The greatest films of all time: a critics’ poll and a filmmakers’ poll

December 2, 2022 • 12:15 pm

I was pleased to get two lists of great movies (I’m a sucker for lists of great art) from Justin Remes, associate professor of film studies at Iowa State University (he also wrote Absence in Cinema: The Art of Showing Nothing). I’ll quote his email with permission:

I know you occasionally post about cinema, so I thought you might be interested to know that the highly respected Sight and Sound poll of The Greatest Films of All Time (which is only published every ten years) was just released today. You can find the critics’ poll here and the filmmakers’ poll here. For what it’s worth, my personal pick for the greatest film of all time is 2001: A Space Odyssey, so I was happy to see that at the top of the directors’ poll. As for Jeanne Dielman, which is at the top of the critics’ poll, I think it’s a great film, although it wouldn’t make my own personal top 10. It was a shock to see it there, however–I really don’t think anyone could have predicted it would come in at number 1. (In the last Sight and Sound poll, it was 36!)

I’ll give the top ten in each of the two polls. First, the top ten in the CRITICS’ POLL, with the best put first (remember, there are 100 movies in each poll). Click on each screenshot to go to the site describing the movie. At the bottom I’ve put a link to my own list of best films, posted here twelve years ago.

I haven’t even heard of this Best Film!

I’ve seen this one and it’s very good, but not #2:

A great film, better than “Vertigo”:

This and Kurusawa’s “Ikiru” are my favorite foreign films. And Ikiru isn’t even on the list!  See both of them!

Just okay, but that’s it:

I am ashamed to admit that I’ve never seen this film—Justin’s favorite:

Haven’t seen this one, but I should:

Nope. Gripping, but not worthy of #8, much less #80:

Haven’t seen this one (I’m getting ashamed):

A very good musical—one of the best of the genre—but not one of the best films:

“The Godfather” is #12, and Ozu’s “Late Spring” comes in at #21 (all the films in Ozu’s “season cycle” are excellent).

Second, the top ten in the DIRECTORS’  (FILMMAKERS) POLL, with the best put first. There’s a fair amount of overlap with the previous list.

Maybe I should see this film!

“Citizen Kane” is at the top of every “greatest movies” list, as it should be.

This is a very great film. Aren’t we lucky to have seen it as a first run (well, those of us who are older)?

A reminder to see this movie. If you are the action-movie type, you may not like it: it’s a family drama and slow paced. I love it very much.

Okay, now I gotta see this film!

These next two are tied, and I wouldn’t put them in my top ten.

There is no #7 because of the ties. I haven’t seen this one:

These next three are tied for the #9 slot. None of them would be on my list, and I’m not a Bergman fan at all:

Gotta see this one, too, as I haven’t:

At least “Ikiru” makes it on this list, though only at #72: tied with “Chinatown” (a superb film) and “The Seventh Seal”, another Bergman film.

Now I posted my own list of “Best Movies” back in 2010, and it hasn’t changed, though perhaps I’d add 2019’s “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” to it. (I left “Citizen Kane” off my list because it’s everybody’s choice.)  The one movie missing from both of the lists above is my favorite American movie, “The Last Picture Show” (1971).  The omission is shameful!

Now it’s your turn, as always. Post the list of your “best movies”, preferably the top five. After all, it’s a great way for all of us to find new things to watch.

117 thoughts on “The greatest films of all time: a critics’ poll and a filmmakers’ poll

  1. I am looking forward to seeing what PCC(E) thinks of 2001: A Space Odyssey, having seen it a (ahem) few times myself with some lengthy time spans between each viewing.

    1. Yeah, I don’t think I know anyone (I do now) who hasn’t seen that movie. I know PCC(E) doesn’t like Sci Fi, but even anti-sci-fi people shouldn’t forgo a Kubrick film imo. I hope he likes it, but if he doesn’t, I won’t hold it against him. 🙂

  2. Of course 2001 is a must-see movie, but may be too late to fully appreciate it now since a significant part of its impact was the ground breaking special effects. But those of course are unremarkable today.

