News Column

'Godfather' tops list of readers' favorite films

August 25, 2013


Aug. 25--READERS have spoken: their favorite film of all time is "The Godfather."

"The Sound of Music," "Gone With the Wind," "It's a Wonderful Life," "Star Wars" and somewhat surprisingly "Fried Green Tomatoes" weren't far behind.

Those who accepted my challenge of listing their favorite movies submitted more than 500 titles. The overall top 25 is included in an accompanying box.

While most listed their top 10 or 20, some couldn't resist tossing in an additional 20 or 30. Favorites were all over the map, from "Pulp Fiction" to "The Manchurian Candidate," from "Big Night" to "Grosse Point Blank," from "The Man Who Would Be King" to "King Kong."

On "Kong," votes came in for both the original black-and-white version and the 1976 remake with Jeff Bridges.

Variety was the watchword, with readers speaking in glowing terms of both "The Birds" and "The Exorcist," explaining why they so enjoy "What's New Pussycat?" and "Hang 'Em High."

Some said they catch "The Quiet Man" and "Blade Runner" whenever they are on TV.

A few readers waxed nostalgic, noting they can't see "American Graffiti" or "Animal House" and not remember when they saw it first.

Some readers were heavy on war movies, including a list of films ranging from "Full Metal Jacket" to "Platoon."

Others showed an affinity for romantic comedies, filling out their Top 20 with movies like "When Harry Met Sally" and "Sleepless in Seattle."

Reader Becky Shelton said it was impossible for her to figure out her favorite films without first considering her favorite stars. So she listed Gregory Peck for "To Kill a Mockingbird," Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant for "The Philadelphia Story" and Ingrid Bergman for "Casablanca."

Lynn Hinds wrote to say that my list of favorites (shared last Sunday) was OK, but noted that any list of great movies that excludes "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" and "My Cousin Vinny" just isn't worthy.

Sally Marcus of Spotsylvania County had one of the more interesting lists, explaining in detail why she loved films like "Night of the Hunter," "Romeo and Juliet," "Psycho," "Amadeus" and "Around the World in 80 Days."

Of the latter, she said, "It's still the favorite because no other film affected me more."

It helped, she said, that she was 11 when she first saw it, getting dressed up to go to a screening at "The Uptown" theater on Washington's Connecticut Avenue.

Scott Bushman of Spotsylvania County noted, in giving "Saving Private Ryan" his nod, that its first 30 minutes should be required high school history viewing, to instill "an appreciation of our country."

Ann Black, listing "Seabiscuit," "Invictus" and "Men of Honor" as her favorites, said it's fairly clear she likes movies based on true stories.

"They are also all about overcoming odds and triumphs for the underdogs," she said. "For the last several years, I have watched them all in January to jump-start my motivation for the new year."

Bob Kerns of Spotsylvania County listed two of my favorites: "Harvey" and "Arsenic and Old Lace."

Of the latter, which features a delightful Cary Grant, he said, "even though I know what's going to happen, I can't help laughing."

Cathy Wall noted that "The Big Chill" has "the greatest soundtrack ever." Sam Harris said he "loves Jessica Tandy and Kathy Bates" in "Fried Green Tomatoes." And Allison Kirchner said of "Independence Day": "Bill Pullman doesn't seem presidential, but Jeff Goldblum is a hoot!"

Donald Wright of Locust Grove dubbed "The Ox-Bow Incident" a "black-and-white sleeper from the '40s" and Patricia Kent of Fredericksburg called "The Third Man" and "Hamlet" "two incredible gems in old black and white."

I'll close with words from my pal Newt Nolan, who said of "Animal House": "No finer comedy has ever been produced."


Thanks to the dozens of readers who took time to pull together lists of favorites.

See you at the movies.

Rob Hedelt: 540/374-5415


"The Godfather"

"Lawrence of Arabia"

"2001: A Space Odyssey"

"To Kill a Mockingbird"


"Gone With the Wind"

"Silence of the Lambs"

"When Harry Met Sally"

"Dances With Wolves"

"Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid"

"The Best Years of Our Lives"

"Out of Africa"

"Tender Mercies"

"E.T. the Extra Terrestrial"

"Sleepless in Seattle"

"The Sound of Music"

"American Graffiti"

"It's a Wonderful Life"


"Star Wars"

"Mary Poppins"

"Fried Green Tomatoes"

"Dirty Dancing"

"Some Like it Hot"

"Pulp Fiction"


(c)2013 The Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg, Va.)

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