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Old 01-15-2013, 07:38 AM   #2051
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This is a very entertaining list so far - nice idea and nice job
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Old 01-15-2013, 09:39 AM   #2052
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16. Amistad (1997)



Director:
Steven Spielberg

Written by:
David Franzoni



Amistad is the kind of movie you’re made to watch in middle school. It’s a good movie, but its sole purpose seems to be to send the “slavery is bad” theme home hard. Comparing it to a movie like “Lincoln,” we see what can be done with a story like this but with strong characters and multiple storylines. Meanwhile, Amistad is more about a single trial that naively represents all slaves, in a sense.

My favorite aspects of this movie are the scenes dedicated to the opening of a line of communication. Just like in an alien-encounter science fiction film, there are scenes that follow a protocol to make proper contact. The movie’s first half is quite good, but along the way when it gets to John Quincy Adams’ courtroom speech, it gets a little “by the book.” There are also some overly sentimental scenes such as Cinque’s “Give us free!” chant which is saturated with close-ups of audience members and grandiose music.

***/****


15. Catch Me If You Can (2002)



Directed by:
Steven Spielberg

Written by:
Jeff Nathanson (screenplay)
Frank Abagnale Jr. (as Frank W. Abagnale) and Stan Redding (book "Catch Me If You Can: The Amazing True Story of the Youngest and Most Daring Con Man in the History of Fun and Profit")



This stands as one of the better cat-and-mouse films. Their relationship is a bit more complex than most characters in their spot, and also you can’t go wrong with DiCaprio, Hanks and Walken in the same movie. The movie has a lot of life to it and never gets boring: It’s fortunate that the real Frank Abagnale Jr. had multiple fake professions (assuming those parts were true.)

***.5/****


14. Lincoln (2012)



Director:
Steven Spielberg

Written by:
Tony Kushner (screenplay), Doris Kearns Goodwin (book) (in part)



After the disappointment that was War Horse, there was concern for a repeat with a 180 minute biopic of Lincoln. Fortunately, it wasn’t (that) boring, and not even really a biopic. It goes without saying that Daniel Day-Lewis is amazing in this movie. This is very fortunate, too, because with most of his scenes being centered on speeches or telling little stories like a senile, old grandfather, his role in this movie would have been tedious and clichéd under someone else less talented. Instead, you get behind every word and nuance, just like the silenced characters around him. But at the heart of this movie is the passing of an amendment to end slavery and have all men treated equally. This allowed for invigorating courtroom scenes, but also comical ones, mostly led by James Spader and his crew who are set about gaining votes for the House. Tommy Lee Jones and Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln also give standout performances.

This film doesn’t take much advantage of Spielberg’s technical expertise as most of it takes place indoors and revolves around characters, but there are still some standout scenes such as the gritty and brutal opening Civil War battle. I was a bit put off by the Williams score at times, however. I’m not sure if this had more to do with how it would often start in the middle of a scene or speech, or if it was because I’ve had enough of the Ken Burns-esque 19th-century old-timey music for one lifetime.

***.5/****


13. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)



Directed by:
Steven Spielberg

Written by:
Willard Huyck (screenplay) & Gloria Katz (screenplay)
George Lucas (story)



When I think of Temple of Doom, I think about Tomorrow Never Dies. Both had to follow up huge action hits, did very well, but are often referred to as inferior. Temple of Doom has some regrets. The voodoo aspect of it gets a bit silly at times and Willie is really annoying. But the way I see it is, there is no action franchise like Indiana Jones. I couldn’t believe how much fun I was having re-watching this one. It has the hilarious diamond/antidote scene at the beginning (we’ll just ignore the dance number), rooms with spikes, people being lowered into lava, bridges that double as ladders, and in the end all the children are saved. This film shouldn’t be compared to the other two Indy movies because that’s unfair. There is no action like the Indiana Jones trilogy.

