Jul 2, 2009

The On-Line Review Presents: The 50 Greatest Films

Iain Stott of The On-Line Review is asking critics and film-lovers to compile lists of their choices for the "fifty greatest films". For my own purposes, I made this as much of a balance as possible between personal favorites and - as near as anyone can objectively tell such a thing - the actual "best" films I've seen. Many that I weren't able to include damn near broke my heart; apologies, in no particular order, to James Cameron, Charlie Chaplin, Sergio Leone, Luis Buñuel, Dario Argento, Michael Mann, Milos Forman, Paul Thomas Anderson, Wes Anderson, Jonathan Demme, F.W. Murnau, Quentin Tarantino, Abbas Kiarostami, James Whale, Harold Ramis, Sophia Coppola, Hiroshi Shimizu, Peter Jackson, and many more. I'd rather not have anyone think of this as a definitive selection, but rather an in-the-moment representation of the works that I consider most important and influential to myself (even then, I'd probably have had to include another 50 just to cover all the essentials). Below is my photo essay top ten.

1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968, Stanley Kubrick)

2. Ikiru (1952, Akira Kurosawa)

3. McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971, Robert Altman)

4. Citizen Kane (1941, Orson Welles)

5. Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964, Stanley Kubrick)

6. Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972, Werner Herzog)

7. The Searchers (1954, John Ford)

8. Assault on Precinct 13 (1976, John Carpenter)

9. Breaking the Waves (1996, Lars Von Trier)


  1. You forgot to apologize to Peter Jackson....

    Anyway great list, nice to see titles like "Come and See" and "Fury" on there.

  2. You're right - I've amended that gross oversight. I'm surprised that was left out, given that Lord of the Rings was on my shortlist and I tried to at least name every director who ultimately didn't have a film of theirs make the list.

  3. Showgirls and Scarface? Really??

  4. Anonymous6:59 AM

    I love the choice of Assault on Precinct 13 and agree with most of the list, but the inclusion of Showgirls right next to Sunrise (even in alphabetical order) is just wrong. Warped sleaze right above the purest, most beautiful film ever made. Sacrilege.