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The 20 Greatest Best Picture Winners of All-Time

by Gabriele Del Busso 4 months ago in pop culture
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A thorough examination of the movies that most deserved the prestigious award

In view of the upcoming 94th Academy Awards, I decided to compile a small list. Having officially watched every single film to take home the prestigious Best Picture award, here is what I deemed were the 20 best to ever win it. (I limited it to presenting my top 20 since to say a word on all 93 films would prove tedious, and I also opted not to include Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans which would assuredly have been in my top 5).

A few things to mention: Obviously, if a certain film won the Best Picture award in a given year, no matter how many films might have deserved it more (e.g. Goodfellas, Citizen Kane, The Wizard of Oz, Pulp Fiction, yadda yadda yadda...), the winning film could not have been a HORRIBLE movie. There was obviously SOME merit of it having been nominated at all (unless the film was 1931's Cimarron, but even that one is an interesting watch if simply to be baffled at how drastic of a turn cinema underwent over the last century).

20. In the Heat of the Night (1967)

Here is a prime example of a film that was undoubtedly not the greatest of the year (Bonne & Clyde, The Graduate), yet proved to be a great win nonetheless. For starters, had any of the other two won, I maybe would not have been so keen on taking the time to watch this one. The other two considered to be immense achievements in cinema, I would have watched them regardless of whether or not they were nominated for an Oscar. Upon watching this film, I was therefore more than ecstatic to learn that this was the night's big winner (and that Mike Nichols deservedly took home the Best Director statue for The Graduate all the same).

That being said, just like Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing does not present the problem of race in that typical feel-good Hollywood black-and-white baloney context (e.g. the laughable bore that was Driving Miss Daisy), there is a beautiful subtlety in Norman Jewison's In the Heat of the Night that seems perfectly realistic within the social context of the time.

After Ray Charles chants out the soul-jazz theme song during the opening credits, In the Heat of the Night sets off as a classic whodunit murder mystery, which at first captivates the viewer, then later becomes completely irrelevant to the plot (as if the murder itself serves as the film's red herring). The legendary Sidney Poitier (1st African-American to win the Best Actor Oscar, God rest his soul) arrives in a small American town... in Mississippi... in the 60's... (you see where this is going) and quickly gets arrested by police chief Gillepsie (played by Rod Steiger) who accuses him of a murder. The chief of police eventually finds out that Poitier's character (Virgil Tibbs) is actually a highly regarded homicide inspector back in Philadelphia, and soon his advice is requested. The two men reluctantly agree to work together under extreme racial tension amid the townsfolk. Once the case is solved, the Mississippi town evidently remains as racist as it has ever been, and although the two main men are not even close to being good buddies by the end of the film, it is Gillepsie's unexpected newfound respect for Poitier that reveals a subdued sense of hope at the end of the tunnel, even if that tunnel is evidently a long one to traverse.

Greatest moment of In the Heat of the Night (a quote to which Pumbaa the warthog is forever indebted):

"Virgil? That's a funny name for a n***** boy to come from Philadelphia. What do they call you up there?"

"They call me MISTER Tibbs."

19. From Here to Eternity (1953)

This is one of those classic American films that I would have unashamedly awed at had I been around at the time of its release. Just like when I watched La La Land a whopping four times in the theatres back in 2016, I would undoubtedly have done the same for this one. Released 12 years after the attack of Pearl Harbor and set in Hawaii just prior to the event, there is a bizarre sense of nostalgia that creeps up while watching this one, and I was born nearly 50 years after it was released.

By no means a triumphant cinematic work of art, From Here to Eternity is such an enjoyable experience, especially considering this nearly came out 70 years ago. One of its scenes is still so profoundly engraved within today's pop culture, yet not many people I know have ever actually bothered watching the film (let alone gotten around to learning the title of the film from which the scene stems). I am of course referring to the moment during which Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr so very passionately lock lips with one another on the shore in what is arguably one of the most romantic scenes of older American cinema.

The charming boyish Montgomery Cliff plays a young Private in love with the beautiful Donna Reed; Burt Lancaster plays a Sergeant whose love for the military proves even greater than that of his love for the seductive Deborah Kerr; Ernest Borgnine, who my younger generation will forever remember as the voice of Mermaid Man in the television show Spongebob Squarepants, plays the brutish Sergeant who quarrels with none other than the preeminent Frank Sinatra, another Private; the title itself is contestably the most beautiful ever conceived, and all this happens in Hawaii around the time of the Pearl Harbor attack (as was previously mentioned). Stated as such, this whole film sounds too perfect to be true to be quite frank. Today's equivalent would be if Timothée Chalumet plays a Private in love with Emma Stone; Margot Robbie plays the seductress in love with the Sergeant played by Ryan Gosling; Tom Hardy plays the brutish Sergeant who quarrels with... Harry Stiles? Does this make sense? I can't think of another singer/actor at the moment. And it happens maybe in the wake of... the end of the war in Afghanistan? I don't know if this would prove as interesting to be honest (maybe keeping it in Hawaii in 1941 would already be more appealing), but it certainly sounds like it could be a successful cash grab. And if I'm wrong, so be it, I'll just rewatch this one.

Greatest moment of From Here to Eternity:

The amorous beach scene.

18. Parasite (2019)

The test of time is important. I dare say it is the most crucial element in properly assessing what should be considered great art, since it confirms that future generations will be as affected by the said work as those who first came across it, which is no easy achievement. If the test of time did not exist, society might still think of Aerosmith as a respectable band (I don't want to miss a thing? You've obviously never heard your own records). Therefore, it goes without saying that this list is subject to change over the years.

That being said, two years have passed since the release of Bong Joon-ho's thriller/comedy/family drama of an impoverished family of freeloaders, none of whom have conceived of any legitimate plan as to how to intelligently better their future, and I still hark back to how exhilarating my friends and I felt watching it the first time on the big screen.

The 21st century has seen Korean culture boom on quite an international scale (from the thrill ride that was Park Chan-wook's Oldboy to the exponential growth in popularity of K-pop to the massive commercial success that was Squid Game earlier in 2021), and although I am not a BIG fan of either of the last two, I do admit it's a very respectable feat to accomplish. Of all the films that could have been the FIRST FOREIGN FILM to win Best Picture at the Oscars, rather than have win Haneke's beautifully slow-paced Amour (2012) or Cuaron's enjoyable Fellini-reminiscent Roma (2018), I am so glad Parasite will always be remembered as the first, as it would assuredly be as exciting and amusing to watch in half a century from now for newer generations who wish to revisit all of the previous Best Picture winners.

