Bill Burch’s Top 20 Movie List of All Time (Part 1)

Periodically, an individual or organization publishes a Greatest Movies’ list. A cursory search on Google uncovered a variety of such attempts.

moviesAt random, I chose the Top 100 Greatest Movies by the American Film Institute. The organization chose 400 films based upon “historical significance, critical recognition and awards, and popularity determined by box-office revenue, syndication, video sale and rental figures.” Then over 1,500 members of the institute voted on the top 100.

After reviewing the list, I made the surprising discovery that I had seen 41 of the 100 movies listed by the American Film Institution. (OK, 40 and 1/2 —I closed my eyes during the scariest parts of The Sixth Sense!)

As a public service, I am publishing Bill Burch’s Top Twenty Movie List of All Time . . . well, at least for the past century.

20. The Matrix. The sci-fi notion that humans live in virtual, computer-generated reality blew my mind. Consider it a modern retake of the classic children’s book, The Velveteen Rabbit, which poses the question: “What’s real?” Well, except for special effects, high-tech weaponry, and software viruses that will kill you. This franchise would have done well to stop with the original.

19.Toy Story. Pixar’s first feature length film redefined animated movies. I saw the movie in the theater with my daughter who was five years old, and the experience felt magical. Buzz Light Year discovers love and friendship truly define life.

18. The Princess Bride. OK, the fantasy story doesn’t qualify as a manly-man’s sorta movie. I still rest secure in my machismo. The fairy tale cum children’s book features priceless scenes and quotes. The sword duel. Rodents of unusual size. “As you wish.” “Inconceivable!”

17. Forrest Gump. Tom Hanks portrays a simple man whose life shapes the major events of his day. Life really IS like a box of chocolates.

16. Saving Private Ryan. Tom Hanks makes a second appearance in my list as an officer leading a platoon during World War II. I watched transfixed when the movie abruptly shifted from black and white to color during the Normandy D-Day invasion. The scene vividly portrayed the sacrifices of those who fight to protect our freedoms.

15. Die Hard. I hesitated to include the first in the Bruce Willis film franchise due to the language of the uncut version. However, the film redefined the action movie . . . and I’ve never heard Beethoven’s Hymn to Joy in quite the same way again.

14. Caddy Shack. It’s a risqué movie one wouldn’t want to watch with school age children. However, Bill Murray as Carl the Groundskeeper steals the show. I’m laughing as I type this blog, recalling the scene where Carl fantasizes about playing in The Masters while lopping off the tops of flowers. “I got that going for me, which is nice!”

13. American Graffiti. The 1973 film featured a galaxy of future stars, including Ron Howard, Richard Dreyfuss, Harrison Ford, Mackenzie Phillips, Cindy Williams, and, of course, Wolfman Jack. The movie captures the wonder and angst of adolescence.

12. Young Frankenstein. I’m not a huge Mel Brooks fan—his humor usually exceeds even my admittedly high silliness quotient. However, Gene Wilder shines with pure genius as Dr. Frankenstein’s grandson. “Werewolf? THERE wolf.” “Put the candle BACK.” “Frau Blucher!”

11. The Terminator. Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as a time-traveling robot from the future—need I say more? I must admit the sci-fi flick appears 11th in my list so that I can end this week’s blog with the Arnold’s favorite line: “I’ll be back!”

4 thoughts on “Bill Burch’s Top 20 Movie List of All Time (Part 1)

  1. Well, I have seen all of your movies so far. I can’t say that #15 or 11 rank as high in my estimation, but there was a lot of action. # 15 really bordered on some tense action scenes that you just had to say people would not walk away from these in real life! Or course, in current movies we have Tom Cruise, who chose to really hang onto the side of an airplane, as it took off. There are thrill seekers in real life!! Being that you are a guy and younger than I am, you probably won’t have some of the classic musicals listed in your top 20 from the Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly days. I am certain that somewhere in that list of 100 top movies at least a few of the Alfred Hitchcock movies showed up, too.


  2. Thank you for sharing…I have seen 8 of these. Am thinking the next list may include: Rudy and The Last of the Mohicans but don’t want to steal your thunder. Looking forward to the next list.


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