The 100 Best Films Ever Made

100. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Dir: Roman Polanski (3)

DP: William A. Fraker (1)

Editor: Sam O’Steen (1), Bob Wyman (1)

Writer: Roman Polanski (2), Ira Levin (1)

Starring: Mia Farrow (1), John Cassavetes (2), Ruth Gordon (2), Sidney Blackmere (1)

Composer: Krzysztof Komeda (1)

Country: USA (168)

Genre: Horror (41)

The classic occult film that brought sacrilege into the mainstream in 1968. A visceral masterpiece of a horror film that purposefully undermines a young couple and takes advantage of their youth and ambition. It’s the horror of overbearing neighbors, inching into every aspect of your life and the deterioration of one’s soul slowly and methodically. Mia Farrow is perfect as Rosemary, but it’s the full cast that brings this damning vision to life.

99. Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975)

Dir: Pier Paolo Pasolini (1)

DP: Tonino Delli Colli (1)

Editor: Nino Baragli (1)

Writer: Pier Paolo Pasolini (1), Donatien Alphonse (1)

Starring: Paolo Bonacelli (1), Giorgio Cataldi (1), Aldo Valletti (1), Caterina Boratto (1)

Composer: Ennio Morricone (3)

Country: Italy (9)

Genre: Drama (151)

Pasolini’s Saló is the infamous gag-inducing film of radicalized fascism imbued with an underhand history and revealing nature towards Italian politicians. The backstory is almost as compelling as the film, leading to Pasolini’s death. The film itself is an absolutely inescapable nightmare that has plenty of shock value. Knowing the history certainly makes it palatable, but there is a strange, sick, sadistic entertainment value here that I’m endlessly intrigued by.

“It is when I see others degraded that I rejoice knowing it is better to be me than the scum of “the people”. Whenever men are equal, without that difference, happiness cannot exist. So you wouldn’t aid the humble, the unhappy. In all the world no voluptuousness flatters the senses more than social privilege.”

98. Kagemusha (1980)

Dir: Akira Kurosawa (9)

DP: Takao Saito (4), Shoji Ueda (2)

Editor: Akira Kurosawa (6)

Writer: Akira Kurosawa (9), Masato Ide (2)

Starring: Tatsuya Nakadai (7), Tsutomu Yamazaki (4), Kenichi Hagiwara (1), Jinpachi Nezu (1)

Composer: Shinchiro Ikebe (2)

Country: Japan (60)

Genre: Drama (152), War (27)

Kurosawa’s most underrated film bar-none. It’s the writing of the protagonist and visual design. The protagonist plays a shadow of another human being, feels his love, and then gets tossed aside like dirt. A powerful message towards familial bonds told through one of the legendarily great Japanese actors Tatsuya Nakadai and he gives an overwhelmingly poignant portrayal. On the outset, it’s Kurosawa’s vibrant color palette that only reveals a deep emotional heart, but there’s an endless vista of pain in Nakadai’s performance

97. Fanny and Alexander (1982)

Dir: Ingmar Bergman (8)

DP: Sven Nykvist (6)

Editor: Sylvia Ingemarsson (1)

Writer: Ingmar Bergman (8)

Starring: Bertil Guve (1), Pernilla Allwin (1), Allan Edwall (1), Ewa Froling (1), Erland Josephson (3), Jan Malmsjo (1)

Composer: Daniel Bell (1), Robert Schumann (1), Benjamin Britten (1), Frans Helmerson (1), Marianne Jacobs (1)

Country: Sweden (8)

Genre: Drama (153), Mystery (24)

The coldest of cold resentments comes in the form of Ingmar Bergman’s most ambitious and expansive script of his career. Fanny and Alexander is an epic. Clocking in at over 180 minutes, Bergman spends time with these characters to explore their worry, doubts, resentment, and most importantly, love for their family. The second half of the film is a towering piece of art that builds off a first act fixated on the large family dinner table. It’s a flurry of confusing emotions thrown at you with no reprieve, a Bergman classic. 

96. Midnight Cowboy (1969)

Dir: John Schlesinger (1)

DP: Adam Holender (1)

Editor: Hugh A. Robertson (1)

Writer: Waldo Salt (1)

Starring: John Voight (1), Dustin Hoffman (2)

Composer: John Barry (1)

Country: USA (169)

Genre: Drama (154)

John Schlesinger’s Midnight Cowboy is all over the place thematically, but that’s the beauty of this story and film. Jon Voight as the oddball Cowboy traveling to the big city, alongside my favorite Dustin Hoffman performance, makes this experience so bizarre and special. The way each plot point is framed and presented is different and no aspect of this film is the same. It’s absolutely brilliant. The music, the acting, the costumes, and the setting all come together beautifully. A Schlesinger film inside and out. 

95. Drunken Angel (1948)

Dir: Akira Kurosawa (10)

DP: Takeo Ito (1) 

Editor: Akikazu Kono (1)

Writer:  Akira Kurosawa (10), Keinosuke Uekusa (1)

Starring: Takashi Shimura (4), Toshiro Mifune (6), Reizaburo Yamamoto (1), Michiyo Kogure (1), Cheiko Nakakito (1)

Composer: Fumio Hayasaka (1)

Country: Japan (61)

Genre: Drama (155)

It’s about time Takashi Shimura gets the respect he deserves as a first-rate actor. His presence in Kurosawa films is always transcendent and heartbreakingly human. He’s one of the few actors able to match Toshiro Mifune’s expressionist style of acting and deliver a fully fleshed out character. In Drunken Angel, Shimura is at his emotional peak matching a slowly dying Mifune character. It’s such a powerful bond that develops between them but an even more tragic conclusion. A poignant film on-class with two of the greatest performances in Kurosawa’s filmography.

