The 1,000 Greatest Films (100-1)

The banner image above is from Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love.
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Greed

Greed

1924 / USA / 140m; 239m (reconstructed version) / BW / Melodrama, Psychological Drama
Gibson Gowland, ZaSu Pitts, Jean Hersholt, Chester Conklin, Sylvia Ashton, Oscar Gottell, Otto Gottell, Frank Hayes, Tempe Pigott, Dale Fuller
"Originally planned to run around ten hours but hacked to just over two by Thalberg's MGM, von Stroheim's greatest film still survives as a true masterpiece of cinema. Even now its relentlessly cynical portrait of physical and moral squalor retains the ability to shock, while the Von's obsessive attention to realist detail - both in terms of the San Francisco and Death Valley locations, and the minutely observed characters - is never prosaic: as the two men and a woman fall out over filthy lucre, their motivations are explored with a remarkably powerful visual poetry, and Frank Norris' novel is translated into the cinematic equivalent of, say, Zola at the peak of his powers." - Geoff Andrew, Time Out
Selected by Guillermo Del Toro, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Simon Louvish, Carol J. Clover, Antonio Rodrigues.
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The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

1962 / USA / 119m / BW / Western, Outlaw (Gunfighter) Film
James Stewart, John Wayne, Vera Miles, Lee Marvin, Edmond O'Brien, Andy Devine, Woody Strode, Jeanette Nolan, John Carradine, Ken Murray
"A great film, rich in thought and feeling, composed in rhythms that vary from the elegiac to the spontaneous. This 1962 western flaunts its artificiality, both in its use of studio interiors and in the casting of an aging James Stewart as a young, idealistic lawyer who comes to the frontier. For some, the stylization is a crippling flaw, but I find it sublime: the film takes place, through elegant flashbacks, in a past that is remembered more than lived; essences are projected over particulars." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by John McNaughton, Richard Combs, José Luis Garci, Jesus Franco, A.O. Scott.
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A Brighter Summer Day

A Brighter Summer Day

Gu ling jie shao nian sha ren shi jian (original title)
1991 / Taiwan / 237m / Col / Drama, Coming-of-Age
Guozhu Zhang, Elaine Jin, Wang Juan, Zhang Han, Jiang Xiuqiong, Lai Fanyun, Chen Chang, Shiang-chyi Chen, Lisa Yang
"In every aspect of technique — from the smoky colors and the bustling, off-center compositions to the architecture of the story and the emotional precision of the performances — this film is a work of absolute mastery. Its imaginative authority and the scale of its achieved ambition make it not just a wonderful movie but also an essential piece of modern cinema. It is also — fair warning — four hours long. But they are not difficult hours, given Mr. Yang’s novelistic interest in character and his skill as a choreographer of dramatic incidents." - A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Selected by Nick James, Stanley Kwan, Lou Ye, Adam Nayman, Aditya Assarat.
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Satantango

Sátántangó

1994 / Hungary-Germany-Switzerland / 450m / BW / Drama, Ensemble Film
Mihaly Vig, Putyi Horvath, Laszlo feLugossy, Eva Almassy Albert, Janos Derzsi, Iren Szajki, Alfred Jarai, Miklos Szekely B., Erzsebet Gaal, Erika Bok
"Most simply described, Tarr's masterpiece—adapted from a much esteemed, if still untranslated, novel by László Krasznahorkai—is a bleakly comic allegory of social disintegration on the muddy puszta. Set on an entropic collective farm during the last years of Hungarian Communism, it's a mordant, characteristically Eastern European tale of hapless peasants and charismatic swindlers. With fewer shots than the average 90-minute feature, Sátántangó is a double tour de force—for the actors, as the camera circles them in lengthy continuous takes, and for Tarr, who constructs his narrative out of these morose blocks of real time." - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Selected by Jonathan Romney, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Ronald Bergan, Ying Liang, Babak Jalali.
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La Jetee

La Jetée

The Pier (English title); The Jetty (alternative title)
1962 / France / 27m / BW / Science Fiction, Avant-garde-Experimental
Helene Chatelain, Davos Hanich, Jacques Ledoux, Jean Negroni, Andre Heinrich, Jacques Branchu, Pierre Joffroy, Etienne Becker, Ligia Branice, William Klein
"Marker's most definitive foray onto the terrain of narrative fiction film and one of cinema’s most elegant and remarkable meditations on its own nature as a medium, despite (or rather because of) its being composed almost entirely of still photographs… It is certainly not the only film to be composed out of still images, but its triumph is to harness them, using the classic grammar of the narrative fiction film, to the ultimate spare, stripped-down storyline (a mere twenty-seven minutes in length): a postapocalyptic science-fiction tale of tragic heroism and lost love, which turns on the fatal attraction of images and the price paid for that desire." - Catherine Lupton, The Criterion Collection
Selected by Tarsem Singh, Raymond Bellour, James Marsh, Chris Darke, Patrick Keiller.
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Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

1975 / Belgium-France / 201m / Col / Avant-garde-Experimental, Feminist Film
Delphine Seyrig, Jan Decorte, Henri Storck, Chantal Akerman, Jacques Doniol-Valcroze, Yves Bical
"A singular work in film history, Chantal Akerman’s Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles meticulously details, with a sense of impending doom, the daily routine of a middle-aged widow—whose chores include making the beds, cooking dinner for her son, and turning the occasional trick. In its enormous spareness, Akerman’s film seems simple, but it encompasses an entire world. Whether seen as an exacting character study or one of cinema’s most hypnotic and complete depictions of space and time, Jeanne Dielman is an astonishing, compelling movie experiment, one that has been analyzed and argued over for decades." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Amy Taubin, Berenice Reynaud, Dennis Lim, Lalitha Gopalan, Laura Mulvey.
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Aguirre: The Wrath of God

Aguirre: The Wrath of God

Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes (original title); Aguirre, Wrath
of God (alternative title)
1972 / West Germany / 94m / Col / Adventure Drama, Jungle Film
Klaus Kinski, Cecelia Rivera, Ruy Guerra, Del Negro, Helena Rojo, Peter Berling, Alejandro Repulles, Danny Ades, Armando Polanha, Edward Roland
"The marvellous heedlessness for the dreary dictates of cinematic realism, the sight of a man at the end of his rope and psyche – at this point in his career, Werner Herzog was making the kind of films that, had Richard Wagner been born a century later, he would have been compelled to realise… Aguirre remains an unremitting and overwhelming vision, not just of the colonial mindset gone insane, but of the madness that – given the opportunity – would bound from every man's breast." - Stuart Jeffries, The Guardian
Selected by Andrew Kotting, Gerald Peary, Leonardo García Tsao, Lisandro Alonso, Michael Atkinson.
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Sansho the Bailiff

Sansho the Bailiff

Sanshô dayû (original title)
1954 / Japan / 125m / BW / Drama, Period Film
Kinuyo Tanaka, Yoshiaki Hanayagi, Kyoko Kagawa, Eitaro Shindo, Akitake Kono, Masao Shimizu, Ken Mitsuda, Kazukimi Okuni, Yoko Kosono, Noriko Tachibana
"Mizoguchi develops his medieval fable about moral freedom and slavery with intuition, cunning, and an overarching sense of tragedy; as it uncoils, this masterwork spirals and expands to encompass all the tricks of history and fate, all the failures of ethics and character that can defeat the best intentions of idealists... Mizoguchi’s packed compositions express the harrowing pull of the narrative line—and the residual humanity that tugs against it. Every positive action in this movie has an opposite reaction, leaving an increment of glory in defeat… Terrifying and cathartic, Sansho the Bailiff is a morality play without easy moralism." - Michael Sragow, The Criterion Collection
Selected by Armond White, Carlos Reygadas, Dave Kehr, Charles Barr, Gilberto Perez.
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Jaws

Jaws

1975 / USA / 124m / Col / Thriller, Natural Horror
Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton, Carl Gottlieb, Jeffrey Kramer, Susan Backlinie, Jonathan Filley, Ted Grossman
"Jaws is a lively, chaotic swirl of contradictions, prodigious talent, and formal mastery. It's a thriller that played a role in the entire restructuring of Hollywood's methods of selling its films to the public. Jaws was the sure-to-be calamity that became one of the most beloved and quoted films of all time... The surprise is how good it was and still is. The film is a strange mixture of the über-controlled and the wild and wooly. Imagine if portions of Psycho were spliced into one of Hal Ashby's early films and you'd be closer to the film's tone than you might think." - Chuck Bowen, Slant Magazine
Selected by M. Night Shyamalan, Bobby Farrelly, Jeff Nichols, Peter Farrelly, Philippe Parreno.
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A Man Escaped

A Man Escaped

Un Condamné à mort s'est échappé ou Le vent souffle où il veut (original title)
1956 / France / 102m / BW / Drama, Prison Film
Francois Leterrrier, Charles LeClainche, Maurice Beerblock, Roland Monod, Jacques Ertaud, Roger Treherne, Jean-Paul Delhumeau, Jean-Philippe Delamarre, Cesar Gattegno, Jacques Oerlemans
"This stately yet uncommonly gripping 1956 feature is my choice as the greatest achievement of Robert Bresson, one of the cinema's foremost artists. The best of all prison-escape movies, it reconstructs the very notion of freedom through offscreen sounds and defines salvation in terms of painstakingly patient and meticulous effort. Bresson himself spent part of the war in an internment camp and subsequently lived through the German occupation of France, experiences that inform his magisterial grasp of what the concentrated use of sound and image can reveal about souls in hiding. Essential viewing." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Selected by Hong Sang-soo, Carlos Reygadas, Kevin Jackson, Michael Atkinson, Nuri Bilge Ceylan.
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The Magnificent Ambersons

The Magnificent Ambersons

1942 / USA / 88m / BW / Family Drama, Period Film
Joseph Cotten, Dolores Costello, Agnes Moorehead, Anne Baxter, Tim Holt, Ray Collins, Richard Bennett, Erskine Sanford, J. Louis Johnson, Donald Dillaway
"It was a much better picture than Kane—if they'd just left it as it was," Welles famously told Peter Bogdanovich decades later. But even still, The Magnificent Ambersons is a pretty sensational movie. The film language is more fluid and adept than Kane's, the expressionist lighting is more rigorously modulated. The astonishingly choreographed Christmas ball that serves to introduce the major characters is arguably the greatest set piece of Welles's career. The highly rehearsed ensemble, which complemented a contingent of Mercury Theater regulars with RKO cowhand Tim Holt, retired silent star Dolores Costello, and then-unknown Anne Baxter, is sensational." - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Selected by Armond White, Carlos F. Heredero, John McNaughton, Joseph McBride, Kent Jones.
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Sans soleil

Sans soleil

Sunless (English title)
1983 / France / 100m / Col / Avant-garde-Experimental, Documentary
Florence Delay, Arielle Dombasle
"Chris Marker's masterpiece is one of the key nonfiction films of our time—a personal philosophical essay that concentrates mainly on contemporary Tokyo but also includes footage shot in Iceland, Guinea-Bissau, and San Francisco. Difficult to describe and almost impossible to summarize, this poetic journal of a major French filmmaker radiates in all directions, exploring and reflecting upon many decades of experience… A film about subjectivity, death, photography, social custom, and consciousness itself, Sans Soleil registers like a poem one might find in a time capsule." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Selected by Andrew Kotting, Götz Spielmann, Margaret Brown, Eulàlia Iglesias Huix, Massimo Causo.
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Pulp Fiction

