The 1,000 Greatest Films (A-B)

Beginning on this page is TSPDT's detailed look at the1,000 Greatest Films. Each film's current ranking and previous ranking (in brackets) is provided with each entry, along with cast lists, review quotes (with external links to full review), links to IMDB, Sight & Sound and Amazon, and a sampling of five critics/filmmakers who voted, at one time or another, for the film in question. You can, of course, still view the full list of 1,000 films in ranking order by taking a look here.
A Nos Amours

À nos amours

To Our Loves (English title)
1983 / France / 102m / Col / Drama, Coming-of-Age
Sandrine Bonnaire, Dominique Besnehard, Maurice Pialat, Evelyne Ker, Anne-Sophie Maille, Maite Maille, Christophe Odent, Pierre-Loup Rajot, Cyr Boitard, Cyril Collard
"With his raw style of filmmaking, Maurice Pialat has been called the John Cassavetes of French cinema, and the scorching À nos amours is one of his greatest achievements. In a revelatory film debut, the dynamic, fresh-faced Sandrine Bonnaire plays Suzanne, a fifteen-year-old Parisian who embarks on a sexual rampage in an effort to separate herself from her overbearing, beloved father (played with astonishing magnetism by Pialat himself), ineffectual mother, and brutish brother. A tender character study that can erupt in startling violence, À nos amours is one of the high-water marks of eighties French cinema." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Ira Sachs, Molly Haskell, Alexei Popogrebsky, Adrian Martin, Vassilis Economou.
A Nous La Liberte

À nous la liberté

Freedom for Us (English title)
1931 / 87m / BW / France / Comedy, Satire
Raymond Cordy, Henri Marchand, Paul Ollivier, Andre Michaud, Rolla France, Germaine Aussey, Leon Lorin, William Burke, Vincent Hyspa, Jacques Shelly
"If the 1920s began in a heady embrace of Age of Steel Modernism and naive optimism that industrialization would make life better, the '30s were marked by a swing away from that mechanized mystique. Rene Clair's airborne comedy, A nous la liberte, is a landmark in this sub-genre, although it's curious to think of so deliciously buoyant a film as anything connoting heaviness of any sort, much less that of a landmark... A nous la liberte is his [Clair's] crowning achievement." - Jay Carr, TCM
Selected by Catherine A. Surowiec, Paul Bartel, Jean-Michel Arnold, David Lean, Iris Barry.
A.I. Artificial Intelligence

A.I. Artificial Intelligence

2001 / USA / 145m / Col / Science Fiction, Psychological Drama
Haley Joel Osment, Frances O'Connor, Sam Robards, Jude Law, Jake Thomas, Brendan Gleeson, William Hurt, Ken Leung, Theo Greenly, Ashley Scott
"Steven Spielberg's film, a project he inherited from Stanley Kubrick, to whom it is dedicated, is a work of brilliant artifice and profound intelligence...The movie's three distinct sections reveal an unsettlingly plausible vision of the future, and explore a rich, complex set of emotions and ideas. Mr. Spielberg accomplishes the improbable feat of melding Kubrick's chilly, analytical style with his own warmer, needier sensibility, and the result is an exquisitely layered, complex movie — the riskiest, most ambiguous, most intellectually challenging fairy tale the director has made to date." - A.O. Scott, The New York Times
Selected by Joseph McBride, Ted Pigeon, Armond White, Tom Charity, Bauyrzhan Nogerbek.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
Abraham's Valley

Abraham's Valley

Vale Abraão (original title); Abraham Valley (alternative title)
1993 / Portugal-France-Switzerland / 189m / Col / Psychological Drama
Leonor Silveira, Cecile Sanz de Alba, Luis Miguel Cintra, Ruy de Carvalho, Luis Lima Barreto, Micheline Larpin, Diego Doria, Jose Pinto, Filipe Cochofel, Joao Perry
"Subtle, elegant, enigmatic, this movie by the veteran Oliveira exercises a powerful grip. Oliveira's style is hard to categorise (the director began making films in 1931): the timelessness of the modern-day setting, where the Lotuses and Maseratis seem so incongruous, is reminiscent of Resnais, but the languorous acting echoes the satiric irony of late Buñuel and the secretive minimalism of Bresson." - Wally Hammond, Time Out
Selected by Jean Narboni, Haden Guest, John Malkovich, Anne-Marie Baron, Frédéric Maire.
Accattone

Accattone

Accatone (alternative spelling)
1961 / Italy / 120m / BW / Urban Drama, Psychological Drama
Franco Citti, Franca Pasut, Roberto Scaringella, Silvana Corsini, Paola Guidi, Adriana Asti, Adele Cambria, Luciano Conti, Luciano Gonini, Renato Capogna
"Treating a social milieu Pasolini knew at first hand, his first film as a director was misunderstood by many critics when it was first released as a return to the canons of Italian neo-realism of the '40s and '50s. In fact, its editing style, use of close-ups, dialogue in the Romanesco vernacular - not to mention the Bach score - all betray an originality much more of a piece with Pasolini's later work than with neo-realism." - Rod McShane, Time Out
Selected by Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, Ryan Gilbey, Philippe Parreno, Bernardo Bertolucci, Yomota Inuhiko.
Ace in the Hole

Ace in the Hole

The Big Carnival (alternative title)
1951 / USA / 112m / BW / Drama, Media Satire
Kirk Douglas, Jan Sterling, Robert Arthur, Porter Hall, Frank Cady, Richard Benedict, Ray Teal, Lewis Martin, John Berkes, Frances Dominguez
"One of the most scathing indictments of American culture ever produced by a Hollywood filmmaker, Billy Wilder’s Ace in the Hole is legendary for both its cutting social critique and its status as a hard-to-find cult classic. Kirk Douglas gives the fiercest performance of his career as Chuck Tatum, an amoral newspaper reporter caught in dead-end Albuquerque who happens upon the story of a lifetime—and will do anything to ensure he gets the scoop. Wilder’s follow-up to Sunset Boulevard is an even darker vision, a no-holds-barred exposé that anticipated the rise of the American media circus." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Mike Hodges, Ye Hang, Brian Case, Elaine Paterson, Marcus Hu.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
The Act of Seeing with One's Own Eyes

The Act of Seeing with One's Own Eyes

1971 / USA / 32m / Col / Avant-garde-Experimental, Documentary
"Comprised entirely of autopsy footage shot in a Pittsburgh morgue, The Act of Seeing With One's Own Eyes is the final installment in Brakhage's Pittsburgh trilogy (including Eyes and Deus Ex)… Leaving the raw immediacy of the autopsy uncontextualised, Brakhage exposes us to both the privileged 'authenticity' of sight and the fragile nature of our own mortality. Like most of Brakhage's work, the subject of The Act Of Seeing With One's Own Eyes is actually the movement of light itself - light bouncing off objects and variations in light as its reflected off of skin, creating its own fluid possibilities with the camera." - Australian Centre for the Moving Image
Selected by Ben Russell, Elena Oroz, Iain Sinclair, Brian Frye, Barbara Hammer.
The Adventures of Prince Achmed

The Adventures of Prince Achmed

Die Abenteuer des Prinzen Achmed (original title)
1926 / Germany / 65m / BW / Children's Fantasy, Animation
"The earliest surviving animated feature is also an example of prodigious artistry in a minimal form. Based on tales of the Arabian Nights, Lotte Reiniger’s film uses silhouette figures photographed in stop-motion against voluptuous backgrounds. A gifted designer as well as a spellbinding storyteller, Reiniger creates a cohesive visual universe through which Prince Achmed rides on his magical horse, wooing a fair princess and battling a host of demons. This silent film may seem like an art film, but it has a zest to entrance any children or adults with open eyes and minds." - Richard Corliss, TIME
Selected by Fu Hongxing, Marina Warner, Nina Menkes, Daryl Chin, Vassilis Economou.
The Adventures of Robin Hood

The Adventures of Robin Hood

1938 / US / 102m / Col / Swashbuckler, Romantic Adventure
Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone, Claude Rains, Eugene Pallette, Alan Hale, Patric Knowles, Melville Cooper, Ian Hunter, Una O'Connor
"William Keighley and Michael Curtiz's rambunctious 1938 masterpiece—and Hollywood's definitive swashbuckler... In the most engaging performance of his career, Errol Flynn is jaunty, romantic, and larger than life, but also slyly funny as the Saxon knight who takes on the nasty Normans... Robin Hood is movie pageantry at its best, done in the grand manner of silent spectacles, brimming over with the sort of primitive energy that drew people to the movies in the first place." - Elliott Stein, The Village Voice
Selected by Jerry Lewis, Robert Clampett, Lasse Bergstrom, Antonio Mercero, Marjorie Bilbow.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
An Affair to Remember

An Affair to Remember

1957 / USA / 115m / Col / Romance, Melodrama
Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr, Cathleen Nesbitt, Richard Denning, Neva Patterson, Robert Q. Lewis, Charles Watts, Fortunio Bonanova, Matt Moore, Louis Mercier
"Often regarded (or dreaded) as the ultimate chick flick, due in no small amount to its fetish-object role in Sleepless in Seattle, An Affair to Remember deserves better than to be the receptor of Meg Ryan's crocodile tears. A remake by Leo McCarey of his own 1939 classic Love Affair, the film progresses as a graceful switch from romantic comedy to weepie melodrama, reflecting the director's deep-rooted belief in the intricate bond between laughter and tears." - Fernando F. Croce, Slant Magazine
Selected by Miguel Marias, José Luis Garci, Carlos Losilla, Catherine Gautier, Thierry Jousse.
The African Queen

The African Queen

1951 / USA / 105m / Col / Romance, Adventure
Katharine Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart, Robert Morley, Peter Bull, Theodore Bikel, Walter Gotell, Gerald Onn, Peter Swanwick, Richard Marner, Errol John
"Star vehicles have been a part of the Hollywood assembly line practically since its inception, but few have utilized (and literalized) the concept to such beloved effect as The African Queen. Really, what is the idea behind Huston's adventure-romance other than putting Bogart and Hepburn on a riverboat in Africa and see what happens? ...Its modesty of ambition makes The African Queen among the least complex classics of Hollywood's waning "golden age" (for a movie with a World War I setting and a colonialist context, it offers little interpretive earth to excavate), but leaves plenty of time for Huston and company to lovingly appraise the personae of two Tinseltown darlings." - Matthew Connolly, Slant Magazine
Selected by Billy Bond, Nicholas Meyer, Ronald Neame, Iciar Bollain, Jaime de Arminan.
After Life

After Life

Wandâfuru raifu (original title); Wonderful Life (alternative title)
1998 / Japan / 118m / Col / Fantasy, Psychological Drama
Arata, Erika Oda, Susumu Terajima, Takashi Naito, Kyoko Kagawa, Kei Tani, Taketoshi Naito, Toro Yuri, Yusuke Iseya, Sayaka Yoshino
"After Life is as much a movie about filmmaking as it is about memory. For what are movies, after all, but larger-than-life dream images projected on celluloid? In its modest attitude about the ability of movies to replicate dreams, After Life is the opposite of bombastic Hollywood kitsch like What Dreams May Come. In capturing the essence of experience, it suggests, film is as imperfect and quixotic as memory." - Stephen Holden, The New York Times
Selected by Guy Maddin, Miranda July, Anne Billson, Justine Nagan, Kenneth Turan.
L'Age d'or

L'Âge d'or

The Golden Age (English title)
1930 / France / 63m / BW / Avant-garde/Experimental, Surrealist Film
Gaston Modot, Lya Lys, Max Ernst, Pierre Prevert, Caridad de Laberdesque, Lionel Salem, Madame Noizet, Jose Artigas, Jacques Brunius, Paul Eluard
"Luis Buñuel's first and most radical feature was banned for decades, and it continues to pack a jolt. Forsaking consecutive plot, the film is more like an anarchist bomb, starting off as a documentary before assaulting church, state, and society—particularly high society—in the name of eros. Funny, blasphemous, sexy, strange, subtle, and evocative in its use of sound, it's also thoroughly Buñuelian, though without the bittersweet sense of resigned acceptance that characterizes some of his later works." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Selected by Aki Kaurismäki, David Robinson, Guy Maddin, Dusan Makavejev, Bigas Luna.
The Age of Innocence

The Age of Innocence

1993 / USA / 133m / Col / Period Film, Romantic Drama
Daniel Day-Lewis, Michelle Pfeiffer, Winona Ryder, Alexis Smith, Geraldine Chaplin, Richard E. Grant, Alec McCowen, Mary Beth Hurt, Miriam Margolyes, Michael Gough
"The Age of Innocence is one of Scorsese's greatest films, improperly appreciated because, like Kundun (1997), it stands outside the main line of his work. Its story of a man of tradition who spends a lifetime of unrequited love resembles one of Scorsese's favorite films, Michael Powell's The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp... The film ends with a sense of loss, sadness and resignation, reminding me of the elegiac feeling in Orson Welles' The Magnificent Ambersons."- Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Roberta Ciabarra, Heddy Honigmann, Tian Zhuangzhuang, Allison Anders, Robert Ryder.
Aguirre: The Wrath of God

Aguirre: The Wrath of God

Top 100 Film / Ranking 87 (87)
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 Gerald Peary, Leonardo García Tsao, Lisandro Alonso, Ramin Bahrani, Ty Burr.
Alexander Nevsky

Alexander Nevsky

Aleksandr Nevskiy (original title)
1938 / USSR / 107m / BW / Historical Epic, Biography
Nikolai Cherkasov, Nikolai Okhlopkov, Andrei Abrikosov, Dmitri Orlov, Vasili Novikov, Nicolai Arsky, Varvara Massalitinova, Vera Ivashova, Aleksandra Danilova, Vladimir Yershov
"Eisenstein drew on history, Russian folk narratives, and the techniques of Walt Disney to create this broadly painted epic of Russian resilience. This story of Teutonic knights vanquished by Prince Alexander Nevsky’s tactical brilliance resonated deeply with a Soviet Union concerned with the rise of Nazi Germany. Widely imitated—most notably by Laurence Olivier’s Battle of Agincourt re-creation for Henry V—the Battle on the Ice scene remains one of the most famous audio-visual experiments in film history, perfectly blending action with the rousing score of Sergei Prokofiev."- The Criterion Collection
Selected by Béla Tarr, Gary Indiana, Martin Tudor Caranfil, Guy Hamilton, Mary Harron.
Ali: Fear Eats teh Soul

