Top 50 Greatest Films of All Time

Movies

The British Film Institute recently unveiled their once a decade list of the 50 greatest films of all time. They compile this list by surveying hundreds of critics, programmers, distributors, and academics. Because of the significant number of voters–846 this time around–the list is highly regarded.

As a self-proclaimed film buff, I’m embarrassed to admit that I have seen very few of these films, and the list exposes my provincialism as I have seen all of the U.S. films but precious few of the others. Because of ties for last place, the list actually contains 52 titles, of which, I have seen 22 (42.3%). I need to correct this. I’m not imposing any specific time frame for watching all of these, as I have so many movies I want to see, but I do want to start systematically working my way through the ones I haven’t seen and perhaps revisit some of the ones I haven’t seen in ages. I’m presenting the list in chronological order because that’s the way I’m thinking of watching them. The titles in bold are the ones I have seen. I’ve included the year of release and the BFI rankings. An asterisk denotes a tie.

  • 1925 Battleship Potemkin (11)
  • 1926 The General (34)
  • 1927 Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (5)
  • 1927 The Passion of Joan of Arc (9)
  • 1927 Metropolis (35*)
  • 1929 Man with a Movie Camera (8)
  • 1931 City Lights (50*)
  • 1934 L’Atalante (12)
  • 1939 The Rules of the Game (4)
  • 1941 Citizen Kane (2)
  • 1948 Bicycle Thieves (33)
  • 1949 Late Spring (15)
  • 1950 Rashomon (26*)
  • 1951 Singin’ in the Rain (20)
  • 1953 Tokyo Story (3)
  • 1953 Ugetsu Monogatari (50*)
  • 1954 Seven Samurai (17*)
  • 1954 Journey to Italy (41)
  • 1955 Ordet (24*)
  • 1955 Pather Panchali (42*)
  • 1956 The Searchers (7)
  • 1958 Vertigo (1)
  • 1959 The 400 Blows (39*)
  • 1959 Some Like It Hot (42*)
  • 1960 Breathless (13)
  • 1960 L’Avventura (21*)
  • 1960 Psycho (35*)
  • 1960 La Dolce Vita (39*)
  • 1962 La Jetee (50*)
  • 1963 8 1/2 (10)
  • 1963 Le Mepris (21*)
  • 1964 Gertrud (42*)
  • 1965 Pierrot le Fou (42*)
  • 1966 Au Hasard Balthazar (16)
  • 1966 Persona (17*)
  • 1966 Andrei Rublev (26*)
  • 1966 The Battle of Algiers (48*)
  • 1967 Play Time (42*)
  • 1968 2001: A Space Odyssey (6)
  • 1972 The Godfather (21*)
  • 1974 Mirror (19)
  • 1974 The Godfather Part Two (31*)
  • 1975 Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles (35*)
  • 1976 Taxi Driver (31*)
  • 1979 Apocalypse Now (14)
  • 1979 Stalker (29*)
  • 1985 Shoah (29*)
  • 1990 Close-Up (42*)
  • 1994 Satantango (35*)
  • 1998 Histoire(s) du Cinema (48*)
  • 2000 In the Mood for Love (24*)
  • 2001 Mulholland Drive (28)

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