49: Aliens (1986)
After The Terminator ripped
through movie screens, James Cameron moved on to the science fiction action
flick, Aliens. Alien was a gothic horror set on a space ship. Aliens was an
action movie through and through with space marines battling xenomorphs. And
the twist climax gave us one of the more memorable lines from the movies. Sigourney
Weaver reprises her role as Ripley and Michael Biehn (an under-rated actor in
my opinion) is Corporal Hicks. "It's the only way to be sure."
Available on Hulu.
48: Sunset Boulevard (1950)
Another Billy Wilder movie
(the fourth on our list). Norma Desmond is a washed-up movie star and William
Holden plays Joe Gillis, a screenwriter who gets caught up in Norma's net.
"You used to be big," Gillis says. "I am big. It's the pictures
that got small," Norma replies. But Norma is slowly going mad and thinks
she's going to make a comeback film. When, of course, she isn't. Contains the
classic line, "I'm ready for my closeup, Mr. DeMille." I
haven't seen this is years; maybe I should watch it again. Available on YouTube
and Amazon Prime Video (both paid).
47: Casablanca (1942)
I am shocked, shocked this
movie is only number 47. It's such a good film with Humphry Bogart and Claude
Rains and Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet. Yes, that almost sounds like a
reunion of the Maltese Falcon cast. Then there's Ingrid Bergman playing Ilsa.
The Germans wore gray; she wore blue. So many memorable lines from this movie.
Rick is a cynical café owner in Casablanca who has a history with Ilsa. "Of
all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine,"
Rick says. The drama builds from there with Nazis and both turncoats and
patriotic French. "I think this is the beginning of a beautiful
friendship." Available on Max and Amazon Prime Video.
46: Blade Runner (1982)
Harrison Ford as a cop who
hunts and "retires" robots that look human (replicants). The only way
to tell them apart is something called the Voight-Kampf test. Which is slow
when a possibly murderous robot is sitting across the table from you. Directed
by Ridley Scott, the movie is visually stunning (again, no CGI) and with a
score by Vangelis (Chariots of Fire), it's an immersive ride that asks
questions about the nature of humanity. There are several versions of the film
out there. Avoid the one where Ford narrates. Based on the Phillip K. Dick book
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Available on YouTube and Apple TV (paid).
45: The Terminator (1984)
Speaking of robots. This was
James Cameron's second feature film and it made a name for him. For some
reason, playing an emotionless robot also made Arnold Schwarzenegger's acting
career. Interesting trivia: Schwarzenegger's pay for this movie was $500,000.
For Terminator 2, it was $15 million. This movie is a fast, pounding, action
film with a science fiction plot. There are shootouts and car chases and fun
little bits ("machines need love too"). This movie will keep you on
the edge of your seat. Available on Max, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video
44: Hacksaw Ridge (2016)
Based on the true story of Desmond
Doss who, during World War II, refused to touch a weapon or kill people due to
religious reasons. He became a medic and, for his bravery in saving his fellow
soldiers at the battle of Hacksaw Ridge on Okinawa, he won the Congressional
Medal of Honor without firing a shot. Mel Gibson directs this movie with
intense, bloody battle sequences. Rated R for good reason. I recently watched
the beginning of this film and was reminded the hell Doss was put through in
basic training because he wouldn't touch a rifle, but he refused to quit.
Available on Sling TV (free) and Amazon Prime Video.
43: Die Hard (1988)
The film that made Bruce
Willis an action star. With Alan Rickman playing the suave villain, this is a
fun movie with lots of shootouts, explosions, and tense moments. A movie about
family and redemption and love. Really. Not a lot of plot but lots of action.
Watch it at Christmastime with someone you love. Available on Hulu, Fubo, and Sling TV.
42: Back to the Future (1985)
"You built a time
machine out of DeLorean?" This fantasy movie about an 80s teenager
transported to the 50s has a fun fish-out-of-water vibe along with nostalgia
and a bit of romance, unfortunately, with his mother. Christopher Lloyd is the scientist/inventor
of the time machine and plays the part with enthusiasm. Forget the sequels,
this is the best of the movies. Available on Hulu and Sling TV.
41: Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)
When this Australian-made
movie came to the US, it was shocking for its violence (these days it would be
only typical). It also made Mel Gibson a star. There are car chases and brutal violence
as people try to find the "precious juice," i.e., gasoline. The
climax with the tanker truck is heart-pounding. Available on Max and Amazon
40: Rear Window (1954)
Probably Hitchcock's best
movie. Staring Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly, it's the story of a man laid up
with a broken leg who watches what goes on in the apartments around him through
his rear window. And did he just witness a murder? How can he find out? Suspenseful and fun. Available on YouTube and
Apple TV (both paid).