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul

Angst essen Seele auf (original title); Fear Eats the Soul (alternative title)
1974 / West Germany / 94m / Col / Melodrama, Psychological Drama
Brigitte Mira, El Hedi ben Salem, Barbara Valentin, Irm Hermann, Elma Karlowa, Anita Bucher, Gusti Kreissl, Doris Mattes, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Karl Scheydt
"Rainer Werner Fassbinder, already the director of almost twenty films by the age of twenty-nine, paid homage to his cinematic hero, Douglas Sirk, with this updated version of Sirk’s All That Heaven Allows. Lonely widow Emmi Kurowski (Brigitte Mira) meets Arab worker Ali (El Hedi ben Salem) in a bar during a rainstorm. They fall in love––to their own surprise––and to the shock of family, colleagues, and drinking buddies. In Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, Fassbinder expertly uses the emotional power of the melodrama to underscore the racial tensions threatening German culture." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by James Quandt, Lodge Kerrigan, Tsai Ming-liang, Jill Godmilow, Park Kiyong.
Alice

Alice

Neco z Alenky (original title)
1988 / Czechoslovakia-Switzerland-UK-West Germany / 86m / Col / Fantasy, Surrealist Film
Kristyna Kohoutova
"Czech puppet animator Jan Svankmajer began making shorts in 1964, but not until 1988 was he able to realize his dream of a feature adapting Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. The world on the other side of Svankmajer's looking glass is hilariously macabre: taxidermy is the controlling metaphor, as a live-action Alice (Kristyna Kohoutova) descends an elevatorlike rabbit hole following a white rabbit that's broken out of its glass display case... With its episodic structure, Carroll's story is the perfect vehicle for Svankmajer's dark, 30s-style surrealism." - J.R. Jones, Chicago Reader
Selected by Carolina López Caballero, Nag Vladermersky, Roger Clarke, Lea Liotine, Robbie Collin.
Alice in the Cities

Alice in the Cities

Alice in den Städten (original title)
1974 / West Germany / 110m / BW / Drama, Road Movie
Rudiger Vogler, Yella Rottlander, Lisa Kreuzer, Edda Kochl, Ernest Boehm, Sam Presti, Lois Moran, Didi Petrikat, Hans Hirschmuller, Sibylle Baier
"This bittersweet gem from 1974 delivers an ambling tale of loss and estrangement which rings as true today as it would have more than 30 years ago… The film is full of love/hate relationships, an idea that is physically represented by the prickly bond between Philip (Vogler) and Alice (Rottlander), but who also symbolise Wenders’ own bewilderment (and wide-eyed fascination) with the architecture, advertising, music, photography and inescapable cultural-sprawl of the US." - David Jenkins, Time Out
Selected by Lodge Kerrigan, Andrés Di Tella, Isabel Stevens, Allison Anders, Jaco Van Dormael.
Alien

Alien

1979 / USA / 117m / Col / Horror, Science Fiction
Tom Skerritt, Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Cartwright, Harry Dean Stanton, John Hurt, Yaphet Kotto, Ian Holm, Bolaji Badejo, Helen Horton, Eddie Powell
"Alien has been called the most influential of modern action pictures, and so it is, although Halloween also belongs on the list. Unfortunately, the films it influenced studied its thrills but not its thinking. We have now descended into a bog of Gotcha! movies in which various horrible beings spring on a series of victims, usually teenagers… A few more ambitious and serious sci-fi films have also followed in the footsteps of Alien, notably the well-made Aliens (1986) and Dark City (1998). But the original still vibrates with a dark and frightening intensity." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Jan Sverák, Aaron Katz, Andris Feldmanis, Alejandro Amenábar, Tom Hunsinger.
Aliens

Aliens

1986 / USA / 137m / Col / Horror, Sci-Fi Action
Sigourney Weaver, Carrie Henn, Michael Biehn, Paul Reiser, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, William Hope, Jenette Goldstein, Al Matthews, Mark Rolston
"One sequel that surpasses the original. Director James Cameron dumps the decorative effects of Ridley Scott's 1979 Alien in favor of some daring narrative strategies and a tight thematic focus… At 137 minutes the film is a bit long, and Cameron does overplay his hand here and there, pushing things just a shade further than he should to maintain audience credibility. But unlike the original, the action is used to develop character, and the central image—the alien spores as a monstrous parody of human birth—finds an effective resonance in the plotline." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Jason Anderson, Ty Burr, R. Kurt Osenlund, Justine Elias, Jason Reitman.
All About Eve

All About Eve

1950 / USA / 138m / BW / Satire, Showbiz Drama
Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, George Sanders, Celeste Holm, Thelma Ritter, Marilyn Monroe, Gary Merrill, Hugh Marlowe, Gregory Ratoff, Barbara Bates
"In 1950, the movies recognised stardom as a pathological disorder. Exhibit A was Sunset Blvd, exhibit B All About Eve. Set in the Broadway jungle rather than among the ‘sun-burnt eager beavers’ of Hollywood, Joseph L Mankiewicz’s film dissects the narcissism and hypocrisy of the spotlight as sharply as Wilder’s, but pays equal attention to the challenges of enacting womanhood. All About My Mother (not to mention Showgirls) would be unimaginable without it." - Ben Walters, Time Out
Selected by Pedro Almodóvar, Gunnar Almer, Hannah Patterson, Irina-Margareta Nistor, Lewis Gilbert.
Directors with at least five films in The 1,000 Greatest Films listing (in alphabetical order): Woody Allen 7, Robert Altman 5, Michelangelo Antonioni 8, Ingmar Bergman 12, Robert Bresson 10, Luis Buñuel 15, John Cassavetes 7, Charles Chaplin 9, Joel & Ethan Coen 7, David Cronenberg 5, Carl Theodor Dreyer 5, Sergei Eisenstein 7 (including October, co-directed by Grigori Aleksandrov), Rainer Werner Fassbinder 6, Federico Fellini 10, John Ford 16, Jean-Luc Godard 16 (including Tout va bien, co-directed by Jean-Pierre Gorin), D.W. Griffith 5, Michael Haneke 5, Howard Hawks 12 (including The Thing from Another World, credited to Christian Nyby), Alfred Hitchcock 12, Hou Hsiao-hsien 6, John Huston 8, Elia Kazan 6, Buster Keaton 7 (including 5 films credited to and/or co-directed by Charles Reisner, Clyde Bruckman, Donald Crisp, Edward Sedgwick, and John G. Blystone), Abbas Kiarostami 7, Krzysztof Kieslowski 5, Stanley Kubrick 11, Akira Kurosawa 10, Fritz Lang 11, David Lean 5, Ernst Lubitsch 7, David Lynch 7, Leo McCarey 5, Jean-Pierre Melville 5, Vincente Minnelli 5, Kenji Mizoguchi 7, F.W. Murnau 5, Max Ophüls 7, Yasujiro Ozu 10, Pier Paolo Pasolini 5, Roman Polanski 6, Michael Powell 8 (including 6 films co-directed by Emeric Pressburger, and The Thief of Bagdad, co-directed by Ludwig Berger and Tim Whelan), Nicholas Ray 7, Satyajit Ray 6, Jean Renoir 12, Alain Resnais 6, Roberto Rossellini 9, Martin Scorsese 9, Douglas Sirk 6, Steven Spielberg 7, Andrei Tarkovsky 7, François Truffaut 8, King Vidor 5, Luchino Visconti 8, Josef von Sternberg 7, Lars von Trier 5, Orson Welles 8, Wim Wenders 5, Billy Wilder 6, Wong Kar-wai 5.
All About My Mother

All About My Mother

Todo sobre mi madre (original title)
1999 / Spain-France / 101m / Col / Comedy Drama, Ensemble Film
Cecilia Roth, Marisa Paredes, Penelope Cruz, Candela Pena, Antonia San Juan, Rosa Maria Sarda, Toni Canto, Eloy Azorin, Fernando Fernan Gomez, Fernando Guillen
"In All About My Mother the world of acting becomes a source of inspiration to women as they improvise their way through their own lives, with the kind of strength, passion and humor this filmmaker has always celebrated. Mr. Almodóvar has expressed the idea of life as a divine form of acting before, but never with the kind of clarity and beauty that glitter here. All About My Mother, his best film by far, is all about how tragedies of the flesh can yield renewal and hope despite the pain they leave behind, which is as clear an understanding of what makes movies tick as Mr. Almodóvar will ever need." - Janet Maslin, The New York Times
Selected by Andrei Plakhov, Ann Hui, Ben Gibson, Hulya Ucansu, David Gritten.
All Quiet on the Western Front

All Quiet on the Western Front

1930 / USA / 133m / BW / War Drama, Anti-War Film
Lew Ayres, Louis Wolheim, John Wray, Slim Summerville, Russell Gleason, Ben Alexander, William Bakewell, Scott Kolk, Walter Rogers, Owen Davis Jr.
"Anti-war statements of the cinema in the subsequent 80 years have occasionally surpassed Milestone's technically and artistically groundbreaking film, but few can match it for relentless despair or elemental fury… Through both the refreshingly unsubtle rendering of its anti-war themes and a pre-Searchers doorway motif that suggests that we view these events as if from naïve, domesticated eyes, Milestone's film eschews the typically visceral nature of on-screen action, instead supplanting it with a sickening monotony that borders on nauseating, the camera often down in the dirt and mud with the men and every thunderous explosion as shuddering and final as the last." - Rob Humanick, Slant Magazine
Selected by Ronald Neame, Fred Zinnemann, Barthelemy Amengual, Vittorio De Seta, Jenny McCartney.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
All That Heaven Allows

All That Heaven Allows

1955 / USA / 89m / Col / Melodrama, Romantic Drama
Jane Wyman, Rock Hudson, Agnes Moorehead, Conrad Nagel, Virginia Grey, Charles Drake, Gloria Talbott, William Reynolds, Jacqueline de Wit, Leigh Snowden
"Jane Wyman is a repressed wealthy widow and Rock Hudson is the hunky Thoreau-following gardener who loves her in Douglas Sirk’s heartbreakingly beautiful indictment of 1950s small-town America. Sirk utilizes expressionist colors, reflective surfaces, and frames-within-frames to convey the loneliness and isolation of a matriarch trapped by the snobbery of her children and the gossip of her social-climbing country club chums." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Boris Nelepo, John David Rhodes, Peter Matthews, John Waters, Allison Anders.
All That Jazz

All That Jazz

1979 / USA / 123m / Col / Musical, Showbiz Drama
Roy Scheider, Jessica Lange, Ann Reinking, Leland Palmer, Cliff Gorman, Ben Vereen, Erzsebet Foldi, Michael Tolan, Max Wright, William LeMassena
"Fosse might owe a lot to Fellini's plunge into self-obsession, but the pungent texture of showbiz grime and sweaty, thrusting body geometry are completely his own. In powerhouse numbers like "Take Off With Us" and the infamous "Bye-Bye Love", Fosse brings his own unique style of rhythmic, dance-like film editing that he initiated with Cabaret to its apotheosis. Never content to cut on a beat, instead he makes razor-sharp edits at the change of a dancer's direction, or as an extension of his combination moves. In essence, he turns the art of the edit into its own form of choreography. All That Jazz may be Fosse's finest cinematic achievement.." - Eric Henderson, Slant Magazine
Selected by Jan Svěrák, Juan José Campanella, Nae Caranfil, Odie Henderson, R.J. Cutler.
All the President's Men

All the President's Men

1976 / USA / 138m / Col / Political Drama, Paranoid Thriller
Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Jack Warden, Martin Balsam, Hal Holbrook, Jason Robards, Jane (1) Alexander, Meredith Baxter Birney, Ned Beatty, Stephen Collins
"Inevitably softened by hints of self-congratulation concerning the success of Woodward and Bernstein's uncovering of the Watergate affair, Pakula's film is nevertheless remarkably intelligent, working both as an effective thriller (even though we know the outcome of their investigations) and as a virtually abstract charting of the dark corridors of corruption and power. Pakula's visual set-ups are often extraordinary, contrasting the light of the Washington Post newsroom with the shadows in which hides star informant Deep Throat, and dramatically engulfing Hoffman and Redford in monumental buildings to stress the enormity of their task." - Geoff Andrew, Time Out
Selected by Bruce Robinson, George Clooney, Diane Negra, Morgan Neville, Rod Lurie.
Alphaville

Alphaville

Alphaville, une étrange aventure de Lemmy Caution (original title)
1965 / France / 95m / BW / Psychological Sci-Fi, Tech Noir
Eddie Constantine, Anna Karina, Howard Vernon, Akim Tamiroff, Laszlo Szabo, Jean-Louis Comolli, Michel Delahaye, Jean-Andre Fieschi, Christa Lang, Jean-Pierre Leaud
"Alphaville is science fiction without special effects. Godard couldn’t afford them in 1965 or ever, but he probably wouldn’t have wanted them even if he’d had unlimited financing. His whole theme, imagination versus logic, is consistent with his deployment of Paris as it was in the ’60s—or at least, those portions of Paris which struck Godard as architectural nightmares of impersonality… You don’t have to be French to enjoy Alphaville. But you have to love movies with high-minded seriousness." - Andrew Sarris, The Criterion Collection
Selected by John McNaughton, Lisandro Alonso, Peter Whitehead, Philip Saville, Jacob Wong.
Amadeus

Amadeus

1984 / USA / 158m / Col / Musical Drama, Biography
F. Murray Abraham, Tom Hulce, Elizabeth Berridge, Simon Callow, Roy Dotrice, Christine Ebersole, Jeffrey Jones, Charles Kay, Kenny Baker, Lisabeth Bartlett
"Milos Forman's Amadeus is one of the riskiest gambles a filmmaker has taken in a long time -- a lavish movie about Mozart that dares to be anarchic and saucy, and yet still earns the importance of tragedy. This movie is nothing like the dreary educational portraits we're used to seeing about the Great Composers, who come across as cobwebbed profundities weighed down with the burden of genius. This is Mozart as an eighteenth-century Bruce Springsteen, and yet (here is the genius of the movie) there is nothing cheap or unworthy about the approach." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Dorian Branea, Milcho Manchevski, Youngmee Hwang, Kevin Feige, Gary Sinyor.
Les Amants du Pont-Neuf

