Matt’s Top 10 Favorite Films of All-Time


My Top 10 Favorite Films Of All-Time

You can tell a lot about a person by their favorite movies. You can tell if they are the average movie watcher who goes to the movies every few weeks, and you can tell when someone who prides themselves as a “Film Enthusiast” might be lying because they name the most generic “Best” films of all-time (i.e. “Citizen Kane,” “Apocalypse Now,” “The Godfather,” “Network”). There’s nothing wrong with liking those, but there’s a wide world of film out there besides what every film critic in America considers as the best. No one should be ridiculed if their favorite isn’t the best because favorites don’t necessarily have to be the best. For example, I hate “Citizen Kane,” but I do agree that it is one of the best films ever made.

I know some of you are probably saying, “But if it’s the best, then I should like it because it’s good.” The only thing that determines if something is good is your opinion. So, instead of sticking with the majority of opinions, establish your own and come up with a list of the films you cannot live without. Even if “Gigli” or “Catwoman” is on your list, that’s okay, we all have those guilty pleasures.

Me personally? I think my favorite films of all-time say a lot about me. So, as a new writer for, consider this my hello to you and my introduction to the film article-writing universe. My name is Matt Brunhofer, and these are my top 10 favorite films of all-time.

10. “That Thing You Do!”


10. That Thing You Do!

This film falls under the category of “I can watch it again and again all day long.” It’s one of the most charming films I’ve ever seen, and I like to watch it when I’m feeling down or in need of a smile. The film follows a One-hit-wonder band from their time in rinky-dink talent shows to having the number seven record in the country. The film cannot disappoint anyone, and I’ll go as far as saying it is my favorite Tom Hanks performance. The film does have a “Director’s Cut,” but I’d honestly stay away from it because, in my opinion, the added scenes and dialogue take away from the theatrical cuts’ charm. “That Thing You Do!” has been one of my favorites since I was 10 years old, and I’m sure its charm, setting, comedy and characters makes it one of those films I cannot live without.

9. “Aliens”


9. Aliens

Ah, the classic film directed by James Cameron that many have forgotten was directed by James Cameron. I don’t know why this is, but it’s probably because people mostly associate James Cameron with “Terminator,” “Titanic” and “Avatar.” This film has the perfect balance between horror and action, and it’s structured perfectly when looking at Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero’s Journey.” I love this movie because of its action, its artistic design and how it takes Ripley’s character to a deeper emotional level than the first film did. Plus, Ripley is the first real female action hero to have a heavy impact on the film industry, so it’s always awesome to watch her kick some ugly alien booty.

8. “Moulin Rouge!”


8. Moulin Rouge!

I’m a fan of musicals and have worked in musical theater for some time, but when it comes to film adaptations of musicals, some just don’t seem to throw the same punches that the stage versions do. Some are great though, but “Moulin Rouge!” wins in my book because it’s relatively an “original” musical with its soundtrack consisting of adaptations of produced songs, like Nirvana’s “Smells Light Teen Spirit” and Elton John’s “Your Song.” The thing that really makes this one a winner is the love story at the plot’s core. It’s fresh, heartbreaking and completely believable, mainly because of the perfect chemistry between the actors. Nicole Kidman has received a lot of ridicule for her singing abilities in this film, but her acting abilities are on point along side Obi-wan Kenobi himself, Ewan McGregor. Most might not be a fan of this film because it’s a musical, but I’m telling you it has one of the best love stories in film history, and it will leave you teary eyed in the end.

7. “Glory Road”


7. Glory Road

There are certain movies that leave me teary-eyed at the end, like any film where the dog dies or a love story that turns into a tragedy. “Glory Road” is one of those films, and it follows the famous underdog basketball team that changed the game of basketball forever. Everyone loves an underdog story, especially me, but this film goes beyond any underdog story, and it is so well done that I still wonder if the team will win or lose in the end every time I watch it. There’s one particular moment in the end that hits close to home for me, but the overall experience of the film makes it one of the best sports films to date. The plot’s premise, racial tension, the film’s perfect pacing and Josh Lucas’ performance will keep you biting your nails and cheering for the team until the very end.

