Favorite Movies Of Conservative Bloggers

pulp_fictionRWN’s John Hawkins polled his roster of conservative bloggers on their favorite movies of all time. Only two flicks from this millennium made the top dozen, although several others made the larger list:

8) The Godfather II: 6 (1974)
8) Jaws: 6 (1975)
8) Raiders of the Lost Ark: 6 (1981)
8) Pulp Fiction: 6 (1994)
8) Braveheart: 6 (1995)
6) The Shawshank Redemption: 7 (1994)
6) The Princess Bride: 7 (1987)
5) The Incredibles: 8 (2004)
4) The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring: 9 (2001)
3) Star Wars: 11 (1977)
2) Casablanca: 13 (1942)
1) The Godfather: 14 (1972)

Only two of my own non-ordered top 10 submissions made the list:

Pulp Fiction
Big Jake
O Brother Where Art Thou
Top Gun
Shawshank Redemption
Die Hard
Cool Hand Luke
Monty Python’s Life of Brian
Rio Bravo

Oddly, both “Pulp Fiction” and “Shawshank Redemption” were released in 1994.   I’m not sure whether that’s purely coincidental or whether that represents some sweet spot in the age overlap of the polled bloggers.

It occurs to me that I left “Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan” off my list.  But it’s not really a fair inclusion, in that it’s only great because of how it fits into the very long arc of the series, including the television series that preceded it.

Otherwise, Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” and “Reservoir Dogs” are easily my favorite films of the gangster genre.  While the Godfather flicks had some great lines, I actually find them rather tedious.  And I never got the allure of “Goodfellas,” which seems to always make the “great guy movies” lists.

I don’t think “Jaws” has held up all that well.  I still like “Star Wars,” although not as much as I once did; and it’s not even the best film in its own trilogy.  “The Incredibles” was fine but wouldn’t make my top 100.   “Princess Bride” is quite good — maybe even in my top 25 — but it’s merely clever on the tenth viewing, while “O Brother” remains hilarious and “Life of Brian” remains fresh and brilliant satire despite the passage of decades.

Feel free to submit your own favorites in the comments.

FILED UNDER: Blogosphere, Movie Reviews, Popular Culture, , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. sam says:

    “Life of Brian” remains fresh and brilliant satire despite the passage of decades.

    Snicker. Some conservative you are.

  2. kth says:

    Some of mine that didn’t make their list or yours (I’m not a conservative, but y’all might like these):

    Saving Private Ryan
    Easy Rider
    The Deer Hunter
    Taxi Driver
    Unforgiven
    The Searchers

    The last one surely is the preferred Duke movie. I don’t say this because all the critics say so, but because the last scene, when Wayne scoops up Natalie Wood, who he’s previously considered killing because she has been ‘defiled’ by the Indians who kidnapped her, and says “let’s go home”–is the most powerful scene Wayne ever acted in.

  3. James Joyner says:

    The last one surely is the preferred Duke movie. I don’t say this because all the critics say so, but because the last scene, when Wayne scoops up Natalie Wood, who he’s previously considered killing because she has been ‘defiled’ by the Indians who kidnapped her, and says “let’s go home”–is the most powerful scene Wayne ever acted in.

    “The Searchers” is a great movie in a way that, say, “Big Jake” and “Rio Bravo” aren’t. The latter, though, are much more entertaining and re-watchable.

  4. john personna says:

    A movie can only be the greatest movie of all time in a specific time. A contradiction 😉

    For a fun year, The Replacement Killers was the greatest movie of all time. Mira Sorvino and Yun-Fat Chow, and lots and lots of bullets. What wasn’t to like?

  5. Chuck Bearden says:

    Here are a few of mine; it is impossible to be complete:

    M (Fritz Lang, 1931)
    The Man Who Would Be King
    Ran
    Treasure of the Sierra Madre
    Paths of Glory
    Serenity
    The Third Man
    Lawrence of Arabia
    Unforgiven

    Serenity may not be a filmic gem of the quality of M (but is there another movie as good as M?), but what it says about the perils of meddlesome centralized power and of “progressive” attempts to engineer human nature to produce utopia is golden. And it is at least a very good film in my view.

