My personal top 20, by Rich Paschall

This is probably the opposite of “chick flicks.”  You know what I mean, the romantic comedies starring Sandra Bullock or Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Lopez, or Zac Efron.  You may have to see those as a consequence of the long tradition of “date nights,” but these are some of the films every guy should see.

There could be hundreds of good films for this list.  The heroes are strong, the action is intense, the dialogue is smart and every guy in the theater would like to be the leading man of the story.  They speak not only good versus evil, or right versus wrong, but they also include noble intentions… most of the time anyway.

Since I had to stick with movies I have seen, the list will probably date me to a time when I went to the movie theater more often.  A few of these I have only seen at home, but on a much larger television than when I was young.  Whether you are a Citizen Kane or a Raging Bull, it will be a Bad Day At Black Rock if you do not see all of these.  I normally do a top ten but I could not fit The Great Escape on the list and M.A.S.H. them down to 10.  It may not yet be High Noon, but it is time for the list.

The Magnificent Seven
The Magnificent Seven

20.  The Magnificent Seven. Outstanding remake of the Japanese classic The Seven Samurai, but set in the old West
19.  Dirty Harry. “I know what you’re thinking.”  This movie contains some of the greatest film quotes of all time.
18.  On The Waterfront. Marlon Brando could have been a contender. In fact, he won an Oscar.
17.  Patton.  George C. Scott will scare the heck out of you as the American General and war hero.
16.  Von Ryan’s Express.  Mesmerizing performance by Frank Sinatra trying to lead his troops to safety.
15.  Rocky.  Admit it, you love it.  It is a triumph of the spirit.  The sequels … not so much.
14.  Run Silent, Run Deep.  Burt Lancaster and Clark Gable face intrigue and insurrection on a submarine.
13.  The Bridge on the River Kwai.  Alec Guinness as the noble British officer forced to build a bridge with his fellow prisoners.  And the Oscar goes to…
12. The French Connection.  New York, France, drugs, car chases, cops and the perfect cast.  An Academy award winner.
11. The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo. The ultimate “Spaghetti Western.”

10.  Dr. NoBond, James Bond  If it is not exactly what Ian Fleming had in mind for his spy hero, it is nonetheless a great start to the ongoing series of action adventure movies.  If it were not for Sean Connery, would this series have gone very far?

09.  The Maltese Falcon.  Humphrey Bogart plays the detective who hunts down those responsible for the death of his partner.  It’s an odd speech he gives to Mary Astor at the end, but the final scene remains a classic.

08.  North by Northwest.  Cary Grant is forced to find the killer of an official at the United Nations.  The cross-country thriller is one of the finest works of director Alfred Hitchcock.

07.  Cool Hand Luke.  Paul Newman is a hero of another kind in the 1967 prison movie which earned an academy award for George Kennedy.

06.  Glory.  I loved Matthew Broderick in a number of lightweight movies, but here he rises to the dramatic occasion as the young officer who leads a troop of black soldiers into battle during the Civil War.  Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman also head the stellar cast.

05.  12 Angry Men.  One room, 12 men, one case, all dialogue.  Henry Fonda leads the powerful cast as the hold-out jury member who is not convinced of one boy’s guilt.  The confined setting adds to the unfolding tension.

04.  Jaws.  This movie made a lot of people afraid to go in the water.  Three unlikely people (Robert Shaw, Roy Scheider and Richard Dreyfuss) go shark hunting in this 1975 thriller, directed by Steven Spielberg.

03.  In The Heat Of The Night.  Sydney Poitier commands the screen as the Philadelphia detective in the wrong place in the South. Rod Steiger is the ultimate racist southern sheriff.  The movie should make you squirm just a bit (or a lot) no matter what side of the color line you are on.  This is way beyond the sanitized television series and an important movie in 1967.

02.  The Godfather.  While some will not agree, I find this the best of the trilogy.  Marlon Brando is the Godfather, the Italian don, head of the crime family.  The 1972 film is a movie you can not refuse.

01.  Casablanca.  If you did not know this was coming, you have not been following me for very long.  It may be Casablanca, but we’ll always have Paris.  Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henried, Claude Reins, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre and a supporting cast that look like they belong in the French Moroccan city.

