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Top 100 Movies

Top 100 Movies Based On Books

Top 100 TwilightWell, today is the official opening day of “Twilight“. A very highly anticipated movie… not because of the marketing campaign (which has been average at best), but because of the rabid and loyal following that the book series has. With that in mind, I thought it would be an appropriate time to put together a top 100 movies list of movies that were based on books.

Whenever I hear of a new movie coming out based on a popular book or comic book or a sequel, I instantly hear naysayers complaining about a “lack of creativity in hollywood”. “Why not write something original” some will say. But I say thank goodness gifted screenwriters adapt novels into movies! As you can see from my list, some of the greatest movies in the history of film were adapted from books… films that I can’t even imagine what the world of film would look like today if they never came to be. A world without any of these classics or Hallmark movies is a world I’d rather not experience.

So I spent a couple of weeks putting together this list with three purposes in mind:

1) To highlight the important role books have played in the movie world

2) To draw attention to some fantastic movies that some of you may have never taken the time to watch before

3) To draw attention to the fact that these movies are indeed based on books, which may encourage you to try reading them (which I confess is a little hypocritical of me since I’ve only read a fraction of the books here.)

Now let me emphasize this next point very explicitly. THIS LIST IS NOT A LIST OF THE BEST BOOKS OR WHICH MOVIES DID THE BEST JOB ADAPTING FROM THE BOOK. It is a list of the best movies which happen to be BASED on books. Also, while I did not include Graphic Novels or Comic Books in this list, I do include short stories or novellas since they are usually a part of a single issue collection.

Like all movie lists, this one is subjective and in no way authoritative. The main purpose of which is to spark discussion and maybe interest in seeing some of these fantastic films again, or for the first time. So now I present to you The Movie Blog’s Top 100 Movies Based On Books:

Top 100 Book-Joy-Luck.jpg #100 – THE JOY LUCK CLUB
Rottem Tomatoes Rating – 90%
Synopsis: Through a series of flashbacks, four young chinese women born in America and their respective mothers born in feudal China, explore their past. This search will help them understand their difficult mother/daughter relationship.
John’s Thought: Yes, I am a heterosexual male… and I loved this movie.
Book-Mambo-Kings.jpg #99 – THE MAMBO KINGS
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 78%
Synopsis: Musician brothers Cesar and Nestor leave Cuba for America in the 1950s, hoping to hit the top of the Latin music scene. Cesar is the older brother, the business manager, and the ladies’ man. Nestor is the brooding songwriter, who cannot forget the woman in Cuba who broke his heart.
John’s Thought: No Antonio! Too sexy! Too Sexy!
book-stardust.jpg #98 – STARDUST
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 76%
Synopsis: “Stardust,” based on the best-selling graphic novel by Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess, takes audiences on an adventure that begins in a village in England and ends up in places that exist in an imaginary world. A young man named Tristan (Charlie Cox) tries to win the heart of Victoria (Sienna Miller), the beautiful but cold object of his desire, by going on a quest to retrieve a fallen star. His journey takes him to a mysterious and forbidden land beyond the walls of his village. On his odyssey, Tristan finds the star, which has transformed into a striking girl named Yvaine (Claire Danes).
John’s Thought: Easily the single most underrated and under appreciated film of 2007
book-green-tomatoes.jpg #97 – FRIED GREEN TOMATOES
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 82%
Synopsis: A heartwarming tale of family, friendship and murder in rural Georgia. In a Southern nursing home, a feisty resident and old local fixture named Ninny Threadgoode (Tandy) befriends Evelyn Couch (Kathy Bates) a depressed housewife and stirs her to action with an inspirational tale. She tells the story of a transcendent friendship between two young women living in Georgia in the 1930s, Idgie Threadgoode (Mary Stuart Masterson) and Ruth (Mary Louise Parker), who forge a powerful bond after witnessing a terrible tragedy together. The two women open a cafe (where fried green tomatoes are a house specialty) together in their small Southern town of Whistle Stop and manage to survive the hardships of life, despite racism, prejudice and the pressures of trying to live their lives as individuals in a strict and close-minded Southern society.
John’s Thought: Powerful cast, powerful story. An honestly moving film.
book-shining.jpg #96 – THE SHINING
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 86%
Synopsis: A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where an evil and spiritual presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from the past and of the future
John’s Thought: Iconic film with some of the most quoted one liners from a horror film in history.
book-patriot-games.jpg #95 – PATRIOT GAMES
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 80%
Synopsis: Jack Ryan, the hero of Tom Clancy’s techno-thriller series, returns in the sequel to _The Hunt for Red October_. Ryan is on vacation in England when he spoils an assassination attempt on an important member of the Royal Family. Ryan gets drawn back into the CIA when the same splinter faction of the IRA targets him and his family.
John’s Thought: Once again proving you CAN change actors and still make the franchise work. Ford in his prime and my introduction to the brilliance of Sean Bean.
book-wag-dog.jpg #94 – WAG THE DOG
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 84%
Synopsis: When a Firefly Girl accuses the president of sexual misconduct in the Oval Office less than two weeks before the upcoming election, White House official Winifred Ames (Anne Heche) is told to bring in Conrad Bream (Robert De Niro) to fix the situation and save the president’s chances for reelection. This mysterious “fixer” fabricates a conflict with Albania in an effort to detract attention from the sex scandal, bringing in legendary Hollywood producer Stanley Motss (Dustin Hoffman) to “produce” the war. When the CIA foils the initial plot, the creative team turns to a new story line, creating the saga of a U.S. soldier left behind enemy lines whom the president vows to find and return to American soil.
John’s Thought: Especially funny watching this movie now after the events of the last 8 years. Hard to go wrong with Hoffman and DiNero before he started sucking.
Top 100 books-Charlottes-Web.jpg #93 – CHARLOTTE’S WEB
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 74%
Synopsis: Wilbur the pig is scared of the end of the season, because he knows that come that time, he will end up on the dinner table. He hatches a plan with Charlotte, a spider that lives in his pen, to ensure that this will never happen.
John’s Thought: Loved this as a kid, still love it today and will leave it on whenever I stumble across it channel surfing. Much better than the Julia Roberts voiced one from a couple of years ago.
books-Pride-Prejudice.jpg #92 – PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (1940)
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 88%
Synopsis: From the classic novel by Jane Austen about the morals and mores of the class system in early Georgian England. The intelligent and spirited Elizabeth Bennet is one of 5 daughters — which, during that era, meant trouble: because women cannot inherit, upon her father’s death her family’s home will become the property of their nearest male relative. Only marriage, preferably to someone wealthy, can ensure her security. But the proud young lady instantly takes offense when Mr. Darcy, a promising newcomer in town, doesn’t seem quite admiring enough, and she spurns his advances. Slowly and painfully, Elizabeth realizes her error, but not before it seems she has lost him forever.
John’s Thought: Easily the best adaptation of this book ever done. Not taking away from any of the other ones… but Olivier rules.
books-Notebook.jpg #91 – THE NOTEBOOK
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 51%
Synopsis: The movie focuses on an old man reading a story to an old woman in a nursing home. The story he reads follows two young lovers named Allie Hamilton and Noah Calhoun, who meet one evening at a carnival. But they are separated by Allie’s parents who dissaprove of Noah’s unwealthy family, and move Allie away. After waiting for Noah to write her for several years, Allie meets and gets engaged to a handsome young soldier named Lon. Allie, then, with her love for Noah still alive, stops by Noah’s 200-year-old home that he restored for her, “to see if he’s okay”. It is evident that they still have feelings for each other, and Allie has to choose between her fiancé and her first love.
John’s Thought: I avoided seeing this for a couple of years because it had “chick flick” written all over it. My loss… turned out it’s an exceptional film.

