List of 160 Great Films

A purely subjective list, and only of films I’ve seen. Film for me is a love, a philosophical interest, and increasingly, a large part of what I teach in my classes. Then again, I make no pretension to being a true cinema geek! For me, it’s a love and passion, but I approach film as a theorist first and foremost, and that’s where my training is, not the other way around, and I never pretend otherwise.

Ok, lot’s of disclaimers, you’ll find them below the list itself. But oh what fun to make! I’ll try to keep updating this list periodically.


My favorite/best list of 120 great films

1. Mulholland Drive, by David Lynch (2001, USA)

2. Solaris, by Andrei Tarkovsky (1972, Soviet Union)

3. Oldboy, by Park Chan-Wook (2004, South Korea)

4. Two or Three Things I Know About Her, by Jean-Luc Godard  (1967, France)

5. 8 ½, by Federico Fellini (1963, Italy)

6. Vertigo, by Alfred Hitchcock (1958, UK)

7. Persona, by Ingmar Bergman (1966, Sweden)

8. Stalker, by Andrei Tarkovsky (1977, Soviet Union)

9. Last Year at Marienbad, by Alain Resnais (1961, France)

10. Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom, by Pier Paolo Pasolini (1975, Italy)

11. Hiroshima, Mon Amour, by Alain Resnais (1960, France)

12. Woman in the Dunes, by Hiroshi Teshigahara (1964, Japan)

13. Twelve Monkeys, by Terry Gilliam (1995, USA)

14. The Prestige, by Christopher Nolan (2006, USA)

15. Porcile (Pigsty), by Pier Paolo Pasolini (1969, Italy)

16. The Spirit of the Beehive, by Victor Erice (1973, Spain)

17. Juliet of the Spirits, by Federico Fellini (1965, Italy)

18. Donnie Darko, by Richard Kelley (2001, USA)

19. Bad Education, by Pedro Almodovar (2008, Spain)

20. Cut, by Park Chan-Wook (2004, South Korea)

21. F is for Fake, by Orson Welles (1974, USA)

22. Suicide Club, by Sion Sono (2001, Japan)

23. Primer, by Sean Carruth (2004, USA)

24. Sans Soleil (Sunless), by Chris Marker (1983, France)

25. La Dolce Vita, by Federico Fellini (1961, Italy)

26. Mr. Arkaddin (Confidential Report), by Orson Welles (1955, USA)

27. There Will Be Blood, by Paul Thomas Anderson (2006, USA)

28. The Trial, by Orson Welles (1962, USA)

29. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, by Robert Wiene (1919, Germany)

30. Memento, by Christopher Nolan (2000, USA)

31. Audition, by Takashi Miike (1999, Japan)

32. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, by Julien Schnabel (2009, France)