Les Amants du Pont-Neuf

The Lovers on the Bridge (English title)
1991 / France / 126m / Col / Romantic Drama, Urban Drama
Juliette Binoche, Denis Lavant, Klaus-Michael Gruber, Daniel Buain, Marion Statens, Edith Scob, Chrichan Larsson, Paulette Berthonnier, Georges Apperighis, Roger Berthonnier
"Set against the extravagant backdrop of France's bicentennial shenanigans, Carax's tale of amour fou is even bolder than Boy Meets Girl and Mauvais Sang. It's filled with ecstatic imagery which manages not to jar after the gritty realism of the early scenes, and constitutes a heady anthem to abstracted, mad passion: at once a modern fairy tale and a cinephile's folie de grandeur, frequently exhilarating but never wholly free of pretentiousness." - Geoff Andrew, Time Out
Selected by Chris Chang, Duane Hopkins, Pedro Aguilera, Wim Wenders, Lloyd Hughes.
Amarcord

Amarcord

Top 100 Film / Ranking 77 (85) Orange Up-Arrow
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, Alejandro Amenábar, Ari Folman.
Amelie

Amélie

Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain (original title)
2001 / France-Germany / 122m / Col / Romance, Comedy
Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz, Rufus, Lorella Cravotta, Serge Merlin, Jamel Debbouze, Claire Maurier, Clotilde Mollet, Yolande Moreau, Flora Guiet
"Basically a faux new-wave romp, Amélie achieves a high-tech remix of the playful narrative digressions in François Truffaut's Shoot the Piano Player and the prolix sight gags of Louis Malle's Zazie Dans le Metro. Jeunet loves nothing better than a pell-mell, wide-angle track into an open screaming mouth. Although there's a surfeit of business—thunderous cuts, convulsive white-outs, split screens, interpolated newsreels, X-ray shots, annotated frames, exaggerated sound effects—much of it is funny. Indeed, the manic pace serves to mitigate the movie's cloying sentimentality." - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Selected by Hind Mezaina, Jean-Marc Vallée, Richard Woolley, Jean Olle-Laprune, Xu Yuan.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
America, America

America, America

The Anatolian Smile (UK title)
1963 / USA / 168m / BW / Drama, Americana
Stathis Giallelis, Frank Wolff, Harry Davis, Elena Karam, Lou Antonio, John Marley, Estelle Hemsley, Katharine Balfour, Giorgos Foundas, Gregory Rozakis
"America, America has a sweep and heart that transcends its many shortcomings: Over the sprawling runtime, Kazan conveys the grueling scope of Giallelis’ wayward journey, which only moves forward after going sideways and backward first. But the real hero of America, America is cinematographer Haskell Wexler, whose dramatic lighting and striking black-and-white compositions suggest a better movie might have been made without sound. Giallelis’ story is the story of America writ large, and while it isn’t always convincing in its particulars, it’s stirring in sentiment." - Scott Tobias, A.V. Club
Selected by Fabio Troncarelli, Pascal Merigeau, Bill Pullman, Ferid Boughedir, Alain Ferrari.
American Beauty

American Beauty

1999 / USA / 121m / Col / Comedy Drama, Family Drama
Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch, Wes Bentley, Mena Suvari, Peter Gallagher, Chris Cooper, Allison Janney, Scott Bakula, Sam Robards
"American Beauty is a triumph of acting, writing and directing that defies glib description. Is the film farce, tragedy, thriller, fantasy, sitcom, skin flick or moral fable? Yes to all of the above… It's the life behind things that American Beauty catches as Mendes whips the audience around from humor to horror to something poetic and humane. The result is the kind of artful defiance that Hollywood is usually too timid to deliver: a jolting comedy that makes you laugh till it hurts." - Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
Selected by Farai Sevenzo, Jean-Marc Vallée, Peter O'Fallon, Christian Seebaum, Wolfgang Hobel.
The American Friend

The American Friend

Der Amerikanische Freund (original title)
1977 / France-Germany-USA / 127m / Col / Crime Drama, Post-Noir (Modern Noir)
Dennis Hopper, Bruno Ganz, Gerard Blain, Lisa Kreuzer, Nicholas Ray, Samuel Fuller, Peter Lilienthal, Daniel Schmid, Jean Eustache, Rudolf Schundler
"Gripping 1977 American thriller from Wim Wenders that turns back on itself with deadly European irony. Dennis Hopper is an international art smuggler, Bruno Ganz is a Hamburg craftsman. Together they commit a murder and briefly become friends. The film has a fine grasp of tenuous emotional connections in the midst of a crumbling moral universe. Wenders's films (Kings of the Road, Alice in the Cities) are about life on the edge; this is one of his edgiest." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Eran Kolirin, Riri Riza, George Hickenlooper, Petr Kral, Lynda Myles.
American Graffiti

American Graffiti

1973 / USA / 110m / Col / Comedy Drama, Teen Movie
Richard Dreyfuss, Candy Clark, Ron Howard, Paul Le Mat, Cindy Williams, Harrison Ford, Charles Martin Smith, Mackenzie Phillips, Wolfman Jack, Bo Hopkins
"Because it's been imitated so often, it's almost impossible to see what an innovative film Graffiti is, from its near-constant rock 'n' roll soundtrack to the closing-credits summation of each protagonist's fate. It's more important, however, to see it as the great film it is, a funny, touching, nearly cliché-free, and thoroughly considered evocation of a time, place, and state of mind. Released just 11 years after the events it depicts (it usually takes about 20 years for nostalgia to set in), the film both captures the enormous societal changes between the early '60s and early '70s and winningly dramatizes the lives of its characters." - Keith Phipps, A.V. Club
Selected by Milos Forman, David Pirie, David Fincher, Takayoshi Watanabe, Helmut Fiebig.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
An American in Paris

An American in Paris

1951 / USA / 115m / Col / Musical, Romance
Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron, Oscar Levant, Georges Guetary, Nina Foch, Eugene Borden, Martha Bamattre, Mary Jones, Ann Codee, George Davis
"The great things remain great – Kelly’s effortless grace, Leslie Caron’s extraordinary face, Gershwin’s style-splicing score and Minnelli’s eye-ravishing colour palette. But time has not been wholly kind to An American in Paris: some of the early scenes can be a little self-satisfied and boys’-clubbish, while the love triangle between 39-year-old Kelly, his older rival Georges Guetary and the impossibly youthful 19-year-old Caron feels a mite creepy… Imperfect, then, but intermittently awe-inspiring." - Tom Huddleston, Time Out
Selected by Lars-Olav Beier, Sue Harris, Jaime E. Costa, Tomio Futaba, Nobuhiko Obayashi.
Anatahan

Anatahan

The Saga of Anatahan (alternative title)
1953 / Japan / 90m / BW / Drama, Adventure
Akemi Negishi, Suganume, Ikio Sawamura, Shoji Najayama, Jun Fujikawa, Kondo, Miyashita, Tsuruemon, Kikuji, Kokuriro
"A more extreme degree of stylization is impossible to imagine: the Pacific island setting was re-created entirely in a Japanese studio out of cellophane and paper (Sternberg complained that he was forced to use real water), and the actors who perform this tale of shipwrecked sailors are Kabuki-trained Japanese. Distance is built into every aspect of the production, from the shadowed, filtered images to Sternberg's own voice-over narration, yet the feelings that emerge are incredibly pure and immediate: Sternberg seems to be photographing the absolute essence of human emotion." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Stephane Delorme, Heinz Emigholz, Patrice Rollet, Ken Mogg, Enno Patalas.
Anatomy of a Murder

Anatomy of a Murder

1959 / USA / 160m / BW / Drama, Courtroom Drama
James Stewart, Ben Gazzara, Lee Remick, Arthur O'Connell, Eve Arden, George C. Scott, Kathryn Grant, Joseph N. Welch, Brooks West, Murray Hamilton
"This gripping envelope-pusher, the most popular film by Hollywood provocateur Otto Preminger, was groundbreaking for the frankness of its discussion of sex—but more than anything else, it is a striking depiction of the power of words. Featuring an outstanding supporting cast—with a young George C. Scott as a fiery prosecutor and the legendary attorney Joseph N. Welch as the judge—and an influential score by Duke Ellington, Anatomy of a Murder is an American movie landmark, nominated for seven Oscars, including best picture." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by V.F. Perkins, Christian Keathley, Glenn Kenny, Chuck Bowen, Barbet Schroeder.
And Life Goes On...

And Life Goes On…

Zendegi va digar hich (original title); Life and Nothing More… (USA title)
1992 / Iran / 108m / Col / Drama, Docudrama
Farhad Kheradmand, Buba Bayour, Hocine Rifahi, Ferhendeh Feydi, Mahrem Feydi, Bahrovz Aydini, Ziya Babai, Mohamed Hocinerouhi, Hocine Khadem, Maassouma Berouana
"Despite its narrative simplicity, this is more complex than Abbas Kiarostami's earlier film, Where Is My Friend's House? (1987)… Straddling the divide between fiction and documentary with graceful ease, this is both a subtle study in the ethics of film-making, and a compassionate (but never mawkish or depressing) portrait of courage and determination in the face of overwhelming grief and hardship." - Geoff Andrew, Time Out
Selected by Li Cheuk-to, Heddy Honigmann, Liu Qing, Shan Wanli, Alain Carou.
Andrei Rublev

Andrei Rublev

Top 100 Film / Ranking 25 (22)
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, Julian Schnabel, Vincent Ward.
Angel

Angel

1937 / USA / 91m / BW / Romantic Drama, Melodrama
Marlene Dietrich, Herbert Marshall, Melvyn Douglas, Edward Everett Horton, Ernest Cossart, Laura Hope Crews, Herbert Mundin, Dennie Moore, Ivan Lebedeff, Leonard Carey
"Despite the initial financial failure, Angel survives as a wonderful reminder of Hollywood sophistication, sparkling with Lubitsch's trademark charm and the potent on-screen chemistry between Dietrich and Douglas. Marlene, adorned in an array of scintillating Travis Banton creations, never looked better, and the charming Frederick Hollander score so captivated the star that she insisted he be hired whenever possible for all her future projects." - Mel Neuhaus, TCM
Selected by Pierre Rissient, Antonio Rodrigues, Dan Sallitt, Heddy Honigmann, Shunichi Nagasaki.
An Angel at My Table

An Angel at My Table

1990 / New Zealand / 158m / Col / Biography, Psychological Drama
Kerry Fox, Karen Fergusson, Alexia Keogh, K.J. Wilson, Colin McColl, Martyn Sanderson, William Brandt, Peter Dennett, Iris Churn, Melina Bernecker
"With An Angel at My Table, Academy Award–winning filmmaker Jane Campion brings to the screen the harrowing true-life story of Janet Frame, New Zealand’s most distinguished author. The film follows Frame along her inspiring journey, from a poverty-stricken childhood to a misdiagnosis of schizophrenia and electroshock therapy to, finally, international literary fame. Beautifully capturing the color and power of the New Zealand landscape, the film earned Campion a sweep of her country’s film awards and the Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Lizzie Francke, Lee Unkrich, Dominique Martinez, Frances Morgan, Mira Nair.
Annie Hall

Annie Hall

Top 100 Film / Ranking 92 (97) Orange Up-Arrow
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, Nigel Andrews, Patrick McGilligan, Edward Zwick, Digvijay Singh.
Antonio das Mortes

Antonio das Mortes

O Dragão da Maldade contra o Santo Guerreiro (original title)
1969 / Brazil / 95m / Col / Adventure Drama, Political Drama
Mauricio do Valle, Odete Lara, Hugo Carvana, Lorival Pariz, Othon Bastos, Jofre Soares, Rosa Maria Penna, Emmanuel Cavalcanti, Vinicius Salvatori, Mario Gusmao
"Rocha's sequel to his own Black God, White Devil returns to the Brazilian Sertao in the period after 1940, the key year in which the last of the cangaceiro bandits was killed… This time, though, Rocha completely rejects the elements of realism that made his earlier films particularly obscure: the movie is styled and paced like a Leone Western, and is as flamboyantly operatic as a Jancsó parable. Interestingly, the lack of direct historical references makes the result all the more venomously agitational." - Tony Rayns, Time Out
Selected by David Sterritt, Okubo Ken, Rolando Caputo, Jonathan Demme, Enno Patalas.
Aparajito

Aparajito

1956 / India / 108m / BW / Drama, Coming-of-Age
Pinaki Sengupta, Smaran Ghosal, Karuna Banerji, Kanu Banerji, Ramani Sen Gupta, Charu Ghosh, Subodh Ganguly, Kali Charan Ray, Santi Gupta, K.S. Pandey
"Satyajit Ray creates a sublime and deeply affecting portrait of the struggle between tradition and progress in Aparajito, the second film of the monumental Apu Trilogy. Embodied through the maturation of Apu at the turn of the century, Ray creates an insightful social commentary on a profoundly changing culture, reflected through Apu's dilemma between traditional and modern education." - Acquarello, Strictly Film School
Selected by Moinak Biswas, Riri Riza, Mrinal Sen, Iqbal Masud, Ray Loriga.
The Apartment

The Apartment

Top 100 Film / Ranking 61 (71) Orange Up-Arrow
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, Mark Cousins, Cameron Crowe, Alejandro Amenábar.
Apocalypse Now

Apocalypse Now

Top 100 Film / Ranking 12 (12)
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, Andrew Dominik, Derek Malcolm, Fernando Meirelles, Joel Schumacher.
L'Argent

L'Argent

Money (English title)
1983 / France-Switzerland / 90m / Col / Drama, Crime
Christian Patey, Sylvie Van den Elsen, Michel Briguet, Vincent Risterucci, Caroline Lang, Beatrice Tabourin, Didier Baussy, Marc Ernest Fourneau, Bruno Lapeyre, Francois-Marie Banier
"Robert Bresson's final film—made when he was 81—is a harrowing scour of ideological cinema, based on a sermonic Tolstoy story about greed but turned by Bresson into a pantomime stations of the cross, so completely focused on sensuous minutiae, moral interrogation, and the fastidious lasering away of movie bullshit (like acting and action) that it comes as close as any movie has to 15th-century Christian icons. Except the film's not expressly Christian—Bresson is far less a spiritualist than a precision pragmatist—and it is totally modern." - Michael Atkinson, The Village Voice
Selected by Amos Gitai, Fred Camper, Hirokazu Koreeda, Clara Law, M.K. Raghavendra.
Army of Shadows