books-Friday-Night-Lights.jpg #90 – FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 82%
Synopsis: A straight arrow coach leads his team to the 1988 Texas state semifinals in the west Texas city of Odessa, where high school football is king. Expectations of classmates, coaches, family, and community members exact a toll on the athletes central to the story. Economic and racial undertones pervade this adaptation of H.G. Bissinger’s book by the same name.
John’s Thought: My first thought is that we’ve seen this movie 100 times already. Wrong. This is a special film, and a reminder that despite taking a lot of junk roles, Billy Bob Thornton can act his ass off sometimes.
books-Bridget-Jones.jpg #89 – BRIDGET JONES’ DIARY
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 80%
Synopsis: Bridget Jones is an average woman struggling against her age, her weight, her job, her lack of a man, and her many imperfections. As a New Year’s Resolution, Bridget decides to take control of her life, starting by keeping a diary in which she will always tell the complete truth. The fireworks begin when her charming though disreputable boss takes an interest in the quirky Miss Jones. Thrown into the mix are Bridget’s band of slightly eccentric friends and a rather disagreeable acquaintance who Bridget cannot seem to stop running into or help finding quietly attractive.
John’s Thought: I’ve yet to meet a woman who hasn’t seen this flick… and there’s a reason for that.
books-Color-Of-Money.jpg #88 – THE COLOR OF MONEY
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 91%
Synopsis: Eddie “Fast Eddy” Felson, a former pool player forced into retirement by gangsters (as seen in “The Hustler”,) finds himself, self-respect, and finally, redemption when he enters a relationship with young pool player Tom Cruise very similar to his own early career. As they travel together, Fast Eddy realizes how much he had lost, and can see the inevitable finale of their relationship as history begins to repeat itself. In an effort to avert tragedy, Eddy severs their relationship, and returns to his first love, pool. Finally, in a big Atlantic City tournament, Cruise returns the favor, and teaches Eddy the final lesson that allows him to finish his quest of re-discovery.
John’s Thought: Hey, remember back when Tom Cruise wasn’t a raving lunatic? Yeah, those were good days.
books-Minority-Reports.jpg #87 – MINORITY REPORT
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 92%
Synopsis: Based on a Philip K. Dick short story, Minority Report is about a cop in the future working in a division of the police department that arrests killers before they commit the crimes courtesy of some future viewing technology. John Anderton has the tables turned on him when he is accused of a future crime and must find out what brought it about and stop it before it can happen.
John’s Thought: Spielberg and Curise are an unlikely couple, but man it worked well for this flick.
books-Apollo-13.jpg #86 – APOLLO 13
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 95%
Synopsis: A movie based on what was to be the third lunar-landing mission. This film shows the trials and tribulations of the Apollo 13 crew, mission control, and families after a near-fatal accident cripples the space vehicle. A mission that couldn’t get TV airtime because space flights had become routine to the American public suddenly grabbed the national spotlight. This is a tale of averted tragedy, heroism and shows a testament to the creativity of the scientists who ran the early space missions.
John’s Thought: A solid cast highlighting yet another brilliant performance by Tom Hanks.
books-Capote.jpg #85 – CAPOTE
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 91%
Synopsis: In 1959, Truman Capote, a popular writer for The New Yorker, learns about the horrific and senseless murder of a family of four in Holcomb, Kansas. Inspired by the story material, Capote and his partner, Harper Lee, travel to the town to research for an article. However, as Capote digs deeper into the story, he is inspired to expand the project into what would be his greatest work, In Cold Blood. To that end, he arranges extensive interviews with the prisoners, especially with Perry Smith, a quiet and articulate man with a troubled history. As he works on his book, Capote feels some compassion for Perry which in part prompts him to help the prisoners to some degree. However, that feeling deeply conflicts with his need for closure for his book which only an execution can provide. That conflict and the mixed motives for both interviewer and subject make for a troubling experience that would produce an literary account that would redefine modern non-fiction.
John’s Thought: Most avid film fans already knew Philip Seymour Hoffman was stupidly gifted… this film just sort of introduced him as an “A” lister to the rest of the world.
Top 100 books-Accidental-Tourist.jpg #84 – ACCIDENTAL TOURIST
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 84%
Synopsis: After the death of his son, Macon Leary, a travel writer, seems to be sleep walking through life. Macon’s wife, seems to be having trouble too, and thinks it would be best if the two would just split up. After the break up, Macon meets a strange outgoing woman, who seems to bring him back down to earth. After starting a relationship with the outgoing woman, Macon’s wife seems to think that their marriage is still worth a try. Macon is then forced to deal many decisions.
John’s Thought: Nominated for best picture and best screenplay. Geena Davis actually won best supporting actress for this one.
Top 100 books-trainspotting.jpg #83 – TRAINSPOTTING
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 88%
Synopsis: A wild, freeform, Rabelaisian trip through the darkest recesses of Edinburgh low-life, focusing on Mark Renton and his attempt to give up his heroin habit, and how the latter affects his relationship with family and friends: Sean Connery wannabe Sick Boy, dimbulb Spud, psycho Begbie, 14-year-old girlfriend Diane, and clean-cut athlete Tommy, who’s never touched drugs but can’t help being curious about them.
John’s Thought: I still think this is Danny Boyle’s best film
books-Verdict.jpg #82 – THE VERDICT
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 96%
Synopsis: Frank Galvin is a down-on-his luck lawyer, reduced to drinking and ambulance chasing. Former associate Mickey Morrissey reminds him of his obligations in a medical malpractice suit that he himself served to Galvin on a silver platter: all parties willing to settle out of court. Blundering his way through the preliminaries, he suddenly realizes that perhaps after all the case should go to court: to punish the guilty, to get a decent settlement for his clients, and to restore his standing as a lawyer.
John’s Thought: One of the best courtroom dramas I’ve ever seen.
books-Remo-Williams.jpg #81 – REMO WILLIAMS THE ADVENTURE BEGINS
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 55%
Synopsis: An NYPD cop is ‘killed’ in an accident. The death is faked, and he is inducted into the organization CURE, dedicated to preserving the constitution by working outside of it. Remo is to become the enforcement wing (assassin) of CURE, and learns an ancient Korean martial art from Chiun, the Master of Sinanju. Based on the popular pulp series “The Destroyer,” by Richard Sapir and Warren Murphy.
John’s Thought: Chiun is still one of my all time favorite supporting characters in any movie I’ve ever seen. His lines are some of the most quotable and hilarious I’ve ever heard. Probably only second to Bruce Campbell’s as Ash.
Top 100 books-drugstore-cowboy.jpg #80 – DRUGSTORE COWBOY
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 100%
Synopsis: Matt Dillon and Kelly Lynch play a heroin-driven Bonnie and Clyde, knocking over drugstores in the Pacific Northwest. Ultimately, they must dispose of the body of one of their crew, sneaking it out from a motel where a sheriffs’ convention is being held.
John’s Thought: Remember back when Matt Dillon was relevant? I still don’t think he gets enough credit for how good he can be.
books-Full-Metal.jpg #79 – FULL METAL JACKET
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 96%
Synopsis: Full Metal Jacket begins by following the trials and tribulations of a platoon of fresh Marine Corps recruits focusing on the relationship between Gunnery Sergeant Hartman and Privates Pyle and Joker. We see Pyle grow into an instrument of death as Hartman has forseen of all of his recruits. Through Pyle’s torment and Joker’s unwillingness to stand up against it the climax of part one is achieved with all three main characters deciding their fates by their action or inaction. The second chapter of Full Metal Jacket delves into Joker’s psyche and the repeated referal to the fact that he joined the Corps to become a killer. When his mostly behind the scenes job as a combat correspondant is interfered with by the Tet offensive he is thrust into real combat and ultimately must choose if he really is a killer.
John’s Thought: Not many people agree with me, but I think this was easily Stanley Kubrick’s best movie.
books-9-weeks.jpg #78 – 9 1/2 WEEKS
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 62%
Synopsis: An erotic story about a woman, the assistant of an art gallery, who gets into an impersonal affaire with a man. She barely knows about his life, only about the sex games they play, so the relationship begins to complicate.
John’s Thought: As hard as it is to believe now, there was a time when Mikey Rourke was once considered a very handsome man.
books-ragtime.jpg #77 – RAGTIME
