Recently a colleague and I were discussing favourite movies. I said mine was The Wizard of Oz and he nominated Citizen Kane.
There, is, of course, no accounting for taste but I couldn't help wondering if we were talking at cross-purposes. It seemed like, perhaps, he was taking the question as "What is the best movie ever?" while I was. specifically, asking about his favourite movie.
I am happy to concede that Kane is the greater artistic achievement and don't doubt it could well be people's favourite film: it's brilliantly made, full of memorable moments, highly rewatchable and raises significant questions. It's a great movie, even if its 50-year run on the top of the Sight & Sound critics' poll was ended last year when Vertigo emerged victorious (Kane was second).
Of the ones near the top of that list, the ones I've seen are certainly all admirable, artistically and historically significant, presumably the sort of criteria for "best".. But Kane and most of the other Sight & Sound picks wouldn't be quite so high on my list of favourites - the movies I like because I like them, rather than simply admiring them.
From that list, a few thoughts: 2001 is technically amazing but isn't my favourite Stanley Kubrick film (I'd probably go for Dr Strangelove) and regarding John Ford, I have a soft spot for The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance over The Searchers.
Vertigo is one of my favourite Hitchcocks along with North by Northwest, Psycho, and Rear Window. And I like Frenzy more than I probably should, despite (or maybe becayse of) its disturbing elements. But Apocalypse Now over The Godfather? No way (the former goes downhill as soon as soon as Brando appears).
While I admire Eight and a Half, it's not the Fellini film I like most: La Strada is far more emotionally appealing.
Taxi Driver is the highest placed Martin Scorsese film on the S&S list but while I admire it and many of his other films, my favourite of his is probably The Departed. It's probably a bit pulpy but I don't care.
Some well-known popular films would be on my favourites list - the original Star Wars (not the special edition, thank you), Casablanca, It's a Wonderful Life. Call me nostalgic, call me middlebrow (or worse) - but these are among the ones I love.
One of my favourites is Bad Company (1972) - which - to my joy - received a rather opportunistic DVD release at the same time as another, more recent and very different film of the same title.
This unconventional Western about a gang of young men heading west to avoid the draft during the US Civil War is one I saw when young. I was glad that it still held up well.
It was an early film for Jeff Bridges. He would later appear with co-star David Huddleston in a rather different film, The Big Lebowski, a cult classic, though my favourite Coen brothers films is probably Hail, Caesar! (Fargo runs it close).
Everyone has their opinions, of course, and it's always interesting to hear what others think, and why.
And, as I say, favourite films are not necessarily the same as the best. We love what we love.