Films that are generally well-liked that you reckon nobody would call 'their favourite film'

This came up on the music board about a month ago, and also came up in conversation I had with some friends today. Also inspired by one of my students saying that her favourite film is Basic Instinct, a film who, apart from that student, is surely nobody’s favourite.

The criteria, as per the title: films that are generally well-liked (so no notorious dreck) but you’d struggle to find find anyone who would say ‘yes, that’s my favourite film’. Not ‘one of my top 5’ or ‘I really like that movie’ but absolutely faves. number one.

No obscure stuff. I’m sure there are tiny films with a lot of acclaim that nobody would single out, but let’s keep this fairly mainstream

We found that certain types of films: ones aimed at children, pixar, Christmas movies and classic rom coms and comedies generally didn’t seem to fit, as there’s bound to be someone who loves them the most. same with horror, but maybe we just couldn’t think of good enough examples.

The best examples we came up with were:

Panic Room (my choice)

The Cider House Rules (my American colleague’s choice. I wasn’t sure it was generally ‘well-liked’ but they assured me it’s a really popular film in the US so I’ll take their word for it.)

Inside Man (my Canadian colleague’s choice. I reckon someone might have that in their top 5 but probably unlikely to have as their favourite)

Baz Luhmann’s version of ‘The Great Gatsby’ (my choice) - yeah a lot of people like that film and has the Leo GIF but surely nobody going in to bat for that as their all timer.

I suggested ‘Tin Cup’ by my friend said that his wife’s stepfather has that as his favourite film so that got ruled out.

My colleague suggested ‘Locke’ but I reckon it’s not well-known enough

All suggestions welcome. If we know someone who definitely has that as their favourite film then we can rule them out.


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The Men Who Stare At Goats

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Good shout! I’m not 100% sure how well-liked it is, but I think my friends would give it a pass!

Raising Arizona

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This is in my mate’s joint favourite. With Happy Gilmore.

I have a vague memory of somebody on here having ‘Raising Arizona’ as their favourite film. But I can’t remember who it was, or if it was their number one. So unless they raise their voice, I think it gets a pass!

Just remembered another one that came up earlier - Captain Phillips.

Oh, and on the subject of Paul Greengrass, would anyone call ‘United 93’ their favourite film?

Would anyone call either of those “well liked”?

Gone Girl and Revolutionary Road are nobody’s favourites. Even even people who like Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy don’t think it’s the best adaptation of that book, never mind their favourite film.

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I know the Academy doesn’t exactly count for shit but Captain Phillips was nominated for best picture and Greengrass was nominated for best director at the Oscars, so a lot of people had to like them at the time.

I know Oscars doesn’t always equal quality or popularity, but I agree, neither of them are exactly raved about now so you have a point.

Gone Girl, Revolutionary Road and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy are all good shouts. I wonder if anyone who has seen Let The Right One In, Tinker Tailor… and The Snowman (I know he has others but these are the big ones) would rank Tom Alfredson’s films anything other than in that order.

The Post, Bridge of Spies, all that prestige bollocks


Very very popular with the sixth form lit crowd. I’m sure at least one year twelve in my class has said it was their favourite film.


I used to know a guy at uni who once, completely sincerely, offered the line: “well there’s no such thing as the perfect film, except The Fifth Element of course”

So my suggestion is not The Fifth Element.

I’ll chalk that one off!


Maybe one of those 7/10 films on Netflix like Game Night or something


Most Tom Hanks films, right?


You fucking what!?


Didn’t realise it was your favourite film!

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Castaway, for sure

In fairness, it isn’t my favourite film.

The Darjeeling Limited

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