The top 5 movies that have moved you

I saw this on another message board and thought it would be fun…
If you were to just meet somebody, and the only way you could tell them anything about you was to make a top five list of movies that aren’t necessarily your favorite, but that have effected you in a way (a good way), what would they be and why? The key is that you have to explain why. What about this movie moved you, was it a specific scene, a line, a piece of dialogue, or was it the whole moral of the story behind the whole thing?
I’m just curious because you can learn a lot about a person from the movies that have an effect on them.

I hope you don’t mind, but I changed the title of your thread to make it just a bit less vague, and moved it from IMHO to Cafe Society.

Empire of the Sun
Cinema Paradiso
My Life as a Dog
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
I can really identify with the characters. James loves all things airplanes, has a dozen planes hanging over his bed, and is emotionally removed from people around him but he becomes connected with the world.

I used to own a movie theatre and I went out of business so the second film should be kind of self explanatory. All though when he tells the young man to leave town and never come back, don’t let sentimentality bring you down, I don’t want to talk to you ever again, I want to hear others talk about you, that part, that advice is very moving to me.

The third film is an incredible movie. The story, the symbolism, the sexiest scene you will ever see that features children but isn’t creepy in any way. (oh and the maniac older brother and again with the emotional detachment)

Gattaca, again a brother that is a royal pain in the ass and overcoming him, and the expectations of the world is very moving to me.

Wrath of Khan is a great movie. Not just an action adventure film, it is the best bit of Star Trek out there. The movie takes everything that made Kirk great in the series and it all comes to bite him on the ass when he is older. He feels so old that it almost beats him. Then he remembers and is true to himself and it all works out. Spock’s heroic death is one of the best in movies.

I can watch any of these films over and over.

  1. Fight Club taught me that we are defined by the society we live in.
  2. Cowboy Bebop: The Movie taught me that there is no door out of life, we’re stuck with what we’ve got.
  3. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off taught me to make the most of life and have some FUN, fercryinoutloud.
  4. Cool Hand Luke taught me … okay, it’s just a damned powerful movie. Anyone not moved by this movie either hasn’t seen it or wasn’t paying attention.
  5. Star Trek: First Contact taught me that even after all the shit hits the fan, there’s still hope for mankind.

I was really moved by Lost in Translation. It resembled, tonally and in a few plot elements, a movie I’d wanted to make for a few years, so that was striking in itself. It was also a really beautiful movie that managed to express a lot of things without needing to say them, and I think that gave it more emotional impact. I actually went back to see it again the night after I first saw it.

Ray really blew me away. I loved the music, and it was a good (if flawed) movie, but seeing how much the man accomplished with his life was also a very powerful thing. When it ended, I was crying so hard I couldn’t leave my seat. I just kind of collapsed emotionally for a couple of minutes, and I don’t remember another experience like that. I think watching the movie, or watching me watch the movie, would tell you a lot about what music means to me.

Hotel Rwanda, yet another recent movie. It’s hard to sustain a feeling of shock and bewildered horror for two hours, but it did that for me and probably a good number of other people. Most of the time I felt like I couldn’t breathe. What’s stayed with me since then is a renewed commitment to humanity and to global justice, which I’m still trying to channel into something productive.

The final movie of an anime series called Tenchi Muyo! probably belongs on this list, even though it wasn’t that good. What moved me was that this series was ending. Some of the characters resembled my group of friends in bizarre ways, and this made it kind of a favorite in our circle for one summer, which was a special time in itself. Even though the movie was a year or two after that, I was said to see the symbol end, and perhaps this also tells you something about the way I want to bring stories from my own life into the world.

And finally…

I liked this movie, but I’ll cheat a little and talk about the series finale. I have just never been as dumbstruck by the ending of a TV show. The ending itself was great, but they brought it all home just by putting the words “You’re gonna carry that weight” in the lower left corner of a black screen. That said a ton and summed up the entire show in a really astonishing way. It’s hard to explain what that says about me, if anything, but it all ties together somehow. A little like Lost in Translation. :wink:

  1. Ghandi - This was the first I ever really found out anything about the man, and I was terribly impressed with his intelligence and the totalness of the commitments he made.

  2. The Razor’s Edge - After I first saw this movie, I felt as though I had just seen the entirety of my life on the movie screen. I’m still not sure that I didn’t.

Other films have impressed me, have moved me, but those two had perhaps the greatest impact on me, and on how I have lived since viewing them.

The Seven Samurai – Do what you think is morally correct and honorable, even if the people in your group aren’t perfect. Even if the people you’re doing it for aren’t perfect.

A Man for All Seasons – Same thing, but try to do it with wit and style.

