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Choose the Best Movie of All Time: Results

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Mockingbird or Liberty Valance?

Poll ended at January 5th, 2008, 10:35 am

Liberty Valance
Total votes: 25

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Choose the Best Movie of All Time: Results

Postby cinemalover » December 31st, 2007, 10:35 am

Well, we started with close to 400 films being nominated. We limited those to the grand 64 to begin the competition. It took five rounds to get us here and I never would have correctly been able to guess which two films would have survived. I want to deeply thank all who participated, it has been an entertaining and educating endeavor for me. After we crown the Champion for the year of 2007 I will take a few weeks off from this process and then start a genre competition for as many different genres as we as a community feel like engaging in (one at a time, of course). I'm thinking a smaller scale, perhaps everyone submits their top ten films from a particular genre and we start the competition with the top 16 overall films in that genre. The idea is still formulating, so I'm open to some suggestion. And, if fate allows and we are all here and healthy next year, I would like to repeat this grand experiment next November to crown the 2008 Champion.

But enough of all that. We are here to crown a Champion. In this thread YOU must choose between To Kill a Mockingbird and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

I am going to ask that everyone that votes show these films the respect they have earned by please posting some of your thoughts on the film, or why you chose one over the other. All members are encouraged to vote, whether you have been part of the process up until now or not.

Happy voting and the happiest of New Year's. Please don't drink and vote, it could be hazardous to the health of one of these films! This poll closes at 11:59pm (Pacific) on Friday, January 4, 2008.

The only bad movie is no movie at all.

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Postby SSO Admins » December 31st, 2007, 11:22 am

I think this will be close to a sweep. Mockingbird is simply a great film and never fails to move anyone who watches it. If it had been up against The Searchers in this round, it might have been closer.

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Postby Hollis » December 31st, 2007, 11:29 am

Good morning and Happy New Year to all...

Even though I don't stand 6'6" and can't jump, This should be pretty much a "slam dunk" wouldn't you think? Come on "Scouts," get out and vote your conscience! Boo! (Wrong holiday?)

As an aside, it may be some time before I'm able to participate in this or any other forum. The condition of my spine seems to be rapidly deteriorating and maintaining even part time employment within Uncle Sam's guidelines is becoming more and more difficult to do. Since my money tree withered last year, harvesting a crop from it is nigh on to impossible. I imagine that at some point in the near future, I'll have to terminate my ISP connection in a cost cutting measure. Little else has pleased me as much over the last year and a half as my involvement with SSO. I've learned so much from you folks that it's hard to thank you adequately. Suffice to say that I value the relationships we've established and think of each of you as part of my extended, if not nuclear, family. I can only hope that at some point in the future I'll be able to reestablish the relationships I've grown so fond of. Besides, if you give up hope, you may as well just give up! Thanks again for all your kindness and for putting up with and enlightening me. Don't ever think it hasn't been appreciated! Like the man once said, "Save me the aisle seat!" With all my gratitude, I remain,

And as always,


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Postby cinemalover » December 31st, 2007, 12:17 pm

I hope the New Year brings you better fortune. If the community were to lose your participation we would be that much poorer for it. I hope things work out to allow to stick around. Either way, enjoy that new 37" screen you've got!

The only bad movie is no movie at all.

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Postby mrsl » December 31st, 2007, 1:01 pm

Since my reason for voting for this movie against any other are printed in the comments of Round 5, the reasoning behind my choice remains the same. I truly believe Mockingbird is THE best movie ever made, for its' acting, direction, storyline, camera work, etc. It far surpasses Citizen Kane or any other movie I've seen, or heard of, primarily due to moral beliefs and simply my own personal preferences.


* * * * * * * * What is past is prologue. * * * * * * * *



Postby jdb1 » December 31st, 2007, 2:43 pm

OK - I did it, even though I thought about abstaining.

I voted for Mockingbird not because I think it's the greatest of all time, but because I think it's one of the best, if not the best, translations of book to screen.

It's obvious there are a lot of enthusiasts for both films here but, while not hating either one, I feel disappointed in the final choice.

Oh well. Tomorrow is another day, after all.

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Postby Moraldo Rubini » December 31st, 2007, 2:47 pm

I too was surprised that it came down to these two. But I do love Mockingbird. I loved the book, I love the movie. It transports me to another time and place. And I wish we had more Atticuses in the world today. What a fine cast. And this will make a nice tribute to Alice Ghostley, who passed away a few months ago.

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Postby Lzcutter » December 31st, 2007, 2:51 pm

They are both stories of memory, a longing for a time and place that no longer exists. Both are about looking back in time in search of truths and reasons for choices made. Both are about the difference between myth and truth.

While Mockingbird is told through the eyes of Scout, particularly, and Jem, the story is narrated by the adult Scout looking back on the year and a half that had a profound impact upon her life.

Liberty Valance is told through Hallie's eyes though it is Ranse who is doing the remembering. Hallie has returned to Shinbone, perhaps, to find the moment she made the decisions that changed not only hers but Tom's and Ranse's lives forever and come to peace with those decisions.

"There's a maniac lives there and he's dangerous" Aunt Stephanie tells Dill.
The stories the children have heard about Boo allows them to equate him with the unseen bogeyman. "I was standing in my yard one day when his Mama come out yelling, 'He's killin' us all.' Aunt Stephanie continues.

Boo was kept in the basement where according to Jem he was forced to live on squirrels and his teeth became rotted.

Throughout Mockingbird the spirit of the unseen Boo Radley hangs heavy in the air and we the viewer are not sure just what kind of character Boo Radley is.

