This is it, folks. The end result of a year’s worth of movie watching. The 25 films listed below are all fantastic in their own ways, and I would happily give each of them my full endorsement. In my initial reviews, I only gave out one “ten” rating. After further reflection, at least the top four films would all receive this elusive rating from me. Let’s get to it:
25) Blow Out 
It’s easy to see why Quentin Tarantino considers this a favorite of his. Can’t get over that ending.
24) The Wild Bunch 
Quite possibly the most violent Western I have seen, and it culminates with a bloodbath for the ages.
23) Rocky 
A number of progressively worse sequels cannot damage the brilliance of one of film’s greatest underdog stories.
22) Into the Wild 
A tremendously beautiful film that stirred up emotions in me that I just wasn’t prepared for.
21) O Brother, Where Art Thou? 
I’m not a bluegrass guy, but I couldn’t stop listening to this film’s soundtrack for days afterward. Now one of my favorites from the Coen brothers.
20) Casino Royale 
My first Bond film. After watching another half dozen or so, this one is still light years above the others.
19) Coffy 
This film may very well be the most fun out of all of these — I could watch Pam Grier kick ass all day.
18) Blue Velvet 
Quintessential David Lynch film that contains the deliriously psychopathic role Dennis Hopper was born to play. Just one unforgettable scene after another.
17) For a Few Dollars More 
Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef teaming up to take down a ruthless fugitive? Hell yeah.
16) Paths of Glory 
Kubrick’s early anti-war film is still incredibly powerful.
15) To Kill a Mockingbird 
Worth seeing just for Gregory Peck’s big courtroom speech. What a performance.
14) Singin’ in the Rain 
Yeah, I’m still surprised at how much I enjoyed this. Just a great all-around film with some insane dance numbers.
13) Modern Times 
Charlie Chaplin is as entertaining as always, but I couldn’t help falling in love with Paulette Goddard. What a combination those two made.
12) M 
Fritz Lang’s film delivers some pretty heavy subject matter for the time period, and Peter Lorre’s disturbingly effective performance lingers for days.
11) Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade 
I don’t know if I prefer this or Raiders of the Lost Ark, but both are incredible adventures.
10) A Fistful of Dollars 
Could be called “bite-size” Leone, but the result is a quick, highly entertaining effort.
9) The Sting 
The best caper film I have seen — is there a better duo than Paul Newman and Robert Redford?
8) Metropolis 
An unbelievable cinematic feat that was well ahead of its time.
7) On the Waterfront 
This is a contender, alright. Fantastic work from all involved, especially Marlon Brando’s Terry Malloy.
6) Vanishing Point 
The movie that made me want to hit the open road and not look back.
5) Notorious 
I didn’t know what to expect out of this Hitchcock classic, but it has quickly become one of my favorites from the auteur.
4) Lawrence of Arabia 
This historical epic is still a technical marvel today, and it is absolutely stellar on the big screen.
3) Touch of Evil 
I was hooked from the opening scene, one of the best I can remember. This may have very well eclipsed Citizen Kane as my favorite Orson Welles film.
2) The Last Picture Show 
As a former resident of a small town myself, I could infinitely relate to this film. I can’t think of another that better encapsulates the experience of growing up in a rural town like this.
1) The Lives of Others 
In a project full of great selections, this is the one that blew me away the most. This is a film that requires the utmost attention, but if you provide this, the rewards just keep coming. There aren’t many performances that are better than what Ulrich Mühe delivers here, and it’s incredibly tragic that this was his last film. I will be recommending this anytime I get the chance.
So there you have it. The 2012 edition of the 50 Movies Project is now complete. What do you think of the rankings? What should be bumped up or pushed down? Have you seen The Lives of Others? Let’s hear your thoughts!