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Best Movies of 2015

March 6, 2016

While most critics have already announced this list months ago, my delayed announcement is due to the fact that I have the advantage of spreading out my movie-viewing schedule in the first few months of the beginning of the following calendar year. This includes the best movies of the previous year which were mostly released in December to qualify for the grand awards season.

My merit system is different. Instead of guaranteeing a winner in each category, I only give praise to those who truly deserve it. Some categories have ties.

As opposed to a limited list (like five or ten), the films of 2015 are rated using the Olympic medal systems, depending on how much I liked them.

For the list below, the movies in each category are listed in the chronological order in which I saw them:



Best Movies


Gold Medals




Silver Medals


Phoenix  (Germany)  *

Grandma  (US Indie) **, ***

Room  (Canada / Ireland)

The Danish Girl  (UK)  **

Mustang  (Turkey)  ***


Bronze Medals


Gett: The Trial of Vivan Amsalem  (Israel)

Inside Out (US/Hollywood – Animated)  ***

Amy  (UK – Documentary)

Jafar Pahahi’s Taxi  (Iran)

Al Purdy Was Here  (Canada – Documentary)

Anomalisa  (US Indie – Animated)


*: Holocaust-related

**: LGBT content

***: Female Focused Films


Best Film Achievements



Christian Petzold  (Phoenix)

Lenny Abrahamson  (Room)



Deniz Gamze Erguven and Alice Winocour  (Mustang)



Nina Hoss  (Phoenix)

Lily Tomlin  (Grandma)

Eddie Redmayne  (The Danish Girl)

Charlotte Rampling  (45 Years – UK)


Visual Effects and Set Design

Jurassic World  (US/Hollywood)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens  (US/Hollywood)


Reviews for “Mustang” and “Anamolisa” will appear in the next blog entry.

If I had to choose an overall best picture, it would be “Phoenix”.


Great Old Movies Seen for the First Time in 2015


Common Wealth  (1997 – Spain)

There’s Always Tomorrow  (1955 – USA)

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie  (1969 – UK)

The Organizer  (1963 – Italy)

Murder on the Orient Express  (1974 – UK)


Great Old Movies Seen Again in 2015


Double Indemnity  (1944 – USA)

The Sound of Music  (1965 – USA)

Ma Vie en Rose  (1997 – Belgium)  **

Bicycle Thieves  (1949 – Italy)

Fiddler on the Roof  (1971 – USA)

Les Ordres  (1974 – Canada/Quebec)

A Streetcar Named Desire  (1951 – USA)

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington  (1939 – USA)

On the Waterfront  (1954 – USA)

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof  (1958 – USA)


Happy movie-going for the rest of 2016.


Dennis Bowman




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