Due to the frequent genre switch, the viewer might find it hard at times to properly discern what exactly it is they are watching. Although some have argued that there is nothing explicitly special about this film, I beg to differ, for the actors were flawless in playing their respective characters (to which attachment was immensely strong in each), the direction was impeccable, the storyline was captivating and its entertainment value was like no other Best Picture winner I've seen in recent memory. I do believe there are certain moments in the film that were less important than what people made them out to be (the parasitic family members literally living at the bottom of the city, symbolizing their place in the world, was a concept I thought was much better executed in Jordan Peele's Us; also, maybe there was a strong argument to be made that I completely overlooked, but I am still left perplexed as to why the son returned to the basement at the birthday party). Regardless, I still firmly believe it deserves its place at number 18 for reasons previously mentioned and do not see it dropping in the list anytime soon.

Greatest moment of Parasite:

The entire five-minute montage involving the family's plot to wreak havoc through use of a peach plays out like a wondrous ballet.

17. All About Eve (1950)

"Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night." Bette Davis, we love you. How you lost the Oscar to Judy Holiday is beyond me. The amount of witty dialogue exchanged within any Joseph L. Makiewicz film is so ridiculously enormous, it makes all of Jane Austen's characters seem like they belong in The English Patient (a film that was most accurately critiqued by none other than the marvelous Elaine Benes).

Setting aside the fact that the viewer is graced with a very early - though brief - appearance from the then-unknown tantalizing Marilyn Monroe, each of the actresses (Monroe included) so magnificently played their respective roles, it's as if the characters were written exclusively for them (or maybe it goes to show just how brilliant Mankiewicz's dialogue truly was). Once again, the storyline seems typical of what can be found today: an older star is slowly losing her popularity due to a conniving younger one who acts as an innocent admirer while secretly hoping to steal her fame. That being said, this is still the most authentic version of that storyline that exists, and the unraveling of each ensuing segment is truly as bumpy as Bette Davis claims. In an early scene which has Bette Davis (Margot) remove her makeup after some much acclaimed performance, pay attention to where is situated Anne Baxter (Eve). Mankiewicz makes use of the mirror to emphasize Eve's longing to be a direct reflection of Margot (a visual idea employed in many subsequent films, having a similar premise, that wished to pay homage to All About Eve).

Some might argue that Billy Wilder's Sunset Boulevard deserved the year's top prize, and although I do agree a case can be made for that argument, it is undeniable how elegantly polished this tour de force remains today, if only for how sensationally compelling the women proved to be. Although Sunset Boulevard might have arguably had the creepier, more memorable closing scene, the final shot of All About Eve, involving one last use of mirrors, is as perfect a haunting ending as the former, and the goosebumps are felt all the same.

Greatest moment of All About Eve:

A two-way tie between the dinner party exchanges and that astoundingly disturbing final minute.

16. Gone With the Wind (1939)

Once was it a popular conception that Gone with the Wind was undoubtedly the greatest American film of all time (adjusted for inflation, it remains to this day the highest grossing movie to ever be screened). Contemporary reception has been lass favourable, some going so far as to condemn the film for a lack of artistry altogether, others drawing attention to its racist scenario. The truth is, this film does not deserve the highest of praises nor does it deserve total neglect; its value lies somewhere in between.

As far as what could have been accomplished within the Hollywood studio system at the time of the Hays Code, in which the director (in this case, Victor Fleming) added virtually no personal vision whatsoever to the film, Gone With the Wind remains a winsome motion picture that should definitely be considered amid the summit of this film category specification. The exceptionally gorgeous Vivien Leigh plays Scarlett O'Hara, a belle living within the state of Georgia, and the whole ordeal occurs during the American Civil War. During the entirety of the feature's four hours (yes, four hours), the viewer follows the life of the heroic lunatic that is Scarlett as she endeavors to rebuild a name for herself after her land is left ravaged by the Union Army. Thus comes the famous quote: "As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again!" While this serves as the setting for the second portion of the film (the first half portraying a horrendously idealized version of the Southern States at the time, in which the "Lost Cause of the Confederacy" is so bluntly emphasized), it is Scarlett's love interests who are at the heart of the movie, those being Ashley Wilkes, her unhealthy obsession who has unfortunately tied the knot with another, and Rhett Butler, portrayed by the debonair Clark Gable, who becomes infatuated with the woman.

If it is simply to admire how one hopeless naïve girl successfully manages to singlehandedly reconstruct a life for herself after her entire fortune is reduced to nothing, this story proves to be a rather inspiring one. The costumes, production design and masterful use of colours are indisputably astonishing and enough to find immense artistic value within such a delightful motion picture. Although other films from 1939 (arguably the most prolific year in American cinema) have come to be considered the greater accomplishments (The Wizard of Oz, Stagecoach, La Règle du Jeu), I would probably have voted for Gone With the Wind at the time of its release as well, and the movie is definitely not without its rightful artistic merit.

Greatest Moment of Gone With the Wind:

The much-anticipated final scene (that ultimately comes after 4 hours) in which two very recognizable lines are uttered "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn" to which is replied "After all, tomorrow is another day".

15. The French Connection (1971)

It's remarkable how drastic a change the Best Picture winners from the 70's were from those that won in the previous decade. Whereas the 60's winners were mostly family-friendly musicals, those in the ensuing decade were brimming with sex and violence, made by the emerging directors of the American New Wave (with which were associated Peter Bogdanovich, Martin Scorsese, Stephen Spielberg and Francis Ford Coppola to name a few).

I could only imagine how riveting an experience it must have been to watch unfold William Friedkin's great thriller on the big screen fifty years ago. Had this film been released today for the very first time, I would still go nuts, and you best believe I would be at the edge of my seat for the entirety of its ride. Gene Hackman plays Popeye Doyle, a police detective who is very reminiscent of The Wire's McNulty (for those who seek an accurate comparison to a character of modern culture). He proves to be quite the horrendous human being but an impressive detective nonetheless, and the man's prime goal is to capture New York City's drug lords at any cost (even if it entails that of the civilians). The film basically serves as one enormous roller coaster of a pursuit that unveils the methods, employed by these New York City cops (led by Popeye), through which the drug criminals are being chased. The French Connection is a flawless example of all that came to be accomplished within the important cinematic movement that was the American New Wave. It encompasses all aspects of what should constitute a great crime thriller and would most likely even be cherished today by those who are not too keen on the older filmmaking style, since it provides interminable action and suspense.