Find trailers for the top 10 here on my You Tube channel.


  1. judyt54 July 31, 2016 / 12:27 am

    funny how many of these Ive seen too, and agree with you on nearly all of them. Mr. Roberts, lightweight though it is, is another that says a lot more than you’d think it might since it’s billed as a comedy–

    the odd speech bogie gives to mary astor is so weird, that when I finally read the book the movie came from, I was stunned to realize how far away from the book the movie got. If you never read the book, it should really make your eyebrows go up, and show you how accepting movie fans are of sloppy dialogue if it’s well done, and done by the right people.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rich Paschall July 31, 2016 / 12:30 am

      I always thought the final speech to Astor was crazy, but the final line of the film is great.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Garry Armstrong July 31, 2016 / 1:07 pm

        Rich, it’s a GREAT top twenty list!! You know I’ve crowned myself as THE Movie Maven with a zillion name dropping anecdotes about old Hollywood legends.
        I **LOVE** your list!
        I probably would rearrange the order a bit but so what.
        Last night, we watched “The Maltese Falcon” again. the interplay between the cast is yummy for movie mavens. Bogie and Astor, Bogie and Lorre, Bogie and Elisha Cook, Jr; Bogie and Greenstreet (The scene where Bogie loses it with Sydney and then walks out grinning). The final scene with Bogie and Astor is classic film noir dialogue. I think Bogie does some of his best acting here. The bittersweet smile, twitching lips as he explains “the code” and the anger as he explodes, telling Astor he won’t let love make him a patsy.
        Of course, the fade out line is such a classic.
        My list would include “The Best Years Of Our Lives”, “Shane”, “Yankee Doodle Dandy”, “The Searchers”, “Sunset Boulevard”, “Inherit The Wind”, “Network” and “The Quiet Man”.
        So many great movies, so little time.
        Rich, ‘tell ’em I’m comin’…tell ’em I’m comin’, you turd, and hell’s comin’ with me…hell’s comin’ with me!!!!’.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Rich Paschall July 31, 2016 / 3:05 pm

          Those are some great additions you have. I really love Inherit the Wind. In fact, I love anything with Spencer Tracy.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Garry Armstrong August 1, 2016 / 8:04 am

            Rich, there are so many I forgot including “To Kill A Mockingbird”. Later, I realized this was a GUYS list. I shudda read more closely.
            We started “The Magnificent Seven” again last night as the late feature. But Marilyn was tired (we have an early call this morning) so I paused the the guys just as Steve/Vin agreed to sign on even if it didn’t pay for his bullets.
            The old man was right.

            Liked by 2 people

  2. Marilyn Armstrong July 31, 2016 / 12:43 am

    I can’t do top ten movies. I like too many movies. These may be “guy” movies, but they are also GREAT movies. The only ones that aren’t on my favorites list are “Rocky” (not a boxing fan, not even in the movies) and “The Godfather,” which I just don’t really like, even though I acknowledge that I am very much in the minority. Also, while I liked “Dr. No” well enough, I don’t think it’s anywhere near as good as most of the rest of the movies on this list, many of which are among the best ever movies. Garry can run every line in “Magnificent Seven.” I have no idea how many times he has seen it, but hundreds, probably. And we are actually — as I write this — watching “The Maltese Falcon” having earlier in the evening watched “Bad Day in Black Rock.” Date night, in Uxbridge 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Rich Paschall July 31, 2016 / 12:47 am

      Even when I pick themes, it is hard to come up with a top 10, or even 20. There are just too many good ones. The next category in two weeks also has 20. I had a tough time with that one too.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Marilyn Armstrong July 31, 2016 / 12:56 am

        I always think we need to do this by categories. Musicals, comedies, dramas, thrillers, sci fi. Otherwise, there are just too many great movies. And we have a LOT of favorites. Dozens. Maybe hundreds.

        Liked by 2 people

          • Marilyn Armstrong July 31, 2016 / 12:14 pm

            Don’t make too many assumptions about that. “The Graduate” was my favorite movie for a very long time.