Not the 5 that most moved me, but probably the 5 that had the most impact and/or reveal the most about me:

Casablanca (Curtiz): The film that first forced me to admit I have equal parts cynicism and romanticism in my character. It also is a standard for how I’d like to believe I’d act if forced to make a decision re: nobility and selflessness.
Ordet (Dreyer): The film that is the purest distillation of my belief in God and the importance of tolerance, faith, and forgiveness.
2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick): Exhilarating, beautiful, and sometimes painfully sad, but ultimately transcendent. I can trace my own evolution through my evolving attitudes and interpretations of it through the years. In Art (like in Life), there are not always easy answers, and the varying levels of simplicity and complexity never cease to leave me in awe. It’s also the only classic movie I refuse to watch on TV, so it also represents my innate love of the filmgoing experience.
Chloe in the Afternoon (Rohmer): I probably can identify (for better and worse) with the lead here more than in any other film, especially his tendency towards self-denial, sexual obsessiveness, and intellectual pretension.
Some Like It Hot (Wilder): One of the funniest movies I know, it is also perhaps my wife’s favorite film. I was with her the first time she saw it, and have been with her every subsequent time. No movie that I love as much makes me think of her as much as this one does.

  1. American Beauty. I went and saw it alone at a matinee showing before it had really gotten to be a huge sensation. And the movie really struck with me, especially since I was a loser who went to the movies alone. Then I walk out of the 2 hours of darkness into this gorgeous late September, perfect blue sky, sunny day. I still love the movie, but it’s never quite touched me like that breath of fresh air did after I first saw it.

  2. Bad Santa. I went into watching this one with the lowest of expectations. And it turned out to be great dark humor, against my best guesses. However, the reason it is on the list is that he Just Wanted To Give The Kid The Elephant!Only Mostly Missus and I both teared up, which I wouldn’t have bet you any amount of money would have happened at the beginning.

  3. The Professional. There was such a delicate, innocent love story in the middle of it all. How Natalie Portman acted that well, that young, is simple remarkable.

  4. Secretary. The irony of Lee finding so much power in submission, and the fragile strength of Grey. Clever.

  5. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring. A great CliffsNotes of Zen philosophy, and breathtaking cinematography. It left me feeling like there’s no such thing as misery as long as there’s time.

I’m seeing a theme here. Movies that are beautiful despite (or rather because of the humanity of) their grotesque characters. Intriguing.

  1. Adaptation: It’s a shame that so many people can’t see past the “gimmicks” of the movie, because the message is so profound. It perfectly describes a life controlled by self-doubt and fear of failure, to the point that it can crush the desire to do anything. Then it shows how to overcome that fear and regain a passion for life.

  2. Pom Poko: Another surprisingly profound message in an animated movie about raccoon dogs with large testicles. In addition to introducing me to a whole side of Japanese folklore I knew nothing about, it also has an environmental message that’s not subtle, but it’s not trite and simplistic, either. It shows how mankind isn’t just destroying nature, we’ve set ourselves apart from nature and have lost the core of what we are.

  3. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou: Possibly because I’m having a premature mid-life crisis of my own. It’s another pretty profound message underneath a movie that people dismiss as “too clever” or “quirky.” Zissou is realizing he’s gone through life without ever really growing up and connecting with someone.

  4. Fargo: This is actually one of my least-favorite Coen Brothers movies, but it’s the best at getting its point across, I think. Again, people dismiss it as just making fun of the simple people from Wisconsin & North Dakota and the funny way they talk, but what it’s really saying is that they’re the only ones who’re getting it right.

  5. Wings of Desire: The movie overall is a little too “European art film” for me to love it, but the beginning is just beautiful. I can’t think of a better image from a movie, ever, than that of the angels all over the commuter trains and libraries in Berlin, giving peace to all the people with inner turmoil.

Elephant Man so moved me in its portrayal of a otherwise quite normal man who suffered from a horrific physical disfigurement that I can’t bring myself to watch it again. It haunted me for months. I kept thinking that it would have been far easier had he been mentally handicapped as well.

Platoon so disturbed me that I turned it off after a half hour. It’s one thing to know on a visceral level that people do sucky things during war. It’s quite another to watch a scene where an American soldier bashes a baby’s head in with a rifle butt.

Original Razor’s Edge or Bill Murray’s?

I learned to expect the unexpected and every once in a while, to kick someone’s ass.
The scene that was really spectacular for me was the one where the gangster Lou comes to beat Tyler’s ass. Anything else would be a spoiler - you’ve seen it.

La Vita e Bella
Life has two sides: comic and tragic. Live on the good side.

The scene where the dude talks about “It’s not what loves you, it’s what you love,” really turned my perspective in life around at an important time.

Donnie Darko
Taught me (and Flying Hairbands of Doom to be freaked out by rabbits.

The 1984 version, with Bill Murray.

One movie immediately comes to mind. This movie opened up an entirely new genre of film to me and refocused pretty much my entire area of film interest. In short, it opened a door into a world I never knew existed.

The film is Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Prior to watching this movie, my experience with Asian cinema consisted of a few Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee movies. I liked those well enough and was impressed by the skills and stuntwork, but I knew nothing beynd that.

I had read a couple of glowing reviews for Crouching Tiger and figured, okay, looks pretty good. I saw it and was mezmerized. I felt myself welling up with emotion just watching the fight scenes. I went back again and again to experience these wonderful feelings.

I had never heard of *wuxia * before this. I was not aware of martial arts fantasy films. I didn’t know what other types of movies Hong Kong and other Asian countries had been putting out.

So I started watching. Butterfly & Sword. Iron Monkey. Hero. Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain. Chinese Ghost Story. The Bride with White Hair. My infatuation with Maggie Cheung and Michelle Yeoh led me to other movies and other genres. Iceman Cometh. Comrades, Almost a Love Story. Green Snake. The Heroic Trio. Wing Chun. Royal Warriors. Yes, Madam!

Then I discovered John Woo. A Better Tomorrow, Hard-Boiled. The Killer. Then other action films. In the Line of Duty. Tokyo Raiders. The Big Heat. Beast Cops. Infernal Affairs. Righting Wrongs.

Next came the classic martial arts/comedy. Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung. Jet Li. Too numerous to mention.

And don’t even get me started on the Category III movies.

It goes on and on, and has spilled over into other Asian cinema. Right now, my DVD collection consists of over 175 Hong Kong films. (I also own about 60 Korean DVDs and have rented/watched about 75 more). Some Japanese as well.

All this is because of what happened to me when I watched Crouching Tiger. I owe Ang Lee a world of gratitude.

  1. A little movie called Ponette, about a young French girl whose mother is killed in an accident, and the girl’s subsequent search to find reconnect with her. It’s a stunning movie, enhaned by the performance of then 5 year old Victoire Thivisol that made me sob for weeks after I saw it, just thinking about it.

  2. Life is Beautiful. For such a horrid subject matter, I’ve never felt such a rush of feeling as when, at the end, Joshua finds his mother, and tells her “We won the tank! We won!”

1Hotel Rwanda - human suffering always is upsetting but the fact that I was alive during this genocide, wrecked me.
2Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - it was the last scene where Clem lists why they shouldn’t be together and Joel replies with a so what. We are all looking for someone who will tell us so what. Sniff!
3. The Thin Red Line
4Donnie Darko - his dying alone monologue in his therapist’s office moved me.
5The Return of the King - I’m a geek.

In no particular order:[ol]
[li]Apocalypse Now:One of the first films which had me truly spellbound; its depiction of the insanity and futility of the Vietnam War sticks with me to this day. In fact, in light of what’s happening in the Middle East, I have started watching it again, asking myself, “How did we let ourselves get into this mess again?” And I speak of the original version; the “Redux” version’s added scenes (except for the Kilgore stuff) ruin the flow of the film as sure as damming up the river it takes place on.[/li][li]Star Trek 2: Simply for the exhilaration of seeing them get it so right after Robert Wise and Paramount got the first film so very wrong![/li][li]2010: Politics and sci-fi can be a dicey combination. This film skillfully gets a message across without getting overly preachy. What touched me most about this film? Two scenes: first, the wonderful father-daughter moment between Dr. Floyd and the Russian cosmonaut during the airbraking sequence; second, Dr. Chandra’s speech about HAL being instructed to lie by people who find it easy to lie.[/li][li]Bob Roberts: No non-horror film ever frightened me as much as this film did. Anyone of a left-of-center viewpoint who wonders how Dubya got re-elected would do well to see this film, especially a chilling turn by a young Jack Black.[/li][li]The Man With Two Brains: This may seem like a strange choice for this category, but the love story between Michael and the brain of Anne is absolutely adorable. The end especially got to me, partially because I am attracted to larger women in general, partially because I truly believe that it is the mind that truly falls in love, not the eyes.[/li][/ol]

In no particular order…

Lawrence of Arabia
As Roger Ebert said, “I’ve noticed that when people remember ‘Lawrence of Arabia,’ they don’t talk about the details of the plot. They get a certain look in their eye, as if they are remembering the whole experience, and have never quite been able to put it into words.” This movie just satisfies on every aesthetic level.

Life is Beautiful
One of the very few movies that made me cry. The profundity of it really snuck up on me. I’m kind of a film snob, so oftentimes I end up predicting how “sad” movies will turn out, which keeps me somewhat detached from their story. The combined humor and sorrow completely threw me for a loop.

Despite some cinematic flaws, this movie managed to make the tremendous power of an unassuming, selfless little man very real. It showed how love, informed by knowledge and hard experience, is not a naive or weak instinct – it’s a thunderbolt. When the credits rolled, I sat with my mouth agape for an hour.

Hotel Rwanda
The only movie I can remember making me angry, seethingly angry – not at the movie but at the injustice portrayed, and the selfishness of the world community.

Requiem for a Dream
The only movie that ever made me want to walk out – I felt sick to my stomach watching it. Such depravity. I stuck it out, and it was a great movie, but I don’t think I’ll ever watch it again.

Honorable mention: Shawn of the Dead
Never laughed so hard, out loud, in a theater before. There are other comedies that are made better cinematically but using laughter as the metric, this one tops the list for me.

Hmm. 19 posts and no one has mentioned

To Kill a Mockingbird

He’s not a hero, he’s not a crusader. He’s just a man doing the right thing because that’s what a man should do, even when it’s the hard thing to do.