In what I deem to be the most heated chase in the history of cinema, one scene has Popeye pursuing some hitman along the busy streets of Brooklyn. The chase begins in a building and somehow extends to the chaos of the roads at which point the former makes use of a civilian vehicle, the latter of an elevated train of the city's transportation system. The culmination of the spectacular scene proves so satisfying, it served as the poster to the film's promotion (which in fact is quite a spoiler more than anything).

Greatest Moment of The French Connection:

As could have been guessed, it is the aforementioned chase scene that words honestly cannot do justice.

14. An American in Paris (1951)

I admit I'm a sucker for musicals. More than that, I admit I'm an even bigger sucker for Gene Kelly, which is strange since I never once in my life got the urge to propulse myself from off my chair to perform an impressive tap dance routine while continuously grinning from ear to ear, and this, without breaking a sweat. However, upon watching Gene Kelly do it so flawlessly, I enter an inexplicable state of euphoria, and it feels as if nothing in the world can bring me down. (Although comparing myself to a hitman might seem exceedingly bizarre, I'm quite like Jean Reno's Léon in that sense. There, I said it.) Just like Biggie made rapping seem like the easiest task in the word, Gene Kelly does the same for dancing, and as you listen to/watch these artists perform each of their respective acts, you think to yourself "Yeah, I can do this too". It's only once their routine is over that you truly come to understand that there is no way in hell you can pull something like that off, and it would take a lifetime of practice and dedication for you to produce something half as good.

An American in Paris was unfortunately not filmed in Paris, but rather at the MGM Studios in California, which is of the utmost evidence upon observing the sets employed, but this is of unimportance, for the use of colours and decoration are quite merry nonetheless and very pleasing to the eye. Many people with whom I'm acquainted have told me numerous times that they cannot stand musicals, as they are too jovial and unrealistic, and their songs somewhat cringeworthy. To that, I reply that there is good to be found in any genre. I understand if it is not your thing, but an entire genre cannot be written off as trash; that's not how it works. Besides, musicals are all of those aforementioned things. They're about dancing and breaking into song, and they're (usually) meant to bring a smile to your face, even if it is for the most oversentimenal of reasons. That being said, nobody does it like Gene Kelly. The way his face shifts to a state of intense elation upon setting hie eyes on a girl he deems to be an angelic enchantress is one of such moments that makes the viewer share the protagonist's joy, and there's really nothing wrong about feeling good for the entirety of a film for once. Besides, say what you will about feel-good musicals, there's a reason Singin' in the Rain is still considered as one of the all-time great cinematic achievements, and this, 70 years after its release.

The storyline itself is as cheery as its title sounds. Gene Kelly is a painter who falls in love with a great beauty, and inbetween it all, he dances, teaches French children English by singing I Got Rhythm, expresses his love to the world by roaring the tune S'Wonderful, and that's pretty much all there is too it. It's funny how Americans seem to have this idealized version of Paris even today. One of the most popular shows at the moment is literally titled Emily in Paris in which the main character Emily (played by Lily Collins) seems two hundred times more optimistic than Gene Kelly's character was (a feat I did not think possible), but until Lily Collins provides a seventeen-minute-long dance routine in one of her episodes like the one found at the end of An American in Paris, I'm sticking to the latter.

Greatest Moment of An American in Paris:

Probably the elaborate dance routine at the end of the film, but I prefer the scene that has the actors perform S'Wonderful.

13. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

Sandwhiched between what are arugably the two worst movies to ever win the award (The Broadway Melody and Cimarron), this is a war film (rather, an anti-war film) that came as quite the surprise to me, and it remains a visual stunner to this day. I was fairly young when I first watched this one, and going into it, I recall thinking it would play out as some pro-war propaganda feature, and if not that, that it would portray warfare in a slightly unrealistic idealized light. In short, my expectations were low. To my pleasant astonishment, All Quiet on the Western Front was the complete opposite of what I had initially assumed. Other than Kubrick's Paths of Glory (that takes home the top spot if only for the gut-wrenching scenes that have follow the frightened men in the trenches), I do not believe ever being more moved by a film about war in all my life.

The film opens up with a classroom of boys who, though much too young to make such a decision, are encouraged by their professor to join the army. Through use of a highly motivational speech, the professor argues that serving one's country should be considered the most respectable act a boy can endeavor to tackle, and his students' spirits are so tremendously lifted, they all agree to go through with it. The remainder of the film reveals just how brutish warfare truly is through use of haunting imagery and harrowing episodes that have the main soldier Paul's partners die one after the other. If these episodes don't completely shatter your heart into a thousand pieces, it surely will once Paul returns to his old classroom many years later only to discover that even younger boys are being encouraged to join the army by the same professor. No matter how much Paul discourages them to do so, the viewer cannot be sure they'll listen, and you ache at such a sight. Although I despise spoiling great storylines, I will do so now, for the final scene of the film is too heavenly and evocative to omit. All Quiet on the Western Front concludes on the front line as Paul takes notice of a butterfly, the first thing in the longest time that seems to bring him joy. As he reaches out for it, he is instantly killed by an enemy sniper, reminding the viewer that there is no mercy in war. The final shot is a throwback to an earlier clip at the start of the film, at which point the boys from the classroom all seem content to have enrolled in the army, only this time, the clip fades to a shot of a cemetery. I don't know if I have too soft a heart, but it is literally breaking as I'm writing this paragraph, and it baffles me even more how Cimarron could have possibly won the following year knowing a film like All Quiet on the Western Front was possible in 1930. Anyways. Cimarron sucks.

One last thing to mention that I find pretty interesting is the film, released in 1930 and based on the novel that came out the previous year, actually depicted German soldiers during the First World War. It's crazy how no little than nine years later, the Germans sparked the Second World War and seemed to think siding with the professor, rather than the students, was the inevitable choice to be made at the end of the day. It goes without saying the novel and film were banned during Nazi Germany for reasons I evidently do not have to explain.

Greatest Moment of All Quiet on the Western Front:

The gut-wrenching closing scene involving the butterfly and the cemetery.

12. The Deer Hunter (1978)

How is it possible that every single one of Michael Cimino's features to follow The Deer Hunter was horrendous? This is truly amongst the great mysteries of cinema, but if Cimino owes anybody for the massive critical success of The Deer Hunter, it is Vilmos Zsigmond whose cinematography is absolutely otherworldly. That's not to undermine the massively impressive performances of the entire cast (which includes Robert DeNiro, Meryl Streep and Christopher Walken), but if all a film had were great performances, it would probably not be too interesting a watch for future cinephiles who chase the artistic wonders of cinema. At least, for me, it would not be. Thankfully, this film englobes both majestic scenery and well-written characters to whom the viewer so quickly attaches oneself.

