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Am a big time hoarder and keep copies of the films I like ‘just in case’ (which has led to a 350-DVD album and a monstrous 200+ VHS collection from my younger years that I still have not ditched despite two transatlantic moves and the Milan-Rome transfer). After a discussion with an LJ friend (thanx Ace!), I went through said treasures to make a favourites list. So here goes, in my best attempt at chronological order story-wise for history films and an attempt at a thematic listing for the rest (some belong in more than one category, so I picked one arbitrarily).



HISTORY in all shapes and sizes


have seen 50+ times, have three DVD editions, and still largely know by heart

King Arthur

average movie, but gorgeous Clive Owen and great soundtrack


1982, originally TV series but issued as a film. Do not bother with the 1990s version, ever.

Robin Hood

The Ridley Scott-Russell Crowe version. Perhaps not stellar but solid and enjoyable. 

Robin Hood Prince of Thieves

Should not be here, I know. Cheeeesier than a Cheddar factory, but Alan Rickman is the highlight

A Knight’s Tale

cheesy, yes, but I like Rufus Sewell as the baddie

Henry V

young and gorgeous Kenneth Branagh, who also directed, and his then-fiancée Emma Thompson

Much Ado About Nothing

still Kenneth Branagh. Still gorgeous, in his pre-HP days, still with Thompson, and still directing. Seriously good and shot in a 15th-century Tuscan villa that I made a point of staying at.

Ever After

a bona fide Cinderella story set in 16th-century France, with good talent such as Anjelica Houston and Drew Barrymore, and beautifully shot

Dangerous Beauty

16th-century Venice. Filmed on location (but some bits in Rome). Very nice and with Rufus Sewell at his best.


the first one is a great film. The second one disappoints despite Cate Blanchett’s huge talent, Mr Owen’s good looks, and some impressive architecture.

Captain Kidd

a rare pirate film that was actually done really well, but is B&W as came out in 1945

Lorna Doone

1990 TV series, have not seen the 2000 version. Young Sean Bean as the baddie and young Clive Owen as the hero *swoons*… plus the incomparable Polly Walker.


based on Les Liaisons Dangereux and starring Colin Firth

Pride and Prejudice

both the Colin Firth BBC series and the 2005 film


the Gwyneth Paltrow/Jeremy Northam movie, not the TV version – beware, both came out in 1996. Not super gripping but sweet.

Sense and Sensibility

the film is slow but Alan Rickman is to die for

Master and Commander

a bit boring, frankly, but I’d watch Russell Crowe in anything

The Mark of Zorro

Mark, NOT Mask! Perhaps the only historically themed US-based film I really love. Is B&W but charming.

Original Sin

guilty pleasure. Then again, Angelina Jolie is actually a talented actress, not just a beautiful lady.

Sharpe, the series

Sean Bean at his drop-dead-gorgeous best playing the dashing hero, for once. Action, romance, quality writing, great production values, an overall timeless classic and huge personal favourite. Sharpe’s Challenge has Toby Stephens as a bonus. Sharpe’s Peril is to be avoided.

Hornblower series

Am not a huge fan but is worth watching, if only for young Jamie Bamber in navy uniform

St Ives

The best-kept secret among historical romance films. Which is a shame considering how good it is.

Jane Eyre

Both the 1983 and 2006 4-part versions. Timothy Dalton is the better-looking Rochester but Toby Stephens is the better actor.

Lady Chatterley

Young Sean Bean playing Mellors in extreme states of undress. Drool-worthiness defined.

The Illusionist

an unconventionally charismatic Edward Norton, Rufus Sewell as a baddie again, and a cute Paul Giamatti. Very loosely based on historical events in Austria.

The Phantom of the Opera

only musical I really like

Jeeves & Wooster, the series

young Hugh Laurie was a riot!

An Ideal Husband

lots of fun, and a top-notch cast

A Good Woman

also based on Oscar Wilde (Lady Windermere’s Fan) and shot on location on the Amalfi Coast

A Month by the Lake

not hugely exciting but shot on location at the most beautiful place on Earth, Lake Como. Starring still-presentable Vanessa Redgrave and young Uma Thurman.


SCI-FI, broadly defined

Star Wars Episodes II-VI

Seen Empire almost as many times as Gladiator. Ep II ultimately led to me moving to Italy ;) Like the spoof, Spaceballs, as well.

