Nothing has ever topped it, no film has ever been more memorable. Is there even a close second?