Paramount via Everett Collection
One of the most respected authorities on the greatest films of all time is the American Film Institute's "100 Years...100 Movies" list, first presented in 1998 and revised in 2007. For those who want to view some of the films considered the greatest ever, Netflix has you covered, providing viewers with 13 titles on the list through their streaming service. Take a look at what's available.
The General (1926)
Buster Keaton's silent comedy epic based on the true story of a train conductor during the Civil War may not appeal to most modern audiences (and it didn't to critics upon its release either) but it is now considered one of the greatest films of all time.
High Noon (1952)
The classic Western stars Gary Cooper as a retired sheriff who steps up to protect a frontier town from a notorious outlaw and Grace Kelly as his Quaker wife who wants him to stay out of it.
Double Indemnity (1944)
Considered one of the greatest examples of film noir, Double Indemnity tells the story of an insurance investigator (Fred MacMurray) who gets roped into a murderous insurance scheme by a conniving woman (Barbara Stanwyck).
Another quintessential Western, it stars Alan Ladd as wandering gunslinger Shane who ends up in the middle of a deadly Wyoming land dispute.
The oldest film on the list, D.W. Griffith's silent epic tells four parallel stories relating to morality through history.
Duck Soup (1933)
The classic Marx Brothers' comedy tells the story of Rufus. T. Firefly's (Groucho) appointment to leadership of the fictional, bankrupt country Freedonia which is on the brink of war.
The African Queen (1951)
Humphrey Bogart won his only Oscar as a Canadian riverboat captain traveling with uptight missionary Katharine Hepburn down an African river to blow a hole in a German blockade during the onset of WWII.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
Paul Newman and Robert Redford cemented their place in cinema history with their portrayal of the legendary outlaws.
Forrest Gump (1994)
You can re-watch the smash hit starring Tom Hanks as the Alabama man with an IQ of 75 for the 100th time.
Yup, the disaster epic that might be more popular to hate than like made the list. It's not as bad as people say. I'm sure millions of women who were teenagers in the late '90s would agree.
Oliver Stone's tale of a young soldier in the Vietnam War has gained acclaim as one of the greatest war films of all time.
Pulp Fiction (1994)
This Tarantino instant classic telling several sordid, interconnected tales revolving around a surreal L.A. criminal underworld is one of the most widely-loved films of recent decades.
Do the Right Thing (1989)
Spike Lee became an icon with his tale of racial tension erupting in Brooklyn.
A kids’ movie without the cheeky jokes for adults is like a big juicy BLT without the B… or the T. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted may have a title that sounds like it was made up in a cartoon sequel laboratory but when it comes to serving up laughs just think of the film as a BLT with enough extra bacon to satisfy even the wildest of animals — or even a parent with a gaggle of tots in tow. Yes even with that whole "Afro Circus" nonsense.
It’s not often that we find exhaustively franchised films like the Madagascar set that still work after almost seven years. Despite being spun off into TV shows and Christmas specials in addition to its big screen adventures the series has not only maintained its momentum it has maintained the part we were pleasantly surprised by the first time around: great jokes.
In this third installment of the series – the trilogy-maker if you will – directing duo Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath add Conrad Vernon (director Monsters Vs. Aliens) to the helm as our trusty gang swings back into action. Alex the lion (Ben Stiller) Marty the zebra (Chris Rock) Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer) are stuck in Africa after the hullaballoo of Madagascar 2 and they’ll do anything to get back to their beloved New York. Just a hop skip and a jump away in Monte Carlo the penguins are doing their usual greedy schtick but the zoo animals catch up with them just in time to catch the eye of the sinister animal control stickler Captain Dubois (Frances McDormand). And just like that the practically super human captain is chasing them through Monte Carlo and the rest of Europe in hopes of planting Alex’s perfectly coifed lion head on her wall of prized animals.
Luckily for pint-sized viewers Dubois’ terrifying presence is balanced out by her sheer inhuman strength uncanny guiles and Stretch Armstrong flexibility (ah the wonder of cartoons) as well as Alex’s escape plan: the New Yorkers run away with the European circus. While Dubois’ terrifying Doberman-like presence looms over the entire film a sense of levity (which is a word the kiddies might learn from Stiller’s eloquent lion) comes from the plan for salvation in which the circus animals and the zoo animals band together to revamp the circus and catch the eye of a big-time American agent. Sure the pacing throughout the first act is practically nonexistent running like a stampede through the jungle but by the time we're palling around under the big top the film finds its footing.
The visual splendor of the film (and man is there a champion size serving of it) the magnificent danger and suspense is enhanced to great effect by the addition of 3D technology – and not once is there a gratuitous beverage or desperate Crocodile Dundee knife waved in our faces to prove its worth. The caveat is that the soundtrack employs a certain infectious Katy Perry ditty at the height of the 3D spectacular so parents get ready to hear that on repeat until the leaves turn yellow.
But visual delights and adventurous zoo animals aside Madagascar 3’s real strength is in its script. With the addition of Noah Baumbach (Greenberg The Squid and the Whale) to the screenwriting team the script is infused with a heightened level of almost sarcastic gravitas – a welcome addition to the characteristically adult-friendly reference-heavy humor of the other Madagascar films. To bring the script to life Paramount enlisted three more than able actors: Vitaly the Siberian tiger (Bryan Cranston) Gia the Leopard (Jessica Chastain) and Stefano the Italian Sealion (Martin Short). With all three actors draped in European accents it might take viewers a minute to realize that the cantankerous tiger is one and the same as the man who plays an Albuquerque drug lord on Breaking Bad but that makes it that much sweeter to hear him utter slant-curse words like “Bolshevik” with his usual gusto.
Between the laughs the terror of McDormand’s Captain Dubois and the breathtaking virtual European tour the Zoosters’ accidental vacation is one worth taking. Madagascar 3 is by no means an insta-classic but it’s a perfectly suited for your Summer-at-the-movies oasis.