People say the best movie ever made is Citizen Kane. I can't comment coz its far back in my Netflix queue. I'll follow up once I've seen it.
As for my personal favorite film of all-time, it's situated a lot. It's gone back and forth between the first two Alien films (I also have a deep appreciation for the 3rd one), the 3 initial films of the Star Wars saga, Battle Royale, and Yojimbo. But currently, my fave film, hands down, is The Dark Knight.
Batman has always been my fave superhero (with the exception of the time between 1999 and 2005 where they really doing anything too significant with the character). Even though the original Tim Burton film was what made me a life long fan, because of the standard set by the animated series, I never really felt that he was done true honest justice in a live action film. Then when I found out the director of Memento (another film that had blown me away) was directing a new, rebooted Batman, I got some hope. Batman Begins was an excellent film, but had some flaws that held it back from being truly great. Namingly some hammy dialogue, terribly shot and choreographed fight scenes, and some camera shots and plot points that were rough around the edges. I was interested in a sequel, but not overtly excited. I should have been as Christopher Nolan proved himself to be one of the few directors that has been able to identify his mistakes, and rectify them.
The Dark Knight rectified everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, wrong with Batman Begins. The dialogue was whitty and humanistic, gone was that shitty director's fad (popularized by The Bourne Identity) of jump editing and spaztic camera work for fight scenes, and the plot... the plot is easily one of the most fine-tuned, handcrafted stories ever written for a big budget film. This film finally gave my life-long hero the justice he truly deserved.
My praise for it is unending. The excellent casting, the grand, sweeping camera work, the multi-plot script that should have been a gigantic mess (think of all the multi-villain superhero films you've seen in the past and how many you think are actually good), or the moral and psycho logical conflicts it brilliantly develops and executes... It was just so well written and so well done that I can write a million articles on this film and still not do it justice.
It also hits me on a personal note because, as some people may know, my dream job is to become a film maker. One of the projects that I have been working on and developing in my head for almost a decade now is a live-action film adaptation of Sailor Moon. It went through several incarnations from a dark, gothic approach to an Americanized, R-rated blood bath drenched in moral ambiguity. I disliked these ideas, but somewhere in late 2004, I decided to go with a character driven, psychoanalysis about what it is to be a superhero, steeped in character development and creating a much more humanistic story based around the question "Imagine at the age of fourteen being told you have been chosen to save the world". I didn't know if there was an audience for this, or if it would ever be well received and began to doubt it. However, in 2006 I made the introduction public out of curiosity to see how people would react. The reaction was actually quite positive, but I still wasn't sure if something like this could be accepted by a mass market when some of the highest grossing films at the time were crappy Pirates of the Caribbean sequels and the soon to be released Transformers. I was scared any major studio that would pick this up would disregard my character driven story for a special effects driven adventure film with no real story. However, TDK proved to me that not only can a film like that be successful, it can become one of the top 3 highest money making films of all time. So, from now on when people ask me about this project, I sum it up as "The original Sailor Moon is more akin to the 1960's Batman. I want to do The Dark knight".