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 90%
Synopsis: The story runs in the 1910’s New York. Coalhouse Walker Jr. is a black piano player. He has won fame and fortune playing with a jazz band. Some white men do not like this situation, and one day they assault him and spoil his brand new car. Walker tries by all means to get justice, without an answer.
John’s Thought: The strength of the film is in its characters that feel so authentic you can’t help but feel a part of this period piece that was a forerunner for the slew of social change movies that followed in.
Top 100 books-babe.jpg #76 – BABE
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 98%
Synopsis: Babe is a little pig who doesn’t quite know his place in the world. With a bunch of odd friends, like Ferdinand the duck who thinks he is a rooster and Fly the dog he calls mom, Babe realizes that he has the makings to become the greatest sheep pig of all time, and Farmer Hogget Knows it. With the help of the sheep dogs Babe learns that a pig can be anything that he wants to be.
John’s Thought: Whoopie, a movie about a talking pig. We’ve seen it before. I don’t care… this movie is frigging beautiful.
books-Forrest-Gump.jpg #75 – FORREST GUMP
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 72%
Synopsis: Forrest, Forrest Gump is a simple man with little brain activity but good intentions. He struggles through childhood with his best and only friend Jenny. His ‘mama’ teaches him the ways of life and leaves him to choose his destiny. Forrest joins the army for service in Vietnam, finding new friends called Dan and Bubba, he wins medals, starts a table tennis craze, creates a famous shrimp fishing fleet, inspires people to jog, create the smiley, write bumper stickers and songs, donating to people and meeting the president several times. However this is all irrelevant to Forrest who can only think of his childhood sweetheart Jenny. Who has messed up her life. Although in the end all he wants to prove is that anyone can love anyone
John’s Thought: A movie of a less than ordinary person who lives an extraordinary life. Great film, but no way in hell it should have beat out Shawshank Redemption for best picture that year.
books-diggstown.jpg #74 – DIGGSTOWN
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 50%
Synopsis: Gabriel Caine has just been released from prison when he sets up a bet with a business man. The business man owns most of a boxing-mad town called Diggstown. The bet is that Gabe can find a boxer that will knock out 10 Diggstown men, in a boxing ring, within 24 hours. “Honey” Roy Palmer is that man – although at 48, many say he is too old. A sub plot is thrown in about Charles Macum Diggs – the heavyweight champion that gave the town its name – and who is now confined to a wheel-chair.
John’s Thought: One of the best “I never saw that coming” endings to a movie of all time.
books-Field-of-dreams.jpg #73 – FIELD OF DREAMS
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 91%
Synopsis: Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella hears a voice in his corn field tell him, “If you build it, he will come.” He interprets this message as an instruction to build a baseball field on his farm, upon which appear the ghosts of Shoeless Joe Jackson and the other seven Chicago White Sox players banned from the game for throwing the 1919 World Series. When the voices continue, Ray seeks out a reclusive author to help him understand the meaning of the messages and the purpose for his field.
John’s Thought: Listening to James Earl Jones talk about baseball in this film reminds me of why sports are so magical better than any other sports themed monologue in a movie I’ve ever heard.
Top 100 books-Psycho.jpg #72 – PSYCHO
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 97%
Synopsis: Phoenix officeworker Marion Crane is fed up with the way life has treated her. She has to meet her lover Sam in lunch breaks and they cannot get married because Sam has to give most of his money away in alimony. One Friday Marion is trusted to bank $40,000 by her employer. Seeing the opportunity to take the money and start a new life, Marion leaves town and heads towards Sam’s California store. Tired after the long drive and caught in a storm, she gets off the main highway and pulls into The Bates Motel. The motel is managed by a quiet young man called Norman who seems to be dominated by his mother.
John’s Thought: I’ve never felt totally comfortable taking showers in hotels ever since.
books-Firm.jpg #71 – THE FIRM
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 76%
Synopsis: Mitch McDeere is a young man with a promising future in Law. About to sit his Bar exam, he is approached by ‘The Firm’ and made an offer he doesn’t refuse. Seduced by the money and gifts showered on him, he is totally oblivious to the more sinister side of his company. Then, two Associates are murdered. The FBI contact him, asking him for information and suddenly his life is ruined. He has a choice – work with the FBI, or stay with the Firm. Either way he will lose his life as he knows it. Mitch figures the only way out is to follow his own plan.
John’s Thought: Wow, there’s a lot of Tom Cruise on this list
books-Casino.jpg #70 – CASINO
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 83%
Synopsis: Sam ‘Ace’ Rothstein, a mob-connected casino operator in Las Vegas, attempts a civilized lifestyle with his money-conditional wife, Ginger. Nicky Santoro, a boyhood friend of Ace and now a Made-Man of the Mafia, arrives in town with an ambitious agenda of his own that soon disrupts Ace’s life. Before long, Ginger and her long-time leeching lover Lester, along with Nicky’s mistakes, causing problems.
John’s Thought: Sexy, violent and just plain cool
Top 100 books-blade-runner.jpg #69 – BLADE RUNNER
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 91%
Synopsis: Los Angeles, 2019: Rick Deckard of the LAPD’s Blade Runner unit prowls the steel & micro-chip jungle of the 21st century for assumed humanoids known as ‘replicants’. Replicants were declared illegal after a bloody mutiny on an Off-World Colony, and are to be terminated upon detection. Man’s obsession with creating a being equal to himself has back-fired.
John’s Thought: I don’t like this nearly as much as most people, but there is no denying its place in Sci-Fi history
books-English-Patient.jpg #68 – THE ENGLISH PATIENT
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 84%
Synopsis: A burn victim, a nurse, a thief, and a sapper find themselves in each others company in an old Italian villa close to the end of World War II. Through flashbacks, we see the life of the burn victim, whose passionate love of a woman and choices he made for her ultimately change the lives of one other person in the villa. Not only is this film a search for the identity of the English patient, but a search for the identities of all the people in the quiet old villa.
John’s Thought: A lot of people found this dry and slow, but I thought it hit every note perfectly.
books-River-Runs-Through-it.jpg #67 – A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 78%
Synopsis: A true story about two boys, Norman and Paul, growing up in Montana. One is rebellious of his father, Rev. Maclean, while the other has his feet on the ground. The one love they both have is fly fishing.
John’s Thought: Who knew a movie about a love of Fly Fishing would be so good. To me, my favorite performance by Tom Skerritt of his career.
books-Once-Upon-America.jpg #66 – ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 93%
Synopsis: Epic, episodic, tale of the lives of a small group of New York City Jewish gangsters spanning over 40 years. Told mostly in flashbacks and flash-forwards, the movie centers on small-time hood David ‘Noodles’ Aaronson and his lifelong partners in crime; Max, Cockeye and Patsy and their friends from growing up in the rough Jewish neighborhood of New York’s Lower East Side in the 1920s, to the last years of Prohibition in the early 1930s, and then to the late 1960s where an elderly Noodles returns to New York after many years in hiding to look into the past.
John’s Thought: If I ask you to name a gangster movie with Robert DiNero, would this one even be in the first 3 you’d name?
books-fly.jpg #65 – THE FLY
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 91%
Synopsis: Seth Brundle is a scientist working on teleportation. Just when he thinks he’s ironed out the last bug in his system, the intervention of a common house fly turns Seth into a 6 foot insect. The transformation from man to fly is gradual but horrific, and is witnessed by Veronica; a reporter documenting Seth’s story. Seth has some time to try to find a cure, but is there enough time…?
John’s Thought: Just watched this movie again recently. So honestly freaky and yet really funny at some points too.
Top 100 books-Munich.jpg #64 – MUNICH
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 77%
Synopsis: During the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, eleven Israeli athletes are taken hostage and murdered by a Palestinian terrorist group known as Black September. In retaliation, the Israeli government recruits a group of Mossad agents to track down and execute those responsible for the attack.
John’s Thought: If there was ever any question that Eric Bana possessed the tools to be a top notch A List movie start, this project settled those questions in my opinion.
books-Natural.jpg #63 – THE NATURAL
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 83%