    1. It’s definitely dated in parts… but the scenes of HAL’s decline are still classic, not to mention the jaw-dropping ending (after the special effects).

      1. I tend to be in the while it was an impressive visual achievement in 1968 as an actual piece of storytelling it doesn’t hold up. If you’re going to dip into the world of 2001 the novel is a far more rewarding experience.

        1. I think so too.

          In my opinion the reason the movie is less interesting than the book is because it follows the book too closely and without the advantage of narration that the written format provides many of the important aspects of the story are simply incomprehensible in the movie.

          However, if you read the book first and then watch the movie, seeing the movie is a far better experience. And for the same reason, because the movie follows the book so closely you understand what is going on during the more esoteric parts of the movie. In fact, I think I favor some parts of the movie over the book.

          1. I read the book first, then saw the movie with some of my friends. I remember having to explain some parts to them when they didn’t understand what was happening.

          2. Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick worked simultaneously on the concept, the film and the book, which Clarke wrote. So the fact that the film follows the book closely (though not perfectly; among the small differences is that in the movie, Discovery is in orbit around Jupiter; in the book, it’s Saturn) is no surprise.

            To me, whatever bits of it are dated, “2001” remains the greatest movie of all time. I’ve never been swayed from that opinion since first forming it in my teens.

      2. The ‘special effects’ may have been great although I found the ape ballet at the beginning very weak, too obviously modern humans dressed up as apes, but the whole story is ridiculous. Apart from a mysterious monolith allowing apes to acquire objects to kill each other (biology shows us no monolith is needed) , there are many ridiculous story lines. A disease so contagious it necessitates radio silence? Does it spread via radio waves, or what? An expedition to Jupiter for completely unclear reasons? A computer gone rogue, because the secret is too great for humanity?
        The story stinks from many angles. The story is ridiculous IMMO. About the most overrated film I’ve seen.

        1. No reason you shouldn’t think it stinks, that’s fine, but by what you’ve written about it I think you have misunderstood or misremembered some parts of the story.

        2. … I found the ape ballet at the beginning very weak, too obviously modern humans dressed up as apes …

          It’s tough finding apes with SAG cards, Nicky. 🙂

  3. I enjoy seeing other people’s lists because tastes are so subjective. There are several mentioned that I’ve not seen so I am excited to look them up. I would add Dr. Strangelove and Diner as must see films. Also, Ikiru is my favorite Kurosawa!

  4. For me, the Big 3:

    – Kubrick (2001, Paths of Glory, Clockwork Orange)
    – Tarkovsky (The Mirror, Stalker, Solaris)
    – Bergman (Seventh Seal, Winter Light, Cries and Whispers)

    Just curious: what’s your beef with Bergman? For me, so many of his films are just devastatingly beautiful and emotional.

  5. So happy to see two of Hayao Miyazaki’s animated masterpieces make the cut, My Neighbor Totoro at 72nd and Spirited Away at 75, though to my eye Spirited Away is the superior film.

  6. I’m glad Bong Joon-ho’s ‘Parasite’ has made it’s way onto the list.
    Sadly, one of my favourite films is not on the list — Juzo Itami’s ‘Tampopo’

    1. Get Out is certainly interesting. But maybe recent movies should sit down and wait for the test of time. I saw Nope in a theater (1st time out in years). It was not at all what I expected, and it was also very interesting. I like it when movie previews fool you!

  7. I’m not much of a movie watcher, so I’ll not add my two cents (I do contribute to the book-related threads here!). But curiously, at breakfast this morning, my wife and I started talking about the bests in films (pictures, actors, actresses), and we looked up the American Film Institute site. For anyone who’s interested, their “best film” list is here and you can link directly to any of their other lists from here.

