Top 10 Films You've Actually Watched the Most

by JD Warnock on April 22, 2008

in Top 10s

Eric’s Top 10 last week was Top 10 Films You Can Watch Over and Over Again. This week I thought I would put the screws to myself and twist the idea a bit, so lets make it Top 10 Films You Have Actually Watched Over and Over Again. So, in literal terms, what are the ten films that, better or worse, are the movies you’ve seen most in your entire life. Clearly, this list could yield some startling results and has the potential to be a little embarrassing, but I say lets bare it all and see what it says about us as movie fanatics. So, without further ado, here are the ten films that I believe I’ve seen more times than anyone with a social life and future goals should admit to.

10. Waiting For Guffman (1996) Waiting For Guffman Christopher Guest Levy mockumentary

Still the most brilliant and under-appreciated of Christopher Guest’s mockumentary films,”Guffman” will always have a special place in my heart. Easily one of the most quotable films of the 90s, Guest magnificently spoofs local theater, one of America’s least well known subcultures. If you’ve known this world, the parody of the smalltime stage and its delusions of grandeur is as spot on as Spinal Tap is to the debauched world of rock and roll.

Corky St. Clair: And I’ll tell you why I can’t put up with you people: because you’re BASTARD people! That’s what you are! You’re just bastard people! And I’m goin’ home and I’m gonna… I’m gonna BITE MY PILLOW, is what I’m gonna do!

9. This is Spinal Tap (1984) This is Spinal Tap Derek Smalls Reiner

This Rob Reiner classic gets regularly omitted from Eric and I’s Top 10′s, most often because if we aren’t forced to exclude it out of hand it would likely turn up on every damn list. I’ve been in bands since I was fourteen years old and access to the full battery of “Spinal Tap” references at a moment’s notice has inevitably been a qualifying prerequisite in every one of them. “Spinal Tap” is pure genius. Few American comedy ensembles can vie for a shot at the title of “America’s answer to Monty Python,” and long before there was David Cross and Bob Odenkirk (“Mr. Show”), there was the ridiculously talented triumvirate of Christopher Guest, Micheal McKean and Harry Shearer. “Spinal Tap” the film never gets old, even if nauseating “This one goes to eleven…” impersonations that seem to pop up everywhere have done their college best to suck out the feeling.

Nigel Tufnel: [on what he would do if he couldn't be a rock star] Well, I suppose I could, uh, work in a shop of some kind, or… or do, uh, freelance, uh, selling of some sort of, uh, product. You know…
Marty DiBergi: A salesman?
Nigel Tufnel: A salesman, like maybe in a, uh, haberdasher, or maybe like a, uh, um… a chapeau shop or something. You know, like, “Would you… what size do you wear, sir?” And then you answer me.
Marty DiBergi: Uh… seven and a quarter.
Nigel Tufnel: “I think we have that.” See, something like that I could do.
Marty DiBergi: Yeah… you think you’d be happy doing something like-…
Nigel Tufnel: “No; we’re all out. Do you wear black?” See, that sort of thing I think I could probably… muster up.
Marty DiBergi: Do you think you’d be happy doing that?
Nigel Tufnel: Well, I don’t know – wh-wh-… what’re the hours?

8. Jaws (1975) Jaws sharks Spielberg

I still argue to anyone who will listen that Stephen Spielberg’s uber-classic about a sociopathic shark named Bruce is among the scariest films ever made. Regardless of whether the end result was the product of Spielberg’s acute appreciation of Hitchcock-ian “less is more” techniques or what may constitute the ultimate intervention by the film gods – the failure of a mechanical movie shark, “Jaws” is both a commercial juggernaut and an undeniable edge-of-your-seat- classic. I can honestly remember being afraid to jump in darkened swimming pools at night as a young child, for fear of being chomped by a chlorine-resistant beast of the deep. I don’t know what that says about my intelligence as a child, but I’m perfectly comfortable admitting that this is one of my all-time most watched films.

Hooper: This is what happens. It indicates the non-frenzied feeding of a large squalus – possibly Longimanus or Isurus glauca. Now… the enormous amount of tissue loss prevents any detailed analysis; however the attacking squalus must be considerably larger than any normal squalus found in these waters. Didn’t you get on a boat and check out these waters?
Brody: No.
Hooper: Well, this is not a boat accident! And it wasn’t any propeller; and it wasn’t any coral reef; and it wasn’t Jack the Ripper! It was a shark.

