Monday Question – Your Top Five Part III: Movies

We looked at your favorite books, favorite music and today the question is:

What are your top five favorite movies of all time?


My Answer:

Okay, here we go, in no particular order or ranking:

1. Iris (Director: Richard Eyre, with Dame Judy Dench, Kate Winslet and Jim Broadbent)  The life story of British writer and philosopher Iris Murdoch ending in her battle with Alzheimer’s disease told from the perspective of her husband. So sad, but so wonderful.


2. Moulin Rouge (Director: Baz Luhrman, with Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor) Epic! Fantastic! Without compare! The soundtrack nearly made it on my music list last week.


3. The Hours (Director: Stephen Daldry, with Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore and Ed Harris) The interwoven stories of three women, one of them Virginia Woolf, have left a permanent impression on my mind. I find myself thinking about small details of this movie often, even though I haven’t seen it for a long time, because it is almost too much for me to take.


4. Dirty Dancing (Director: Emile Ardolino, with Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey) I know, it is surely not the best movie ever made, but we are talking impressive to a teen here. And impressed I was! I loved the dancing and I loved Patrick. What can I say, this one was perfectly timed for my own coming of age.


5. Four Weddings And A Funeral (Pure British charm. I learned English with this movie. I adored the actors’ accents – especially Matthew’s – and I still know every dialogue by heart. Definitely the movie I have seen most often in my life and that I still love.


Honorable Mentions: Quills (Geoffrey Rush, Joaquin Phoenix and Kate Winslet), Black Swan (Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel), Gorillas In The Mist (Sigourney Weaver), Schindler’s List (Liam Neeson), The Shawshank Redemption (Tom Hanks, Morgan Freeman), Usual Suspects (Kevin Spacey – The One and Only!), Shine (Geoffrey Rush);

Not an easy choice once more, but easier than the last ones.

What are the movies that left an enduring impression on you?


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95 Responses to Monday Question – Your Top Five Part III: Movies

  1. Hey Birgit,
    LOVE movies but don’t really adore the cinema experience, I prefer them at home.
    1. The Colour Purple – Whoopi Goldberg
    2. Hello Dolly/A Star Is Born – Barbra Streisand (Who can choose?)
    3. Lord of the Rings Trilogy
    4 .Elizabeth – Cate Blanchett
    5. Rocky Horror Picture Show
    I think these are my most watched, life changing and adored films
    Portia xx

  2. Jane EP says:

    Another great list :). I love yours. Moulin Rouge is stunning, isn’t it? Mine would have to be as follows:

    21 Grams – I am a huge Sean Penn fan – I love this sort of jumbled narrative style, where the plot/character arcs are revealed piecemeal and out of sequence
    Amores Perros – the first of a trilogy (the second being above)
    The Assassination of Jesse James – love Casey Affleck’s work too – fabulous cinematography
    Out of the Furnace – and Christian Bale – one of his best roles
    Shadowlands – and especially Antony Hopkins – I think this part of his career produced his best work
    Crash – great ensemble piece
    City of Angels – very moving and great soundtrack to boot

    (Sorry, just couldn’t do 5.)

    • Olfactoria says:

      Jane! Your list is fabulous! I’m so with you loving Sean Penn and Christian Bale. Thanks for reminding me of 21 Grams, I must see it again.
      If you like movies where the narrative is not told in chronological order, you might enjoy Memento. Do you know it?

  3. Sandra says:

    Love your list B! This one is
    so difficult for me. Here is my list of feel good movies that I have rewatched countless times:
    1. Love Actually
    2. Mamma Mia
    3. Sleepless in Seattle
    4. A Room With a View
    5. When Harry Met Sally

  4. Anka says:

    Oh, I always wanted to watch Iris, now I definitely have to!
    Here comes my list, I only included films I’ve seen several times and don’t get bored watching again and again.
    1. Lawrence of Arabia
    2. Fight Club
    3. Out of Africa
    4. Woyzeck
    5. Vertigo
    Honorable Mentions: The Way we were, The Game, Tootsie, Amadeus, Das Boot (feels like I’ve forgotten to mention many others…).

  5. cookie queen says:

    Night of the Living Dead. George Romero Director.
    Easy Rider. Dennis Hopper Director.
    Cheyenne – This Must Be the Place – Sorrentino Director. Sean Penn … brilliant.
    Philomena – Biography. Judi Dench and Steve Coogan. Should be mandatory. Amazing.
    The Hurt Locker – Kathryn Bigelow Director


  6. Ines says:

    Ah, The Usual Suspects! 🙂 What an incredible ride that movie was (and yes, Kevin Spacey!). 🙂

    Ok, here are my five:
    1) The LotR trilogy (after overcoming my shock at what they changed from the book, now I love it), 2) Dirty Dancing (of course!),
    3) Ten Things I hate about you – best teenage movie ever
    4) I’m going to steal Sandra’s choice of Love Actually
    5) and I’m stuck at five now, hmmm, I’ll go with Seven – a movie where I first discovered how brilliant Kevin Spacey is.

