The best films ever made


I’ve been looking at lists of best films again. As before, I noticed how unsatisfactory they are, with no criteria for selection given, and some strange titles both omitted and included. Other viewers get quite annoyed at the selection made. Adding to the angst are those lists where films are added in ranking order, getting such reactions as “I fail to see why Bambi is no. 1 on your list: surely it should be down at no. 20?”

There’s no objective criteria for making such a list, even on the part of the AFI’s contributors. My list below comes from a few years ago. There’s a fair bit of fluidity between four star (250 films) and five star (150 films) rating with me, depending on the mood of the day. I have listed the films in reverse chronological order, on the grounds that most other lists don’t do that, and also in consideration of the fact that most movie makers are also movie buffs, and they would likely have seen the earlier films on the list, which thus form a kind of base, a foundation to the pile as it were.

I imagined having a button to press while watching each film which turned on an indicator or rating light. These are the films that made me turn on that light. I have no opinion myself whether they are ‘great’, technically accomplished or original and influential. My list includes films from around the globe (70 NEL films, most other lists are USA based), includes documentary and TV films, but excludes silent films, animation and experimental films and genres such as horror, as well as pornography. How does it compare to your list? • means the film is reviewed elsewhere on this site.

Other lists: with 20 of my titles with 30 of my titles with 20 of my titles…100_Movies with 20 of my titles.
All of the above lists contain ring-ins from The Worst Movies Ever Made list.

