up in lights...

My ten favorite films... about as close to an order as I can get them today.

1. Persona (Ingmar Bergman, 1966)
2. Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)
3. Zerkalo (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1975)
4. L’Avventura (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1960)
5. Rashomon (Akira Kurosawa, 1950)
6. Dekalog (Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1988)
7. Fa yeung nin wa (Wong Kar-Wai, 2000)
8. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968)
9. Ordet (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1955)
10. Au hasard Balthazar (Robert Bresson, 1966)


What are yours?

Tagging a swarm... Amy, Collin, James, Ivy, Nicole, Laurel, Barbara Jane, Christine, Jill, Suzanne, Peter, Greg, Jenni, Lorna Dee, Melissa, Sara, Jeannine, Nick, Arlene, Lyle, Sandra, Paul, Paula, and C.E.


Collin said...

1. Wings of Desire (Wim Wenders)
2. Until the End of the World (Wenders)
3. Red (Krzysztof Kieslowski)
4. Elevator to the Gallows (Louis Malle)
5. Another Woman (Woody Allen)
6. Julia (Fred Zinnemann)
7. Rear Window (Alfred Hitchcock)
8. Brainstorm (Douglas Trumbull)
9. Short Cuts (Robert Altman)
10. Orlando (Sally Potter)a

Sam of the ten thousand things said...

Wenders rules-- Great list Collin. Julia is an underrated film.

Poet with a Day Job said...

Wow! My very firstest tag! I'm so excited! Here's my list (don't be scared).

LKD said...

1.Birth (Jonathan Glazer)
2.Hud (Martin Ritt)
3.Edward Scissorhands (Tim Burton)
4.American Beauty (Sam Mendes)
5.Resurrection (Daniel Petrie)
7.Fearless (Peter Weir)
8.To Kill a Mockingbird (Robert Mulligan)
9.Breaking Away (Peter Yates)
10.Radio Days (Woody Allen)

Sam of the ten thousand things said...

Melissa, count me in on The Wicker Man (1973)-- an amazing film.

Laurel, you have an interesting list. In particular, Hud and To Kill a Mockingbird. Great performances.

Ivy said...

See here.

Suzanne said...

1. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
2. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
3. Valley of the Dolls
4. The Birds
5. Buffalo 66
7. Taxi Driver
8. The Shining
9. Mildred Pierce
10.Short Cuts

Only 10?! Those are the first ten in no particular order.

Suzanne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
megalopoet said...

check it at the blog. ooh, this was tough, but i reserve the right to amend at will.

enjoying reading your and everyone else's lists.


anhaga said...

Impossible, but fun to try. Here's a list, but not inalterably the A-List. No Kurosawa, no Fellini, only one Bergman and Hitchcock, I'm heart-broken. In no particular order:

1. City Lights (Charlie Chaplin)
2. The Birds (Alfred Hitchcock)
3. The Big Parade (King Vidor)
4. Au Revoir les Enfants (Louis Malle)
5. Il Grido (Michelangelo Antonioni)
6. The Seventh Seal (Ingmar Bergman)
7. Wings of Desire (Wim Wenders)
8. Ordet (Carl Dreyer)
9. The Wizard of Oz (Victor Fleming)
10. The 400 Blows (Francois Truffaut)

Sam of the ten thousand things said...

Great choices from Ivy and Nicole at their blogs.

And Suzanne-- Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? features fine, fine performances. A big wow to Short Cuts.

James, wouldn't you agree that Ordet is a one-of-a-kind film, on so many levels? There's no other film like it. Yes to Wings of Desire, of course, and The Seventh Seal.

Lyle Daggett said...

No way I can name just ten -- but here are ten that are somewhere among my favorites (in no particular order:

1. Z (dir. Costas-Gavras)
2. Klute (Jane Fonda, Donald Sutherland)
3. To Be Or Not to Be -- (the original one with Jack Benny and Carole Lombard)
4. Dr. Strangelove -- (Stanley Kubrick)
5. Julia (Jane Fonda, Vanessa Redgrave)
6. The Maltese Falcon
7. Casablanca
8. Bagdad Cafe (dir. Percy Adlon)
9. The Moderns (dir. Alan Rudolph)
10. Rhapsody in August (dir. Akira Kurosawa)

Sam of the ten thousand things said...

Thanks for impacting list, Lyle. To Be or not to Be is such an original piece. As well as Z-- a film that puts me in mind of Pontecorvo's The Battle of Algiers-- and Strangelove. And you have an excellent Kurosawa pick.

jeannine said...