Pulp Fiction

1994 / USA / 154m / Col / Crime Comedy, Ensemble Film
John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Bruce Willis, Rosanna Arquette, Amanda Plummer, Eric Stoltz, Steve Buscemi
"Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction is a film both monumental and immediately accessible, a 2 1/2-hour picture whose energy never flags. It is an exhilaration from beginning to end. It's the movie equivalent of that rare sort of novel where you find yourself checking to see how many pages are left and hoping there are more, not fewer. The tone is darkly comic in the face of almost operatic violence, though only the most squeamish of viewers will be put off. With Tarantino we get violence as part of an impish vision of life in which anything can happen -- and does… Pulp Fiction is a picture that will stand up to repeat viewings." - Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
Selected by Atom Egoyan, Thomas Elsaesser, Wang Xiaoshuai, David O. Russell, Alexey Medvedev.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
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Last Year at Marienbad

Last Year at Marienbad

L'Année dernière à Marienbad (original title); Last Year in Marienbad (UK title)
1961 / France-Italy / 94m / BW / Avant-garde-Experimental, Psychological Drama
Delphine Seyrig, Giorgio Albertazzi, Sacha Pitoeff, Francoise Bertin, Luce Garcia-Ville, Helena Kornel, Francois Spira, Karin Toche-Mittler, Pierre Barbaud, Wilhelm von Deek
"Not just a defining work of the French New Wave but one of the great, lasting mysteries of modern art, Alain Resnais’ epochal Last Year at Marienbad has been puzzling appreciative viewers for decades. Written by radical master of the New Novel Alain Robbe-Grillet, this surreal fever dream, or nightmare, gorgeously fuses the past with the present in telling its ambiguous tale of a man and a woman who may or may not have met a year ago… Unforgettable in both its confounding details and haunting scope, Resnais’ investigation into the nature of memory is disturbing, romantic, and maybe even a ghost story." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Esteve Riambau, Patrick Tam, Ronald Bergan, Marc Forster, Alejandro G. Calvo.
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Jules et Jim

Jules et Jim

Jules and Jim (English title)
1961 / France / 104m / BW / Drama, Romance
Jeanne Moreau, Oskar Werner, Henri Serre, Marie Dubois, Vanna Urbino, Sabine Haudepin, Boris Bassiak, Kate Noelle, Anny Nelsen, Christiane Wagner
"A rocking chair has a rhythm of its own; so does Jules and Jim. More than 40 years old, François Truffaut's whirling dervish remains an ageless beauty. The film appears to us as like a specter, with a sensibility about cinematic language and sexual relations rarely seen today. A better title for this benchmark of the French New Wave might have been Breathless—an apt descriptor for the film's lyrical visual flair and whirlpool of emotions. Too bad it was already taken." - Ed Gonzalez, The Village Voice
Selected by Jan Troell, Mike Leigh, Armond White, Ryan Fleck, Alexander Zeldovich.
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It's a Wonderful Life

It's a Wonderful Life

1946 / USA / 129m / BW / Comedy Drama, Fantasy
James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore, Thomas Mitchell, Henry Travers, Beulah Bondi, Gloria Grahame, H.B. Warner, Ward Bond, Frank Faylen
"James Stewart is a vision of decency as the selfless guy George Bailey who finds himself deeply loved in the smalltown community he'd once dreamed of leaving: a redemptive discovery that follows his suicidal despair one snowy Christmas night. Every time I watch it, I am surprised afresh by how late in the story Clarence the angel appears, on his mission to show George how bad the world would have looked without him. The film is gripping enough simply with the telling of George's lifestory. A genuine American classic." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Destin Daniel Cretton, Mark Kermode, Gary Tarn, Peter Farrelly, Gareth Edwards.
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Close-Up

Close-Up

Nema-ye Nazdik (original title)
1990 / Iran / 98m / Col / Docudrama, Courtroom Drama
Hossain Sabzian, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Hossain Farazmand, Abolfazl Ahankhah, Mehrdad Ahankhah, Monoochehr Ahankhah, Mahrokh Ahankhah, Nayer Mohseni Zonoozi, Ahmad Reza Moayed Mohseni, Hooshang Shamaei
"Internationally revered Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami has created some of the most inventive and transcendent cinema of the past thirty years, and Close-up is his most radical, brilliant work. This fiction-documentary hybrid uses a sensational real-life event—the arrest of a young man on charges that he fraudulently impersonated the well-known filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf—as the basis for a stunning, multilayered investigation into movies, identity, artistic creation, and existence, in which the real people from the case play themselves. With its universal themes and fascinating narrative knots, Close-up has resonated with viewers around the world." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Chris Darke, Dennis Lim, Jean-Michel Frodon, Lizzie Francke, Agnès Devictor.
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Annie Hall

Annie Hall

1977 / USA / 94m / Col / Romantic Comedy, Urban Comedy
Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Tony Roberts, Carol Kane, Paul Simon, Shelley Duvall, Janet Margolin, Colleen Dewhurst, Christopher Walken, Donald Symington
"As the story toggles between punch lines involving Marshall McLuhan and The Sorrow and the Pity and gut punches like Annie’s heartrending rendition of “Seems Like Old Times” or some half-recalled joke about eggs, you delight in the seeming effortlessness of a movie born out of turmoil. This is the link between Allen’s “earlier, funnier” stuff and more probing works like Interiors and Manhattan. Would that we all could build such masterful bridges." - Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York
Selected by Lodge Kerrigan, Peter Bradshaw, Patrick McGilligan, Joachim Trier, Marc Webb.
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Voyage to Italy

Voyage in Italy

Viaggio in Italia (original title); Journey to Italy (alternative title)
1953 / Italy / 97m / BW / Marriage Drama, Psychological Drama
Ingrid Bergman, George Sanders, Maria Mauban, Leslie Daniels, Natalia Ray, Anna Proclemer, Jackie Frost, Paul Muller, Anthony La Penna, Anthony La Penna
"Roberto Rossellini's finest fiction film, and unmistakably one of the great achievements of the art. Ingrid Bergman and George Sanders play a long-married British couple grown restless and uncommunicative. On a trip to Italy to dispose of a piece of property, they find their boredom thrown into relief by the Mediterranean landscape—its vitality (Naples) and its desolation (Pompeii). But suddenly, in one of the moments that only Rossellini can film, something lights inside them, and their love is renewed as a bond of the spirit. A crucial work, truthful and mysterious." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Michel Mourlet, Manoel de Oliveira, Richard Brody, Tag Gallagher, Rudolf Thome.
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Pickpocket

Pickpocket

1959 / France / 75m / BW / Crime Drama, Psychological Drama
Martin LaSalle, Marika Green, Pierre Leymarie, Jean Pelegri, Dolly Scal, Kassagi, Pierre Etaix, Cesar Gattegno, Sophie Saint-Just, Dominique Zardi
"Robert Bresson’s incomparable tale of crime and redemption follows Michel, a young pickpocket who spends his days working the streets, subway cars, and train stations of Paris. As his compulsion grows, however, so too does his fear that his luck is about to run out. Tautly choreographed and crafted in Bresson’s inimitable style, Pickpocket reveals a master director at the height of his powers." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Quim Casas, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Chris Darke, Corneliu Porumboiu, Edgardo Cozarinsky.
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Nashville

Nashville

1975 / USA/ 159m / Col / Ensemble Film, Media Satire
Ned Beatty, Karen Black, Ronee Blakley, Keith Carradine, Geraldine Chaplin, Shelley Duvall, Allen Garfield, Henry Gibson, Scott Glenn, Jeff Goldblum
"Spacious, shrewdly detailed and conceived with compassion and wit, it unfurls at an unhurried walking pace, spreading itself across a very American urban landscape. Nashville is the home of the Grand Old Opry, the epicentre of American country music where musicians, producers, promoters and good ol' boys are getting pressured by a political wheeler-dealer into supporting an independent new presidential candidate. Dozens of stories and lives criss-cross each other… Their intersections are brilliantly constructed by Altman, yet everything appears utterly natural and unforced - could a modern screenplay seminar teach anything like this?" - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Richard Linklater, Armond White, Patrick McGilligan, Peter Tscherkassky, Benjamin Safdie.
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Viridiana

Viridiana

1961 / Spain / 90m / BW / Comedy Drama, Satire
Silvia Pinal, Francisco Rabal, Fernando Rey, Jose Calvo, Margarita Lozano, Jose Manuel Martin, Victoria Zinny, Luis Heredia, Joaquin Roa, Teresa Rabal
"Banned in Spain and denounced by the Vatican, Luis Buñuel’s irreverent vision of life as a beggar’s banquet is regarded by many as his masterpiece. In it, novice nun Viridiana does her utmost to maintain her Catholic principles, but her lecherous uncle and a motley assemblage of paupers force her to confront the limits of her idealism. Winner of the Palme d’or at the 1961 Cannes Film Festival, Viridiana is as audacious today as ever." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Roy Andersson, Ulrich Seidl, Pere Portabella, Gilberto Perez, Les Blank.
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The Conformist

The Conformist

Il Conformista (original title)
1970 / Italy-France-West Germany / 107m / Col / Psychological Drama, Political Drama
Jean-Louis Trintignant, Stefania Sandrelli, Gastone Moschin, Dominique Sanda, Pierre Clementi, Enzo Taroscio, Jose Quaglio, Milly, Giuseppe Addobbati, Yvonne Sanson
"Overt and covert narratives aside, The Conformist is also an orgasm of coolness, ravishing compositions, camera gymnastics (the frame virtually squirms around, like Marcello), and atmospheric resonance. The actors vogue, Vittorio Storaro’s lens makes every street and room baroque, the Roman streets burn with gaslight, the dancehall bursts, the unforgettable Alpine roads lead to death and catastrophe." - Michael Atkinson, The Village Voice
Selected by Anne Billson, David Thomson, Joan Mellen, Paul Schrader, Stanley Kwan.
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Gertrud

Gertrud

1964 / Denmark / 116m / BW / Psychological Drama, Marriage Drama
Nina Pens Rode, Bendt Rothe, Ebbe Rode, Baard Owe, Axel Strobye, Karl Gustav Ahlefeldt, Vera Gebuhr, Lars Knutzon, Anna Malberg, Edouard Mielche
"Carl Dreyer’s last film neatly crowns his career: a meditation on tragedy, individual will and the refusal to compromise. A woman leaves her unfulfilling marriage and embarks on a search for ideal love—but neither a passionate affair with a younger man nor the return of an old romance can provide the answer she seeks. Always the stylistic innovator, Dreyer employs long takes and theatrical staging to concentrate on Nina Pens Rode’s sublime portrayal of the proud and courageous Gertrud." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Bernard Eisenschitz, Adriano Aprà, Carlos F. Heredero, Corneliu Porumboiu, James Quandt.
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A Clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange

1971 / UK / 137m / Col / Satire, Psychological Sci-Fi
Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee, Michael Bates, Warren Clarke, John Clive, Adrienne Corri, Carl Duering, Paul Farrell, Clive Francis, Michael Gover
"It's Kubrick's most prescient work, more astute and unsparing than any of his other films (and he had more where that came from) in putting the bleakest parts of human behavior under the microscope and laughing in disgust. It was made right after his other high watermark, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and as he returns to Earth from his mind-blowing brush with the cosmic, it's a sort of sequel about our planet rotting away from the inside." - Jeremiah Kipp, Slant Magazine
Selected by Antonio Campos, Wes Anderson, Zack Snyder, Li Shaohong, Pen-Ek Ratanaruang.
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Blue Velvet