94. Memories of Murder (2003)

Dir: Bong Joon-ho (2)

DP: Kim Hyung-koo (1)

Editor: Kim Sun-min (3)

Writer: Bong Joon-ho (2), Kim Kwang-rim (1), Shim Sung-bo (1)

Starring: Song Kang-ho (7), Kim Sang-kyung (1), Kim Roi-ha (3), Song Jae-ho (1)

Composer: Taro Iwashiro (1)

Country: South Korea (15)

Genre: Crime (34), Thriller (43)

The true-crime story of one of South Korea’s most infamous serial killers with a master of the craft in Bong Joon-ho capturing the madness, stress, and provoking energy of the search. All the actors are so bought into the tone of the film, from the satirical humor to the unending frustration of the hunt. The cinematography shows this isolation and hurt with some of the greatest wide-shot compositions I’ve ever seen. It’s internalized pain and externalized loss, all seen through the incredibly expressive face of Song Kang-ho.

93. Yi Yi (2001)

Dir: Edward Yang (2)

DP: Yang Wei-han (1)

Editor: Chen Po-Wen (1)

Writer: Edward Yang (2)

Starring: Wu-Nien Jen (1), Jonathan Chang (1), Kelly Lee (1), Elaine Jin (1), Issey Ogata (1)

Composer: Kai-Li Peng (1) 

Country: Taiwan (3)

Genre: Romance (41), Drama (156)

Edward Yang – cityscapes, emptiness, huamanitarian, with a detached sense coming from the distant, wide-shot camera.. The humanity in his films is on the forefront and Yi Yi has a self-reflective relationship to the world as normal people attempt to make sense of it all. The fact that nothing seemingly does make sense creates such a striking message that is universal. The filmmaking is sublime in Yi Yi, covering life from a distance, but also from a very personal perspective.

92. Enter The Void (2009)

Dir: Gaspar Noe (1)

DP: Benoît Debie (1)

Editor: Gaspar Noe (1), Marc Boucrot (1)

Writer: Gaspar Noe (1)

Starring: Paz de la Huerta (1), Nathaniel Brown (1), Cyril Rox (1), Olly Alexander (1)

Composer: Thomas Bangaltar (1)

Country: France (37), Canada (2) 

Genre: Drama (157), Avant-garde (7)

Gaspar Noe takes the convention of narrative structure and laughs before throwing them out and starting from scratch. Enter The Void is one of those films, not plot or character-driven, but experienced through otherworldly influence. It’s a film that exemplifies the great power of the medium of cinema and the all-encompassing host of the camera. It’s unlike anything else in existence.

91. Shoplifters (2018)

Dir: Hirokazu Kore-eda (3)

DP: Ryuto Kondo (1)

Editor: Hirokazu Kore-eda (3)

Writer: Hirokazu Kore-eda (3)

Starring: Lily Franky (1), Sakura Ando (3), Mayu Matsuoka (1), Kari Jyu (1), Kirin Kiki (4)

Composer: Haruomi Hosono (1)

Country: Japan (62)

Genre: Drama (158)

The appallingly human story is about a makeshift family living on the outskirts of society. It’s stunningly beautiful and filled with compassion for these characters. Sakura Ando and Lily Frankie broke me in this film. The family dynamics and class structure presented in Shoplifters curate excellent discussion. A meaningful film with just an amazing ensemble. Kore-eda’s masterpiece.

90. Magnolia (1999)

Dir: Paul Thomas Anderson (4)

DP: Robert Elswit (4)

Editor: Dylan Tichenor (4)

Writer: Paul Thomas Anderson (3)

Starring: Tom Cruise (1), Phillip Seymour Hoffman (3), Phillip Baker Hall (2), William H. Macy (2), Julianne Moore (2), John C. Reilly (4), Melora Waters (1)

Composer: Jon Brion (2)

Country: USA (170)

Genre: Drama (159)

One of the most audacious narratives ever made – six separate but interconnected storylines, all dealing with the inability to love or the contrast to that. It’s a balancing act of love and desire, life and death, all captured through these six diametrically opposed characters that eventually reach the same narrative stopping point that is visually stunning and completely unexpected. It might be the most extraordinary end to a film in history. However, the cast is the strength of this film. Tom Cruise has never been better, and his hyper-masculine but broken role was perfect for him. Julianne Moore, Phillip Baker Hall, John C. Reilly, Philip Seymour Hoffman are at their emotional peak.

89. Touch of Evil (1958)

Dir: Orson Welles (4)

DP: Russell Metty (2)

Editor: Aaron Stell (1), Virgil W. Vogel (1)

Writer: Orson Welles (3), Whit Masterson (1)

Starring: Charlton Heston (1), Janet Leigh (1), Orson Welles (3), Joseph Calleia (1), Akim Tamiroff (3)

Composer: Henry Mancini (1)

Country: USA (171)

Genre: Crime (35), Noir (16)

Orson Welles can wallow in the filth and tribulation of man, provoke the worst type of behavior out of his characters, and make a film steeped in a vast and vile cauldron of unease unlike any other. He creates characters larger than life and then masterfully crafts a world that accentuates those qualities and draws out their best and worst attitudes. We see this in Welles obtrusive Hank Quinlan, a legendary portrayal of systemic evil, sold through the aesthetic of that character. It’s not Welles best crafted film, but it comes damn close even with mountains of studio interference.