6. “Almost Famous


6. Almost Famous

“The little gem” is what I like to call “Almost Famous.” I thought this film was well known, but recent conversations I’ve had with friends, family and random people at a used bookstore have turned my attention to the fact that maybe it really isn’t. Sure, it might be well known to film buffs/critics, but to the common moviegoer, not so much. It’s a charming tale about a 15-year-old’s journey on the road with a rock-n-roll band during the 1970s. It examines how the dream of doing something is entirely different from its reality. In the terms of this 15-year-old’s dream, he wants to be a rock journalist, but quickly learns how unglamorous and difficult the job really is. The coming-of-age aspect is what intrigues me the most because I love watching a young character grow into a stronger person, especially in excellent fashion like Cameron Crowe has created here. It’s one of those movies I can watch again and again and never get tired of it.

5. “Schindler’s List”


5. Schindler’s List

Brilliance drowns this film. From Spielberg’s genius filmmaking eye to Ralph Fiennes’ harrowing performance, which I still think should’ve won him the Oscar, “Schindler’s List” is truly an unforgettable experience. This movie is on my list because it’s an excellent example of how film is an art of collaboration, not singularity. I enjoy watching how all of the film’s aspects mold seamlessly together, creating sequences, scenes, shots, music and performances that still give me goosebumps to this day. None of it could be done without the collaboration needed to make a film, which reminds me why I love film so much in the first place. Sure, every film needs collaboration, but nothing beats Schindler’s List; it’s one of the most perfectly made films I’ve ever seen. The content can be hard to watch sometimes, especially the scenes in the concentration camps, but that’s because Spielberg is a master director and all of his collaborators did their jobs perfectly, so all their intentions hit you right on the nose. If you’re searching for an example of a “great film,” look no further than Schindler’s list. It’s harrowing yet entertaining at the same time.

4. “Harvey”


4. Harvey

This is probably my favorite stage-to-film adaptation. “Harvey” is about an alcoholic whose best friend is a giant, invisible rabbit. Sounds kind of dumb, right? It does, but it’s a great comedy and the most charming film I’ve ever seen. It also has my favorite James Stewart performance, which in itself is an example of why he’s one of the greatest actors to ever bless the big screen. This film has a lot of sentimental value for me, which is the main reason it’s this high on the list, and if you don’t like “old” black and white films, I suggest biting the bullet and giving this one a shot. There’s a calm sweetness about it that will bring a smile to anyone’s face.

3. “Chaplin”


3. Chaplin

I’m not a huge fan of the biopic genre, but I’ve always been a fan of Charlie Chaplin. After a teacher of mine first told me about this film when I was a teenager, I immediately got my parents to take me to the closest video store and rented it. To put it in small terms, I love this film. I love watching the life of one of the greatest actors who ever lived be told in such outstanding fashion. Robert Downey Jr. should’ve won the Oscar for this, but regardless, his performance does justice for Mr. Chaplin and all of his accomplishments. The film sincerely breaks down who Charlie Chaplin was as a human, which is what intrigues me the most. The man had all the talent in the world, but he still battled demons like we all have to throughout life. The film brings Charlie Chaplin down from his high pedestal to the level of the common human, like me. “Chaplin” is one of the films that solidified my ambitions to be a part of the entertainment industry. After watching it, I came away saying, “If a common human like Charlie Chaplin can do it, so can I.” The film is an inspiration to me and has my ultimate admiration.

2. “Cinema Paradiso”


2. Cinema Paradiso

“Cinema Paradiso” is mostly a flashback, telling the story of a filmmaker’s life while growing up in a small village in Italy. Seeing the protagonist grow up and become more and more infatuated with the art of film reminds me a lot of myself, and I believe that’s why I connect with this film so much. It’s a film about how a filmmaker who fell in love with his craft and made a career out of it. It’s perfect for me. But the aspects that keep this film so high on my list are the love stories. They are my favorite love stories, period. One is the classic love story between the protagonist and his first love, and the other is a love story between the protagonist and his best friend/mentor, who teaches him everything about film. The stories of “Love” and “Friendship” intertwined so well together create exceptional emotional moments that pull on your heartstrings. The film makes you laugh, cry and nostalgic, forcing you to reminisce on the good times you had with your first love and childhood best friend.

