'Crash' Yes, the polarizing "Crash" is my favorite movie of all time. Many people find the film contrite, heavy-handed and preachy; I find it to be the most beautifully emotional film in years. By no means is "Crash" perfect, but just because it doesn't star Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh doesn't mean that it can't be a masterpiece. The scene that stole my heart? Michael Peña with his daughter! Shaun Toub's Iranian with that gun! My unending tears! But ultimately, what makes "Crash" remarkable is the way in which its transcendent themes of racism, xenophobia, fate and the relationship between good and evil become imprinted within the soul. For me, a movie that makes me analyze my life, and doesn't simply end after the credits, makes for an unforgettable film. Alex Q. Smith, 17
'Lawrence of Arabia'Often called an epic, to me it is a character piece. The shots of the white robes and blue eyes of Peter O'Toole against the burning desert are visually thrilling, but the true scope of the film is in its riveting portrayal of the glorification and disintegration of a personality. As Lawrence discovers his capacities for leadership and loyalty while falling in love with Arab culture, he also finds uglier elements emerging from his soul. He loves the desert for being "clean," but he leaves it bloodstained. The film is in Technicolor; the portrait shows a hundred shades of gray.
Heather Benjamin, 29
'Lost in Translation' Instead of the usual sexploitation, Sofia Coppola offers us two caring, honest characters exchanging powerful, passionate, platonic gifts during a brief, innocent time -- gifts of character that harm no one, take no advantage and leave both happier and stronger. This funny, poignant, romantic meditation upon the challenges inherent in connecting with an(y)other reveals the difficulties all lost humans (that's all of us) face in translating ourselves across the chasm of individual differences -- cultural barriers of language and custom; differences in gender, age, social class, lifestyle, goals, values, interests, background and personality; and the mountains and molehills of time and distance. Nancy Pace, 60
'Scream'Its catchphrase may be "What's your favorite scary movie?," but Wes Craven's "Scream" is my favorite of all movies. The instant I stopped eating my Spree candies in the theater, I knew it was special. The dialogue is readily quotable. The performances are spot-on. And I love the inventiveness of a horror-movie killer stalking genre-savvy targets. "Scream" mixes scares, laughs and even pathos, building to a satisfying twist-ending that reveals two killers with motives beyond "It's the millennium!" Plus, you're actually sad to see the characters killed off -- right down to Kenny, the cameraman. Beat that, "Saw"!
Joshua Stewart, 23
'Star Wars' My 12 years of lifetime experience mutated into a universe of aliens and ideals I had never imagined when I first saw "Star Wars." I spent countless subsequent afternoons at the theater that summer in 1977, seeing the movie time and again. I fantasized about my not-filmed role as Luke's long-lost sister (we didn't know then!), adored by Han and able to defeat the Empire with my own purple-colored light saber. Years later, broke, depressed and roaming around Athens, I sneaked into "Star Wars," badly dubbed in Greek. Instant transformation: joy, excitement, hope. I own the DVD now and recite the dialogue with Luke and Obi-Wan, my kids smiling patiently.
Evie Altman, 42
'To Kill a Mockingbird'
Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would attend the State Theatre and see what would become my favorite movie, "To Kill a Mockingbird." As an African American living in Falls Church in the 1940s, I always wanted to go to the State Theatre. In 1963, following the Civil Rights Act, I finally was allowed. "To Kill a Mockingbird" was the featured film, and I still remember my audible gasp as the verdict of the jury was announced. I will never forget Jem, Scout, Tom Robinson, Boo, Atticus Finch and my first trip to the State Theatre!
Alma Deskins Amaker, 68