Although another movie that is chiefly driven by war, I do not believe the concept of war to be the predominant feature of the film. At least, it does not feel as if it is by the end of it. After all these years, the scenes I mainly remember involve the wedding, the gang playing billiards in the bar while singing along to Frankie Valli's Can't Take My Eyes Off You, the deer hunting and the Russian roulette forced upon by soldiers of the Viet Cong, not so much the horrors of war itself to be quite frank. Therefore, its message is much dissimilar to the one found in a typical anti-war film, say All Quiet on the Western Front (see the previous entry), and the film seems primarily driven by the bonding shared between men all living amid a common insignificance. It goes without saying that I am open to different opinions on the matter. Someone can equally tell me the film was entirely about the Vietnam War and its themes mainly touched upon violence and warfare and what not, and I could see an argument being made for such a viewpoint. When all is said and done, art is and always will be in the eye of the beholder, and personal opinion as to what constitutes the true message of The Deer Hunter will vary from one person to the next.

The immense triumph that is Zsigmond's cinematography is the chief catalyst for the film's soul-stirring experience. The polarity that prevails between the heavenly scenes in the woods (in which the gang chases deer for the thrill of it) and the hellish segment involving members of the Viet Cong (in which the gang is appalingly treated like worthless animals by enemies who are obviously not representative of the Vietnam soldiers of the time) is especially worth paying attention to. Although the psychopathic game of Russian roulette is played more than once throughout the film, the first time remains the most memorable and suspenseful, for the purpose of the game comes as such a shock to the viewer, nobody is truly ready to watch such ruthlessness play out before their eyes.

Greatest Moment of The Deer Hunter:

The very first game of Russian roulette.

11. West Side Story (1961)

The day on which I was meant to take my eager mother to watch Spielberg's adaptation of this classic (the original being her second all-time favourite film), Montreal announced the closing of all cinemas due to the infectious rise of COVID-19's Omicron variant. As a result, I still have not gotten the opportunity to watch the latest version, but I cannot foresee how it could have done anything better than Robbins & Wise's 1961 version (other than having actually cast people of Latin American origins the second time around). Sure, Natalie Wood's accent was absurdly horrendous, but she still managed to make you fall in love with her character all the same. Nevertheless, the brownface was retrospectively... not the best of ideas...

In terms of moments that help substantiate the film as a definite masterpiece, once can look no further than its opening ten minutes, during which is provided a lengthy choreography between the Sharks and the Jets, two rival gangs who quarrel amid the streets of Mahattan (only that their definition of quarreling involves prancing and pirouetting around like a pack of overjoyed gazelles). This scene alone would have me put the film near the top of the movie musical canon, and by the end of it, Tony and Maria (the main characters who commence a forbidden love affair) still have yet to appear. Robbins' characters are so flawlessly brought to life on the big screen, and with the help of the memorable music composed by Leonard Bernstein, there is really nothing more one can ask of a musical. Once again, for those who detest the genre, the storyline (though a tragedy) depicts a classic love-at-first-sight romance between two young lovers of opposite gangs; if your mindset is ready for oversentimentality (rather than criticism about all that may seem unrealistic or cheap to your disbelieving eyes), then it will prove impossible not to smile along with the impassioned Tony who "just met a girl named Maria" or his enamored love interest Maria who is "loved by a pretty wonderful boy", nor will it prove possible to hold back tears upon hearing them both sing the words "there's a place for us, somewhere a place for us", even though the viewer very well understands that their love is of the tragic kind, which just makes the experience all the more heartbreaking.

Beyond all the ingredients that make up a quality example of the genre itself, West Side Story remains a visual stunner, which is everything a cinephile can hope for. It provides indelible imagery, an intimate fondness for the characters, captivating musical numbers and a roller coaster of emotions that drags the viewer in all sorts of directions.

Greatest Moment of West Side Story:

A two-way tie between the opening dance number between the rival gangs, and the very first time Maria and Tony lay eyes on one another at the school dance.

10. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

Back in high school, as my friends and I were in the midst of learning about the world's most formidable political and war commanders to ever live, I had convinced a few of them to watch the two David Lean films to have taken home the Best Picture award. Although Lawrence of Arabia was unanimously deemed the superior cinematic achievement, The Bridge on the River Kwai had much more of a perturbing effect on my schoolmates and me. One close friend of mine, a reasoned genius who at the time had high respect for China's Cultural Revolution leader Mao Zedong, was particularly affected by the way Alec Guiness' character incrementally becomes infatuated, in the most deranged of manners, with the bridge that is demanded of him and his troops.

The epic is set in a Japanese prison camp in Burma during the Second World War. Colonel Nicholson (brilliantly portrayed by Alec Guiness) serves as the leader of the imprisoned soldiers and is ultimately locked within some box as a punishment by the Japanese due to his objection to having his men construct a railway bridge over the River Kwai. One Commander by the name of Shears successfully flees the camp and eventually reaches the British Forces, and all the while, the bridge is being constructed (though poorly) by the remainder of Nicholson's soldiers. Once Nicholson is released from the box, it is his shift of instead wanting to build an ingenious bridge that could one day be commemorated by future generations that drives the plot of the film, and the bridge becomes his unhealthy obsession. By the end of its construction, Nicholson seems to have completely forgotten where exactly he and his troops are being detained, and it is precisely this uncomfortable reality that made my friend squirm all those years ago, for he admitted not being able to see how even the most powerful of leaders (himself included if the opportunity was ever provided) could have prevented themselves from derailing in similar maniacal fashion. Fortunately, my friend became a radiologist and, upon confirming he would never in his life have to face this type of situation, was able to eliminate his nightmarish sleeps after years of mental torment.

By the end of the feature, Commander Shears covertly returns in an effort to blow up the bridge, but in a startling twist of events, the madman that became Nicholson is the one enemy that seems to stand in his way. The Bridge on the River Kwai is truly an epic of impressive proportion, and though I will not divulge how exactly the film concludes, it is (as the film's final quote so perfectly describes it) absolute "madness".

Greatest Moment of The Bridge on the River Kwai:

Hands down, the heart-stopping closing scene.

