#9: Godfather: Part II - 1974
The saga continues as Michael Corleone takes over the family business. While Michael is trying to expand the family business into Las Vegas, Cuba, and other parts, he deals with bigger threats and betrayals that he ever thought. Running parallel to Michael’s story is the earlier story of Vito Corleone’s origins from Sicily to New York with the beginning of the family business.
The biggest debate About GFII is what movie is better, the first of second Godfather. Traditionally sequels stumble and don’t live up to the hype of the original. GFII took the saga into a whole new realm of storytelling and expectation. One of the unique yet impressive reasons why GFII is so good is the parallel storytelling of Vito Corleone origin story to his son Michael’s rise and expansion of the family business. To see the transfiguration of Michael from the first film becomes hugely noticeable and so well acted by Al Pacino and scripted by Francis Ford Coppola. Then on the ‘other side of the coin’ you have Robert DeNiro playing the younger version of the Vito which was played by the legendary Marlon Brando. DeNiro definitely filled the shoes Brando left in the first movie and exceeded the satisfaction of Vito’s character. I don’t think anyone could’ve pulled off the high standard someone would have to play to be Vito Corleone like Robert DeNiro did. The beautiful and vivid world brought this movie one of the best of all time.
#8: Gone with the Wind - 1939
This epic tale takes place in the southern O’Hara plantation in Georgia. Civil War is now effecting the south and the South is losing the war. The residence of Georgia witness it with Atlanta being destroyed by the casualties of war. Scarlett O’Hara is a blunt yet persuasive in her manner deals with not only the war turmoil but also the changing of times and personal issues. The movie follows a time period of Scarlett trying to married Ashley, a man that she has always loved and will do anything to get him. However like war, consequences following and there is always a losing side.
The story of Scarlett O’Hara has two wars in it, the war between the North and the South but also the war between what Scarlett wants and what she can’t have. Her plans aren’t always successful because of Rhett Butler who is a variable in the story. Gone with the Wind is one of the first blockbusters in the film industry. The acting of Vivien Leigh as Scarlett and then to add Clark Gable as Rhett Butler just made this movie the standard for romance dramas to live up to. I blame this movie for the beginning of Soap Operas (just kidding). The art of teaching survival, sacrifices, and dealing with the signs of the times and taking this epic tale of Scarlett just allows this movie to be one of the best films of all time.
#7: Lawrence of Arabia - 1962
Thomas Lawrence aka “TE Lawrence”, an English officer played by Peter O’Toole goes into Cairo during WWI to assist the revolt of the Arab’s against the Turks. He helps organize a small guerilla army and orchestrates revolts and raids to help the Arab tribes to overcome the Turks.
What a bold move when this film came out. The beginning of the film starts with the death of the main character, TE Lawrence by getting in a motorcycle accident. It brought an expectation of why should we care about the story of a dead man? However the story tells us about TE Lawrence and his importance that the common folk in Britain didn’t realize. It lived up to its expectation and made us realize the importance of TE Lawrence, a hidden gem that because forgot about or didn’t know. I reminds me the importance of people recording the stories of our elders and our vets. Though in the movie he died in his 40’s… Peter O’Toole was the man who could lead this movie on his back and through the desert. David Lean who directed Lawrence of Arabia took this masterpiece and enhanced it with its stunning cinematic shots and ability to allow the movie to flow. It is definitely one of the best films of our time.
#6: Casablanca - 1942
During World War II, Rick who owns a popular night club in Morocco which allows many people to conduct “business” and leisure there. While many Europeans are on the run from the Nazi’s during this time period, Rick has connections to get people what they want. Isla, an ex-girlfriend that left Rick in Paris shows up unannounced but with her a husband seeking a way to the US. With Rick already having bitter feelings about her leaving him in Paris, and now with a husband… he has to decide on helping or abandon her. Laszlo, a resistance leader from Czechoslovakia is detained in Morocco from the Nazi’s works with Rick to decide for the better good versus personal feelings.
Why is Casablanca in the top ten films of all time? Is it that great of a movie? It tells a love affair tale between Rick and Isla. Why then when there are so many movies like Casablanca? It is because Casablanca is like the boxer Rocky Balboa for example. It has taken hits and yet Casablanca has withstood time. The more times you see it, the better it gets. The convincing acting performances, with the mysteries of Paris. The ageless classic that withstands and introduces Bogart to the masses that didn’t know the existence of this iconic actor. This film introduces the masses to watch classic films. It is a movie that has small repercussions and representation that we fall in love with and realize that even with the world falling apart, and with our lives on the line, love for another human being is stronger and worth more than anything else. With breaking that love, what the unthinkable things we do. Some of the best quotes and lines in Cinema comes from this movie. The ‘play again Sam’, or this is ‘the start of a beautiful friendship’ have become common quotes in our culture. At the end of the day it is a champion that ages well and will forever be one of the best films of all time.