Blue Velvet

1986 / USA / 120m / Col / Mystery, Crime Thriller
Kyle MacLachlan, Isabella Rossellini, Dennis Hopper, Laura Dern, Hope Lange, Dean Stockwell, George Dickerson, Priscilla Pointer, Frances Bay, Jack Harvey
"The last real earthquake to hit cinema was David Lynch's Blue Velvet —I'm sure directors throughout the film world felt the earth move beneath their feet and couldn't sleep the night of their first encounter with it back in 1986—and screens trembled again and again with diminishing aftershocks over the next decade as these picture makers attempted to mount their own exhilarating psychic cataclysms. But no one could quite match the traumatizing combination of horrific, comedic, aural, and subliminal effects Lynch rumbled out in this masterpiece—not even Lynch himself in the fun-filled years that followed before he recombined with himself to invent The Straight Story and Mulholland Drive." - Guy Maddin, The Village Voice
Selected by Quim Casas, Andrew Dominik, David Thomson, James Marsh, John Powers.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
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Goodfellas

GoodFellas

1990 / USA / 146m / Col / Gangster Film, Crime Drama
Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco, Paul Sorvino, Frank Sivero, Gina Mastrogiacomo, Frank Vincent, Chuck Low, Tony Darrow
"Based on the memoir of mafia thug turned government witness Henry Hill, GoodFellas dazzles foremost as a piece of pure craftsmanship. In tracking Ray Liotta's Hill as he works his way up through the organization, conspires with vicious lowlifes played by De Niro and an unforgettable Joe Pesci, and suffers a precipitous fall from grace, the film's style and texture shifts with the times. Moving from the romanticized first half to the fractured, jittery closing act, Scorsese adds Hill to a long list of consummate outsider heroes, bringing the audience closer to understanding a fringe-dweller who was seduced and abandoned by "the life." - Scott Tobias, A.V. Club
Selected by Derek Cianfrance, Fernando Meirelles, Guillermo Del Toro, Jørgen Leth, Mike Newell.
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Pierrot le fou

Pierrot le fou

Crazy Pete (English title)
1965 / France-Italy / 110m / Col / Road Movie, Romantic Drama
Jean-Paul Belmondo, Anna Karina, Dirk Sanders, Raymond Devus, Graziella Galvani, Samuel Fuller, Laszlo Szabo, Jean-Pierre Leaud, Roger Dutoit, Hans Meyer
"Dissatisfied in marriage and life, Ferdinand (Belmondo) takes to the road with the babysitter, his ex-lover Marianne Renoir (Karina), and leaves the bourgeoisie behind. Yet this is no normal road trip: genius auteur Jean-Luc Godard’s tenth feature in six years is a stylish mash-up of consumerist satire, politics, and comic-book aesthetics, as well as a violent, zigzag tale of, as Godard called them, “the last romantic couple.” With blissful color imagery by cinematographer Raoul Coutard and Belmondo and Karina at their most animated, Pierrot le fou is one of the high points of the French New Wave." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by David Thomson, Jonathan Romney, Michael Atkinson, Laura Mulvey, Patrick Tam.
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The Seventh Seal

The Seventh Seal

Det Sjunde inseglet (original title)
1957 / Sweden / 96m / BW / Fantasy, Psychological Drama
Max von Sydow, Gunnar Bjornstrand, Bengt Ekerot, Nils Poppe, Bibi Andersson, Ake Fridell, Maud Hansson, Gunnel Lindblom, Inga Gill, Inga Landgre
"Disillusioned and exhausted after a decade of battling in the Crusades, a knight (von Sydow) encounters Death on a desolate beach and challenges him to a fateful game of chess. Much studied, imitated, even parodied, but never outdone, Bergman’s stunning allegory of man’s search for meaning, The Seventh Seal, was one of the benchmark foreign imports of America’s 1950s art-house heyday, pushing cinema’s boundaries and ushering in a new era of moviegoing." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Krzysztof Zanussi, Les Blank, Mark Kermode, Michael Apted, Patrick McGilligan.
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Amarcord

Amarcord

1973 / Italy / 127m / Col / Comedy Drama, Ensemble Film
Pupella Maggio, Magali Noel, Armando Brancia, Ciccio Ingrassia, Nando Orfei, Luigi Rossi, Bruno Zanin, Gianflippo Carcano, Josiane Tanzilli, Maria Antonietta Beluzzi
"This carnivalesque portrait of provincial Italy during the fascist period, the most personal film from Federico Fellini, satirizes the director’s youth and turns daily life into a circus of social rituals, adolescent desires, male fantasies, and political subterfuge, all set to Nina Rota’s classic, nostalgia-tinged score. The Academy Award–winning Amarcord remains one of cinema’s enduring treasures." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Andrzej Zulawski, Jan Sverák, Jiří Menzel, Roy Andersson, Woody Allen.
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The Gold Rush

The Gold Rush

1925 / USA / 82m / BW / Slapstick, Adventure Comedy
Charles Chaplin, Mack Swain, Georgia Hale, Tom Murray, Betty Morrissey, Henry Bergman, Kay Deslys, Joan Lowell, Malcolm Waite, John Rand
"Charlie Chaplin’s comedic masterwork—which charts a prospector’s search for fortune in the Klondike and his discovery of romance (with the beautiful Georgia Hale)—forever cemented the iconic status of Chaplin and his Little Tramp character. Shot partly on location in the Sierra Nevadas and featuring such timeless gags as the dance of the dinner rolls and the meal of boiled shoe leather, The Gold Rush is an indelible work of heartwarming hilarity." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Geoffrey Macnab, Aki Kaurismäki, Andrzej Zulawski, Bruce Robinson, Garin Nugroho.
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The Leopard

The Leopard

Il Gattopardo (original title)
1963 / Italy / 205m / Col / Epic, Family Drama
Burt Lancaster, Alain Delon, Claudia Cardinale, Rina Morelli, Paolo Stoppa, Serge Reggiani, Romolo Valli, Leslie French, Ivo Garrani, Terence Hill
"Luchino Visconti’s The Leopard is an epic on the grandest possible scale. The film recreates, with nostalgia, drama, and opulence, the tumultuous years of Italy’s Risorgimento—when the aristocracy lost its grip and the middle classes rose and formed a unified, democratic Italy. Burt Lancaster stars as the aging prince watching his culture and fortune wane in the face of a new generation, represented by his upstart nephew (Delon) and his beautiful fiancée (Cardinale). Awarded the Palme d’Or at the 1963 Cannes Film Festival, The Leopard translates Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s novel, and the history it recounts, into a truly cinematic masterpiece. " - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Ginette Vincendeau, Esteve Riambau, Judith Williamson, Kevin MacDonald, Krzysztof Zanussi.
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Rio Bravo

Rio Bravo

1959 / USA / 141m / Col / Western, Buddy Film
John Wayne, Dean Martin, Angie Dickinson, Ricky Nelson, Walter Brennan, Ward Bond, Claude Akins, John Russell, Bob Steele, Harry Carey Jr.
"To watch Rio Bravo is to see a master craftsman at work. The film is seamless. There is not a shot that is wrong. It is uncommonly absorbing, and the 141-minute running time flows past like running water. It contains one of John Wayne’s best performances. It has surprisingly warm romantic chemistry between Wayne and Angie Dickinson. Dean Martin is touching. Ricky Nelson, then a rival of Elvis’ and with a pompadour that would have been laughed out of the Old West, improbably works in the role of a kid gunslinger. Old Walter Brennan, as the peg-legged deputy, provides comic support that never oversteps." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Kent Jones, Edward Buscombe, Laurence Kardish, Pablo Stoll, Rudolf Thome.
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The Wild Bunch

The Wild Bunch

1969 / USA / 144m / Col / Revisionist Western, Outlaw (Gunfighter) Film
William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan, Edmond O'Brien, Warren Oates, Jaime Sanchez, Ben Johnson, Emilio Fernandez, Strother Martin, L.Q. Jones
"Sam Peckinpah's notorious western depicted an outlaw gang, made obsolete by encroaching civilization, in its last burst of violent, ambiguous glory. By 1969, when the film was made, the western was experiencing its last burst as well, and in retrospect Peckinpah's film seems a eulogy for the genre (there is even a dispassionate audience—Robert Ryan's watchful Pinkerton man—built into the film). The on-screen carnage established a new level in American movies, but few of the films that followed in its wake could duplicate Peckinpah's depth of feeling." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Andrzej Zulawski, Paul Schrader, Michael Mann, Edgar Wright, Leonardo García Tsao.
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Mulholland Dr.

Mulholland Dr.

Mulholland Drive (alternative spelling)
2001 / France-US / 147m / Col / Mystery, Psychological Thriller
Naomi Watts, Laura Elena Harring, Ann Miller, Justin Theroux, Dan Hedaya, Robert Forster, Katharine Towne, Lee Grant, Billy Ray Cyrus, Chad Everett
"Fashioned from the ruins of a two-hour TV pilot rejected by ABC in 1999, Lynch's erotic thriller careens from one violent non sequitur to another. The movie boldly teeters on the brink of self-parody, reveling in its own excess and resisting narrative logic. This voluptuous phantasmagoria is certainly Lynch's strongest movie since Blue Velvet and maybe Eraserhead. The very things that failed him in the bad-boy rockabilly debacle of Lost Highway—the atmosphere of free-floating menace, pointless transmigration of souls, provocatively dropped plot stitches, gimcrack alternate universes—are here brilliantly rehabilitated." - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Selected by Jonathan Caouette, Andrew Dominik, Guy Maddin, Kim Newman, Pawel Pawlikowski.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
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Late Spring

Late Spring

Banshun (original title)
1949 / Japan / 108m / BW / Drama, Family Drama
Chishu Ryu, Setsuko Hara, Yumeji Tsukioka, Hohi Aoki, Masao Mishima, Kuniko Miyake, Haruko Sugimura, Yoshiko Tsubouchi, Jun Usami, Yoko Katsuragi
"One of the most powerful of Yasujiro Ozu’s family portraits, Late Spring tells the story of a widowed father who feels compelled to marry off his beloved only daughter. Eminent Ozu players Chishu Ryu and Setsuko Hara command this poignant tale of love and loss in postwar Japan, which remains as potent today as ever—and a strong justification for its maker’s inclusion in the pantheon of cinema’s greatest directors." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Adriano Aprà, Alexander Horwath, Berenice Reynaud, James Quandt, John Powers.
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North by Northwest

North by Northwest

1959 / USA / 136m / Col / Thriller, Chase Movie
Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, Jessie Royce Landis, Leo G. Carroll, Martin Landau, Philip Ober, Josephine Hutchinson, Adam Williams, Edward Platt
"The romcom suspense caper is a cinematic recipe that Alfred Hitchcock took with him to his grave; certainly I can't imagine anyone now succeeding in blending thrills, spills, caresses and laughs the way he did in this sublime classic from 1959… Cary Grant plays Roger Thornhill, a debonair Madison Avenue ad executive mistaken for a US agent by sinister foreign forces led by James Mason, fitted up for a murder he didn't commit and then pursued across America for some sensational setpieces, including the stunningly nightmarish crop-duster plane sequence. Naturally, he has a classic Hitchcock blonde for company: Eva Marie Saint." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Chris Fujiwara, Eran Kolirin, Jeff Nichols, V.F. Perkins, Pedro Almodóvar.
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La Strada

