The 1,000 Greatest Films (Introduction)

The banner image above is from Ritwik Ghatak's Subarnarekha, the 1,000th ranked greatest film.
INTRODUCTION to the 1,000 Greatest Films
Current Version: January 2021 (16th edition)
Published on January 27, 2021
NEW The full starting list of 20,430 films can now be viewed online as a sortable table.

Dear film and list lovers, welcome to the sixteenth version of the
1,000 Greatest Films. The past year was clearly a difficult and unsettling one, with still plenty of hard times ahead. With this in mind, I'd like to wish every one of you all the very best.

As you will discover, this year's edition has been heavily influenced by the inclusion of many end-of-decade lists that weren't compiled in time for 2020's venture. Consequently, a handful of highly-acclaimed films from the 2010s have broken into the 1,000 in a very big way.
Toni Erdmann, Under the Skin, Boyhood, The Master and The Act of Killing, in particular, are all now comfortably residing within the top 500. I just do the numbers and don't control what pops out, but It's hard to dispute that any of these fine films do not belong here.

This year's edition encompasses a modest 25 changes to the list (six down from last year). Twelve films appear for the first time, whilst the other thirteen are re-entries. The top part of the list continues to be set in concrete, with no movement until
Battleship Potemkin and Taxi Driver swap the 14th and 15th positions. Only one change to the top 100 with an Ernst Lubitsch replacing a Chris Marker.

I have introduced a notable 'upgrade' to this year's edition that many of you will be mildly excited about, and that is, the disclosure of every film's ranking. I stubbornly refused to reveal these rankings for many years, but hey, here we are.

Starting List, with full rankings, can now be viewed here (as an online sortable table) or via the traditional EXCEL spreadsheet (also, very sortable, of course). If you're looking at the spreadsheet, please note that I only began allocating rankings to every film in 2015, therefore full rankings are unavailable for the 2006-2014 editions.

In terms of sources, the number of best-of/all-time individual lists, used to compile the
1,000 Greatest Films, now tallies 6,952 (from 5,306 critics/filmmakers). The number of miscellaneous lists used (genre-based, country-based, etc.) now sits at 5,324. That’s 12,276 unique lists in total.

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

Sight & Sound 1952-2012 (1,984 ballots)
Rotten Tomatoes 2003-2020 (236 ballots) UPDATED
Senses of Cinema 2000-2007 (201 ballots)
Filmes do Chico 2005-2017 (192 ballots) UPDATED
Kino Muzeum’s 2015 poll (190 ballots) UPDATED
Your Movie Database (YMDB) Critics Corner 2002-2005 (140 ballots) UPDATED
Nickel Odeon 1994-1998 (136 ballots)
Positif’s 1991 & 2019 polls (132 ballots) UPDATED/NEW
Time Out's 1995 poll (128 ballots)
Cinephilia's 2012 poll (128 ballots) UPDATED
PBS Independent Lens 2005-2008 (110 ballots) UPDATED
Kinema Junpo
1999-2009 (103 ballots) UPDATED
El Mundo's 1995 poll (100 ballots)
La Cinetek 2014-2020 (89 ballots) UPDATED
Film-Magazine's (Iran) 2009 poll (83 ballots) UPDATED
John Kobal Presents the Top 100 Movies [Book] (1988) (81 ballots)
Steadycam's 2007 poll (79 ballots)
Facets 2003-2008 (76 ballots)
Empire 1989-2020 (75 ballots) UPDATED
The Cinematheque's Top 10 Project
2005-2009 (74 ballots)
One-Line Review's 2009 poll (69 ballots)
El Pais 2009-2010 (60 ballots)
Le CiNéMa Club 2015-2020 (57 ballots) UPDATED
Cut Insight 2012-2018 (55 ballots) NEW
Cinematheque Belgique's 1952 poll (53 ballots)
Cinema Review's 2002 poll (53 ballots) NEW
Faróis do Cinema 2010-2015 (51 ballots)
Libre Journal du Cinéma's 2009 poll (50 ballots)
The Village Voice's 1999 poll (49 ballots) 2009-2019 (48 ballots)
Edições Cinematógrafo’s 1982 poll (48 ballots)
IndieWire 1996-2018 (48 ballots)
TCM Spain’s
2009 poll (48 ballots)
HKCinema 2011-2020 (47 ballots) UPDATED
PopCornQ's 1997 poll (45 ballots)
Federazione Italiana Cineforum's 2013 poll (45 ballots) UPDATED
Fifty Filmmakers (2002 book) (42 ballots)
Ta Nea 2009-201l (39 ballots) UPDATED
Cineticle 2013-2015 (39 ballots) UPDATED
Ventana Indiscreta 2010 & 2013 (38 ballots) UPDATED
Beijing News 2011-2012 (38 ballots) UPDATED
Tel Aviv Cinematheque 1986-2014 (37 ballots)
Cineplot 2017 poll (37 ballots)
Mingpao Weekly's 1995 poll (36 ballots)
BBC: Calling the Shots 2003-2006 (32 ballots)
Dirigido Por’s 1992 poll (32 ballots)
Cinemania’s 2012 poll (32 ballots) UPDATED
The Skuriels’ 2012 poll (31 ballots)
Twitter 2016-2020 (31 ballots) NEW
Epoca 2000 & 2003 (30 ballots)
Sodankylä Ikuisesti: Desert Island Films (1996) (29 ballots)
You Gotta See This (2007 book) (29 ballots)
Profil’s 2004 poll (28 ballots)
Metro 2012-2014 (28 ballots) UPDATED
Mostra 2009-2017 (28 ballots) NEW
Jonathan Rosenbaum’s 1976 poll (27 ballots)
Con Los Ojos Abiertos 2007-2020 (27 ballots) NEW
Yosensha 1998-2017 (27 ballots) NEW
Film-Mag's 2011 poll (26 ballots)
Newsweek 2002-2009 (26 ballots)
Plus 1,053 more ballots from other sources.