  8. My top four, in order: Jesus of Montreal (Arcand); Children of Paradise;(Carne); The Seventh Seal (Bergman; Burnt By The Sun (Mikalkov) More than entertainment but parables and metaphors for the common problems shared by all of humanity. More recent films of note that have been ignored: Poetry; First Reformed (Paul Shrader…arguably best American film in years that lasted about one week in movie theaters); and one of America’s greatest: Ace in the Hole (Billy Wilder’s best). America movies are shoddy, exploitive, second rate scripts, and aimed at the lowest common denominator. Two American directors who wisely use Europe as a model: Woody Allen (Annie Hall, etc.) and Tamara Jenkins (The Savages) And now: Todd Field, whose In the Bedroom and Little Children are among the best ever made in this country (and now Tar). For greatest director, Denys Arcand, of Jesus of Montreal, among others. No contest.

    1. I’d forgotten Jesus of Montreal, perhaps because I saw it only once a long time ago, but it was terrific – a serious social commentary, at times funny, tragic and moving.

  9. In no particular order:

    Apocalypse Now Redux
    Taxi Driver
    Local Hero
    One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest
    Bridge On The River Kwai
    Everything Everywhere All At Once(yes it was that good)

    1. I’ve seen all of those, although I am only halfway thru Everything Everywhere… but that is one interesting story.

  10. List of movies I loved enough to watch repeatedly. Chronological order. No claim of greatness, but they work for me.

    Citizen Kane
    Forbidden Planet
    Inherit the Wind
    Blazing Saddles
    Animal House
    Body Heat
    Quiz Show

    1. “[T}hey work for me” and repeat watching is about my level of filmic judgement. Most of your choices I haven’t seen, but Citizen Kane and Blazing Saddles are definitely in the top ten; also:

      The Searchers
      2001 – still visually stunning and gripping, despite advances in FX
      House of the Flying Daggers – visually magnificent – wonderful ending
      The Runaway Train – great cinematography
      In the Mood for Love – not my usual type of film but I think I fell in love with the beautiful Maggie Cheung and her gorgeous cheongsams

      Honorable mention
      Chinese Box – great soundtrack and Jeremy Irons is always a pleasure

      1. The Searchers is one John Ford film I can watch time and again. In its way, it’s the first revisionist Western. (It’s Ford’s best-looking picture, too.)

        1. I would go a bit earlier and nominate The Gunfighter (1950) and Broken Arrow (1950) as the first revisionist westerns.

    2. Quiz Show is far and away Redford’s best directing effort. When actors-turned-directors are successful, it’s generally at turning out small character-driven movies, often with first-rate performances by the cast — like, say, Ordinary People (which — can you freakin’ believe it? — beat out Raging Bull for the 1981 best-film Oscar).

      Quiz Show, OTOH, was a for-real work of cinema.

    3. Forbidden Planet!
      There is a reader here (forget name and they don’t post often) that has an FB clip as his/her site icon. I’ll always wanted to comment, but never do…

  11. I don’t recall seeing Vertigo, but Rear Window is a terrific film and I wonder why it was not rated higher.

    1. Vertigo is NOT as good as Rear Window, but I think it’s better than 2001, which was just mostly dull (especially considering it was made with Arthur C. Clarke, one of the greatest Sci Fi authors of all time) though I enjoy it for the many parodies, including one I did myself in my third year residents’ show. I think Citizen Kane is better than Vertigo or 2001, but I think Rear Window is possibly the best-directed movie I’ve ever seen. IMNSHO

      1. Vertigo is a near-perfect film (there’s one flaw in how the twist is revealed that I think mars it) and (IMO of course) better than Rear Window, which is still a great movie.

    2. I like Rear Window better than Vertigo, but Vertigo is the superior film. It retains the power to disturb that it had the first time I saw it on the late show as a kid.

  12. My top five (in chronological order):

    Sherlock Jr. (Buster Keaton, 1924)
    Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)
    Belle de Jour (Luis Bunuel, 1967)
    2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968)
    Raging Bull (Martin Scorsese, 1980)

  13. 1942 We The Living
    1953 Roman Holiday
    1954 Seven Samurai
    1982 Sophie’s Choice
    2010 Agora
    2014 The Wind Rises

    Two project the horror of totalitarianism with human pathos, one Fascist (Sophie’s Choice), the other Marxist/Communist (We the Living). Film’s power to convey the nightmare of loss of freedom from both sides. Agora does the same … for religion.