La Strada

1954 / Italy / 115m / BW / Melodrama, Romantic Drama
Giulietta Masina, Anthony Quinn, Richard Basehart, Aldo Silvani, Marcella Rovere, Livia Venturini, Gustavo Giorgi, Kamadeva Yami, Mario Passante, Anna Primula
"There has never been a face quite like that of Giulietta Masina. Her husband, the legendary Federico Fellini, directs her as Gelsomina in La strada, the film that launched them both to international stardom. Gelsomina is sold by her mother into the employ of Zampanò (Quinn), a brutal strongman in a traveling circus. When Zampanò encounters an old rival in highwire artist the Fool (Basehart), his fury is provoked to its breaking point. With La strada, Fellini left behind the familiar signposts of Italian neorealism for a poetic fable of love and cruelty, evoking brilliant performances and winning the hearts of audiences and critics worldwide." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Ann Hui, Asghar Farhadi, Andrei Konchalovsky, Gillies MacKinnon.
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Once Upon a Time in the West

Once Upon a Time in the West

C'era una volta il West (original title)
1968 / Italy-USA / 165m / Col / Epic Western, Spaghetti Western
Henry Fonda, Claudia Cardinale, Jason Robards, Charles Bronson, Frank Wolff, Gabriele Ferzetti, Keenan Wynn, Paolo Stoppa, Lionel Stander, Jack Elam
"Sergio Leone, famous for his spaghetti westerns shot in Spain, dared to invade John Ford's own Monument Valley for this 1968 epic. He brought back a masterpiece, a film that expands his baroque, cartoonish style into genuine grandeur, weaving dozens of thematic variations and narrative arabesques around a classical western foundation myth. It's very much a foreigner's film, drawing its elements not from historical reality but from the mythic base made universal by the movies. Moments of intense realism flow into passages of operatic extravagance; lowbrow burlesque exists side by side with the expression of the most refined shades of feeling." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Joss Whedon, Christopher Frayling, Joe Dante, Jørgen Leth, Mika Kaurismäki.
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The Battle of Algiers

The Battle of Algiers

La Battaglia di Algeri (original title)
1965 / Italy-Algeria / 123m / BW / Docudrama, Political Drama
Jean Martin, Yacef Saadi, Brahim Haggiag, Samia Kerbash, Tommaso Neri, Michele Kerbash, Ugo Paletti, Fusia El Kader, Franco Morici, Omar
"The Battle of Algiers has often been compared to Potemkin as an example of incendiary, documentary-style political filmmaking. But Eisenstein’s classic was a flurry of highly theatrical techniques; there was a formality to the revolutionary chaos he unleashed, with carefully patterned crowds surging on cue. Pontecorvo’s approach is much looser and more caught-in-the-moment, although everything is carefully choreographed." - Peter Rainer, New York Magazine
Selected by Antoine Fuqua, Sarah Polley, Penny Woolcock, Christopher Frayling, Joan Mellen.
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Wild Strawberries

Wild Strawberries

Smultronstället (original title)
1957 / Sweden / 90m / BW / Drama, Psychological Drama
Victor Sjostrom, Bibi Andersson, Ingrid Thulin, Gunnar Bjornstrand, Naima Wifstrand, Bjorn Bjelvenstam, Max von Sydow, Jullan Kindahl, Folke Sundquist, Gunnel Brostrom
"The film that catapulted Bergman to the forefront of world cinema is the director’s richest, most humane movie. Traveling to receive an honorary degree, Professor Isak Borg (masterfully played by the veteran Swedish director Victor Sjöström), is forced to face his past, come to terms with his faults, and accept the inevitability of his approaching death. Through flashbacks and fantasies, dreams and nightmares, Wild Strawberries captures a startling voyage of self-discovery and renewed belief in mankind." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Philip French, Walter Salles, Ginette Vincendeau, Jan Troell, Andrey Zvyagintsev.
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Pather Panchali

Pather Panchali

1955 / India / 112m / BW / Rural Drama, Family Drama
Kanu Banerji, Karuna Banerji, Uma Das Gupta, Subir Banerji, Chunibala Devi, Runki Banerji, Reva Devi, Rama Gangopadhaya, Tulshi Chakraborty, Harimoran Nag
"Fresh as a daisy after all these years, Satyajit Ray's 1955 spellbinder comes underpinned by a tumultuous Ravi Shankar sitar and paints a ground's-eye portrait of life in an impoverished Bengali village. This is a place where the thundering locomotives offer the promise of flight, where decrepit relatives take themselves quietly off to die, and where a child's petty thievery emerges as a defiant act of self-empowerment. The first chapter in Ray's fabled Apu trilogy, Pather Panchali was shot on the cheap, at weekends, with an untried crew. They rustled up a film that is at once intensely local and gloriously universal." - Xan Brooks, The Guardian
Selected by Adoor Gopalakrishnan, David Robinson, Garin Nugroho, J. Hoberman, Greg Mottola.
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Ugetsu monogatari

Ugetsu monogatari

Ugetsu (alternative title)
1953 / Japan / 96m / BW / Romantic Fantasy, Period Film
Masayuki Mori, Machiko Kyo, Eitaro Ozawa, Kinuyo Tanaka, Mitsuko Mito, Sugisaku Aoyama, Ryosuke Kagawa, Kichijiro Tsuchida, Mitsusaburo Ramon, Ichisaburo Sawamura
"Quite simply one of the greatest of filmmakers,” said Jean-Luc Godard of Kenji Mizoguchi. And Ugetsu, a ghost story like no other, is surely the Japanese director’s supreme achievement. Derived from stories by Akinari Ueda and Guy de Maupassant, this haunting tale of love and loss—with its exquisite blending of the otherworldly and the real—is one of the most beautiful films ever made." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Thomas Elsaesser, Graham Fuller, Arturo Ripstein, Michel Mourlet, Manoel de Oliveira.
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Pasted Graphic

Stalker

1979 / USSR / 160m / Col-BW / Science Fiction, Psychological Sci-Fi
Aleksandr Kajdanovsky, Anatoli Solonitsyn, Nikolai Grinko, Alisa Frejndlikh, Natasha Abramova, Ye. Kostin, R. Rendi, F. Yurma
"The Stalker leads two men, the Writer and the Professor, across the Zone - a forbidden territory deep inside a police state - towards the Room, which can lay bare the devices and desires of your heart… The wettest, grimmest trek ever seen on film leads to nihilistic impasse - huddled in dirt, the discovery of faith seems impossible; and without faith, life outside the Zone, impossible. But hang on in to the ending, where a plain declaration of love and a vision of pure magic at least point the way to redemption. As always, Tarkovsky conjures images like you've never seen before; and as a journey to the heart of darkness, it's a good deal more persuasive than Coppola's." - Chris Peachment, Time Out
Selected by Andrew Kotting, Lisandro Alonso, Gillies MacKinnon, Glenn Kenny, Julian Jarrold.
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Shoah

Shoah

1985 / France / 566m / Col / Military & War, Documentary
Simon Srebnik, Michael Podchlebnik, Motke Zaidl, Hanna Zaidl, Jan Piwonski, Itzhak Dugin, Richard Glazer, Paula Biren, Pana Pietyra, Pan Filipowicz
"Lanzmann's great nine-hour documentary on the Holocaust… Despite its length, it is one of the most consistently engrossing and powerful movies ever made. Lanzmann doesn't utilize old newsreel footage or archival material. His emphasis, in interviews and footage he shot over five years, is entirely on the words and faces of the eyewitnesses to the "Final Solution" – Jewish survivors of the camps, Germans and Poles who worked in the camps, old Nazi officials… With patient, horrible deliberateness, he repeatedly circles back to images of train tracks to the death camps, to pastoral countrysides camouflaging mass graves." - Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor
Selected by Amy Taubin, Berenice Reynaud, Carlos F. Heredero, Gavin Smith, Gillies MacKinnon.
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The Apartment

The Apartment

1960 / USA / 125m / BW / Comedy Drama, Workplace Comedy
Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Fred MacMurray, Ray Walston, Jack Kruschen, Edie Adams, David Lewis, Joan Shawlee, Hope Holiday, Johnny Seven
"The Apartment, is one of Billy Wilder's funniest, most uncompromisingly bleak comedies, his second collaboration with Jack Lemmon, who plays a variation on that recurrent Wilder character, the weak guy who becomes a pimp or a gigolo to advance his career… Alexander Trauner's sets are unforgettable and Shirley MacLaine is deeply moving as the exploited lift attendant Lemmon comes to care for. She has a great final line, nearly as good as the unforgettable payoff in the preceding Wilder movie, Some Like it Hot." - Philip French, The Observe
Selected by Asghar Farhadi, Francis Ford Coppola, José Luis Garci, Mark Cousins, Lone Scherfig.
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Les Enfants du paradis

Les Enfants du paradis

Children of Paradise (English title)
1945 / France / 195m / BW / Period Film, Romantic Drama
Pierre Brasseur, Arletty, Jean-Louis Barrault, Pierre Renoir, Maria Casares, Gaston Modot, Fabien Loris, Marcel Herrand, Louis Salou, Jane Marken
"Children Of Paradise is the ultimate theater-as-life movie, rich in historical allusions past and present, a landmark production that overcame constant harassment by the Germans and stands as a key testament to the spirit of the French Resistance. But apart from mere dissertation fodder, the film remains an exemplary piece of popular entertainment, full of vibrancy and wit, with unforgettable characters and a delicate, bittersweet tone that considers their emotions in balance." - Scott Tobias, A.V. Club
Selected by John McNaughton, Kenneth Turan, Monte Hellman, Peter Whitehead, Tim Lucas.
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Fanny and Alexander

Fanny and Alexander

Fanny och Alexander (original title)
1982 / Sweden / 189m / Col / Family Drama, Childhood Drama
Gunn Wallgren, Jarl Kulle, Erland Josephson, Allan Edwall, Jan Malmsjo, Harriet Andersson, Bertil Guve, Mats Bergman, Gunnar Bjornstrand, Kristina Adolphson
"Through the eyes of ten-year-old Alexander, we witness the delights and conflicts of the Ekdahl family, a sprawling bourgeois clan in turn-of-the-twentieth-century Sweden. Ingmar Bergman intended Fanny and Alexander as his swan song, and it is the legendary director’s warmest and most autobiographical film, a four-time Academy Award–winning triumph that combines his trademark melancholy and emotional intensity with immense joy and sensuality." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Agnieszka Holland, Andrei Konchalovsky, Esteve Riambau, Kent Jones, Lone Scherfig.
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Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Dr. Strangelove (alternative title)
1964 / UK / 93m / BW / Black Comedy, Anti-War Film
Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden, Keenan Wynn, Slim Pickens, Peter Bull, Tracy Reed, James Earl Jones, Jack Creley, Frank Berry
"Perhaps Kubrick's most perfectly realised film, simply because his cynical vision of the progress of technology and human stupidity is wedded with comedy, in this case Terry Southern's sparkling script in which the world comes to an end thanks to a mad US general's paranoia about women and commies… Kubrick wanted to have the antics end up with a custard-pie finale, but thank heavens he didn't; the result is scary, hilarious, and nightmarishly beautiful, far more effective in its portrait of insanity and call for disarmament than any number of worthy anti-nuke documentaries." - Geoff Andrew, Time Out
Selected by Joseph McBride, Lawrence Kasdan, Leonardo García Tsao, Michael Mann, Ray Lawrence.
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The Third Man

The Third Man

1949 / UK / 104m / BW / Mystery, Film Noir
Joseph Cotten, Orson Welles, Alida Valli, Trevor Howard, Paul Horbiger, Bernard Lee, Ernst Deutsch, Wilfred Hyde-White, Erich Ponto, Siegfried Breuer
"Pulp novelist Holly Martins travels to shadowy, postwar Vienna, only to find himself investigating the mysterious death of an old friend, black-market opportunist Harry Lime—and thus begins this legendary tale of love, deception, and murder. Thanks to brilliant performances by Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, and Orson Welles; Anton Karas’s evocative zither score; Graham Greene’s razor-sharp dialogue; and Robert Krasker’s dramatic use of light and shadow, The Third Man, directed by the inimitable Carol Reed, only grows in stature as the years pass." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Kenneth Turan, Kenneth Branagh, Carrie Rickey, Peter Whitehead, Nasreen Munni Kabir.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
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In the Mood for Love