9. The Sound of Music (1965)

The final musical to be found within my top 20 is my mother's all-time favourite film (as could previously have been assumed with what I had presented in the West Side Story section). The Sound of Music was and always will be a mandatory happy-go-lucky watch forced upon by my mother on both Easter Sunday and Christmas day, a tradition my sisters and I will surely continue with our own children once the chance presents itself. If you are someone who does indeed enjoy the genre, there is virtually nothing wrong with this movie. I do not believe it necessary for me to argue over how wonderfully iconic the visuals and musical segments are, nor do I think a case needs to be made as to the celebrated performances of the cast as well as the stunning direction of Robert Wise. No, I think what needs to be adressed here is the reason as to why I hold The Sound of Music in such high esteem in comparison to other Best Picture winners that some might consider are deserving of a higher place in the ranking.

Here is an extremely brief summary as to what I believe makes certain films deserve higher critical praise than others. An astounding achievement in cinema would imply a film that not only moves the viewer on a psychological level (which would include emotional and/or intellectual stimulation), but also presents a series of images in such a way that all creative choices involved within the filming of the movie serve to completely immerse the viewer in the artistic vision of the director. Upon propounding this belief of mine, I always compare the same two films to better help understand what it is I imply by this idea. Hitchcock's Vertigo, a hauntingly engaging mystery film that has you forever gaping at the screen, is of the utmost bizarre storylines ever conceived, even for a Hitchcock film; if any other film director had been tasked to bring the story to life, not only would it have proved an inferior version, it would have been total garbage. (Today, there is areason it is considered by Sight and Sound to be the greatest film ever made.) This is where it might get slightly controversial. Had Ed Wood been handed the script to Schindler's List rather than Spielberg, it most likely still would have won awards; I am not suggesting Schindler's List is not a good movie (because it certainly is), but there is nothing especially impressive about the way it was made that could not have been equaled or bettered under different circumstances, and I personally find it more captivating to watch three hours of Julie Andrews singing on a hill with children than watch three hours of sporadic emotional scenes mixed with slow-paced tedious clips that do not really stimulate me whatsoever. Whenever I watch Jaws, E.T. or Jurassic Park, I think to myself "My God, nobody else but Spielberg could have made this masterpiece", but I cannot say the same for Schindler's List. (For those who are wondering where exactly Schindler's List ranked in my list, it was placed 37th, which still means it holds its place as a very good film; once again, I just believe there are better films out there.)

That being said, The Sound of Music represents the pinnacle of the 60's musical film (other than perhaps Demy's Les Demoiselles de Rochefort). At the time, this genre was especially prominent, and as I mentioned earlier, there is virtually nothing to hate about this film and everything to love. Throughout its entirety, the viewer feels emotionally moved by the characters, the music and the scenery, and its execution is flawless, in the sense that I do not see how any other director could have done better with any other cast. This is truly a masterpiece of cinema in which all the puzzle pieces that constitute a breathtaking musical come together splendidly, and to hear Julie Andrews start it off by longing to have her heart "beat like the wings of the birds that rise from the lake to the trees" or successfully teach a clan of overlooked children that "when you know the notes to sing, you can sing most anything" are amongst the many reasons this classic deserves a top 10 spot on my list.

Greatest Moment of The Sound of Music:

The Do-Re-Mi montage that sees Julie Andrews and the children singing across the delightful roads of Salzburg.

8. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)

If one were to ask me what I considered to be the greatest ensemble cast ever assembled, I would lean towards One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest whose actors so skillfully play their roles, it's actually quite difficult for the brain to register that the mental patients and nurses portrayed in the film are simply acting. Jack Nicholson's rendition of McMurphy, a criminal who feigns being mentally ill in a psychiatric hospital to bypass the legal system, is my personal all-time favourite performance within the entire realm of cinema. Nicholson is undeniably the most unrivaled lunatic there ever was, making even some of the strongest cinematic interpretations of unbalanced human beings, such as Joaquin Phoenix's Joker or Christian Bale's American Psycho, seem subpar in comparison.

The feature is directed by the late great Milos Forman, a pioneer of the Czech New Wave, a 60's movement that employed satire to criticize the Czechoslovakian regime; he ultimately fled to the United States as a consequence, at which point his films interestingly became more of the traditional type, this one being a prime example. I do not wish to undermine the film by any means by labelling it as traditional; on the contrary, Cuckoo's Nest plays out like a bewitching ballet throughout the totality of its runtime. Each of the ensuing scenes has the viewers further alienate themselves from the medical staff (whose job is to literally help those in need) and sympathize with the patients instead (those considered mentally ill), which serves to remind just how nuanced the world truly is, rather than it being separated into clear distinct social categories.

One thing that absolutely needs to be mentioned is the year in which this film was made: 1975. Although One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is considered to be universally beloved, I will admit that there seemed to have been no other year in the history of the Oscars that had the more difficult decision as to which film should have won Best Picture. Forman was up against Spielberg's Jaws, Kubrick's Barry Lyndon, Altman's Nashville and Sidney Lumet's Dog Day Afternoon, all of which would have easily been found within my top ten Best Picture winners list. That being said, to all those who believe one of the other films deserved it more, it evidently becomes a matter of personal preference more than anything. For the life of me, I myself cannot ascertain which of these five films I would have voted for at the time of its release, and to be frank, I'm still not one hundred percent confident I would know for whom to vote if the question is asked to me today. Nonetheless, Cuckoo's Nest remains a classic that will forever touch the hearts of movie lovers from around the globe, and there's no reason to spurn its triumph at the Oscars so many years ago.

Greatest Moment of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest:

McMurphy, furious that Nurse Ratched forbade him to turn on the television set to watch the baseball game, pretends it is being displayed regardless and cheers loudly with the other patients as they stare at an empty screen.

7. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

We are now entering the scope of Best Picture winners that would assuredly be within my all-time top 100 films of cinema as a whole. Lawrence of Arabia employs the same formula as David Lean's other entry on this list (see section The Bridge on the River Kwai), only that the former has the advantage of a setting which proves far superior in terms of aesthetics, and the viewer is subjected to a more perfected polish altogether by the end of the experience.

Peter O'Toole provides the performance of a lifetime as the titular character T.E. Lawrence who leads the Arab tribe against the Turks in a number of bloody battles that occur across the hot sands of arresting desert landscapes. In scattered acts of rebellion, Lawrence deems it shrewder to act on his own intuition rather than obey his British superiors, for he steadily acquires a larger-than-life persona that eventually has him view himself as an Arab savior. This idea, along with the notion that his hands will forever be drenched within the blood of men he murdered along the way, are concepts by which Lawrence is perpetually tormented, and his psychological struggles are disturbingly felt by the viewers, who watch the dramatic bloodbath unravel before them, throughout the entirety of the four-hour feature.

