Updated July 21, 2018
These rankings do NOT include James Bond or Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, each of which have their own rankings I've done elsewhere. I choose not to include them here.
Here are my current 30 FAVORITE MOVIES:
The Top Ten:
1. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Extended Edition)
2. Star Wars (1977 cut)
I have watched Star Wars and Fellowship dozens or hundreds of times each, and not only do they never get old to me, I always get that same sense of exhilaration during and after seeing them, almost like it's the first time all over again. They have swapped the 1 and 2 spots back and forth ever since Fellowship came out in 2001, but it's always been one of those two in the top spot and neither has ever fallen below 2nd. They are the supreme "ragtag heroes get together and go on a journey to defeat the bad guys" stories, which are my favorite kind of stories. Both have epic moments of majesty and excitement and awe and wonder. And excellent pacing in the biggest moments.
3. Ready Player One
This movie debuts at #3 on the list. I waited until I'd seen it a third time, to be sure it wasn't just the excitement of it being new and my loving the novel it's based on that caused me to rank it so very highly. But it seems to be holding steady here. It's not quite the top two for me, but I can't imagine preferring anything else below here to seeing it again right now. It might drop later; I wouldn't be surprised. But not far.
4. Kingdom of Heaven (Director's Cut)
My love for this movie continues to grow. There's just so much there to love. The characters, the story, the travelogue (I tend toward those, as this list reveals), the history, the epic quality, everything. It's the only movie I can see jumping ahead of Ready Player One for third place any time soon.
5. The 13th Warrior
It has everything I love in a good travelogue adventure movie, including a compelling and appealing main character, a fascinating semi-historical background mixed with outright fantasy, a great score, and a team of specialists off on a journey to do a job that may turn violent. Same thing I love about Fellowship of the Ring and Ocean's Eleven, for example.
6. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
There's no reason this one shouldn't be higher. It is truly THE epic fantasy film ever. But for whatever reason--maybe the long stretches of the hobbits and Gollum--I get ever so slightly bored. It deserves all the acclaim and the Oscars, but it's not a Top 5 for me currently. Just barely.
7. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
An excellent film adaptation of roughly 2/3 of what is appealing about the books. If they'd given us just a few scenes of Dr. Maturin the deadly assassin while on land, it would have been perfect.
8. Last of the Mohicans (Michael Mann 1992)
Epic and wonderful. It somehow combines being almost an art film (and a gorgeously shot one) about Colonial America with a rousing adventure tale of Hawkeye and his family battling the French and their Native American allies. And it pulls off both things very well.
9. Star Trek: The Motion Picture (Director’s Cut)
The only "real" Star Trek movie ever made and the only actual "Science Fiction" film out of them as well; the rest are action-oriented space fantasies. Which is fine, but they all lack the power and majesty of this one. The Director's Cut tightens everything up dramatically, moves things along better, and adds better effects (especially of V'Ger). The ending of this movie is almost transcendent for me as well as for the characters.
10. Ocean's 11 (2001)
My favorite heist movie. Extremely appealing cast. Just super fun.
11. Ice Station Zebra
15. A Bridge Too Far
16. Lawrence of Arabia
17. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (US)
18. Dead Again
20. Henry V (1989)
21. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
22. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
23. The Revenant
25. The Crow
26. North by Northwest
27. Die Hard
28. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
29. V for Vendetta
31. Where Eagles Dare