Battlestar Galactica (2003-2009)

Serious and sometimes depressing, but the quality of this show, in terms of actors, writing, and production values, is amazing. A unique example of the creator (Ron Moore) closely listening to his fans a lot of the time.

The Terminator I and II

Love it. Also like The Sarah Connor Chronicles by association.

Total Recall

Crazy, escapist action sci-fi starring Arnie. Young Sharon Stone is hilarious in it.


Solid sci-fi. Leave your IQ at the door, and forget the mediocre sequels.


90% thriller, 10% sci-fi. Very artistically shot.

Matrix I

The first one is classic. The other two do not exist.

Blade Runner

Classic sci-fi

Men in Black I and II

Pure New-York-based fun, especially the first one. Tommy Lee Jones’ deadpan delivery is sublime.


A nice sci-fi comedy that is palpably 80s but sweet


Am not a Whedon fangirl but is enjoyable

Batman (new series)

Mammoth blockbusters, yes, but more serious and engaging than previous incarnations

Spider-Man I and II

Blockbusters par excellence. Alas, third one sucked.

(ETA) Inception

Instant classic, complex, tense, and utterly gripping



ACTION/ADVENTURE, with a touch of comedy

True Lies

Superb, with Arnie making fun of himself and James Bond in one fell swoop

The Italian Job

Guilty as charged, but love the 2002 remake much more than the 60’s classic


Quirky and fun, but little appreciated (except by me ;) ) Bruce Willis, Cate Blanchett, and Billy Bob Thornton make a great accidental threesome-on-the-run.

James Bond

...before Craig. Am not a fan of Roger Moore either, but like The Spy who Loved Me and For Your Eyes Only. Love Brosnan in his first two films and, yes, Dalton in both of his, and respect Connery a lot.

Indiana Jones I and III

Raiders and The Last Crusade, that is. The only films ever where I am OK with inexplicable ‘magical’ elements.

Fast and Furious I, IV, V 

Yes, I know I have a teenage, adrenaline-craving brain. So what? Vin Diesel and Paul Walker make a brilliant bromance couple!

National Treasure

Guilty pleasure, Indiana Jones/Da Vinci Code lite, with my darling Sean Bean as an enterprising baddie

The Thomas Crown Affair

Again, liked remake better than original. Must be Mr Brosnan’s charisma and NYC setting.

Ocean’s Eleven

Nice crime caper. Second one has glimpses of Lake Como but does not measure up.

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

Seems like a comic book transferred to film. Hate Jude Law but he does not irritate in this one. Angelina Jolie is beautiful as ever.

Romancing the Stone

Escapist adventure fun at its best. The sequel is stupid.




Beautiful political thriller, well scripted and marvellously acted, despite Matt Damon in the cast

Patriot Games

While Harrison Ford was still young-ish and dashing. This one introduced me to the sexy Sean Bean on my 20th birthday – oops, dated myself here...

Clear and Present Danger

Sans Sean Bean, but still good


Still-young Harrison Ford on a thrilling Parisian adventure by Polanski

Stormy Monday

Young Sean Bean and a few other first-class actors that the plot does not deserve. Enjoyable in spite of itself.


Classic. Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant light up the screen.

LA Confidential

Beautiful male-bonding story, tremendous acting by Russell Crowe, rock solid plot. Genius.

3:15 to Yuma

Russell Crowe again, as a charismatic baddie. Christian Bale makes a suitable good-guy foil.

American Gangster

Russell Crowe as a good guy this time. An excellent film.

State of Play

Another Russell Crowe masterpiece. Has a good deal of modern-day DC politics but a very human core.

(ETA) The Next Three Days

Is there a Russell Crowe film I do not like? A non-stop adrenaline ride but also intellectually engaging, and blessed with a gem of a soundtrack. 


The Fugitive

Harrison Ford vs Tommy Lee Jones, in a masterful tale of bitter adversaries learning to respect each other

Miller’s Crossing

Only gangster film I love, an early and arguably the best Cohen brothers venture. Amazing story.

The Untouchables

OK, another gangster film I like. Great cast despite Costner starring.

The Bourne Identity

...before it was ruined by Mr Janitor aka Matt Damon, there was the Richard Chamberlain version

No Way Out

Costner cannot act, but the plot is watertight and the pace is heart-stopping


COMEDY (non-rom com)

Thank you for Smoking

The smartest black comedy in a long time

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Classic, and side-splitting hilarious

Back to School

Lovely, feel-good belated-teenage-wish-fulfilment comedy with the cute goofball Rodney Dangerfield

American Pie

OK, I have a teenage brain. At least I did not list the sequels!