In the Mood for Love

Fa yeung nin wa (original title)
2000 / Hong Kong-France / 97m / Col / Melodrama, Romantic Drama
Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung, Rebecca Pan, Lui Chun, Ping Lam Siu, Chin Chi-Ang, Chan Man-Lui, Koo Kam-Wah, Ysu Hsien, Chow Po-Chun
"Hong Kong, 1962: Chow Mo-wan (Leung) and Su Li-zhen (Cheung) move into neighboring apartments on the same day. Their encounters are formal and polite—until a discovery about their spouses creates an intimate bond between them. At once delicately mannered and visually extravagant, Wong Kar-wai’s In the Mood for Love is a masterful evocation of romantic longing and fleeting moments. With its aching musical soundtrack and exquisitely abstract cinematography by Christopher Doyle and Mark Lee Ping-bin, this film has been a major stylistic influence on the past decade of cinema, and is a milestone in Wong’s redoubtable career." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Nick James, B. Ruby Rich, Carlos F. Heredero, Michael Glawogger, Paul Julian Smith.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
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Barry Lyndon

Barry Lyndon

1975 / UK / 183m / Col / Drama, Period Film
Ryan O'Neal, Marisa Berenson, Patrick Magee, Hardy Kruger, Steven Berkoff, Gay Hamilton, Marie Kean, Leonard Rossiter, Godfrey Quigley, Arthur O'Sullivan
"Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon, received indifferently in 1975, has grown in stature in the years since and is now widely regarded as one of the master's best. It is certainly in every frame a Kubrick film: technically awesome, emotionally distant, remorseless in its doubt of human goodness… Some people find Barry Lyndon a fascinating, if cold, exercise in masterful filmmaking; others find it a terrific bore. I have little sympathy for the second opinion; how can anyone be bored by such an audacious film?" - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Agnieszka Holland, Andrew Dominik, Geoffrey Macnab, John McNaughton, Manohla Dargis.
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Playtime

Playtime

Play Time (alternative title)
1967 / France / 108m / Col / Satire, Urban Comedy
Jacques Tati, Barbara Dennek, Jacqueline Lecomte, Valerie Camille, France Rumilly, France Delahelle, Laure Paillette, Colette Proust, Erika Dentzler, Yvette Ducreux
"Jacques Tati’s gloriously choreographed, nearly wordless comedies about confusion in the age of technology reached their creative apex with Playtime. For this monumental achievement, a nearly three-year-long, bank-breaking production, Tati again thrust the endearingly clumsy, resolutely old-fashioned Monsieur Hulot, along with a host of other lost souls, into a bafflingly modernist Paris. With every inch of its superwide frame crammed with hilarity and inventiveness, Playtime is a lasting testament to a modern age tiptoeing on the edge of oblivion." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Dave Kehr, Kristin Thompson, Manoel de Oliveira, Peter Tscherkassky, Richard Brody.
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M

M

M - Eine Stadt sucht einen Mörder (alternative title)
1931 / Germany / 99m / BW / Psychological Thriller, Police Detective Film
Peter Lorre, Otto Wernicke, Ellen Widmann, Gustaf Grundgens, Theodor Loos, Inge Landgut, Theo Lingen, Georg John, Ernst Stahl-Nachbaur, Paul Kemp
"A simple, haunting musical phrase whistled offscreen tells us that a young girl will be killed. “Who Is the Murderer?” pleads a nearby placard as serial killer Hans Beckert (Lorre) closes in on little Elsie Beckmann… In his harrowing masterwork M, Fritz Lang merges trenchant social commentary with chilling suspense, creating a panorama of private madness and public hysteria that to this day remains the blueprint for the psychological thriller." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Béla Tarr, Bernard Eisenschitz, Jean-Michel Frodon, Jørgen Leth, Kristin Thompson.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
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Chinatown

Chinatown

1974 / USA / 131m / Col / Mystery, Post-Noir (Modern Noir)
Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston, Perry Lopez, John Hillerman, Darrell Zwerling, Diane Ladd, Roman Polanski, Roy Jenson, Dick Bakalyan
"One of those classic American movies from the 1970s, when studios were churning out themes instead of properties for theme parks, Chinatown can be enjoyed on multiple levels. It's a first-class detective story about a man killed by drowning in the middle of a Los Angeles drought. On top of that, it's a disturbing parable about the pressure put on the human heart… This heavy material is handled with a light cinematic touch by director Roman Polanski. With no stylistic affectations, no deep shadows or German Expressionistic camera placements, all of the elements of the crime story are instead brought out into the sunlight." - Jeremiah Kipp, Slant Magazine
Selected by Ann Hui, Molly Haskell, Anne Billson, David O. Russell, Andreas Furler.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
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La Grande illusion

La Grande illusion

Grand Illusion (English title)
1937 / France / 117m / BW / Anti-War Film, War Drama
Jean Gabin, Pierre Fresnay, Erich von Stroheim, Dita Parlo, Julien Carette, Georges Peclet, Werner Florian, Jean Daste, Sylvain Itkine, Gaston Modot
"Not only hugely important in film history — it was the first foreign-language movie ever to be Oscar-nominated for Best Picture — but a sorrowful, acutely thoughtful, and wholly imperishable masterpiece, Renoir’s drama about First World War fortunes and the demise of Old Europe holds up sublimely: better, even, than La Règle du jeu (1939), which is more often called his crowning achievement. The friendship forged between Pierre Fresnay’s French captain and Erich von Stroheim’s refined German commandant lends a core of humanity as vulnerable as it is profound." - Tim Robey, The Telegraph
Selected by Andrzej Zulawski, David Robinson, Ginette Vincendeau, Krzysztof Zanussi, Michael Caton-Jones.
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The Night of the Hunter

The Night of the Hunter

1955 / USA / 93m / BW / Crime Thriller, Psychological Thriller
Robert Mitchum, Lillian Gish, Shelley Winters, Peter Graves, Billy Chapin, James Gleason, Sally Ann Bruce, Evelyn Varden, Don Beddoe, Gloria Castillo
"The Night of the Hunter—incredibly, the only film the great actor Charles Laughton ever directed—is truly a stand-alone masterwork. A horror movie with qualities of a Grimm fairy tale, it stars a sublimely sinister Robert Mitchum as a traveling preacher named Harry Powell, whose nefarious motives for marrying a fragile widow, played by Shelley Winters, are uncovered by her terrified young children. Graced by images of eerie beauty and a sneaky sense of humor, this ethereal, expressionistic American classic—also featuring the contributions of actress Lillian Gish and writer James Agee—is cinema’s most eccentric rendering of the battle between good and evil." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Andrew Dominik, Jan Troell, Nicolas Philibert, Paolo Mereghetti, Pere Portabella.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
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Metropolis

Metropolis

1927 / Germany / 153m / BW / Science Fiction, Psychological Sci-Fi
Alfred Abel, Gustav Frohlich, Brigitte Helm, Rudolf Klein-Rogge, Fritz Rasp, Theodor Loos, Erwin Biswanger, Heinrich George, Olaf Storm, Hans Leo Reich
"The movie has a plot that defies common sense, but its very discontinuity is a strength. It makes Metropolis hallucinatory--a nightmare without the reassurance of a steadying story line. Few films have ever been more visually exhilarating… Metropolis does what many great films do, creating a time, place and characters so striking that they become part of our arsenal of images for imagining the world… Lang filmed for nearly a year, driven by obsession, often cruel to his colleagues, a perfectionist madman, and the result is one of those seminal films without which the others cannot be fully appreciated." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Atom Egoyan, Carrie Rickey, Graham Fuller, Patrick McGilligan, Thomas Elsaesser.
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Modern Times

Modern Times

1936 / USA / 89m / BW / Comedy, Satire
Charles Chaplin, Paulette Goddard, Henry Bergman, Stanley "Tiny" Sandford, Chester Conklin, Allan Garcia, Hank Mann, Louis Natheaux, Stanley Blystone, Sammy Stein
"Modern Times, Charlie Chaplin’s last outing as the Little Tramp, puts the iconic character to work as a giddily inept factory employee who becomes smitten with a gorgeous gamine (Goddard). With its barrage of unforgettable gags and sly commentary on class struggle during the Great Depression, Modern Times—though made almost a decade into the talkie era and containing moments of sound (even song!)—is a timeless showcase of Chaplin’s untouchable genius as a director of silent comedy." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Michel Gondry, Asghar Farhadi, Guillermo Del Toro, Greg Mottola, Jan Troell.
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Rear Window

Rear Window

1954 / USA / 112m / Col / Thriller, Romantic Mystery
James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey, Thelma Ritter, Raymond Burr, Judith Evelyn, Ross Bagdasarian, Georgine Darcy, Sara Berner, Frank Cady
"Hitchcock proves again to be "The Master Of Suspense," but in Rear Window—and much of his other work, for that matter—he's the master of a lot more than that. Witness, for example, his suggestive use of offscreen space to piece together a murder without showing a single violent act. Or the subtle erotic charge that finally hits Stewart once Kelly leaves the apartment and crosses over into his voyeuristic gaze. Or the film's witty commentary on the fundamental oddities of human behavior. In its perfect fusion of popular entertainment and high art, Rear Window ranks among Hitchcock's best." - Scott Tobias, A.V. Club
Selected by James Naremore, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Jørgen Leth, Kristin Thompson, Susanne Bier.
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Au hasard Balthazar

Au hasard Balthazar

Balthazar (alternative title)
1966 / France / 95m / BW / Rural Drama, Animal Picture
Anne Wiazemsky, Francois Lafarge, Philippe Asselin, Natalie Joyaut, Walter Green, J-C Guilbert, Pierre Klossowski, Francois Sullerot, M.C. Fremont, Jean Remignard
"A profound masterpiece from one of the most revered filmmakers in the history of cinema, director Robert Bresson’s Au hasard Balthazar follows the donkey Balthazar as he is passed from owner to owner, some kind and some cruel but all with motivations beyond his understanding. Balthazar, whose life parallels that of his first keeper, Marie, is truly a beast of burden, suffering the sins of man. But despite his powerlessness, he accepts his fate nobly. Through Bresson’s unconventional approach to composition, sound, and narrative, this seemingly simple story becomes a moving parable of purity and transcendence." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Amy Taubin, Andrei Konchalovsky, Béla Tarr, David Sterritt, Eugene Green.
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Contempt

Contempt

Le Mépris (original title)
1963 / France-Italy / 103m / Col / Showbiz Drama, Satire
Brigitte Bardot, Michel Piccoli, Jack Palance, Fritz Lang, Giorgia Moll, Jean-Luc Godard, Linda Veras, Raoul Coutard
"Godard at his most tyrannically playful, deconstructing everything from cinematic technique to the sociological significance of Brigitte Bardot's ass. This masterpiece is the work of a Godard who was still willing to do battle with conventional storylines, rather than the occasionally lazy didact who took over later in the decade… Ultimately, what makes Contempt one of Godard's best films is the fact that the movie industry storyline meshes so well with Godard's incessantly self-conscious experimentation; what seems irrelevant and intrusive in some of his movies makes perfect sense in the context of a movie that is all about the way movies are made." - Sam Adams, Philadelphia City Paper
Selected by Derek Cianfrance, Amos Gitai, Corneliu Porumboiu, Dave Kehr, Gerald Peary.
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The General