Above all the emotional and exhilarating punches of the film, Lawrence of Arabia is truly a cinematic work of art, and the masterful imagery (merged with Maurice Jarre's eternally memorable score) is an undeniable attainment one could only ever dream of accomplishing to such a superlative degree.

Greatest Moment of Lawrence of Arabia:

The slow-paced suspenseful scene involving Ali's well that serves to capture the essence of the film.

6. The Apartment (1960)

Whenever I am asked to cite my favourite film from Billy Wilder - a director who so masterfully presented the cynicism of well-written and well-portrayed characters (and that, occasionally in comical situations) - my impulse has me immediately declare The Apartment (although upon further assessment, Some Like it Hot is the clear winner to such a debate). Just like Midnight Cowboy (which barely failed to make this list's top 20) striked me as an unusual choice to win 1969's Best Picture for its raw depiction of prostitution, I cannot fathom for the life of me how the start of the decade had the Academy so willingly hand the award to The Apartment, whose dirty plot line was met with enormous controversy upon release. The story follows Jack Lemmon, a drab of a human being, who seeks to climb up the ranks of the corporation for which he works by allowing his superiors to use his apartment so they could have sex with their mistresses without having to worry about getting caught. I repeat: How the hell did this win Best Picture in 1960, years before American cinema was forever changed by the counterculture of the time?

Is it necessary for me to emphasize the phenomenon that is uproarious everyman Jack Lemmon or how legendary Billy Wilder rightfully deserves his place amongst the most accomplished filmmakers of all time? These facts should hopefully still be engraved within the minds of our current society, or at the very least, within the minds of cinephiles. For a director who so often pushed the boundaries of what could be depicted on film at the time, his movies never solely relied on taboo subject matter to make their mark, which is a pleasant sigh of relief upon rewatch. In an era during which there exists no censure of any kind, watching oldies can prove rather dull if the ONLY notable aspect of a film can be resumed by "Yes, but it's the FIRST one to do it. That's why." Don't get me wrong. Being the first to do anything of value is extremely impressive, but there needs to be much more for it to be considered atop the pantheon of cinema. Otherwise, 1927's The Jazz Singer would be an all-time top 100 for popularizing the talkie, which is simply not true.

What truly makes an astounding Billy Wilder film is the masterful way his characters are portrayed and interact with one another. The Apartment so superbly demonstrates the filmmaker's ability to achieve this skill that the viewer cannot help but be totally absorbed by Jack Lemmon and his relation with Shirley MacLaine who plays an elevator operator with whom he is completely infatuated (only to find out that she sometimes uses his apartment to sleep with his boss). The film is an uproarious experience that will be enjoyed and cherished for centuries to come, and it is a perfect place to start if one has never gotten around to the genius that is Billy Wilder.

Greatest Moment of The Apartment:

The entire office party scene, for it demonstrates just how capable a filmmaker Billy wilder was.

5. On the Waterfront (1954)

Of the few Elia Kazan films I ever watched in my life, every single one of them (besides the interminable headache that was Gentlemen's Agreement) felt like pure poetry. On the Waterfront is an outstanding example of how a film can be driven by one character's inner struggles in response to the daily events that transpire around him. Rather than simply present a sequence of images that seem to recount a story from an external point of view, to have the viewer follow the internal conflict with which the protagonist is tormented makes the experience all the more personal and real. One vital aspect that allows to consider a work of art as both distinguished and timeless is its ability to meet this criteria. When I am watching On the Waterfront, I am not simply observing unfold the life of a contender; rather, I am confronted by his same struggles. I am not simply reacting to the everyday quarrels the man faces in his personal life; rather, I too am experiencing them because it all feels so real. More than that, the story deals with a former prize fighter who, working for a corrupt union boss on the docks of New Jersey, affiliates himself with a priest and a fair-haired beauty whose brother just recently plunged to his death. I can safely say, without a doubt, that there is absolutely no relation whatsoever between Terry Malloy (the ex-fighter) and myself (a young Italian student merely enjoying what life has to offer in the wonderful city of Montreal), yet there does not seem to be, in all the world, a single human being to whom I feel closer while watching On the Waterfront. That is the power of great art.

This is surely Elia Kazan's magnum opus, which plays out like a composition of poignant and rhythmic nature, and the performances of the entire cast (particularly Marlon Brando who plays Terry Malloy) are ethereal. Brando's style of Method acting helped popularize the way of going about a role for many renowned actors and actresses that followed, and it particularly hit its peak during this performance. "You don't understand, I coulda had class! I coulda been a contender! I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am." This is what Brando expresses to his brother Charlie who he senses to be a reason he himself seems to get corrupted by the evils of the world. It is the blend of Method acting promoted by Brando and Kazan's elegant direction employed via a black-and-white backdrop that makes On the Waterfront amongst the most personal film experiences of the time. As Terry seeks redemption with the help of a merciful priest, his fondness for his love interest does nothing but grow, and he strives to distance himself as much as he could from the wickedness inflicted upon him and his surroundings by the merciless union boss and his thugs. By the end of the feature, after the viewer is provided with a few final stumbles along the waterfront, the struggle ultimately concludes, and we are overcome by a beautiful sense of relief.

Greatest Moment of On the Waterfront:

The final scene had always been amongst my favourites since a well-awaited closure ultimately arrives after an internal two-hour struggle, but the quote I previously referenced is considered the classic moment of the movie.

4. Casablanca (1943)

"You must remember this, a kiss is just a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh, the fundamental things apply as time goes by." Here is arguably the greatest love story to ever be depicted on the big screen. It is the most fitting example of a film that is only considered flawless because every one of its elements is flawless as well. There is no other actor other than Humphrey Bogart that could have played Rick Blaine, no other actress other than Ingrid Bergman that could have played his love interest Ilsa Lund, and by the end of the film, the viewer falls in love with everything they come to represent. Casablanca's famed love song, so evocatively sung throughout the movie by Dooley Wilson (who serves as the pianist at Rick's café) is so iconic and moving that upon further listening, it is nearly impossible to remain indifferent to its nostalgic melody. My father (who has repeatedly cited Casablanca to be his all-time favourite film) once told me he would forever be able to recognize As Time Goes By upon hearing only the first piano note. I tested it. He lied, for the very moment Wilson sings the initial word you, even before the piano is heard, my dad's expression immediately turns sentimental, and his face turns to the television set. Michael Curtiz, who superbly helped popularize the swashbuckler genre (notably with the highly entertaining The Adventures of Robin Hood), really surprised moviegoers and hit the jackpot with this one, for he proved he could do romantic drama just as well, if not better. Then, of course, there were the Epstein brothers, in charge of writing the script, which probably still stands as the greatest screenplay ever developed in the history of cinema. Let everything that has just been mentioned sink in, but I mean really sink in. Taken all that has been said into consideration, what is beyond comprehension is the fact that nobody (not a single human being) involved with the production of the film believed it would ever stand out in 1943 alongside the other Hollywood films of that year. Nearly eighty years later, movie lovers still hold this classic at the top of their most treasured films. The reason? There is not one. It is the perfect blend of all the aforementioned reasons that makes this film stand the test of time.

