John’s Five All-Time Favorite Movies

What John's Up To

John’s Five All-Time Favorite Movies

Feb 25, 2023

In addition to being an avid reader, I also love movies, television, podcasts, and listening to music. I have always believed that consuming these forms of entertainment can teach us so much about life, ourselves, and the world. Everyone loves a good story, and there is always a lesson to take away from it.

When it comes to movies, I have watched so many films in varying genres that I have enjoyed immensely. But, if I had to recommend my five all-time favorite movies, here’s the list:

Lonesome Dove

This western-style film was released as a mini-series, but I think it falls into the movie category. I loved the book by Larry McMurtry that the movie was based on too. It’s such a great story! Most of it was shot in Texas and as a native Texan who still lives in Austin, it makes me love it even more. I think that the main characters (Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones) both had their finest acting performances in this movie. Some credit Lonesome Dove for reviving the western television genre.

Out of Africa 

This won the Oscar for best picture when it came out in 1985. It is based on the autobiographical book by Karen Blixen. She is played magnificently by Meryl Streep—the greatest actress of her generation in my opinion. Redford played the other lead and I think it was his best overall role of his illustrious career. I love this movie because it was a wonderful, romantic epic about a certain period in Blixen’s life when she emigrated from Denmark to Kenya at age of 28. She married a Swedish Baron and settled into a new life in Kenya operating a coffee plantation. Her husband proved to be a philanderer, which led Blixen to separate from him and date Denys Finch Hatton, a big-game hunter played by Redford. It’s a really good story and the soundtrack by John Barry is truly magnificent. This is my favorite movie soundtrack of all time!

Dr. Zhivago

This movie came out in 1965 and won 5 Oscars but lost out for Best Picture to The Sound of Music. Like Out of Africa, this movie is another long, romantic epic that takes place just before and during the Russian Revolution. Zhivago is played by Omar Sharif and his great love, Lara, is played by Julie Christie. Zhivago is both a medical doctor and a poet and is an amazing character. I first saw this movie in my youth and the romanticism of Dr. Zhivago strongly appealed to me. The soundtrack is also amazing.

About Time

Released in 2013, this is my favorite romantic comedy of all time. The basic plot is about a young man (Domhnall Gleeson) who can travel backward in time in his own life. He is able to change his past and he does so with the hope that it will also improve his future. It usually does, but if it doesn’t, then he can always try again until he gets it right. Practice makes perfect, right? The movie has a much deeper philosophy behind it about how we should live our normal lives—more consciously and with more love. Rachel McAdams is delightful as the great love of his life, and Bill Nighy is his father. He pretty much stole the show with his wit and charm. I think I’ve seen this movie 7 or 8 times now and I have loved it every time. It never gets old!


This is a documentary by Ken Burns. I’ve watched a number of Burns’ documentaries and they have all made my world bigger. Baseball was released in 1994 and is 18.5 hours long. I love baseball, I love history, and I love documentaries, so this documentary is right up my alley.

I especially loved the pictures and early films with Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Christy Matthewson, Walter Johnson, and all of the greatest players in history. The film also covers the Negro Leagues and his portrayal of Jackie Robinson is priceless and inspiring. After watching this film, you’re guaranteed to understand American history better since baseball has been with us for almost 200 years now.

I love all of these movies so much and they have all impacted me in their own unique way. I hope you find the opportunity to watch and enjoy them as much as I do!