Anthony Pantalone, Editor
With the release of Sight and Sound’s decennial Top 100 Greatest Films of All Time list—compiled every ten years by the British Film Institute—much debate has ensued over the definitive ranking of the best movies ever made. This year, Chantal Akerman’s “Jeanne Dielman” reigned supreme according to film critics after dethroning Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo”—the 2012 winner. With the inclusion of more diversity among critics, directors, and the cinematic taste of viewers, the 2022 list included more films directed or written by women than in the past. “Jeanne Dielman”’s acquisition of the number one spot serves as a prime example of this point as it is the first ever film directed by a woman to sit atop the list.
Here’s the official critics’ Top 10 list:
1.Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (Chantal Akerman, 1975)
2. Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)
3. Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)
4. Tokyo Story (Yasujirō Ozu, 1953)
5. In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar Wai, 2000)
6. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968)
7. Beau travail (Claire Denis, 1998)
8. Mulholland Dr. (David Lynch, 2001)
9. Man with a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, 1929)
10. Singin’ in the Rain (Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, 1951)
And here’s the official directors’ Top 10 list:
1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968)
2. Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)
3. The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972)
=4. Tokyo Story (Yasujirō Ozu, 1953)
=4. Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (Chantal Akerman, 1975)
=6. Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)
=6. 8 ½ (Federico Fellini, 1963)
8. Mirror (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1975)
=9. Persona (Ingmar Bergman, 1966)
=9. In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar Wai, 2000)
=9. Close-Up (Abbas Kiarostami, 1989)
Sight and Sound unfortunately must have lost my ballot in the mail, but I am more than happy to share my ten picks for the greatest films of all time here. This is not my list of my favorites of all time which would be a very different lineup. I am only including what feels objectively the best to me—which thus means the list will be incredibly subjective to my own experiences. It also obviously includes only movies I have seen, and I still have not seen many movies—including this year’s Sight and Sound winner. I’m having fun with this list and playing things fairly fast and loose, so please no hate. In no particular order, here are my picks:
Children of Men (Alfonso Cuarón, 2006)
Malcolm X (Spike Lee, 1992)
Jaws (Steven Spielberg, 1975)
The fact that Spielberg somehow made this film at 27 makes me weep knowing I could never even conceive of making anything as exceptional and culturally significant at such a young age.
Lost in Translation (Sofia Coppola, 2003)
Capturing feelings of melancholia and isolation in such crowded city landscapes seems like a Herculean effort, but Coppola does so with ease. This director transcends the status of a “nepotism baby” in Hollywood and firmly asserts herself as one of the most talented auteurs working in American cinema in the past thirty years with “Lost in Translation.”
Memories of Murder (Bong Joon-ho, 2003)
Chungking Express (Wong Kar Wai, 1994)
This movie changed everything I’ve ever felt about neon lights, pineapples, cleaning your house, and The Mama & the Papas’ “California Dreamin’.” A perfect final scene that I couldn’t forget even if I tried.
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Jacques Demy, 1964)
No movie I’ve seen since has felt as teeming with life and cinematic magic as The Umbrellas of Cherbourg does.
Nowhere (Gregg Araki, 1997)
Boogie Nights (Paul Thomas Anderson, 1997)
No scene in a film has ever created such a visceral and tense reaction out of me like the drug deal sequence with Alfred Molina. Again, this movie is one of the first efforts by a young auteur in their 20s with a clear vision. Imagine being 26 and creating something so unique and energetic that people are comparing your work to Robert Altman. That was a reality for Paul Thomas Anderson.
Mommy (Xavier Dolan, 2014)
GoodFellas (Martin Scorsese, 1990)
It’s Scorsese’s opus. The perfect mix between style and substance.
Full Metal Jacket (Stanley Kubrick, 1987)
People always prefer the boot camp portions of the film in contrast to the second half set in Vietnam. I believe the second half is criminally underrated and is just as incredible. Private Joker to me is one of the most interesting and compelling protagonists ever put to film.
Before Sunset (Richard Linklater, 2004)
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Pedro Almodóvar, 1988)
Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979)
A slow grueling spiral into the heart of darkness. Also, a production so cursed it would almost kill its director, Coppola, and its star, Martin Sheen.
It’s A Wonderful Life (Frank Capra, 1946)
The Virgin Suicides (Sofia Coppola, 1999)
Singin’ in the Rain (Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, 1951)