Possibly a tad more lowbrow than your list, Sam...
j9's list

Sam of the ten thousand things said...

Jeannine, a list that has Grosse Pointe Blank, Episode IV, and Princess Bride is a good one. From your disclaimer list, I really go for the BBC production of P&P, and have watched it 8 or 10 times, if not more.

jeannine said...

Sam, my husband (and little brother, and all my male friends) agree with you about Episode 5. But, what can I say, I like the cheesy, low-budget appeal of the first one. Thanks for the opportunity to talk about movies.

SarahJane said...

In no particular order:

1. Oliver! (1968)
2. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
3. Bliss (1985)
4. High Society (1956)
5. Fitzcaraldo (1982)
6. Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid (1969)
7. American Beauty (1999)
8. The Jerk (1979)
9. Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
10. Blazing Saddles

I don't see as many movies as I once did, but of those I've seen since 2000 (don't want to seem completely lost in a timewarp), I've really enjoyed The Hours, Capote, In the Bedroom, Lost in Translation, Brokeback Mountain, Munich and Children of Men.

Instead of Kramer vs Kramer, I thought I'd put Sophie's Choice as my favorite Meryl Streep movie, but it's one of those cases where as beautiful as the movie was, the book was better. Ditto The Hours, and a lot of other films.

Thanks for asking!

Sam of the ten thousand things said...

Interesting point Jeannine. My second favorite in the series is Episode III, which is similar in approach, tone, and theme to III. Then, my choice would be IV.

It's impossible to argue, Sarah, with One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest or Herzog's Fitzcaraldo. Both films are magnificent. I like Mel Brooks' work, especially Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein.

greg rappleye said...

Okay, here goes. In this (approximate) order:

1. The Big Sleep (1946). Raymond Chandler, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, William Faulkner,
Howard Hawks, Martha Vickers, Elisha Cook, Jr., and an inexplicable plot. What's not to like?

2. Casablanca (1942)

3. Apocolypse Now (1979) + Redux

4. Five Easy Pieces (1970)

5. The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933)

6. Sullivan's Travels (1941)

7. O Brother Where Art Thou? (2000)

8. North by Northwest (1959)

9. Mirage (1966). Edward Dmytryk doing his best Hitchcock immitation. Classic and underappreciated.

10. Salvador (1986). The only thing I don't like about this film is that it reminds me of what Oliver Stone could have been as a director.

anhaga said...

Sam, I completely agree about Ordet. It is one of those works I think of as an absolute, unlike anything else and perfect in some way that brooks no argument. The Passion of Joan of Arc is another such. Dreyer is wonderful, always. Day of Wrath. And Dreyer's Vampyr, so strange and inventive, is the only thing of its kind that just might be better than Nosferatu. Thanks for this topic.

greg rappleye said...

And sorry about the spelling mistakes. It's a little hard to explain, but because of a vision problem, I tend to see things the way I intend them to be, not the way they are. It's a problem I can solve on my own blog, but not in a comment box!

Sam of the ten thousand things said...

I like your list Greg. Fritz Lang's The Testament of Dr. Mabuse is a strong choice. M is my favorite of his works. Sullivan's Travels, another wonderful film. I make it a point to watch that one at least once every three or four months. Apocalypse Now is in my second set of ten.

James, I agree with everything you say about Dreyer. Vampyr is, I think, the greatest film of its kind. You didn't mention Gertrud-- if you've not seen it, consider it a must. The scope of Dreyer's oeuvre puts me in mind of Kubrick... the director who can master the crossing of genres.

Collin said...

Julia is one of the best films ever, and it does get overlooked. I think it's my favorite Fonda film and although Redgrave is only in it for about 30 minutes, her scenes are indelible.

...the paint has aged now and I wanted to see what was there for me once, what is there for me now.

anhaga said...

I pologize in advance, but here is another list of ten I can't live without:

1. Mon Oncle (Jaques Tati)
2. Beauty and the Beast (Jean Cocteau)
3. The Searchers (John Ford)
4. The Circus (Charlie Chaplin)
5. Battleship Potemkin (Sergei Eisenstein)
6. Hour of the Wolf (Ingmar Bergman)
7. Bicycle Thieves (Vittorio de Sica)
8. Woman in the Dunes (Hiroshi Teshigahara)
9. The Wild Bunch (Sam Peckinpaw)
10. Last Year at Marienbad (Alain Resnais)

I don't think any of these movies have appeared on any other list, and I'd bet that every participant in this discussion could produce a similar list, ten essential films that haven't been mentioned yet.