Army of Shadows

L'Armée des ombres (original title); Army in the Shadows (alternative title)
1969 / France-Italy / 140m / Col / Resistance Film, War Drama
Lino Ventura, Paul Meurisse, Simone Signoret, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Claude Mann, Paul Crauchet, Christian Barbier, Serge Reggiani, Andre Dewavrin, Alain Dekok
"This masterpiece by Jean-Pierre Melville about the French Resistance went unreleased in the United States for thirty-seven years, until its triumphant theatrical debut in 2006. Atmospheric and gripping, Army of Shadows is Melville’s most personal film, featuring Lino Ventura, Paul Meurisse, Jean-Pierre Cassel, and the incomparable Simone Signoret as intrepid underground fighters who must grapple with their conception of honor in their battle against Hitler’s regime." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Lawrence Kasdan, Adrian Danks, Andrew Pulver, Craig Simpson, Roger Deakins.
Arnulf Rainer

Arnulf Rainer

1960 / Austria / 7m / BW / Avant-garde-Experimental
"This is a film composed entirely of frames of solid black and solid white which Kubelka strings together in lengths as long as 24 seconds and as short as a single frame. When he alternates between single black and white frames, a rapid flicker effect is produced, which is as close as Kubelka can come to the somewhat more rapid flicker of motion-picture projection… But Arnulf Rainer is not merely a study of film rhythm and flicker. In reducing the cinema to its essentials, Kubelka has not stripped it of meaning, but rather made an object which has qualities so general as to suggest a variety of possible meanings, each touching on some essential aspect of existence." - Fred Camper
Selected by David Pendleton, Edwin Mak, Jaime Pena, Alexander Horwath, Christoph Huber.
Arrebato

Arrebato

Rapture (English title)
1980 / Spain / 105m / Col / Drama, Horror
Eusebio Poncela, Cecilia Roth, Will More, Marta Fernandez Muro, Helena Fernan-Gomez, Carmen Giralt, Max Madera, Javier Ulacia, Rosa Crespo, Luis Ciges
"A genuine cult title, Zulueta's deeply eccentric, brooding and mysterious underground oddity was a significant early influence on Almodóvar while remaining barely known outside Spain. A hallucinatory, claustrophobic examination of the secret potency of film itself, it enters the disorienting world of a young film-maker who discovers his camera has a feature he'd never imagined. Taking one right back to those great '70s mood movies, it's a singular treat." - Gareth Evans, Time Out
Selected by Antonio Delgado, Gerardo Naranjo, José Luis Cienfuegos, Eduardo Chapero-Jackson, Nacho Vigalondo.
L'Arrivée d'un train à la Ciotat

L'Arrivée d'un train à la Ciotat

Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat (English title)
1895 / France / 1m / BW / Short Film, Documentary
"Today, we cannot comprehend the terror that gripped the 1895 audience facing the Lumière brothers' arriving train—this first film with which they gave birth to documentary film. Louis Lumière's film Arrival of the Train shows, in only fifty seconds, an everyday occurrence, a familiar experience for spectators: a train pulls into a station, the passengers go back and forth on the platform. Despite its brevity and the banality of its subject matter, this film has attained fame, entering film history as an icon of the medium's origins." - Martin Loiperdinger, Cinema's Founding Myth
Selected by César Ballester, Miklós Jancsó, Chen Ruxiu, Kumar Shahani, Vladimir Vishniakov.
As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty

As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty

2000 / USA / 288m / Col / Biography, Documentary
Jonas Mekas, Oona Mekas
"As I Was Moving Ahead focuses on the domestic world of the Mekas family proper, shot on jittery, mellow 16mm color-reversal stock during the last three decades of the 20th century… As I Was Moving Ahead serves not just as a meditation on the nature of cinema, beauty, and time, but also as a monument to the bonds of family and friends. Mekas's diaries have always quivered with the tensions between past and present. This one, created by an artist soon to enter his eighth decade, finds a secret paradise in the rich harvests of a lifetime's memories." - Ed Halter, The Village Voice
Selected by Flavia de la Fuente, Javier Packer-Comyn, Matías Piñeiro, Catherine Jessica Beed, Nicole Brenez.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
The Ascent

The Ascent

Voskhozhdeniye (original title)
1976 / USSR / 105m / BW / War Drama, Resistance Film
Boris Plotnikov, Vladimir Gostyukhin, Sergei Yakovlev, Lyudmila Polyakova, Viktoriya Goldentul, Anatoli Solonitsyn, Mariya Vinogradova, Nikolai Sektimenko
"Shepitko’s emotionally overwhelming final film won the Golden Bear at the 1977 Berlin Film Festival and has been hailed around the world as the finest Soviet film of its decade. Set during World War II’s darkest days, The Ascent follows the path of two peasant soldiers, cut off from their troop, who trudge through the snowy backwoods of Belarus seeking refuge among villagers. Their harrowing trek leads them on a journey of betrayal, heroism, and ultimate transcendence." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Kevin MacDonald, Fred Kelemen, Kate Muir, Hazel-Dawn Dumpert, Vassilis Economou.
Ashes and Diamonds

Ashes and Diamonds

Popiól i diament (original title)
1958 / Poland / 96m / BW / Political Drama, War Drama
Zbigniew Cybulski, Ewa Krzyzewska, Adam Pawlikowski, Waclaw Zastrzezynski, Bogumil Kobiela, Jan Ciecierski, Stanislaw Milski, Zbigniew Skowronski, Barbara Krafftowna, Irena Orzecka
"On the last day of World War II in a small town somewhere in Poland, Polish exiles of war and the occupying Soviet forces confront the beginning of a new day and a new Poland. In this incendiary environment we find Home Army soldier Maciek Chelmicki (Cybulski), who has been ordered to assassinate an incoming commissar… Gorgeously photographed and brilliantly performed, Ashes and Diamonds masterfully interweaves the fate of a nation with that of one man, resulting in one of the most important Polish films of all time." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Andrei Plakhov, Francis Ford Coppola, Roy Andersson, István Szabó, Dusan Makavejev.
The Asphalt Jungle

The Asphalt Jungle

1950 / USA / 112m / BW / Crime Thriller, Film Noir
Sterling Hayden, Louis Calhern, Jean Hagen, James Whitmore, Sam Jaffe, John McIntire, Marilyn Monroe, Marc Lawrence, Barry Kelley, Anthony Caruso
"An early masterclass in the art of the caper movie, John Huston's 1950 thriller stands up wonderfully well, even if we've got used to far more convoluted scheming by movie robbers in the intervening period. One of The Asphalt Jungle's strengths is that the crims seem about as thick as you suspect they would be in real life: no Cruise or Clooney-style braniac super-athletes here… It all looks fabulous too, a Brechtian ode to the urban wasteland." - Andrew Pulver, The Guardian
Selected by Mike Hodges, Monte Hellman, Alejandro Agresti, Dusan Makavejev, Philip Kaufman.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
Assault on Precinct 13

Assault on Precinct 13

1976 / USA / 90m / Col / Action Thriller, Police Drama
Austin Stoker, Darwin Joston, Laurie Zimmer, Martin West, Tony Burton, Charles Cyphers, Nancy Loomis, Peter Bruni, John J. Fox, Kim Richards
"Because Assault on Precinct 13 is among one of the most remarkably composed films of all time, it's easy to look at Carpenter's rigorous framing techniques as their own acts of political resistance. The film's tight medium-shots position the characters in constant defiance of each other: blacks against whites, women against men, prisoners against officers… Despite the tragic but inevitable human losses, no one group comes out on top because only their capacity for kindness reigns supreme in Carpenter's democratic kingdom." - Ed Gonzalez, Slant Magazine
Selected by Darrell Roodt, Kleber Mendonça Filho, Rob Humanick, Doris Kuhn, Xu Zhanxiong.
L'Atalante

L'Atalante

Top 100 Film / Ranking 17 (17)
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, Gilbert Adair.
Au hasard Balthazar

Au hasard Balthazar

Top 100 Film / Ranking 35 (33)
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, Béla Tarr, Michael Haneke, Ramin Bahrani, David Sterritt.
Au revoir les enfants

Au revoir les enfants

1987 / France / 103m / Col / War Drama, Childhood Drama
Gaspard Manesse, Raphael Fejto, Francine Racette, Stanislas Carre de Malberg, Philippe Morier-Genoud, Francois Berleand, Francois Negret, Peter Fitz, Pascal Rivet, Benoit Henriet
"Au revoir les enfants tells a heartbreaking story of friendship and devastating loss concerning two boys living in Nazi-occupied France. At a provincial Catholic boarding school, the precocious youths enjoy true camaraderie—until a secret is revealed. Based on events from writer-director Malle’s own childhood, the film is a subtle, precisely observed tale of courage, cowardice, and tragic awakening." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Kenneth Branagh, Philip French, Danny Boyle, Arild Andresen, Gino Wimmer.
An Autumn Afternoon

An Autumn Afternoon

Sanma no aji (original title)
1962 / Japan / 115m / Col / Family Drama, Romantic Drama
Chishu Ryu, Shima Iwashita, Keiji Sada, Shinichiro Mikami, Mariko Okada, Nobuo Nakamura, Ryuji Kita, Eijiro Tono, Teruo Yoshida, Noriko Maki
"Co-scripted with long-term collaborator Kogo Noda, as is usual with Ozu, plot is reduced to a bare minimum. Though the story revolves around the central axis of Hirayama, a good deal of the film is given over to the other characters, charting the ups and downs of their daily existence the film almost existing entirely in the form of a series of vignettes. This apparent lack of focus and purpose may seem off-putting at first, but by avoiding the contrivances of traditional dramatic narratives whilst sketching out a touching portrait of everyday family life, Ozu creates a world that gives the impression of stretching far beyond the limiting vista of the cinema screen." - Jasper Sharp, Midnight Eye
Selected by Casper Tybjerg, Frédéric Maire, Jean-Claude Rousseau, Fan Bei, Wu Libing.
Decade breakdown: 1890s = 1 film (+1), 1900s = 1 film (no change), 1910s = 7 films (no change), 1920s = 50 films (+1), 1930s = 89 films (+1), 1940s = 94 films (-1), 1950s = 153 films (+2), 1960s = 172 films (-6), 1970s = 152 films (-5), 1980s = 108 films (no change), 1990s = 109 films (+5), 2000s = 59 films, (+2), 2010s = 5 films (no change).
L'Avventura

L'Avventura

Top 100 Film / Ranking 28 (31) Orange Up-Arrow
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, Albert Maysles, Stanley Kauffman.
The Awful Truth

The Awful Truth

1937 / USA / 92m / BW / Romantic Comedy, Screwball Comedy
Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, Ralph Bellamy, Alex D'Arcy, Cecil Cunningham, Molly Lamont, Esther Dale, Joyce Compton, Robert Allen, Robert Warwick
"Leo McCarey's largely improvised 1937 film is one of the funniest of the screwball comedies, and also one of the most serious at heart. Cary Grant and Irene Dunne are a pair of world-weary socialites who decide to drop the pretense of their wide-open marriage, but fate and Ralph Bellamy draw them together again. The awful truth is that they need each other, and McCarey, with his profound faith in monogamy, leads them gradually and hilariously to that crucial discovery. The issues deepen in a subtle, natural way: the film begins as a trifle and ends as something beautiful and affirmative. A classic." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Molly Haskell, Whit Stillman, Jean-Philippe Tessé, Tom Ryan, Louis Marcorelles.
Back to th Future

Back to the Future

1985 / USA / 116m / Col / Teen Movie, Sci-Fi Comedy
Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, Thomas F. Wilson, Claudia Wells, Marc McClure, Wendie Jo Sperber, George DiCenzo, James Tolkan
"Back to the Future stands up on its own as a well-oiled, brilliantly-edited example of new-school, Spielberg-cultivated thrill-craft, one that endures even now that its visual effects and haw-haw references to Pepsi Free and reruns seem as dated as full-service gas stations apparently did in 1985. Its schematic organization of what Marty and Doc need to accomplish and its steadily mounting series of mishaps demonstrating how they can go wrong represent probably the most carefully-scripted blockbuster in Hollywood history, but the movie's real coup is in how it subtly mocks the political pretensions of the era—not the 1950s, but rather the 1980s." - Eric Henderson, Slant Magazine
Selected by Anna Smith, Mariano Martín Kairuz, Matthew Vaughn, Anurag Mehta, Daniel Cretton.
The Bad and the Beautiful

The Bad and the Beautiful

1952 / USA / 118m / BW / Drama, Showbiz Drama
Kirk Douglas, Lana Turner, Barry Sullivan, Walter Pidgeon, Dick Powell, Gloria Grahame, Gilbert Roland, Leo G. Carroll, Vanessa Brown, Paul Stewart
"Rivalling Sunset Boulevard for its caustic take on Hollywood, Vincente Minnelli’s rip-roaring 1952 melodrama charts the fall of a ruthless, all-powerful producer (Douglas on top form) via flashbacks recalled by a writer (Powell), an actress (Turner) and a director (Sullivan) – all of whom he made, and who now disown him when he’s down. It’s packed with in-jokes and lightly disguised portraits of real-life Tinseltown figures; Douglas’ character is reckoned to be across between David O.Selznick and Val Lewton. But even without a knowledge of the background, this is sharp, cynical fun." - Philip Kemp, Total Film
Selected by Martin Koerber, Enrique Cerezo, Juan Antonio Porto, Leonard Keigel, Joss Whedon.
Bad Timing

Bad Timing

Bad Timing: A Sensual Obsession (alternative title)
1980 / UK / 129m / Col / Mystery, Psychological Drama
Art Garfunkel, Theresa Russell, Harvey Keitel, Denholm Elliott, Daniel Massey, Dana Gillespie, William Hootkins, Eugene Lipinski, George Roubicek, Stefan Gryff
"Amid the decaying elegance of cold-war Vienna, psychoanalyst Dr. Alex Linden (Garfunkel) becomes mired in an erotically charged affair with the elusive Milena Flaherty (Russell). When their all-consuming passion takes a life-threatening turn, Inspector Netusil (Keitel) is assigned to piece together the sordid details. Acclaimed for its innovative editing, raw performances, and stirring musical score—featuring Tom Waits, the Who, and Billie Holiday—Nicolas Roeg’s Bad Timing is a masterful, deeply disturbing foray into the dark world of sexual obsession." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Ian Wild, Isabelle Stever, Sam Dunn, Dominik Graf, Frank Arnold.
Badlands