7. Highlander (1986) Highlander Christopher Lambert Clancy Brown Sean Connery

In 1986 I was completely obsessed with the rock band Queen. Just knowing that they were responsible for the massive soundtrack to “Highlander” as they had been before for 1980′s “Flash Gordon” was enough to get me to the theater the first time, it was the broad swords, trenchcoats and immortals that brought me back the next 16 times in the theater. I’ve admitted this at least once before, but I’m fairly certain the final count for viewings in the theater was 17 (it honestly may have been 14, but I think either way I have permanently soiled my reputation and solidified my standing as a card carrying member of the dork squad). “Highlander” director Russell Mulcahy took a truly original screenplay by first time screenwriter Gregory Widen and made something quite spectacular out of it. Like the first “Terminator” to the rest of the installments in the series, both film and television, the original “Highlander” had a low-budget charm and necessity-is-the-mother-of-invention-edge to it that has very little relationship to the drivel of the same name that came after. Students of film will appreciate the film’s clever dissolves and transitions as well as the depth of story and concept at the center of this spectacular film. I have no idea how many times I’ve seen it since, on VHS or DVD, but there is little doubt it will forever be the film I’ve seen most in the theater.

Connor MacLeod: You’re a liar!
Ramirez: You have the manners of a goat. And you smell like a dung-heap! And you have no knowledge whatsoever of your potential! Now.
[shouts]
Ramirez: Get out!
Connor MacLeod: Help me, I’m drowning!
Ramirez: You can’t drown, you fool, you’re immortal!

6. Real Genius (1985) Real Genius Kilmer popcorn

This is one of those films that I discovered after the fact, and therefore never had the chance to screen in a movie theater. As a kid the subscription to HBO and Cinemax introduced me to any number of films with varying degrees of quality and substance. “Valley Girl” director Martha Coolidge’s ode to smart kids with no social skills was just the pep-talk I needed at the time. While I couldn’t identify with the uber-intellects of the main characters, the ineptitude in nearly all other things had a thunderous resonance. Any film that climaxes with a house exploding with popcorn, that’s been cooked by the rays of a laser beam from space, done to the triumphant tune of Tears for Fears “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” is good enough for me.

Mitch: You know, um, something strange happened to me this morning…
Chris Knight: Was it a dream where you see yourself standing in sort of sun-god robes on a pyramid with a thousand naked women screaming and throwing little pickles at you?
Mitch: No…
Chris Knight: Why am I the only one who has that dream?

5. Top Gun (1986) Top Gun Maverick Tom Cruise Val Kilmer

Here’s were honesty may not be the best policy, but such is life. Right or wrong, I thought this movie was the beginning and end of all things when I was a youngster. This was the exact moment I cast aside my “Star Wars” toys and began imagining myself as a hot shot Naval aviator with carnal knowledge of stuff – too bad I didn’t find out what “carnal knowledge” was until I used it incorrectly in a sentence. Every once in a great while I’ll still give this bad boy a spin, and I do, from time to time, like to take it right into the “Danger Zone.” I also enjoy quizzing friends on the identity of the now-highly credible actor/director who played the character “Merlin.”

Merlin: What are you doing? You’re slowing down, you’re slowing down!
Maverick: I’m bringing him in closer, Merlin.
Merlin: You’re gonna do WHAT?

4. Empire Strikes Back (1980) Empire Strikes Back

Of all the “Star Wars” films, “Empire” was obviously the coolest and darkest thematically. I’m sure my parents took me to see the original “Star Wars” in 1977, but I was too young to remember the experience. The first film would become a constant VHS presence in years to come, but life absolutely changed after “Empire.” I had everything from storybook cassettes to action figures, puzzles and sleeping bags with Millennium Falcons and X-Wings on them. I’ve probably seen all three original “Star Wars” movies fairly equally at this point, but I still have to give the advantage to the first film of the series that I experienced on the big screen and at a time when I was old enough to have my entire world turned upside down and love absolutely every second of it.

Darth Vader: Calrissian. Take the princess and the Wookie to my ship.
Lando: You said they’d be left at the city under my supervision.
Darth Vader: I am altering the deal. Pray I don’t alter it any further.

