I recently came across a cool # on Twitter, that for the life of me I can no longer remember. Anyway, it was to list your favourite film that was released, for each of the years that you have been alive. The concept was pretty simple and most people did it in their note app and made a simple screenshot and posted it.
A lot of people said how they took hours debating over this. Luckily it took me just a few minutes. I knew there was a reason why over the past several years that I’ve kept a rating score on IMDB for every film I’ve seen, or at least, can remember that I’ve seen.
So nice and easy, order my ratings by release year, see what got the highest, if a tie, which one I’ve re-watched the most would win. So as this was a bit different to doing the normal ‘Top 10 films’ here is the list again, with a bit more thought into each entry. For what it’s worth as my original release of this list caused a bit of hysteria. I’d listed some films differently to others. The reason was simple. I judged it by the year the film was released in the UK. Back in the 80s and 90s it could be months sometimes before a film was released in the UK, and by the time it came here it had already done it’s run in the States. So some films may be out of sync with my US buddies.
1980: Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Spoiler Alert, the only Star Wars film to make the grade. From the year I was born this is the film I have seen the most. Like the majority of the films from the first few years of my life the list to choose from is fairly slim, compared to the present, where I probably watch as many films released in said given year in the space of 3 months, than the whole catalogue of films that I’ve watched that were released in 1980. On that note if you have some recommendations of films from the year 1980, drop them into the comments box.
1981: Raiders Of The Lost Ark
I won’t spend too long going into the background of these films, they are after all massively popular, even now. Spielberg & Lucas came together to create a great franchise and Indy for me is probably more iconic than Hans Solo. Although I did read today that Indy 5 has been green lit and Ford will star! Who knows how that is gonna pan out, well actually I do. Crap.
1982: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
What, WHAT! I can hear you all screaming, how is this your best film from 1982. Quite simply because it is brilliant. It’s also close to my heart as I love Star Trek. No, I adore Star Trek, it’s brilliant, but this is by far the best Star Trek film ever made, and thank god it was because it probaby saved the franchise from it’s death after the terrible Motion Picture. This has everything a non Trekkie can enjoy, and even more that a Trekkie can because its not only a good vs evil space battle, it’s everything you expect from an episode of Star Trek.
1983: Police Squad!
The list of film’s I’ve watched from 1983 is quite weak. Also this choice was released in the US in 82, but thank god it came out over here in 1983, otherwise I’m not sure what else would have made the pick. For me the Naked Gun films are even better than this, but they don’t make the list. These films and yes, even the Police Academy films hold fond places in heart from the 80s.
Of course Ghostbusters for 1984. What else? It should be everyone’s pick. Rather than waffling on, I’ll leave you my favourite scene from the film, which as a small boy was just glourious, and the Mick Smiley song used in it is just perfect. Go check out how the full version of the song sounds for shock!!
1985: The Terminator
The original Terminator is a great film, and despite the poor clothing, the film has stood the test of time well, which seems to be a great trait of Cameron’s throughout his back catalogue.
Star Trek may be my favourite TV franchise, but the Alien franchise wins for films. If there’s one thing that annoys me about not being born a year earlier, it’s that I can’t also include the original Alien in this list. Aliens as a sequel is everything a sequel should be, telling the same story, but telling it so differently. I just love the Xenos and everything that H.R. Giger did in creating them and their world. One thing I regret was not going to see this film for it’s 30th Anniversary at the Royal Albert Hall when they did the soundtrack live. So I’ll leave you with the best bit of the soundtrack
1987: Stand By Me
87, was another poor year for film showings for me, not helped by the fact this was released a year earlier in the States (Why couldn’t Labyrinth have been released in 87) but that shouldn’t take away from how enjoyable this film is, and something the kids of today, will never have any kind of experience of due to all the technology about, that also prevents them from actually going out and doing cool stuff in the summer. Oh that and all the bad people that are about these days.
The original Robocop for me is a great film. I can watch this over and over, and have done recently. In full 1080p beauty this film looks even better today than it did in 87. What’s bizarre about the 80s is how films like this and Aliens were given 18 certificates but had toys and video games that were aimed at kids. My first exposure to Robocop was actually the arcade game, which as a side person scroller, was brilliant. Naturally as a kid curiosity got the best of me and I watched the film. It was probably the most violent film I’d seen in my life to that point, the gun shot wounds were as gory as they got, and like most things in the movies back then, such things were done just so much better than they are today.
1989: Back To The Future: Part II
1989 was the year of blockbuster sequels, many were disappointing, but one that was on par, and possibly even better than the first was back to the future part 2. Not many films have had people anticipating the future day’s arrival that the film is set in, in fact it was faked more times than I can remember!
1990: Total Recall
One of the first films I watched that threw me a massive twist. I just loved the whole story.
1991 TIE between: Terminator 2: Judgment Day, The Silence Of The Lambs
1991, although only 11 at the time, and these films have been re-watched numerous times since sees a change in the way my film taste would mature over the years. Its also why I can not split these two apart for many reasons. T2 and Cameron yet again tells a great action film that is as good today as it was when it was released, and the lambs tells the story of the slower paced crime thriller, that sadly we don’t really get much more of on the big screen, instead reserved for TV.
1992: Batman Returns
The first superhero (Is Batman a super hero) film to enter the list. I loved the Tim Burton Batman films, and his version of Gotham City with all the gothic nods. Michael Keaton was also brilliant. Of course the follow up films, whether they are considered canon to these ones I am not sure, almost killed the franchise. Thank god for Christopher Nolan.