***.5/****
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Old 01-15-2013, 02:10 PM   #2053
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I think I stand in the minority as one of the few people to prefer Temple Of Doom over The Last Crusade.
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Old 01-15-2013, 03:05 PM   #2054
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Go Temple of Doom!
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Old 01-15-2013, 03:13 PM   #2055
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nilade View Post
I think I stand in the minority as one of the few people to prefer Temple Of Doom over The Last Crusade.
The arcade game ruined it for me
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Old 01-15-2013, 04:05 PM   #2056
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The arcade game was great!! When we used to take family Vegas trips when I was a kid, my parents used to leave me in the arcade with a $10 roll of quarters (a quarter could by you a lot of gaming time in the 80's). I used to feed the Temple Of Doom, Dragon's Lair, and Space Ace machines. I miss the good old days of simple arcade gaming.
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Old 01-15-2013, 05:14 PM   #2057
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I loved Lincoln.
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Old 01-15-2013, 05:52 PM   #2058
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12. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)



Director:
Steven Spielberg

Written by:
Melissa Mathison



I imagine after Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Spielberg looked back and saw his sci-fi debut as a great success. Like me, First Contact is a passion of his, so there was no point in stopping there. With E.T. we get First Contact again, but from the perspective of a young boy. Missing (but lurking) are the protocols and hurried scientists setting up the next era of mankind, and in its place is a bonding of two curious creatures and their similar goal to get E.T. back home.

Though, I think the real clincher of this movie is when Peter Coyote finally talks to Elliot. We’ve seen “Keys” (as he’s billed) before, looking for E.T. in the same way Elliott was. It’s interesting that we never see any of faces of the scientists, or even Elliott’s science teacher. For a long period of the movie, barring the mother, we never see adults up close…just like villains in other Spielberg films. It's the "Jaws Effect" all over again. But when we finally meet Keys he says “He came to me, too. I’ve been wishing for this since I was 10 years old.” This is my favorite aspect of the movie, how the vilifying of the adults (which could only work in a kids movie) is erased by the end, and then there are no villains, only children at heart.

***.5/****


11. War of the Worlds (2005)



Directed by:
Steven Spielberg

Written by:
Josh Friedman (screenplay) and David Koepp (screenplay)
H.G. Wells (novel)



Spielberg’s true calling in life was to direct science fiction films as he has shown us time and time again, and he does some of his best work in this movie. Notably there is the score-less opening scene with the tripods coming out of the ground and then later the ferry scene. To a slightly lesser extent, in comparison, there is the basement scene. The idea of the tripods being underground for eons without us knowing they were there is ludicrous, the son is kind of a d*ckhead and I suppose shouldn’t have lived (although this doesn’t bother me as much as some), and then of course there’s the infamous working camcorder. I’ve always hated the phrase “you need to turn your brain off for this movie” but, well, in a technical sense, this movie is too brilliant to let little things steer you away.

***.5/****


10. Munich (2005)



Directed by:
Steven Spielberg

Written by:
Tony Kushner (screenplay) and Eric Roth (screenplay)
George Jonas (book "Vengeance: The True Story of an Israeli Counter-Terrorist Team")


What makes Munich so compelling is that the main characters are your everyday citizens. Sure, they’re smart and have a few specialized skills like you see in these ensemble type movies, but they were ordinary people with desk jobs and families. They certainly aren’t prepared to roam countries to assassinate terrorists. There are exciting action scenes filmed in creative, gritty and unsettling ways, there’s the added drama of seeing this experience destroy each character one by one (assassins, suicide, paranoia, carelessness), and also an interesting look into the Israeli/Palestine conflict.

***.5/****


9. Empire of the Sun (1989)



Directed by:
Steven Spielberg

Written by:
J.G. Ballard (novel "Empire of the Sun")
Tom Stoppard (screenplay)
Menno Meyjes (uncredited)



Christian Bale really sells this movie, which is rare for a 13-year-old actor. Naturally, it’s important we sympathize with him on this incredible journey. The movie is as much about this part of the war as it is about how the war turned him into a man in those all-important years of growing up. It’s tempting to get on this movie’s case about throwing a white actor in the middle of a scenario that involved mostly Chinese and Japanese to tell its story, but then again, it make him a fish even more out of water. Also, this is a very good movie and this problem isn’t exactly of “Blind Side” proportions.

***.5/****
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Old 01-15-2013, 06:11 PM   #2059
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Old 01-15-2013, 06:14 PM   #2060
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Munich and E.T. feel a bit low.
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Old 01-15-2013, 06:16 PM   #2061
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Don't you know what's left?

