4 – KING KONG (1933)
You might think this an odd choice. A dated film with hammy acting, too much screaming and obvious models. And yes, it is a creaky old thing. But it contains more charm than any other film on this top ten, and it resonates with me to the point where my heart skips a beat whenever I see that old RKO ident heralding its start. Another film that pierced me when I first watched it as a (dinosaur-obsessed) child and it has stayed with me ever since, even though I now make tut-tut sounds when I see the Styracosaurus chowing down on some long pork.
Kong himself has real presence, thanks to Wills O’Brien’s special effects magic, and the chase to rescue Fay Wray on Skull Island is both grisly and truly thrilling. It’s a wonderful story with some amazing set pieces, and it’s better than you remember. A warning to the wise, however… steer clear of the sequel, Son of Kong, rushed out in the wake of this film’s staggering success.