Fire up your Netflix queue. The blog Chewing Pixels has compiled a list of all the films ever given four stars by the vaunted Halliwell’s Film Guides. According to Chewing Pixels:
By Halliwell’s standard, all films by default receive a zero star rating. Only exceptionally interesting and important films manage to receive a one or two star rating with a tiny handful (just over 1%) of the 23,000-odd films covered receiving the maximum recommendation of Four Stars.
Interestingly, as one can see by visiting the Amazon pages for the Guide’s 2006 and 2007 editions, Halliwell’s, once considered the gold standard of film guides, has fallen out of favor with some cinephiles since the death of Leslie Halliwell in 1989. The user reviews on the Amazon pages discuss how, in recent editions, new editor John Walker has “tampered” with Halliwell’s ratings, removing and adding stars in reviews for various films. Meanwhile, the ratings of films since 1989 are objects of scorn. An example: “Virtually every entry is vastly over-rated, with no glimmer of thought behind the utterly one-dimensional wording. Every dumb-ass movie, all those passing fads of the last 15 years has been evaluated & given merit way beyond their value.”
Nonetheless, for a lover of lists (or movies), the Halliwell’s four-star films are worth a look.