88. Throne of Blood (1957)

Dir: Akira Kurosawa (11)

DP: Asakazu Nakai (6)

Editor: Akira Kurosawa (8)

Writer: Akira Kurosawa (11), Shinobu Hashimoto (2), Hideo Oguni (5), William Shakespeare (1), Ryuzo Kikushima (5)

Starring: Toshiro Mifune (7), Isuzu Yamada (3), Takashi Shimura (4), Akira Yukabo (1)

Composer: Masaru Sato (5)

Country: Japan (63)

Genre: Drama (160)

Akira Kurosawa adapted a number of Shakespearian plays, but none capture the drama of his work better than the Feudal Japanese retelling of Macbeth. Ethereal worldbuilding with an omnipresent feeling to the craft. Toshiro Mifune and Isuzu Yamada are otherworldly in their roles. One of the best Shakespeare adaptations period. 

87. Synecdoche, New York (2008)

Dir: Charlie Kaufman (1)

DP: Frederick Elmes (2)

Editor: Robert Frazen (1)

Writer: Charlie Kaufman (4)

Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman (4), Samantha Morton (1), Jennifer Jason Leigh (1), Michelle Williams (2), Catherine Keener (2), Tom Noonan (1), Emily Watson (2)

Composer: Jon Brion (2)

Country: USA (172)

Genre: Drama (161)

Charlie Kaufman is working on a higher plane than most human beings and Synecdoche, New York is a magnificent example of his genius. I don’t have words to describe this screenplay. It’s a man directing a man playing himself played by someone else all starring Philip Seymour Hoffman. It’s a real work of literary genius. Kaufman captures the exceeding angst building up in a man and is able to externalize that confusion into worldbuilding and characterization. Master work of craftsmanship. 

86. Inland Empire (2006)

Dir: David Lynch (4)

DP: David Lynch (1)

Editor: David Lynch (1)

Writer: David Lynch (2)

Starring: Laura Dern (1), Justin Theroux (2), Jeremy Irons (2), Harry Dean Stanton (5)

Country: USA (173)

Genre: Avant-garde (8), Mystery (25)

Inland Empire is Lynch at his most experimental, as he submits himself to every creative urge and the outcome is a deeply concerning piece of art. It plays closer to a thriller but at no point does this film move to any linear structure as it flails wildly through Lynch’s most bizarrely crafted world in his filmography. It’s the best of 2am cinema and needs to be experienced alone, in a dark room, and let the rhythm of the filmmaking take you to extremely alarming lanes of thought. Avant-garde perfection

85. Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

Dir: Stanley Kubrick (5)

DP: Larry Smith (1)

Editor: Nigel Galt

Writer: Stanley Kubrick (4), Arthur Schnitzler (1), Frederic Michael Rapheal (1)

Starring: Tom Cruise (2), Nicole Kidman (2), Sydney Pollack (1), Madison Eginton (1) 

Composer: Jocelyn Pook (1)

Country: United Kingdom (31)

Genre: Thriller (44), Drama (162), Mystery (26) 

Eyes wide Shut is Kubrick at his most abstract with atmosphere and cult-imagery. It’s a magic night in New York City as if it’s a dream. Led by a gravitational pull of performance from Nicole Kidman while Tom Cruise is blindly guided around the city in search of meaning. The immaculate recreation of New York and the utter shock of revealing secrets. Evocative and dripping with sensuality, it’s a film experience unlike any other. 

84. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

Dir: David Lean (3)

DP: Jack Hildyard (1)

Editor: Peter Taylor (1)

Writer: Carl Foreman (2), Pierre Boulle (1), Michael Wilson (1)

Starring: William Holden (2), Alec Guinness (3), Jack Hawkins (1), Sessue Hayakawa (1), James Donald (1) 

Composer: Malcolm Arnold (1)

Country: United Kingdom (32)

Genre: Drama (162), War (28)

In one of the great entries into the cinema for the great British director David Lean, The Bridge on The River Kwai is the exploration of Stockholm Syndrome through Alec Guinness’s all-time performance as Colonel Nicholson. In a beautiful venture into a British POW camp in Japan, Lean delicately captures their struggle with stunning imagery and phenomenal editing. One of the strongest technical and directorial efforts in history.

“You and Colonel Nicholson, you’re two of a kind, crazy with courage. For what? How to die like a gentleman, how to die by the rules – when the only important thing is how to live like a human being!… I’m not going to leave you here to die, Warden, because I don’t care about your bridge and I don’t care about your rules. If we go on, we go on together.”

83. Yojimbo (1961)

Dir: Akira Kurosawa (12)

DP: Kazuo Miyagawa (3)

Editor: Akira Kurosawa (9)

Writer: Akira Kurosawa (12), Ryuzo Kikushima

Starring: Toshiro Mifune (8), Tatsuya Nakadai (8), Yoko Tsukasa (1), Isuzu Yamada (2), Daisuke Kato (1), Takishi Shimura (1), Seizaburo Kawazu (1)

Composer: Masaru Sato (6)

Country: Japan (64)

Genre: Drama (163), Thriller (45)

Toshiro Mifune. Tatsuya Nakadai. Facing off in the best pure western ever made. A duel for the ages, masterfully edited, acted, and shot. An almost perfect film. Grand music. Epic storytelling. End-to-end thrill ride. 

82. Psycho (1960)

Dir: Alfred Hitchcock (5)

DP: John L. Russell (1)

Editor: George Tomasini (3)

Writer: Robert Bloch (1), Joseph Stefano (1)

Starring: Anthony Perkins (2), Janet Leigh (2), Vera Miles (1), John Gavin (1), Martin Balsam (2)

Composer: Bernard Hermann (5)

Country: USA (174)

Genre: Horror (42)

Hitchcock created an incredibly sharp and precise character study with a distinctly unnerving premise. Anthony Bates as the iconic Norman Bates, proprietor of the Bates motel with his mother. The building of suspense and tension in Psycho is some of the best of all-time. How the mystery is slowly unraveled and Hitchcock holds the reveal to the final moments. It’s a horror masterclass. 