Synopsis: An unknown middle-aged batter named Roy Hobbs with a mysterious past appears out of nowhere to take a losing 1930s baseball team to the top of the league in this magical sports fantasy. With the aid of a bat cut from a lightning struck tree, Hobbs lives the fame he should have had earlier when, as a rising pitcher, he is inexplicably shot by a young woman.
John’s Thought: The scene near the end of the home run set to that incredible music with the sparks flying still gives me goose bumps.
books-Terms-Endearment.jpg #62 – TERMS OF ENDEARMENT
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 89%
Synopsis: Aurora and Emma are mother and daughter who march to different drummers. Beginning with Emma’s marriage, Aurora shows how difficult and loving she can be. The movie covers several years of their lives as each finds different reasons to go on living and find joy. Aurora’s interludes with Garrett Breedlove, retired astronaut and next door neighbor are quite striking. In the end, different people show their love in very different ways.
John’s Thought: A fantastic balance between funny and sad.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 100%
Synopsis: U.S. Air Force General Jack Ripper goes completely and utterly mad, and sends his bomber wing to destroy the U.S.S.R. He suspects that the communists are conspiring to pollute the “precious bodily fluids” of the American people. The U.S. president meets with his advisors, where the Soviet ambassador tells him that if the U.S.S.R. is hit by nuclear weapons, it will trigger a “Doomsday Machine” which will destroy all plant and animal life on Earth. Peter Sellers portrays the three men who might avert this tragedy: British Group Captain Lionel Mandrake, the only person with access to the demented Gen. Ripper; U.S. President Merkin Muffley, whose best attempts to divert disaster depend on placating a drunken Soviet Premier and the former Nazi genius Dr. Strangelove, who concludes that “such a device would not be a practical deterrent for reasons which at this moment must be all too obvious”. Will the bombers be stopped in time, or will General Jack Ripper succeed in destroying the world ?
John’s Thought: Hailed as one of the funniest films ever made… and yet the book didn’t really have any comedy elements in it at all.
Top 100 books-green-mile.jpg #60 – THE GREEN MILE
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 78%
Synopsis: Paul Edgecomb is a slightly cynical veteran prison guard on Death row in the 1930’s. His faith, and sanity, deteriorated by watching men live and die, Edgecomb is about to have a complete turn around in attitude. Enter John Coffey, He’s eight feet tall. He has hands the size of waffle irons. He’s been accused of the murder of two children… and he’s afraid to sleep in a cell without a night-light. And Edgecomb, as well as the other prison guards – Brutus, a sympathetic guard, and Percy, a stuck up, perverse, and violent person, are in for a strange experience that involves intelligent mice, brutal executions, and the revelation about Coffey’s innocence and his true identity.
John’s Thought: My second favorite Darabont movie behind another film on this list higher up and a performance of a lifetime for Michael Clarke Duncan that he’ll probably never equal.
books-Girl-Interupted.jpg #59 – GIRL INTERRUPTED
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 52%
Synopsis: Susanna is depressed and directionless after finishing high school in the late 1960’s. A suicide attempt lands her in Claymore, a mental institution. She befriends the band of troubled women in her ward (Georgina the pathological liar, the sexually abused Daisy, the burn victim Polly) but falls under the hypnotic sway of Lisa, the wildest and most hardened of the bunch. Will Susanna “drop anchor” at Claymore and perpetually act out like Lisa, or will she finally pull her mind together and leave institutional life behind?
John’s Thought: I still don’t rationally know why I like this movie so much… but I do.
books-Quiz-Show.jpg #58 – QUIZ SHOW
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 96
Synopsis: An idealistic young lawyer (Rob Morrow) working for a Congressional subcommittee in the late 1950s discovers that TV quiz shows are being fixed. His investigation focusses on two contestants on the show “Twenty-One”: Herbert Stempel (John Turturro), a brash working-class Jew from Queens, and Charles Van Doren (Ralph Fiennes), the patrician scion of one of America’s leading literary families. Based on a true story.
John’s Thought: Ralph Fiennes and John Turturro just rock the hell out of this movie. Far more intense and exciting than you’d think a movie about a game show would be.
Top 100 books-Romancing-Stone.jpg #57 – ROMANCING THE STONE
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 85%
Synopsis: The writer of romantic novels Joan Wilder travels to south America to look for and rescue her kidnapped sister. She finds herself stranded in the jungles and finds help in the form of the soldier of fortune Jack Colton. The two go through a number of adventures, deal with the bad villains Ralph and company, and end up falling in love.
John’s Thought: One of those great films that was just fine as it was they never should have made a sequel to.
books-color-purple.jpg #56 – THE COLOR PURPLE
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 84%
Synopsis: This film follows the life of Celie, a young black girl growing up in the early 1900’s. The first time we see Celie, she is 14 – and pregnant – by her father. We stay with her for the next 30 years of her tough life.
John’s Thought: One more reason why Steven Spielberg is simply the best director in the business in our lifetime.
books-Dead-Zone.jpg #55 – THE DEAD ZONE
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 89%
Synopsis: Johnny Smith is a young schoolteacher with his whole life ahead of him. Unfortunately, after leaving his fiancee’s home one night, he is involved in a wreck with an 18-wheel tractor-trailer and is in a coma for 5 years. When he wakes up from it, he discovers he has an ability to see into other people’s lives, past, present and future, by coming into physical contact. But the visions he has are often frightening, and even apocalyptic.
John’s Thought: This is the first movie I ever saw Christopher Walken in (hey, I was 11 years old) and to this day I still get a little freaked out when I see him on screen.
books-Fast-Times.jpg #54 – FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 81%
Synopsis: Follows a group of high school students growing up in southern California, based on the real-life adventures chronicled by Cameron Crowe. Stacy Hamilton and Mark Ratner are looking for a love interest, and are helped along by their older classmates, Linda Barrett and Mike Damone, respectively. The center of the film is held by Jeff Spicoli, a perpetually stoned surfer dude who faces off with the resolute Mr. Hand, who is convinced that everyone is on dope.
John’s Thought: One of those movies I love now for totally different reasons then why I loved it as a kid. Back then it was just because of boobs and sex… today it’s because… oh wait… same reasons.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 75%
Synopsis: Based on the 2nd in the series of books by ‘CS Lewis’ , “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” the film tells the story of 4 children who go to live with an old professor during the war. One day, while playing hide and seek, Lucy, the youngest of the children, finds a wardrobe which leads to a magical land called Narnia. However Narnia is being ruled by the evil White Witch who has made it snow for 100 years and according to an old prophecy, Edmund, Lucy, Peter and Susan are the “chosen ones” who will defeat the Witch. They are assisted by the true ruler of Narnia, the lion, Aslan. With the good Narnians on their side all 4 children must now defeat the witch using all their strength and fulfill their destinies to become the new kings and queens of Narnia.
John’s Thought: Loved this movie! Perfectly captured the sense of magic and wonder like a master storyteller around a campfire. Too bad the sequel was such a let down.
books-Out-Sight.jpg #52 – OUT OF SIGHT
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 92%
Synopsis: A career bank robber busts out of jail (Clooney) with the help of his buddy (Rhames) and kidnaps a US Marshal (Lopez) in the process. When the two cons head for Detroit to pull off their final big scam, the Marshal is put on their case but she finds she is attracted to one of them and has second thoughts about bringing them in.
John’s Thought: Maybe it’s just because of the great cast and fantastic story surounding her… but J-Lo actually didn’t completely suck in this movie. Guess you gotta get lucky at least once right?
Top 100 First Blood #51 – FIRST BLOOD
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 85%
Synopsis: Ex-Green Beret John Rambo wanders up north in search of a friend. Rambo was awarded with the medal of honor for his service in Vietnam but has not found solace in the States thereafter. And he certainly does escape prejudice when a small town’s tough, idealistic sheriff spots him entering. The sheriff believes Rambo would be something of a light disturbance to the town and tries to keep him out. When Rambo rebels and then escapes into the cold misty forests, the force embarks on a massive manhunt to subdue him flanked by his former superior officer Colonel Trautman who knows the odds and ends of Rambo’s cunning.
John’s Thought: This film was more than just the brainless blow-em-up action movie that the rest of the franchise became. It was actually a character film, and a damn good one at that.
