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The Shawshank Redemption, Mary Poppins, The Great Escape – just some of the glaring omissions you felt our film critic Brian Viner made in his Top 100 Films list. So here are some of your favourites, and his verdict


The impassione­d response to my list of the 100 greatest films ever in Weekend on 10 February is tremendous­ly gratifying. Not everyone was entirely polite about my choices as opposed to theirs, but what that demonstrat­es is how engaged we all are with the movies we adore. It’s marvellous to be reminded how much great cinema matters to so many of us. In all, more than 500 titles were mentioned, with varying degrees of indignatio­n, which shows that it’s impossible to find a Top 100 that pleases everyone.

I knew The Shawshank Redemption would be my most provocativ­e omission, which I confess is partly why I did it. I admire its many virtues as a powerful celebratio­n of hope and the human spirit, but I have always found it overly sentimenta­l, mawkish even, and Morgan Freeman’s voiceover makes me wince.

There we are. These things are nothing if not subjective. I look at some of your choices, films I left out, and wonder why I did. Nonetheles­s, I’m sticking to my guns, though not to my Guns Of Navarone. That was one of those I was castigated for overlookin­g, but I make no apology for it. If I compiled my list again now I still wouldn’t find room for The Italian Job, Forrest Gump, The Great Escape or Titanic, all of which moved readers to write in. That doesn’t mean I don’t like or even love those pictures, by the way (though not Titanic, which invariably makes me wish the iceberg would strike a bit sooner).

With other choices, such as Doctor Zhivago, Goodfellas, The African Queen and Now, Voyager, I could be persuaded to reconsider. But which of mine would I remove? It’s an endlessly entertaini­ng exercise. Thank you for playing a part in it.

So here then is your list of the Top 20 films you felt I should have included, and your reasons why...


Another adaptation of a Stephen King prison story from Frank Darabont, the man behind The Shawshank Redemption, but this one has a supernatur­al element. Tom Hanks plays a guard in charge of death row in a Louisiana prison, with Michael Clarke Duncan as a gentle giant prisoner.

‘A modern classic.’ Simon Hawke Buy or rent on Amazon, Apple, Rakuten TV and Sky

5 GLADIATOR (2000)

A slimmed-down, muscled-up Russell Crowe, plus Oliver Reed in his final role (he died during filming), star in Ridley Scott’s Roman extravagan­za.

‘A rollercoas­ter ride with wonderful acting.’ Stephen Downing

Netflix, buy or rent on Amazon, Apple, Rakuten TV and Sky


Kevin Costner starred in, produced and made his directoria­l debut with this stirring Western. Thanks to the film’s positive impact on the image of Native Americans, Costner (inset, above) was honoured ‘on behalf of the Indian Lakota nation’. ‘Our number one film.’ Jan and Terry Wedgbury

Available on DVD or Apple


Scorsese’s horrific epic about gangsters in New York with Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro and a chilling Joe Pesci.

‘I’ve watched this so much I can recite the dialogue, much to my late husband’s annoyance.’ Carole Oswin

Buy or rent on Amazon, Apple, Rakuten TV and Sky


Humphrey Bogart won his only Oscar playing the grimy steamship captain who has an unlikely love affair with Katharine Hepburn’s puritanica­l missionary (both above) when they’re thrown together on his boat. ‘An absolute classic that has it all – drama, romance and comedy.’

John Hames

Buy or rent on Amazon and Apple


This wartime classic is packed with memorable moments and characters such as the blind prisoner played by Donald Pleasence, an ex-pow himself. ‘Everyone should see this at least once.’ John Tsang

Buy or rent on Amazon, Apple, Rakuten TV and Sky

10 ET (1982)

With the line, ‘ET, phone home’, aliens proved they can be cute as one befriends a lonely boy. ‘A success for Spielberg, much better than his Jaws.’ Robin Powell Buy or rent on Amazon, Apple, Rakuten TV and Sky


Fleeing from a crop duster plane and chasing across Mount

Rushmore are just two of the unforgetta­ble set-pieces as Cary Grant plays an advertisin­g executive who’s mistaken for a spy.

‘Hitchcock at his most brilliant best, I saw it at Radio City Cinema in

New York in 1959.’ Roger Mautner Buy or rent on Amazon, Apple, Rakuten TV and Sky

12 THEMAGNIFI­CENT seven (1960)

‘They were seven, they fought like seven hundred,’ read the poster for this tale of a group of gunfighter­s hired to free a village from bandits. ‘One of the greatest Westerns ever.’ Terry Hone

Buy or rent on Amazon, Apple, and Sky

13 FORREST GUMP (1994)

The digitally created scenes – such as Forrest dancing as a child while Elvis plays guitar – won this film the Oscar for Best Visual Effects. ‘Uplifting and a great performanc­e from Tom Hanks.’ Barry Lenton

Buy or rent on Amazon, Apple, Rakuten TV and Sky


Michael Caine, Mini Coopers, a £4m heist and a literal cliffhange­r ending make this 60s crime caper a classic. ‘British comedy and satire at its best.’ Martin Sheldrick

Paramount+, buy or rent on Amazon, Apple, Rakuten TV and Sky


Sergio Leone was famous for his spaghetti Westerns but his last film was an epic tale of gangsters. ‘The greatest score.’ Kevan Booth Disney+, buy or rent on Amazon,

Apple and Rakuten TV


Designed to smooth over strained Anglo-american relations, a British pilot is ready to jump from a burning plane when he falls in love with the voice of an American radio operator. ‘With its combinatio­n of romance, fantasy and war drama, it’s unique.’ Tony Mcnamara

ITVX Premium, buy or rent on Amazon and Apple

17 TITANIC (1997)

James Cameron’s film starring Leonardo Dicaprio and Kate Winslet (below) about a forbidden romance on board the sinking ship was the most expensive production at the time (with a budget of more than $200m) and won 11 Oscars.

‘A great film.’ Graham Melville. Disney+, buy or rent on Amazon, Apple, Rakuten TV and Sky

18 NOW, VOYAGER (1942)

Bette Davis (below, right) goes from ugly duckling to swan when she escapes her domineerin­g mother in this emotional melodrama. It was her biggest box-office hit.

‘A brilliant film not to be missed. I never tire of it.’ Patricia Mullaley BBC iplayer until 15 April, buy or rent on Amazon and Apple


(1946) When you think of the Dickens novel, images of foggy marshes and Miss Havisham’s mansion in David Lean’s film come to mind. John Mills, Jean Simmons and Alec Guinness lead the cast. ‘The most perfect film ever made.’ Angela Redmond

ITVX Premium, rent on Amazon, Apple and BFI Player

20 MARY POPPINS (1964)

This musical about a nanny who saves a family made a star of Julie Andrews (far left, with Dick Van Dyke).

‘A simply wonderful film – bring on the penguins!’ Brian Clegg

Disney+, buy or rent on Amazon, Sky,

Apple and Rakuten TV

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Brian’s original list in February, which you can still see at mailplus.co.uk/ 100films
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