    Unforgiven is a brilliant study in human depravity, in how the good and gentle can coexist with the vicious, in how coercion and violence often, or always, play a role in public order. But then, I’m a Calvinist, so I would say that, wouldn’t I?

  6. kth says:

    Also forgotten by conservatives, who would probably admire:

    On The Waterfront
    Stalag 17
    Bridge on the River Kwai
    High Noon (!!!)

    But people are apt to poorly remember their own favorites if asked to produce a list off the tops of their heads. So check out Flickchart, which presents you with pairs of movies and asks you to pick the better of the two. Then your favorites are gradually compiled over however many iterations you want to perform. Excellent time-waster.

  7. Wayne says:

    So many great movies. Here a couple I have always enjoyed seeing over and over.

    Outlaw Jose Whales
    Spartacus
    Alamo
    Glory
    Big Jake

  8. anjin-san says:

    How do you have a greatest movie list without “to kill a mockingbird” ?

  9. William d'Inger says:

    I consider myself a conservative. I am surprised to find my movie tastes so radically different from the above. I absolutely hate and shun movies with lots of violence (No Country for Old Men, Inglorious Basterds, etc.) My favorite kind of movie is Travelers and Magicians or that Eddie Murphy movie about the little Buddhist child, the name of which I can’t recall at the moment. I also liked Animal House with John Belushi and that oddball student film by John Carpenter called Dark Star.

  10. UlyssesUnbound says:

    Two movies for sheer entertainment value:

    The Jerk
    The Boondock Saints

    And one for being a masterpiece:

    La Grande Illusion.

    I always find it odd that a lot of top movie lists created by critics (AFI or some other institution) always includes Citizen Kane near the top, yet top movie lists that rate from more of an enjoyment perspective (blogs or entertainment magazines) never include it. I think its one of the most enjoyable movies I own, and watch it year after year.

  11. pylon says:

    Top Gun? Really?

    Was it the volleyball scene that put it over the top?

  12. William d'Inger says:

    Oh, darn, how did I forget to mention Mister Roberts? It was over-the-top Hollywood silly because no sailors actually act like that, but I lived a similar life aboard a Navy rescue and salvage vessel out of Pearl in the 1960s. The skipper let us go native at sea, i.e., no shirts, hats or shoes (except on the mess decks or in officer country). We caught sharks and made necklaces out of their teeth with our dog tag chains. We threw empty 55-gal drums overboard for target practice with machine guns. If you’ve never fired a Thompson (Tommy gun) full automatic, you haven’t lived.

  13. James Joyner says:

    Top Gun? Really?

    Plenty of silliness in the flick but it’s picked with great dialogue, humor, action, and an interesting character arc.

  14. Grewgills says:

    Pulp Fiction
    The Dark Knight
    Raiders of the Lost Arc
    Memento
    Dr. Strangelove
    Rear Window
    Life of Brian or Holy Grail
    Blade Runner (no narration)
    Fargo
    Wrath of Khan
    Ghost in the Shell
    Young Frankenstein

    Serenity was good, but the series was far better.

  15. Herb says:

    Was it the volleyball scene that put it over the top?

    Top Gun is definitely not the most awesome movie EVER that it was when I was a kid, but it still holds up for the people who love it.

    Of course, I love every movie the Scott Brothers make (Ridley or Tony), even if it’s not very good.

    My list:
    Seven
    Goodfellas
    Raiders of the Lost Ark
    Platoon
    Bram Stoker’s Dracula (the Coppolla version)
    Crooklyn
    Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance
    Die Hard
    Black Hawk Down
    The Wild Bunch

    It’s the kind of list for someone with a strong stomach for cinematic violence. What can I say, I like it dark…

  16. Steve Verdon says:

    Man not a single Kurosawa film so far. How disappointing.

    Yojimbo,
    Seven Samurai.

    Both copied by other directors their analogs,

    A Fistfull of Dollars,
    The Magnificent Seven.

    A Fistfull of Dollars is an almost scene-for-scene copy of Yojimbo.

    Sanjuro is also a good movie which like Fistfull of Dollars and For A Few Dollars More and the Good the Bad and the Ugly continues the story of the masterless samurai in Yojimbo.

    These three movies have some of the best sword fighting I’ve ever seen. None of the cartoonish crap we get today or in the past.

    Another good Kurosawa movie is High and Low. Again Kurosawa uses his favorite actors Toshiro Mifune and and Tatsuya Nakadai.

  17. James Joyner says:

    Sanjuro is also a good movie which like Fistfull of Dollars and For A Few Dollars More and the Good the Bad and the Ugly continues the story of the masterless samurai in Yojimbo.

    I liked “Magnificent Seven” and the “Man with No Name” trilogy. I just don’t find them rewatchable in the same way as, say, “Unforgiven” much less the lighter John Wayne flicks like “Big Jake,” “Rio Bravo,” “The Commancheros,” and a dozen more.

  18. Brett says:

    Let’s see. My list of favorite films that I could watch and re-watch (which I also posted over at Dave Schuler’s website) is

    1. “Groundhog Day”
    2. “The Dark Night”
    3. “Resident Evil”
    4. “Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring”
    5. “The Bourne Ultimatum”
    6. “Apollo 13—
    7. “Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust”
    8. “Lord of War”
    9. “I Am Legend”
    10. “The Day After Tomorrow”

    Those aren’t in order of most favorite to least favorite, by the way.

    Comparing them to the list of conservative blogger movies, I see that LOTR is on there pretty high, and “The Dark Knight” makes a showing, but that’s it.

  19. Dave Schuler says:

    These three movies have some of the best sword fighting I’ve ever seen.

    I think the Samurai trilogy does it better. I think it’s very, very difficult to fake good Japanese swordfighting. You can fake fencing or fighting with a broadsword or saber and most Chinese swordfighting I’ve seen in the movies is actually dance.

    But Japanese swordfighting either looks completely phony or it’s the real deal.

  20. DC Loser says:

    Man not a single Kurosawa film so far. How disappointing.

    You missed Chuck Bearden’s listing of Ran in the 5th entry.

  21. Alex Knapp says:

    Off the top of my head:

    Zero Effect
    Man Who Would Be King
    Empire Strikes Back
    Brick
    Memento
    The Fountain
    pi
    Raiders of the Lost Ark
    Ghostbusters
    Blazing Saddles
    Hot Fuzz
    Unforgiven
    Open Range
    The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence
    The Maltese Falcon
    L.A. Story
    Die Hard
    Trading Places
    The Dark Knight
    The Brothers Bloom
    The Sting
    Dr. Strangelove
    WarGames
    The Thirteenth Warrior
    The Magnificent Seven
    To Kill A Mockingbird
    12 Angry Men
    Inherit the Wind
    Witness for the Prosecution
    A Few Good Men
    Road To Perdition
    Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai
    Alien
    Blade Runner
    The Terminator
    Back to the Future
    Bull Durham
    The Usual Suspects
    Seven
    The Game
    Quigley Down Under
    Young Frankenstein
    Silent Movie
    When Harry Met Sally
    My Cousin Vinny
    The Karate Kid

    Oh god, I could go on and on and on, so let’s just stop here.

  22. Raoul says:

    Whta a horrible unimaginative list- here is one while omitting obvious classics (e.g., CITIZEN KANE, THE BICYCLE THIEF)
    > BEFORE THE RAIN
    > TALK TO HER
    > REQUIEM FOR A DREAM
    > IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE
    > RAISE THE RED LANTERN
    > THE EXTERMINATING ANGELS
    > SEVEN BEAUTIES
    > DON’T SHOOT THE PIANO PLAYER
    > THE DOUBLE LIFE OF VERONIQUE
    > THE MATCH FACTORY GIRL
    > SLEEPER

  23. Steve Verdon says:

    I liked “Magnificent Seven” and the “Man with No Name” trilogy. I just don’t find them rewatchable in the same way as, say, “Unforgiven” much less the lighter John Wayne flicks like “Big Jake,” “Rio Bravo,” “The Commancheros,” and a dozen more.