81. The Elephant Man (1980)

Dir: David Lynch (5)

DP: Freddie Francis (1)

Editor: Anne V. Coates (1)

Writer: David Lynch (3), Eric Bergen (1), Christopher De Vore (1)

Starring: Anthony Hopkins (2), John Hurt (2), Anne Bancroft (1), John Gielgud (1), Wendy Hiller (1)

Composer: John Morris (1)

Country: United Kingdom (33)

Genre: Drama (164)

A devastatingly touching and beautiful story about the remarkable young man born with elephantiasis. A narrative meant for David Lynch’s artistic touch and unique view on the subject. Anthony Hopkins and John Hunt are incredible together, but Hunt’s broken portrayal of the elephant man makes this an all-timer. The compassion seeping through the performances is shockingly affecting. I feel fortunate that this story was given to David Lynch. 

80. Apocalypse Now (1979)

Dir: Francis Ford Coppola (2) 

DP: Vittorio Storaro (1)

Editor: Walter Murch (1), lisa Fructhman (1)

Writer: Francis Ford Coppola (2), Joseph Conrad (1), john Milius (2), Michael Herr (2)

Starring: Marlon Brando (2), Robert Duvall (1), Martin Sheen (3), Frederic Forrest, Laurence Fishburne (3), Albert Hall (2)

Composer: Francis Ford Coppola (1), Carmine Coppola (1) 

Country: USA (175)

Genre: War, Drama (165)

Francis Ford Coppola’s journey through the psyche of a broken man, metaphorically and literally represented through the Vietnam war and the river that guides them through to the heart of darkness. Coppola’s dreary and devastating dive into Marlon Brando’s (Colonel Kurtz) escape from reality is captured in an all-encompassing visual sense. Some of the most incredible cinematography ever from Vittorio Storaro, layering in the psyche of the soldiers. FFC truly was born to make films. 

79. Raging Bull (1980) 

Dir: Martin Scorsese (7) 

DP: Michael Chapman (3)

Editor: Thelma Schoonmaker (6)

Writer: Paul Schrader (3), Mardik Martin (1)

Starring: Robert De Niro (7), Joe Pesci (4), Cathy Moriarty (1), Frank Vincent (1)

Composer: Pietro Mascagni (1)

Country: USA (176)

Genre: Drama (166)

Raging Bull is a masterfully made film that hits on every aspect of the production. It’s not my favorite Scorsese, but it’s undoubtedly his best directed as the intensity and passion never cease throughout the film. Robert De Niro’s portrayal of Jake LaMotta feels like a ticking time bomb, never knowing it when he’ll go off. The message at the heart of the film is so meaningful while exposing the dangers of a person like LaMotta. The Paul Schrader script is purposeful, but Scorsese gets his value from Michael Chapman’s cinematography and Thelma Schoonmaker’s editing. The craft is inventive and direct, showing Scorsese as a premier talent in the chair. 

78. Parasite (2019)

Dir: Bong Joon-ho (3)

DP:  Hong Kyung-pyo (4)

Editor: Yang Jin-Mo (2)

Writer: Bong Joon-ho (3), Han Jin-woo (1)

Starring: Song Kang-ho (8), Lee Sun-kyun (1), Cho Yeo-jeong (1), Choi Woo-shik (1), Park So-dam (1), Lee Jung-eun (1)

Composer: Jung Jae-il (1)

Country: South Korea (16)

Genre: Thriller (46), Drama (167) 

Parasite is pure cinema bliss. A masterfully crafted film that is so precise, so ingenious, and so damn entertaining. It’s the edge of the seat pacing. The deceptive production design that feels like something is hiding behind every corner. The sharp wit of the writing and the unbelievable performances from the entire ensemble. One of those films that hits every high note and holds your attention there throughout. It’s essentially everything I want out of a film.  A Bong Joon-ho masterpiece.

77. Sansho the Bailiff (1954)

Dir: Kenji Mizoguchi (2)

DP: Kazuo Miyagawa (4)

Editor: Mitsuzo Miyata (2)

Writer: Yoshikata Yoda (2), Fuji Yahiro, Ogai Mori

Starring: Kinuyo Tanaka (2), Yoshiaki Hanayagi (1), Kyoko Kagawa (3) 

Composer: Fumio Hayasaka (2), Tamekichi Mochizuki (1), Kanahichi Odera (1)

Country: Japan (65)

Genre: Drama (168)

Sansho the Bailiff is a fall from grace narrative. The narrative shows the contrast of dichotomy of the change in their lives., putting the audience in that state of mind of the idea that our freedoms were stripped and the horror of that situation. Mizoguchi’s masterful direction from standstill yet violent cinematography, to the period set designs, immerse us in their suffering that’s never felt so real. Fantastic film with some of the best cinematography of all-time from legendary DP Kazuo Miyagawa, the beauty of the world shrouded in misery through cinematic language.

76. Eraserhead (1977)

Dir: David Lynch (6)

DP: Frederick Elmes (3), Herbert Cardwell (1)

Editor: David Lynch (2)

Writer: David Lynch (4)

Starring: Jack Nance (1), Charlotte Stewart (1), Allen Joseph (1), Jeanne Bates (1)

Composer: David Lynch (1)

Country: USA (177)

Genre: Fantasy, Horror (43)

Lynch’s midnight release masterpiece. The most obscure representation of fatherhood or the daunting responsibilities of it ever told. The narrative is expressed in a hyper-visual sense, making the takeaways from each person vastly different. And that’s the glory of Lynch’s Eraserhead. The film is whatever you want it to be. For Henry (Jack Nance), he’s on vacation and ends up one day n. Truly some of the best abstract art ever produced on film.