  7. Sabine says:

    Not easy, but I told myself not to dwell on it too much, so here is my, rather spontaneous list of movies I have watched at least 4 times:
    1) The Godfather
    2) Das Boot
    3) Lord of the Rings Triology
    4) The Draughtman’s Contract
    5) Breakfast at Tiffany

  8. shylotus says:

    Oh wow – I have so many! Ok, here goes:
    The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
    Cinema Paradiso
    Life is Beautiful
    Norma Rae
    Remains of the Day
    Oh and just in case I was allowed to squeeze a couple more in–
    Deepa Mehta’s trilogy of films: Water / Fire / Earth
    Remains of the Day
    Sophie’s Choice

    Ooops, I went way over! I enjoyed reading everyone’s favorites 🙂
    Have a great week, all!

  9. rosestrang says:

    Desert Island films (in no particular order)…

    The Lives of Others
    American Beauty
    Les Enfants du Paradis

    Also love Network and The Cement Garden

    • Olfactoria says:

      I must make a point of watching all of those! Thank you.

    • cookie queen says:

      I was babysitting one evening way back in 1978. Kids in bed. TV on. Walkabout. Scared the living daylights out of me. Fast forward 30 years on. Still scared me. Nicolas Roeg. Brilliant film.

  10. Tara says:

    I didn’t think I was into films until I started this list!

    Amelie – just wonderful
    Up – best animation ever, the opening section makes me cry every single time
    American Beauty- what a soundtrack and yes, Kevin Spacey, although I htink you’re all in denial about him. Ha ha!
    Sense and Sensibility – what a cast, what a classic Jane Austen plot
    When Harry Met Sally – just the best ever feel good movie

    Honorable mentions to Nurse Betty, Stand By Me, The Truman Show, Roxanne, Some Like it Hot, From Here to Eternity, Grosse Pointe Blank, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Bridget Jones’s Diary

  11. Mare says:

    I also share your love of Moilin Rouge. The chemistry between Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor was sizzling and heartbreaking.

    My top 5 (in no particular order)

    1. Rebecca
    2. Moulin Rouge
    3. Anne of the Thousand Days
    4. The Devil Wears Prada
    5. Somewhere In Time

    • Mare says:

      I’m all over the place with the eras in which these movies came out. I will clarify 🙂 I also find myself wondering what perfumes would fit some of these characters.

      1. Rebecca (1940, Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine)
      2. Moulin Rouge (I know you are familiar with this one, such a beautiful movie)
      3. Anne of the Thousand Days (1969, Richard Burton, Genevieve Bujold)
      4. The Devil Wears Prada (2006, Anne Hathaway, Meryl Streep)
      5. Somewhere In Time (1980, Jane Seymour, Christopher Reeve)

    • Olfactoria says:

      Glad to hear you are a fellow MR fan!
      Great list!

  12. ringthing says:

    I love movies and most often watch them at home. My list, like favorite perfume lists, could change at different times but in no order, here’s what comes to mind:
    Tootsie, Dustin Hoffman
    The King’s Speech, Colin Firth
    The Color Purple
    All the Matt Damon Jason Bourne movies
    Pride and Prejudice, the Kiera Knightley version

    • Olfactoria says:

      I watch them at home these days as well (because babysitters are expensive!) although I love the movie experience. But eventually I’ll be back at the cinema.
      Thank you for sharing your top five!

  13. Farouche says:

    I love John Cusack, but limited myself to only two of his films 🙂

    Say Anything (Cameron Crowe/John Cusack)
    High Fidelity (Stephen Frears/John Cusack)
    Almost Famous (Cameron Crowe/Kate Hudson)
    A Room with a View (James Ivory/a young Helena Bonham-Carter and Maggie Smith!)
    Atonement (Joe Wright/Kiera Knightly)

  14. Vanessa says:

    Oh, so difficult! I shall pinch Four Weddings and a Funeral, and The King’s Speech, and Notting Hill. Maybe even Toy Story, plus Mona Lisa or The Crying Game. Oh, I am aware I am barely scratching the surface – very distressing. 😉

    • Olfactoria says:

      Toy Story is a really lovely movie, thanks to the boys I now know all three of them and I was very pleasantly surprised.
      Don’t be distressed, feel free to list as many movies as you need to relax. 😉

  15. Vanessa says:

    Remains of the Day is also a cracker – the emotions are so wistful and attenuated. I enjoyed The Scent of a Woman a lot, and High Fidelity is also great fun. And The Shipping News is not great fun as such, but stirring stuff. Dearie me…then if I asked Mr Bonkers – a huge film buff with whom I watched a ton of movies – he’d say: ‘But you forgot THIS ONE!’ Withnail and I – how could that one slip my mind? And Spinal Tap for that matter. 😉 And almost the entire canon of Woody Allen! Annie Hall, there you go.