33. Videodrome, by David Cronenberg (1985, Canada)

34. Opening Night, by John Cassavettes (1974, USA)

35. The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, by Werner Rainer Fassbinder (1972, Germany)

36. Rashomon, by Akira Kurosawa (1950, Japan)

37. Satyricon, by Federico Fellini (1969, Italy)

38. The Virgin Spring, by Ingmar Bergman (1960, Sweden)

39. Dr. Strangelove, by Stanley Kubrik (1964, USA)

40. Mirror, by Andrei Tarkovsky (1975, Soviet Union)

41. Funny Games, by Michael Haneke (1997, Austria)

42. Lost Highway, by David Lynch (1999, USA)

43. The Deer Hunter, by Michael Cimino (1978, USA)

44. The Thin Red Line, by Terrence Malick (1998, USA)

45. Happy Together, by Wong Kar-Wai (1997, Hong Kong)

46. Waking Life, by Richard Linklater (2001, USA)

47. Reservoir Dogs, by Quentin Tarrantino (1992, USA)

48. Jacob’s Ladder, by Adrian Lyne (1990, USA)

49. Amores Perros, by Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu (2000, Mexico)

50. Ararat, by Atom Egoyan (2002, Canada)

51. Spider, by David Cronenberg (2006, Canada)

52. A Zed and Two Noughts, by Peter Greenaway (1983, UK)

53. La Jetee (The Pier), by Chris Marker (1969, France)

54. Noriko’s Dinner Table, by Sion Sono (2005, Japan)

55. The Nights of Cabiria, by Federico Fellini (1954, Italy)

56. The Last Supper, by Tomas Guttierez Alea (1976, Cuba)

57. Notorious, by Alfred Hitchcock (1946, UK)

58. Blue Velvet, by David Lynch (1986, USA)

59. Dead Ringers, by David Cronenberg (1983, Canada)

60. Rope, by Alfred Hitchcock (1948, UK)

61. The Man with a Movie Camera, by Dziga Vertov (1929, Soviet Union)

62. Dog Day Afternoon, by Sidney Lumet (1975, USA)

63. The Firemen’s Ball, by Milos Forman (Czechoslovakia, 1967)

64. Wild Strawberries, by Ingmar Bergman (Sweden, 1961)

65. Annie Hall, by Woody Allen (1977, USA)

66. Contempt, by Jean-Luc Godard (1964, France)

67. Existenz, by David Cronenberg (1999, Canada)

68. The Godfather, Part II, by Francis Ford Coppola (1974, USA)

69. Dogville, by Lars Von Trier (2003, Denmark)

70. The Draughtsman’s Contract, by Peter Greenaway (1981, UK)

71. Alien, by Ridley Scott (1979, USA)

72. Tokyo Story, by Yasujiro Ozu (1953, Japan)

73. Breathless, by Jean-Luc Godard (1960, France)

74. The Birds, by Alfred Hitchcock (1963, UK)

75. Metropolis, by Fritz Lang (1925, Germany)

76. The Sweet Hereafter, by Atom Egoyan (1998, Canada)

77. Intervista (Interview), by Federico Fellini (1987, Italy)

78. The Passion of Joan of Arc, by Carl Theodor Dreyer (1928, France)

79. Psycho, by Alfred Hitchcock (1960, UK)

80. The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, by Michel Gondry (2004, USA)

81. Ivan’s Childhood, by Andrei Tarkovsky (1964, Soviet Union)

82. Weekend, by Jean-Luc Godard (1969, France)

83. Teorema (Theorum), by Pier Paolo Pasolini (1968, Italy)

84. The Shining, by Stanley Kubrick (1980, USA)

85. Sunshine, by Danny Boyle (2009, UK)

86. Titus, by Julie Taymor (1999, UK)

87. Talk to Her, by Pedro Almodovar (2002, Spain)

88. The Holy Mountain, by Alejandro Jodorowsky (1973, Mexico)

89. In the Realm of the Senses, by Nagisa Oshima (1976, Japan)

90. Earth Entranced, by Glauber Rocha (1967, Brazil)

91. Strangers on a Train, by Alfred Hitchcock (1951, UK)

92. The Small Soldier, by Jean-Luc Godard (1962, France)

93. The Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice, by Yasujiro Ozu (1952, Japan)

94. Peeping Tom, by Michael Powell (1960, UK)

95. The Battle for Algiers, by Gillo Pontecorvo (Italy, 1964)

96. The Shop on Main Street, by Jan Kadar and Elmar Klos (1959, Czechoslovakia)

97. Rear Window, by Alfred Hitchcock (UK, 1954)

98. The Marriage of Maria Braun, by Werner Maria Fassbinder (1979, Germany)

99. Inception, by Christopher Nolan (2010, USA)

100. Barton Fink, by The Coen Brothers (1991, USA)

101. Tetsuo: The Iron Man, by Shinya Tsukomoto (1989, Japan)

102. The Sacrifice, by Andrei Tarkovsky (Sweden, 1984)

103. Dune, by David Lynch (1984, USA)

104. Time Regained, by Raol Ruiz (France, 1999)

105. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, by Peter Jackson (2001-3, New Zealand)

106. Suspiria, by Dario Argento (1977, Italy)

107. Man Push Cart, by Ramin Bahrani (2005, USA)

108. A Woman Under the Influence, by John Cassavettes (1974)

109. Dreams, by Akira Kurosawa (1996, Japan)

110. Miller’s Crossing, by The Coen Brothers (1990, USA)

111. Andrei Rublev, by Andrei Tarkovsky (1966, Soviet Union)

112. Y Tu Mama Tambien, by Alfonso Cuaron (Mexico, 2001)

113. 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Stanley Kubrick (1968, UK)

114. Germany, Year Zero, by Roberto Rossellini (1948, Italy)

115. The Joke, by Milos Forman (Czechoslovakia, 1963)

116. She Killed in Ecstasy, by Jesus Franco (1971, France)

117. Children of Men, by Alfonso Cuaron (2006, Mexico)

118. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, by Tobi Hooper (1974, USA)