1993: Reservoir Dogs
Released in January 1993 in the UK and the first Quentin film to make the list. Recently re-watched for the first time in years, this brilliant film with just a handful of locations and cast, is made greater by it’s story of how the Police could possibly know, and dialogue. Brilliant.
1994: Pulp Fiction
If Reservoir Dogs was brilliant, Quentin followed it up with something even more brilliant. An all star cast, which I’m quite frankly amazed he managed to pull off and a story told in a way that has been copied so many times since. The ultimate form of flattery.
1995: The Shawshank Redemption
Released in February 1995 in the UK. Frank Darabont’s direction of a Stephen King short story translated so well on film. The ultimate feel good ending. Possibly the greatest film ever made.
Who’d have thought the director of a troubled Alien 3 project would follow up with this masterpiece. John Doe has the upper hand! That’s all you need to know.
1997: Event Horizon
OK, it’s obviously not the best film ever released in 1997, but it’s the film I’ve re-watched the most. My love for sci-fi, horror, thriller and suspense is all rolled into one great package. Let down by it’s ending, it otherwise has everything that keeps you hooked in from the very start.
1998: Saving Private Ryan
If you’d asked me to produce this list 2/3 years ago. This would probably not be the entry for 1998. For some years I was not one for watching war films. I’m not a violent person, but I’ll happily watch a gore fest or Science Fiction space war. For some reason some of the more close to home realities of war just didn’t appeal to me on film. A friend convinced me to watch a few, and after the likes of Apocalypse Now & Platoon changed my tune. I really enjoyed this one and the story it told.
1999: Fight Club
Fincher again. I think anyone will find it hard to find a more enjoyable picture that was released in 1999. A mind bender of a film in it’s conclusion told brilliantly by Pitt and Norton. If you’ve not seen it. See it.
Christopher Nolan arrives on the list with this brilliant story of a man with short term memory loss, attempting to find his wife’s murderer. Brilliant.
2001: Requiem for a dream
Darren Aronofsky’s dark tale of 4 residents caught in the catacombs of drug addiction is both funny, thought provoking and darn right scary.
2002: Donnie Darko
This cult classic starring Jake Gyllenhaal makes a breakthrough performance as a teenager troubled by visions of visits from a man in large rabbit costume after narrowly surviving a freak accident at his family home.
2003: Kill Bill Vol 1
Quentin makes the list again telling the story that was originally hinted on by the character Uma Thurman plays in Pulp Fiction, and would go on to play that role in these films. All part of the plan I’m sure.
A man is kidnapped and enslaved for 15 years. When he is released he sets out to kill his kidnapper, but more is going on than meets the eye, and the film supplies one of the greatest twists in cinema history.
2005: The 40 year old Virgin
Steve Carell would deliver one of his best performances in this Judd Apatow classic about a middle aged guy who has never done the deed. Of course the film starts of very funny, but it takes it’s turns at being very serious too, and delivers a great feel good movie.
2006: The Departed
A star studded cast for this Martin Scorsese gangsta flick that delivers on so many levels as an undercover cop tries to infiltrate a gang.
Another comedy makes the list. Superbad is the best American college comedy film since American Pie, telling the hilarious story of 2 guys as they simply go to buy some alcohol for a party and end up in all sorts of situations.
2008: The Dark Knight
Christopher Nolan’s take on the dark underworld characters of Gotham City will probably never be outdone, The Dark Knight the best of the three with a fantastic performance by Heath Ledger as the Joker, enough action sequences to keep you glued to the screen and an epic soundtrack from Hans Zimmer.
2009: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
This David Fincher pic may seem an odd pick for 2009, his reunion with Brad Pitt in my opinion delivered one of the more interesting pictures of the year, despite what others may think as it tells the story of a man, who grows younger, instead of older.
2010: Scott Pilgrim Vs The World
A film that devides opinion, but for me, is one of the greatest films ever made. There I said it. I can’t do justice as to why, and I certainly don’t have enough space here to explain why, So i’ll let this guy explain why this film, is simply one of the best films ever made:
2011: The King’s Speech
Ok time to go all serious again. Colin Firth delivers without doubt his best performance as the stuttering King Geroge VI as he tries to overcome his stammer and ends up becoming the best of friends with his speech therapist. A great feel good movie.
Ben Affleck directs himself and others such as Bryan Cranston, this film tells the story of an undercover CIA agent in Tehran during a US Hostage situation. Fantastically done and showcasing the risks people go to to save their countrymen.
2013: Django Unchained
That man Quentin again delivers a fantastically well written dialogue and acting performances from stars such as Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz and Leonardo DiCaprio, as a black slave, freed by a German bounty hunter, seeks revenge and to save his family.
You may have needed to see this at the cinema in IMAX, but if you did, you’ll understand why it won for 2014. A thought provocking, twist turner, science fiction epic from Christopher Nolan and again delivered with a fantastic soundtrack from Hans Zimmer.
2015: The Martian
Science Fiction wins for the 2nd year on the trot and Ridley Scott finally got back to doing what he does best. Matt Damon was also brilliant as the trapped astronaut on Mars as a NASA task force set out on earth to figure out how to save him.
2016: A Street Cat Named Bob
Arrival had this spot originally, and during typing up this post, I watched the above film, and decided it just pipped Arrival for me. A fantastic feel good story of how a stray cat helped to bring life and meaning to a homeless man on the streets of London. Our pets are often overlooked in the films, and it was good to see some great recognition here in an ultimate feel good film for the ages. Not only that, but actual street cat bob played himself for many of the scenes!!
I’ll update this post probably mid 2018 when I’ve caught up with everything I want to watch that was released in 2017.