There’s also an extended cut, which is the first version I saw, and it’s my preferred version when people ask me, “Which is better?” But regardless of the version you end up watching, you will not be disappointed, unless you absolutely cannot watch a foreign film with subtitles. And besides the love stories, everything about this film is great. From Ennio Morricone’s soundtrack to the memorable kiss montage at the end of the film, “Cinema Paradiso” is an absolutely, positively excellent film that will make you cry.

1. “Stand By Me”


1. Stand By Me

This is the film that started it all for me. My mother showed me it when I was 6 years old, and that was a mistake. Not just because I became a 6-year-old walking around the house dropping the F-bomb, but also because it started the artistic revolution inside me. From the moment this movie ended, I knew I wanted to be a filmmaker, writer, actor or whatever would keep me in the entertainment industry. So, if my parents wanted me to be a doctor, soldier, or dentist, then it was a mistake to show me this film.

Based on Stephen King’s novella “The Body,” the film follows four friends who go on a journey to find the dead body of a missing kid. What you get is a coming-of-age story full of hate, love, friendship and death, leaving you with the notion that you’ll never have better friends than the ones during your childhood. The film not only has sentimental value to me, but I love how it examines the true meaning of being a friend and how scary/short life can be. It’s a very adult film even though its four primary characters are children, whom are portrayed superbly by the actors. Nineteen years after the first time I saw it, the film still does wonders for me because I see a little bit of myself in each character now: Gordy, the writer, Chris, the youngest child in his family, Teddy, the obsessive, and Vern, the fat kid.

I love this film because it’s compelling, because it sparks nostalgia in me, because it has deep meaning and because its dark content translates into a rewarding experience. “Stand By Me” has left its mark on me, and I thank it for that.

My favorite films of all-time aren’t the best films ever made, but each one does something special for me whether I’m watching it or not. The beauty of film doesn’t come from how good one film is over the other, but it comes from how it forces our individual opinions to create different interpretations of the same thing.

So, with that said, what are your favorite films of all-time?


Author: Matt

Seeing "Stand By Me" at the age of 6 solidified Matt's ambition to be a part of the entertainment industry. After growing up in Northern Virginia, studying film at Old Dominion University and rising from intern to Stage Manager at a Dinner Theater, Matt found himself at a speed bump in his life and wanting to express himself in more of a substantial way than calling a cue or flying a line every night. This need for creative expression pushed him to take on the challenge of getting a Master's Degree, which sent him on a year-long endeavor that seemed to throw obstacles and setbacks from every direction. But now, Matt is a screenwriter with a Master's of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and a passion for film, video games and professional wrestling, looking to keep the ambitious 6-year-old inside of him alive by entertaining the world through various forms of entertainment.

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  • Eric Pace

    10 and 7 are the only ones I haven’t seen yet. 10 in particular I’ve been meaning to see.

    From the description of 10 and the fact you like Almost Famous, you may like The Committments. Very charming film as well.

    Personally Moulin Rouge just doesn’t do anything for me. I do really like most the others you picked here.

  • filmfadRyan

    I really like this list. It’s a good mix of essential films. “That Thing You Do” is definitely a feel good film and I agree with its rewatchabilty. It’s cliche but I would add Empire Strikes Back on my list and I know everyone says it but I love “Shawshank Redemption.”

    “American Beauty” is on there for me for sure. I think the only film I could argue would be “Glory Road” but that’s because I didn’t establish the same emotional connection you did. But I like your way of thinking and it’s part of what Film Fad stands for. Everyone has their favorites for their reasons.

    I do need to watch “Cinema Paradiso” and I’m adding it to my list now.

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