The Best Films of all Times

An appendix to piero scaruffi's "History of Cinema"
piero scaruffi | Feedback | Back to cinema | Database of filmmakers | History of Cinema
Note: the lists by decade and by year are much more reliable. The list below is an excerpt from the list originally made in the 1990s, and after that rarely updated. I left only one film per director and i carefully avoided adding any film from the last decade (too soon to judge). It is only meant as a teaser to send you to the lists by decade.
  1. Orson Welles: Citizen Kane (1941)
  2. Alfred Hitchcock: North By Northwest (1959)
  3. Bela Tarr: Werckmeister Harmoniak/ Werckmeister Harmonies (2000)
  4. Fritz Lang: Metropolis (1926)
  5. Majid Majidi: Color Of Paradise (1999)
  6. Charles Chaplin: Limelight (1952)
  7. Lars von Trier: Riget/ Kingdom (1995)
  8. Theo Angelopoulos: O Thiasos/ Travelling Players (1975)
  9. Robert Aldrich: Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte (1965)
  10. Emir Kusturica: Underground (1995)
  11. Roman Polanski: Rosemary's Baby (1968)
  12. Ingmar Bergman: Persona (1966)
  13. Elia Kazan: Splendor In The Grass (1961)
  14. Robert Altman: Nashville (1975)
  15. Andrei Tarkovsky: Zerkalo/ Mirror (1974)
  16. Francis Ford Coppola: The Godfather Part I (1974)
  17. Sam Peckinpah: The Wild Bunch (1969)
  18. Billy Wilder: Sunset Boulevard (1950)
  19. Luis Bunuel: Belle de Jour (1967)
  20. Michelangelo Antonioni: Blow-Up (1966)
  21. Terrence Malick: Days of Heaven (1978)
  22. Sergio Leone: C'era Una Volta il West/ Once Upon a Time (1968)
  23. Martin Scorsese: Mean Streets (1973)
  24. Federico Fellini: La Dolce Vita (1960)
  25. Akira Kurosawa: Rashomon (1950)
  26. Woody Allen: Manhattan (1979)
  27. Vittorio DeSica: Miracolo a Milano/ Miracle in Milan (1951)
  28. Wim Wenders: Der himmel uber Berlin/ Wings of Desire (1988)
  29. Jan Svankmajer: Conspirators of Pleasure (1996)
  30. Michael Haneke: Cache`/ Hidden (2005)
  31. Terry Gilliam: Brazil (1985)
  32. Christopher Nolan: Memento (2000)
  33. Ermanno Olmi: L'Albero degli Zoccoli (1978)
  34. Zhang Yimou: Ying Xiong/ Hero (2002)
  35. Manoel de Oliveira: Francisca (1981)
  36. Krzysztof Kieslowski: Rouge (1994)
  37. David Lynch: Lost Highway (1997)
  38. Chan-wook Park: Sympathy for Mr Vengeance (2002)
  39. Kim Ki-duk: Shigan/ Time (2005)
    Again, the lists by decade and by year are more updated.

    There are few filmmakers from Asia, Africa and Latin America in this list. This is hardly surprising. Cinema is still very young in most developing countries. (For some countries the statement is meaningless, because they produce no films at all). Ten years ago there were no Chinese, Iranian, Finnish or Serbian filmmakers in my lists, now there are several. I am sure that ten years from now there will be many directors from other countries that don't appear now. The difference between cinema and, say, poetry or music is that cinema requires capital in order to produce masterpieces. You can write a wonderful poem on a piece of paper, but you can't make a wonderful film without tens of thousands of dollars of equipment. Thus it is not surprising that cinema "discriminates" more than other arts between rich and poor countries.