Badlands

1973 / USA / 95m / Col / Crime Drama, Americana
Martin Sheen, Sissy Spacek, Warren Oates, Ramon Bieri, Alan Vint, Gary Littlejohn, John Carter, Bryan Montgomery, Gail Threlkeld, Charles Fitzpatrick
"The movie is brilliantly composed with a loose, directionless swing that looks easy (but isn't), and a superbly delicate, literate voiceover from Spacek that conveys the bizarre babes-in-the-wood quality of their life together on the run. There are unforgettable sequences, especially at the very end when the captured Kit answers questions from fascinated state troopers as if at a press conference. An unmissable, transcendentally beautiful classic." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by
Andrew Dominik, Gregg Araki, Jeff Nichols, David Siegel, Mike Judge.
Ballad of Narayama

Ballad of Narayama

Narayama bushiko (original title)
1983 / Japan / 130m / Col / Rural Drama, Family Drama
Ken Ogata, Sumiko Sakamoto, Takejo Aki, Tonpei Hidari, Seiji Kurasaki, Kaoru Shimamori, Ryutaro Tatsumi, Junko Takada, Nijiko Kiyokawa, Mitsuko Baisho
"This harsh and beautiful 1983 film by Shohei Imamura marks a turning point in his career, away from the violence and confrontationalism of his earlier films and toward an almost Ozu-like acceptance of human fate. The story is set in an impoverished mountain village, where the law of survival requires that every citizen over 70 be put to death to make room for new mouths at the table… Imamura's rough sexual humor is still in evidence, but now it has taken on a dark tone: to make love is to flirt with death." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Isamu Hirabayashi, Jasper Sharp, Tim Robey, Zhou Xiaowen, Jean-Christophe Berjon.
Bambi

Bambi

1942 / USA / 69m / Col / Children's Fantasy, Animated Musical
Bobby Stewart, Peter Behn, Stan Alexander, Cammie King, Donnie Dunagan, Hardie Albright, Helen Freeman, Morgan Wallace, Wilson Benge, Hans Schumm
"From Disney's richest period, interleaving splendid animation with vulgar Americana. Babycham images occupy only a fraction of the running time in this tale of the adventures of a fawn; the rest is a strikingly impressionistic version of life in the forest and the meadow. Silhouette, panorama, and the cod use of classical music recall the best moments of Fantasia, while the animals are all given irresistible human traits: Bambi, Flower the skunk, and Thumper the rabbit ('Watchya doin' hibernatin'?') are like members of one of Mickey Rooney's gangs." - Andrew Nickolds, Time Out
Selected by Andrew Osmond, Manuel Mozos, Michael Dudok de Wit, Diego Luna, Sally Hibbin.
The Band Wagon

The Band Wagon

1953 / USA / 112m / Col / Musical, Comedy
Fred Astaire, Jack Buchanan, Cyd Charisse, Oscar Levant, Nanette Fabray, James Mitchell, Robert Gist, Thurston Hall, Ava Gardner, LeRoy Daniels
"The Band Wagon is the most frequent rival of Singin' in the Rain for honors as producer Arthur Freed's best musical. In some ways, the pictures are mirror images of each other. Both are about song-and-dance men whose careers are jeopardized. Both feature a production that starts out as a disaster and becomes a hit. And in both films, saving the production and the leading character's career parallels the personal salvation he finds through love. The Band Wagon, however, is the darker of the two films, set on a fading Broadway with a focus on old age and retirement to add to the leading character's professional and personal problems." - Brian Cady and Frank Miller, TCM
Selected by Stuart Klawans, Antonio Santamarina, Charles Drazin, D.A. Pennebaker, José Luis Garci.
Bande a part

Bande à part

Band of Outsiders (English title)
1964 / France / 97m / BW / Drama, Crime Drama
Anna Karina, Claude Brasseur, Sami Frey, Louisa Colpeyn, Chantal Darget, Michel Delahaye, Daniele Girard, Jean-Luc Godard, Claude Makovski, Ernest Menzer
"Band of Outsiders is the Godard film for people who don't much care for Godard: a proto-slacker mood piece about two nondescript guys trying to persuade a beautiful girl to help them commit a robbery. Adapted from Dolores Hitchens's Fools' Gold, an American '50s crime novel published in France as part of the pulp Série Noire, it's more Renoir than Fuller—the least preoccupied with American culture of any of Godard's '60s films." - Amy Taubin, The Village Voice
Selected by Billy Chainsaw, Joshua Clover, Kaleem Aftab, Jonathan Levine, Auram Heffner.
The Barefoot Contessa

The Barefoot Contessa

1954 / USA / 128m / Col / Melodrama, Showbiz Drama
Ava Gardner, Humphrey Bogart, Edmond O'Brien, Marius Goring, Valentina Cortese, Rossano Brazzi, Warren Stevens, Elizabeth Sellars, Franco Interlenghi, Mari Aldon
"Like The Bad and the Beautiful, this starts with a funeral, then moves into flashback with three different guides to the scandalous life of a movie queen who started in the Spanish slums and liked to keep her feet in the dirt. Not as incisive as Minnelli's film, but still a heady Mankiewicz brew of Hollywood trash and wit. Also something of a film à clef, in which the millionaire producer is Howard Hughes, there are disguised caricatures (Farouk, the Duke of Windsor), and the Contessa herself is a tactful mixture (mostly Rita Hayworth)." - Tom Milne, Time Out
Selected by Jean-Max Mejean, Maroun Bagdadi, Annick Demeule, Alain Ferrari, Azzedine Mabrouki.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
Barren Lives

Barren Lives

Vidas Secas (original title)
1963 / Brazil / 135m / BW / Drama, Rural Drama
Atila Iorio, Maria Ribeiro, Orlando Macedo, Jofre Soares, Gilvan Lima, Genivaldo Lima
"Widely considered a landmark of the nation's cinema, Santos's Vidas Secas is no less radical a cultural examination than Rocha's Black God, White Devil the following year, yet where Rocha gets Godard-medieval on the camera's ass, Santos keeps his lenses squarely focused on the barren lives of his characters, the gaze as concentrated as the sun blasting the arid expanses of Brazil's northeast." - Fernando F. Croce, Slant Magazine
Selected by Fernando Meirelles, Walter Salles, Billy Woodberry, Leon Cakoff, Jeanine Meerapfel.
Barry Lyndon

Barry Lyndon

Top 100 Film / Ranking 53 (52)
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, Richard Kelly, Jonathan Kaplan.
Bartin Fink

Barton Fink

1991 / USA / 117m / Col / Comedy Drama, Black Comedy
John Turturro, John Goodman, Judy Davis, Michael Lerner, John Mahoney, Tony Shalhoub, Jon Polito, Steve Buscemi, David Warrilow, Richard Portnow
"What Raising Arizona was to baby lust, Barton Fink is to writer's block -- a rapturously funny, strangely bittersweet, moderately horrifying and, yes, truly apt description of the condition and its symptoms… Though it defies genre, it seems to work best as a tart self-portrait, a screwball film noir that expresses the Coens' own alienation from Hollywood. A cineaste's landmark on a par with Blue Velvet, this is an experience to savor over and over." - Rita Kempley, Washington Post
Selected by David O. Mahony, Mehmet Açar, Roberta Ciabarra, Alexei Balabanov, Sean Byrne.
The Battle of Algiers

The Battle of Algiers

Top 100 Film / Ranking 57 (56)
La Battaglia di Algeri (original title)
1965 / Algeria-Italy / 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, Christopher Frayling, Joan Mellen, Lawrence Kasdan.
Battleship Potemkin

Battleship Potemkin

Top 100 Film / Ranking 11 (11)
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 Manoel de Oliveira, Michael Mann, Paul Greengrass, Stanley Kauffman, Roger Corman.
Beau Travail

Beau travail

1998 / France / 93m / Col / Drama, Psychological Drama
Denis Lavant, Michel Subor, Gregoire Colin, Richard Courcet, Nicolas Duvauchelle, Adiatou Massidi, Mickael Rakovski, Dan Herzberg, Giuseppe Molino, Marta Tafesse Kassa
"Claire Denis's film is a mesmeric, masculine ballet whose beauty and confident power, manifested in lugubrious scenes which suspend the normal rules of narrative procedure, simply go beyond conventional ideas of transgression or homoeroticism… What is really remarkable about Denis's film is the way she succeeds in fusing the real and the dreamlike, the naturalistic and the figurative, into one visual conceit. Never for one moment does this shimmering, simmering emotional desert storm of a film relax its grip on your senses." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Ira Sachs, Steve McQueen, Adam Nayman, Matt Boyd, Tim Sutton.
Before Sunset

Before Sunset

2004 / USA / 80m / Col / Romance, Comedy Drama
Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Louise Lemoine Torres, Vernon Dobtcheff, Rodolphe Pauly, Mariane Plasteig, Diabolo, Albert Delpy, Marie Pillet, Denis Evrard
"Before Sunrise was a remarkable celebration of the fascination of good dialogue. But Before Sunset is better, perhaps because the characters are older and wiser, perhaps because they have more to lose (or win), and perhaps because Hawke and Delpy wrote the dialogue themselves. The film has the materials for a lifetime project; like the 7-Up series, this is a conversation that could be returned to every 10 years or so, as Celine and Jesse grow older." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Sukhdev Sandhu, Diane Negra, John Carney, Robin Baker, Tim Robey.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
Being There

Being There

1979 / USA / 130m / Col / Comedy, Satire
Peter Sellers, Shirley MacLaine, Melvyn Douglas, Jack Warden, Richard Dysart, Richard Basehart, Ruth Attaway, David Clennon, Fran Brill, Denise DuBarry
"Most movies don't benefit from an inability to make up their minds, but Being There glides on its own contradictions. Closing out a decade of great, too-often-overlooked work, Hal Ashby directed this 1979 feature with a straight face that could hide a wicked grin, a beatific glow, or both. It ends with what looks like a miracle, but Ashby's ability to make the peculiar story as moving as it is opaque is kind of miraculous in itself." - Keith Phipps, A.V. Club
Selected by M. Night Shyamalan, Judd Apatow, Gary Tarn, Matthew Vaughn, Brett Ratner.
Belle de jour

Belle de jour

1967 / France-Italy / 100m / Col / Satire, Psychological Drama
Catherine Deneuve, Jean Sorel, Michel Piccoli, Genevieve Page, Pierre Clementi, Francisco Rabal, Georges Marchal, Francoise Fabian, Maria Latour, Macha Meril
"Catherine Deneuve’s porcelain perfection hides a cracked interior in one of the actress’s most iconic roles: Séverine, a Paris housewife who begins secretly spending her after­noon hours working in a bordello. This surreal and erotic late-sixties daydream from provocateur for the ages Luis Buñuel is an examination of desire and fetishistic pleasure (its characters’ and its viewers’), as well as a gently absurdist take on contemporary social mores and class divisions. Fantasy and reality commingle in this burst of cinematic transgression, which was one of Buñuel’s biggest hits." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Andrew Sarris, Alan Jones, Girish Shambu, Edgar Pêra, Philip Kaufman.
Leading Years: 1966 = 24 films (+1), 1961 = 21 films (-1), 1955 = 20 films (-1), 1974 = 20 films (+1), 1953 = 19 films (no change), 1959 = 19 films (+1), 1957 = 18 films (+1), 1967 = 18 films (-1), 1971 = 18 films (-1), 1970 = 17 films (-2), 1962 = 17 films (no change), 1963 = 17 films (no change), 1973 = 17 films (no change).
La Belle et la bete

La Belle et la bête

Beauty and the Beast (English title)
1946 / France / 95m / BW / Fairy Tale, Romantic Fantasy
Jean Marais, Josette Day, Marcel Andre, Mila Parely, Nane Germon, Michel Auclair, Georges Auric, Raoul Marco, Noel Blin, Jean Cocteau
"I'm prepared to entertain the argument that Beauty and the Beast is not Cocteau's most "important" film and that it does have some creaky moments. But it is probably his most perfect, because it speaks to so wide an audience with its intensity of vision and the emotions that it inspires in us… Cocteau was almost 60 when he made Beauty and the Beast, his first full-length feature. But the astonishing fact is that this elderly poet had, and still has, a huge influence on the avant-garde of American film. In worshipping the new in Cocteau, some of them had little idea of the traditions from which his art sprang. But he affected them just the same." - Derek Malcolm, The Guardian
Selected by Carrie Rickey, Guillermo Del Toro, Ken Russell, Dennis Doros, David Siegel.
La Belle noiseuse

La Belle noiseuse

1991 / France / 240m / Col / Drama, Psychological Drama
Michel Piccoli, Jane Birkin, Emmanuelle Beart, Marianne Denicourt, David Bursztein, Gilles Arbona, Marie-Claude Roger, Bernard Dufour, Marie Belluc, Leila Remili
"Jacques Rivette's La Belle Noiseuse is the best film I have ever seen about the physical creation of art, and about the painful bond between an artist and his muse. Winner of the Palme d'Or prize at Cannes that year, it ran to a full four hours, and so its theatrical life was limited. Rivette edited a 125-minute version titled Divertimento, but why bother with it? The greatness of La Belle Noiseuse is in the time it spends on the creation of art, and the creation and destruction of passion." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Adrian Danks, Martha Otte, Paul Buck, M.K. Raghavendra, Khosrow-Sinai.
Ben-Hur

Ben-Hur

1959 / USA / 212m / Col / Religious Epic, Sword-and-Sandal
Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, Haya Harareet, Stephen Boyd, Hugh Griffith, Martha Scott, Sam Jaffe, Finlay Currie, Cathy O'Donnell, Frank Thring
"Although a bit like a four-hour Sunday school lesson, Ben-Hur is not without its compensations, above all, of course, the chariot race (which was directed not by Wyler but by Andrew Marton, and it shows). The rest is made interesting by the most sexually ambivalent characters sporting togas this side of Satyricon. When not fondling phallic substitutes, Heston and Boyd gaze admiringly into each other's eyes, but when they fall out - well, hell hath no fury like a closet queen scorned." - Scott Meek, Time Out
Selected by Camille Paglia, Dieter Kosslick, Gaston Kaboré, Adrian Turner, Roque Baños.
Berlin Alexanderplatz

