MGM filed bankruptcy: What are your five favorite MGM movies?

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to everyone that MGM finally filed Chapter 11 yesterday after all the money troubles the studio has been in. Back in July, I lamented about the next 007 film being canceled as a result of MGM’s financial woes. According to The Wrap, last week MGM’s creditors approved a plan to waive its $4 billion debt in exchange for large ownership stakes in the once-mighty studio. After the plan is approved by the court, MGM will be run by Spyglass Entertainment.

Coincidentally, just a couple of days ago I saw a roadblock skin advertising on IMDb about TCM’s Moguls and Movie Stars series that is currently running. As you probably know, Turner Classics Movies cable channel is owned by Turner Broadcasting System, which also owns the MGM library. The History of Hollywood program is an original, seven-part documentary that marks the channel’s most ambitious project to date and the most comprehensive chronicle of the birth and dramatic growth of American movies ever produced for television. I wish I had cable as it’d be so fascinating to watch the stories behind Hollywood’s power elite and all the drama behind the scenes that surely rival whatever they’re putting up on screen.

MGM was no doubt one of the most powerful Hollywood studios in its day, and it’s also got one of the most iconic logos of Leo the Lion. When I was a kid I used to love seeing Leo roars before a movie started, surrounded by a ring of film reels with the studio’s motto Ars Gratia Artis, a Latin terms which means arts for art’s sake (per Wiki). It evokes the grandeur and glamour of Hollywood’s golden age, though perhaps not as fresh and edgy as some newer studio logos such as Focus Features, Pixar or Lionsgate.

The studio has released hundreds of movies since its inception in 1924, though it never quite reclaim its glory and box office prowess it had in the 30s. Many of their movies remain beloved classics to this day, such as 12 Angry Men, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Ben-Hur, Doctor Zhivago, Gone with the Wind, North By Northwest, Singing in the Rain, West Side Story, and of course, those James Bond movies.

If I have to list my top five favorite MGM movies, I’d probably go with this:

  • Ben-Hur
  • Casino Royale
  • Gone with the Wind
  • Return to Me
  • The Living Daylights

You can see all of MGM movies either on their official site or on Wikipedia. Now tell me what are your top five favorite MGM movies?

32 thoughts on “MGM filed bankruptcy: What are your five favorite MGM movies?

  1. PrairieGirl

    I like your list, and I also like Gaslight, The Picture of Dorian Gray, North by Northwest, Pennies from Heaven, Moonstruck and yes, I’m coming out of the closet: Legally Blond!

    1. I’ve been wanting to see NbN forever… it’s in my Netflix queue right now. What year is the Dorian Gray movie and who’s in it? The latest adaptation wasn’t very good I heard, though I’m still curious to see it because of Colin Firth and Ben Barnes (as Dorian). Oh yeah, Legally Blond is fun, didn’t think I’d like it but it was enjoyable.

      1. PrairieGirl

        Very glad your gonna see NBN! Oh, the Dorian Gray I like is the 1945 classic. Never paid too much attention to the actors in it, it was the story I was interested in. Turned out to be a very good film.

  2. Ted S.

    I’m still surprise that Sony didn’t buy them out, they bought the rights to distribute the previous two Bond films but somehow couldn’t hang on to it. I assume MGM just wanted more cash from them.

    As for my favorite movies from this studio? I guess I’ll go with Rocky 2, License To Kill, For Your Eyes Only and Eastwood’s The Man with No Name trilogy.

    They were one of the many studios to have turned down George Lucas when he pitched them Star Wars. I’m sure they’re still kicking themselves for that.

    1. That’s possible, or maybe Sony retracted the offer for whatever reason. Hey, speaking of License to Kill, I just got that from Blu-ray and started watching bits and pieces of it. Dalton is just an awesome Bond all around. I do like For Your Eyes Only though Roger looked like he could barely run in that one πŸ™‚

      Oh boy, they must’ve been kicking themselves for turning down SW for sure. But then again, back then who knew they’d be so darn successful?

    1. Yeah, I’m surprised to see they only have a handful of major hits… a lot of the big ones were in the 20s and 30s and only a classics movie buff would even know what they are.

  3. DOCTOR ZHIVAGO was actually shot a great deal in my homeland of Vojvodina πŸ™‚ It was a huge shooting. Since they were shooting out of season they planted thousands and thousands of daffodils in the fertile plains of Vojvodina for one of the legendary scenes which required those flowers.

