The 1,000 Greatest Films (Introduction)

The banner image above is from David Lynch's The Straight Story, the 1,000th ranked greatest film.

1,000 Greatest Films
Current Version: February 2017 (12th edition)
Bill Georgaris

Pasted Graphic
The Highest Entrant… Hunger (2008)

Hello and welcome to the 12th edition of TSPDT’s 1,000 Greatest Films listing. Thank you for your enthusiasm and support of this ongoing project.

This year’s update could somewhat be labelled the realignment edition. Realignment, because I have:

1) Eliminated a previously significant formula/weighting from the mathematical process, and
2) Modified my collation/inclusion processes with regards to critics' ballots.

First-off, I have removed the 'stood-the-test-of-time' formula. This formula disadvantaged films released within ten years of the poll or ballot they were listed in. After many years of adopting this approach, I finally concluded, during 2016, that this was unfair. As a result, many recent films have deservedly charged their way up this year's 1,000 Greatest Films listing. Some of these films include There Will Be Blood (2007), Caché (2005), The Tree of Life (2011), Tropical Malady (2004), and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004).

Secondly, I have now included all best-film-of-all-time ballots published for each critic, no matter how many. Previously, I would only include the last published ballot from a given critic, plus those films from each critic’s previous ballots that were not included in their last published ballot. Got that!? The ballots are, of course, weighted accordingly from newest to oldest. For example, Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s 2012 Sight & Sound ballot is weighted higher than his 1992 Sight & Sound ballot. The aim of this change is to properly recognise and reward films that regularly appear on the same critic's ballots.

By removing/modifying these two elements, I believe that the 1,000 Greatest Films listing is now a purer, less-massaged compilation of the most critically acclaimed films of all-time. The two main formula weightings that remain are with respects to:

1) The poll type (best-of-all-time lists are weighted much higher than genre lists, or national lists, or best-of-decade lists, etc.)
2) The poll year (a list from 2016 is weighted higher than a list from 2015, etc.)

The net result of the above changes along with the addition of hundreds of more lists during 2016 is 54 changes to the 1,000 Greatest Films listing. Reflecting perhaps the realignment process, only 11 of these make their debut on the list, of which Steve McQueen’s Hunger was the highest entrant. The other 43 films are all re-entries.

The number of best-of/all-time individual lists now tallies 5,495 (from 4,343 critics/filmmakers). The number of miscellaneous lists used (genre-based, country-based, etc.) now sits at 3,302. That’s 8,797 unique lists in total.

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

Sight & Sound's 1952-2012 polls (1,984 ballots)
Senses of Cinema's 2000-2007 Top Tens (200 ballots)
Kino Muzeum’s 2015 poll (184 ballots)
Rotten Tomatoes' lists from 2003-2016 (154 ballots)
Nickel Odeon's 1994-1998 polls (136 ballots)
Time Out's 1995 poll (128 ballots)
Cinephilia's 2012 poll (121 ballots)
El Mundo's 1995 poll (100 ballots)
Your Movie Database's (YMDB) Critics Corner 2002-2005 (85 ballots)
John Kobal Presents the Top 100 Movies (1988) (81 ballots)
PBS's Independent Lens 2005-2008 lists (81 ballots)
Steadycam's 2007 poll (79 ballots)
Facets’ 2003-2008 polls (76 ballots)
The Cinematheque's Top 10 Project 2005-2009 (74 ballots)
Positif’s 1991 poll (72 ballots)
One-Line Review's 2009 poll (67 ballots)
El Pais' 2009-2010 polls (60 ballots)
Cinematheque Belgique's 1952 poll (53 ballots)
Empire (1989-2008) (50 ballots)
Faróis do Cinema 2010-2015 (50 ballots)
Libre Journal du Cinéma's 2009 poll (50 ballots)
The Village Voice's 1999 poll (49 ballots)
Edições Cinematógrafo’s 1982 poll (48 ballots)
TCM Spain’s 2009 poll (48 ballots)
Federazione Italiana Cineforum 2013 poll (45 ballots)
Indiewire 2006-2009 (45 ballots)
PopCornQ's 1997 poll (45 ballots)
Kinema Junpo 1999-2009 (44 ballots)
Fifty Filmmakers (2002 book) (42 ballots)
HKCinema’s 2011 poll (42 ballots)
La Cinetek 2014-2016 (39 ballots)
Beijing News’ 2011-2012 polls (36 ballots)
IonCinema!'s Top 10 lists (2009-2106) (33 ballots)
BBC: Calling the Shots 2003-2006 (32 ballots)
Dirigido Por’s 1992 poll (32 ballots)
Cinemania’s 2012 poll (31 ballots)
The Skuriels’ 2012 poll (31 ballots)
Epoca’s 2000 poll (29 ballots)
Sodankylä Ikuisesti: Desert Island Films (1996) (29 ballots)
Ta Nea’s 2009 poll (32 ballots)
Profil’s 2004 poll (28 ballots)
Jonathan Rosenbaum’s 1976 poll (27 ballots)
Newsweek 2002-2009 (25 ballots)
Plus 798 more ballots from other sources.