75. Fight Club (1999)

Dir: David Fincher (3)

DP: Jeff Cronenweth (2)

Editor: James Haygood (1)

Writer: Chuck Palahniuk (1), Jim Uhls (1)

Starring: Edward Norton (1), Brad Pitt (4), Helena Bonham Carter (1), Meat Loaf (1), Jared Leto (1), Zach Greiner (1)

Composer: John King (1), Michael Simpson (1)

Country: USA (178)

Genre: Drama (169) 

One of the first films in my life to completely blow me away in every facet. It’s Fincher’s masterpiece, a film ripe with isolated imagery and solitary ideology. It’s an angry film and the characters represent the individual problems that represent aspects of our society. It also features Brad Pitt at his absolute best; Tyler Durden is mayhem personified and Pitt understands the idea of Tyler Durden. The screenplay and Palahniuk’s original story are discretely detailed and overflowing with relevant commentary. 

74. Opening Night (1977) 

Dir: John Cassavetes (3)

DP: Al Ruban (2)

Editor: Tom Cornwell (2)

Writer: John Cassavetes (3)

Starring: Gena Rowlands (2), John Cassavetes (3), Ben Gazzara (1), Joan Blondell (1), Paul Stewart

Composer: Bo Harwood (2)

Country: USA (179)

Genre: Drama (170)

There are few things in life as intoxicating as watching Gena Rowlands act, and her performance as the aging, alcoholic star of Broadway stands alone. Cassavetes uses a familiar rough structure and pacing but that only enhances what Rowland’s is doing in this otherworldly performance. Arguably the greatest performance of all-time. The final act is the true definition of tour-de-force. Cassavtes greatest achievement was unearthing Gena Rowlands and giving her acting vehicles like this one. 

73. Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985)

Dir: Paul Schrader (1)

DP: John Bailey (1)

Editor: Michael Chandler (1), Tomoyo Oshima (1)

Writer: Paul Schrader (4), Leonard Schrader (1), Yukio Mishima (1) 

Starring: Ken Ogata (1), Go Riju (1), Masayiku Shionoya (1), Hiroshi Mikama (1)

Composer: Philip Glass (1)

Country: Japan (66)

Genre: Drama (171)

Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters is Paul Schrader at his best. An account of the famous Japanese author and political figure Yukio Mishima’s last day, told as an unconventional biopic that interweaves his narrative work and life struggle. A story told through Mishima’s drastic ideas on life that translate into gorgeous imagery explained in detail through his writing. Mishima is one of Schrader’s best scripts and the film features one of the most slept-on original scores ever produced by Phillip Glass.

72. Happiness (1998)

Dir: Todd Solondz (2)

DP: Maryse Alberti (2)

Editor: Alex Oxman (2)

Writer: Todd Solondz (2)

Starring: Jane Adams (1), Jon Lovitz (1), Philip Seymour Hoffman (5), Dylan Baker (1), Lara Flynn Baker (1)

Composer: Robbie Kondor (1)

Country: USA (180)

Genre: Black Comedy (6)

Todd Solondz Happiness is not an easy film to come to terms with and perplexes in its approach to both the alarming and natural behavior introduced in this picture. It’s darkly funny in a way that makes you question why you’re laughing and presents fairly obvious morality questions that are so unfamiliar and alien that it’s hard to cope with these characters. However, we still relate to them. Solondz reaches into our collective fears and the idea of living an unhappy, lonely life because we’re too afraid of the consequences. It puts the void of an empty life through different perspectives showing the full range of human suffering in a modern context. It’s brilliant in this regard and more importantly, soul-crushing.

71. The Swimmer (1968)

Dir: Frank Perry (1)

DP: David L. Quaid (1)

Editor: Carl Lerner (2), Sidney Katz (1), Pat Somerset (1)

Writer: John Cheever (1), Eleanor Perry (1)

Starring: Burt Lancaster (6), Janet Legrand (1), Kim Hunter (2), Janice Rule (1)

Composer: Marvin Hamlisch (2)

Country: USA (181)

Genre: Drama (172)

Burt Lancaster swimming through the large suburban swimming pools of his mind back to his home and old life. Deceptively deep, bizarrely painful, and a beacon of light in a dark world. Burt Lancaster embodies the swimmer persona and will always be remembered for this role. Intensely quotable script.It’s Frank Perry capturing the American suburban psychosis. A labyrinth of middle-to-upper class psychosis. And one of the funniest films ever made. 

70. 8 ½ (1963)

Dir: Federico Fellini (4)

DP: Gianni Di Venanzo (1)

Editor: Leo Catozzo (2)

Writer: Federico Fellini (4), Tullio Pinelli (1), Ennio Flaiano (3), Brunello Rondi (2)

Starring: Marcello Mastroianni (3), Claudia Cardinale (3), Anouk Aimée (1), Sandra Milo (1)

Composer: Nino Rota (6)

Country: Italy (9)

Genre: Fantasy (19), Drama (173)

From legendary Italian director Federico Fellini comes 8 ½ a film about a director played instinctually by Marcello Mastroianni. It’s shhot to convey the overwhelming stress and compounding anxiety of the directors chair. As his gigantic set-designs reaches empire state building levels and his relationships fall apart. The narrative is brilliantly constructed and moves delicately to strengthen the impact of the result of all these problems building on top of each other. The filmmaking is otherworldly good from Fellini, and Mastroianni is a great leader for his vision. A masterful work of abstract but humane art.