Casablanca follows Rick, a soft-hearted yet externally cold owner of a nightclub, in the Moroccan city during the Second World War. The nightclub is attended by regular Vichy Frenchmen, German officers and various refugees who seek to evade to the United States. Although Rick claims he is one to "stick [his] neck out for nobody", there is an evident reason to his cynicism, and that reason (an angelic beauty) eventually walks through his doors. A former love interest of Rick's who once shattered his heart into a thousand pieces, Ilsa is now in dire need to save her husband by pleading Rick to provide them the necessary transit letters that would allow to safely fly to the States. The chemistry that once existed between the two main characters quickly returns, and Ilsa is amorously torn between both men. To quote a particularly expressive uncle of mine: "Yeah, Titanic was okay, but Kate Winslet having to choose between an asshole and Leonardo DiCpario... hmm, seems like a pretty damn obvious choice to me! Ingrid Bergman has to choose between two amazing guys, which just makes the whole that much more passionate and heartbreaking!"

For a movie that overflows with iconic quotes, it is nearly impossible to settle on a unanimous decision as to which is the clear best. Is it Rick softly repeating to Ilsa "Here's looking at you, kid"? Is it the French official covering up for Rick by ordering to "Round up the usual suspects"? Is it a distraught Humphrey Bogart who, drinking away his sorrow, laments over the fact that "Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into [his]"? I personally believe the final line of the movie to be the most perfect quote ever uttered on screen: An image of two men walking down a rainy runway as the camera pans out, one of them claiming "Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship".

Greatest Moment of Casablanca:

Impossible to pick just one, but that last clip fills my heart with an inexplicable heavenly melancholy every single time I watch it.

3. The Godfather, Part I (1972)

With the description provided in the previous section (see Casablanca), it is hard to imagine what Best Picture winners could possibly surpass a film that I presented as literally being constituted of nothing but flawless elements. The remaining three evidently have nothing but flawless elements as well but also pushed the boundaries of cinema in a way that had not been done before, giving them the edge over Casablanca. A triumph that will perpetually live on in the hearts of cinephiles for centuries to come, Francis Ford Coppola's epic crime film is absolute perfection. Many people I know are of the opinion that a film cannot have a rating of 100% because it implies that there would be virtually nothing wrong with it, which they claim would be impossible. They either have obviously never watched this film before, took a little too much crack in their youth or simply enjoy arguing for the sake of it, for I cannot come to perceive how any art lover can criticize the achievement that was The Godfather. I was twelve years old when I first watched the entire saga, and I remember being particularly blown away by the first one more than the others (obviously more than the third which my entire Italian family has forbidden me to admit even exists). For a movie to have come out in 1972, some segments are still so astonishingly shocking today; I could only imagine the experience felt by moviegoers at a time during which the American New Wave was only starting to take effect on the population.

The Godfather, Part I chronicles the lives of the Italian Corleone family, whose patriarch is mob boss Vito Corleone (played by none other than the legendary Marlon Brando). He has four sons, one of whom he adopted, and a daughter, and the three-hour storyline presents interconnected segments that depict each of their ways of living. The main focus is on good-natured Micheal Corleone (portrayed by the brilliant Al Pacino) who slowly falls into a malicious life of ruthlessness as he rises in the ranks of the crime world, a world his father so desperately endeavoured to have his youngest son avoid. If The French Connection had all the special elements that made up a film from the American New Wave movement of the 70's, The Godfather presented and perfected them on such a grandiose scale, there has been virtually nothing like it since. Coppola's execution is on another level, and the film makes everything that came before and after it seem like a joke.

The Godfather, Part I commences with a wedding which proves to be so representative of the Italian community that the first twenty minutes or so seems like a documentary more than anything else. After brilliantly being introduced to the members of the Corleone family, the film truly begins... and jumps right into the plotline involving the severed head of a horse. There are too many memorable scenes for me to mention, and I do not wish to spoil any of them for those who are still wasting precious time by never having watched this movie. Therefore, in an effort to be as discreet as possible, I wish to emphasize the stunning visuals that come with Sonny's street fight, Connie's mental breakdown, Michael's rendezvous at the restaurant, Apollonia appearing on screen for the first time, Vito at the market, Sonny at the toll booth, Vito with his grandson, the baptism and the final shot of a door being shut before that indelible score by Nino Rota starts rolling over the end credits.

Greatest Moment of The Godfather, Part I:

Michael renouncing Satan during the baptism as various men are being murdered under his orders.

2. The Godfather, Part II (1974)

As time goes by, my appreciation for The Godfather's sequel does nothing but grow, and that at an exponential pace. Whereas the first film wholly immerses the viewer into the crime world of the Corleone family by presenting the more captivating storylines, the second film somehow perfects Coppola's cinematic achievement and feels like the more polished work of art altogether. At this time in my life, I deem the sequel to have therefore surpassed the original, if only for the seemingly impossible task to (at least) meet the expectations so highly set by the first one. Contrary to 1972, in which the Best Supporting Actor Oscar (rightfully) went to Joel Grey for his performance in Cabaret, Bob Fosse beat out Coppola for Best Director, and Cabaret managed to win five Oscars more than The Godfather, Part I, a much more considerable shock would undeniably still resonate today had Coppola lost the Best Director statuette in 1974; indeed, his direction in The Godfather, Part II is everything a filmmaker should strive to accomplish. It is to note that the biggest shock of any of these two Oscar ceremonies arose when Best Actor was awarded to Art Carney for his portrayal of an elderly man who owned a cat, beating out Al Pacino (amongst others) for his career-defining role as the monstrosity that became Michael Corleone.

