Believe it or not, we have finally reached the final edition of Patrick’s 100 Movies. And I saved some heavy hitters for this list!
When you think about it, this day took a dozen years to come. The first edition of the original version of Patrick’s 100 Movies debuted in 2008.
But I never actually finished that list of 100 films. And every now and then, when I was searching for something on the blog, I’d see the incomplete list. It bugged me.
It finally bugged me long enough to take down the original and start over.
So Part 1 of this list hit the site last summer. It took me more than a year to get through all 10 installments. But if you figure it took from 2008 to 2019 to start over, it’s a good thing it didn’t take until 2030 to reach this milestone!
If you missed the last edition, Part 9, you can find it here.
As before, these are in no particular order. But you’ll notice there are some big ones in this final list!
91. ‘Network’ (1975)
“I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window, open it and stick your head out and yell, ‘I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!'”
That’s not what you’d expect to hear from your typical news anchor. But Howard Beale was not typical. Paddy Chayefsky’s satirical look at television starred Peter Finch as Beale. William Holden played his boss at the struggling UBS network. Faye Dunaway played the rising TV exec looking for the next big thing, which she finds in the least likely place.
The prospect of losing his job over declining ratings prompts Beale into rants that grab the audience. And Dunaway’s character can’t resist turning the anchor into the “Mad Prophet of the airwaves” in his own show.
Yes, I did say it was satire. But for many, it doesn’t seem so far-fetched somehow.
92. ‘Gone With the Wind’ (1939)
In this day and age, fans of this film find explaining the admiration a bit complicated. For that reason, this one might be the most controversial in my Patrick’s 100 Movies list.
On the one hand, this film depicts an obvious love and respect for “the Old South.” That means, though many don’t want to think about it, a celebration of slavery. I really do believe that there are people who genuinely think you can love the image of those days without loving the brutal realities. But the ongoing national discussions about race make that more and more of a challenge.
On the other hand, from a cinematic standpoint, this is a beautiful picture. I found myself stunned by just how beautiful it was when I watched the Blu-Ray version. I became used to the washed out prints I’d seen over the years. Seeing the digitally-remastered version really surprised me.
The film is based on Margaret Mitchell’s book of the same name. It follows a heroine, Scarlett O’Hara, and her unrelenting fight to protect her home. Vivian Leigh portrays Scarlett and Clark Gable portrays her sometime-love interest, Rhett Butler. Leslie Howard starred as Ashley Wilkes, the man Scarlett really loved, while Olivia de Havilland, who we just lost at 104, was his wife, the ever-suffering Melanie. Hattie McDaniel and Butterfly McQueen played the enslaved Mammy and Prissy.
The movie depicts the death of the Confederacy and the beginning of the end of slavery. We shouldn’t feel sad to see that horrible institution go.
But if you set aside the notions about that institution, you may find that as Leigh said in a 1958 interview, it’s a perfectly human story.
The story, it just so happens, is set during that particular time.
Maybe the movie’s appeal lies in the human story, not the time in which it is set.
93. ‘The Wizard of Oz’ (1939)
When I was a kid, CBS showed this film every year. So I grew up seeing it on television. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to watch it on the silver screen.
With a simple message, “There’s no place like home,” it tells the story of Dorothy Gale, a Kansas farm girl who lives a meager, black-and-white (or Sepia-toned) life. Until a dream lands her in the magical — and Technicolor-rich Oz.
It then follows her adventures, along with those of the scarecrow, a tin man and a cowardly lion, as they seek the mystical wizard Oz in Emerald City.
If you watch today, it’s hard to believe that this movie is actually more than 80 years old.
94. ‘An American Werewolf in London’ (1981)
I remember as a kid — I must have been about 11 — watching this movie in the theater with my dad. We went because we’d heard about the incredible makeup and special effects done to convert a mere mortal into a werewolf.
Artist Rick Baker did not disappoint. You have to consider as you watch this horror/comedy flick that those effects were done before CGI. What he accomplished without computer animation is enough to make Patrick’s 100 Movies list. But it’s an entertaining flick to boot.
It tells the story of two college friends who visit England and get attacked by a werewolf. David’s friend, Jack, is killed. David survives, but immediately is visited by the ghost of Jack, who appears each time in a worse state of decay — he’s undead, after all — to warn his friend that he will become a werewolf when the moon is full.