The General

1926 / USA / 74m / BW / Adventure Comedy, Slapstick
Buster Keaton, Marion Mack, Glen Cavender, Jim Farley, Frederick Vroom, Joe Keaton, Charles Smith, Frank Barnes, Mike Donlin, Tom Nawn
"Keaton displays extraordinary and insouciant athleticism as a train driver during the American Civil War, who rescues both his beloved engine The General and the woman he adores from enemy forces. His stunts and sight gags, perfectly framed and presented for maximum clarity and comic impact, fit perfectly into an ambitious action epic. Spectacular chases, fires and explosions are captured with fluid camerawork. There are no stunt doubles for Keaton and of course no digital effects. This is the real thing you're watching - in every sense. It has incidentally, one of the cleverest "sniper" sequences to be seen in any war movie." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Geoff Andrew, Kristin Thompson, Patrick McGilligan, Richard Lester, Roger Ebert.
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Casablanca

Casablanca

1942 / USA / 102m / BW / Drama, War Romance
Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains, Paul Henreid, Conrad Veidt, Sydney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, Dooley Wilson, Marcel Dalio, S.Z. Sakall
"Seeing the film over and over again, year after year, I find it never grows over-familiar. It plays like a favorite musical album; the more I know it, the more I like it. The black-and-white cinematography has not aged as color would. The dialogue is so spare and cynical it has not grown old-fashioned. Much of the emotional effect of Casablanca is achieved by indirection; as we leave the theater, we are absolutely convinced that the only thing keeping the world from going crazy is that the problems of three little people do after all amount to more than a hill of beans." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Monte Hellman, F. Gary Gray, José Luis Garci, Atilla Dorsay, Chris Knight.
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Ordet

Ordet

The Word (English title)
1955 / Denmark / 125m / BW / Drama, Religious Drama
Henrik Malberg, Emil Hass Christensen, Preben Lerdoff-Rye, Cay Kristiansen, Birgitte Federspiel, Ejner Federspiel, Ove Rud, Ann Elisabeth Rud, Susanne Rud, Gerda Nielsen
"‘Powerful’ doesn’t do justice to this 1955 exploration of life, death and faith from Danish master Carl Theodor Dreyer. Based on Kaj Munk’s 1932 play, Ordet is an austere, realist work on one level as it joins a farming family in their Jutland home over a short but devastating period of time… But, on another level, this is a deeply spiritual, mysterious and wonderfully odd and bold work as Dreyer reaches to the heavens and beyond for answers… Ordet reminds us how in the end we know little about the mysteries of life. Dreyer manages to say all this within the framework of a strange, wondrous and shocking work. Once seen, it’s unlikely to leave you." - Dave Calhoun, Time Out
Selected by Andrey Zvyagintsev, Geoff Andrew, Hong Sang-soo, José Luis Guerín, Krzysztof Zanussi.
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Touch of Evil

Touch of Evil

1958 / USA / 108m / BW / Crime, Film Noir
Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, Orson Welles, Joseph Calleia, Akim Tamiroff, Marlene Dietrich, Dennis Weaver, Ray Collins, Mercedes McCambridge, Lalo Rios
"Made in 1958, it was Orson Welles's last Hollywood film, and in it he makes transcendent use of the American technology his genius throve on; never again would his resources be so rich or his imagination so fiendishly baroque. Welles stars as the sheriff of a corrupt border town who finds his nemesis in visiting Mexican narcotics agent Charlton Heston; the witnesses to this weirdly gargantuan struggle include Janet Leigh, Marlene Dietrich, Akim Tamiroff, and Joseph Calleia, who holds the film's moral center with sublime uncertainty." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by James Naremore, Arturo Ripstein, Stephanie Zacharek, Abel Ferrara, Tony Rayns.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
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Blade Runner

Blade Runner

1982 / USA / 118m / Col / Science Fiction, Tech Noir
Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos, M. Emmet Walsh, Daryl Hannah, William Sanderson, Brion James, Joseph Turkel, Joanna Cassidy
"Whether it be its narrative fatalism or its haunting evocation of its urban setting, a multicultural techno-grunge hellhole drenched in rain, infested with advertising and shrouded in mist, the film continues to be the mother of modern sci-fi, blending disparate genres with philosophical queries to produce a work that remains, 25 years and reams of critical analysis later, the style-over-substance Scott's only substantive text." - Nick Schager, Slant Magazine
Selected by Ben Wheatley, Jan Sverák, Thomas Elsaesser, Joel Schumacher, Gary Tarn.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
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Sunset Blvd.

Sunset Blvd.

Sunset Boulevard (alternative spelling)
1950 / USA / 110m / BW / Showbiz Drama, Satire
Gloria Swanson, William Holden, Erich von Stroheim, Nancy Olson, Fred Clark, Jack Webb, Cecil B. DeMille, Buster Keaton, Hedda Hopper, Lloyd Gough
"Gloria Swanson deserves to be called iconic in Billy Wilder's priceless 1950 classic. She is Norma Desmond, the forgotten silent movie queen living in shabby, mouldering opulence. It is a delicious comedy with a psycho edge, as hard-up screenwriter Joe Gillis (Holden) has car trouble and pulls off Sunset Boulevard into a strange driveway, at the top of which lies a veritable Bates motel of sociopathy and rage: Norma's creepy mansion. He is sucked into the world of a kept man, with horrifying results. This is an unmissable commentary on Hollywood's rejection of its silent past: a kind of Sobbin' in the Rain." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Andrei Plakhov, Andrew Dominik, Michael Caton-Jones, Nasreen Munni Kabir, P.J. Hogan.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
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Some Like it Hot

Some Like it Hot

1959 / USA / 119m / BW / Comedy, Farce
Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, Marilyn Monroe, George Raft, Pat O'Brien, Joe E. Brown, Nehemiah Persoff, Joan Shawlee, Billy Gray, George E. Stone
"Wilder's 1959 comedy is one of the enduring treasures of the movies, a film of inspiration and meticulous craft, a movie that's about nothing but sex and yet pretends it's about crime and greed. It is underwired with Wilder's cheerful cynicism, so that no time is lost to soppiness and everyone behaves according to basic Darwinian drives. When sincere emotion strikes these characters, it blindsides them: Curtis thinks he wants only sex, Monroe thinks she wants only money, and they are as astonished as delighted to find they want only each other." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Christopher Frayling, Jan Troell, Joseph McBride, Kevin MacDonald, Laurence Kardish.
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L'Avventura

L'Avventura

The Adventure (English title)
1960 / Italy-France / 145m / BW / Drama, Psychological Drama
Monica Vitti, Gabriele Ferzetti, Lea Massari, Dominique Blanchar, James Addams, Lelio Luttazi, Esmeralda Ruspoli, Renzo Ricci, Dorothy De Poliolo, Giovanni Petrucci
"More than any other film L’Avventura seems to define the spirit of a time in cinema when anything seemed possible and there was no territory into which it could not venture. Above all what it seeks to capture is the world of fleeting emotion, feelings which are unstable and crystallize only momentarily in the camera’s gaze. After L’Avventura, Antonioni did not look back. He made three further films with Vitti each time pushing further back the frontiers of what cinema could explore… But L’Avventura is the one that started Antonioni on his quest, and remains the one that most clearly represents the unique nature of his art." - Geoffrey Nowell-Smith, The Criterion Collection
Selected by Andrzej Zulawski, Armond White, David Denby, Edward Buscombe, Julian Graffy.
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La Dolce vita

La Dolce vita

1960 / Italy / 175m / BW / Comedy Drama, Media Satire
Marcello Mastroianni, Yvonne Furneaux, Anouk Aimee, Anita Ekberg, Magali Noel, Alain Cuny, Annibale Ninchi, Lex Barker, Nadia Gray, Walter Santesso
"Fellini may be the most dated and retrospectively overinflated of the new wave era's headline acts, but La Dolce Vita is still a potent, expressionistic launch into post-war Euro-emptiness that shares a rarely acknowledged helix with Antonioni's L'Avventura… Outlandishly fashionable in its day thanks to the very decadence it critiques, the movie is almost Chayefsky-esque in its desolate portrait of a self-disgusted "society" reporter (Mastroianni) as he wanders in and out of the Roman celebrity-royalty-publicity swampland. Hardly just bourgeois target practice, Fellini's movie focuses on what had become of pop culture after fascism." - Michael Atkinson, The Village Voice
Selected by Penny Woolcock, Arturo Ripstein, Greg Mottola, Laurence Kardish, Mike Figgis.
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City Lights

City Lights

1931 / USA / 86m / BW / Comedy Drama, Romance
Charles Chaplin, Virginia Cherrill, Florence Lee, Harry Myers, Hank Mann, Allan Garcia, Henry Bergman, Albert Austin, John Rand, James Donnelly
"If only one of Charles Chaplin's films could be preserved, City Lights would come the closest to representing all the different notes of his genius. It contains the slapstick, the pathos, the pantomime, the effortless physical coordination, the melodrama, the bawdiness, the grace, and, of course, the Little Tramp--the character said, at one time, to be the most famous image on earth." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Esteve Riambau, Andrei Konchalovsky, José Luis Guerín, Walter Salles, Marc Webb.
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Mirror

The Mirror

Zerkalo (original title)
1974 / USSR / 108m / Col-BW / Avant-garde-Experimental, Essay Film
Margarita Terekhova, Filipp Yankovsky, Ignat Daniltsev, Anatoli Solonitsyn, Nikolai Grinko, L. Correcer, Alla Demidova, Oleg Yankovsky, Innokenti Smoktunovsky, L. Tarkovskaya
"Tarkovsky goes for the great white whale of politicised art - no less than a history of his country in this century seen in terms of the personal - and succeeds. Intercutting a fragmented series of autobiographical episodes, which have only the internal logic of dream and memory, with startling documentary footage, he lovingly builds a world where the domestic expands into the political and crisscrosses back again. Unique its form, unique its vision." - Chris Peachment, Time Out
Selected by Tarsem Singh, Agnieszka Holland, Andrei Plakhov, Ann Hui, Dina Iordanova.
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Psycho

Psycho

1960 / USA / 109m / BW / Thriller, Psychological Thriller
Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, John Gavin, Martin Balsam, John McIntire, Simon Oakland, John Anderson, Lurene Tuttle, Frank Albertson
"Where would we be without Psycho? Fifty years on and Hitch’s delicious cod-Freudian nightmare about a platinum-blonde embezzler (Leigh) who neglected to consult a guide before selecting her motel still has much to answer for. It blazed a bloody trail for the much-loved slasher cycle, but it also assured us that a B-movie could be A-grade in quality and innovation. It dared to suggest that your star didn’t need to surface from an ordeal smelling of roses (or, indeed, at all). It combined a knife, a scream, a melon, some chocolate sauce, Bernard Herrmann’s greatest score and more than 70 edits to push the envelope of screen violence." - David Jenkins, Time Out
Selected by Esteve Riambau, Edward Buscombe, Bruce Robinson, Christopher Frayling, Edgar Wright.
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Andrei Rublev

Andrei Rublev

Andrey Rublyov (original title)
1966 / USSR / 185m / Col-BW / Historical Film, Biography
Anatoli Solonitsyn, Ivan Lapikov, Nikolai Grinko, Nikolai Sergueiev, Irma Raouch, Nikolai Bourliaiev, Youn Nasarov, Yuri Nikulin, Rolan Bykov, Nikolai Grabbe
"Its greatness as moviemaking immediately evident, Andrei Rublev was the most historically audacious production in the twenty-odd years since Sergei Eisenstein’s Ivan the Terrible. Tarkovsky’s epic—and largely invented—biography of Russia’s greatest icon painter, Andrei Rublev (c. 1360–1430), was a superproduction gone ideologically berserk. Violent, even gory, for a Soviet film, Andrei Rublev is set against the carnage of the Tatar invasions and takes the form of a chronologically discontinuous pageant." - J. Hoberman, The Criterion Collection
Selected by Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Arturo Ripstein, Carlos Reygadas, Leonardo García Tsao, Mark Romanek.
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Lawrence of Arabia