That points to the tremendous bounty of worldwide cinema, doesn't it?

Not so many decades ago, when Truffaut was editing Cahiers du cinema and interviewing the hell out of Hitchcock, American critics used to deplore what they called "the French heresy," i.e., the notion that film might have some real value as an art form. I guess it's been a while since film had to be defended as art, but if there were any lingering doubts, this discussion thread has put that "heresy" in its grave.

Sam of the ten thousand things said...

Definitely art, James. R.I.P. to the heresy. I like your second set as well-- Especially Battleship Potemkin and Woman in the Dunes. Great views.

This is my second set of essential films:

11. Le Mépris (Jean-Luc Godard, 1963)
12. Banshun (Yasujiro Ozu, 1949)
13. Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes (Werner Herzog, 1972)
14. Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979)
15. Ugetsu monogatari (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1953)
16. Angst essen Seele auf (R. W. Fassbinder, 1974)
17. Paris, Texas (Wim Wenders, 1984)
18. Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, 1994)
19. Harlan County, U.S.A. (Barbara Kopple, 1976)
20. Jules et Jim (François Truffaut, 1960)

And my list should include 8 1/2, Touch of Evil, and M, but alas, does not... The math works against me.

amy said...

To narrow down to ten is tough, Sam -- I'm going to get back to you on this shortly!

barbara jane said...

done! here

Sam of the ten thousand things said...

Take your time, Amy. It's taken me forever it seems, and I'm sure there will be changes.

And Barbara Jane, In the Mood for Love is a great pick for number 1. The fact that Kwaidan and Stray Dog did not make your first list tells me how strong your ten films are.

LKD said...

I was wondering if you might explain why Persona is your favorite--it is number one on your list.

Might you also explain the difference between your 10 favorites and this second list of 10 which you describe as "essential"?

My list wasn't in any particular order and it's certainly changeable. Those just happened to be the films that came to mind when the question was asked--films that I've watched and rewatched, and that I've urged friends to see too.

If could expand on that list, certainly, Wizard of Oz would be on it. As would Starman. And Young Frankenstein. And Five Easy Pieces.

And Amelie. I still can't believe I forgot Amelie. If I had to put my favorites in order, Amelie would probably be number one on the list.

Christine said...

Did it. In my own sort of... way.

Sam of the ten thousand things said...

Christine, your list is wonderful, and very much a poem in itself. Blue Velvet I'm sure of. I'll have to study the rest.

And LKD, my second set of 10 are essential in the same way my first 10 would be. So, what I've given would be my 20 favorite films-- and I'm fairly certain that the order is exact.

I was recently asked to name my three favorite directors, and without thinking said Kieslowski, Dreyer, and Kubrick. I name those three because I think they're flawless.

But if I had been asked to name the three directors who are most similar to my emotions or my writing-- certainly not in quality but in my response to writing-- I would have named Hitchcock, Tarkovsky, and Bergman. Bergman, in particular, is most like the inside of my head. When I sleep, what I see is the world of Persona. That's why it's my favorite.

Nick said...

Some great lists...

Christine said...


I forgot all the classics! Now I'm going to have make another list. This was just of the first ones that came to mind -- which are more contemporary and pop.

Fellini and Tarkovsky and the Brothers Quay, for starters.

Sam of the ten thousand things said...

Christine, do post your second list at your blog, or here for that matter. I'm interested.

Poet with a Day Job said...

What a fun exercise! Reading all the lists has reminded me of so many more movies I lvoe that should have pamde it into the top ten...The Shining, The Seventh Seal, The Jerk, Amelie, Dead Poets Society, Heathers, Spellbound, Tampopo...FUN!

terabin said...

1. Wandafuru Raifu (Kore-eda)
2. Paris, Texas (Wenders)
3. Nostalghia (Tarkovsky)
4. Dekalog (Kieslowski)
5. Shadow of a Doubt (Hitchcock)
6. Bande a Part (Godard)
7. 21 Up (Apted)
8. Stranger Than Paradise (Jarmusch)
9. Le Samourai (Melville)
10. Wallace & Gromit: The Wrong Trousers (Park)

Sam of the ten thousand things said...

Thanks for the list Tyler. A very interesting group of films. 21 Up-- yes. I'm impressed by the whole series. Enjoying 49 Up. Especially like the Jarmusch and Godard.