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

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

The Winners – Top Climbers within the 1,000
Holy Motors (2012), 619 to 285 (up 334)
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), 629 to 351 (up 278)
My Friend Ivan Lapshin (1985), 690 to 513 (up 177)
Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (2011), 706 to 538 (up 168)
Amour (2012), 620 to 458 (up 162)

The Winners – Highest Entrants into the 1,000
Toni Erdmann (2016), ranked 363
Under the Skin (2013), ranked 399
Boyhood (2014), ranked 461
The Master (2012), ranked 485
The Act of Killing (2012), ranked 488

The Losers – Biggest Fallers within the 1,000
Edward Scissorhands (1990), 678 to 738 (down 60)
Dog Star Man (1964), 877 to 936 (down 59)
L'Enfance nue (1968), 903 to 960 (down 57)
Floating Weeds(1959), 909 to 966 (down 57)
Rope (1948), 908 to 965 (down 57)

The Losers – Biggest Fallers from the 1,000
Superman (1978), formerly ranked 746
The Goddess (1934), formerly ranked 783
La Commune (Paris, 1871) (2000), formerly ranked 810
Blazing Saddles (1974), formerly ranked 844
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007), formerly ranked 905

Narrowed down from a starting list of 20,430 films (an increase of 1,090 films from last year), this is quite possibly the most definitive guide to the most-acclaimed movies of all-time. At the very least it is a rather spiffy place for all budding/established film buffs to commence/enhance their cinematic experiences. So what are you waiting for? Start that checklist now!

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

You Can Help… If you have access to any additional film lists from critics and/or filmmakers that you think I may have missed (that is, those not mentioned here), then of course I’d love to see them. Please send all lists to And, as always, I would love to read any feedback (good, bad, or otherwise) you have on this ongoing project. And, yes, if you see any mistakes (and there will be!), please let me know.

Begin browsing the 1,000 Greatest Films.

A Personal Digression: The Best Films I Saw During 2020.
For what it’s worth, here are (in no particular order) some of the best films (new or old) that I saw during the 2020 calendar year:
Bait (2019, Mark Jenkin), Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019, Céline Sciamma), Never Say Goodbye (1956, Jerry Hopper), Funeral Parade of Roses (1969, Toshio Matsumoto), Shoulder Arms (1918, Charles Chaplin), First Cow (2019, Kelly Reichardt), Lovers Rock (2020, Steve McQueen), Die Puppe (1919, Ernst Lubitsch), Fist of Fury (1972, Lo Wei), Une Femme douce (1969, Robert Bresson), In the Year of the Pig (1968, Emile de Antonio), The Long Farewell (1971, Kira Muratova), High School (1968, Frederick Wiseman), The Wise Kids (2011, Stephen Cone), Easy Street (1917, Charles Chaplin), Something Different (1963, Vera Chytilová), Chilly Scenes of Winter (1979, Joan Micklin Silver), Donkey Skin (1970, Jacques , Demy), Bleak Moments (1971, Mike Leigh), La Cicatrice intérieure (1972, Philippe Garrel), Olivia (1951, Jacqueline Audry), Don't Blink - Robert Frank (2015, Laura Israel), Custody (2017, Xavier Legrand), Meantime (1983, Mike Leigh), Beanpole (2019, Kantemir Balagov), On the Beach at Night Alone (2017, Hong Sang-soo), One Sings, the Other Doesn't (1977, Agnès Varda), Little Joe (2019, Jessica Hausner), Antoine and Antoinette (1947, Jacques Becker), Shooting Stars (1928, Anthony Asquith & A.V. Bramble), Baden Baden (2016, Rachel Lang), Cemetery of Splendour (2015, Apichatpong Weerasethakul), Shame (1968, Ingmar Bergman), L'Humanité (1999, Bruno Dumont), The Oyster Princess (1919, Ernst Lubitsch), Ray & Liz (2018, Richard Billingham), HyperNormalisation (2016, Adam Curtis), The Assistant (2019, Kitty Green), Never Rarely Sometimes Always (2020, Eliza Hittman), Mr. Klein (1976, Joseph Losey), Young Ahmed (2019, Dardenne, Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne), Mystery Road (2013, Ivan Sen), Invisible Life (2019, Karim Aïnouz), Isle of Flowers (1989, Jorge Furtado), Homework (1989, Abbas Kiarostami), A Hidden Life (2019, Terrence Malick), The Lighthouse (2019, Robert Eggers), Where's My Roy Cohn? (2019, Matt Tyrnauer), Brink of Life (1958, Ingmar Bergman), The Irishman (2019, Martin Scorsese), Fireworks (1947, Kenneth Anger), The Unknown Girl (2016, Dardenne, Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne), All the Light in the Sky (2012, Joe Swanberg), Taste of Fear (1961, Seth Holt), They'll Love Me When I'm Dead (2018, Morgan Neville), Little Women (2019, Greta Gerwig), and An Elephant Sitting Still (2018, Hu Bo).