E.T.'s a bit overrated.
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Old 01-15-2013, 06:22 PM   #2062
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Quote:
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Don't you know what's left?
True, but still.

Quote:
E.T.'s a bit overrated.
Dude...no :'(
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Old 01-15-2013, 06:33 PM   #2063
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If it helps, I was planning on putting it a lot lower until I rewatched it and appreciated it more than I ever had. Some people may remember that E.T. wasn't even on my Top 50 Science Fiction Film list (and nobody said anything).
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Old 01-15-2013, 06:51 PM   #2064
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Munich is incredible. It'd definitey be in my Top Five.
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Old 01-15-2013, 09:46 PM   #2065
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ET would have been much lower on my list. I've never particularly cared for it, even as a kid.
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Old 01-15-2013, 09:57 PM   #2066
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Munich and War of the Worlds are both great.
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Old 01-16-2013, 12:43 PM   #2067
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8. Jaws (1975)



Directed by:
Steven Spielberg

Written by:
Peter Benchley (screenplay) and Carl Gottlieb (screenplay)
Peter Benchley (novel)



Jaws, the original blockbuster. Spielberg took what he learned from Duel and made a real movie this time. Except instead of one or two great thriller scenes, there were five or six. Jaws isn’t about much more than killing a shark. What it is, is a collection of brilliant scenes. From the iconic opener with Chrissie, to the attack on the boy, and basically the whole second half.

Breaking down the second attack scene of the boy, we start with just random playing. But we’re already being teased: there’s a fat woman going into the water and a man with a dog. First, there are a couple comical fake-outs with an old man in a swimming cap, and a woman screaming because her boyfriend lifted her in the water. But then the dog goes missing… And it’s details like this that make Spielberg so effective. Before we know it, the boy is brutally attacked, there’s the famous push on Brody, and every parent finds their kid...but one.

I love the dynamic of the three men for the finale. There are two shark experts, but one is “street smart” and the other is “book smart.” Brody stands as the leader (who doesn’t lead) and voice of reason.

****/****


7. Minority Report (2002)



Directed by:
Steven Spielberg

Written by:
Philip K. Dick (short story)
Scott Frank (screenplay) and Jon Cohen (screenplay)



Fans of Philip K. Dick may notice his obsession with free will vs. determinism in his works, but this idea is never translated as well as it is in The Minority Report. What is the main purpose behind incarcerating killers? To discourage murder or to punish the perpetrator? Can either of these even be perfectly justified? Before pre-cogs, these two things went hand-in-hand, but no longer. You can’t discourage murder when it isn’t possible either way. And can you really punish someone for something they haven’t done? This is the moral ground that is wonderfully treaded upon with a brilliantly written script that never lets up on philosophy, intrigue and action. And like the best of science fiction, there are real world applications. Putting away criminals that may be innocent in the pursuit to lower crime...does this sound familiar?

The movie can get a bit ostentatious in its depiction of the future (would cops ever in a million years use jet packs?), but Spielberg has always had a flair for the dramatic and fantastic. It’s also always bothered me that the “second” murder that Lamar Burgess commits should have dropped a second murder/perpetrator ball as this is independent of what the technician sees in the echo, but otherwise the movie is surprisingly close to being flawless for being so complex.

****/****


6. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)



Directed by:
Steven Spielberg

Written by:
Lawrence Kasdan (screenplay)
George Lucas (story) and Philip Kaufman (story)



This movie is often referred to as the first movie to have “non-stop action.” I don’t know about “non-stop,” but after about the halfway point, it’s pretty damn close. Indy gets thrown into a pit of snakes, has to escape through zombies, gets in a fight, blows up a plane, gets in a truck chase, steals the ark, gets on a boat and then a submarine all leading up to the face-melting finale. It’s a great ride. (Since I can never trust other people to say anything bad about the classics, I have to admit that Marion turning out to be alive doesn’t make one lick of sense. “They must have switched the barrels?” Who? Why?)