At first, David doesn’t believe. But then it becomes impossible not to.
95. ‘The African Queen’ (1951)
A determined missionary and a gruff ship captain embark on a dangerous trip down the Ulanga River in his African Queen. Katherine Hepburn is the missionary and Humphrey Bogart is the ship’s captain. They begin as opposites…but you know what they say about opposites attracting.
As German soldiers pursue them, they hatch a plan to sink a German gunboat. The plan is, of course, nearly impossible. But the chemistry between the two of them begins to work its magic and as the adventure builds to a fever pitch, so do their feelings.
It’s certainly not your typical love story, but there’s enough excitement and even laughs along the way to keep you interested.
96. ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ (1986)
This is such a silly yet entertaining little flick. The songs — even the opening theme — will stick with you. Seriously, you’ll hear them in your head for a week every time you watch. But the story of the strange plant — the Audrey II — which came from outer space is just too good to pass up.
97. ‘Sunset Boulevard’ (1950)
This movie begins with a murder and then through flashbacks takes us into a bizarre fantasy life of a former silent-film star. Nora Desmond has been all but forgotten, but she has not forgotten her dream of a major film comeback.
William Holden portrays a film writer down on his luck who she thinks can make that comeback happen.
But after layer upon layer of deception and twists, the film ends with one of the most chilling and tragic scenes in movie history, as Desmond descends the staircase, claiming to be ready for her closeup, and having lost all sense of reality.
98. ‘Brokeback Mountain’ (2005)
A romance about two gay cowboys somehow seems so universal for audiences. That’s assuming, of course, they can get past the “gay” part.
Still, it’s a tragic love story that pulls you in and feels extraordinarily genuine. Yet you realize their love affair is doomed from the beginning no matter how much they fight to keep it alive over the years.
You find yourself pulling for these characters despite yourself. And the movie’s tragic ending reminds us of the harsh realities of the world.
Sometimes, love doesn’t win.
99. ‘Ghost’ (1990)
Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze star as Molly and Sam, a couple almost too much in love. But we quickly learn that’s the whole point: when Sam is killed, their love is too strong for him to leave her.
We then see a murder mystery unfold and realize all was not what it seemed.
Enter Whoopi Goldberg as psychic con artist Oda Mae Brown. It turns out she actually is a physic, which is a surprise to her, and she’s the only one who can hear Sam. He pulls her into the plot to warn Molly of danger and get final justice.
She returns the favor by stealing every scene she’s in.
Sure, the movie has a predictable ending, but the journey through laughter and tears is still worth the trip.
100. ‘Citizen Kane’ (1941)
If I’m doing a list called Patrick’s 100 Movies, this one has to be in it. People often regard it as the greatest film ever made.
I don’t know that I agree with that; I could name plenty of movies I’d rather see when I’m in the mood to watch a great film. But if you think about it, it was ahead of its time in terms of the cinematography and storytelling techniques.
Orson Welles stars as George Foster Kane, a publisher and businessman wealthy beyond your wildest dreams. The movie begins at his ending, as he lies on his deathbed. He utters his last word, “Rosebud.”
That starts a quest to figure out the meaning of that enigmatic word.
We then learn his story, from the beginning. Yet the mystery of “Rosebud” persists through the picture.
If you don’t know how it ends so far, I don’t know how you’ve managed to miss out. But just in case, I won’t spoil it. I’ll only say two things: the world does not uncover the secret, but the audience does.
Somehow, there’s great satisfaction in those final moments as we learn the word’s meaning. There’s even more in processing what that tells us about this man whose persona has, up until that moment, carried the story and our impression of him.
It reveals a depth to the character that maybe, just maybe, we hadn’t contemplated as we see his life go by.
Maybe that twist and its deeper meanings — and how each of us interpret them on our own — help make it such a hit.
And that, friends, brings us to the final post in the Patrick’s 100 Movies list.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the movies I’ve listed and while I’m sure you’ve seen at least some of them, I hope you’ll consider perusing a few others that you’ve missed.
I’d love to know what you think of some of them.
If you’ve missed any of them or you want to go back through the list, you’ll find them all here.