While I have a standard answer (#1 on this list), I wish that people would be both more specific and more general. What I mean is, let me name a number of films, and give me some caveats.
What were your favorite films from last year?
What are some of your favorite action movies?
What are some movies that you know aren't that great but love to watch anyway?
What are some of your favorite older movies?
That said, I'm still presenting this list to you. I figure it's a good way to give you a sense of my taste.
I could go on for pages and pages about these films, but that would be too easy for me and too difficult for you. Instead, I'm providing five concise sentences that will hopefully give you some sense of why I like these movies so much.
(The "ranking" is arbitrary, except for the #1 spot. And even then, it's only so I'll have a pat answer.)
#5: Monty Python & the Holy Grail
*It has jokes about the feudal system AND jokes about whether or not a man’s arm has in fact been cut off.
*Every single scene has at least two great quotable lines.
*It’s practically impossible to explain the jokes to people without them seeing it for themselves.
*Pretty much everyone plays multiple characters.
*There’s a running gag that involves cat abuse going occurring the background of scenes.
#4: The Princess Bride
*Kids might like it, but it’s much funnier to adults.
*It’s both goofy and incredibly sweet.
*Despite the material, everyone is incredibly earnest with their performance.
*The fact that it’s all a story a grandfather is telling to his grandson reminds me of the pure joy you can get from sharing a great story with someone.
*It might sound crazy to say that it’s about true love, but is love really any less crazy?
#3: The Silence of the Lambs
*The IDEA of Hannibal Lector is almost scarier than the actual being.
*Clarice and Hannibal have an incredible relationship that, while not sexual in any way, is romantic in a sense.
*They deal with the fact that Clarice is a woman but don’t make that the most interesting thing about her.
*The moment where Lector’s finger brushes Clarice’s has more kinetic energy than a thousand sex scenes ever could.
*It basically has TWO climaxes, and both are EXTREMELY tense.#2: Rain Man
*While Dustin Hoffman’s performance is great, Tom Cruise’s might be better.
*It has a realistic ending that's optimistic but not exactly happy.
*Their best bonding moment comes to an abrupt halt due to Charlie lovingly touching Raymond and him reacting badly, and I can just FEEL the pain it causes Charlie.
*Though I often laugh at the things Raymond says or does, the film never allows me to laugh AT him.
*I feel that I get to know Raymond as a real person.
#1: The Shawshank Redemption
*It’s a story about undying hope.
*My friend had already told me the entire plot before I saw it, and yet I was still riveted.
*Each time I see it, I alternate between thinking it’s Andy’s story and thinking it’s Red’s story.
*Of all the Morgan Freeman narration out there, this is the best.
*The “big reveal” makes me happy every single time.