The 1,000 Greatest Films (Introduction)

The banner image above is from Catherine Breillat's Fat Girl, the 1,000th ranked greatest film.
INTRODUCTION to the 1,000 Greatest Films
Current Version: January 2020 (15th edition)
Published on January 17, 2020
They Shoot Pictures, Don't They? by any definition is still very young, but it is already old enough to claim not only its own history, but its own archaeology as well.

Ha, ha, let's stop there. I am just being silly. This is of course the first sentence (just swap
They Shoot Pictures, Don't They? for The cinema) from Andrew Sarris' introduction to his landmark publication, The American Cinema: Directors and Directions 1929-1968. It is a must read, and I encourage you all to grab yourselves a copy. Although, I suspect many of you are sassy enough to already possess it. Okay, so I've just plugged some old book. Let's now move on.

The 15th edition off the
1,000 Greatest Films is here, and it has been influenced (over the past year) primarily by BBC Culture's women's poll, by the first influx of end-of-decade lists (those I got in before my self-imposed deadline of November 30; say hello to Holy Motors and Mad Max: Fury Road), and by some formulaic tweakings on my part that has seen films from the last twenty years, or so, improve their rankings.

The biggest influence clearly came from
BBC Culture's exhaustive poll to find the best films from female filmmakers. Female-directed films have therefore received a long-deserved major boost within the 1,000 Greatest Films, and also within the Top 250 Directors listing. As you can see below, four of the five biggest risers within the list this year were directed by women, specifically Agnès Varda (2 films), Kathryn Bigelow and Lucrecia Martel. Additionally, Martel, Věra Chytilová and Sofia Coppola notably broke through onto the Top 250 Directors listing, and Chantal Akerman, Claire Denis and Jane Campion markedly improved their positions.

In my intro last year, I grumbled about the lack of
Claude Chabrol on the 1,000 Greatest Films listing. All fixed, folks. Le Boucher is back, and let's hope it's the first of many.

This year's edition encompasses 31 changes to the list (the same number as last year). Only ten of these (
Aguaespejo granadino, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Fat Girl, Holy Motors, Inglourious Basterds, Iracema - Uma Transa Amazônica, Mad Max: Fury Road, Paper Moon, Point Break, and Saraband) make their debut on the list, whereas the other twenty-one films are all re-entries.

Pardon my Australian slang, but strewth, some bloody good films have left the
1,000: Tod Browning's The Unknown, David Lynch's The Straight Story, Melville's Bob le flambeur (what the!), Sirk's The Tarnished Angels, Godard's Une Femme est une femme (Good Golly, Miss Molly!), just to name a few. They now sit comfortably within the 1,001 to 2,000 list.

The number of best-of/all-time individual lists now tallies 6,620 (from 5,111 critics/filmmakers). The number of miscellaneous lists used (genre-based, country-based, etc.) now sits at 4,776. That’s 11,398 unique lists in total.

In summary, here is the breakdown of individual best-of/all-time ballots used, or if you like, from where I have begged, borrowed and stolen:

Sight & Sound 1952-2012 (1,984 ballots)
Rotten Tomatoes 2003-2019 (218 ballots) UPDATED
Senses of Cinema 2000-2007 (201 ballots)
Kino Muzeum’s 2015 poll (183 ballots)
Filmes do Chico 2013-2017 (174 ballots)
Nickel Odeon 1994-1998 (136 ballots)
Time Out's 1995 poll (128 ballots)
Cinephilia's 2012 poll (121 ballots)
Kinema Junpo 1999-2009 (102 ballots) UPDATED
El Mundo's 1995 poll (100 ballots)
Your Movie Database (YMDB) Critics Corner 2002-2005 (99 ballots)
PBS Independent Lens 2005-2008 (83 ballots)
John Kobal Presents the Top 100 Movies [Book] (1988) (81 ballots)
Film-Magazine's (Iran) 2009 poll (81 ballots)
Steadycam's 2007 poll (79 ballots)
La Cinetek 2014-2019 (76 ballots) UPDATED
Facets 2003-2008 (76 ballots)
The Cinematheque's Top 10 Project 2005-2009 (74 ballots)
Empire 1989-2017 (74 ballots)
Positif’s 1991 poll (72 ballots)
One-Line Review's 2009 poll (69 ballots)
El Pais 2009-2010 (60 ballots)
Cinematheque Belgique's 1952 poll (53 ballots)
Faróis do Cinema 2010-2015 (51 ballots)
Libre Journal du Cinéma's 2009 poll (50 ballots)
The Village Voice's 1999 poll (49 ballots) 2009-2019 (48 ballots) UPDATED
Edições Cinematógrafo’s 1982 poll (48 ballots)
IndieWire 1996-2018 (48 ballots)
TCM Spain’s
2009 poll (48 ballots)
Le CiNéMa Club 2015-2019 (47 ballots) UPDATED
PopCornQ's 1997 poll (45 ballots)
Federazione Italiana Cineforum's 2013 poll (44 ballots)
Fifty Filmmakers (2002 book) (42 ballots)
HKCinema’s 2011 poll (42 ballots)
Ventana Indiscreta 2010 & 2013 (37 ballots)
Tel Aviv Cinematheque 1986-2014 (37 ballots) NEW
Cineplot 2017 poll (37 ballots) NEW
Mingpao Weekly's 1995 poll (36 ballots)
Beijing News 2011-2012 (35 ballots)
Ta Nea’s
2009 poll (34 ballots)
BBC: Calling the Shots 2003-2006 (32 ballots)
Cineticle 2013-2015 (32 ballots)
Dirigido Por’s 1992 poll (32 ballots)
Cinemania’s 2012 poll (31 ballots)
The Skuriels’ 2012 poll (31 ballots)
Epoca 2000 & 2003 (30 ballots)
Sodankylä Ikuisesti: Desert Island Films (1996) (29 ballots)
You Gotta See This (2007 book) (29 ballots)
Profil’s 2004 poll (28 ballots)
Jonathan Rosenbaum’s 1976 poll (27 ballots)
Metro 2012-2014 (27 ballots)
Film-Mag's 2011 poll (26 ballots)
Newsweek 2002-2009 (26 ballots) UPDATED
Plus 1,138 more ballots from other sources.

