Frank's Faves: Years for movies (and movies from those years)

Frank's Faves: Years for movies (and movies from those years)

"Best Saturday afternoon!"
"1933, when Brute Holland was out with a bad knee. Best month?"

"April. Best year?"
"Best year? 1944 ... no, '45 ... '46 ... "

— Bradford Dillman and Robert Redford in "The Way We Were" (1973)

I got myself thinking last week.

While writing about movie "fourths," I asked you the reader, semi-rhetorically, if the past year had been one of your favorites. And that got me thinking, like Bradford Dillman and Robert Redford in the boat scene from "The Way We Were": Which year that I've lived so far would I rate as my favorite?

1976? The year I graduated from high school?

1979? The year my parents traveled to Germany, leaving me in charge at home and springing for a whole summer's worth of concert tickets to compensate me and my younger siblings?

1980? The year I graduated from college, landed my first newspaper job, moved out on my own and met my future wife?

1987? The year I was hired at The News-Gazette and moved to Champaign?

1993? The year I actually got married?

2016? The year the Cubs won the World Series for the first time in all of our lifetimes?

A whole lot of years to choose from for a whole lot of different reasons. I imagine my honest response to the question would be much like Redford's — substituting years that actually fell within my lifetime, of course — but trailing off as my mind recalled memorable year after year without being able to settle on just one.

That's a good thing, of course — to have a good many good years from which to ponder one's faves — but I suspect the choice is also inherently difficult no matter how many years one has because years, like movies, are favorites of different folks for different reasons.

Well, on second thought, perhaps not so much like movies, as I have far less trouble identifying my favorite years for movies. Those would be the years that saw the biggest clusters of my personal faves. Those would be these:



— "Gone With the Wind" (Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable, Olivia de Havilland).
— "The Wizard of Oz" (Judy Garland, et al).
— "Young Mr. Lincoln" (Henry Fonda).
— "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" (James Stewart, Jean Arthur, Claude Rains).
— "The Flying Deuces" (Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy).

Honorable mention: John Ford's "Stagecoach" with John Wayne would rank higher if it weren't still on my "to-see" list, but on another day, it might get bumped by "The Hunchback of Notre Dame."


— "The Godfather: Part II" (Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall).
— "Young Frankenstein" (Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle).
— "Blazing Saddles" (Cleavon Little, Gene Wilder).
— "The Longest Yard" (Burt Reynolds).
— "Chinatown" (Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway).


— "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" (Jack Nicholson, Louise Fletcher).
— "Jaws" (Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss).
— "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" (Graham Chapman, John Cleese, et al).
— "Dog Day Afternoon" (Al Pacino).
— "The Stepford Wives" or "The Eiger Sanction" — Ira Levin classic vs. Clint Eastwood classic ... sorry, that's just an impossible choice.


— "Good Morning, Vietnam" (Robin Williams, Forest Whitaker).
— "The Princess Bride" (Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, et al).
— "Lethal Weapon" (Mel Gibson, Danny Glover).
— "Predator" (Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers).
— "Robocop" (Peter Weller, Nancy Allen).


— "Glory" (Matthew Broderick, Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington).
— "Batman" (Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson).
— "When Harry Met Sally" (Billy Crystal, Meg Ryan).
— "Field of Dreams" (Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones).
— "Driving Miss Daisy" (Morgan Freeman, Jessica Tandy).

Topics (3):Film, People, Television