books-In-THe-Name-Of-The-Father.jpg #50 – IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 95%
Synopsis: Based on the true story of Gerry Conlon, a Belfast youth who – along with family members and friends – was wrongly convicted of bombing two pubs outside of London. A story about the relationship between a father and his son who fought for justice to clear his father’s name.
John’s Thought: This movie was basically a memo to mankind letting us know Lewis is one of the greatest actors alive.
books-Mystic-River.jpg #49 – MYSTIC RIVER
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 87%
Synopsis: During a summer in 1975, Dave Boyle and two friends, Jimmy and Sean, are playing on a sidewalk in Boston when Dave is abducted by two men and subjected to sexual abuse over a period of several days. Eventually escaping, but haunted into adulthood by his trauma, Dave becomes a primary suspect when Jimmy’s daughter, Katie, is found murdered. Sean, assigned to investigate the crime, finds himself facing both demons from the past and demons in the present as the circumstances surrounding Katie’s death are uncovered.
John’s Thought: This movie flat out haunted me for a while after I watched it. Tragic and poetic ending. Intense personal, moral and violent conflict. I basically laugh at people who dis on Eastwood as a director.
books-Sophies-Choice.jpg #48 – SOPHIE’S CHOICE
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 84%
Synopsis: Sophie is the survivor of Nazi concentration camps, who has found a reason to live in Nathan, a sparkling if unsteady American Jew obsessed with the Holocaust. They befriend Stingo, the movie’s narrator, a young American writer new to New York City. But the happiness of Sophie and Nathan is endangered by her ghosts and his obsessions.
John’s Thought: First movie I ever saw Meryl Streep in. I still think she’s never been better (and that’s not a bad thing)
Top 100 Lord Of The Flies #47 – LORD OF THE FLIES (1963)
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 100%
Synopsis: A group of boys are marooned on an island after their plane crashes. With no adult survivors, they create their own “micro-society”. Ralph is elected “chief”, and he organises shelter and fire. Jack, the head of the choir takes his boys hunting for food (wild pigs). A bitter rivalry develops between Jack and Ralph as both want to be in charge. The “hunters” become savage and primal, under Jack’s rule, while Ralph tries to keep his group civilised. The growing hostility between them leads to a bloody and frighting climax.
John’s Thought: When watching the film “Doomsday” earlier this year I was struck by how much of a rip off it was (in basic theme) of this film. Except this film did it… you know… in a not sucky way.
books-Kiss-Spider-Woman.jpg #46 – KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 88%
Synopsis: Luis Molina and Valentin Arregui are cell mates in a South American prison. Luis, a homosexual, is found guilty of immoral behaviour and Valentin is a political prisoner. To escape reality Luis invents romantic movies, while Valentin tries to keep his mind on the situation he’s in. During the time they spend together, the two men come to understand and respect one another.
John’s Thought: Have I ever mentioned that William Hurt just absolutely rules?
Top 100 books-Willy-Wonka.jpg #45 – WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 90%
Synopsis: The world is astounded when Willy Wonka, for years a recluse in his factory, announces that five lucky people will be given a tour of the factory, shown all the secrets of his amazing candy, and one will win a lifetime supply of Wonka chocolate. Nobody wants the prize more than young Charlie, but as his family is so poor that buying even one bar of chocolate is a treat, buying enough bars to find one of the five golden tickets is unlikely in the extreme. But in movieland, magic can happen. Charlie, along with four somewhat odious other children, get the chance of a lifetime and a tour of the factory. Along the way, mild disasters befall each of the odious children, but can Charlie beat the odds and grab the brass ring?
John’s Thought: Unlike most people, I almost liked the Tim Burton version of this story as much as the original. ALMOST.
books-Kiss-Kiss-Bang-Bang.jpg #44 – KISS KISS, BANG BANG
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 83%
Synopsis: A noir send-up. A narrator introduces himself at a Hollywood party: he’s Harry Lockhart, a thief from New York, in L.A. for a screen test. He meets Gay Perry, a glitzy private eye who’s to school him for his role; there’s Harmony Lane, a wannabe actress whose time has passed; the host is an aging actor who starred in detective movies, plus his daughter, with starlet looks and a choppy past. The next day, Gay and Harry stake out a house where Gay is to take surreptitious photographs for a client – what they find is a corpse. From there, twists and connections abound and bodies pile up. Who’s double-crossing whom? And, has Harry found Harmony too late to save himself from misery?
John’s Thought: This movie ranks right up there with Bubba Ho-Tep where the fact that it never got a wide release should be considered a crime against humanity. Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer were both just amazing in this flick
books-Mice-And-Men.jpg #43 – OF MICE AND MEN
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 100%
Synopsis: Based on John Steinbeck’s 1937 classic tale of two travelling companions, George and Lennie, who wander the country during the Depression, dreaming of a better life for themselves. Then, just as heaven is within their grasp, it is inevitably yanked away. The film follows Steinbeck’s novel closely, exploring questions of strength, weakness, usefulness, reality and utopia, bringing Steinbeck’s California vividly to life.
John’s Thought: So beautifully and tragically crafted. I’m always saddened by how many people have never watched this movie.
Top 100 books-Harry-Potter-Goblet.jpg #42 – HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIREr
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 90%
Synopsis: Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts for his fourth year, where the Trizwizard tournament is becoming ready to begin. Students must be over 17 to enter, with the winner receiving eternal glory. Harry can’t enter it this year…or can he. When his name is read out from the Goblet of Fire, everyone assumes that Harry Potter has cheated. Harry insists that he never placed his name in there, with someone else behind it. But Who? Harry must now survive through dragons, sea creatures and a terrifying maze, all before coming face-to-face with a particular dark wizard.
John’s Thought: This one will be hotly debated, but to me it’s head and shoulders the best of the Potter films so far.
Top 100 books-Year-Living-Dangerously.jpg #41 – THE YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 96%
Synopsis: Guy Hamilton is a journalist on his first job as a foreign correspondent. His apparently humdrum assignment to Indonesia soon turns hot as President Sukarno electrifies the populace and frightens foreign powers. Guy soon is the hottest reporter on the story with the help of his photographer, half- Chinese dwarf Billy Kwan, who has gone native. Guy’s affair with diplomat Jill Bryant also helps. Eventually Guy must face some major moral choices and the relationship between Billy and him reaches a crisis at the same time the politics of Indonesia does.
John’s Thought: You’d think Mel Gibson thought 2007 was the year to live danerously by shooting off his stupid drunk ass mouth about the Jews
books-ordinary-people.jpg #40 – ORDINARY PEOPLE
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 90%
Synopsis: Beth, Calvin, and their son Conrad are living in the aftermath of the death of the other son. Conrad is overcome by grief and misplaced guilt to the extent of a suicide attempt. He is in therapy. Beth had always preferred his brother and is having difficulty being supportive to Conrad. Calvin is trapped between the two trying to hold the family together.
John’s Thought: One of those films that leaves you speechless after seeing it. For my money the best job Robert Redford ever did as a director.
Top 100 books-Bourne-Ultimatum.jpg #39 – THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 93%
Synopsis: Bourne is once again brought out of hiding, Jason Bourne is now hunted by the people who made him what he is–legendary assassin. Having lost his memory and the one person he loved, he is undeterred by the barrage of bullets and a new generation of highly-trained killers. Bourne has only one objective: to go back to the beginning and find out who he was.
John’s Thought: I was never all that impressed with either of the first two Bourne movies (they were ok), but this one was flat out brilliant.
books-Thing.jpg #38 – THE THING
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 77%
Synopsis: An American scientific expedition to the frozen wastes of the Antarctic is interrupted by a group of seemingly mad Norwegians pursuing and shooting a dog. The helicopter pursuing the dog crashes leaving no explanation for the chase. During the night, the dog mutates and attacks other dogs in the cage and members of the team that investigate. The team soon realises that an alien life-form with the ability to take over other bodies is on the loose and they don’t know who may already have been taken over.
John’s Thought: One of my favorite openings to a film, especially as the movie goes on and you understand the significance of it more and more.