3. Almost Famous (2000) Almost Famous Crowe Stillwater Rolling Stone

“Untitled,” Cameron Crowe’s directors cut of this film remains my favorite DVD commentary track ever. This is in my opinion a perfect film. There is nothing I would change, no cast member, no performance, no camera angle or song on the soundtrack. It is as close to my heart as any film will ever be. As a filmmaker, Crowe is analogous to my favorite songwriter (Neil Finn of Crowded House), I sometimes let them both off the hook a little easy (“Elizabethtown”), but the truth is their work resonates louder and longer than almost any of their peers, contemporary or otherwise. I have no idea what the official count would clock in at, but I know, between both the theatrical and re-cut versions, I’ve cleared the 50 views mark. Ironically, my interest in the film has also led me to one of my favorite music artists of the last decade in Mark Kozelek, the former lead singer of Red House Painters and “Almost Famous” band Stillwater’s bassist-of-few-words Larry Fellows.

Russell Hammond: You, Aaron, are what it’s all about. You’re real. Your room is real. Your friends are real. Real, man, real. You know? Real. You’re more important than all the silly machinery. Silly machinery. And you know it! In eleven years its going to be 1984, man. Think about that!
Aaron: Wanna see me feed a mouse to my snake?
Russell Hammond: Yes.

2. Apollo 13 (1995) Apollo 13 Tom Hanks Ron Howard

Now were getting down to it. My love affair with this film began the moment I heard it was in production and that NASA had approved the production to film in it’s zero-gravity inducing planes. I’ve been known to describe my vast appreciation for all things in space by claiming that if you put a hot dog in space I’ll watch it. Fortunately, for all fans of space exploration and in particular the Apollo space missions, “Apollo 13″ star and sparkplug Tom Hanks is as big a fan as anyone and took special care to create a film that had as much respect for detail as it did admiration for the three astronauts who traveled all the way to the moon, just to watch it fly by out the window and barely make it home again. Hanks would go on to produce the HBO series “From the Earth to the Moon” about many of the other Apollo missions, but Ron Howard and Co.’s “Apollo 13″ is the cream of the crop of films about the American space program – right along with “The Right Stuff.” I’ve never been able to burn myself out on the film, despite having screened it so many times that the only suspense available to me now is whether or not I will actually watch the thing all the way through to the end – and I nearly always do.

Jack Swigert: Ken, there’s an awful lot of condensation on these panels. What’s the story of them shorting out?
Ken Mattingly: Umm… We’ll just have to take that one at a time, Jack.
Jack Swigert: Like trying to drive a toaster through a car wash.

1. Princess Bride (1987) Princess Bride Patinkin Elwes Andre the Giant

Hands down, without question, “The Princess Bride” is the movie that I have watched the most number of times of any single film ever. I truly believe that great movies are meant to be experienced over and over again, just like an amazing record, and even I can’t fathom the number of times I’ve seen this Rob Reiner classic, based on the novel by William Goldman. There is no film more quotable or more infinitely enduring than “The Princess Bride.” I can recall my father taking me to see the film the first time, and I remember thinking just like Fred Savage does in the first scene with Peter Falk that he had lost his ever-loving mind trying to take me to a movie called “The Princess Bride,” but little did I know he was introducing me to a film that will, until the day I die, never leave my side. No one before or since has made a film quite like it, and like The Beatles’ “Revolver” or Crowded House’s “Temple of Low Men,” “The Princess Bride” is a thing that I will never tire of and I definitely can’t live without.

Inigo Montoya: You are sure nobody’s follow us?
Vizzini: As I told you, it would be absolutely, totally, and in all other ways inconceivable. No one in Guilder knows what we’ve done, and no one in Florin could have gotten here so fast. – Out of curiosity, why do you ask?
Inigo Montoya: No reason. It’s only… I just happened to look behind us and something is there.
Vizzini: What? Probably some local fisherman, out for a pleasure cruise, at night… in… eel-infested waters…

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Walker April 22, 2008 at 2:35 pm

Labrinth
Shawshank Redemption
Die Hard with a Vengeance
Saving Private Ryan
Hudsucker Proxy
Blues Brothers
Best in Show
Shaun of the Dead
Cast Away
Casino

Christopher Guest movies are a trap. A delicious, beautiful, day-wasting trap. God forbid there should be some sort of marathon, I’d never leave the house. (Excludes “Home for Purim” or whatever)

Reply

2 Theeruditefrog April 23, 2008 at 5:19 am

One of our dinosaurs is missing
O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Ferris Beuler’s Day Off
Con Air

Reply

3 C.Tolle April 25, 2008 at 2:14 pm

To Catch A Thief
All The Presidents Men
The Godfather
Dial M for Murder
Hudsucker Proxy
To Kill A Mockingbird
Giant
Goodfellas
Arsenic and Old Lace
Red Dawn
Boyz In the Hood
The Thin Man

I’ve seen all of these no less than ten times. Some of them I have seen way more.

