Top 6: Movies We’ve Seen Over and Over

Posted in Top 6 at 10:34 am by Sam

Episode 35’s Top 6 segment is about the movies we’ve seen over and over again. There are tens of thousands of movies out there, so why do we sometimes pick the same ones to watch over and over? Some of us do it more than others, but probably all of us have at least a title or two that we keep coming back to. In many cases, these may not even be our favorite movies. What are yours?

As always, we recommend listening to the episode before reading further.

  1. Ghostbusters (1984)
  2. The Princess Bride (1987)
  3. Pulp Fiction (1994)
  4. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
  5. Casablanca (1942)
  6. The Big Lebowski (1998)
  1. The Great Race (1965)
  2. The Gods Must Be Crazy (1980) and The Gods Must Be Crazy II (1989)
  3. The Princess Bride (1987)
  4. 1776 (1972)
  5. Back To the Future (1985)
  6. Star Wars (1977) / The Empire Strikes Back (1980) / Return of the Jedi (1983)


  1. Jeffrey (84) said,

    May 29, 2007 at 10:45 am

    This list comprises mainly of movies repeatedly shown on TV (usually during my childhood) and whenever they’re on I feel compelled to watch, although I do occasionally watched them on VHS and now DVD.

    1 Star Wars (would probably include ‘Empire’ and ‘Jedi’ with this)
    2 Back to the Future
    3 Jaws
    4 The Great Escape
    5 The Sound of Music
    6 Aliens

    The Shawshank Redemption almost makes the list, it is one that gets a high degree of repeated viewing but not so much to exceed the others listed.

  2. Grishny (156) said,

    May 29, 2007 at 3:01 pm

    There was a lot less overlap between my own personal list and the lists that the two of you came up with; I was positive that at least half of mine would also appear on one or both of yours, but in the end only one matched up.

    6. A Christmas Carol, starring George C. Scott. I’m pretty certain I’ve posted about this movie here before. Of all the different movie versions of this story, this one’s my favorite, the one that I own and the one that I watch every year at Christmastime and occasionally “off-season”.

    5. The Matrix - I’m only including the original, because it’s the only one that I really have watched over and over again, and will probably continue to do so.

    4. Fiddler on the Roof - it’s been some time since I’ve watched it, because I do not own my own copy of it, but it’s my all-time favorite musical and never fails to satisfy when I do watch it. I remember popping the VHS in frequently as a kid when I was staying home sick from school.

    3. Three Amigos! - I was going to include The Princess Bride on my list, but since I was absolutely certain that it would appear on one or both of yours, I decided to replace it with something else, and Three Amigos won out. For quotability, this movie in my book is every bit as good as TPB, and I’ve probably rewatched it just as many times.

    2. Star Wars - Sam already said it all for me.

    1. Lord of the Rings - This is the one that surprised me most in it’s lack of appearing on either of your lists. Admittedly, it’s too new to have been a childhood favorite, but for me at least, the trilogy as a whole has the highest rewatchability of any movie I personally own.

    Some other movies that were on my list that didn’t quite make the cut: The Wizard of Oz, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn, and of course The Princess Bride. I also considered putting Monty Python & the Holy Grailon there.

  3. Sam (405) said,

    May 29, 2007 at 4:45 pm

    This is the one that surprised me most in it’s lack of appearing on either of your lists. Admittedly, it’s too new to have been a childhood favorite…

    I think it takes a childhood favorite. In 30 years, I don’t anticipate that my list will have changed much. I’m honestly not particularly planning on rewatching any of mine again and again and again in the future, but nor do I anticipate many new titles taking that role on either. When push comes to shove (and with a Netflix queue of the maximum 500 titles, there is a lot of pushing and shoving going on), I’d almost always rather watch a movie I’ve not yet seen than one I already have. I’ve already got the experiences of the movies I’ve seen. I can relive them in my head whenever I want. So why not acquire something new instead?

    It *feels* like I’ve seen The Lord of the Rings over and over and over, because I love them so much and because I spent so much time reflecting on them afterward that I know them really well. But ultimately, I’ve seen the theatrical versions once each, in the theater, and I’ve seen the director’s cuts once each, on DVD. I’ve listened to some of the commentaries, but I don’t count those as successive viewings, because commentaries aren’t even close to the same experience, even if the visuals refresh your memory about what happens in a movie.