A Fish Called Wanda

Classic comedy about inept criminals and an even-more-inept lawyer who outwits them

The Full Monty

Guys getting naked, but that is not why I love it. A very human comedy.


Crazy but fun

Risky Business

Only Tom Cruise film that is enjoyable in a teenager-on-the-rampage Ferris-Buelleresque sort of way

The Banger Sisters

Two old girls in their forties wreak mayhem as they reconnect. Fun to watch.

Napoleon Dynamite

Quirky but nice



A Good Year

Russell Crowe, directed by Ridley Scott, for once not fighting but making wine in Provence. Set in a paradise spot and with an ending I’d dream of in real life.


Ironic-but-uplifting comedy by Robert Altman, with a stellar cast


Wine, middle age, and sowing one’s wild oats in one week. Mayhem ensues ;)

A Woman’s Guide to Adultery

Sean Bean at his handsome bare-a$$ed best. Little known but lovely, and true to life.

Dead Again

Well-done mystical thriller with Kenneth Branagh and then-wife Emma Thompson

An Affair to Remember

Cary Grant is to die for. Shamelessly romantic.

Sex, Lies, and Videotape

Has hardly any sex in it but is nonetheless engrossing

Cruel Intentions

Teenage version of Les Liaisons Dangereux set in the Upper East Side. Kitschy but enjoyable.

Something’s Got to Give

Only Jack Nicholson film I like, perhaps because he is playing himself. A rare good Keanu Reeves role.

A Walk in the Clouds

Keanu Reeves again, in an engaging, romantic story of a winemaking family

Pretty Woman

No comments on my taste here. Cinde-fucking-rella, the guiltiest-pleasure film of all time.

Bridget Jones’ Diary (first only)

Fluff, but good fluff. Second one sucks.

Down with Love

Even fluffier, but nicely stylized

Sliding Doors

Interesting premise: how can an accidental event change a girl’s life? Shows both scenarios.

Working Girl

Harrison Ford as a lawyer with a heart of gold and Melanie Griffith as a secretary with nerves of steel

My Fair Lady

The other musical I like. Fluffy, but made good by the great cast.

Up Close and Personal

Heartbreaking but powerful modern love story with Robert Redford and Michelle Pfeiffer

Heaven and Earth

Interesting psychological drama/angsty romance showcasing Tommy Lee Jones’ talent

Breaking Up

Sad but well-acted story of a doomed relationship starring a young Russell Crowe

The Bodyguard

Costner is no actor, but I like the story and love the songs


They say it is a remake of Casablanca. If so, I like it better than the original.

Lost in Translation

Lovely if a bit sad. A great snapshot of Tokyo from a Westerner’s PoV.

October Sky

A very human film about space and rockets, all set in rural USA

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Never liked Jim Carrey, but he is good there, and the story is thought-provoking



Wallace and Gromit (all of them)

Utterly charming, one of the best feel-good tales

Toy Story (both 1 and especially 2)

...for the five-year-old in me

Back to the Future (all)

...for the six-year-old in me

Short Circuit

Again, a kiddie film, but very human

Team America: World Police

Nothing kiddie-friendly about this one. Iconoclastic and hilarious, and as full of dirty jokes and bad language as it gets.


And finally, in the DOCUMENTARY realm,

Mythbusters!!! Endless fun!

  • Lords-a-leapin', woman! You have quite a collection!

    My Fair Lady is in my all-time top fave movies category. I have all the songs memorized because I'm a dork.

    National Treasures and Romancing the Stone = WIN! Never liked Cage, but he rocks that movie. And Michael Douglas is always hot.

    I like many of the others you've listed.
    • Well, Audrey Hepburn is movie royalty, so no surprise!
      Never liked Cage either, but Sean Bean was still devilishly handsome in that one, and was more than just a linear baddie. Romancing the Stone now makes me reflect on my own life... OK I do not have a cat (you know who my pet is, as well as his name ;) ), or a sister, but I wonder if it is time for someone to send me a treasure map... to a place in Southern Italy perhaps?
      • Sean Bean in RtS is a baddie on par with Robert Mitchum in Cape Fear or Christopher Walken in Nick of Time. Wouldn't we all like to be Jane Wilder!