****/****


5. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)



Directed by:
Steven Spielberg

Written by:
Steven Spielberg(written by)
Hal Barwood (uncredited)
Jerry Belson (uncredited)
John Hill (uncredited)
Matthew Robbins (uncredited)



If there was a scale for the aliens in movies ranking them from malevolent to benevolent, Close Encounters of the Third Kind would be at the furthest end of the latter. At no point in the movie do they even discuss the possibility of the aliens being bad or that they might be trying to take over the planet. The humans at Devil’s Tower don’t carry weapons. This movie promotes the idea of intelligent races out there that are just like us and wish to communicate and learn from each other.

Perhaps more than that, the movie suggests that there are people out there who would do anything to have even the slightest chance at learning answers to the big questions like “Is there life outside of Earth?” This obsession is disguised in the movie by an invitation of a few select humans that the aliens put into their minds. All we really need is a taste of an answer and people will travel through endless perils to get the rest. Because this means something; this is important.

****/****
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:47 PM   #2068
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4. Saving Private Ryan (1998)




Directed by:
Steven Spielberg

Written by:
Robert Rodat



This is not only one of the greatest Spielberg films, but also one of the greatest war films ever made (though I’m not sure which is the greater honor). Because of the traveling nature of the characters, the scope of this film covers many locations, situations, and unique opportunities for amazing action scenes. In addition to this we see many facets of the war as through the characters’ eyes, such as bravery, cowardice, honor, and perhaps above all, confusion.

It used to bother me that the whole plot of the movie was based on a stupid idea. Sending all these people, many who die, to bring one person back so we can feel better about ourselves? But now it’s obvious that this is just one example in a movie filled with occurrences that all spell out: “War is hell.” War doesn’t make sense. There is no microcosm that can represent all of World War II like Mel Gibson single-handedly winning the Revolutionary War in The Patriot. People died in ironic ways: a man takes his helmet off after a bullet hits it and gets hit by another; a man is shot and killed because he’s trying to save a little girl; and a man is stabbed and killed because a fellow soldier turned cowardly. But there’s also bravery, will power and heroics.

****/****


3. Jurassic Park (1993)



Directed by:
Steven Spielberg

Written by:
Michael Crichton (novel)
Michael Crichton (screenplay) and David Koepp (screenplay)



Jurassic Park is a fickle beast because on one hand it has handfuls of plot holes if you think about things even for a second, but on the other it’s one of the most satisfying films ever created. If the fact that the spot where there was a T-Rex is suddenly replaced by a huge ravine took away any enjoyment of the film, that would be a different story. The brilliance of that scene would need Pauly Shore to suddenly appear to have a chance of being tarnished. (I could make arguments for all the scenes, like the tree scene isn’t great enough anyway to make a fuss about the fact that they could have climbed around to the other side of the tree, but I won’t.) Spielberg is a director for adults who are still kids at heart. Is there anything closer to a kid's heart than dinosaurs?

It’s a shame Spielberg never directed any more Michael Crichton novels, because those two were a match made in heaven.

****/****


2. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)



Directed by:
Steven Spielberg

Written by:
Jeffrey Boam (screenplay)
George Lucas (story) and Menno Meyjes (story)
George Lucas (characters) and Philip Kaufman (characters)



Raiders of the Lost Ark was ground-breaking in the genre of action/adventure, but it was The Last Crusade that perfected it with a good dose of comedy. There’s wonderful nuggets of action going from blimps, planes, boats, horses, and tanks, but also comic relief that rivals many comedies. With such classics as “Nazis: I hate these guys,” “No ticket!” and “Son, I’m sorry, they got us,” there shouldn’t be any person on the Earth that can’t find something to love about this film. There’s also a brilliant opening (that inspired a TV series) that shows us Indy growing up and why certain things are as they are. It may be the best-rounded film of entertainment of all time. It simply has everything, and in such large portions.

****/****


1. Schindler’s List (1993)



Directed by:
Steven Spielberg

Written by:
Thomas Keneally (book), Steven Zaillian (screenplay)



Schindler’s List is in honest depiction of the world’s darkest time. Oskar Schindler and his list are only a side story to the Holocaust which is shown with minimal dramatization and fluff. Filmed in black and white you can almost believe it was a documentary which only adds to the pain in watching it.