    1. I really need to see Sophie’s Choice, and hope it’s even half as intense as the novel.

      Had no idea a film version of that Rand book existed.

      1. “Had no idea a film version of that Rand book existed” Neither did Rand. It was made in Italy without her knowledge or permission, and only discovered decades later. The story of her recapturing ownership, restoring, and releasing it is remarkable. The film is not slick — just the opposite. And the ending is weak. Yet it conveys the gritty and nauseating truth of Soviet Communism as no other.

        The film of Sophie’s Choice is as horrifying and stinging as the book, in my opinion.

        1. Not really qualified to judge (I read far, far more than I watch), but Streep is probably the greatest actress of all time.

          That’s fascinating about We the Living. What a strange and complex person she was.

          1. We The Living irony: Mussolini extolled it, because it was devastating toward Marxism. However, the Italian public and critics kept remarking that its “point” could just as easily apply to Fascism!. Mussolini shut the film down and confiscated footage, which caused the films disappearance. Someone found an “escaped” copy and sent a letter to Ayn Rand about it.

        2. I’d put A Clockwork Orange in that category, too — movies that are as good as the book.

          Great novels can be tough to adapt to the screen, since their greatness often lies in the depth of their subtext. Whereas novels that have their action on the surface sometimes become great movies. (I’m thinking here particularly of how Coppola turned Mario Puzo’s pulpy The Godfather into a cinematic masterpiece.)

    1. Although I didn’t care for Barry Lyndon the first time I saw it, after watching it several more times I’d rank it high among Kubrick’s works.

      1. Barry Lyndon is Kubrick’s most beautifully filmed movie, what with the natural lighting and all. But, as befits the Thackeray novel from which it was adapted, its pacing is godawful slow.

        1. A beautiful piece of work..I remember seeing a new print of Barry Lyndon at an art cinema in the UK a couple of years ago. Only me and one other person in the audience, and he left during the intermission

          1. I loved Barry Lyndon when it came out, and went to see it twice in the theater. The second time was a late showing which was virtually empty. Two drunken college students came to heckle the film — yes — but after shouting a few times they got bored and left.

            The last film I watched, 3 nights ago at home, was Troll 2. I can’t actually say it is one of the greatest films of all time, but I can pretty much guarantee that if you watch it, it will not disappoint.

  14. My five favorite movies? Jeez, that seems a little personal, like asking about my kids or my love life. Especially this early in the afternoon. Maybe later, after I’ve had a cocktail and slipped into something more comfortable. For now, how ’bout we warm up with a sub-list, like my five favorite movies about making movies:

    Day for Night, François Truffaut
    The Player, Robert Altman
    Sunset Boulevard, Billy Wilder
    Singin’ in the Rain, Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly
    Swimming with Sharks, George Huang

  15. Chronologically:

    Sherlock Jr.
    Taxi Driver
    Raiders of the Lost Ark
    My Neighbor Totoro
    The Triplets of Belleville
    The Act of Killing

  16. The only movie from either of these top 10 lists that might make it on my top 10 is 2001. But then, I’m a barbarian when it comes to movies. I’d be tempted to put The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension on mine.

  17. I took my developmentally disabled son Aaron to see my favorite of all films, Bergman’s “The Seventh Seal”, on three of the 12 or more times I have watched it. First time, Aaron didn’t much like it; the second time, he said it wasn’t bad; the third time he said it was “cool”. Other films I have enjoyed watching repeatedly: “Wild Strawberries”, “Local Hero”, “Dr. Strangelove”, “Duck Soup”, “Life of Brian”, “Rififi”, “Wages of Fear”, and the best of all Hammer fantasies–“The Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas”. Also a variety of animated films, including “Madagascar”.