Lawrence of Arabia

1962 / UK / 216m / Col / Epic, British Empire Film
Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, Jack Hawkins, Jose Ferrer, Omar Sharif, Anthony Quayle, Claude Rains, Arthur Kennedy, Donald Wolfit
"Like virtually all Hollywood films, it takes plenty of poetic license –oversimplifying the Middle East campaigns of World War I… As a shining example of a vanished breed of epic filmmaking, though, it can't be beat. The scene most admirers remember best –a near-dead Lawrence reemerging from the desert after risking his life to rescue a fallen comrade – is so long and minimal that no director in the age of Spielberg & Co. would dream of attempting it… In short, they don't make 'em like this one anymore. Viewing it is like taking a time machine to a movie age that was more naive than our own in some ways, more sophisticated and ambitious in others." - David Sterritt, The Christian Science Monitor
Selected by Armond White, Christopher Frayling, Jeff Nichols, Kevin Jackson, Lawrence Kasdan.
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The 400 Blows

The 400 Blows

Les Quatre cents coups (original title); The Four Hundred Blows (alternative spelling)
1959 / France / 99m / BW / Childhood Drama, Coming-of-Age
Jean-Pierre Leaud, Albert Remy, Claire Maurier, Guy Decomble, Patrick Auffay, Georges Flamant, Yvonne Claudie, Robert Beauvais, Claude Mansard, Jacques Monod
"Francois Truffaut's The 400 Blows is one of the most intensely touching stories ever made about a young adolescent. Inspired by Truffaut's own early life, it shows a resourceful boy growing up in Paris and apparently dashing headlong into a life of crime… The later films have their own merits, and Stolen Kisses is one of Truffaut's best, but The 400 Blows, with all its simplicity and feeling, is in a class by itself. It was Truffaut's first feature, and one of the founding films of the French New Wave. We sense that it was drawn directly out of Truffaut's heart." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Richard Linklater, Sukhdev Sandhu, Joseph McBride, Leonardo García Tsao, Patrick McGilligan.
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Pasted Graphic

Raging Bull

1980 / USA / 128m / BW / Biography, Sports Drama
Robert De Niro, Cathy Moriarty, Joe Pesci, Frank Vincent, Nicholas Colasanto, Theresa Saldana, Mario Gallo, Frank Adonis, Frank Topham, Lori Anne Flax
"This is the high-water mark of the Scorsese/De Niro partnership. De Niro plays the fanatically aggressive middleweight boxer, paranoid, driven and unhappy, who alienates everyone around him as he descends into self-loathing and loneliness. Joe Pesci and Cathy Moriarty are superb as his brother and wife. Its editor, Thelma Schoonmaker, established the movie as a classic example of her art, and the monochrome cinematography is superb. Unmissable." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Andrew Dominik, Andrew Kotting, Gavin Smith, Bruce Robinson, Francis Ford Coppola.
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The Godfather Part II

The Godfather Part II

1974 / USA / 200m / Col / Gangster Film, Crime Drama
Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, Robert De Niro, Talia Shire, John Cazale, Lee Strasberg, Michael V. Gazzo, Richard Bright, Gastone Moschin
"Coppola's superior sequel to his own very fine Mafia epic extends the original film's timeframe both backwards (to Vito Corleone's arrival and struggles to get by in New York at the start of the 20th century) and forwards (to his son Michael's ruthless protection of his own power as capo during a post-war period of expanded influence into Vegas, Cuba and elsewhere)… The performances, Gordon Willis' memorably gloomy camerawork, the stately pace and the sheer scale of the story's sweep render everything engrossing and so, well, plausible that our ideas of organised crime in America will forever be marked by this movie." - Geoff Andrew, Time Out
Selected by Ann Hui, David Denby, Joan Mellen, John Powers, Manohla Dargis.
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Persona

Persona

1966 / Sweden / 81m / BW / Drama, Psychological Drama
Liv Ullmann, Bibi Andersson, Margaretha Krook, Gunnar Bjornstrand, Jorgen Lindstrom
"Bergman at his most brilliant as he explores the symbiotic relationship that evolves between an actress suffering a breakdown in which she refuses to speak, and the nurse in charge as she recuperates in a country cottage. To comment is to betray the film's extraordinary complexity, but basically it returns to two favourite Bergman themes: the difficulty of true communication between human beings, and the essentially egocentric nature of art.… Not an easy film, but an infinitely rewarding one." - Tom Milne, Time Out
Selected by Sarah Polley, Geoffrey Macnab, Ang Lee, Quim Casas, Atom Egoyan.
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Rashomon

Rashomon

1950 / Japan / 88m / BW / Period Film, Crime Drama
Toshiro Mifune, Machiko Kyo, Masayuki Mori, Takashi Shimura, Minoru Chiaki, Noriko Honma, Kichijiro Ueda, Daisuke Kato, Scinobu Hascimoto
"A riveting psychological thriller that investigates the nature of truth and the meaning of justice, Rashomon is widely considered one of the greatest films ever made. Four people give different accounts of a man’s murder and the rape of his wife, which director Akira Kurosawa presents with striking imagery and an ingenious use of flashbacks. This eloquent masterwork and international sensation revolutionized film language and introduced Japanese cinema—and a commanding new star by the name of Toshiro Mifune—to the Western world." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Asghar Farhadi, Jonathan Glazer, Roy Andersson, Stanley Kauffman.
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L'Atalante

L'Atalante

1934 / France / 89m / BW / Romantic Drama, Marriage Drama
Michel Simon, Jean Daste, Dita Parlo, Gilles Margaritis, Louis Lefevre, Fanny Clar, Raphael Diligent, Maurice Gilles, Rene Bleck, Charles Goldblatt
"In Jean Vigo’s hands, an unassuming tale of conjugal love becomes an achingly romantic reverie of desire and hope. Jean (Dasté), a barge captain, marries Juliette (Parlo), an innocent country girl, and the two climb aboard Jean’s boat, the L’Atalante—otherwise populated by an earthy first mate (Simon) and a multitude of mangy cats—and embark on their new life together. Both a surprisingly erotic idyll and a clear-eyed meditation on love, L’Atalante, Vigo’s only feature-length work, is a film like no other." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Aki Kaurismäki, Andrei Konchalovsky, Chris Darke, Michel Gondry, Derek Malcolm.
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The Man with a Movie Camera

The Man with a Movie Camera

Chelovek s kino-apparatom (original title)
1929 / USSR / 80m / BW / Avant-garde-Experimental, Documentary
Mikhail Kaufman
"An analytical account of the State of the (Soviet) Union at a crucial transitional stage, this is one of the most seminal and therefore controversial films in the history of cinema. Vertov's exhilarating and often hilarious exploration of the relations between cinema, actuality and history opened up all the issues Godard, the avant-gardes, and political film-makers have been wrestling with ever since. The film cannot easily be slotted into any single tradition, because it poses all the questions about the status of representation which dominant cinema represses. A truly radical and liberating work." - Peter Watts, Time Out
Selected by Amy Taubin, Adriano Aprà, Alexander Horwath, Esteve Riambau, B. Ruby Rich.
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The Passion of Joan of Arc

The Passion of Joan of Arc

La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc (original title)
1928 / France / 110m / BW / Historical Film, Hagiography
Renee Maria Falconette, Eugene Sylvain, Maurice Schutz, Michel Simon, Antonin Artaud, Louis Ravet, Andre Berley, Jean d'Yd, Jacques Ama, Alexandre Mihalesco
"Stunning in its power, uncompromising in its severity and seriousness, Carl Theodor Dreyer's silent masterpiece from 1928 all but scorches a hole in the screen. The martyrdom of Joan of Arc is represented in what is almost a series of painterly close-ups, most compellingly on Joan's face as she is taunted and tormented by an ecclesiastical court… It could almost have been made at any time; there is nothing the least bit creaky about it technically. On the contrary, it transcends the limitations of early cinema, and its simplicity and procedural asceticism are inspired." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Armond White, Atom Egoyan, Béla Tarr, Jonathan Glazer, Jørgen Leth.
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Singin' in the Rain

Singin' in the Rain

1952 / USA / 102m / Col / Musical, Showbiz Comedy
Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds, Jean Hagen, Millard Mitchell, Cyd Charisse, Douglas Fowley, Rita Moreno, Madge Blake, King Donovan
"There is no movie musical more fun than Singin' in the Rain, and few that remain as fresh over the years. Its originality is all the more startling if you reflect that only one of its songs was written new for the film, that the producers plundered MGM's storage vaults for sets and props, and that the movie was originally ranked below An American in Paris, which won a best picture Oscar. The verdict of the years knows better than Oscar: Singin' in the Rain is a transcendent experience, and no one who loves movies can afford to miss it." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Alexander Horwath, Carrie Rickey, Francis Ford Coppola, David Stratton, Edward Buscombe.
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Taxi Driver

Taxi Driver

1976 / USA / 113m / Col / Psychological Drama, Urban Drama
Robert De Niro, Cybill Shepherd, Jodie Foster, Peter Boyle, Harvey Keitel, Leonard Harris, Martin Scorsese, Steven Prince, Diahnne Abbott, Albert Brooks
"Martin Scorsese's searing portrait of loneliness and violence on the mean streets of New York, is an American original. Robert De Niro's Travis Bickle, the insomniac taxi driver of the title, is an angry, alienated Vietnam veteran who takes a job driving a taxi on the night shift… It remains one of the quintessential films of 1970s American cinema, a brooding blast of modern gothic cinema that boils over in madness and self destruction. Scorsese's uncompromising vision and vivid direction and a fierce, fearless performance by De Niro have inspired countless young filmmakers and actors in the decades since its release." - Sean Axmaker, TCM
Selected by Geoffrey Macnab, Asghar Farhadi, Gareth Edwards, James Marsh, Edgar Wright.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
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Breathless

Breathless

À bout de souffle (original title)
1960 / France / 89m / BW / Crime Drama, Urban Drama
Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Seberg, Daniel Boulanger, Jean-Pierre Melville, Van Doude, Liliane Robin, Henri-Jacques Huet, Claude Mansard, Michel Fabre, Jean-Luc Godard
"There was before Breathless, and there was after Breathless. Jean-Luc Godard burst onto the film scene in 1960 with this jazzy, free-form, and sexy homage to the American film genres that inspired him as a writer for Cahiers du cinéma. With its lack of polish, surplus of attitude, anything-goes crime narrative, and effervescent young stars Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean Seberg, Breathless helped launch the French New Wave and ensured cinema would never be the same." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Atom Egoyan, Lone Scherfig, Michael Apted, Nicolas Philibert, Paul Greengrass.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
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Battleship Potemkin

Battleship Potemkin

Bronenosets Potyomkin (original title); Potemkin (alternative title)
1925 / USSR / 71m / BW / Political Drama, Propaganda Film
Alexander Antonov, Vladimir Barsky, Grigori Alexandrov, Mikhail Goronorov, Levchenko, Repnikova, Marusov, I. Bobrov, A. Fait, Sergei Eisenstein
"The Battleship Potemkin has been so famous for so long that it is almost impossible to come to it with a fresh eye. It is one of the fundamental landmarks of cinema. Its famous massacre on the Odessa Steps has been quoted so many times in other films (notably in The Untouchables) that it's likely many viewers will have seen the parody before they see the original… Battleship Potemkin is no longer considered the greatest film ever made, but it is obligatory for anyone interested in film history." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Christopher Frayling, Joan Mellen, Manoel de Oliveira, Michael Mann, Paul Greengrass.
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Bicycle Thieves