It’s also about good and evil shown through the two characters of Oskar Schindler and Amon Goeth. We watch Schindler, who is only interested in money at first, have no choice but to turn into an altruist. Goeth is racist, psychotic and sadistic and stands as a pretty good personification of the Nazi party.

There are amazing scenes such as the short stop in Auschwitz and the ending where Schindler felt he could have done more, but there’s also great scenes all along the way such as the parents running towards the train with their oblivious, waving children, or the child saving lives by exclaiming that a recently shot man was the one at fault (“HE did it!”).

This movie is so complete and such an accomplishment that no one will ever attempt to cover this subject again.

****/****
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:03 PM   #2069
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My ranking would probably be something like:

24. 1941 (1979)
23.Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
22. The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
21. War Horse (2011)
20. The Color Purple (1985)
19. The Terminal (2004)
18. The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (2011)
17. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
16. Amistad (1997)
15. Dual (1971)
14. A.I. Artificial Inteligence (2001)
13. Shugerland Express (1974)
12. Catch Me If You Can (2002)
11. War of the Worlds (2005)
10. Schindlers List (1993) (could go up or down when I get around to giving it a 2nd viewing)
9. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
8. Lincoln (2012)
7. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
6. Jurassic Park (1993)
5. Minority Report (2002)
4. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
3. Munich (2005)
2. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
1. Jaws (1975)

I've never seen Always, and it's been so long since I've seen Hook, E.T., and Empire of the Sun that I'm not 100% sure I've seen any of them in their entirety.
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:05 PM   #2070
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This list turned out a lot better than I expected.
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Old 01-17-2013, 12:46 AM   #2071
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dracula View Post
My ranking would probably be something like:

24. 1941 (1979)
23.Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
22. The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997)
21. War Horse (2011)
20. The Color Purple (1985)
19. The Terminal (2004)
18. The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (2011)
17. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
16. Amistad (1997)
15. Dual (1971)
14. A.I. Artificial Inteligence (2001)
13. Shugerland Express (1974)
12. Catch Me If You Can (2002)
11. War of the Worlds (2005)
10. Schindlers List (1993) (could go up or down when I get around to giving it a 2nd viewing)
9. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
8. Lincoln (2012)
7. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
6. Jurassic Park (1993)
5. Minority Report (2002)
4. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
3. Munich (2005)
2. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
1. Jaws (1975)

I've never seen Always, and it's been so long since I've seen Hook, E.T., and Empire of the Sun that I'm not 100% sure I've seen any of them in their entirety.
Interesting. War Horse is that bad, eh? I liked it a bit more on the second viewing for this list. I'd like to hear your thoughts on your top 3.

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This list turned out a lot better than I expected.
Why thank you.
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Old 01-17-2013, 12:50 AM   #2072
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Oh, and here's my final list.

1. Schindler’s List (1993) ****/****
2. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) ****/****
3. Jurassic Park (1993) ****/****
4. Saving Private Ryan (1998) ****/****
5. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) ****/****
6. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) ****/****
7. Minority Report (2002) ****/****
8. Jaws (1975) ****/****
9. Empire of the Sun (1989) ***.5/****
10. Munich (2005) ***.5/****
11. War of the Worlds (2005) ***.5/****
12. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) ***.5/****
13. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) ***.5/****
14. Catch Me If You Can (2002) ***.5/****
15. Lincoln (2012) ***/****
16. Amistad (1997) ***/****
17. War Horse (2011) **.5/****
18. Always (1989) **.5/****
19. The Terminal (2004) **.5/****
20. Duel (1971) **.5/****
21. Hook (1991) **.5/****
22. The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) **/****
23. The Color Purple (1985) **/****
24. The Sugarland Express (1974) **/****
25. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008) *.5/****
26. The Adventures of Tintin (2011) *.5/****
27. A. I. Artificial Intelligence (2001) */****
28. 1941 (1979) */****
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Old 01-17-2013, 01:01 AM   #2073
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dracula View Post
1. Jaws (1975)
My favorite is also Jaws.
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Old 01-17-2013, 01:32 AM   #2074
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My #1 would be Saving Private Ryan. Great list, though.
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Old 01-17-2013, 01:51 AM   #2075
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My top 3 would be:

3. Schindler's List
2. Saving Private Ryan
1. Raiders Of The Lost Ark
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