    As much as I love them, I probably won’t be ready to rewatch them for another five or ten years. What’s remarkable about that statement isn’t that five or ten years is as long as it is, but that it’s as short as it is.

  4. siochembio (82) said,

    May 29, 2007 at 11:09 pm

    The top 6 movies I am currently enjoying watching again and again and again (see if you can spot the rather obvious theme):

    I Know Where I’m Going
    It Happened One Night
    The Lady Eve
    The Palm Beach Story
    Kind Hearts and Coronets
    Some Like It Hot

    My all-time top 6 movies I’ve watched again and again and again:

    Gosford Park
    Star Wars
    A Fish Called Wanda
    The Royal Tenenbaums
    Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
    Pirates of the Caribbean (the first one)

    Some of these titles I have rewatched because I find them comforting (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, IKWIG), some because I think they get funnier every time I see them (A Fish Called Wanda, The Lady Eve), and some because they never stop entertaining me (Pirates, Tenenbaums, KHaC).

    In general, I’m very much into repeated viewings of movies and my favorite TV shows. I cross-stitch as a hobby, and it’s great to pop in something I’ve seen a million times as I effectively “listen” to it.

    Watching movies over and over again is sort of a personality trait in my family. Once over Christmas vacation this year, my dad watched National Treasure twice - maybe even three times - in one day. When Notting Hill came out, my mom saw it six times in theaters, and countless more on video and DVD. When my sister first saw Congo (lo these many years ago), she watched it three times in two days. It’s just a thing, I guess; with certain movies, we REALLY enjoy the multiple viewings.

    This doesn’t apply to all films, though, and some of my favorite movies can’t be rewatched endlessly. Schindler’s List? I watch it once every five years. LotR is not very “rewatchable,” and my hubby and I sit down to watch it every 1-2 years over Christmas. I’ve only seen A Clockwork Orange twice, but it’s definitely one of my crazy favorites. I prefer to keep Casablanca as a seldom-sampled treat. And I adore the Hinds/Root version of Persuasion, but I’m careful not to watch it too much lest it lose its power for me.

  5. Stephen (221) said,

    May 29, 2007 at 11:10 pm

    We’ve talked about the merits of watching things over and over, but I’m so opposite on this from Sam (and indeed many people). I think all really good movies are worth watching twice, and any great movie is worth watching more than that. So my list will change (it’s not like I was a kid when Big Lebowski came out).

    But LOTR will never make it just because it’s such a timesink to watch them. Unlike Back to the Future or Star Wars, where you can easily just watch one of the trilogy, I really can’t watch one LOTR film without feeling compelled to watch them all. And that’s a 10+ hour experience (since I will likely never watch the theatrical cuts again).

  6. siochembio (82) said,

    May 29, 2007 at 11:12 pm

    Oops, forgot to include that deliriously wonderful holiday treat, A Christmas Story. Yeah, I’ve seen that over… and over… and over again. I always figure that October is safe enough to crack open the DVD for the first viewing that year.

  7. siochembio (82) said,

    May 29, 2007 at 11:15 pm

    As insinuated in my first top 6 list, I have changing tastes in the movies I like to rewatch again and again. For instance, I used to watch That Thing You Do a lot, and it still finds its way into the DVD player every now and then, but not nearly as much as it used to. Likewise with Miss Congeniality, and yes, I am a little ashamed to admit it.

  8. Jeffrey (84) said,

    May 30, 2007 at 11:08 am

    Over this extended weekend I watched the director’s cut versions of The Lord of the Rings back-to-back which was a thoroughly enjoyable experience.
    On Saturday, prior to the LOTR marathon I watched the Indiana Jones trilogy and even managed to squeeze in the extras on the bonus disc. Surprisingly, this is the one series that I haven’t watched that frequently as of late.
    Last weekend I watched the original Star Wars (non special edition versions) and also watched the stuff on the bonus disc from the initial boxset.
    Phew! I’ve just gone trilogy crazy!

  9. joem18b (231) said,

    May 30, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    Length of time required to watch the whole thing has kept me from rewatching Lonesome Dove.