2007     My Boy Jack    Brian Kirk
2005    •Bob Dylan No Direction Home    Martin Scorese
2005    Apres Vous    Pierre Salvadori
2004    Girl with a Pearl Earring    Peter Webber
2004    2046     Kar Wei Wong
2003    Love Actually    Richard Curtis
2003    The Merchant of Venice    Michael Radford
2003    Zhou Yu’s Train    Zhou Sun
2003    Last Life in the Universe    Pen-Ek Ratanaruang
2002    Broken Wings    Nir Bergman
2001    Someone Like You    Tony Goldwyn
2001    Light of My Eyes    Giuseppe Piccioni
2001    Ghost World    Terry Zwigoff
2001    Read My Lips     Jacques Audiard
2001    •Chaos    Coline Serreau
2000    Lovers of the Arctic Circle    Julio Medem
2000    Suzhou River    Ye Lou
1998    •April Story    Shunji Iwai
1996    Looking for Richard     Al Pacino
1996    Chungking Express    Kar Wei Wong
1996    •A Summer’s Tale    Eric Rohmer
1995    When Night Is Falling    Patricia Rozema
1995    Life and Loves of Oscar Wilde    Annie Paul
1995    Crumb    Terry Zwigoff
1995    •Love Letter    Shunji Iwai
1995    Amateur     Hal Hartley
1994    •Wonderful Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl    Ray Müller III
1994    Vanya on 42nd Street    Louis Malle
1994    Four Weddings and a Funeral    Mike Newell
1994    Eat Drink Man Woman    Ang Lee
1993    Vivaldi    Lina Wertmuller
1993    The Wedding Banquet    Ang Lee
1993    Short Cuts     Robert Altman
1992    •The Lover    Jean-Jacques Annaud
1992    The Crying Game    Neil Jordan
1992    Unforgiven     Clint Eastwood
1992    Husbands and Wives    Woody Allen
1992    The Stolen Children     Gianni Amelio
1992    •La Crise    Coline Serreau
1991    The Nasty Girl     Michael Verhoeven
1991    Trust    Hal Hartley
1990    The Unbelieval Truth    Hal Hartley
1990    Jesus of Montreal     Denys Arcand
1989    Scandal    Michael Caton-Jones
1989    •Romuald et Juliette    Coline Serreau
1988    The Power of Myth     Bill Moyers
1988    High Hopes    Mike Leigh
1988    Salaam Bombay     Mira Nair
1988    •A Shory Film about Love   Krzysztof Kieslowski
1988    •A Short Film About Killing    Krzysztof Kieslowski
1988    •Dekalog     Krzysztof Kieslowski
1988    Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown   Pedro Almovodar
1988    Babette’s Feast     Gabriel Axel
1987    Hail Hail Rock and Roll    Taylor Hackford
1987    My Life as a Dog      Lasse Halström
1986    Decline of the American Empire    Denys Arcand
1986    And the Pursuit of Happiness     Luis Malle
1985    In Search of the Trojan War     Bill Lyons
1983    Educating Rita      Lewis Gilbert II
1982    Blind Chance       Krzysztof Kieslowski
1982    Yes Prime Minister     Sydney Lotterby
1982    Missing       Constantin Costa-Gavras
1982    Gandhi       Richard Attenborough
1981    Atlantic City    Louis Malle
1981    My Dinner With Andre    Louis Malle
1980    •Hollywood      Kevin Brownlow
1980    Yes Minister         Sydney Lotterby
1979    Camera Buff         Krzysztof Kieslowski
1978    The Last Waltz      Martin Scorsese
1977    Annie Hall       Woody Allen
1977    Abigail’s Party       Mike Leigh
1976    •Fellini’s Casanova       Federico Fellini
1975    Swept Away    Lina Wertmüller
1975    Dog Day Afternoon      Sidney Lumet
1975    Nashville   Robert Altman
1975    Fawlty Towers     John Cleese
1974    •Scenes from a Marriage     Ingmar Bergman
1973    Love and Anarchy    Lina Wertmüller
1973    •The Mother and the Whore     Jean Eustache
1973    American Graffiti       George Lucas
1972    A Clockwork Orange     Stanley Kubrick
1972    Slaughterhouse Five      George Roy Hill
1972    Play It Again Sam      Herbert Ross
1972    •Chloe in the Afternoon      Eric Rohmer
1972    Life of Leonardo da Vinci    Renato Castellani
1971    Phantom India     Louis Malle
1970    Lovers and Other Strangers      Cy Howard
1970    •My Night at Maud’s    Eric Rohmer
1968    Romeo and Juliet     Franco Zefferelli
1968    The Lion in Winter     Anthony Harvey
1967    Don’t Look Back      DA Pennebaker
1967    The Graduate    Mike Nichols
1967    •Persona   Ingmar Bergman
1966    Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?   Mike Nichols
1964    The Night of the Iguana   John Huston
1964    •Charulata    Satyajit Ray
1962    Sweet Bird of Youth    Richard Brooks
1961    •The End of Summer    Yasujiro Ozu
1961    Two Daughters   Satyajit Ray
1960    Hiroshima Mon Amour    Alain Resnais
1960    The World of Apu     Satyajit Ray
1958    Cat on a Hot Tin Roof     Richard Brooks
1958    Separate Tables    Delbert Mann
1958    •The Seventh Seal    Ingmar Bergman
1958    Aparajito    Satyajit Ray
1958    Pather Panchali    Satyajit Ray
1957    •Wild Strawberries      Ingmar Bergman
1957    •Smiles of a Summer Night    Ingmar Bergman
1956    Baby Doll     Elia Kazan
1955    Il Bidone    Federico Fellini
1954    On the Waterfront   Elia Kazan
1954    Seven Samurai    Akira Kurosawa
1954    La Strada    Federico Fellini
1953    Tokyo Story   Yasujiro Ozu
1952    Limelight   Charles Chaplin
1952    Forbidden Games   Rene Clement
1952    Ikiru    Akira Kurosawa
1951    A Streetcar Named Desire      Elia Kazan
1950    Sunset Boulevard    Billy Wilder
1947    Life With Father    Michael Curtiz
1946    The Best Years of Our Lives      William Wyler
1946    •The Big Sleep   Howard Hawks
1946    Stairway to Heaven    Michael Power
1946    Children of Paradise    Marcel Carne
1943    Heaven Can Wait    Ernst Lubitsch
1942    Roxie Hart    William Wellman
1942    •The Palm Beach Story     Preston Sturges
1941    I Love You Again    WS Van Dyke
1941     Love Crazy     Jack Conway
1941    •Sullivan’s Travels   Preston Sturges
1941    •The Lady Eve    Preston Sturges
1941    Citizen Kane   Orson Welles
1940    •Christmas in July   Preston Sturges
1940    •His Girl Friday   Howard Hawks
1939    Mr Smith Goes to Washington   Frank Capra
1938    •Carefree   Mark Sandrich
1938    •Bringing Up Baby   Howard Hawks
1937    Stage Door    Gregory La Cava
1937    The Awful Truth   Leo McCarey
1936    Mr Deeds Goes to Town   Frank Capra
1936    Partie de Campagne     Jean Renoir
1936    My Man Godfrey   Gregory La Cava
1936    •Libeled Lady      Jack Conway
1935    The Devil is a Woman       Josef Von Sternberg
1934    •Twentieth Century    Howard Hawks
1934    •Dinner at Eight   George Cukor
1934    The Thin Man    WS Van Dyke
1933    The Bitter Tea of General Yen    Frank Capra
1933    •Bombshell    Victor Fleming
1932    Shanghai Express    Josef Von Sternberg
1932    Trouble in Paradise    Ernst Lubitsch
1930    Morocco     Josef Von Sternberg

©2013 Original material copyright Phillip Kay. Images and other material courtesy Creative Commons. Please inform post author of any violation.


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