The Best of the Best of the Best on Netflix

Why not watch the best of the best? Netflix has ten of the American Film Institute’s top 50 films. I don’t recommend The Birth of a Nation except as a racist historical oddity but the others are all solid choices.

Lawrence of Arabia

Lawrence of Arabia (#5)

Follows a brilliant, flamboyant and controversial British military figure and his conflicted loyalties during wartime service.”

Sunset Boulevard (#12)

A hack screenwriter writes a screenplay for a former silent-film star who has faded into Hollywood obscurity.”

All About Eve (#16)

An ingenue insinuates herself in to the company of an established but aging stage actress and her circle of theater friends.


Chinatown (#19)

A private detective hired to expose an adulterer finds himself caught up in a web of deceit, corruption and murder.”

Apocalypse Now (#28)

During the Vietnam War, Captain Willard is sent on a dangerous mission into Cambodia to assassinate a renegade colonel who has set himself up as a god among a local tribe.

Annie Hall (#31)

Neurotic New York comedian Alvy Singer falls in love with the ditsy Annie Hall.”

High Noon

High Noon (#33)

A marshal, personally compelled to face a returning deadly enemy, finds that his own town refuses to help him.

To Kill a Mockingbird (#34)

Atticus Finch, a lawyer in the Depression-era South, defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge, and his kids against prejudice.”

The Birth of a Nation (#44)

Two brothers, Phil and Ted Stoneman, visit their friends in Piedmont, South Carolina: the family Cameron. This friendship is affected by the Civil War, as the Stonemans and the Camerons must join up opposite armies. The consequences of the War in their lives are shown in connection to major historical events, like the development of the Civil War itself, Lincoln’s assassination, and the birth of the Ku Klux Klan.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (#50)

Two Western bank/train robbers flee to Bolivia when the law gets too close.”

New Netflix Streaming Releases for December

Wow, how did this year fly by so quickly?

Runaway Train

Action/Adventure: Adios Sabata, Apocalypse Now, Apocalypse Now Redux, Black Rain, For Your Eyes Only, A Knight’s Tale, Live and Let Die, The Living Daylights, Mission: Impossible, Never Say Never Again, Runaway Train, Thief, A View to a Kill, You Only Live Twice


Classic: From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Hondo, The Hustler

Comedy: 2 Days in the Valley, Bewitched, Crossroads, The Grand Seduction, Jewtopia, Necessary Roughness, The Out-of-Towners, Outside Providence, Waking Up in Reno

Documentary: Darius Goes West: The Roll of His Life, McConkey, Medora, Out of the Clear Blue Sky

Drama: About Cherry, Ali, Almost Famous, American Beauty, Brightest Star, The Escape Artist, G.I. Jane, Hammett, An Innocent Man, Last Night, Legends of the Fall, Madison, One From the Heart, Perfect Sisters, Saturday Night Fever, Seven Years in Tibet, Stomp the Yard: Homecoming, Tetro, The Truman Show

Family: Dwegons and Leprechauns, Stuart Little 2, Troop Beverly Hills, Unstable Fables: Tortoise vs. Hare, VeggieTales: Veggies in Space, What She Wants for Christmas

Fantasy & Science Fiction: Batman Forever, The Dark Crystal, Frequencies, Heavenly Sword, Labyrinth, The People That Time Forgot

Foreign: Mosquita y Mari, Reincarnation

Knights of Badassdom

Horror: Damien: Omen II, Darkness, The Deadly Bees, The Dentist, The Dentist II: Brace Yourself, Dracula II: Ascension, Friday the 13th 1-8 (Marathon time!), Knights of Badassdom, Omen III: The Final Conflict, The Omen (1976)

Television: Big and Small, Black Mirror, Chuggington, Doki, Love No Matter What, Velvet

Thriller: Jade, Out of Time, Panic Room

Roger Ebert’s Top Picks on Netflix

Life Itself

As part of an article on the Roger Ebert documentary, Life Itself, Entertainment Weekly published a list of Ebert’s top movie for each year from 1967 through 2012. Here are the seven from that list streaming on Netflix:

Five Easy Pieces (1970) – Rated R

“A promising concert pianist chucks it all to work on an oil rig but returns home to face the family he left behind when he learns his father is ill.”

