76. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
Logline: After enduring the hell on Earth (boot camp)—where merciless, even ruthless Sergeant Hartman turns men into stone-faced killers—a group of marines and a ‘military correspondent’ portray the Vietnam War for what it really was: A gritty, dehumanizing massacre that served very little, if any, purpose.
Memorable Moments: At the particularly graphic scene when an obviously disturbed Private ‘Pyle’ (Vincent D’Onofrio) loads his weapon—highly to the dismay of freightened Pvt. ‘Joker’ (Matthew Modine)—kills his drill sergeant, and blows his own brains out.
Why People Love It: Besides being at the top of most critics’ lists for ‘best war movie’, FMJ is about as raw and unrepentant as war movies (dealing with Vietnam, or ‘Nam, in this case) come—exposing the war for what it was: Vain and deplorable.
Best Quote: Sergeant Hartman (R. Lee Ermey): “I bet you’re the kind of guy that would f*** a person in the a** and not even have the damn common courtesy to give him a reach-around. I’ll be watching you.”
75. Life Is Beautiful (1997)
Logline: A charming, comedic Italian Jew (Guido), his wife and son suddenly find themselves in a Nazi death camp in then-occupied Italy. Now, Guido struggles to keep his happy family together and save his son (if only but in spirit) from an almost inevitable death sentence.
Memorable Moments: The point where Guido and his fledgling family are taken away to death camps and onwards. Guido’s optimism, even deep in the heart of the nightmarish concentration camps, is stunningly unwavering.
Why People Love It: In the same spirit of Schindler’s List and The Diary of Anne Frank (but more much more controversial due to its claimed “charming take on the Holocaust”), Life is Beautiful puts heroic faces on real, but often condemned people amongst one of the most brutal regimes the world’s ever seen.
Best Quote: Guido (Roberto Benigni): “How ridiculous. They were just teasing you! There are wood ovens, but there are no people ovens. Putting people in ovens creates too much smoke.”
74. Ratatouille (2007)
Logline: Remy, a charming rat from rural France, travels to Paris. After realizing that his favorite culinary idol is deceased, he discovers a way to become great in his own way—through helping a young, aspiring chef (Linguini) create masterful dishes.
Memorable Moments: Cut to the scene when Anton Ego, merciless food critic, bites into his decadent dinner at the restaurant. His five or so minute reflection afterwards: Priceless.
Why People Love It: Loosely akin to the more grown-up Cyrano de Bergerac, Ratatouille exemplifies (Disney/Pixar-style) what creatures, even “charming rats with dreams”, can accomplish given harmony and understanding with humankind.
Best Quote: Remy (voiceover by Patton Oswalt): “This is me. I think it’s apparent that I need to rethink my life a little bit. What’s my problem? First of all, I’m a rat. Which means, life is hard. Second, I have a highly developed sense of taste and smell.”
73. Leon: The Professional (1994)
Logline: Young Mathilda (Natalie Portman) from New York witnesses the murder of her family. Seeking refuge in a nearby apartment, she discovers that its tenant–Leon–is an assassin. But he soon obliges to protect young Mathilda and even teach her the ropes of his trade.
Memorable Moments: Stansfield (Gary Oldman) ominously states “I like these calm little moments before the storm”; his goons in tow, he proceeds to deliver a ruthless blitzkrieg upon Mathilda’s poor family.
Why People Love It: Folks love it because it seamlessly blends a kind of brilliant, multidimensional aesthetic with Oscar-worthy performances: Endangered (if not extinct) qualities in film these days.
Best Quote: Leon (Reno): “The rifle is the first weapon you learn how to use, because it lets you keep your distance from the client. The closer you get to being a pro, the closer you can get to the client. The knife, for example, is the last thing you learn.”