The back-and-forth narratives juggle the merciless downfall of present-day Michael with the rise in crime of a younger Vito Corleone (his father, played by Robert De Niro), newly arrived in New York City from his impoverished town in Sicily. Both of these narratives are stellar, and the viewer is equally engrossed by these two men who serve as the film's main protagonists. The movie brims with formidable moments that are so evocatively executed; its engaging imagery, though perhaps not as unanticipated as that found within the original (the horse's head, Apollonia driving, Sonny on a quest for revenge, etc.), will remain engraved within the viewer's mind for the remainder of their lives, and that's saying quite a lot. I think of Vito Corleone plotting to murder Don Fanucci over the rooftops below which an alluring neighbourhood festa is taking place. I think of Michael forcibly grabbing his brother Fredo by the back of the head, giving him the kiss of death, stating "I know it was you, Fredo, you broke my heart... you broke my heart!" as an extravagant Cuban party occurs in the background. I think of an adult version of Vito, having returned to his hometown in Sicily, being asked by the elderly man who killed his father "Tu padre, come si chiame?" (which translates to "What is your father's name?"), which subsequently has Vito whisper the name into the man's ear as he drags a knife across his stomach.

There are so many reasons to hold this cinematic masterpiece in the highest of regards. The performances are unmatched, the parallel that is continuously being made between Vito and Michael is impressively refined, the scenery is otherworldly, the whirlwind of emotions lasts the entirety of the three-hour experience, and the film somehow manages to equal, if not surpass, the original that had totally come as a shock to audiences two years prior. The first one will always have a place in my heart, but all things considered, I do believe this to ultimately be the better film. How could any other Best Picture winner prove greater than The Godfather, Part II? Although I do admit my pick for the number one film might come down to a matter of personal preference, I will never concede that it is in any way inferior to the current entry, for that is simply not true, and here below I present my reasons as to why.

Greatest Moment of The Godfather, Part II:

Vito Corleone following Don Fanucci the day of the festa is a strong contender, but Michael's confrontation with Fredo is equally as great.

1. Annie Hall (1977)

"There's an old joke... uhm... two elderly ladies are working at a Catskill mountain resort, and of them says 'Boy, the food at this place is really terrible'. The other one says 'Yeah, I know, and such small portions'. Well, that's essentially how I feel about life... full of loneliness and misery and suffering and unhappiness, and it's all over... much too quickly." If one were to pause the film after this opening quote which concludes after but twenty-three seconds of footage, they could easily spend hours reflecting on the way it sparks the eternal question of life's purpose and all that it entails. And then, the movie begins. Woody Allen was unable to attend the Oscars the year Annie Hall won since Monday nights were reserved playing with his Jazz Band. He learned about his win the next morning upon reading the newspaper and asked that his film not be labelled an "Academy-Award Winner" in the ads. He believed award ceremonies were a matter of favoritism more than anything else, and that a clear winner is never as obvious as some people make it out to be. In my earlier critique of Lawrence of Arabia, I declared that the top 7 films presented in this list would assuredly be found within my all-time top 100 of cinema, and I believe a point can be made for either of these films to take the top spot of this Best Picture ranking, in the sense that someone can very well one day convince me otherwise with regards to my current order. That being said, convincing me to change the order will prove enormously tough, for this decision of mine does come from years of rewatching these films, and a lot of reasoned consideration was taken into account while conceiving such a ranking. Throughout this list, I touched upon various ingredients that make for astounding works of art, and I truly believe Annie Hall to be a prime example that englobes all of these aforementioned aspects.

For starters, the screenplay to Annie Hall is arguably the funniest ever developed, and Woody Allen is undeniably a comedic genius. Released within the American New Wave, the most critically acclaimed movement in American cinema, the film stars Woody Allen as neurotic Alvy Singer who not only explores his relationship with quirky Annie Hall (splendidly portrayed by the charming Diane Keaton) but all of his past relationships as well, his upbringing, his career as a comedian and all that life comes to represent for him as a New Yorker. Having been brought up in a loud Jewish household beneath the roller coaster of an amusement park (literally), Alvy endeavors to understand why certain facets of his relationships worked so magnificently and why others inexplicably failed so unexpectedly. Woody Allen employs an atypical way of delivering his story to the audience. The sequence of scenes is very much back-and-forth (though there are neither surprises nor spoilers in this film as he admits to us from the very start that his relationship with Annie failed). These back-and-forth clips range from detailing his most intimate moments with Annie (making fun of Central Park walkers, throwing lobster into a boiling pot, playing tennis, etc.) to the shortcomings of his first two marriages, one of which was doomed due to what he considers to be the key joke to his adult life: "I would never want to belong to any club that would want to have someone like me for a member". Another interesting feature is the fact that characters sometimes observe their past as if they still have the means to converse with their former selves. I think of an early scene that has forty-year-old Alvy discuss with his six-year-old female classmate who cries out "For God's sake Alvy! Even Freud speaks of a latency period!" Alvy often also breaks the fourth wall whenever he deems it fit; a good example of this occurs when Alvy is stuck in line, ahead of a pseudo-intellectual man who pontificates about Fellini (my personal favourite) and his "indulgent" filmmaking style, and later Marshall McLuhan who Alvy thankfully makes appear from thin air. The real Marshall McLuhan then proceeds by telling the man "I heard what you were saying. You know nothing of my work. How you got to teach a course in anything is totally amazing" to which Alvy responds "Boy, if life were only like this".

For me, what gives this film the edge over the other ones I previously presented is its ability to literally include all of their respective aspects I deemed made them so impressive. The characters and their relations with one another are so realistic and a constant source of hilarity. The storyline itself is a romantic comedy set in New York City that so many subsequent films have attempted to mimic and surpass, but none have lived up to the original. The storytelling is very creative and, though neither set in some mystical desert nor depicting violence in a thrilling manner, allows for beautiful imagery all the same. The inner conflicts of the protagonist, presented in a humorous way, drives the entire film, and by the end of it, there are so many presented ideas upon which one could reflect, its psychological effect is everlasting. To this day, I am constantly assessing all the relationships I've ever lived to the same degree as Woody Allen did in Annie Hall, and it all feels so personal yet accessible at the same time. I've come to know, at various times in my life, all these characters portrayed in the film, and I too come up with the same conclusion as Alvy as to why we are so willing to go through all these relationships that seem crazy, irrational and totally absurd. Just like that joke about the boy who chooses not to turn in his mentally deranged brother for thinking he's a chicken, we do it because we need the eggs.

Greatest Moment of Annie Hall:

Impossible to pick just one, but most people I know would pick the romantic rooftop scene.

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About the author

Gabriele Del Busso

Anglo-Italian having grown up within the predominantly French-speaking city of Montreal.

Passion for all forms of art (especially cinema and music).

Short stories usually deal with nostalgia and optimism within a highly pessimistic society.

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