A Personal Digression
For what it’s worth, here are (in no particular order) some of the best films (new or old) that I saw during the 2016 calendar year: Carol (2015, Todd Haynes), Only Yesterday (1991, Isao Takahata), Regen (1929, Joris Ivens & Mannus Franken), A Brighter Summer Day (1991, Edward Yang), Black Girl (1966, Ousmane Sembene), Son of Saul (2015, László Nemes), Certain Women (2016, Kelly Reichardt), L’Argent (1928, Marcel L’Herbier), Jealousy (2013, Philippe Garrel), Chevalier (2015, Athina Rachel Tsangari), Battling Butler (1926, Buster Keaton), The Last Command (1928, Josef von Sternberg), Adieu Philippine (1962, Jacques Rozier), Enemy (2013, Denis Villeneuve), Closed Curtain (2013, Jafar Panahi & Kambuzia Partovi), Borderline (1930, Kenneth MacPherson), De Palma (2015, Noah Baumbach & Jake Paltrow), The Missing Picture (2013, Rithy Panh), H2O (1929, Ralph Steiner), The Fall of the House of Usher (1928, Jean Epstein), Winter Sleep (2014, Nuri Bilge Ceylan), Cathy Come Home (1966, Ken Loach), No Home Movie (2015, Chantal Akerman), The Scenic Route (1978, Mark Rappaport), O.J.: Made in America (2016, Ezra Edelman), Requiem for the American Dream (2015, Peter D. Hutchison, Kelly Nyks & Jared P. Scott), Van Gogh (1991, Maurice Pialat), Taxi Tehran (2015, Jafar Panahi), Experimenter (2015, Michael Almereyda), The Off-Handed Jape... & How to Pull it Off (1967, Robert Nelson & William T. Wiley), La Promesse (1996, Jean-Pierre Dardenne & Luc Dardenne), A Story of Floating Weeds (1934, Yasujiro Ozu), Timbuktu (2014, Abderrahmane Sissako), I'm Almost Not Crazy: John Cassavetes - the Man and His Work (1984, Michael Ventura), Lovesong (2001, Stan Brakhage), Jauja (2014, Lisandro Alonso), Portrait of a "60% Perfect Man": Billy Wilder (1982, Annie Tresgot), and Ex Machina (2015, Alex Garland).

Sunrise (1927)

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

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

The Winners – Top Climbers within the 1,000
Brokeback Mountain (2005), 718 to 395 (up 323)
Colossal Youth (2006), 864 to 548 (up 316)
The White Ribbon (2009), 748 to 435 (up 313)
Silent Light (2007), 915 to 602 (up 313)
Nostalgia for the Light (2010), 931 to 622 (up 309)

The Winners – Highest Entrants into the 1,000
Hunger (2008), ranked 726
Crumb (1994), ranked 734
Amour (2012), ranked 739
The Headless Woman (2008), ranked 757
The New World (2005), ranked 776

The Losers – Biggest Fallers within the 1,000
The Ice Storm (1997), 692 to 911 (down 219)
Grin Without a Cat (1977), 715 to 930 (down 215)
Othello (1952), 656 to 853 (down 197)
Twenty Years Later (1985), 573 to 765 (down 192)
Outer Space (1999), 732 to 921 (down 189)

The Losers – Biggest Fallers from the 1,000
Ashes of Time (1994), formerly ranked 686
Portrait of Jason (1967), formerly ranked 758
When We Were Kings (1996), formerly ranked 766
Ulysses’ Gaze (1995), formerly ranked 796
The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989), formerly ranked 852

Narrowed down from a starting list of 15,995 films (an increase of 1,061 films from last year), this is quite possibly the most definitive guide to the most-acclaimed movies of all-time. At the very least it is a rather spiffy place for all budding/established film buffs to commence/enhance their cinematic experiences. So what are you waiting for? Start that checklist now!

Thank you to everyone that has contributed lists and/or lent their support towards this venture over the years. Many thanks to Vicki Platt for helping out with the ranking pages.

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

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