Berlin Alexanderplatz

1980 / West Germany-Italy / 894m / Col / Epic, Political Drama
Gunter Lamprecht, Elisabeth Trissenaar, Karin Baal, Franz Buchrieser, Peter Kollek, Brigitte Mira, Mechthild Grossmann, Barbara Valentin, Hans Zander, Yaak Karsunke
"Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s controversial, fifteen-hour-plus Berlin Alexanderplatz, based on Alfred Döblin’s great modernist novel, was the crowning achievement of a prolific director who, at age thirty-four, had already made forty films. Fassbinder’s immersive epic follows the hulking, childlike ex-convict Franz Biberkopf (Lamprecht) as he attempts to “become an honest soul” amid the corrosive urban landscape of Weimar-era Germany. With equal parts cynicism and humanity, Fassbinder details a mammoth portrait of a common man struggling to survive in a viciously uncommon time." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Béla Tarr, Jonathan Glazer, Chung Sung-ill, Harold Becker, Susan Sontag.
Berlin: Symphony of a Great City

Berlin: Symphony of a Great City

Berlin: DieSymphonie der Großstadt (original title)
1927 / Germany / 65m / BW / Avant-garde-Experimental, Documentary
Paul von Hindenburg
"This classic German documentary is a valentine to the "new" Berlin of the late 1920s, enjoying a renaissance after the dregs of the Depression. Director Walter Ruttman's five-reel symphony begins at dawn and ends at midnight, showing Berliners at hard work by day and enjoying the city's boisterous nightlife. Essentially a feature-length montage, the film was heavily influenced by the earlier works of Russian filmmaker Dziga Vertov… Though many current prints of Berlin: Symphony of a Great City carry a musical track, this silent documentary creates its own music by virtue of its rhythmic editing." - Hal Erickson, All Movie
Selected by Adam Hyman, Amir Labaki, Manuel Gutiérrez Aragon, Petr Kral, John Weisman.
The Best Years of Our Lives

The Best Years of Our Lives

1946 / US / 172m / BW / Family Drama, Ensemble Film
Fredric March, Myrna Loy, Dana Andrews, Teresa Wright, Virginia Mayo, Harold Russell, Hoagy Carmichael, Cathy O'Donnell, Gladys George, Roman Bohnen
"I’d call this the best American movie about returning soldiers I’ve ever seen — the most moving and the most deeply felt. It bears witness to its times and contemporaries like few other Hollywood features, and Gregg Toland’s deep-focus cinematography is one of the best things he ever did. The rest of the cast — including Dana Andrews, Myrna Loy, Teresa Wright, Fredric March, Cathy O’Donnell, Virginia Mayo, Hoagy Carmichael, and Ray Collins — is strong too." - Jonathan Rosenbaum
Selected by Francis Ford Coppola, Genevieve Sellier, Cameron Crowe, Alejandro Agresti, Jan Nemec.
La Bete humaine

La Bête humaine

The Human Beast (English title)
1938 / France / 99m / BW / Crime Drama, Psychological Drama
Jean Gabin, Simone Simon, Fernand Ledoux, Julien Carette, Blanchette Brunoy, Jean Renoir, Gerard Landry, Jenny Helia, Colette Regis, Jacques Berlioz
"Between his twin Elvis years of 1937 (Grand Illusion) and 1939 (The Rules of the Game), master artiste Jean Renoir crafted this brooding, fluid adaptation of Émile Zola's doctrinaire novel, expanding the palette of pre-noir "poetic realism" to include the hardscrabble locomotion of proletariat desperation and fashioning a national icon of working-class struggle in the process." - Michael Atkinson, The Village Voice
Selected by Allan Sekula, Francine Stock, Martha P. Nochimson, Hans-Jürgen Syberberg, Gerardo Vera.
Bicycle Thieves

Bicycle Thieves

Top 100 Film / Ranking 13 (13)
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 Aki Kaurismäki, Atom Egoyan, Bruce Robinson, Danny Boyle, Jesus Franco.
Bienvenido Mister Marshall

Bienvenido Mister Marshall

Welcome Mr. Marshall! (English title)
1952 / Spain / 95m / BW / Comedy, Satire
Jose Isbert, Lolita Sevilla, Alberto Romea, Manolo Moran, Luis Perez de Leon, Elvira Quintilla, Felix Fernandez, Nicolas D. Perchicot, Joaquin Roa, Fernando Aguirre
"Welcome, Mr. Marshall! was one of the rare Spanish films to treat political events of the day—foremost the exclusion of the country, as a pariah nation, from Marshall Plan funds. The movie concerns the frenzied attempts of a small Castilian town to seduce American money by organizing a ridiculous fiesta; the place becomes a kind of false-front movie set masking the dire conditions in which the inhabitants really live. This sharp, good-humored spoof of Spanishness—or the Hollywood image of Spanishness—bears a resemblance to the best Ealing comedies." - Elliott Stein, The Village Voice
Selected by Bigas Luna, Kepa Sojo, Cesar Santos Fontenla, Antonio Mercero, Jaume Figueras.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
Big Deal on Madonna Street

Big Deal on Madonna Street

I Soliti ignoti (original title)
1958 / Italy / 91m / BW / Crime Comedy, Caper
Vittorio Gassman, Renato Salvatori, Marcello Mastroianni, Memmo Carotenuto, Rosanna Rory, Carla Gravina, Claudia Cardinale, Carlo Pisacane, Tiberio Murgia, Toto
"Mario Monicelli’s Big Deal on Madonna Street is that genuine rarity in popular culture: a satire that not only helped kill off one movie genre, but started a whole new subgenre in the process. The film, released in Italy in 1958 as I Soliti ignoti, was a veritable treasure trove of cinematic influences, from Italian neorealism to Hollywood postwar film noir and its 1950s French cousin, all tied together in one neat 90-minute package." - Bruce Eder, The Criterion Collection
Selected by Whit Stillman, Juan José Campanella, Fernando Leon de Aranoa, Orlando Lubbert, Jean-Claude Romer.
The Big Heat

The Big Heat

1953 / USA / 90m / BW / Crime, Film Noir
Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame, Jocelyn Brando, Alexander Scourby, Lee Marvin, Carolyn Jones, Jeanette Nolan, Peter Whitney, Willis Bouchey, Robert Burton
"Lang strips down William P. McGivern's novel to essentials, giving the story a narrative drive as efficient and powerful as a handgun. The dialogue is functional. Every shot is composed with economy and exactitude, no act gratuitous. The most celebrated scene, where Marvin's psychopathic gangster mutilates his moll Grahame's face with scalding coffee, is remarkable in that you never see him do it; the contract killings are also sex murders, but again unseen." - Wally Hammond, Time Out
Selected by Jean Narboni, Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, José Luis Rebordinos, Barbet Schroeder, Jose Luis Borau.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
The Big Lebowski

The Big Lebowski

1998 / USA-UK / 113m / Col / Crime Comedy, Screwball Comedy
Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi, David Huddleston, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Tara Reid, Peter Stormare, John Turturro, David Thewlis
"Maybe it's the way the Coen brothers tie everything together with bowling that makes this Los Angeles-based tale of burnouts, gun buffs, doobies, tumbleweeds, art, nihilism, porn, pissed-on rugs, severed toes, Saddam Hussein, attack marmots, Teutonic technopop and Bob Dylan — not to mention extortion, kidnapping and death — such a hilarious pop-culture hash. The Big Lebowski is the best movie ever set mostly in a bowling alley." - Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
Selected by Jay Duplass, Richard Kelly, Sam Raimi, Athina Rachel Tsangari, Ben Walters.
The Big Parade

The Big Parade

1925 / USA / 141m / BW / War, Drama
John Gilbert, Renee Adoree, Hobart Bosworth, Claire McDowell, Claire Adams, Robert Ober, Tom O'Brien, Karl Dane, Kathleen Key, Rosita Marstini
"A masterpiece, King Vidor's 1925 film about the Great War accomplishes what few war epics ever do: it captures the immense sweep of cataclysmic events while maintaining its focus on the ordinary people whose lives are changed forever by those events. John Gilbert stars in his finest performance, as a young American soldier who finds peace with a French woman (Adoree) amid the dirt and horror of war." - Don Druker, Chicago Reader
Selected by Simon Louvish, Koen van Daele, Fernando Vizcaino Casas, Cecil B. DeMille, Mario Camerini.
The Big Sleep

The Big Sleep

1946 / USA / 114m / BW / Mystery, Film Noir
Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, John Ridgely, Elisha Cook Jr., Martha Vickers, Dorothy Malone, Regis Toomey, Louis Jean Heydt, Sonia Darrin, Bob Steele
"Howard Hawks’s movie is a film noir touchstone, and features one of Bogart’s best good-man-in-a-tough-spot performances, alongside the irresistible Lauren Bacall… Don’t try too hard to follow the story, just get swept away by the mood of the film. Revel in watching Bogie and Bacall (married by the time the additional scenes were shot) interact. Enjoy the stunning costumes, the crisp cinematography, the snappy script, the brilliant Max Steiner score." - Eric Brace, Washington Post
Selected by Antonio Santamarina, Brian Dillon, Andrés Di Tella, Andrew O'Hehir, Gerardo Vera.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
Bigger Than Life

Bigger Than Life

1956 / USA / 95m / Col / Psychological Drama, Family Drama
James Mason, Barbara Rush, Walter Matthau, Robert F. Simon, Roland Winters, Christopher Olsen, Rusty Lane, Rachel Stephens, Kipp Hamilton, Betty Caulfield
"Though ignored at the time of its release, Nicholas Ray’s Bigger Than Life is now recognized as one of the great American films of the 1950s. When a friendly, successful suburban teacher and father (James Mason, in one of his most indelible roles) is prescribed cortisone for a painful, possibly fatal affliction, he grows dangerously addicted to the experimental drug… This Eisenhower-era throat-grabber, shot in expressive CinemaScope, is an excoriating take on the nuclear family. That it came in the day of Father Knows Best makes it all the more shocking—and wildly entertaining." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Dennis Lim, Joe Lawlor, John Semley, Barbet Schroeder, Budd Wilkins.
The Birds

The Birds

1963 / USA / 120m / Col / Horror, Natural Horror
Tippi Hedren, Rod Taylor, Suzanne Pleshette, Jessica Tandy, Veronica Cartwright, Ruth McDevitt, Ethel Griffies, Charles McGraw, Joe Mantell, Doodles Weaver
"With death dropping blandly out of a clear sky - its menace magnified into apocalypse from the crop-dusting scene in North by Northwest - this is Hitchcock at his best. Full of subterranean hints as to the ways in which people cage each other, it's fierce and Freudian as well as great cinematic fun, with ample fodder for the amateur psychologist following up on Hitch's tortuous involvement with his leading ladies." - Tom Milne, Time Out
Selected by Leonardo García Tsao, Raymond Bellour, Manuel J. Lombardo, Bigas Luna, Tom Hunsinger.
The Birth of a Nation

The Birth of a Nation

The Clansman (première title)
1915 / USA / 187m / BW / Epic, Historical Film
Lillian Gish, Mae Marsh, Henry B. Walthall, Miriam Cooper, Mary Alden, Ralph Lewis, George Siegmann, Walter Long, Robert Harron, Raoul Walsh
"It might as well be titled “The Birth of the Movies.” D.W. Griffith's 1915 Civil War epic was the first commercially successful feature-length film. Seen today, it is an odd combination of the most delicate sentiment and, in its racism, the most brutal insensibility. Griffith's later films are unquestionably superior. But here, in a very real sense, is where the movies began, both as an art and as a business." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Bernard Eisenschitz, Antonio Rodrigues, Manuel Asín, John Boorman, Linda Williams.
The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant

The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant

Die Bitteren Tränen der Petra von Kant (original title)
1972 / West Germany / 124m / Col / Drama, Melodrama
Margit Carstensen, Hanna Schygulla, Irm Hermann, Katrin Schaake, Eva Mattes, Gisela Fackeldey
"Adapted from Fassbinder's own play, the film hardly hides its theatrical origins, turning them instead to its advantage. Rather than camouflage the proscenium, Petra makes it a prison, a gilded cage of suffocating aestheticism… Cinematographer Michael Ballhaus (who went on, of course, to a long career collaborating with Martin Scorsese) composes every frame within an inch of its life, trapping the figures with their own beauty… An incredible confluence of human insight and artistic expression, Petra is Fassbinder at his most over-the-top, but also his most exacting." - Sam Adams, Philadelphia City Paper
Selected by Nick Pinkerton, Richard Woolley, Tim Highsted, Leslie Camhi, Derek Jarman.
Black Girl

Black Girl

La Noire de… (original title)
1966 / France-Senegal / 65m / Col-BW / Drama, Social Problem Film
Mbissine Therese Diop, Anne-Marie Jelinek, Robert Fontaine, Momar Nar Sene, Ibrahima Boy, Bernard Delbard, Nicole Donati, Raymond Lemeri, Suzanne Lemeri, Philippe
"The 1966 first feature of Senegalese director Ousmane Sembene. A girl from a lower-class district in Dakar goes to work as a maid for a French couple and accompanies them on a vacation to France, where her newfound sense of freedom gradually turns into feelings of isolation and invisibility. Sembene keeps his metaphors under control, and the result is a message movie with an unusual depth of characterization." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by June Givanni, Allan Sekula, Guy Désiré Yameogo, Horace Ove, Wiwat Lertwiwatwongsa.
Black God, White Devil

Black God, White Devil

Deus e o Diabo na Terra do Sol (original title)
1964 / Brazil / 110m / BW / Road Movie, Crime Drama
Yona Magalhaes, Geraldo Del Rey, Othon Bastos, Sonia Dos Humildes, Mauricio do Valle, Joao Gama, Marrom, Antonio Pinto, Milton Rosa, Lidio Silva
"Rocha's first major film introduced most of the methods, themes and even characters that were developed five years later in his Antonio das Mortes. Set in the drought-plagued Brazilian Sertao in 1940, it explores the climate of superstition, physical and spiritual terrorism and fear that gripped the country… Rocha's project is fundamentally political, and completely unambiguous: he faces up to the contradictions of his country in an effort to understand, to crush mystiques, and to improve." - Tony Rayns, Time Out
Selected by Garin Nugroho, Pere Portabella, Ambrosio Fornet, Alfredo Guevara, Klaus Eder.
Print colour: Black & White = 445 films (-23), Colour films = 532 films (+21), Colour/BW films = 23 films (+2).
Black Narcissus

