20. Back to the Future – In 1985, Robert Zemeckis effortlessly combined teen angst, with a little bit of time traveling magic to create one of the most enduring fantasies of all time. This Christopher Lloyd, Michael J. Fox, and Lea Thompson led cast performed to a tee, and bravely went where other teen 80’s directors like the great John Hughes wouldn’t even dare to venture. Back to the Future spawned two less-than-stellar sequels, but more importantly, it spawned an entire new culture, a ride in Orlando, and created a whole new genre: Teen-fantasy.
19. Brazil – As promised, Terry Gilliam would reappear on the list, and it should come as no shock that this 1985 classic would be where he would make his mark. Brazil was the 1984 of movies. The story of a bureaucrat who becomes the enemy of the state, sounds like classic treason or whistleblower tale. But combine a retro-futuristic world and the sounds of 1984 and Brave New World are alive and well. It doesn’t hurt that Gilliam was able to snag Robert DeNiro, but this is Gilliam’s baby, and he shows his signature style of weirdness, creativity, and imagination that really makes this movie come alive.
18. Beauty and the Beast – This truly is a tale as old as time. Following their Little Mermaid success, Disney recreated this classic fantasy-love story with vivid characters, incredible voice-acting (Angela Lansbury anyone?) and fantastic music, to truly reinvent the way animation was done. Not only was it the 1st animated feature to get nominated for Best Picture, but it was a signal that the rebirth of Disney was not a fluke. This tale of magic, deception, love, and looking beyond the exterior of a person to what is inside truly is timeless.
17. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King – As if winning 11 Academy Awards wasn’t enough; the third Lord of the Rings movie did the impossible. With so much to adapt from page to screen, many thought that this series would not be able to be accomplished in a million years. But with an all star cast, Peter Jackson, and a legion of fans, the Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King capped off one of the greatest movie trilogies of all time. For me, this wasn’t the best of the three films, but it certainly exceeded all expectations I had, and was thrilling movie magic.
16. Superman – In 1978, the infamous comic strip about the alien boy who grows up to become the greatest superhero in the world came to the silver screen. With a high flying vision from director Richard Donner, and a group of marvelous actors including Margot Kidder, Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, and of course the great Christopher Reeve, this classic tale became movie legend, and started the course that would end with dozens of comic-book movies, and countless Superman remakes and spinoffs. Not to mention that it simply was an incredible film.