    Maybe you should try the original versions. :p

    I think the Samurai trilogy does it better.

    Again, that is Mifune. Tatsuya Nakadai’s sword work in Sword of Doom was also well done.

    You missed Chuck Bearden’s listing of Ran in the 5th entry.

    Yes, I did, whoops.

  24. William d'Inger says:

    Wow, Raoul, that’s quite an eclectic list you have. Not having seen (or even heard of) any of them, I spent a couple hours doing research. I think Sleeper is the only one I’ll actively seek to view anytime soon, but Exterminating Angels sounds interesting too. Anyway, thanks for the list as I am forever looking for alternate means of understanding human nature.

  25. Drew says:

    In no particular order:

    Pulp Fiction
    Unforgiven
    Godfather I and II
    Casablanca
    Citizen Kane
    Deer Hunter
    Taxi Driver
    Doubt
    To Kill A Mockingbird (see, Anjin, we have common ground)
    Dr Strangelove
    Clockwork Orange
    Fargo

    I’m sure there are more, its top of mind.

    Items that might be best described simply as unique personal choices:

    One Flew Over the Cookoos Nest
    Amadeus (Enough to make you cry)
    Silence of the Lambs
    LA Confidential
    In Cold Blood

    Probably not what James meant:

    The War, by Ken Burns (I know, a documentary)

    And c’mon people, if you have kids.

    For pure yuk it up on Saturday night with popcorn and sodas:

    The Mask

    This movie is in your future, James, once you get past SpongeBob and all that…….

  26. tom p says:

    I am glad to see Steve bring up AK (yojimbo my fav).

    I always liked Goodfellas because it grabs you by the balls in the very first scene and doesn’t let go during one of the wildest rides ever until the final scene which is very anti-climactic considering all that passed before, which, to me anyway, makes it the perfect ending.

    Also I am with Drew on The Mask… Carrey was brlilliant in it.

    Like Alex, I have too many to list, but I find it hard to beleive that no one has brought up True Grit. For my money, JW’s best (I liked The Searchers too)

  27. DC Loser says:

    Wow, Raoul, that’s quite an eclectic list you have. Not having seen (or even heard of) any of them, I spent a couple hours doing research. I think Sleeper is the only one I’ll actively seek to view anytime soon, but Exterminating Angels sounds interesting too. Anyway, thanks for the list as I am forever looking for alternate means of understanding human nature.

    Oh yeah. The old school Woody Allen before he went artsy was very funny (Take the Money and Run, What’s up Tiger Lilly?, Sleeper, Bananas). Sleeper had some really classic ones like the Orgasmatron, Allen’s explanation of who Charles DeGualle was, and the future discovery that cigarettes were good for you.

    For the other movies on the list, Seven Beauties is a classic of how things can get even worse than beyond imagination. As for the Zhang Yimou movies, I would nominate “To Live” as his best work in capturing the madness of Mao’s China in the first 20 years after the revolution. That the movie could have been made in China is even incredible by today’s standards.

  28. Chuck Bearden says:

    Thanks, DC Loser, for noticing! I haven’t yet seen anything by Kurosawa that I didn’t admire.

    I’m glad that some other conservatives like Dr. Strangelove, LA Confidential, and To Kill A Mockingbird.

    Eastwood starred in a film Hang’em High that I liked a lot. It’s not a masterpiece like the Leone films or Unforgiven, but the bigger picture of the film as expressed in the judge’s final exhortation to the marshall is thought-provoking.

    @Gregwills: There was an effervescent brilliance in Firefly that was missing in Serenity, but I confess that I found that the Western elements got a little old after a while, and I welcomed the turn to the more clearly dystopic setting in the movie. Also, I thought Chiwetel Ejiofor was great as the operative, though admittedly not as deep-down creepy as the guys with the blue gloves in the series. Reasonable people can differ on this question.

    Speaking of dystopias, how about Enemy at the Gates for a real dystopia? The propaganda being shouted over the loudspeakers in the opening battle scenes bring Orwell to mind.

    So many good movies listed in this post & thread.