TSPDT’s Top 10 Greatest Films
1. Citizen Kane (1)
2. Vertigo (2)
3. 2001: A Space Odyssey (3)
4. The Rules of the Game (4)
5. Tokyo Story (5)
6. 8½ (6)
7. The Godfather (7)
8. Sunrise (8)
9. The Searchers (9)
10. The Seven Samurai (10)

Listed below are the biggest winners and losers in this year’s edition:

The Winners – Top Climbers within the 1,000
Vagabond (1985), 672 to 478 (up 194)
Near Dark (1987), 920 to 730 (up 190)
La Ciénaga (2001), 733 to 577 (up 156)
Diary (1983), 983 to 835 (up 148)
Le Bonheur (1965), 925 to 801 (up 124)

The Winners – Highest Entrants into the 1,000
Holy Motors (2012), ranked 619
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), ranked 629
Superman (1978), ranked 746
Iracema - Uma Transa Amazônica (1975), ranked 766
Sideways (2004), ranked 767

The Losers – Biggest Fallers within the 1,000
3 Women (1977), 863 to 951 (down 88)
Branded to Kill (1967), 776 to 861 (down 85)
Time of the Gypsies (1989), 788 to 872 (down 84)
The Lusty Men (1952), 738 to 820 (down 82)
The 47 Ronin (1941), 895 to 976 (down 81)

The Losers – Biggest Fallers from the 1,000
Donnie Darko (2001), formerly ranked 765
The Return (2003), formerly ranked 862
The Godfather Part III (1990), formerly ranked 935
Malcolm X (1992), formerly ranked 937
The Verdict (1982), formerly ranked 939

Narrowed down from a starting list of 19,340 films (an increase of 754 films from last year), this is quite possibly the most definitive guide to the most-acclaimed movies of all-time. At the very least it is a rather spiffy place for all budding/established film buffs to commence/enhance their cinematic experiences. So what are you waiting for? Start that checklist now!

Thank you to everyone that has contributed lists and/or lent their support towards this venture over the years.

You Can Help… If you have access to any additional film lists from critics and/or filmmakers that you think I may have missed, then of course I’d love to see them. Please send all lists to And, as always, I would love to read any feedback (good, bad, or otherwise) you have on this ongoing project.

Begin browsing the 1,000 Greatest Films.

Another Personal Digression: The Best Films I Saw During 2019.
For what it’s worth, here are (in no particular order) some of the best films (new or old) that I saw during the 2019 calendar year: A Bread Factory, Part One & Part Two (2018, Patrick Wang), Apollo 11 (2019, Todd Douglas Miller), Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun? (2017, Travis Wilkerson), Marriage Story (2019, Noah Baumbach), Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxographer (1975, Thom Andersen), Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (2019, Quentin Tarantino), Unsane (2018, Steven Soderbergh), The Poor Little Rich Girl (1917, Maurice Tourneur), Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania (1972, Jonas Mekas), Never Fear (1950, Ida Lupino), The Spider's Stratagem (1970, Bernardo Bertolucci), The End (1953, Christopher Maclaine), All is Well (2018, Eva Trobisch), Bisbee '17 (2018, Robert Greene), Let There Be Light (1946, John Huston), One A.M. (1916, Charles Chaplin), Ruby in Paradise (1993, Victor Nunez), Ash is Purest White (2018, Jia Zhangke), In Fabric (2018, Peter Strickland), Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1954, Kenneth Anger), The Souvenir (2019, Joanna Hogg), Paris is Burning (1990, Jennie Livingston), Panique (1946, Julien Duvivier), Les Baisers de Secours (1989, Philippe Garrel), Finis terrae (1929, Jean Epstein), Linda Linda Linda (2005, Nobuhiro Yamashita), Notes on an Appearance (2018, Ricky D'Ambrose), Hale County This Morning, This Evening (2018, RaMell Ross), Psyche 59 (1964, Alexander Singer), The Rosary (1913, Lois Weber & Phillips Smalley), Suspense (1913, Lois Weber & Phillips Smalley), Minding the Gap (2018, Bing Liu), The Class (2008, Laurent Cantet), Double Play: James Benning and Richard Linklater (2013, Gabe Klinger), Filmworker (2017, Tony Zierra), Taipei Story (1985, Edward Yang), Enthusiasm (1931, Dziga Vertov), Rebels of the Neon God (1992, Tsai Ming-liang), Norte, the End of History (2013, Lav Diaz), Gion bayashi (1953, Kenji Mizoguchi), If Beale Street Could Talk (2018, Barry Jenkins), Leave No Trace (2018, Debra Granik), The Cheat (1915, Cecil B. DeMille), The Immigrant (1917, Charles Chaplin), Burning (2018, Lee Chang-dong), Rock 'n' Roll High School (1979, Allen Arkush), Shirkers (2018, Sandi Tan), BlacKkKlansman (2018, Spike Lee), The Rider (2017, Chloé Zhao), The Eyes of Orson Welles (2018, Mark Cousins), On the Bowery (1956, Lionel Rogosin), The Devil's Envoys (1942, Marcel Carné), Jeune femme (2017, Léonor Serraille).
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