Three Women (1977) – Rated PG

Co-workers Pinky and Millie find their unusual friendship turns strangely eerie when they become roommates and begin to change in unexpected ways.

An Unmarried Woman (1978) – Rated R

Jill Clayburgh received an Oscar nod for her poignant portrayal of a woman dealing with the dissolution of her marriage in this groundbreaking drama.”

Apocalypse Now (1979) – Rated R

During the Vietnam War, Capt. Willard is sent to Cambodia on a top-secret mission to terminate Col. Kurtz, who’s gone completely insane.

Sophie’s Choice (1982) – Rated R

Stingo shares a Brooklyn boarding house with Polish émigré Sophie and her mercurial lover, a union unsettled by violent behavior.”

Hoop Dreams

Hoop Dreams (1994) – Rated PG-13

Two of Chicago’s top high school basketball prospects face pressure on and off the court in this iconic documentary about sports, family and race.


Fargo (1996) – Rated R

When a car dealer conspires with dim-bulb criminals to kidnap his wife for a hefty ransom, a folksy — and pregnant — police chief is on the case.”


Lots of New Netflix Titles for December

New (and returning) to stream on Netflix:

Black Sunday

Action/Adventure: Black Sunday, Coffy, Dances with Wolves, Drop Zone, Friday Foster, Hell Up In Harlem, Love and a .45, Sheba Baby, Truck Turner


Classic: All About Eve, Apocalypse Now, Beach Blanket Bingo, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Hondo, A Shot in the Dark, Targets

Comedy: Bandits, The Battle of Shaker Heights, Bushwhacked, But I’m a Cheerleader, Cry Baby, Double Whammy, Modern Problems, My Boss’ Daughter, Once Bitten, Sidewalks of New York, Take Me Home, Where the Buffalo Roam

Documentary: Big Boys Gone Bananas, The Endless Summer, The Harvest/La Cosecha, La Camioneta, Mexican Fighter, Occupation: Fighter, Underground: The Julian Assange Story

Drama: 8 Million Ways to Die, Another Day in Paradise, Apocalypse Now Redux, Bad Lieutenant (original), The Escape Artist, The Gift of the Magi, Gods and Monsters, A Good Woman, Hard Eight, One from the Heart, Prison Girls, Streetdance, Tetro

Family: All I Want for Christmas, Bratz: Girlz Really Rock, A Country Christmas, Curious George: A Very Monkey Christmas, Curious George Swings Into Spring, Switchmas

Fantasy & Science Fiction: Cherry 2000, Darklight, Highlander: Endgame, Star Trek IV The Voyage Home, Star Trek First Contact, Star Trek Generations, Terminal Invasion, Thor: Hammer of the Gods

Resident Evil Apocalypse

Horror: Black Forest, The Haunting in Connecticut 2, The Haunting (remake), The Lair of the White Worm, Red Water, Resident Evil Apocalypse, 13/13/13

Television: Meltdown: Days of Destruction, Angelina Ballerina (Ballerina Princess, Dreams Do Come True, Love to Dance, Musical Moves), Arang and the Magistrate, Barney (a dozen assorted), another five Bob the Builders, Cheongdam-dong Alice, Dr. Jin, Final Offer, Five Fingers, A Gentleman’s Dignity, The Great Doctor, A Hundred Years Inheritance, It’s a Big Big World, The L.A. Complex, Monster Math Squad, Rastamouse, Rooftop Prince, five more Thomas & Friends, To the Beautiful You and new seasons of BBQ Pitmasters, Touch, What Not to Wear, Cake Boss & Glee

Thriller: Cold Blooded, Hammett, Hannibal, Internal Affairs, Kalifornia, The Two Jakes

50 Greatest Films Ever Made – Netflix 7, Amazon 4, Hulu 23!

Citizen Kane has finally been dethroned in Sight & Sound’s prestigious fifty greatest films list. Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo is the new reigning champion. Of the fifty greatest films ever made, Netflix currently has seven of these on instant:

8 1/2 (1963) – Not rated – Number 10

“Dog-tired movie director Guido Anselmi retreats to thoughts of yesteryear when his producers, his wife and his mistress all pressure him to start making another movie in director Federico Fellini’s rumination on the joys and rigors of filmmaking.”