119. Shortbus, by John Cameron Mitchell (2006, USA)

120. Bicycle Thieves, by Vittorio De Sica (1948, Italy)

121. Airplane!, by Jim Abrams and David Zucker (1980, USA)

122. The Third Man, by Carol Reed (1949, UK)

123. Last Days, by Gus Van Sant (2005, USA)

124. Chinatown, by Roman Polanski (1974, USA)

125. Mysterious Skin, by Gregg Arraki (2004, USA)

126. Twelve Angry Men, by Sidney Lumet (1957, USA)

127. La Strada, by Federico Fellini (1954, Italy)

128. Waltz with Bashir, by Ari Folman (2008, Israel)

129. Belle de Jour, by Luis Bunuel (1967, France)

130. Reassemblage, by Trinh T. Minh-Ha (USA, 1983)

131. Ali, Fear Eats the Soul, by Werner Rainer Fassbinder (1974, Germany)

132. The Night of the Living Dead, by George Romero (1967, USA)

133. Eraserhead, by David Lynch (1976, USA)

134. This is Spinal Tap, by Rob Reiner (1984, USA)

135. Scenes from a Marriage, by Ingmar Bergman (1973, Sweden)

136. Cleo from 5 to 7, by Agnes Varda (France, 1957)

137. Aguirre, Wrath of God, by Werner Herzog (Germany, 1972)

138. Glengary, Glen Ross, by James Foley (1992, USA)

139. The Godfather, by Francis Ford Coppola (1970, USA)

140. Trainspotting, by Danny Boyle (1995, UK)

141. Ran, by Akira Kurosawa (1985, Japan)

142. American Psycho, by Mary Harron (2000, USA)

143. M, by Fritz Lang (1931, Germany)

144. Sleuth, by Kenneth Brannagh (2007, USA)

145. My Own Private Idaho, by Gus Van Sant (1991, USA)

146. Cries and Whispers, by Ingmar Bergman (1972, Sweden)

147. The Dark Crystal, by Jim Henson and Frank Oz (1982, USA)

148. Following, by Christopher Nolan (UK, 1998)

149. Shallow Grave, by Danny Boyle (UK 1994)

150. Lady Vengeance, by Park Chan-Wook (2005, South Korea)

151. Pandorum, by Christian Alvart (2009, USA)

152. Saw, by James Wan (USA, 2004)

153. The Hour of the Wolf, by Ingmar Bergman (1968, Sweden)

154. Chop Shop, by Ramin Bahrani (USA, 2007)

155. The Pillow Book, by Peter Greenaway (1996, UK)

156. The Squid and the Whale, by Noah Baumbach (2005, USA)

157.  Battle Royale, by Kinji Fukasaku (2000, Japan)

158. Starship Troopers, by Paul Verhoeven (1997, USA)

159. Akira, by Katsuhiro Otomo (1988, Japan)

160. Shaun of the Dead, by Edgar Wright (2004, UK)


Many disclaimers: Firstly, I think it gets less accurate as you go down. Secondly, I think really each 10 rankings is prob more accurate than each 1. Also, how do you balance favorite with best? Film’s that were the first to do certain things with films versus those that have staying power, to me or to others? Horror films with comedies? Art films versus sci-fi versus cult? Films that  speak to me personally, but I’m not sure about  others? Films I just enjoy versus great films? It’s an impossible task, all apples and oranges. Still, a lot of fun to create, and I love to read lists like these by others.

Ultimately, I went for films that speak to me. That hit me in the head and gut. Somewhere between favorite and best, between personal affection and semi-disinterested judgment. I think that’s the only honest way, cause the exercise is flawed in its very structure. But potentially worth it. I mean, I love reading these sorts of lists when others make them. And I take always add new films to my own list of things to see soon.

And I’ll be honest. Its skewed strongly towards US, and recent. It’s what I know. And I love em cerebral and dark and powerful and quirky. Ultimately, I kept asking myself – would I and the world (weighted at about 50/50) be worse off if this film didn’t exist? I then rated it from there . . .

Things I didn’t count – things I haven’t seen, truly short films, films that are simply guilty pleasures (and those that I did include I ranked lower than I wanted to out of affection to compensate), true documentaries, and films that you’re ‘supposed to’ include but just don’t speak to my gut. I’ll likely try to expand this list, maybe flesh it out with annotations a bit, post it on the side of the blog, rearrange it as I see more. But between now and then . . .

Ok, enjoy, and post your own!


~ by chris on December 26, 2010.

One Response to “List of 160 Great Films”

  1. That’s a great list of films!
    Be well, & all the best to you in 2011,

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