Reply

4 C.Tolle April 25, 2008 at 2:16 pm

oh, I forgot Raiders of the Lost Arc. and Blues Brothers.

Reply

5 Eric Melin April 25, 2008 at 4:19 pm

Good dialogue always keeps me coming back for more, so that gives Coens, Guest, Scorsese and any movie before 1961 an edge. I am delighted that Tolle and the frog have not only admitted to, but are proudly flying their “Red Dawn” and “Con Air” flags high!

Reply

6 c.Tolle April 30, 2008 at 12:58 am

“The Swayze Snot Bubble” and Powers Booth’s dying line (…you Army pukes…) are cinema history in the Tolle household. “Wolverines!!!!”

Reply

7 c.Tolle May 3, 2008 at 4:11 am

Oh shit, wait. I forgot “HOUSE”

Reply

8 Niksterino May 13, 2008 at 6:20 pm

The Big Lebowski
Shaun of the Dead
The 40-Year Old Virgin
Pulp Fiction
Jaws
Get Shorty

Reply

9 The Misanthrope May 14, 2008 at 3:34 pm

Temple of Low Men is also my favorite CH album (big fan – RIP Hessie)

No order – there may be more but I know I’ve seen each of these hundreds of times:

Jaws
Empire
Star Wars
Raiders
Broadcast News
Ronin
GoodFellas
Say Anything
Breakfast Club
Caddyshack
Blues Brothers
This Is Spinal Tap

Reply

10 Zman87gt May 22, 2008 at 1:42 pm

10. American Beauty
9. Empire strikes back
8. American Graffiti
7. I robot
6. Dazed and confused
5. National treasure
4. The Explorers
3. Raiders of the lost Ark
2. Training Day
1. Blues Brothers

Reply

11 Tbonez May 29, 2008 at 4:04 am

Back to the future trilogy.
I watched rented those movies like 300 times when i was a kid!(especially the 2nd movie)

Reply

12 Annette E Alvarez May 29, 2008 at 8:52 am

IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER

Jaws is SPIELBERG’s BEST MOVIE. Look what he did without a budget and studio pressure.

Tootsie
All The Presidents Men
Three Days of the Condor
Goodfellas/Casino
Portrait of Jenny
Looking for Bobby Fisher
As Good as it Gets
Godfather 1 & 2
Rosemary’s Baby
The Excorcist

Reply

13 Steve Wikfe May 29, 2008 at 11:17 am

I always stop what I’m doing when Casablanca is on.

Reply

14 pif May 29, 2008 at 1:13 pm

Conan the Barbarian.

you know you did. i know i did/do.

Reply

15 Chris May 29, 2008 at 1:54 pm

In no order,
Star Wars Trilogy
Office Space
Breakfast Club
GoodFellas
Heat
Godfather I or II
Anchorman
Old School
Red Dawn

Reply

16 Clint May 29, 2008 at 2:29 pm

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
The Usual Suspects
Pulp Fiction
The Big Lebowski
Tommy Boy
Dogma
The Boondock Saints
Snatch
Braveheart
Dazed and Confused

Reply

17 Lou May 29, 2008 at 5:45 pm

Couldn’t limit it to just 10!
In no order…

The Goonies
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Matinee
Home Alone
The Monster Squad
Billy Madison
Tommy Boy
Army of Darkness
The Princess Bride
Beetlejuice
Almost Famous/Untitled
Who Framed Roger Rabbit
Gremlins
The Sandlot
UHF
Indiana Jones Trilogy
Back to the Future Trilogy
Jurassic Park
Three Amigos
Jaws
Swingers
Rushmore
Kingpin
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

I think listing the year you were born would be interesting too. It seems telling that many of the titles you list reflect when your childhood was. For me, I was born in ’82.