books-LA-Confidential.jpg #37 – L.A. CONFIDENTIAL
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 99%
Synopsis: 1950’s Los Angeles is the seedy backdrop for this intricate noir-ish tale of police corruption and Hollywood sleaze. Three very different cops are all after the truth, each in their own style: Ed Exley, the golden boy of the police force, willing to do almost anything to get ahead, except sell out; Bud White, ready to break the rules to seek justice, but barely able to keep his raging violence under control; and Jack Vincennes, always looking for celebrity and a quick buck until his conscience drives him to join Exley and White down the one-way path to find the truth behind the dark world of L.A. crime.
John’s Thought: It’s only years after it was made that you realise just how stacked this cast was. Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce were hardly the recognizable names that they are today.
Top 100 Silence OF The Lambs #36 – THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 96%
Synopsis: Clarice Starling, a young intelligent FBI trainee, has been sent to the Batlimore state hospital for the Criminally insane to interview an inmate Dr. Hannibal-the cannibal- Lecter. A Brilliant renowned psychiatrist turned infamous Psychopathic Serial killer. She must match wits with Lecter -who has the darkest of all minds- and trust him to give her clues in the search for “Buffalo Bill”. a nick name for a loose,unknown, unstoppable Pyschopathic Serial killer.
John’s Thought: Who knew that a cannibalistic serial killer could become a pop culture hero?
books-Planet-Apes.jpg #35 – PLANET OF THE APES
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 88%
Synopsis: In the year 3978A.D. a spaceship with a crew of 4 crashes down on a distant planet. One of the crew members had died in space and the other 3 head out to explore the planet. They soon learn that the planet is much like their own. They then find the planet is inhabited by intelligent apes. One of the men is shot and killed and the others are taken to the apes’ city. There, one undergoes brain surgery and is put into a state of living death. The other befriends some of the apes but is feared by most. After being put through ape trial he escapes with a female human native to the planet. After helping his ape friends escape a religious heresy trial he escapes out into the wilderness with the female. There he learns the planet might not be so distant after all.
John’s Thought: I lost count of how many sequels they made of this amazing films. I think they stopped just short of having “The Apes Do Disco”.
Top 100 The Secret of Nimh #34 – THE SECRET OF NIMH
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 94%
Synopsis: A fieldmouse named Mrs. Brisby must move her family to a safe location before the farmer plows the field where they live, but her invalid son Timmy cannot go outside due to his pneumonia. She enlists the aid of some highly intelligent, escaped lab rats that have built a subterranean society inside a rose bush near the farmer’s garden. The rats, led by the wise Nicodemus, decide to help her physically move her house to repay a debt of gratitude to her late husband, who made possible the rats’ escape from the laboratory. But things become complicated when some of the rats decide to use the situation to kill Nicodemus and make it appear to be accidental.
John’s Thought: I often forget about this magnificent animated film. Truly one of best films that captures your imagination.
Top 100 books-Sideways.jpg #33 – SIDEWAYS
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 96%
Synopsis: A week before the marriage of his great friend, the decadent actor Jack (Thomas Haden Church), the bitter frustrated writer divorced oenologist English teacher Miles Raymond (Paul Giamatti) travels with him to the wine country of California to spend a week together. While Miles intends to drink wine and play golf, Jack indeed intends to score and get laid with as many women as possible. While hosted in the Windmill Inn, they meet the waitress Maya (Virginia Madsen) and the attendant Stephanie (Sandra Oh), and they spend some time together, visiting different wine makers and and Miles and Maya disclosing their inner secrets and falling in love for each other.
John’s Thought: I still don’t really understand how Paul Giamatti didn’t get nominated for his performance in this.
Top 100 books-Children-Of-Men.jpg #32 – CHILDREN OF MEN
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 92%
Synopsis: “Children of Men” envisages a world one generation from now that has fallen into chaos on the heels of an infertility defect in the population. The world’s youngest citizen has just died at 18, and humankind is facing the likelihood of its own extinction. Set against a backdrop of London torn apart by violence and warring nationalistic sects, “Children of Men” follows an unlikely champion of Earth’s survival: Theo, a disillusioned ex-activist turned bureaucrat, who is forced to face his own demons and protect the planet’s last remaining hope.
John’s Thought: Some of the scenes in this flick have the most amazing cinematography and continuous shots.
books-Stand-By-Me.jpg #31 – STAND BY ME
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 91%
Synopsis: Based on Stephen King’s Short story “The Body”, “Stand By Me” tells the tale of Gordie Lachance, a writer who looks back on his preteen days when he and three close friends went on their own adventure to find the body of a kid their age who had gone missing and presumed dead. The stakes are upped when the bad kids in town are closely tailing – and it becomes a race to see who’ll be able to recover the body first.
John’s Thought: Hey everybody look… it’s Wesley Crusher
books-2001.jpg #30 – 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 91%
Synopsis: This movie is concerned with intelligence as the division between animal and human, then asks a question; what is the next division? Technology is treated as irrelevant to the quest – literally serving as mere vehicles for the human crew, and as a shell for the immature HAL entity. Story told as a montage of impressions, music and impressive and careful attention to subliminal detail. A very influential film and still a class act, even after 25 years.
John’s Thought: There are parts of this film that still confuse the hell out of me.
books-Master-Commander.jpg #29 – MASTER AND COMMANDER: THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 84%
Synopsis: The year is 1805. Europe has fallen to Napoleon, and only the Royal Navy stands in his way to total victory. Off the cost of South America, a new conflict is brewing. Captain Jack “Lucky Jack” Aubrey (Russel Crowe) of the Man-of-War HMS Surprise is under orders to sink or capture the French privateer Acheron, which has been deployed to the region. After seven weeks of uneventful sailing, the Acheron strikes first, all but crippling the Surprise in an engagement in which Aubrey realizes his enemy’s ship is nautically superior to his own. Along with his close friend and confidant Stephan Maturin (Paul Bettany) who also happens to be the ship’s surgeon, Aubrey is now faced with the choice of retreating to England and admitting defeat or remaining at the Acheron’s mercy. Aubrey must now do the impossible if he is to survive, repair his ship, catch up to his enemy and defeat the Acheron–somehow.
John’s Thought: Tragically overlooked film. The young kids in the cast actually add to the film
Top 100 books-Memento.jpg #28 – MEMENTO
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 94%
Synopsis: Point blank in the head a man shoots another. In flashbacks, each one earlier in time than what we’ve just seen, the two men’s pasts unfold. Leonard, as a result of a blow to the head during an assault on his wife, has no short-term memory. He’s looking for his wife’s killer, compensating for his disability by taking Polaroids, annotating them and tattooing important facts on his body. We meet the loquacious Teddy and the seductive Natalie (a barmaid who promises to help) and we glimpse Leonard’s wife through memories from before the assault. Leonard also talks about Sammy Jankis, a man he knew with a similar condition. Has Leonard found the killer? Who’s manipulating whom?
John’s Thought: Such a unique way to tell a story and the movie that put Christopher Nolan (director of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight) on the map for people.
Top 100 books-Dances-Wolves.jpg #27 – DANCES WITH WOLVES
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 77%
Synopsis: Lt. John Dunbar is dubbed a hero after he accidentally leads Union troops to a victory during the Civil War. He requests a position on the western frontier, but finds it deserted. He soon finds out he is not alone, but meets a wolf he dubs “Two-socks” and a curious Indian tribe. Dunbar quickly makes friends with the tribe, and discovers a white woman who was raised by the Indians. He gradually earns the respect of these native people, and sheds his white-man’s ways.
John’s Thought: Yeah people got sick of Costner, but that doesn’t change the fact that this is one hell of a movie.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 75%
Synopsis: The last months of Jesse James’s life, from meeting Robert Ford, a 19-year-old who idolizes Jesse, to the day Ford shoots him. Jesse’s a wanted man, living under a pseudonym, carrying out a train robbery, disappearing to Kentucky, and reappearing to plan a bank holdup with Robert and Robert’s brother as his team. The rest of the gang is dead, arrested, or gone from Missouri. Whenever Jesse’s around, there’s tension: he’s murderous, quixotic, depressed, and cautious. Ford wants to be somebody and wants the reward. On April 3, 1882, things come to a head: Jesse is 34, Robert 20. Ford becomes famous, reenacting the shooting on stage, facing down the label “coward,” shot dead in 1892.
John’s Thought: Deliberately paced, beautifully told with a couple of stunning performances to boot.
books-Das-Boot.jpg #25 – DAS BOOT
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 96%
Synopsis: A detailed look into the claustrophobic and terrifying world of a German U-boat crew hunting ships from undersea. Gritty, realistic, and peppered with black humour, this is one of the few sympathetic portrayals of the war from the German side to be released in western distribution.
John’s Thought: I think this might have been the first foreign film I ever saw… it still might be the best.
Top 100 books-Raging-Bull.jpg #24 – RAGING BULL
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 98%
Synopsis: When Jake LaMotta steps into a boxing ring and obliterates his opponent, he’s a prizefighter. But when he treats his family and friends the same way, he’s a ticking time bomb, ready to go off at any moment. Though LaMotta wants his family’s love, something always seems to come between them. Perhaps it’s his violent bouts of paranoia and jealousy. This kind of rage helped make him a champ, but in real life, he winds up in the ring alone.
John’s Thought: A different kind of sports movies and one of DiNero’s best performances.
books-Last-Mohicans.jpg #23 – THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 97%
Synopsis: As the English and French soldiers battle for control of the North American colonies in the 18th century, the settlers and native Americans are forced to take sides. Cora and her sister Alice unwittingly walk into trouble but are saved by Hawkeye, an orphaned settler adopted by the last of the Mohicans.
John’s Thought: STAY ALIVE! Man, the scene where he kills the guy who was about to get tortured… yikes
books-Postman-Rings-Twice.jpg #22 – THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE
Rotten Tomatoes Rating
Synopsis: This remake of the 1946 movie of the same name accounts an affair between a seedy drifter and a seductive wife of a roadside cafe owner. This begins a chain of events that culminates in murder. Based on a novel by James M. Cain.
John’s Thought: A lot of the so called “all time classics” don’t end up living up to the hype. This one does.
books-Untouchables.jpg #21 – THE UNTOUCHABLES
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 82%
Synopsis: Young Treasury Agent Elliot Ness arrives in Chicago and is deternimed to take down Al Capone but he learns that it’s not going to be easy, because Capone has the police in his pocket. But Ness meets Jimmy Malone a veteran patrolman and probably the most honorable one in the force. He asks Malone to help him get Capone but Malone warns him that if he goes after Capone, he is going to war. They recruit academy cadet, George Stone and Treasury agent Oscar Wallace, who is also an accountant, who wants to prosecute Capone for tax evasion. When they make headway, Capone tries to get them but they are untouchable.
John’s Thought: Leave it to a wop to bring a knife to a gun fight. Yeah, we tend to do that.
books-310-Yuma.jpg #20 – 3:10 TO YUMA
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 88%
Synopsis: The rancher Daniel Evans, who lost part of his leg in the Civil War, is broken and owing a large amount to a powerful man in Bisbee. When the outlaw Ben Wade is captured after the heist of a stagecoach, Dan offers to escort the cold blood killer to the city of Contention to take the 3:10 PM train to Yuma to be sent to trial. In return, he would receive US$ 200,00, enough to save his land and give a better life to his family. During their journey, Ben gets closer to Dan while his gang of criminals follows the group to rescue their boss.
John’s Thought: I honestly don’t know why this movie didn’t get better received because I thought it was flat out amazing and my favorite western since Unforgiven.
Top 100 books-Die-Hard.jpg #19 – DIE HARD
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 96%
Synopsis: Tough New York cop John McClane finds himself in a tight situation when an office building in Los Angeles is taken over by terrorists. Apart from himself, everyone else in the building – including his wife – is held at gunpoint while their captors spell out their demands. The F.B.I. are called in to survey the situation, but John McClane has other plans for the terrorists…
John’s Thought: Betcha didn’t know this was based on a book. Yeah neither did I at first.
Top 100 books-Beautiful-Mind.jpg #18 – A BEAUTIFUL MIND
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 78%
Synopsis: From the heights of notoriety to the depths of depravity, John Forbes Nash, Jr. experienced it all. A mathematical genius, he made an astonishing discovery early in his career and stood on the brink of international acclaim. But the handsome and arrogant Nash soon found himself on a painful and harrowing journey of self-discovery. After many years of struggle, he eventually triumphed over his tragedy, and finally – late in life – received the Nobel Prize.
John’s Thought: Russell Crowe is hands down the best all around actor alive today. This film is just exhibit 4 on the list that proves that point.
books-Casino-Royale.jpg #17 – CASINO ROYALE
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 94%
Synopsis: Recently promoted to 00 status, James Bond takes over his first mission, in which he faces a mysterious private banker to world terrorism and poker player, Le Chiffre. Along with a beautiful Treasury agent and the MI6 man in Montenegro, Bond takes part in a high stakes poker game set up by Le Chiffre in order to recover a huge sum of his clients’ money he lost in a failed plot that the British spy took down. 007 will not only discover the threatening organization behind his enemy, but the worst of all truths: to not trust on anyone.
John’s Thought: Daniel Craig because my all time favorite James Bond, and Casino Royale became my favorite Bond film. Too bad Quantum of Solace didn’t live up to Royale’s level.
books-Million-Dollar-Baby.jpg #16 – MILLION DOLLAR BABY
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 91%
Synopsis: Maggie Fitzgerald, a poor thirty-one year old waitress from the very lower classes and with a dysfunctional loser family, decides to make a difference through boxing. She convinces the experienced hardened boxing trainer Frankie Dunn to coach her and be her manager, with the support of his old partner Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris, who sees her potential as a boxer. Frankie has a problematical relationship with his daughter, and practically adopts Maggie along her career.
John’s Thought: Holy crap this movie twisted my emotions into a thousand knots and inside out. Love this movie. Eastwood is indeed one of the premiere directors in the business.
books-Misery.jpg #15 – MISERY
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 90%
Synopsis: Novelist Paul Sheldon crashes his car on a snowy Colorado road. He is found by Annie Wilkes, the “number one fan” of Paul’s heroine Misery Chastaine. Annie is also somewhat unstable, and Paul finds himself crippled, drugged and at her mercy.
John’s Thought: All of today’s torture porn movies can kiss my ass. The stuff poor James Caan goes through in this flick still makes me squirm.
books-Shadowlands.jpg #14 – SHADOWLANDS
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 96%
Synopsis: CS Lewis is the author of the Narnia books – The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. Known as Jack, he teaches at an Oxford College, during the 1930’s. An American fan, Joy Gresham, arrives to meet him for tea in Oxford. It is the beginning of a love affair. Tragically Joy becomes terminally unwell and their lives become complicated.
John’s Thought: Touching and deep at the same time. Dealing with the issues of faith and suffering isn’t not an easy theme to navigate, but Shadowlands does beautifully.
books-No-Country-Old-Men.jpg #13 – NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 94%
Synopsis: After stumbling across a case of money among dead bodies, Llewelyn Moss thinks he can keep it quiet, but when silent killer Anton Chigurh locates Moss and his money, Vietnam veteran Moss makes a run for it. With bodies falling everywhere Anton goes, it’s only a matter of time before he catches up with Llewelyn. Whilst all this is going on, Sheriff Ed Tom Bell is overseeing the investigation and begins to see the country in a different light than it once was.
John’s Thought: What can be said about this flick that hasn’t been said this year already?
books-Goodfellas.jpg #12 – GOODFELLAS
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 94%
Synopsis: Henry Hill is a small time gangster, who takes part in a robbery with Jimmy Conway and Tommy De Vito, two other gangsters who have set their sights a bit higher. His two partners kill off everyone else involved in the robbery, and slowly start to climb up through the hierarchy of the Mob. Henry, however, is badly affected by his partners success, but will he stoop low enough to bring about the downfall of Jimmy and Tommy?
John’s Thought: An absolutely stacked cast with some of the most memorable and quoted lines in mobster movie history.
Top 100 Scarface #11 – SCARFACE
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 87%