    I wonder if Titanic still gets rewatched.

    Is the Rocky Horror cult over?

    Will modern animation movies like Toy Story and The Incredibles be rewatched like the Disney classics are?

    I don’t rewatch a lot, but sometimes I just don’t want a new movie; I want something familiar. Stephen said “I think all really good movies are worth watching twice, and any great movie is worth watching more than that.” which makes sense, but frequently when I don’t want new, I want old junk.

    Some good movies (as opposed to the junky ones) that I rewatch from time to time:

    Musicals: West Side Story; South Pacific; Blues Brothers

    Comedy: Groundhog Day; High Fidelity; School of Rock; Peggy Sue Got Married

    Drama: Twelve Angry Men; Two Lane Blacktop; Mad Dog and Glory (esp. David Caruso’s bar scene)

    Noir and Neo Noir: Kiss Me Deadly; Blue Dahlia; Chinatown

    Western: Once Upon a Time in the West; Shane; Quigly Down Under

    SciFi: MIB; Dark City; The Matix ; Terminator II

    Spectacle: Ben Hur; Spartacus

    Action/Horror: Rocky and Rambo; From Dusk Till Dawn; Kill Bill

    Animation: Alice in Wonderland; Spirited Away

    Documentary: Seven Up!

    Thinking about movies I’ve watched more than once, I notice that a lot of them are historical. Some favorites:

    1a. Gettysberg
    1b. Tora! Tora! Tora!
    1c. Midway

    2. Ike, Countdown to D-day

    3. 13 Days

    4. The Day Reagan Was Shot

    5. Truman

    6. 300

  10. Grishny (156) said,

    May 30, 2007 at 1:54 pm

    Will modern animation movies like Toy Story and The Incredibles be rewatched like the Disney classics are?

    They already are, at least in my home. My son has probably already rewatched Toy Story and Toy Story 2 more times than any of the classic Disney movies I grew up watching. Part of that is probably due to the availability and ease of use of DVDs that didn’t exist when I was a kid, BUT– I watch and rewatch these movies too, and always enjoy ‘em.

  11. famous (8) said,

    May 30, 2007 at 1:56 pm

    Mine is a pretty odd and somewhat lame list. But it’s mine..

    1) Princess Bride - I’m on board with this one. This has been a favorite since first viewing at age 13 or so.

    2) Clue - I have no idea why, but I love this movie so much. Tim Curry is priceless in it as well as Madeline Kahn. It’s a great girls-night-in movie along with the first one.

    3) BeetleJuice - I’m really ashamed to admit this one because it’s really stupid, but as a kid my brother and sisters and I watched this movie ALL the time. Everytime we went to the video store (about every other weekend) we would rent this. My dad even got hooked and would watch it too and I look back now and wonder how he could.. but he’s an odd one.

    4) Legally Blonde - I’m not nearly as ashamed of this as I feel like I should be. This movie is so silly and stupid, but with just enough substance and good humor that it makes the perfect background movie to have on. I often watch it while playing on the computer and chatting.

    5) Shawshank Redemption - This movie speaks for itself and even though there’s still parts I cringe at hearing I can still watch this over and over and enjoy it - particularly the ending. Morgan Freeman is just magnificent in it.

    6) Blues Brothers (but only the last 3rd) - It wasn’t until I sat to watch this with wintermute (my husband) a year or so ago that I realized that the only part of this that my brother and sisters and I had seen as kids was the last 3rd of it. I knew we’d missed some, but I didn’t think it was nearly as much as it was. I think my dad had just taped part of it off of t.v. or something and we just knew we liked the piece we had. Those cameo shots at the end with the names and shots of the various famous people in the movie made a lot more sense after that. ;-)

  12. Ferrick (140) said,

    May 30, 2007 at 4:24 pm

    Some movies make my list because I used to watch them over and over. One summer, a friend of mine and I watched Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory ever day for a month. Well, at least every weekday.

    Others make the list because if I am flipping around on TV and FX is showing the movie, I will always stop and watch some, if not the rest of the movie. I have to. And it doesn’t matter what part of the movie it is on at that moment.

