Bob Thomas: Here are the best movies and actors from decades of filmmaking

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“Method acting? My method involves a lot of talent, a glass and some cracked ice.” — John Barrymore

The following are my choices based on decades of seeing movies evolve from nothing through the eras of fair acting, good acting, great acting, and on to our present levels of method acting.

My nominations for the 10 greatest movies are: 1) “Gone with the Wind,” 2) “Cleopatra” — 1950s version, 3) “Ben Hur,” — 1950s version, 4) “Citizen Kane,” 5) “The Blue Max,” 6) “Dr. Zhivago,” 7) “Robin Hood” — 1939 version, 8) “Titanic” — 1990s version, 9) “My Fair Lady” — 1980s version, 10) “Mutiny on the Bounty” — 1930s version.

My 10 personal favorites are: 1) “The Blue Max,” 2) “Robin Hood,” 3) “Aladdin” — 1939 version, 4) “The Robe,” 5) “Lonesome Dove,” 6) “The Searchers,” 7) “The Best Years of Our Lives,” 8) “Captains Courageous,” 9) “Gone with the Wind,” 10) “The Guns of Navarone.”

My nomination for the 10 best actors are: 1) Rod Steiger — incredibly great actor, 2) Errol Flynn — a great natural, 3) Lawrence Olivier — the best heavy, 4) Cary Grant — he’s got it all, 5) Orson Welles — a great heavy, 6) Peter O’Toole — another super-heavy, 7) Spencer Tracy — his repertoire is unsurpassed, 8) Rex Harrison — underrated greatness, 9) Michael Caine — another underrated great who in the two-man movie “The Sleuth” gave Olivier all he could handle, 10) Charles Laughton — the world-champion curmudgeon and a superb actor.

My nomination for the 10 best actresses are: 1) Loretta Young — she’s in a class by herself, 2) Maureen O’Hara — perhaps the most beautiful of the great ones, 3) Kathryn Hepburn — she makes her roles come alive, 4) Bette Davis — hard to look at but a superb actress, 5) Vivian Leigh — great actress and quite attractive, 6) Kathy Bates — she becomes the part she plays, 7) Meryl Streep — I detest this woman on a personal level but she is the best of today’s actresses, 8) Jody Foster — another in-depth perfectionist who plays parts others won’t touch, 9) Audrey Hepburn — greatness with a special gift for comedy, 10) Joan Fontaine — another British triumph, an excellent actress in all categories.

My nomination for the 10 most glamorous box-office stars are: 1) Hedy Lamar — the most beautiful of all and a decent actress. 2) Marilyn Monroe — probably the best combination of glamour and sex, 3) Loretta Young — great wholesome beauty and a great actress. 4) Rita Hayworth — very sexy and a terrific dancer, 5) Betty Grable — the most perfect body God ever gave any woman, 6) Elizabeth Taylor — wholesome, natural beauty and a superb actress, 7) Audrey Hepburn — facial beauty and a great actress, 8) Ginger Rogers — super dancer, very attractive, 9) Gene Tierney — glamorous and a fine actress, 10) Jean Harlow — 1930s’ top glamour girl.

There are no glamorous actresses in today’s movies. Many are attractive in a made-over sort of way but are not naturally glamorous.

My nomination for the 10 most popular male box-office stars are: 1) Errol Flynn, 2) Clark Gable, 3) Cary Grant, 4) Tyrone Power, 5) John Wayne, 6) Gary Cooper, 7) Marlon Brando, 8) Leonardo DiCaprio, 9) Sean Connery, 10) Brad Pitt. All had (have) fabulous box-office success.

Note that nine of my 10 best movies have zero computer imaging. “Titanic” is the exception. The other nine are the real thing, which is one big reason they are great — no gimmicks. In “Gone with the Wind,” an actual full-scale replica of 1850s Atlanta was built and completely burned. The cameras had only one chance to film it. Had the cameras or the film failed, the entire movie would have been bankrupt.

Bob Thomas is a retired high-tech industrialist who served on the Carson City School Board, the Nevada Welfare Board and the Carson City Airport Authority and as a three-term Assemblyman. His book website is


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