2. King Kong – King Kong
You can take your pick between the sensational original and Peter Jackson’s slightly bloated but nonetheless impressive remake. What you can’t do is go with any other big screen version – they are universally terrible. Kong is a pre-historic leftover – enormous, powerful, dignified and alone.
Much as he makes pretty short work of dinosaurs and island invaders, his tenderness towards Ann Darrow show that he is capable of gentleness and it is this contrast and tension that gives the films and their titular protagonist their enduring appeal.
That Willis O’Brien (who inspired Ray Harryhausen, who inspired Jackson) was able to create so real and affecting a character with a wire frame and some fairly rancid fur stands as testimony to his enduring skill. Jackson’s Kong is beautifully rendered too, but with all of the tools at his disposal it is as unfair a contest as Kong vs a T-Rex.