      1. **I don’t know why this ended up under your post, but that’s fine. You reminded me that I failed to add any Marx Brothers films!**

        I’m not a movie snob by any means and I won’t apologize for my pedestrian tastes but for me, in no particular order:
        Empire Strikes Back
        Forrest Gump
        Back to the Future
        The Big Lebowski
        Apollo 13
        And then a mishmash of John Wayne films (but no, not the searchers; hate that film)
        The Shootist
        True Grit
        El Dorado
        The Cowboys

        That’s 11 but whatever, I could add other favorites like Blazing Saddles, Princess Bride, Neverending Story, Goonies, Gremlins, Ghostbusters, (yes, I love the 1980’s) Jean de Florette, Mon Oncle… all that matters to me is I enjoy it and it makes me want to watch it again. Hell, I’d add musicals like Music Man, The Sound of Music, Fiddler on the Roof, Wizard of Oz, Singing in the Rain…I find less to enjoy these days but I think I’m just preparing for crusty old farthood. For example, I LOVE Creature from the Black Lagoon (and sequels) but hated Shape of Water.

    1. For my money, “WALL-E” is one of the best, maybe the best, animated movies ever. Certainly it’s an excellent science-fiction movie, in my top five.

  18. Anything by Hitchcock, my all time favorite. My Man Godfrey, Manhattan, Trouble in Paradise, Paths of Glory, The Seventh Seal.

  19. This is always a fun topic, and it is enjoyable to read which films others love. I personally love cinema, but it is difficult to compile a list of “best” films, without breaking them down into specific categories. You cannot compare Blazing Saddles to Barry Lyndon.
    There are some films that I keep watching again and again.
    Tarantino’s Kill Bill duo
    Delicatessen, City of Lost Children, Amelie, Very Long Engagement
    Apocalypse Now Redux
    Full Metal Jacket
    Clockwork Orange
    Blade Runner
    M (1931 only)
    Young Frankenstein
    Fiddler on the Roof

    Of recent films, the newest All Quiet on the Western Front strayed from the book quite a bit, but it was a passable look at the Great War, and the prelude had great impact.

    That is a lot more than five, for which I apologize.

    1. Jeunet will always be on my top cinema lists, and like you, I have to list more than one…I’d probably also add Micmacs to your list. Delicatessen is my favorite, followed by City of Lost Children, but they’re all incredible imo.

  20. Greatest films and favourite films would be different lists.
    Tokyo Story, both morally profound and technically dazzling, would be on either list.
    The Godfather
    Le Rayon Vert (Eric Rohmer)
    Some Like it Hot
    Fargo ( no Coen Brothers is scandalous)
    Shadow of a Doubt
    Modern Times
    The Searchers
    Grand Illusion
    In the Mood for Love
    The voters do not much care for comedy, or noir, though many superb films have been made in these genres.

  21. I’m not a professional film critic so I wouldn’t pretend to produce an all-time ranking of films, but my favourites are (in no particular order):

    – Blade Runner
    – Mulholland Drive
    – The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
    – Some Like it Hot
    – The Maltese Falcon
    – Vertigo
    – I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing
    – Mujeres al borde de un ataque de ‘nervios’ (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown)
    – Personal Services

  22. What? No “The Apartment”! Scandalous, film-criticism-wise (literally a word to the wise [which of course doesn’t make any sense if you have never seen the movie]). It’s in my top five and the only holiday movie–sort of– I watch every year. As one critic said once, it just gets darker and funnier with every viewing. “2001,” also in my top five, along with “Lawrence” and “Nashville.”

    1. The piano duo Ferrante and Teicher recorded a great rendition of the Theme from “The Apartment.” I would like to think that Chopin and his confreres would look favorably on it.

      Re: “2001,” I was blown away by Richard Strauss’s “Also Sprach Zarathrusta.” I sat there stunned as Dave Bowman neutralized HAL while the latter was singing “Daisy.” I’m inclined to think that the movie embodies the dictum, “Less Is More.”