            Liked by 2 people

          • Garry Armstrong August 2, 2016 / 1:52 pm

            Great concept, Rich. These days, guys are cheaper than guns.

            Liked by 2 people

      • Garry Armstrong July 31, 2016 / 1:15 pm

        Geez, never even got into sports movies.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Garry Armstrong August 3, 2016 / 1:43 pm

        Looking forward to your next top 20 list. I got lots of comments when I re-posted your piece on my Facebook page. You were well received, Rich.
        “Generosity, that was my first mistake”.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Garry Armstrong July 31, 2016 / 1:09 pm

      I forgot to mention we also watched “Bad Day At Black Rock” again yesterday.
      So many movies, so little time.
      The old man was right.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Rich Paschall July 31, 2016 / 3:06 pm

        I have not seen that one in decades. Yesterday I started the Pierce Brosnan Bond movies. I will watch those four in order, although order does not mean much in that group, I think.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. loisajay July 31, 2016 / 8:00 am

    I was hoping a Humphrey Bogart movie made the list, but two! You picked the best ones. Great list–and not just for guys.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Garry Armstrong July 31, 2016 / 1:13 pm

      Nancy, I think there are at least TWO movies in “Silverado”. I still love Costner’s two gun shoot out at the saloon.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Garry Armstrong July 31, 2016 / 1:13 pm

      Leslie, not to worry. I’m watching for you.

      Liked by 2 people

        • Garry Armstrong July 31, 2016 / 1:16 pm

          “The Magnificent Seven” will ride again today here at the Kachingerosa.

          Liked by 3 people

          • Rich Paschall July 31, 2016 / 3:09 pm

            This is another one of those movies I could watch over and over. In fact, I recently bought a Blu-ray edition.

            Liked by 1 person

  4. Garry Armstrong July 31, 2016 / 1:19 pm

    Rich, I re posted this on my Facebook page.
    We’re burnin daylight…

    Liked by 2 people

      • Garry Armstrong October 30, 2016 / 7:56 am

        Rich, are you still travelling overseas? It’s nail-biting time in Chicago!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Rich Paschall October 30, 2016 / 12:32 pm

          We are back. We can win three in a row with this team. I think they are pressing a little too much and have to relax.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Garry Armstrong October 30, 2016 / 4:42 pm

            Agree Papa Joe and Cubbies can come back. Yes, they’re pressing but I think Joe will tell them to take a few pitches if they have guys on base.
            Where did you go in Europe? What’s the word of mouth about Orange Head?

            Liked by 1 person

            • Rich Paschall October 30, 2016 / 6:22 pm

              We went to London. They can not believe America would have such a man as Trump running for President. They wonder what happened to us and where all the hate came from. Some people asked about Trump when they realized we were American. Some are afraid of America if he wins.

              Liked by 1 person

    • Garry Armstrong October 26, 2016 / 2:18 pm

      Elva, “Cool Hand Luke” is one of my favorites and certainly one of Paul Newman’s finest performances. It also was George (Best supporting actor Oscar) Kennedy’s finest film.
      An old pal and I share the on-going line about “The man with no eyes”.
      “Yes, Boss, I’m shaking the bush…still shakin’ the bush.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Garry Armstrong August 2, 2016 / 1:56 pm

    This post is like the Sunday Boston Globe or NY Times or YOUR favorite Sunday paper. You can revisit myriad times and there’s still more to consume.
    I’m in the middle of an Edward G. Robinson film festival on our bedroom TV. Johnny Rocco is about to step out of the tub. Yeah!!!!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

      • Garry Armstrong October 29, 2016 / 12:55 pm

        Maybe you should, big shot! Yeah!!!!!


    • Garry Armstrong October 26, 2016 / 2:24 pm

      Hi, It —
      You brought me back to this post. “The Last Hurrah” is among several politically themed films running tonight on TCM. They’ve also got “All The President’s Men”, “The Best Man” and “The Candidate” scheduled. All goodies.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Rich Paschall July 30, 2017 / 1:05 pm

    Reblogged this on Sunday Night Blog and commented:

    If it is just too hot for you to go dancing, you may wish to see a good movie. Here are 20 of the best all-time movies that guys (and their dates, mates, whoever) should see.


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