Bicycle Thieves

Ladri di biciclette (original title); The Bicycle Thief (alternative title)
1948 / Italy / 90m / BW / Family Drama, Urban Drama
Lamberto Maggiorani, Enzo Staiola, Lianella Carell, Gino Saltamerenda, Vittorio Antonucci, Giulio Chiari, Elena Altieri, Carlo Jachino, Michele Sakara, Emma Druetti
"Hailed around the world as one of the greatest movies ever made, Vittorio De Sica’s Academy Award–winning Bicycle Thieves defined an era in cinema. In postwar, poverty-stricken Rome, a man, hoping to support his desperate family with a new job, loses his bicycle, his main means of transportation for work. With his wide-eyed young son in tow, he sets off to track down the thief. Simple in construction and dazzlingly rich in human insight, Bicycle Thieves embodied all the greatest strengths of the neorealist film movement in Italy: emotional clarity, social righteousness, and brutal honesty." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Ang Lee, Aki Kaurismäki, Atom Egoyan, Bruce Robinson, Charles Burnett.
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Apocalypse Now

Apocalypse Now

1979 / USA / 150m / Col / Anti-War Film, Jungle Film
Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall, Marlon Brando, Frederic Forrest, Albert Hall, Dennis Hopper, Laurence Fishburne, Sam Bottoms, G.D. Spradlin, Harrison Ford
"In contrast to Coppola’s earlier The Godfather Part II and The Conversation, Apocalypse Now isn’t a conspicuously ‘smart’ film: literary references aside, there are no intellectual pretensions here. Instead, as befits both its tortuous hand-to-mouth genesis and the devastating conflict it reflects, this is a film of pure sensation, dazzling audiences with light and noise, laying bare the stark horror – and unimaginable thrill – of combat. And therein lies the true heart of darkness: if war is hell and heaven intertwined, where does morality fit in? And, in the final apocalyptic analysis, will any of it matter?" - Tom Huddleston, Time Out
Selected by Antoine Fuqua, Esteve Riambau, Andrew Dominik, Derek Malcolm, Fernando Meirelles.
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The Searchers

The Searchers

1956 / USA / 119m / Col / Western, Revisionist Western
John Wayne, Jeffrey Hunter, Vera Miles, Ward Bond, Natalie Wood, Hank Worden, Henry Brandon, Harry Carey Jr., Olive Carey, John Qualen
"We may still be waiting for the Great American Novel, but John Ford gave us the Great American Film in 1956. The Searchers gathers the deepest concerns of American literature, distilling 200 years of tradition in a way available only to popular art, and with a beauty available only to a supreme visual poet like Ford. Through the central image of the frontier, the meeting point of wilderness and civilization, Ford explores the divisions of our national character, with its search for order and its need for violence, its spirit of community and its quest for independence." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Geoffrey Macnab, Carlos F. Heredero, Christopher Frayling, Dave Kehr, David Stratton.
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The Seven Samurai

Seven Samurai

Shichinin no samurai (original title)
1954 / Japan / 200m / BW / Drama, Samurai Film
Takashi Shimura, Toshiro Mifune, Yoshio Inaba, Seiji Miyaguchi, Minoru Chiaki, Daisuke Kato, Ko Kimura, Kokuten Kodo, Kamatari Fujiwara, Yoshio Tsuchiya
"One of the most thrilling movie epics of all time, The Seven Samurai tells the story of a sixteenth-century village whose desperate inhabitants hire the eponymous warriors to protect them from invading bandits. This three-hour ride from Akira Kurosawa—featuring legendary actors Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura—seamlessly weaves philosophy and entertainment, delicate human emotions and relentless action, into a rich, evocative, and unforgettable tale of courage and hope." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Ben Wheatley, Andrei Konchalovsky, Ann Hui, Anne Billson, Arturo Ripstein.
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8
Sunrise

Sunrise

Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (original title)
1927 / USA / 110m / BW / Melodrama, Romantic Drama
George O'Brien, Janet Gaynor, Margaret Livingston, Bodil Rosing, J. Farrell MacDonald, Ralph Sipperly, Jane Winton, Arthur Housman, Eddie Boland, Barry Norton
"The best foreign film ever made in the United States. German director F.W. Murnau was given a free hand by William Fox for his first Hollywood production; it's breathtaking to see the full range of American technology and American budgets in the service of a great artist's personal vision… The miracle of Murnau's mise-en-scene is to fill the simple plot and characters with complex, piercing emotions, all evoked visually through a dense style that embraces not only spectacular expressionism but a subtle and delicate naturalism. Released in 1927, the last year of silent film, it's a pinnacle of that lost art." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Aki Kaurismaki, David Denby, Andrzej Zulawski, Francis Ford Coppola, Gavin Smith.
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8½

Otto e mezzo (original title)
1963 / Italy / 135m / BW / Satire, Psychological Drama
Marcello Mastroianni, Claudia Cardinale, Anouk Aimee, Sandra Milo, Rossella Falk, Barbara Steele, Guido Alberti, Mario Pisu, Madeleine LeBeau, Jean Rougeul
"Marcello Mastroianni plays Guido Anselmi, a director whose new project is collapsing around him, along with his life. One of the greatest films about film ever made, Federico Fellini’s turns one man’s artistic crisis into a grand epic of the cinema. An early working title for 8½ was The Beautiful Confusion, and Fellini’s masterpiece is exactly that: a shimmering dream, a circus, and a magic act." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Andrei Konchalovsky, Joan Mellen, Guillermo del Toro, Stanley Kauffman, Michael Apted.
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The Godfather

The Godfather

1972 / USA / 175m / Col / Gangster Film, Crime Drama
Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Richard Castellano, Robert Duvall, Sterling Hayden, John Marley, Richard Conte, Diane Keaton, John Cazale
"The Godfather is just about as great as a movie's ever gonna be. The 1972 best picture Oscar-winner is a great pulp drama co-authored for the screen by Coppola and novelist Mario Puzo. And all the while, we think we're watching a Mafia crime story but we're actually watching one of the great American family melodramas. The casting is nothing to sneeze at either with Marlon Brando delivering one of the signature performances of his career (he, too, won an Oscar) and the very young Al Pacino seizing his screen destiny. So many great roles and characters in this movie and then there's that eternally haunting Nino Rota score." - Marjorie Baumgarten, The Austin Chronicle
Selected by Antoine Fuqua, M. Night Shyamalan, Andrei Konchalovsky, Asghar Farhadi, Atom Egoyan.
5
5
The Rules of the Game

The Rules of the Game

La Règle du jeu (original title)
1939 / France / 113m / BW / Comedy Drama, Ensemble Film
Marcel Dalio, Nora Gregor, Jean Renoir, Roland Toutain, Mila Parely, Gaston Modot, Julien Carette, Paulette Dubost, Pierre Magnier, Odette Talazac
"Renoir's brilliant social comedy is epitomised by the phrase 'everyone has their reasons'… The film effects audacious slides from melodrama into farce, from realism into fantasy, and from comedy into tragedy. Romantic intrigues, social rivalries, and human foibles are all observed with an unblinking eye that nevertheless refuses to judge… Embracing every level of French society, from the aristocratic hosts to a poacher turned servant, the film presents a hilarious yet melancholic picture of a nation riven by petty class distinctions." - Nigel Floyd, Time Out
Selected by Amy Taubin, Geoffrey Macnab, Andrei Plakhov, Carlos F. Heredero, Charles Barr.
4
4
Tokyo Story

Tokyo Story

Tôkyô monogatari (original title)
1953 / Japan / 134m / BW / Drama, Family Drama
Chishu Ryu, Chieko Higashiyama, Setsuko Hara, Haruko Sugimura, Soh Yamamura, Kuniko Miyake, Kyoko Kagawa, Eijiro Tono, Nobuo Nakamura, Shiro Osaka
"Yasujiro Ozu’s Tokyo Story follows an aging couple, Tomi and Sukichi, on their journey from their rural village to visit their two married children in bustling, postwar Tokyo… From a simple tale unfolds one of the greatest of all Japanese films. Starring Ozu regulars Chishu Ryu and Setsuko Hara, the film reprises one of the director’s favorite themes—that of generational conflict—in a way that is quintessentially Japanese and yet so universal in its appeal that it continues to resonate as one of cinema’s greatest masterpieces." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Geoffrey Macnab, Ang Lee, Judith Williamson, Tadao Sato, Derek Malcolm.
3
3
2001: A Space Odyssey

2001: A Space Odyssey

Two Thousand and One: A Space Odyssey (alternative spelling)
1968 / UK / 139m / Col / Psychological Sci-Fi, Space Adventure
Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester, Daniel Richter, Leonard Rossiter, Margaret Tyzack, Robert Beatty, Sean Sullivan, Frank Miller, Alan Gifford
"The genius is not in how much Stanley Kubrick does in 2001: A Space Odyssey, but in how little. This is the work of an artist so sublimely confident that he doesn't include a single shot simply to keep our attention. He reduces each scene to its essence, and leaves it on screen long enough for us to contemplate it, to inhabit it in our imaginations. Alone among science-fiction movies, 2001 is not concerned with thrilling us, but with inspiring our awe." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Gaspar Noé, Ang Lee, Esteve Riambau, Andrzej Zulawski, Atom Egoyan.
2
2
Vertigo

Vertigo

1958 / USA / 128m / Col / Romantic Mystery, Psychological Thriller
James Stewart, Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes, Tom Helmore, Henry Jones, Ellen Corby, Lee Patrick, Raymond Bailey, Konstantin Shayne, Paul Bryar
"Nowhere else did Hitchcock's perfectionism yield such feverish results, in an eerily perverse exploration of this director's obsessive themes. Way ahead of its time in dreamily suggestive power, Vertigo lures James Stewart's Scottie Ferguson, a man terrified of falling, onto the trail of the voluptuous ice blonde who will bring him down. The lure of death, the power of the past, the guilty complicity of a clean-cut hero, the near-fetishistic use of symbol and color: these Hitchcock hallmarks are all mesmerizingly on view… Hitchcock deliberately violated the conventions of the thriller to heighten tensions and abruptly shift the audience's point of view." - Janet Maslin, The New York Times
Selected by Geoffrey Macnab, Richard Dyer, Paul Schrader, Stéphane Delorme, Nigel Andrews.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
1
1
Citizan Kane

Citizen Kane

1941 / USA / 119m / BW / Drama, Film a Clef
Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Everett Sloane, Dorothy Comingore, Ray Collins, Agnes Moorehead, Paul Stewart, George Coulouris, Ruth Warrick, Erskine Sanford
"The source book of Orson Welles, and still a marvellous movie. Thematically less resonant than some of Welles' later meditations on the nature of power, perhaps, but still absolutely riveting as an investigation of a citizen - newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst by any other name - under suspicion of having soured the American Dream. Its imagery as Welles delightedly explores his mastery of a new vocabulary, still amazes and delights, from the opening shot of the forbidding gates of Xanadu to the last glimpse of the vanishing Rosebud (tarnished, maybe, but still a potent symbol). A film that gets better with each renewed acquaintance." - Tom Milne, Time Out
Selected by Geoffrey Macnab, Esteve Riambau, Christopher Frayling, David Denby, Charles Barr.