Saturday 16 June 2012

The Greatest Films Bandwagon Jump

Over a year ago I counted down my fifty greatest films of all time. My selection criteria paid no heed to critical canons or accolades, technological breakthroughs, historical influence or any opinion held or impact felt beyond my own experience with the flickering white skin called cinema.

This year Sight and Sound again asked prestigious directors and critics for their top tens. It is very hard to jump on a bandwagon that has reached top speed which is just as well; why choke on somebody else's dust-cloud, anyway, when you kick up your own.

So here is an updated list, this time in chronological order, of my greatest films ever made. I really don't know what use it has beyond, maybe, introducing people to films they don't know or encouraging them to re-watch something that may work a second time.

With apologies to the 1930s...

1922 Cinderella (Lotte Reiniger)
1927 Sunrise
1928 Lonesome
1940 Rebecca
1943 Day of Wrath
1945 Roma Citta Aperta
1946 The Postman Always Rings Twice
1953 Gion Bayashi
1955 Pather Panchali
1956 The Searchers
1957 Forty Guns
1959 World of Apu
1960 Innocent Sorcerers

1962 The Trial of Joan of Arc
1962 L'Eclisse
1963 The Birds
1964 Woman in the Dunes
1966 Au Hasard Balthazar
1967 Playtime
1970 Ucho
1970 This Transient Life

1971 King Lear (Kozintsev)
1971 Szerelem
1972 Hotel Monterey
1973 The Exorcist
1975 Mirror
1977-2005 Star Wars
1981 Le Pont du Nord
1982 Fanny and Alexander
1982 White Dog
1982 Poltergeist
1984 Once upon a time in America
1985 Ran
1986 Labyrinth
1986 Aliens
1988 My Neighbour Totoro
1988 The Vanishing
1988 Die Hard
1988 The Naked Gun
1989-90 Dekalog
1992 Twin Peaks : Fire Walk With Me
1993 Abraham Valley
1993 Patlabor 2 The Movie
1994 Chungking Express
1994 Satantango
1994 Crows (Dorota Kedzierzawska)
1994 Jeanne la Pucelle
1995 Whisper of the Heart
1996 Freeway
1996 Drifting Clouds (Kaurismaki)
1998 Dark City
1999 Rosetta
1999 All About My Mother
2000 Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
2001 A.I.
2001 Mulholland Drive
2001 Pulse (Kiyoshi Kurosawa)
2002 Demonlover
2002 Dark Water (Hideo Nakata)
2002 Liberte et Patrie (Jean-Luc Godard - short)
2004 The Village
2005 Three Times
2005 The Wayward Cloud
2005 Oxhide
2005 The New World
2006 Southland Tales
2006 Offside (Jafar Panahi)
2007 Lust, Caution
2007 The Romance of Astrea and Celadon
2007 The Flight of the Red Balloon
2007 The Bourne Ultimatum
2008 Love Exposure
2008 Shirin
2009 Antichrist
2010 Film Socialisme
2011 Melancholia
2011 Sucker Punch


  1. Interested to hear why Dark Water made your list. I saw it and was actually somewhat disappointed, as I didn't enjoy it as much as other J-horror like the Ju-on movies.

  2. I am a fan of turn of the century Japanese horror films, especially their rhythms of tension/release and how relatively understated they are (Ju-On included).

    At the same time they can be quite cold emotionally. Dark Water, for me, has that added emotional punch. The scenes involving the lift at the end are heartrending.

  3. Sucker Punch? You're being facetious, right?

    1. Not at all, Brian. This is my review of the film if you're interested :

  4. I'd like an explanation as to why you have no films from the 1930's. I would argue [and have] that it is the best decade in film history because it was as if cinema were reinvented. And the changes in style and technique came fast. Also all the movie formulas we know developed that decade. Great films by Lubitsch, Borzage, Ford, Renoir, Ozu...the list goes on.

    1. Matt,

      It's as simple as I haven't liked a film from the 1930s enough to include it.

      Earth (Dovzhenko), City Lights (Chaplin) and The Thin Man are the first in the queue of candidates. I'm always underwhelmed by Lubitsch and Ozu especially. Borzage's Seventh Heaven is good.

      There's no conspiracy, just one of those things.

  5. hmm, you have a lot of good stuff here but (imho) a lot of crap too. Die Hard? Sucker Punch? No Citizen Kane? No Metropolis? Not even one Kubrick? (A.I. doesn't count)

    Ah well, I will definitely be adding a few of these to my watch list and bumping a few up on it so I'll thank you for that.

  6. "Ah well, I will definitely be adding a few of these to my watch list and bumping a few up on it so I'll thank you for that."

    My pleasure.

    Metropolis is good and Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut came close to making my list. I don't think Citizen Kane is particularly good as a story or that interesting in how that story is depicted.