69. The King of Comedy (1982)

Dir: Martin Scorsese (8)

DP: Fred Schuler (1)

Editor: Thelma Schoonmaker (7)

Writer: Paul D. Zimmerman (1)

Starring: Robert De Niro (8), Jerry Lewis, Sandra Bernhard (1)

Composer: Robbie Robertson (2)

Country: USA (182)

Genre: Black Comedy (7)

Martin Scorsese’s eighth entry and one of his most original and brilliant films he’s ever made. A narrative made for modern-day, a fascination and obsession with fame and fortune. In another incredible performance from Robert De Niro in a Scorsese film, his role as Rupert Pupkin is an all-time great. The way he plays off the famous Jerry Lewis and the lengths he’ll go to achieve his spotlight moment knows no bounds. He drives the story to the outermost rim of insanity while keeping grounded in reality. Hilarious and rich thematically.

68. The Shop on Main Street (1965)

Dir: Elmar Klos (1), Jan Kadar (1)

DP: Vladimir Novotny (1)

Editor: Jaromir Janacek (1), Diana Heringova (1)

Writer: Elmar Klos (2), Jan Kadar (1), Ladislav Grosman (1) 

Starring: Ida Kaminska (1), Jozef Kroner (1), Hana Slivkova (1), Martin Holly (1) 

Composer: Zdenek Liska (2)

Country: Czechoslovakia (5)

Genre: War, Drama (174)

Ján Kadár and Elmar Klos The Shop on Main Street is a devastating retelling of Aryanization in Czechoslovakia, while layering in surrealist comedy in the midst of terror. The central dynamic between the blind shop owner (Ida Kamińska), unknowingly being overtaken by the controlling Nazi government through the simple carpenter Tóno (Jozef Kroner) reluctantly taking the forced job. It’s a towering piece of cinema with immaculate symbolism and performances. The greatest film ever to come out of Czechoslovakia. 

67. The Exterminating Angel (1962) 

Dir: Luis Bunuel (4)

DP: Gabriel Figueroa (2)

Editor: Carlos Savage (2)

Writer: Luis Bunuel (4), Luis Alcoriza (1)

Starring: Silvia Pinal (3), Jacqueline Andere (1), José Baviera (1), Augusto Benedico (1)

Composer: Raul Lavista (2)

Country: Mexico (2)

Genre: Satire, Black Comedy (8)

The Exterminating Angel is the narcissistic truth of human nature at the end of a dinner party. The moment you’re alone with your partner, away from the peering eyes of others, the real feelings come flooding out like a raging river. In another Buñuel masterpiece, he captures the angst held inside a group of civilized people trapped in their twisted psyche, not able to escape the throws of being confined together, stripping these people of their civility and poise. At the sound of a beautiful piano sonata played by the talented Blanca (Patricia de Morelos), the world outside continues to rotate normally. Still, inside the music room, the wealthy, privileged class break down by the seams in an incredibly tense, twisted, and dazed film that’s unlike anything you’ve ever experienced.

66. All About Eve (1950)

Dir: Joseph L. Mankiewicz (1)

DP: Milton Kraser (1)

Editor: Barbara McLean (1)

Writer: Joseph L. Makiewicz (1)

Starring: Bette Davis (4), Anne Baxter (2), George Sanders (2), Celeste Holm (1)

Composer: Alfred Newman (2), Urban Thielmann (1)

Country: USA (183)

Genre: Drama (175)

An absolute powerhouse of a performance out of Bette Davis in All About Eve, playing the dying starlet of Broadway. Conversely, Anne Baxter’s underhand and conniving performance is the perfect answer to Davis’ overpowering charm and nuance. The Joseph Mankiewicz script is masterfully witty and droll. Amazing character writing, and a beautifully inventive premise. It’s one of the greatest screenplays of all-time, setting up these great actors for career best performances.

65. Chinatown (1974)

Dir: Roman Polanski (4)

DP:  John A. Alonzo (2)

Editor: Sam O’ Steen (1)

Writer: Robert Towne (2)

Starring: Jack Nicholson (2), Faye Dunaway (1), John Huston (1), Perry Lopez (1)

Composer: Jerry Goldsmith (4)

Country: USA (184)

Genre: Noir (17)

The quintessential neo-noir genre film. The craft from Polanski is essentially flawless. Showing the showy-ness and charm of Hollywood while hiding the shady underbelly of crime and deceit. Jerry Goldsmith’s original score has come to define the genre and matches the tone of the narrative while Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway. The two deliver world-class performances in unbelievably dirty and complex roles. A must-watch for anyone interested in the art of storytelling. Heartbreakingly cruel and tantalizingly intriguing. 

64. The Human Condition: No Greater Love (1959)

Dir: Masaki Kobayashi (5)

DP: Yoshi Miyajima (2)

Editor: Keiichi Uraoka (3)

Writer: Masaki Kobayashi (2), Zenzo Matsuyama (3), Jumpei Gomikawa (2)

Starring: Tatsuya Nakadai (9), Michiyo Aratama (3), Chikage Awashima (2), Ineko Arima (2), So Yamamura (2)

Composer: Chuji Konoshita (1)

Country: Japan (67)

Genre: War, History (8), Drama (176)

Part one of Masaki Kobayashi’s towering 9-hour epic, The Human Condition. Part one is a film that breaks a person’s spirit and trust in people. All captured in the sheer desperation of PFC Kaji (Tatsuya Nakadai), as he’s party to human injustices and forced to fight the system from within. It tests every moral fiber of a person and sets up wonderfully for the rest of the trilogy. Nakadai’s performance here is one of the best of all-time. The storytelling masterclass in the deeper exploration of the damming themes. A perfect adaptation of the source material.

