Having your favorite 5 or 10 films ever is a bit of cliché but nonetheless a cliché I too would like to indulge in. The problem is as someone who has only really been in to film for the better part of the last 7 years I feel like I should be looking to experience some more cinema before coming up with a top 5 – 10 films which could still change anyway. I do have an idea of the films that I would include in my all-time list but I should hold on to that for a minute; maybe till I turn 30 God willing. In the mean time I wanted to humor myself by charting my favorite films by letter, A-Z, with one entry to each letter.

Picking out a film for a letter will be quite simple in some instances like A, C and P where American Gangster, The Conversation and Pan’s Labyrinth are no brainers and films that may make my top 10 with ease however I look at letter like D which has The Departed, The Dark Knight, Donnie Brasco, Django Unchained and Doubt; all films I absolutely revere and all definitely make my list of favored film so that presents a bit of a conundrum, a conundrum I will have to work past.

I have also been brooding over how to strike the balance between some underlying affection for a film vis-a-vis the critical strides made by it and of course these points are not mutually exclusive. Will a GOAT like Taxi Driver make it under T? Probably not. Will 2008’s Zombieland trump Zulu, spoiler alert – yes. I will be as slanted and as dispassionate possible, if there is such a thing, and many of the films I pick will be ones I connected with very early in years of filmic enlightenment.

How diverse will this list be? Well I’m guessing most of the films will be American and British and maybe Korea and Japan are in with a shout with the Vengeance Trilogy and some Takashi Miike. I however doubt any productions from Africa’s fledgling film industry will make it with probably only Totsi and Sarafina in with a shout. Sitting here I can already tell finding a movie for some alphabets like Y and Q will be a real ask. Maybe Quantum of Solace gets in for Q but that bridge shall be crossed and if necessary jumped when the time comes. God forbid I force something in there just for the sake of it.

What do I hope to accomplish with this list? Nothing really. Like I said, I’m just humoring myself and opening a window for others into some of my preferences so let this inane journey begin.


A for American Gangster: “Black godfather meets chubby Serpico” — Ridley Scott delivers a uniquely enthralling crime drama anchored on opposing sides by Denzel Washington slick charisma and Russell Crowe’s resolute moral idealism. This pick was ostensibly a no brainer for me. Full Review…

B for Billy Elliot: Stephen Daldry uses the coal mining town of amidst the British miners’ strike of 1984 as the staging ground for this story filled with charm, boldness and most of all heart. Billy Elliot tells the simple story of a young boy who discovers in he has a talent for ballet. Full Review…

C for The Conversation: A bona-fide all time top ten for me and a terrific thriller from Francis Ford Coppola anchored by a compelling portrait of solitude and paranoia by the equally terrific Gene Hackman. Full Review…

D for The Departed: The first first great film I truly appreciated on my first viewing as a budding cinephile I always say. Martin Scorsese delivers a Boston crime drama in full glorious gusto with the icing of terrific performances from his ensemble cast. Full Review…


E for Eastern Promises: The first David Cronenberg entry on my list sees this veteran Canadian director in great form as he navigates, with great depth, the Russian crime world in London. there also the small matter of one of the most violently visceral fight scenes as the film draws to a climax. Full Review…

F for Fargo: NOT a true story. A timeless Coen film but not a true story. Full review… 


G for The Good, The Bad and the Ugly: Sergeo Leone’s three hour classic is the mother of all westerns sporting the kind of tense final stand off sequence I have yet to see replicated. Clint Eastwood obviously plays the more iconic character here but don’t sleep on the late Eli Walach here. He owns this film for the most part. Full review…

H for A History of Violence: I consider David Cronenberg’s 2005 film my favorite of all time. Running at a tight 90 minutes, we have a simple narrative on the surface but some incredible depth between the lines seeking to unravel the pathology of violence as pertaining to human identity in a way only Cronenberg can. Full review…

A history of violence

Published by Delali Adogla-Bessa

Lover of the bleaker pleasures of cinema... and some good trash.

2 thoughts on “MY A to Z OF FILM

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