The Battleship Potemkin (1925) – Not Rated – Number 11

“Propaganda notwithstanding, director Sergei M. Eisenstein’s masterwork remains a cinematic landmark, charting events that ultimately led to the Bolshevik Revolution. Fed up with the ship’s officers’ brutalities and with maggot-infested rations, the crew of the battleship Prince Potemkin revolts. The rebellion ignites an uprising by the citizens of Odessa, resulting in czarist troops’ infamous, systematic slaughter of insurgents and bystanders.”

Apocalypse Now (1979) – Rated R – Number 14

“The horror, the horror. Francis Ford Coppola disappeared into the Philippine jungle and emerged 2 years later with this film, possibly his greatest work. Based on Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, the story follows Captain Willard (Martin Sheen) as he journeys upriver in search of the mysterious — and completely insane — Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando). His mission: terminate Kurtz — “with extreme prejudice.””

The much longer (and by all accounts worse) Apocalypse Now Redux is also available.

Persona (1967) – Not rated – Number 17

“To achieve more effective treatment, a young nurse named Alma and her patient — actress Elisabet, who has stopped speaking — check into an isolated cottage by the sea, where one of them unravels.”

In the Mood for Love (2001) – Rated PG – Number 24

“In 1962 Hong Kong, neighboring married apartment-dwellers Mr. Chow and Mrs. Chan discover that their spouses are having an affair. The two spend time together and find they have much in common, but vow never to behave like their unfaithful mates.”

The Bicycle Thief (1948) – Not Rated – Number 33

“Poverty-stricken Antonio needs his bicycle to do his new job. But the same day he buys it back from a pawnshop, someone steals it, prompting him to search the city in vain with his young son.”

Metropolis Restored (1927) – Not Rated – Number 35

“In the year 2026, when the populace is divided between workers who must live underground and the wealthy, who enjoy a futuristic city of splendor, a man from the upper class abandons his privileged life to join oppressed workers in a revolt.”

There is also a 1984 version of Metropolis from Giorgio Moroder.

Amazon Prime has The Searchers (#7), 8 1/2, The General (#34), and Metropolis (but an earlier non-restored version) so a whopping four titles.

Hulu Plus, which I normally don’t take into consideration as their movie choices are typically abysmal, actually has an unfair advantage here. Their exclusive deal with The Criterion Collection means they easily have the most. Hulu Plus has an astounding twenty-three of the top fifty (all from Criterion): Tokyo Story (#3), The Passion of Joan of Arc (#9), Battleship Potemkin, L’ Atalante (#12), Breathless (#13), Late Spring (#15), Au Hasard Balthazar (#16), Seven Samurai (#17), L’ Avventura (#21), Ordet (#24), Rashomon (#26), Andrei Rublev (#26 – tie), The General (#34), Metropolis (#35), Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles (#35), The 400 Blows (#39), Gertrud (#42), Play Time (#42), Close-Up (#42), The Battle of Algiers (#48), City Lights (#50), Ugetsu monogatari (#50), and La Jetee (#50).

Hulu note: While Hulu’s interface has been updated, their search function is by far the worst. When I’m searching for Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, I understand Gus Van Sant’s version showing up in the results or even Mary Harron’s delightful American Psycho. What I don’t want to see are a selection of 200 clips that might be related to my search.

Final note: You may notice a lot of duplicate numbers. That is because there were many ties for certain places.