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I was chatting up a friend about movies and found myself writing this response to a challenge about my favorite movie(s) of all time: The Godfather Part I and II. 

Because my favorite movie was met with such disappointment, I offer you this Top 10.

1. The Godfather I and II
2. Three Days of the Condor
3. Manhattan
4. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
5. Raging Bull
6. Annie Hall
7. The Searchers
8. Double Indemnity
9. Chinatown
10. Stagecoach

And the next 10 . . .

11. The Graduate
12. The Maltese Falcon
13. Badlands
14. Casablanca
15. Hannah and Her Sisters
16. Sunset Blvd.
17. Bonnie and Clyde
18. Gosford Park
19. The Sting
20. Days of Heaven

And as for Directors, yes, Mr. Allen is my favorite, although there's an on-going debate about whether he's lost his touch. I haven't seen "Vicky Cristina Barcelona," so I guess we'll see. Every other movie he seems to make really works.

In terms of the most influential, I'd put Robert Altman at the top of my list along with John Ford and Mike Nichols and Roman Polanski and Martin Scorsese and the late Sydney Pollack whose film "Three Days of the Condor" is splendid. I adore Robert Altman and every film he's made, including "Godford Park," his masterpiece, as well as the under appreciated "A Prairie Home Companion." Terrence Malick is a visual poet; he makes beautiful movies. Chris Nolan has taken Batman (and the superhero film) to new heights. And Spike Lee is simply marvelous.

Nicole Holofcener, Jane Campion, Sophia Coppola, Julie Taymor . . .

And then there are the 2007 boys: Julian Schnabel, David Fincher, Sean Penn and Jason Reitman . . . the Coens. Oh yeah, and can I really ignore that Judd Apatow fella and what he's doing to re-invent the American comedy? These guys lit it up on 07.

If we choose to venture out of America, I'd say Kurosawa, Fellini, Bergman and the late Stanley Kubrick top the list. It's hard to ignore Francois Truffaut ("Jules and Jim") especially if you've read "Pictures at a Revolution" by Mark Harris. And Cristian Mungiu, the Romanian, made the most haunting work of 2007, "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days," and he was shamelessly overlooked for an Oscar.

And there's Ang Lee, whom I almost never forgave for selling out and making "Hulk" until he made "Brokeback Mountain" a daring adaptation of a beautiful love story. He and Nolan will be remembered for many things, not the least important is giving us Heath Ledger at his finest.

Okay, enough already!


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