Synopsis: A remake of the 1932 classic, the 1983 version follows cuban refugee, Tony Montana and his close friend Manny Ray, and together they build a strong drug empire in Miami. Of course Montana must deal with the hardships of this type of buisness. And as Montana’s power begins to grow so does his ego and his paranoia.
John’s Thought: Which line was better? “Say hello to my little friend” or “first, you get the money…”?
books-Wuthering-Heights.jpg #10 – WUTHERING HEIGHTS (1939)
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 100%
Synopsis: The Earnshaws are Yorkshire farmers during the early 19th Century. One day, Mr. Earnshaw returns from a trip to the city, bringing with him a ragged little boy called Heathcliff. Earnshaw’s son, Hindley, resents the child, but Heathcliff becomes companion and soulmate to Hindley’s sister, Catherine. After her parents die, Cathy and Heathcliff grow up wild and free on the Moors and despite the continued enmity between Hindley and Heathcliff they’re happy– until Cathy meets Edgar Linton, the son of a wealthy neighbor.
John’s Thought: so many versions of this story, but this one will always be the measure.
Top 100 books-Princess-Bride.jpg #9 – THE PRINCESS BRIDE
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 95%
Synopsis: When the lovely Buttercup is kidnapped by a ghastly gang intent on fermenting an international incident they find they are pursued by the Dread Pirate Roberts who just might be Westley, her one true love. Also after everyone is nasty Prince Humperdinck to whom Buttercup is now betrothed but who seems to care little for her continued survival. The stage is set for swordfights, monsters, and tortures – but will Grandpa be allowed to finish telling the story with all these kissy bits?
John’s Thought: One of the most special movies ever made that is nothing short of pure magic. Holds a special place in the hearts of a lot of people.
books-Bridge-River-Kwai.jpg #8 – THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 95%
Synopsis: The film deals with the situation of British prisoners of war during World War II who are ordered to build a bridge to accommodate the Burma-Siam railway. Their instinct is to sabotage the bridge but, under the leadership of Colonel Nicholson, they are persuaded that the bridge should be constructed as a symbol of British morale, spirit and dignity in adverse circumstances. At first, the prisoners admire Nicholson when he bravely endures torture rather than compromise his principles for the benefit of the Japanese commandant Saito. He is an honorable but arrogant man, who is slowly revealed to be a deluded obsessive. He convinces himself that the bridge is a monument to British character, but actually is a monument to himself, and his insistence on its construction becomes a subtle form of collaboration with the enemy. Unknown to him, the Allies have sent a mission into the jungle, led by Warden and an American, Shears, to blow up the bridge.
John’s Thought: I was pretty young the first time I saw this movie, and it confused me how Obi Wan Kenobi was suddenly a british soldier.
books-Hunt-Red-October.jpg #7 – THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 95%
Synopsis: This film tells the story of Captain Marko Ramius, the skipper of the Soviet Union’s newest nuclear sub. Jack Ryan of the CIA gets involved in a tense, tangled hunt for this sub, when Ramius defects, taking the “Red October” with him. The story is an action packed techno-thriller.
John’s Thought: This is probably the one in my top 10 that will make most people scratch their heads. So freaking brilliant. I really liked the way they transitioned between russian to english.
books-Schindlers-List.jpg #6 – SCHINDLER’S LIST
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 96%
Synopsis: The true story of Oscar Schindler, a German businessman who owns a factory. He witnesses the horrifying visions of the Holocaust and the toll it takes on the Jewish people. Eventually, he creates a list of over 1100 Jews whom he saves from death.
John’s Thought: Funniest movie since Slapshot! Just kidding… sort of a Seinfeld reference.
Top 100 books-LOTR-Two-Towers.jpg #5 – THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 96%
Synopsis: Sauron’s forces increase. His allies grow. The Ringwraiths return in an even more frightening form. Saruman’s army of Uruk Hai is ready to launch an assault against Aragorn and the people of Rohan. Yet, the Fellowship is broken and Boromir is dead. For the little hope that is left, Frodo and Sam march on into Mordor, unprotected. A number of new allies join with Aragorn, Gimli, Legolas, Pippin and Merry. And they must defend Rohan and attack Isengard. Yet, while all this is going on, Sauron’s troops mass toward the City of Gondor, for the War of the Ring is about to begin.
John’s Thought: The big question in a lot of people’s mind’s was “Was the first LOTR movie just a fluke?” Nope.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 92%
Synopsis: An ancient Ring thought lost for centuries has been found, and through a strange twist in fate has been given to a small Hobbit named Frodo. When Gandalf discovers the Ring is in fact the One Ring of the Dark Lord Sauron, Frodo must make an epic quest to the Cracks of Doom in order to destroy it! However he does not go alone. He is joined by Gandalf, Legolas the elf, Gimli the Dwarf, Aragorn, Boromir and his three Hobbit friends Merry, Pippin and Samwise. Through mountains, snow, darkness, forests, rivers and plains, facing evil and danger at every corner the Fellowship of the Ring must go. Their quest to destroy the One Ring is the only hope for the end of the Dark Lords reign!
John’s Thought: The masterpiece that started the trilogy. A lot of people (me included) didn’t think they’d be able to properly capture the novel. They went far beyond anyone’s expectations.
books-Shawshank.jpg #3 – THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 89%
Synopsis: After the murder of his wife, hotshot banker Andrew Dufresne is sent to Shawshank Prison, where the usual unpleasantness occurs. Over the years, he retains hope and eventually gains the respect of his fellow inmates, especially longtime convict “Red” Redding, a black marketeer, and becomes influential within the prison. Eventually, Andrew achieves his ends on his own terms.
John’s Thought: As we get into the top 3, I also have all these films on my all time top 3 (not just for movies based on books). Shawshank never won best picture… one of the greatest crimes at the Oscars in History.
Top 100 books-Godfather.jpg #2 – THE GODFATHER
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 100%
Synopsis: Vito Corleone is the aging don (head) of the Corleone Mafia Family. His youngest son Michael has returned from WWII just in time to see the wedding of Connie Corleone (Michael’s sister) to Carlo Rizzi. All of Michael’s family is involved with the Mafia, but Michael just wants to live a normal life. Drug dealer Virgil Sollozzo is looking for Mafia Families to offer him protection in exchange for a profit of the drug money. He approaches Don Corleone about it, but, much against the advice of the Don’s lawyer Tom Hagen, the Don is morally against the use of drugs, and turns down the offer. This does not please Sollozzo, who has the Don shot down by some of his hit men. The Don barely survives, which leads his son Michael to begin a violent mob war against Sollozzo and tears the Corleone family apart.
John’s Thought: Probably the single most important and influential film ever made. I still can’t believe how many people have never seen this movie. GO SEE IT.
Top 100 books LOTR-Return-King.jpg #1 – THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING
Rotten Tomatoes Rating – 94%
Synopsis: Gondor is overrun by the orcs of Mordor, and Gandalf rides to Minas Tirith to aid the humans in the war that is ahead. Aragorn must realize his true identity and purpose as the King of Men, and journey with Gimli and Legolas to summon the Army of the Dead so that the battle against evil can be won. Meanwhile, paranoia and suspicion rises between Frodo, Sam and Gollum as they continue their increasingly dark and dangerous travel to Mount Doom, the one place where The Ring can be destroyed once and for all.
John’s Thought: It only makes sense for this film to be on the top of the list considering I call it the greatest all around achievement in film history (when you take all the elements of effects, cinematography, direction, acting, writing, etc, etc, etc.

So there you have it folks… the Top 100 Movies Based On Books. Now, I’m sure in all the time I spent putting this list together that there are probably 2 or 3 that I left out or forgot about that I’ll slap my head about later. That’s to be expected. But for now, what are some of your favorites? Which ones did I leave off this list that you think should have been included and why? What would you bump off the list?

What other little gems should be all know about?

*UPDATE* – Like I said in the paragraph above, after spending weeks going through literally thousands of movies, a few obvious ones slipped through the cracks. So here is an update on films I SHOULD have included on the list:

– To Kill A Mocking Bird
– Jaws

Many people are asking why Gone with the Wind isn’t on the list. It’s a great movie, but I sometimes use the “Buddy with DVDs” test. If a buddy showed up with 2 DVDs, Gone with the Wind, and any movie on this list… which movie would I choose to watch? Answer: Any movie on this list, thus Gone with the Wind doesn’t make the list of Top 100 Movies Based On Books.

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