  13. Ferrick (140) said,

    May 30, 2007 at 5:02 pm

    How the heck did you get this down to only 6 movies? My list is huge. I guess I can shave off a few but basically, if I own the DVD, it is a movie I watch multiple times. I have to break it down by genre.

    Great Escape
    The Usual Suspects
    Breakfast Club

    Ferris Buehler
    Spinal Tap
    Raising Arizona
    Holy Grail
    Blues Brothers
    Princess Bride

    Honorable Mention: Airplane

    Die Hard
    The Matrix
    Die Hard
    Lord of the Rings
    Empire Strikes Back (IV and VI, too)

    Christmas Story
    Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
    The Muppet Movie

    The kids category would be movies I loved as a kid because I was a kid but have an attraction to adults, too.

  14. Ferrick (140) said,

    May 30, 2007 at 5:04 pm

    Ok, so how come nobody has mentioned “The Godfather” in this thread?

  15. joem18b (231) said,

    May 30, 2007 at 6:18 pm

    I’ve got to admit I just forgot The Godfather for some reason - including the Godfather Trilogy and other versions floating around.

    But if Payback is starting to look like a drama to you, you may be getting way to familiar with it. ;]

  16. Ferrick (140) said,

    May 31, 2007 at 2:56 pm

    Some of the movies were hard to characterize. Payback had to go somewhere and I tried to not put more than six in a group. Now I see that Action only has five in it so Payback should go there. Empire Strikes Back could fall under drama in my book even though it is more of an action movie and would be under Sci Fi in the video store. Breakfast Club might fall under comedy.

  17. ShannieP (8) said,

    May 31, 2007 at 7:21 pm

    Wow, this is when six hardly seems like it’s enough, even though it is one more then five…
    1. Pride and Prejudice -BBC version- now I don’t always sit and watch like it’s a first viewing but it’s when I am in a down mood it’s my go to movie.
    2. State & Main- the dialogue is so good, so fast, so quotable but people rarely know what I am quoting but at least I seem to enjoy it.
    3. The Parent Trap - You know it stars Hayley Mills and Hayley Mills!!!
    Okay, this movie came on tv, I was about 7 years old and my mom told me I would like it but she had no idea. I still love it and it’s been many years. I was sure I would get to go to camp (never did) and I would find my long lost sister (never did) but I still love it even though it didn’t come true for me.
    4. Return to Me - It makes me cry, it makes me laugh, sometimes at the same time, plus it takes place in Chicago so it holds a special place. Bonnie Hunt wrote, directed and costarred in it and she’s so talented. She got Carroll O’Connor and she didn’t underuse him. The stuff with the old guys is as great (in my opinion) as the story with the main characters. And it really gave Jim Belushi his basis for his tv show. So all in all a great movie, didn’t do what it should have but it’s just a nice movie.
    5. The Philadelphia Story- Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant, James Stewart…all young and beautiful and fantastic. I think it’s one of the greatest movies. It’s everything we don’t see in movies today (not a bad thing) but it’s so unlike real life that I love it. It’s a snapshot into a time and life that I would never know even if I was able to time travel, I would still be the sucker that has to work…like Miss Embry the photographer in the movie.
    And here’s the tough part… number 6 - I feel the need to cheat the system. Anything by Hitchcock…I am stuck on North By Northwest, Rear Window, To Catch a Thief, Dial M for Murder, Rebecca, The Lady Vanishes…
    I guess I would have to draw straws for the last choice.

  18. ShannieP (8) said,

    May 31, 2007 at 7:30 pm

    siochembio said “I prefer to keep Casablanca as a seldom-sampled treat. And I adore the Hinds/Root version of Persuasion, but I’m careful not to watch it too much lest it lose its power for me.”

    I didn’t even realize until I was reading your list that I do that. I save certain movies too. How funny. Probably the movie that I think I love the most but watch the least is Bull Durham. I saw it at very critical time in my teenage years and it made such an imprint on me.

  19. ShannieP (8) said,

    May 31, 2007 at 7:38 pm

    I am a huge sucker for holiday movies- I can’t possibly include them in the main list. Holiday movies (and not just Christmas) have to have their own list…
    1. Christmas in Connecticut- I love Stanwyck!!
    2. White Christmas
    3. The Santa Clause
    4. Groundhog Day (this is where the non-Christmas movies starts and ends)
    5. A Christmas Story
    6. Miracle on 34th Street (not the remake)

    I think Christmas movies is why I love that time of the year, I don’t even mind the blizzard conditions when I can watch one of these.