Reply

18 Brooklyn May 29, 2008 at 8:34 pm

Adding a girls view to the list

Dazed and Confused
Dirty Dancing
Footloose
Ferris Bullers Day Off
The Goonies
Pretty Woman
Empire Records
Wizard of Oz
Die Hard 3
Girls just want to have fun

Reply

19 K.G. June 13, 2008 at 8:12 pm

I’m ashamed to say it, but I think the films I’ve really watched the most times (excluding “Evil Dead 2″) would be whatever popcorn box office turd that HBO globs onto and shows ad nauseum. There’s something so terrible yet masochistically addictive about watching those terrible Fantastic 4 movies, Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, and dating back to Wild Wild West and Matrix:Revolutions. They show it, I am lazy and watch it. And this is what I do with life.

Reply

20 NOYB June 19, 2008 at 9:20 pm

Broadcast News
Tootsie
Groundhog Day
Knocked Up- a newer one but I’ve seen it over and over and over again- I’m also a newlywed so that may account for the attraction- a nice glimpse into the not so distant future (referring to Paul Rudd’s and Judd Apatow’s wife’s relationship)
Wedding Crashers
Young Frankenstein
Bull Durham
shamedly Tin Cup
A Christmas Story- who hasn’t seen this a million times
All the President’s Men

Reply

21 Hortencia Piedra June 20, 2008 at 5:55 am

Another ATPM watcher. I can’t help myself even though I know the ending — i just watch it whenever it’s on, and sometimes if it’s on VOD I go for it. The movie is just so big and yet so small. Does that make sense? Like the shot in the library from above or the new faces of actors that would go on to be mainstays. And Jason Robard — the shot when he is leaving for the ball and he taps on the desk cause he knows the Washington Post has “the story” — brilliant acting. I can go on and on and on — and everytime I think of how the set was recreated down to the garbage cans. And let’s THINK ABOUT IT — no internet just good all fashion leg work and they broke the story. WOODSTEIN!!!!!

I have watched A Christmas Stroy — yes a million time. I am also a big fan of The Night Stalker. Darren McGavin, I believe his wife, and myself were all waiting for a bus in the Union Square section of Manhattan. I was praying we would sit near each other. Which we did. He was such a lucky charm. His face lit up as we chatted about how much I loved him. What did we talk about: The Night Stalker — I blanked out on A Christmas Story. I have never forgiven myself.

My Tootsie story — When you live in NY — you have a story for everything. I LOVE SYDNEY POLLACK. And he too I saw in NY — Let me digress for a sec. I rented Tootsie back in the days when movie rentals were in video cassettes and you really had to bring them back in a day. Being the procrastinator that I was and loving Tootsie so much, the rental ended up being about 300. What I learned years later, that my ex, who returned the movie and worked in TV was so pissed the videostore would cut me a break he bulked erased it. Anyway back to Sydney,

I saw him — I guess it must have been in the early 90s, walking down 1st ave and 52nd st. He looked lost in thought, so I really didn’t stop. Just watched. Years later, I was on a bus and I saw the actress who played the producer in Tootsie. She had also been, for many years, on my soap opera. Since cancelled. Again, another prayer and bingo she sat next to me.

I apologized for the intrusion. I mentioned how much I loved Tootsie and that I had seen Sydney Pollack and how I thought the whole tomato scene was brilliant. Surprisingly she said I should have stopped and told him. Apparantly he was so insercure about his acting, he would hearing how funny he was.

I have stories about Broadcast News, a movie that should have made my list but I picked Brook’s As Good as it Gets. I worked at NBC for many years. As an editor. The editing scene — exactly how it goes down. Here is some inside inside scoop. At least I think it is.

John Hurt’s character was modelled after this person. “This person” I edited with about 10 years ago in a scenario much like the one in the film. Me playing the editor and everyone hoping I didnt press the wrong key.

Reply

22 NOYB June 23, 2008 at 1:53 pm

I love the editing scene in Broadcast News with Joan Cusack hurdling over people and sliding under a filing cabinet to get the tape back. I think my favorite scene is the flop sweat- which actually brings me to an addendum to my list- Lost in America.

Thanks for the anecdotes.

Reply

23 Josh June 25, 2008 at 9:55 am

The Princess Bride is my favorite flick because i can watch it over and over. Love that flick.

Reply

24 Erica June 28, 2008 at 2:02 am

I haven’t seen or heard of most of these movies and I get around. Oh well. I will hands down agree with The Princess Bride. I absolutely love that movie and recently made my mother watch it again. She didn’t think it was good at all. I told her she was disowned.

Reply

25 Bob50 October 22, 2009 at 4:41 pm

That last was just stupid and wrong. ,

Reply

Leave a Comment

 

Previous post:

Next post: