30) Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
What’s that? You chose Indiana Jones’ third adventure as the best in the series? Yes . . . yes we did. While most critics won’t budge from their insistence that Raiders of the Lost Ark is the supreme film, Last Crusade has the edge for us. Don’t get us wrong, we love Raiders (it’s on the list, after all), but while it was a bit bleaker, and The Temple of Doom was a bit goofier, The Last Crusade finally got the balance just right. Plus, Sean Connery as Indy’s father? Yes please!
29) Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
With a timely chemistry, Paul Newman and Robert Redford, as Butch and Sundance, respectively, gave birth to a film generation of wisecracking anti-heroes. It may be a Western, but it probably had a greater influence on heist films, those charisma-riddled vehicles where it’s cool to root for the bad guys.
28) Apocalypse Now (1979)
“I love the smell of napalm in the morning.” That’s the line that gets all the credit, but Apocalypse Now is full of memorable quips that slyly acknowledge the derangement of the Vietnam War, both its violence and its psychology. My favourite is “Charlie don’t surf.” Napalm all around, and they’re thinking about surfing. Apocalypse indeed.
27) Incendies (2010)
This may, to some, be the biggest head-scratcher on our list. But we had to save a place for a Canadian tour de force. And we give Incendies the honour of greatest Canadian film. Or at least, greatest Canadian film that only partially takes place in Canada. Suspenseful, mysterious, and ultimately gut-wrenching, Incendies may not be for everyone, but there’s no way you will come out of it feeling nothing. If you do, find a soul!
26) Die Hard (1988)
We know it. You know it. Everyone knows it. Die Hard is the greatest action film of all time. Think of all the tropes that came after, and you can most likely trace it all back here—the hostage situation, the take-over, the body count, but most of all, the hero who is more concerned with making wise-cracks than saving the day. This is also where Alan Rickman started his tradition as the go-to villain in Hollywood, and he always played it well, but never as good as this.
25) Psycho (1960)
Endless iconography. The shower scene, the shrieking score, and “mother.” It is grade A material, and yet I’d almost argue that Pyscho is the greatest B movie of all time. Or maybe it’s just the first B movie, which makes it more than worthy of its revolutionary status.
24) Goodfellas (1990)
Scorsese’s crackerjack gangster drama, starring Ray Liotta as an up-and-coming mobster, is the filmmaker’s prime showcase. It includes his perfectionist craftsmanship (those tracking shots!), his morbid sense of humour, and his tendency, almost need, to make mobsters sympathetic.
23) Schindler’s List (1993)
Steven Spielberg’s black and white, documentary-style portrait of the holocaust is, 23 years later, still the quintessential film about genocide. It, better than any other film, shows the holocaust as a time when a group of people unshackled their ids and let true evil become a tangible reality. Liam Neeson, as Oskar Schindler, has never been better, partly because he understood that keeping Schindler’s motivations enigmatic is the film’s prime strength. It allows history to speak for itself—the ultimate “show; don’t tell.” Spielberg showed us the holocaust, and that did all his talking for him.
22) Inception (2010)
At once a sci-fi spectacle, a basic heist film, and a gloomy lament about family, Inception may be, at once, both Christopher Nolan’s broadest and most intimate film. It’s also his plain coolest!
21) Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
For years, Jim Carrey just threw himself at his audience. Here, he sat back and breathed a little bit. Wouldn’t you know it?—it led to his greatest performance, and his greatest film. It’s a mind-bender, it’s sweetly romantic, but at its core is a majestically profound question: Is love powerful enough to endure even when you know its outcome? Decide for yourself.