  16. arline says:

    Amelie, I never tire of that movie.
    City of Angles (both American and German versions, different, but equally great)
    Kill Bill 1 and 2
    Pulp Fiction (Love Quentin Tarantino)
    I have to say it
    StarWars All the films are visually beautiful, albeit not always well acted, I adore the premise and I strive to be a jedi.

    I wonder what perfume would go with all these movies 🙂

    • Carol says:

      Oh yes! The German “City of Angels” was amazing!!! I should have mentioned that one in my list – thanks for reminding me!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Pulp Fiction! Of course! It was a lanark movie!!!
      I have never seen Star Wars but I see it in my near future… 🙂

      • arline says:

        I have not seen Wings of Desire, but I will check it out.

        Have an open mind with Star Wars, because the acting is, in some cases, less than excellent. It was cutting edge at the time, and like I said visually beautiful, especially the subsequent three. They did not get good reviews from serious fans, but I loved them, and I was able to get past the shortcomings.

  17. Carol says:

    I’m such a huge movie fan! The following are movies that made a huge impression on me – not necessarily movies I re-watch over and over, but ones that in a way changed the way I think about film and sometimes even about life.

    The Bicycle Thief (De Sica)
    Nostalghia (Tarkovsky)
    A Clockwork Orange (Kubrick)
    Vagabond (Varda)
    Last Tango in Paris (Bertolucci)

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thanks for these wonderful recommendations, Carol. I put all of them on my to watch list.

    • Bee says:

      yay for mentioning Tarkovsky (but I’d go for Stalker or Andrej Rublev), and any Hitchcock (maybe a small preference for Rear window), any Quentin Tarantino (Kill Bill, Jackie Brown, Inglourious Basterds), the Coen Brothers (The big Lebowski,), Lubitsch (to be or not to be) and the list goes on endlessly, I’m a film nerd, O.K.?

    • Tomate Farcie says:

      I love Vagabond, that’s a movie that really touched me, so nice to see it on your list

    • arline says:

      Clockwork Orange was crazy and interesting.

  18. Lavanya says:

    ok-I have to join in for this (though I did make mental lists for the other questions but this is too hard to resist but also easier than the other questions):
    These are my favorite movies:

    1. The discreet charm of the bourgeoisie (Luis Bunuel – possibly my favorite director)
    2. Late Autumn (Yazujiro Ozu – another of my favorite directors – I could watch all his movies again and again. I call him my Japanese Jane Austen)
    3. Agantuk (Satyajit Ray..this is his last film- very flawed but to me has more soul than his more popular films).
    4. Jules et Jim (Truffaut..oooh I could listen to that song by jeanne moreau: Le Tourbillon De La Vie a million times and not get bored. Here’s a link :
    5. Masoom (Shekhar Kapoor..This was one of my favorite films as a kid and I could watch it even now. I love the music in it. An adaptations of Eric Segal’s Man Woman and Child but with a happy ending..haha).

    Honorable mentions: I love romantic comedies in the style of When Harry Met Sally and You’ve Got mail (as well as the original Shop around the corner with Jimmy Stewart)..I adore Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in Roman Holiday. And Sense and Sensibility. And also love the old style Billy Wilder movies especially All about Eve (Bette Davis is AMAZING in it). Oh and Philadelphia Story. And I do love Woody Allen’s movies especially Manhattan and Deconstructing Harry. Ok- I did sort of cheat with my list didn’t I..:)

  19. Tomate Farcie says:

    Lawrence of Arabia
    To Kill a Mockingbird
    Dr. Zhivago
    It Happened One Night
    The Deer Hunter

    honorable mention any Billy Wilder film

  20. ladywinther says:

    Woha! List, in no particular order:

    Love Actually- watch it each year, the day before Christmas Eve
    Sense and Sensibility ( fall in love with Alan Rickman every time <3<3<3)
    Four Weddings and a Funeral ( seen probably 15 times, like you I know all the lyrics by heart, but still as fun to watch as the first time)
    Fanny och Alexander (Fanny and Alexander) by Ingmar Bergman. Really really amazing movie
    Out of Africa Meryl Streep and Robert Redford……ah….

    Honorable mentions:Mamma Mia (gosh I lioved that one), Notting Hill (seems I'm a sucker for Hugh as well), The Godfather trilogy, Lord of The Rings, Il Postino, Cinema Paradiso, La Vita e Bella, Amadeus….