63. The Virgin Spring (1960) 

Dir: Ingmar Bergman (9)

DP: Sven Nykvist (7)

Editor: Oscar Rosander (3)

Writer: Ulla Isaksson (1)

Starring: Max Von Sydow (8), Britta Valberg (1), Gunnel Lindblom (2), Birgitta Pettersson (1)

Composer: Erik Nordren (1)

Country: Sweden (9)

Genre: Drama (177)

Possibly Ingmar Bergman’s most invasive film experience, as he attacks the safety of family, testing their dedication and devotion to Christ and the holy spirit. It’s a film that deals with senseless tragedy and takes an inward look at the brokenness of man. Max Von Sydow, in his most ethereal role since The Seventh Seal, paints an unfeeling world of deception. The Virgin Spring steps on the foundation of spirituality and focus the audience attention on the endless struggle.

62. The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

Dir: John Frankenheimer (6)

DP: Lionel Lindon (2)

Editor: Ferris Webster (1)

Writer: George Axelrod (1), Richard Condon (1)

Starring: Frank Sinatra (1), Angela Lansbury (2), Laurence Harvey (1), James Gregory (1), Janet Leigh (3)

Composer: David Amram (1)

Country: USA (185)

Genre: Drama (178), Thriller (47)

John Frankenheimer is an unbelievable director and The Manchurian Candidate is his masterpiece. A platoon of captured US soldiers gets brainwashed in one of the most compact and impactful scenes in film history. That scene shows Fred Webster’s editing balancing the two realities perfectly. Add in an all-time great performance in a supporting role from Angela Lansbury, and what you have is a classic. Grand film that is stunningly memorable with a phenomenally great score from David Amram.

“Raymond Shaw is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life.”

61. Sweet Smell of Success (1957)

Dir: Alexander Mackendrick (1)

DP: James Wong Howe (2)

Editor: Alan Crosland Jr. (1)

Writer: Ernest Lenham (1), Clifford Odets (1)

Starring: Burt Lancaster (7), Tony Curtis (2), Susan Harrison (1), Martin Milner (1), Sam Levene (1)

Composer: Elmer Bernstein (4)

Country: USA (186)

Genre: Noir (18), Black Comedy (9)

Every line muttered, shouted, sternly discussed, whispered under the breath, or simply said out loud is quotable in Sweet Smell of Success. The deeper meanings go into tabloid journalism and the toxicity that follows, but it’s the amazing script and specifically the dialogue that turns this great script into something legendary. Tony Curtis and Burt Lancaster as the leads, playing sleazy newspapermen is what they were born to play. A larger than life film with just an old-school, quick speaking Hollywood script that checks every box.

60. The Battle of Algiers (1966)

Dir: Gillo Pontecorvo (1)

DP: Marcello Gatti (1)

Editor: Mario Serandrei (2), Moria Morra

Writer: Franco Solinas (1), Gillo Pontecorvo (1)

Starring: Brahim Hadjadj (1), Jean Martin (1), Yacef Saadi (1)

Composer: Ennio Morricone (4), Gillo Pontecorvo (1)

Country: Italy (10), Algeria (1)

Genre: Historical Drama (9), War

The Battle of Algiers is an extraordinary experience and the best depiction of the long, hard struggle towards freedom of an oppressed people. Shot in a found footage type of way that makes it almost hard to believe this was produced and not lived in. Told through the eyes of the rebels, it’s an intensely realized telling of the pressure conditions that this underground militia operates. It’s guerrilla warfare told with the scope of the entire city of Algiers and truly one of the greatest war films ever made. It also features arguably Ennio Morricone’s best work ever and a towering original piece of music. 

59. Silence (2016)

Dir: Martin Scorsese (9)

DP: Rodrigo Prieto (3)

Editor: Thelma Schoonmaker (8)

Writer: Martin Scorsese (4), Jay Cocks (3), Shusaku Endo (1)

Starring: Andrew Garfield (2), Adam Driver (1), Liam Neeson (2), Yosuke Kubozuka (1)

Composer: Kathryn Kluge (1), Kim Allen Kluge (1)

Country: Mexico, Taiwan, USA (187)

Genre: Historical Drama (10)

Silence is stunning. Scorsese’s underseen magnum opus is an unnerving and brutal depiction of religion in feudal-era Japan, led by Andrew Garfield’s captivating beyond words performance of immense pain and bondage through his journey to understanding. The direction from Scorsese is immaculate as this film hits hard emotionally, philosophically, and spiritually unlike any other film. The actual use of silence in the film is masterfully done. Scorsese’s masterpiece.

58. Princess Mononoke (1997)

Dir: Hayao Miyazaki (6)

DP: Atsushi Okui (4)

Editor: Takeshi Seyama (2)

Writer: Hayao Miyazaki (6), Neil Gaiman (1)

Starring: Yoji Matsuda (1), Yuriko Ishida (1), Yuko Tanaka (1), Kaoru Kobayashi (1)

Composer: Joe Hisashi (7)

Country: Japan (68)

Genre: Fantasy (20), Animation (14)

Miyazaki is a master and Princess Mononoke is truly lasting cinema. The horror of the opening sequence will always stick with me as possibly the best opening scene ever. The message from the story is beyond meaningful and the way this is shown through the gorgeous character designs and the world is perfect. The deepest Miyazaki narrative and one that is incredibly impactful. An animated masterpiece that continually changes throughout the years.

57. Belle de Jour (1967) 

Dir: Luis Bunuel (5)

DP: Sacha Vierny (3)

Editor: Louisette Hautecoeur (1)

Writer: Luis Bunuel (5), Jean-Claude Carriere (2), Joseph Kessel (2)

Starring: Catherine Deneuve (2), Jean Sorel (1), Michel Piccoli (1), Genevieve Page (1)

Country: France (38)

Genre: Romance (42), Drama (179)

Catherine Deneuve is a revelation and Belle de jour is pure cinema bliss. A provocative journey into the unnerving detachment from reality by feeling one’s way through the prickly brush into a place that is so seemingly inhumane and sideways from the rest of the world. Luis Buñel’s narrative choice is always compelling on a deeper philosophical and moral level and Belle de Jour is his crown jewel. 