  23. The scene I remember from Mulholland Drive is two woman listening to a woman on stage singing LLorando (Crying). It’s so beautiful and they are moved to tears by it, or by David Lynch who wanted the crying to unsettle us. Either way, it’s a powerful scene.

  24. Some of my favorites, I’m not sure a professional critic would agree (especially with the last choice) but:

    Kiss of the Spider Woman – with a masterful performance by William Hurt and Raul Julia
    High Noon
    Everything is Illuminated
    The Godfather Part II
    It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World!

  25. After Hours – Scorsese’s best and a great vivid look at a lost period in time;
    Exotica – a beautifully shot poignant film from the once great Atom Egoyan
    Apocalypse Now – no need to say anything
    Play it again, Sam (a funnier sweeter Annie Hall)
    The Shining.- still the best ever made
    A matter of life and death – still fresh and inventive, funny and sad
    Plus lots of others from Sergio Leone, Eastwood, Hitchcock, Michael Powell,,Spielberg

    1. Oh yeah, I forgot about After Hours. I saw it several times when it came out, haven’t seen it in years!

    1. Effing Bruges😹😹Wonderful film (I own a copy), as well as McDonagh’s others: Three Billboards and Banshees of Innisheerin.

    2. McDonough is brilliant, one of the best directors today. But In Bruges was for me much too violent, depressing, However, his concepts and insights are truly amazing. Three Billboards was great but attacked (like Todd Field’s Tar) for not taking a moral position on a crime….which is what cheap American films do all the time and that’s why they are really second rate.

  26. I’ll just mention a few of the movies that I rank most highly that I haven’t seen mentioned yet:

    – There’s Something About Mary
    – Lost In America
    – Idiocracy

    Science Fiction
    – Europa Report – This was a low-key movie that really stuck with me.
    – Fifth Element – wildly entertaining

    – American Animals – great movie. Tue story of four average college students who got it into their heads to perpetrate a rare book heist
    – The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (1968)

  27. I thought “Mulholland Drive” was Lynch’s best.
    There was also Sam Peckinpah’s magnum opus, “The Wild Bunch” (though the original release in 1969 was better than what they have on DVD today)
    And “The Swimmer” (1968) with Burt Lancaster stands out in my mind as well.

    As far as what should have been a great movie because it is a wonderful science fiction short story by Henry Kuttner, “All Mimsy were the Borogoves”, was made into “The Last Mimsy”, which was not a good movie (it was passable because the general idea was still there).

    Also, from the standpoint of TV (science fiction) anthologies, the original “The Outer Limits” (early 1960’s) was great.

    1. Additionally, “Man in the Wilderness”, 1971, which was remade in 2015 as “The Revenant”.
      And “The Naked Prey”, 1965.

  28. FYI ‘Ikiru’ has been adapted into English as ‘Living’ ( starring Bill Nighy. It’s good, but not top 10 material, I don’t think. Some great films not mentioned in those top 10s:

    The Ladykillers (almost perfect, surely?)
    Rear Window (better than Vertigo by a way!)
    Blow Up (similar to Rear Window, in atmosphere, as is Coppola’s The Conversation)
    The Way We Were (always re-watch! Maybe it’s the theme song)
    The Graduate (again, maybe the music!)

    1. Living may not be top 10, but it’s well worth seeing. Saw it at TIFF in September and Nighy is magnificent. Hard to beat Ishiguro’s writing as well

    2. Funny you should mention The Ladykillers. It’s generally ranked near the bottom of the Coens’ oeuvre by critics. But, goddamit, I like it. A lot (although even I don’t think it’s peak Coens). Plus, I think it has Tom Hanks’s best performance. Much better than in either Philadelphia or Forrest Gump (for which he won back-to-back best-actor Oscars).

          1. Pimlico was a hoot!.
            And of course all the Peter Sellers Shot in the Dark and Pink Panther movies. Do you have a ruuuum?