  21. isabeau1977 says:

    Birgit I know what you mean with Dirty was the first movie I ever went to see in the Cinema..and I still love it, must have seen it a hundred times 🙂
    My top 5:
    1. La vita e Bella
    2. Yachten
    3. Scent of a woman
    4. Se7en
    5. The Notebook

  22. Alice says:

    A bit late to add mine but here goes:
    The Leopard
    Red Cliff
    Once upon a time in the west
    Kill Bill 2

  23. empliau says:

    Late to the ball – but I think I’m first to mention perhaps my favorite – the great:

    1. Some Like It Hot (to die for! the smartest film about gender in Hollywood history)
    2. Mamma Mia, because I miss my youth in the disco era, and was hoping it could come back as it did for the fortysomethings in the movie.
    3. The Man in the Iron Mask. Romance, Jeremy Irons, Gabriel Byrne – what’s not to love?
    4. It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. Everybody who was anybody in 1960s American comedy. Jonathan Winters was sheer genius.
    5. Bedazzled – the original Peter Cook/Dudley Moore version. Enough said.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Never to late! 🙂
      I love your movie list! Some Like it Hot should have been among my top five as well. They don’t make it like that anymore… 😉

  24. jdennard75 says:

    I loved Quills, Shawshank Redemption, and The Hours. Top five is going to be so tough. Here goes: not necessarily in order

    Love, Actually
    Casino Royale
    Perks of being a wallflower

    I can’t believe I didn’t include a Frank Darabount or Cameron Crowe move in there. Also, honorable mention to the movie, Brick. But I like this list.

  25. Cybele says:

    among others:
    Le Mepris Godard
    I Married a Witch Renee Clair
    To Have and Have Not
    Mulholland Drive

  26. Elizabeth says:

    NoseyLady says:

    like Portia, i prefer movies at home

    my top 14 in no particular order:

    You’ve Got Mail
    When Harry Met Sally
    The Lion in Winter
    Dr. Zhivago
    I, Claudius
    Lawrence of Arabia
    Breakfast at Tiffany’s
    Bridget Jones’ Diary
    Roman Holiday
    Thunderball [Sean Connery]
    The Living Daylights [Timothy Dalton]
    Licence to Kill [Timothy Dalton]
    How to Steal a Million [Audrey Hepburn & Peter O’Toole]

  27. Mary says:

    Forest Gump
    Vicky Christina Barcelona
    The Baader Meinhof Komplex
    Harry and Sally

    I love to read your blog!

  28. Karin says:

    So many awesome movies! I love romantic comedies. Favorites:

    The Philadelphia Story – Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn
    Sabrina – Audrey Hepburn, William Holden, Humphrey Bogart
    Something’s Gotta Give – Diane Keaton, Jack Nicholson
    It’s Complicated – Meryl Streep, Alex Baldwin, Steve Martin
    Moonstruck – Cher, Nicolas Cage

    I also absolutely LOVE Moulin Rouge (though more of a tragedy)!!!!

    • Olfactoria says:

      O Moonstruck! Thanks so much for reminding me. It was one of my absolute favorites for years! How could I forget about it? Nicolas Cage was fabulous in that movie!

  29. Ankica/Bellatrix says:

    I love best movies discussions.
    Here is my list, which might be changed soon, since i am about to watch few great movies. 🙂

    1. Amelie – screening on my inner soul 🙂
    2. Life is Beautiful – perfect showing of love; incredibility touching
    3. Brokeback Mountain – as one critic said: story about two straight men who fell in love 🙂
    4. Before sunset/Before sunrise – simple and perfect
    5. The Big Lebowski – laid back and funny-clever movie! 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      I Iove your picks, Ankica!!!
      Before Sunrise is especially dear to me as it showcases Vienna so beautifully.
      Life is beautiful is amazing and heartwrenching.

  30. Undina says:

    I’ve dwindled my list down to 25 movies (it was extremely hard!) but since I want to stick to the rules set, here’s my list of five:

    Groundhog Day
    The Fifth Element
    Die Hard
    The Sixth Sense
    The Usual Suspects

    • Olfactoria says:

      I love how you really take a question to heart and think about it before answering. Admirable!
      Great movies, I especially like your first and last choices.

  31. These questions are too hard and it’s really tricky to whittle down. At the moment kids movies dominate my viewing time though – e.g. I’ve just sat through Spiderman 2 and Rio 2 (in french which I’m not fluent in so a bit of a challenge!)

    The Godfather (1 and 2 – so slight cheat)
    Brokeback Mountain
    Into the Wild

  32. Pingback: Monday Question – Your Top Five Part IV: Favorite Things | Olfactoria's Travels

  33. Pingback: Monday Question – Your Top Five Part V: Perfumes | Olfactoria's Travels

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