Madame Anais: I have an idea. Would you like to be called “Belle de Jour”?

Séverine Serizy: Belle de Jour?

Madame Anais: Since you only come in the afternoons.

Séverine Serizy: If you wish.

56. Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975) 

Dir: Peter Weir (3)

DP: Russell Boyd (1)

Editor: Max Lemon (1)

Writer: Joan Lindsay (1), Cliff Green (1)

Starring: Rachel Roberts (1), Vivean Gray (1), Helen Morse (1), Kristy Childs (1)

Composer: Bruce Smeaton (1), Gheorghe Zamfir (1)

Country: Australia (4)

Genre: Drama (178), Mystery (27)

Peter Weir telling the mystifying disappearances of a group of schoolgirls on a picnic seemingly escaping to another realm of existence. A journey into the unexplainable and the ethereal aspect to these girls and the sheer confusion of losing them without explanation. Weir holds your attention the entire runtime, and crafts the narrative to keep us as perplexed as every character. It’s hard to explain the alluring nature to Picnic at Hanging Rock.

“What we see and what we seem are but a dream, a dream within a dream”

55. The Big Lebowski (1998)

Dir: Joel Coen (7)

DP: Roger Deakins (7)

Editor: Joel Coen (7), Ethan Coen (7), Tricia Cooke (1)

Writer: Joel Coen (7), Ethan Coen (7)

Starring: Jeff Bridges (2), John Goodman (4), Steve Buscemi (4), Julianne Moore (3), Phillip Seymour Hoffman (4) , David Huddleston (1), John Turturro (2)

Composer: Carter Burwell (9)

Country: USA (188)

Genre: Noir (19)

I love everything about this film and it never disappoints each time I see it. The Coen’s understand character writing and nothing shows that off more than in The Big Lebowski. The Dude and Walter are all-time great characters, but the strength of the film is that every character works brilliantly inside this story. It’s constantly laughing from start-to-finish. 

“Walter, I love you, but sooner or later, you’re going to have to face the fact you’re a goddamn moron.”

54. The Godfather (1972)

Dir: Francis Ford Coppola (3)

DP: Gordon Willis (3)

Editor: William Reynolds (1), Peter Zinner (3)

Writer: Francis Ford Coppola (3), Mario Puzo (1)

Starring: Marlon Brando (3), Al Pacino (5), James Caan (2), Robert Duvall (2), Richard S. Castellano (1), Diane Keaton (2), Talia Shire (1)

Composer: Nino Rota (7)

Country: USA (189)

Genre: Crime, Drama (179)

It’s hard to find flaws in the production of this film. Each scene is layered with detail and drops consequential scenes one after another. It also provides one of the truly great endings to a film: otherwise known as the most ambitious and stylishly edited scene ever. The Italian countryside sequence with Al Pacino as Michael Corleone. The Sonny murder. Memorable scene after memorable scene. And let us never forget the brilliance of one Marlon Brando as the Don Corleone

53. The Godfather: Part II (1974) 

Dir: Francis Ford Coppola (4)

DP: Gordon Willis (4)

Editor: Barry Malkin, Peter Zinner (4), Richard Marks

Writer: Francis Ford Coppola (4), Mario Puzo (2)

Starring: Al Pacino (6), Robert De Niro (9), Robert Duvall (3), Diane Keaton (3), John Cazale (5), Talia Shire (2), Lee Strasberg (1)

Composer: Carmine Coppola (2), Nino Rota (8)

Country: USA (190)

Genre: Crime, Drama (180)

The Godfather: Part II is nearly flawless. It delivers on two of the greatest performances ever as the plot continuously drops impactful moments onto the screen. Coppola refined his work in the original and made an all-encompassing film that expands on aspects of the original. Robert De Niro as the young Don Corleone is arguably the greatest performance of all-time. He expands on the Brando persona while keeping the character intact. The Sicilian scenes in the third act are otherworldly gorgeous and effective.

52. Akira (1988)

Dir: Katsushiro Otomo (1)

DP: Katsuji Misawa (1)

Editor: Takeshi Seyama (4)

Writer: Katsushiro Otomo (1), Izo Hashimoto (1)

Starring: Mitsuo Iwata (1), Nozomu Sasaki (1), Mami Koyama (1)

Composer: Mami Koyama (1)

Country: Japan (69)

Genre: Sci-fi, Animation (15)

The stunning visual storytelling through the world-building of a post-apocalyptic Neo-Tokyo, a world destroyed by Akira and rebirthed through Tetsuo. The hallucination images and dark undertones caught through the colors and tone are remarkable. The editing organically fits a large chunk of the story seamlessly into a two-hour film. It’s a very memorable experience and one of great artistic value. The first anime that showed me the potential stored away in this medium.

51. La Haine (1995)

Dir: Mathieu Kassovitz (1)

DP: Pierre Aim (1)

Editor: Mathieu Kassovitz (1), Scott Stevenson (1)

Writer: Matthieu Kassovitz (1)

Starring: Vincent Cassel (1), Hubert Kounde (1), Said Taghmaoui (1)

Composer: Assassin (1)

Country: France (39)

Genre: Drama (181)
The hidden underbelly of Frances disenfranchised and forgotten about communities is the hateful divide that draws a line in the middle of La Haine. A masterfully constructed film, following an explosive group of impoverished friends, shows the type of trouble this environment creates for citizens and police. Vincent Cassel is magic, but the entire cast is just as good. The film works on every conceivable level to get its point across. Rapidly falling down from a skyscraper filmmaking.


2 thoughts on “The 100 Best Films Ever Made

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