  29. Glad to see 2001: A Space Odyssey on the list. I had the good fortune to see it during its initial release in a widescreen theater. I was a fan from the start and have seen 2001 in theaters at least 20 times. On my bookshelf is a tattered paperback copy of “The Making of Kubrick’s 2001” that I purchased in 1970. The 368-page book contains hundreds of behind-the-scenes photos, details on how the special effects were filmed, script pages, reviews and interviews with many of the people involved with the movie. I also own copies of the movie on VHS, DVD and Blu-ray.

  30. I was mildly surprised that both the critics’ and directors’ lists each had several Westerns. Neither of my favorite Westerns (below) made their lists, though.

    Fort Apache (1948, John Ford, director)
    Unforgiven (1992, Clint Eastwood, director)


  31. 1
    Quintet (Altman)
    Stalker (Tarkovsky)
    Woman In The Dunes (Teshigahara)
    Days Of Heaven (Malick)
    McCabe And Mrs. Miller (Altman)
    Dersu Uzala (Kurosawa)
    Black Robe (Beresford)
    Nashville (Altman)
    Shadows Of Forgotten Ancestors (Parajanov)
    Safe (Haynes)

  32. I do not understand how everybody seems to think 2001 is a great film. It doesn’t even seem to have a coherent plot and the bit at the end is just self indulgent tosh.

    That’s my opinion anyway.

  33. 2001 is good but the pace can be very slow and deliberate. Recently the Very Bad Wizards podcast had Sam Harris on the show and they reviewed 2001. They offered some plot points I had never considered, it was interesting to me.

    My top ten movie list has twenty or so items on it, but two I like that have not been mentioned are The Shawshank Redemption and Field of Dreams. If you do not shed a salt water tear when Ray asks his father if they can have a catch, then you are not human.

  34. In the end, I think this is a matter of opinion. I ‘ve seen some of the listed movies and agree they’re great. But what about “Dr. Strangelove”, my favorite of all time?

  35. It is striking that except for a few mentions of The Seventh Seal, and a couple of others from France and Russia, nearly all favorites are American films. Call me elitist or whatever but foreign film directors are much greater at understanding and producing films. They arent self indulgent,they dont moralize, they don’t use crappy music, they dont include filler, they dont use beautiful scenery to fancy up the film (like Power of the Dog), their scripts dont lecture us or bore us, they use fast cutting rather than long boring closeups or speeches, they dont talk down to the viewers. This is why Woody Allen and Todd Field and one or two other directors ( Tamara Jenkins, Coen brothers, Paul Shrader) are our best filmmakers. They learned how to make good films from the European directors. Why Children of Paradise and Jesus of Montreal are not on any one else’s list really puzzles me. Film acolytes used to put Children of Paradise down as the greatest film every made. I can see why. I’ve seen that and Jesus of Montreal and The Seventh Seal at least three times each, and have the videos as well. Burnt by the Sun I added to my list…I’ve only seen it twice so far. Unforgettable (and based on a true story). Oh, here’s one great Italian (there are others): Il Sorpasso, with a stunning performance by Vititorio Gassman…..four stars.

  36. If I remember correctly, PCC’s nephew is a professional film critic. I’d be very interested in hearing his reaction to the Sight & Sound poll.

  37. I put M on my list and noticed it mentioned only once in the comments. Peter Lorre was mesmerizing. I thought it was one of the great performances. Was anyone but me impressed by The Lion in Winter? I always loved that movie and the wonderful performances by Peter O’Toole and Katherine Hepburn.

    1. Pretty much impossible to agree. On a definitive list that is. I would think Lawrence of Arabia was considered better than 2001. Disappointing to ignore pre-war films & I think silent films.

      I cannot rank films that much, but I like Olivier’s Henry V, really like Jacques Tourneur‘s Night of the Demon. Also I would put a Truffaut film in, plus at least one Fred & Ginger, & & surely a Bergman? It is like cuisines though- sometimes youwant French, sometimes it has to be Indian.

    1. … Il Postino; Jean de Florette & Manon des Sources and Das Boot (already mentioned); Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Tin Drum; Django Unchained; Fifth Element; Close Encounters of the Third Kind: LOTR; Joy Luck Club.

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