    Watching your favorites is like catching up with an old friend!!

  20. joem18b (231) said,

    May 31, 2007 at 9:53 pm

    Hard for me to watch the ‘80 BBC version of P&P without taking at least a peek again at the ‘95 A&E version (but not the Keira Knightley version). There is also a ‘67 BBC version that I remember liking a lot but I don’t know if it’s available anywhere - it’s not in my library system, anyway. But here! What’s this? Pride and Prejudice, ‘03, starring Kam Heskin as Elizabeth Bennet. Modern-day version, on dvd at the library. Must put on hold…

    It wouldn’t be Christmas at my house without at least one viewing of Bad Santa.

  21. ShannieP (8) said,

    May 31, 2007 at 11:00 pm

    Oh to clarify the P & P that is my must see is the ‘95 one with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle…I think I saw the 80′ version once but it didn’t stick. I did just catch a version with Greer Garson from 1940, it’s okay but she was 36 when she played Elizabeth Bennett and it just didn’t work for me.

  22. Nyperold (116) said,

    June 1, 2007 at 12:54 pm

    Yeah, I agree with the “rather watch a new one” sentiment. Between the members of this household, I have access to enough to go for a while without rewatching any. I might rewatch a scene if the subject comes up and I want to make sure I got what was going on right, but not usually an entire movie.

  23. Ferrick (140) said,

    June 22, 2007 at 1:23 pm

    I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before but this seems like the right thread.

    I think that one of the things I’m looking forward to quite a bit is watching a lot of my favorite movies again with my son. As he gets older, I want to be there when he sees Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Great Escape. I want to see how his first reactions compare to how I remember seeing the movie for the first time.

    I also want to read the stories with him, if they were books first, before we watch the movies. That means it will probably be a long time before we watch Narnia, Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. But it will be worth it.

    And it will be interesting trying to figure out what versions of Star Wars to show him. I know I’ll start with IV-VI before I-III but do I show him the original version on VHS (or DVD if I have it by then) and then show him the edited DVD?

  24. Sam (405) said,

    June 22, 2007 at 4:15 pm

    Ferrick: I’m confused. Maybe I’m just mistaken, but I’m pretty sure there is only one version of each of the Star Wars films.

  25. Ferrick (140) said,

    June 25, 2007 at 11:00 am

    Sam: Is All Movie Talk on the payroll of George Lucas? Maybe I should say “Edit” instead of “Version,” eh?

  26. Jeffrey (84) said,

    June 25, 2007 at 12:44 pm

    Ferrick: If AMT is on the payroll of Lucas, then don’t mention the Holiday Special!

  27. Sam (405) said,

    June 26, 2007 at 10:29 am

    Ferrick: LOL. You totally misunderstand me. I’m trying to pretend that the Special Editions don’t exist, but you’ve provided me with no graceful and lucid way to continue my blissful self-delusion.

    I must now acknowledge that the Special Editions exist, and for that you are forever in my debt.

  28. Ferrick (140) said,

    June 26, 2007 at 2:16 pm

    Dagnabbit!! I forgot about that delusion. I only remembered that they skipped from Rocky IV to VI. I was under my own delusion.

  29. Gharlane (12) said,

    August 30, 2007 at 11:53 pm

    Well, better late than never! I won;t claim these as my absolute Top 6, but all of them are ones I’ve rewatched enough to know the dialogue.

    1 - Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Great dialogue that’s eminently quotable.

    2 - The Princess Bride. This one is just fun.

    3 - Casablanca. Great feel-good movie, with great characters and dialogue.

    4 - Plan 9 From Outer Space. One of my guilty pleasures; I just love this absolutely awful movie to bits.

    5 - Blazing Saddles. I like most of Mel Brooks’ earlier works (up to about Spaceballs) but this one is the one I watch the most (Young Frankenstein a close second.)

    6 - The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (This one would work for funny titles too.) Great cheesy fun.

    That’s a sampling; I seem to prefer things I can laugh at. :)

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