This film is a masterpiece. Really. I really thought Tolkien's story was unfilmable. Peter Jackson proved me wrong, and I ever the happier for it. The opening 7 minutes is an amazing feat of film making. Filled with an unbelievable amount of exposition, Jackson achieves the impossible - making all that dizzying information understandable and entertaining. This film is brilliantly cast, Ian McKellen is Gandalf, beautifully shot, and truly epic in scale. This series will probably go down as the greatest trilogy in movie history.
3. Raiders of the Lost Ark
"Dun Da Dun Da...Dun Da Da" That theme kicks ass. And so does this film. This is really a perfect film. I love the way were introduced to Indy, all in shadow and mystery. Damn this film just oozes adventure. Harrison Ford is perfect as Indy. This film has comedy, romance, thrills, spills, action, great score, snappy dialog; it really has it all. I love this fill to all heck
2. The Empire Strikes Back
The only complaint I have with this film is, being the middle part of a trilogy, it lacks resolution. Some would argue that this is not a detriment but then some are stupid. Beyond that, this film is perfect. Absolutely perfect. The dialog in Empire is snappy, the direction tight, and the effects mind blowing. Again, from the time the rebel soldier sees the fuzzy image of the Imperial walkers straight through the chase through the asteroid field may be the greatest thing ever put to film.
1. STAR WARS (duh)
Yeah, like it could be anything else. And I mean "Star Wars" here. We're talkin' Han shoots (Greedo doesn't), no 'Episode IV', no crappy CGI Jabba. Just Star Wars. This was the movie that hooked me. I was 10 and I still remember sitting in the movie theatre, "A long time ago...", the title crawl, then a spaceship appears, it's being fired on, then, "OH MY GOD WHATTHEHELLAWESOME a giant, endless ship crawls over the screen. What. An. Opening. This movie isn't number 1 just for nostalgia sake. This movie really takes you to another realm. Moreover, Star Wars still holds up today. If you look at a lot of movies from the 70's or even later for that matter, most look extremely dated. "Logan's Run" (a fine movie) is laughably dated looking, but Star Wars looks fresh. The art direction on this movie is just outstanding. The sets, the ships, the costumes, they all feel part of something real. The way the rebel ships are battered and weathered, the way the Empire's floors gleam, so many little touches make the Star Wars universe real. But a movie obviously must do more than look good and Star Wars does that. In spades. This is a rip roaring adventure, with snappy dialog (what happened George?) and characters we care about. And then there's the Force. Oh my, how Lucas destroyed the mystique and beauty of this crucial element. Midichlorians *shudder* Never mind that, this is the original SW we're talking about, the one that started it all, and the best movie of all time.
Honorable Mentions (In no particular order): Rudy, Breaking Away, A Fish Called Wanda, LOTR The Return of the King and The Two Towers, X-Men 1 & 2, Fantasia, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, White Christmas, A Christmas Story, Mary Poppins, Toy Story 2