Black Narcissus

1946 / UK / 99m / Col / Melodrama, Religious Drama
Deborah Kerr, Sabu, David Farrar, Flora Robson, Jean Simmons, Kathleen Byron, Jenny Laird, Esmond Knight, Judith Furse, May Hallatt
"Run, don't walk to see this 1947 classic from Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger… With each fade to black, you can see Deborah Kerr's eyes become, subliminally, twin gimlet gleams in the dark. The co-directors created from Rumer Godden's novel an extraordinary melodrama of repressed love and Forsterian Englishness - or rather Irishness - coming unglued in the vertiginous landscape of South Asia… The studio sets and backdrops are superbly and still convincingly rendered, and the film looks more beautiful than ever." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Kenneth Branagh, Peter Bradshaw, Andrew Haigh, Philip Strick, James Mangold.
Black Orpheus

Black Orpheus

Orfeu Negro (original title)
1959 / Brazil-France / 103m / Col / Fantasy, Romance
Breno Mello, Marpessa Dawn, Ademar Da Silva, Lourdes de Oliveira, Lea Garcia, Alexandro Constantino, Waldemar De Souza, Jorge Dos Santos, Aurino Cassiano, Maria Alice
"Winner of both the Academy Award for best foreign-language film and the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or, Marcel Camus’ Black Orpheus brings the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice to the twentieth-century madness of Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. With its eye-popping photography and ravishing, epochal soundtrack, Black Orpheus was an international cultural event, and it kicked off the bossa nova craze that set hi-fis across America spinning." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Mario Van Peebles, Karl Markovics, Tibor Bíró, Jonathan Demme, Wanuri Kahiu.
Blade Runner

Blade Runner

Top 100 Film / Ranking 45 (45)
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 Jan Sverák, Thomas Elsaesser, Joel Schumacher, Jaime Chávarri, Julio Medem.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
Blissfully Yours

Blissfully Yours

Sud sanaeha (original title)
2002 / Thailand-France / 125m / Col / Avant-garde-Experimental, Drama
Kanokporn Tongaram, Min Oo, Jenjira Jansuda, Sa-gnad Chaiyapan, Kanitpat Premkij, Jaruwan Techasatiern
"This uncompromising film can feel shapeless until you discover the simplicity of its form, obscure until you realize that a large part of its meaning is, quite literally, clear as day. In plainest terms, it is the story of three stressed-out people taking the afternoon off and driving into the jungle for a picnic and sex. The first hour is angular, urban, socio-political, gently oblique; the second is liquid, primal, sensual, strange. The movement from city to country, geometry to flux, politics to sex, is a kind of happy entropy. Blissfully Yours doesn't resolve a story, it deliquesces into states of feeling." - Nathan Lee, New York Sun
Selected by Corneliu Porumboiu, Athina Rachel Tsangari, Florence Almozini, Christine Dollhofer, Julian Ross.
See also The 21st Century's Most Acclaimed Films.
The Blood of a Poet

The Blood of a Poet

Le Sang d'un poète (original title)
1930 / France / 58m / BW / Avant-garde-Experimental, Surrealist Film
Lee Miller, Pauline Carton, Odette Talazac, Enrique Rivero, Jean Desbordes, Fernand Dichamps, Lucien Jager, Feral Benga, Barbette
"Poets shed not only the red blood of their hearts but the white blood of their souls,” proclaimed Jean Cocteau of his groundbreaking first film—an exploration of the plight of the artist, the power of metaphor and the relationship between art and dreams. One of cinema’s great experiments, this first installment of the Orphic Trilogy stretches the medium to its limits in an effort to capture the poet’s obsession with the struggle between the forces of life and death." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by John McNaughton, Jonas Mekas, Nick Zedd, A. Hans Scheirl, Brandon Judell.
Blood Simple

Blood Simple

1984 / USA / 97m / Col / Post-Noir (Modern Noir), Crime Thriller
John Getz, Frances McDormand, Dan Hedaya, M. Emmet Walsh, Samm-Art Williams, Deborah Neumann, Raquel Gavia, Van Brooks, Senor Marco, William Creamer
"Taking its title from Dashiell Hammett and borrowing a situation from James M. Cain, the Coen's 1984 debut was arguably the most influential noir since Chinatown (and until Reservoir Dogs)… From the initial storyboard to the final sound design, Blood Simple is a supremely calculated intellectual exercise. The super-studied, neon-colored compositions are stippled by perfectly arranged shadows. In addition to its cast, Blood Simple boasts some distinguished credits—it was the first feature shot by cinematographer-turned-director Barry Sonnenfeld and the first scored by the prolific composer Carter Burwell." - J. Hoberman, The Village Voice
Selected by Mike D'Angelo, Harun Farocki, Stefan Schwartz, Danny Boyle, Neil Young.
See also 1,000 Noir Films.
Blow Out

Blow Out

1981 / USA / 107m / Col / Political Thriller, Paranoid Thriller
John Travolta, Nancy Allen, John Lithgow, Dennis Franz, Peter Boyden, John Aquino, Curt May, Ernest McClure, Dave Roberts, Maurice Copeland
"In the enthralling Blow Out, brilliantly crafted by Brian De Palma, John Travolta gives one of his greatest performances, as a movie sound-effects man who believes he has accidentally recorded a political assassination. He enlists the help of a possible eyewitness to the crime (Allen), who may be in danger herself, to uncover the truth. With its jolting stylistic flourishes, intricate plot, profoundly felt characterizations, and gritty evocation of early-1980s Philadelphia, Blow Out is an American paranoia thriller unlike any other, as well as a devilish reflection on moviemaking." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, Noel Murray, Tom Ryan, Jim Fall, Jim Ridley.
Blow-Up

Blowup

Blow-Up (alternative title); Blow Up (alternative title)
1966 / Italy-UK / 111m / Col / Mystery, Psychological Thriller
David Hemmings, Vanessa Redgrave, Peter Bowles, Sarah Miles, Jane Birkin, Gillian Hills, John Castle, Julian Chagrin, Harry Hutchinson, Susan Broderick
"Antonioni creates a film that questions the politics of its protagonist and, at the same time, challenges the way we watch movies. In many ways, this is the best film ever made about movies, because Antonioni recognizes the fragile nature of celluloid and the need to preserve great images. Which is why the film is to profoundly moving—by film's end, Antonioni sadly suggests that one day Blowup won't exist (or mean anything to anyone) if it doesn't continue to be seen, or if its meaning isn't blown-up." - Ed Gonzalez, Slant Magazine
Selected by Charles Burnett, Corneliu Porumboiu, John Carpenter, Amos Poe, Trevor Steele Taylor.
Blue

Blue

1993 / UK / 76m / Col / Avant-garde/Experimental, Gay & Lesbian Film
John Quentin, Nigel Terry, Derek Jarman, Tilda Swinton
"The screen is a perfect blue throughout as Derek Jarman faces up to AIDS, the loss of loved ones, the breakdown of the body, blindness, his own approaching fall into the void. The film embodies the spiritual transcendence which Cyril Collard sought to convey in the last reel of his anguished melodrama Savage Nights, crucially in the serene contemplation of the screen itself, but also in Jarman's beautiful poetry. Extracts from the film-maker's diary supply an ironic commentary on the 'progress' of his illness so that the movie becomes a juxtaposition between the finite and the infinite, the sublime and the ridiculous. Greatly helped by Simon Fisher Turner's soundtrack. Moving beyond words." - Tom Charity, Time Out
Selected by Ron Peck, Sarah Turner, Sophie Mayer, Li Yang, Shen Yi.
The Blue Angel

The Blue Angel

Der Blaue Engel (original title)
1930 / Germany / 103m / BW / Melodrama, Psychological Drama
Emil Jannings, Marlene Dietrich, Kurt Gerron, Rosa Valetti, Hans Albers, Eduard von Winterstein, Reinhold Bernt, Hans Roth, Rolf Muller, Robert Klein-Lork
"Lola, star at the sleaziest nightclub in screen history, meets, seduces and ultimately destroys the upright bourgeois schoolteacher, Professor Rath. A tragedy? A comedy? It's actually a surprisingly complex morality play: a celebration of Lola's sexuality (it was Dietrich's first major role) and an ironic observation of Rath's repression and masochism (Jannings never suffered more or better). The film looks and sounds its age, but remains enthralling." - Tony Rayns, Time Out
Selected by Anjelika Artyukh, Seijun Suzuki, Barthelemy Amengual, Jovan Jovanovic, Steven Bach.
Blue Velvet

Blue Velvet

Top 100 Film / Ranking 80 (78)
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 Andrew Dominik, David Thomson, James Marsh, Lee Unkrich, Joe Wright.
The Blues Brothers

The Blues Brothers

1980 / USA / 130m / Col / Action Comedy, Rock Musical
John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Kathleen Freeman, James Brown, Henry Gibson, John Landis, Frank Oz, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, Carrie Fisher
"Soul-stirring celebration or crass cultural exploitation? Truth is, The Blues Brothers is a bit of both, lending exposure to rhythm and blues legends who might otherwise have faded into silence while at the same time treating black culture as a colourful pantomime backdrop for the antics of two white comedians… Still, the film retains a huge nostalgic kick, thanks in large part to Aykroyd and Belushi’s easy rapport, a smattering of daft, shaggy humour and some truly iconic musical sequences." - Tom Huddleston, Time Out
Selected by Craig Brewer, Ruben Fleischer, Michael Addis, Bettina Thienhaus, Michel Chion.
IMDB / No votes in the 2012 Sight & Sound Poll / Amazon
Bob le flambeur

Bob le flambeur

Bob the Gambler (English title)
1955 / France / 102m / BW / Crime, Gangster Film
Roger Duchesne, Isabel Corey, Daniel Cauchy, Guy Decomble, Andre Garet, Claude Cerval, Simone Paris, Howard Vernon, Gerard Buhr, Colette Fleury
"Melville’s fifth film, Bob le flambeur was his first foray into the stylized underworld which became his signature. And as is often the case, though Bob le flambeur doesn’t quite look like a New Wave film, it pointed the way for what followed it… Shot in crisp, gritty black and white by Henri Decaë, Bob le flambeur fuses the carefully perfect compositions of William Wyler with the rough immediacy of the New Wave. The result is an austerely honest artifice reminiscent of Melville’s hero, John Huston. The camera never calls attention to itself, but hand-held shots and natural lighting lend the image a fluidity and hard truth impossible to achieve in the studio." - Brian L. Frye, Senses of Cinema
Selected by Roger Michell, Jim Jarmusch, Michael Addis, Julien Temple, Alfred Eibel.
Le Bonheur

Le Bonheur

Happiness (English title)
1965 / France / 79m / Col / Romance, Marriage Drama
Jean-Claude Drouot, Claire Drouot, Sandrine Drouot, Olivier Drouot, Marie-France Boyer, Marcelle Faure Bertin, Manon Lanclos, Sylvie Saurel, Marc Eyraud, Christian Riehl
"A beautiful and disturbing 1965 feature by Agnes Varda about family happiness, full of lingering and creepy ambiguities. A happily married carpenter (Jean-Claude Drouot) with a beautiful wife (Claire Drouot) and two small children (Sandrine and Oliver Drouot) falls in love with a beautiful postal clerk (Boyer), who becomes his mistress… Provocative and lovely to look at, this is one of Varda's best and most interesting features." - Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
Selected by Annette Melville, Kim Young-Jin, Mai Ruoyu, Jean-Claude Romer, Agnieszka Holland.
Bonnie and Clyde

Bonnie and Clyde

1967 / USA / 111m / Col / Gangster Film, Crime Drama
Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Michael J. Pollard, Gene Hackman, Estelle Parsons, Denver Pyle, Dub Taylor, Gene Wilder, Evans Evans, James Stiver
"Bonnie And Clyde was the Natural Born Killers of the '60s, criticized as too violent, too campy, and above all, too affectionate toward its reprehensible protagonists... It was simultaneously praised as stylish and modern, leading the American charge toward the French New Wave with its swerves between existential angst and comedy, and its pugnacious, fast-cut editing... It now comes across as a little ramshackle in its attempts to merge American and French cinematic innovations into something fresh, but the playful performances haven't aged, and it still finds all the carefree thrills of being young, dumb, in love with life, and ready for death." - Tasha Robinson, A.V. Club
Selected by Mike Figgis, Guy Lodge, Annemarie Jacir, Helena Ylanen, Michael Dwyer.
Boogie Nights

Boogie Nights

1997 / USA / 155m / Col / Comedy Drama, Ensemble Film
Mark Wahlberg, Burt Reynolds, Julianne Moore, Don Cheadle, Heather Graham, Alfred Molina, Philip Baker Hall, Nicole Ari Parker, Luis Guzman, William H. Macy
"Paul Thomas Anderson's Boogie Nights is an epic of the low road, a classic Hollywood story set in the shadows instead of the spotlights but containing the same ingredients: Fame, envy, greed, talent, sex, money. The movie follows a large, colorful and curiously touching cast of characters as they live through a crucial turning point in the adult film industry… Boogie Nights has the quality of many great films, in that it always seems alive." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Andrew Birkin, Joseph Cedar, Hannah Fidell, Joshua Leonard, Todd Phillips.
Le Boucher

Le Boucher

The Butcher (English title)
1970 / France-Italy / 94m / Col / Thriller, Psychological Thriller
Stephane Audran, Jean Yanne, Antonio Passalia, Pascal Ferone, Mario Beccara, William Guerault, Roger Rudel
"Classically simple but relentlessly probing thriller, set in a French village shadowed by the presence of a compulsive killer. Some lovely Hitchcockian games, like the strange ketchup that drips onto a picnic hamburger from a clifftop where the latest victim has been claimed… With this film Chabrol came full circle back to his first, echoing not only the minutely detailed provincial landscape of Le Beau Serge but its theme of redemption." - Tom Milne, Time Out
Selected by Arild Andresen, Kathleen Murphy, Christian Petzold, Morten Pill, Verina Glaessner.
Boudu Saved from Drowning