    When it comes to MGM, I must admit I don’t differentiate films based on studios πŸ™‚ so I wouldn’t know what to say on MGM’s best films.

    1. That’s a cool tidbit Dez, too bad you weren’t born when they made that huh?

      Well, I don’t expect you to remember all the movies from one studio Dez, that’s why I have the link to Wiki and their site πŸ˜‰ Yeah, I normally don’t pay attention to that either, I just notice the director and actors, and sometimes the screenwriter.

  4. Yolanda-Anne

    This blew my mind so much. If I had to pick a Top 5:

    1) Gone with The Wind
    2) Ben Hur
    3) ALL OF THE BOND MOVIES (Can’t help it, cause I love them all!)
    4) Their cartoons. Especially Tom and Jerry
    5) Moonstruck.

    1. Hi Yolanda, nice picks! We definitely agree on your first 2! I know you said you love them all but if you must try to list your top 3 Bond movies, what would they be?? πŸ™‚

  5. This is a sad News. MGM has made great movies.

    Here are my top 4
    Poltergeist
    1408
    Species
    Premonition

    Rereading my list, I realize that I’m such a horror freak πŸ˜‰

    1. Ha..ha.. you do love your horror flicks Nov, Poltergeist is one of the most terrifying flicks ever. Is Premonition the one with Sandra Bullock? Haven’t seen that one, but I heard that Gerry Butler turned down a role in that movie that went to Julian McMahon.

      1. Yes Poltergeist is one of the scariest movies. I rarely got scared watching Hollywood horror flicks but this one really makes me ‘merinding’

        Yup it’s Sandy’s movie. I wish it was Gerald..II don’t really like Julian. I like the story a lot, moving back and forth and keep us thinking what actually happens there.

        1. Ha..ha… funny how you use ‘Indo-English’ like I sometimes do. Those non-Indonesian speaking, ‘merinding’ means shudder or shiver πŸ™‚

          Nov, it’s GeraRd. He..he.. I’d probably watch it if it were him, but he said he turned it down because he didn’t like the script.

          1. Thanks for the translation πŸ˜‰

            Ups…sorry…I kept forgetting that Gerard use R instead of L πŸ™‚ … Too bad he didn’t like it, I think the script is quite good

  6. Corinne

    I’m with DEZMOND, I don’t differentiate films based on studios either. Some of my favorite films are:
    Sunset Boulevard
    Long Day’s Journey into Night
    Jaws
    Little Foxes
    Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf
    Repulsion
    I’m sort of sick I guess, I like movies that are about major family disfunction.

    1. I don’t usually either Corinne, just on special occasions like this one. Funny you mention JAWS, I just read a really funny review over at http://ctcmr.com/ yesterday. You should check it out. I haven’t seen the rest on your list but the only one I’m interested in is Sunset Boulevard.

  7. Oh, shoot! I forgot I was going to post about this too. Check for it in a little bit.

    (PS: North by Northwest is LOADS better than To Catch a Thief. I didn’t like that one much either.)

    1. Hey cool, I just saw the pingback, thanks again for the shout-out. Well good to hear NBN is better than TCAT. It just didn’t wow me though Grace Kelly’s beauty was breathtaking… I mean, she is almost TOO beautiful. But I found the whole thing kinda tedious.

  8. Pingback: A Farewell « Banana Oil

  9. I was saddened to see MGM’s bankruptcy. But it was inevitable. It’s too bad that they continued to refuse Lionsgate’s offers. That wouldn’t have been so bad. I loved the tribute you pay to MGM here. My top 5 MGM films? Hmm….perhaps these (not in any particular order):

    12 Angry Men
    Fiddler on the Roof
    The Great Escape
    Ben Hur
    Casino Royale
    Ronin
    Rocky IV
    Goldeneye
    Three Amigos

    (Sorry, couldn’t stick to just FIVE!) πŸ™‚

    1. I didn’t know about the Lionsgate offers, where did you find that article?

      Hey, not a problem… five was just something to start with. Looks like we agree on a few of them. I have 12 Angry Men at home actually, part of a law-related movies box set from my company’s product launch earlier this year. I really should watch that one soon.

  10. Pingback: Bankruptcy Top Stories Tomorrow » Blog Archive » MGM filed bankruptcy: What are your five favorite MGM movies …

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