Below are 150 films which I consider to be amongst the finest that cinema has ever produced. Presented in chronological order, two things seem to stand out i) that the 40’s and 50’s were clearly something of a ‘golden age’, followed by an impressive resurgence in the 70’s; and ii) Hollywood, for all its flaws, really did make the greatest films in the world. For an alternative list of more personal but equally perfect films try my 150 Films For The Cult Connoisseur.



3 responses

  1. This is one of the most beautifully realised web pages I have ever seen on the subject of movies. By stealing the title pages of these films, you’ve captured a real element of the magic that they hold. And apart from E.T. (a film I despised when I first saw it aged 9 and still do) every single one of these films deserves the accolade. My favourites of these: Paths of Glory and Rear Window? Maybe next week it might be different. The movies just keep on giving. PS Did you see how Halliwell’s review of Vertigo got changed after his death (from no stars to three)? Classic.

    March 12, 2010 at 1:17 am

    • Glyn

      Thanks! There’s something powerful about a movie title, they can almost encapsulate the whole film. Put side by side, the titles become a great visual document on the evolution of cinema.

      Yes, Vertigo seems to be the ultimate reassessed masterpiece, literally 30 years until the critics caught up with it! Amazing how’s it’s risen up the Sight & Sound list – could it top Citizen Kane in 2012? I suspect not … And although Halliwell was completely wrong about Vertigo (and Blue Velvet etc) I don’t think his book should ever have been updated whilst keeping his name on the cover. There was a consistency of perspective and tone with his book and he really held back on awarding stars which helped focus the quality. Bizarrely in some updated cases, Halliwell’s negative comments remain whilst the film gets promoted to the full 4 stars!

      March 12, 2010 at 1:23 pm

      • Yes, that’s true about Halliwell. The book became so authoritative that the editors felt that it lacked credibility to dismiss works like Vertigo and panicked. I disagree because great criticism has to be about informed but honest opinions, not just about propping up consensus. Numerous serious critics make a good argument that all of Hitchcock is trash and horribly overrated. They are in a minority but their voices should be heard. After all, before Truffaut & Co, that’s exactly what people thought of Hitchcock. Similarly FR Leavis’s dismissal of John Milton didn’t stop Leavis being revered as one of the great literary critics (or indeed John Milton being revered as one of our greatest poets).

        March 14, 2010 at 9:07 am

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