Boudu Saved from Drowning

Boudu sauvé des eaux (original title)
1932 / France / 87m / BW / Comedy, Satire
Michel Simon, Charles Granval, Marcelle Hania, Severine Lerczynska, Jean Daste, Max Dalban, Jacques Becker, Jean Gehret, Jane Pierson, Georges St. Saens
"The movie dramatises the old adage about no good deed going unpunished, or perhaps it demonstrates how inscrutable fate may find a way to punish a wrongdoer through his one, atypical, altruistic act. The anarchic Boudu sweeps through this bourgeois home, upsetting and exposing all its complacent arrangements and concealments. There is a startling contrast between the drawing-room comedy of the interior scenes and Renoir's superbly dynamic documentary-style realism in the Paris streets outside: crowded, bustling, cosmopolitan. Almost 80 years on, it still has a superb energy." - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Selected by Aki Kaurismäki, Hong Sang-soo, Dina Iordanova, Brian Case, John Coleman.
Branded to Kill

Branded to Kill

Koroshi no rakuin (original title)
1967 / Japan / 91m / BW / Gangster Film, Crime Thriller
Jo Shishido, Nanbara Koji, Ogawa Mariko, Annu Mari, Isao Tamagawa, Hiroshi Minami
"Seijun Suzuki’s Branded to Kill is a cinematic masterpiece that transcends its genre. It is about as close to traditional Yakuza pictures as Godard’s Alphaville is to science fiction. Suzuki paid a price for his brilliance, however. Fired for “incomprehensibility” after making Branded to Kill, he was unable to work in film for ten years. This film is his seminal work; a genre film from a major Japanese studio by a team of creative geniuses who made no compromises." - John Zorn, The Criterion Collection
Selected by Dmitry Martov, Pimpaka Towira, Tara Brady, Nacho Vigalondo, Lalitha Gopalan.
Brazil

Brazil

1985 / UK / 131m / Col / Science Fiction, Satire
Jonathan Pryce, Robert De Niro, Katharine Helmond, Ian Holm, Bob Hoskins, Michael Palin, Ian Richardson, Peter Vaughan, Kim Greist, Jim Broadbent
"Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet called it "retro-futurism," and that's as good a label as any to slap on Terry Gilliam's Brazil, a willfully absurdist dystopian fable about an impossible future that feels more like an antiquated past, a Romantic pretzel- twisting of Orwell and a nursery-rhyme-inflected sci-fi dream epic that appropriates equal parts Fritz Lang, Hellzapoppin', Orson Welles, and illustrator Brian Froud. It remains a stunning achievement, if nearly as exhausting and frustrating as the Tex Avery bureaucracy it roasts, but Gilliam's stylistic dysfunctionalities, art-directed out of junkyards, are what still percolate in the forebrain." - Michael Atkinson, The Village Voice
Selected by Mark Kermode, Ari Folman, Ed Park, Gyorgy Palfi, Ernest R. Dickerson.
Breakdown by Country (Top 10): United States = 436 films (+1), France = 163 films (-6), United Kingdom = 60 films (+1), Italy = 56 films (-1), Japan = 45 films (-3), Germany/West Germany = 42 films (-1), Russia/USSR = 31 films (no change), China/Hong Kong/Taiwan = 27 films (+3), Sweden = 17 films (+1), India = 13 films (no change), Spain = 13 films (+2).
The Rest: Denmark, Mexico (9), Canada, Iran (8), Brazil (7), Czechoslovakia (6), Austria, Hungary (5), Australia, Belgium, Poland, Senegal (4), Argentina, Portugal, Thailand (3), Greece, Romania, Turkey, Yugoslavia (2), Algeria, Cuba, Egypt, Finland, Mali, New Zealand, South Korea (1).
Breakfast at Tiffany's

Breakfast at Tiffany's

1961 / USA / 115m / Col / Comedy Drama, Romantic Comedy
Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard, Patricia Neal, Buddy Ebsen, Martin Balsam, Mickey Rooney, John McGiver, Jose-Luis de Villalonga, Dorothy Whitney, Stanley Adams
"Blake Edwards may have directed Breakfast at Tiffany's, and screenwriter George Axelrod certainly did a splendid job of adjusting Truman Capote's novel for the screen, but from the first moment Audrey Hepburn steps out of a cab with her coffee and danish and window shops at Tiffany's after a night on the town, this is her movie, and it's all but impossible to imagine another actress in the role… Between Edwards' frothy pacing, Franz F. Planer's lovely location camerawork, and Henry Mancini's memorable score, Breakfast at Tiffany's is a thoroughly charming and witty valentine to one special woman and the city she loves that still enchants more than 40 years after it first hit the screen." - Mark Deming, Allmovie
Selected by Fernando Lara, Irina-Margareta Nistor, Fernando Mendez-Leite, David Robert Mitchell, Jerry Lewis.
Breaking the Waves

Breaking the Waves

1996 / Denmark-Sweden-France-Netherlands-Norway-Iceland-Spain / 156m / Col / Psychological Drama, Romantic Drama
Emily Watson, Stellan Skarsgard, Katrin Cartlidge, Jean-Marc Barr, Adrian Rawlins, Jonathan Hackett, Sandra Voe, Udo Kier, Mikkel Gaup, Roef Ragas
"Courting and sometimes winning ridicule, daring to fuse true love with lurid exploitation and pure religious faith, the Danish director Lars von Trier has created a fierce, wrenchingly passionate film about the struggles of a shy young woman who is goodness personified… With a plot that owes as much to the Marquis de Sade as it does to higher-minded sources, von Trier begins his film as a powerfully carnal love story and eventually leaves it, by his own description, "treading on the verge of kitsch." A narrative path leading from the sincere to the ludicrous, and culminating in a final image of flabbergasting transcendance, gives Breaking the Waves its surprising power." - Janet Maslin, The New York Times
Selected by Sukhdev Sandhu, Julio Medem, Cate Shortland, Köves Gábor, Drake Doremus.
Breathless

Breathless

Top 100 Film / Ranking 14 (15) Orange Up-Arrow
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, Michael Apted, Nicolas Philibert, Sofia Coppola, Jaime Chávarri.
Bride of Frankenstein

Bride of Frankenstein

1935 / USA / 75m / BW / Monster Film, Sci-Fi Horror
Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, Valerie Hobson, Elsa Lanchester, Ernest Thesiger, Una O'Connor, Dwight Frye, O.P. Heggie, Gavin Gordon, Douglas Walton
"The best of the Frankenstein movies--a sly, subversive work that smuggled shocking material past the censors by disguising it in the trappings of horror. Some movies age; others ripen. Seen today, Whale's masterpiece is more surprising than when it was made because today's audiences are more alert to its buried hints of homosexuality, necrophilia and sacrilege. But you don't have to deconstruct it to enjoy it; it's satirical, exciting, funny, and an influential masterpiece of art direction." - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Selected by Joe Dante, David Rooney, Donald Clarke, Robert Cashill, Stuart Gordon.
The Bridge on the River Kwai

The Bridge on the River Kwai

1957 / UK / 161m / Col / War, Drama
William Holden, Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins, Sessue Hayakawa, James Donald, Andre Morell, Geoffrey Horne, Peter Williams, John Boxer, Percy Herbert
"The Bridge on the River Kwai is David Lean's last film not to succumb to bloat. Despite its grand, Oscar-bait stature, the 1957 epic subtly develops its themes about the irrationality of honor and the hypocrisy of Britain's class system without ever compromising its thrilling war narrative. Whereas Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago feel more pictorial than cinematic, The Bridge on the River Kwai carefully builds its psychological tension until it erupts in a blinding flash of sulfur and flame." - Christian Blauvelt, Slant Magazine
Selected by Marc Webb, Herschell Gordon Lewis, Nicholas Meyer, Norman Jewison, Paul Mazursky.
Brief Encounter

Brief Encounter

1945 / UK / 85m / BW / Drama, Romance
Celia Johnson, Trevor Howard, Stanley Holloway, Cyril Raymond, Joyce Carey, Valentine Dyall, Everley Gregg, Margaret Barton, Dennis Harkin, Marjorie Mars
"After a chance meeting on a train platform, a married doctor (Howard) and a suburban housewife (Johnson) enter into a muted but passionate, ultimately doomed, love affair. With its evocatively fog-enshrouded setting, swooning Rachmaninoff score, and pair of remarkable performances (Johnson was nominated for an Oscar for her role), David Lean’s film of Noel Coward’s play Still Life deftly explores the thrill, pain, and tenderness of an illicit romance, and has influenced many a cinematic brief encounter since its release." - The Criterion Collection
Selected by Kenneth Branagh, Nick Roddick, Joe Wright, Anne Gjelsvik, Andy Medhurst.
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 Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Nick James, Stanley Kwan, Ceng Xuanchun, Dou Jiangming.
Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia

Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia

1974 / USA / 112m / Col / Black Comedy, Action Thriller
Warren Oates, Isela Vega, Gig Young, Kris Kristofferson, Emilio Fernandez, Robert Webber, Helmut Dantine, Jorge Russek, Chano Urueta, Don Levy
"For something so bleak, so purposely revolting and unsentimental, there are reservoirs of profound poetry in Alfredo Garcia, the only film that Peckinpah ever considered completely his own… Peckinpah was known for his hard drinking, stubbornness, and eccentricity; indeed, his life would eventually be decimated by the strain brought about by both his constant battles with the studios who funded (and frequently butchered) his work, and by his uncontrollable thirst for alcohol. Yet for one brief moment in 1974, Peckinpah enjoyed complete creative control, and the result was this magnificently depraved piece d'resistance." - Nick Schager, Slant Magazine
Selected by Mark Duguid, Shunichi Nagasaki, Takeshi Kitano, Nick Schager, Jeremy Thomas.
Bringing Up Baby

Bringing Up Baby

1938 / USA / 102m / BW / Screwball Comedy, Romantic Comedy
Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, Charlie Ruggles, May Robson, Barry Fitzgerald, Walter Catlett, Fritz Feld, Leona Roberts, George Irving, Virginia Walker
"Though it's almost impossible, try to sit back sometime and enjoy this 1938 Howard Hawks masterpiece not only for its gags, but for the grace of its construction, the assurance of its style, and the richness of its themes. Cary Grant's adventures with Katharine Hepburn lead from day into night, tameness into wildness, order into chaos; needless to say, it's a deeply pessimistic film, though it draws its grim conclusions in a searingly bright and chipper way. Amazingly, the film was a failure when first released, but time has revealed its brilliance, as well as the apparent impossibility of its like ever being seen again (What's Up, Doc? notwithstanding)." - Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
Selected by Philip Kemp, V.F. Perkins, Doug Liman, Andrei Gorzo, Ty Burr.
Brokeback Mountain

Brokeback Mountain

2005 / USA-Canada / 134m / Col / Romantic Drama, Modern Western
Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Randy Quaid, Anne Hathaway, Michelle Williams, Graham Beckel, Roberta Maxwell, Anna Faris, Linda Cardellini, Peter McRobbie
"The lonesome chill that seeps through Ang Lee's epic western is as bone deep as the movie's heartbreaking story of two cowboys who fall in love almost by accident. One night, when their campfire dies, and the biting cold drives them to huddle together in a bedroll, a sudden spark between Ennis Del Mar (Ledger) and Jack Twist (Gyllenhaal) flares into an undying flame. Both Mr. Ledger and Mr. Gyllenhaal make this anguished love story physically palpable… Brokeback Mountain is ultimately not about sex (there is very little of it in the film) but about love: love stumbled into, love thwarted, love held sorrowfully in the heart." - Stephen Holden, The New York Times
Selected by Jaime Chávarri, Peter Machen, Patricia Rozema, Jane Yu, Robert Cashill.
Broken Blossoms

Broken Blossoms

Broken Blossoms or The Yellow Man and the Girl (alternative title)
1919 / USA / 90m / BW / Melodrama, Romantic Drama
Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess, Donald Crisp, Arthur Howard, Edward Peil Sr., George Andre Beranger, Norman Selby, Ernest Butterworth, Fred Hamer, Wilbur Higby
"One of D.W. Griffith's most beautiful films, about the chaste love of a Chinese man (Barthelmess) for the frail daughter (Gish) of a loutish boxer. It perfectly fuses all the elements of Griffith's style: tender drama played off against scenes of violence; a rich, operatic sense of character and emotion; and a dreamlike acting style, given particular force by the subtlety of Gish's performance and the strength of Barthelmess's. Not to be missed." - Don Druker, Chicago Reader
Selected by Fernando F. Croce, Bahman Motamedian, Erica Gregor, Jim Jarmusch, Peter Keough.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

1969 / USA / 112m / Col / Western, Buddy Film
Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Katharine Ross, Strother Martin, Henry Jones, Jeff Corey, Cloris Leachman, Ted Cassidy, George Furth, Kenneth Mars
"Though Conrad Hall's stunning vistas and gorgeous exploration of wide-open spaces hearken back to John Ford, Butch Cassidy otherwise radiates the youthful energy, manic pop playfulness, and antic clowning of the French New Wave. The film's subversive attitude toward genres and genre-mashing echoes the pioneering work of Jean-Luc Godard, and Newman and Redford deliver an extended master class on the uses of old-school, twinkly-eyed movie-star charisma." - Nathan Rabin, A.V. Club
Selected by Bobby Farrelly, Jeff Nichols, Baltasar Komákur, Wanuri Kahiu, Vadim Jean.
By the Bluest of Seas

By the Bluest of Seas

U samogo sinyego morya (original title)
1936 / USSR / 71m / BW / Comedy, Romantic Comedy
Yelena Kuzmina, Lev Sverdlin, Nikolai Kryuchkov, Andrei Dolinin, Sergei Komarov, Lyalya Sateyeva, Semyon Svashenko, Aleksandr Zhukov
"It’s difficult to account for what makes this movie so exquisite, apart from the characters and their quirks (such as one man’s ticklishness) and the beauty of the idyllic setting. Bernard Eisenschitz seems to be on the right track when he says that the film is unclassifiable, that it’s “certainly not a comedy even if it provokes laughter.” We wind up feeling affection for the three leads, partly because of the affection they show for one another and partly because of the gusto with which they show it." - Jonathan Rosenbaum
Selected by Cristina Fernandes, Bernard Eisenschitz, Fritz Göttler, Adrian Martin, Frieda Grafe.