        Or perhaps send you a younger Michael Douglas or Sean Bean? And a yacht? I hear ya!
        • Wait, Sean was never in RtS - I think he was in his early twenties when that one came out. I guess you meant Nat'l Treasure!

          Actually, sending me a map with the *exact* location where I can find Richard when he films here would by now beat both Sean and Michael in my book, fickle me. But the yacht would be sweet in any case :)
          • Fudgepuppies! Yes, you're right, I did mean Nat Tres.

            Exactly! Oh, BTW, Mike Ogden said it's not going to be in Naples, but otherwise he hasn't said where it'll be. They got another cast member, though, so it seems to be coming along!
            • Not filming in Naples is a relief as unfortunately, Naples is a dump (Capri is another story...) And I will still jump greedily at any hints of where they _will_ be filming!
              • Naples is crappy? That's a bit of a let down; it's touted as being so lovely.

                Mike's being all secretive at the moment. I don't know a thing about filming movies, so I don't know when they start picking out filming spots, thus I don't know when to expect any news on locales. Maybe if enough people ask him "Are you filming at ___?" we can narrow it down. ;)
                • Naples is a sad place: you can see that it was a beautiful city 100-150 years ago as the architecture is still there, but it has been neglected, a lot of it is crumbling down, and these days it is palpably unsafe (I once scared off a robber in Brazil who had a carving knife to my neck so I do not say such things lightly, but at one point in Naples I asked a stranger guy to accompany me to an ATM and to a cab when coming back from an 11 pm Capri ferry), plus is still full of trash despite last year's much touted cleanup. Hopefully it will get better eventually. My bet for a southern-Italy location, unless it is really rural and not Amalfi-coast-touristy, would be Sicily. Which is a shame in another way: Sicily is beautiful (have not been but people I know do say so), but the bitch will be getting there: to Naples, I could take a two-hour train; to Sicily, I'd have to bloody fly, and then public transport there is not exactly plentiful. And stupid that I am, do not have a driving license. Oh shit. Maybe Naples would not have been so bad. Still, we'll live and see. Maybe in a tremendous stroke of luck they'll need some Roman scenes - I would totally take a day or two vacation to watch out for those. But for the time being we here have to content ourselves with gossip and shitty paparazzi snaps of Mr Clooney romancing an Italian TV star in Rome and on my favourite lake.
                  • Yeesh, sounds like New Orleans. Not exactly the best place for tourists, then, huh.
                    Well, Mike says no to Sicily too. He says there's no funding there. So that's good - for you and the travelling, at least. What would be your next guess for a site?

                    At least you have Clooney! All we have around here is Travolta and Cruise. Erg.

                    Oh, BTW, I asked Mike what branch of the military Charlie is from, and he says OSS. Which is so cool, because it's like Lucas stole the Tardis and went back to WWII. I know, I know, OSS is American, but it's still spy stuff! You know, I'd kinda like to hear Richard try an American accent, but then again, I prefer his Brit one. :)
                    • It sounds as if they may still be scouting for a location. My knowledge of Italy south of Naples is sketchy (will have to work on that I guess, given the circumstances). It depends on the plot too: if they need to film in a city (what would a spy do in the middle of nowhere?), the biggest one I can think of (still not huge) is Bari; there are a bunch of smaller cities around the coast on all sides (Reggio di Calabria, Taranto, and Lecce, among others), and plenty of coast itself. There is not a lot inland; south of Naples you basically have Calabria and Puglia, and other than general lack of infrastructure and being underpopulated and relatively uncivilized, they are not known for a lot. They say those regions have quite a bit of natural beauty though.

                      I am with you on Richard's accent: am quite curious how he will pull off an American accent, but like his Brit too much I am afraid to really enjoy. Still, OSS sounds terrifically promising!
                      • I'm not sure what they need for setting. In the description of the movie it says he's a POW and "a German commander ruthlessly sweeps the valley searching for him." I don't know how deserted said valley needs to be. I'm assuming there's gotta be a small town around. So maybe Calabria and Puglia would work?

                        I have to admit a cheered when he said OSS. Can you imagine the backstory RA is going to work up for Charlie with that? That's probably half the reason he took the part! ;)
                        • Oh shit. Deserted valleys sound about right for _that_ kind of plot. How the heck am I going to track them down then?! But it sounds more and more exciting by the minute, and yes, a perfect role for Richard!
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