Liberty Valance is the bogey man brought to life. A sadistic killer who takes pleasure in lording his power over others and inflicting pain.

In Mockingbird we learn the difference between myth and truth with the reveal of Boo Radley. Granted, he left treasures for the children in the hollow of the tree and he patched up Jem's torn pants, but the children until the end, prefer to believe the myth of Boo rather than the reality. It is only when Miss Jean Louise realizes that Mr. Arthur Radley has saved their lives does that myth of Boo finally die.

Liberty Valance shows us what happens when the myth takes one a life of its own. Ranse Stoddard rode to the halls of Congress, the White House and the Court of St. James propelled by being the man who shot Liberty Valance while the man who did the actually killing died alone and in obscurity, forgotten by everyone except Linc, Hallie and Pompey.

Both movies have film scores that can make me cry at the first few notes (though Mockingbird's entire score does that to me).

Both were shot in black and white for a variety of reasons, economics being one of them. But the choice works for both films because they are both memory plays.

Both have their centers men who are willing to stand up for what is right. Atticus stands up for Tom Robinson and that decision propels the story forward and ultimately endangers his family, the one thing he cares the most about.

Tom Doniphan is willing to stand up to Liberty Valance because he is the only one that demands (and gets) Valance's respect, begrudging though it may be. Valance knows he is no match for Doniphan. Tom's decision to save Ranse Stoddard destroys him and any hope for a life and family with Hallie.

Both movies tell us a great deal about us a society. The western frontier in its waning days as civilization is quickly approaching, where law and order will ultimately come quicker, brought no doubt, by the man credited with killing Liberty Valance.

The deep South in the throes of the Depression, entailments and Jim Crowe where everyone is poor and barely getting by but ruled by a caste system that allows an innocent man to be railroaded.

I love them both. But Mockingbird gets my vote because it reaches me on a deeper level than Liberty Valance. The story of Atticus, his relationship with his children and his community, is the person we all strife to be. Though we are likely never to reach those heights, he serves to remind us that standing up for what we believe in and for what we feel is right doesn't need to come with grand gestures and speeches. It is there in the everyday choices we make throughout our lives.

He reminds us of what is good in all of us. The scene where he leaves the courtroom, "Stand up Miss Jean Louise, your daddy's passing" is one of the most memorable, emotional moments captured on film and Sam Jackson is right, there is never a dry eye in the house, be it a movie theater, an apartment or a mansion, when that scene plays out.

The other where Atticus is talking with Scout about what happened on the walk home and she is confused about some of the details until she sees the man standing in the shadow of the doorway.

"Why there he is, Mr. Tate. He can tell you his name"
"Miss Jean Louise, Mr. Arthur Radley. I believe he already knows you".

The look of discovery on Scout's face as she comes face to face with her bogeyman turned protector is another great moment in cinema as we all come to realize that sometimes the bogeyman is nothing more than our imaginations run amok.

The film binds us together and prompts us all to listen to the better angels of our nature and for that (and much more) it gets my vote.
Last edited by Lzcutter on December 31st, 2007, 4:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby cinemalover » December 31st, 2007, 4:04 pm

Well, here I am, standing alone on Liberty Valance island. The view's fine, but there's no one to talk to. The seagulls are doing disturbing things to my lawn chair and they won't leave my tortilla chips alone.

Both of these films have many fine points, Lynn did an outstanding job of summarizing them. For me, it comes down to which film calls out to me more often. I feel the need to re-visit Liberty on a more regular basis than I feel compelled to return to Mockingbird. That's it, no profound reasons other than if I had to choose which one I'd rather spend an afternoon with, Liberty would be my choice.

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Postby melwalton » December 31st, 2007, 6:16 pm

Sorry to hear about your health trouble. You mentioned Uncle Sam. Did you work for the government? Or the military? Reason I asked, you may be eligible for a gov pension.

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Postby movieman1957 » December 31st, 2007, 8:50 pm


Best wishes on your health and financial situations. You have added so much to our discussions here. We hope the new year brings good news and you find your way back to us. But until that time comes.......

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."

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Postby CharlieT » January 1st, 2008, 12:47 am

Mockingbird was number one on my original list and will probably remain there as long as I watch movies. I saw it as a 12 year old in one of the local theaters and it was my introduction to adult movies (no, not that kind - the ones that are made to entertain through a well-thought-out plot, good characterizations and subtle cinematic techinques.) I will always think of Gregory Peck's portrayal of Atticus Finch as the finest film performance ever.

I've always enjoyed Liberty Valance, but it was out of its weight class this time. Many fine films went down to defeat during this contest, but I think that the final result will bear out what I believe to be the true winner. A certain number will disagree, but that's what makes horse races.

Maybe when we finish the genre contests, the winners can take on each other for a type of "best in show" winner.
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Postby Bogie » January 1st, 2008, 3:37 am

I voted for Liberty Valance. I think the whole theme of the legend being stronger then the truth is a great one and knowing how today we often tear down our idols of the past and even some of the present the meaning of this movie needs to be heard loud and clear.

I"m not saying the race issue isn't as important but it's also fraught with difficulties and I echo the sentiments of Atticus Finch I just think that Valance has a lot more going for it directorally, tone wise and acting wise.

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Postby sandykaypax » January 1st, 2008, 3:05 pm

My vote goes to Mockingbird. I agree with Judith that it is one of the finest adaptations of book to film. I love both.

Tough choice. As a huge Stewart fan, this was really tough.

Sandy K

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