There is nothing as magical as Harry Potter. Nothing. Especially if you were lucky enough to be part of the generation that grew up reading and watching the series. Generating almost $10 billion dollars in sales during its release it's easy to say that the much loved series was not only faithful to the books, but a fun-filled once-in-a-generation event.
Second only to Harry Potter was Tolkien's beloved books. These monstrous epics, with run-times of almost 3 hours each, were both stunningly and expertly brought to the screen by New Zealander Peter Jackson. Filled with fights, lots of bare feet and state-of-the-art motion capture, these films are not so much 'movies' as 'experiences'.
Steven Spielberg brought dinosaurs to life. He really did. While the second film was nowhere near the standard or expectations of the first and sections of the first book were either re-written or completely changed, we can forgive Spielberg for it. If only for the utter glory and joy he brought back to film-making. It is a feast for both the eyes and soul and one we can continuously relive and regale 22 years in the future.
Spending 19 years in prison for a crime you didn't commit is both horrendous and a fantastic concept for both film. And what a film it was. It gave us one of the best duos to grace the screen in the form of Red and Andy and it gave us one of the better lines in cinematic history with the quote 'get busy living, or get busy dying'. And that's all before the killer twist ending. But more than that, The Shawshank Redemption provides a glimpse into the life of a prisoner; showing us that despite the worst actions we inflict upon others, most of the time, there is still humanity in us.
We are contractually obliged not to talk about Fight Club. It's rule one (and by proxy rule two).
Twelve words and a sharp intake of air through lips. That's all it took for Anthony Hopkins to showcase his talent. Hopkins nuanced, charming, well-mannered and controlled depiction of Hannibal Lecter is among the best ever. The moment he states "I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti", his acting was no longer simply a performance but transcended into the realm of nightmare-inducing realism.
Frank L. Baum's 1899 children's book seemed fanciful stuff when it was first released. A talking scarecrow, a man made of tin and a lion that was scared of people. But after it was adapted into a popular Broadway musical in 1902 a film version was subsequently issued and what a film it was. Not only did it launch Judy Garland's career but it shaped the imaginations of children for years to come. Even now, almost 76 years since its release, the film still holds ground as one of the greatest family-friendly pictures ever produced.
Fundamentally this film could make the list purely on the back of Heath Ledgers' groundbreaking performance alone. Yet this piece, developed from the short story by Annie Proulx, deals with its subject matter with such intimacy and poignancy that at times you forget you're watching a film. That is the true beauty of this adaptation, it breaks you with its honesty and it haunts you with its beauty.
Solomon Northup's story seems made for film. A powerful picture of the divide that existed between Caucasian Americans and African Americans, made it not just a great film, but a truly important one in acknowledging America's history, and reminding us how little time ago it actually occurred.
The 2011 psychological thriller based upon the book by Lionel Shriver was absorbing, captivating and utterly enthralling. Even when you know the worst is coming it's hard to look away. Leading lady Tilda Swinton is wonderfully cast as Eva, a mother struggling to deal with her potentially psychotic and unemotional son and Ezra Miller gives a breakthrough performance as the troubled titular character Kevin. Best of all, the film discusses two prominent issues in society - mental illness and school massacres - in a way that makes it impossible for people to pretend that they don't exist or can't be helped.
Whale Rider (2002), The Great Gatsby (2013), The Godfather (1972), Jane Eyre (2011), The Help (2005), and The Fault In Our Stars (2014).
The Twilight Saga (2008 - 2012), Eragon (2006), The Divergent Series (2014 - 2016), Whatever the hell that Golden Compass (2007) attempt was and Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004).