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Lists by Decades

The 1910s
 The 1920s
  The 1930s
   The 1940s
    The 1950s
     The 1960s
      The 1970s
       The 1980s
        The 1990s
         The 2000s
          The 2010s

Other lists

Thanks to John Davies for providing the data
Sight and Sound, U.K- international critics, 2002
  1. Citizen Kane
  2. Vertigo
  3. La Regle du Jeu
  4. The Godfather 1&2
  5. Tokyo Monogatari
  6. 2001: A Space Odyssey
  7. Battleship Potemkin
  8. Sunrise
  9. 8 1/2
  10. Singin in the Rain

"Positif", France, 1991.
  1. La Regle du Jeu
  2. Citizen Kane
  3. 2001:A Space Odyssey
  4. Vertigo
  5. L'Atalante
  6. 8 1/2
  7. Sunrise
  8. Barry Lyndon
  9. The General
  10. Sansho Dayu

Cinemateca Portuguesa, 1994
  1. Nosferatu
  2. La Regle du Jeu
  3. M
  4. L'Atalante
  5. Ivan the Terrible
  6. The Passion of Joan of Arc
  7. The Blue Angel
  8. Napoleon
  9. Viaggio in Italia
  10. The Last Laugh

Time Out, U.K 1995
  1. Citizen Kane
  2. The Godfather
  3. La Regle du Jeu
  4. Vertigo
  5. Seven Samurai
  6. Lawrence of Arabia
  7. Raging Bull
  8. Touch of Evil
  9. Tokyo Monogatari
  10. L'Atalante

Romanian critics, 1995
  1. Citizen Kane
  2. The Gold Rush
  3. Andrei Rublev
  4. Wild Strawberries
  5. 8 1/2
  6. Battleship Potemkin
  7. The Passion of Joan of Arc
  8. La Strada
  9. L'Avventura
  10. Blow Up

German poll of international critics, 1995
  1. The Searchers
  2. Taxi Driver
  3. Vertigo
  4. Night of the Hunter
  5. Citizen Kane
  6. Lawrence of Arabia
  7. North by North West
  8. Le Samourai
  9. To Be or Not to Be
  10. The Last Picture Show

France, 1995
  1. Citizen Kane
  2. Battleship Potemkin
  3. La Regle du Jeu
  4. The General
  5. Greed
  6. The Passion of Joan of Arc
  7. Bicycle Thieves
  8. 2001: A Space Odyssey
  9. L'Atalante
  10. Les Enfants du Paradis

"Kinovedcheskie", Russia, 1995
  1. Citizen Kane
  2. Battleship potemkin
  3. Intolerance
  4. 8 1/2
  5. A Bout de Souffle
  6. The Cabinet of Dr Caligari
  7. La Regle du Jeu
  8. L'Atalante
  9. The Passion of Joan of Arc
  10. Ivan the Terrible
  11. Man with a Movie Camera

FIAF, 1995
  1. Citizen Kane
  2. Battleship Potemkin
  3. The Cabinet of Dr Caligari
  4. Nanook of the North
  5. Man with a Movie Camera
  6. La Regle du Jeu
  7. Intolerance
  8. Bicycle Thieves
  9. A Bout de Souffle
  10. Andrei Rublev
  11. Berlin Symphony of a Great City
  12. Singin in the Rain

A.F.I 100 Greatest American Movies, 1997.
  1. Citizen Kane
  2. Casablanca
  3. The Godfather
  4. Gone with the Wind
  5. Lawrence of Arabia
  6. The Wizard of Oz
  7. The Graduate
  8. On the Waterfront
  9. Schindler's List
  10. Singin in the Rain

British Film Institute- British films, 1999
  1. The Third Man
  2. Brief Encounter
  3. Lawrence of Arabia
  4. The 39 Steps
  5. Great Expectations
  6. Kind Hearts and Coronets
  7. Kes
  8. Don't Look Now
  9. The Red Shoes
  10. Trainspotting

"Village Voice", U.S.A, 2000
  1. Citizen Kane
  2. La Regle du Jeu
  3. Vertigo
  4. The Searchers
  5. Man with a Movie Camera
  6. Sunrise
  7. L'Atalante
  8. The Passion of Joan of Arc
  9. Au Hasard Balthazar
  10. Rashomon

"MovieMail" customers, U.K, 2000 .
  1. Seven Samurai
  2. The Third Man
  3. Les Enfants du Paradis
  4. Blade Runner
  5. Casablanca
  6. Cinema Paradiso
  7. 2001: A Space Odyssey
  8. Some Like it Hot
  9. La Regle du Jeu
  10. Brief Encounter

"Editorial Jaguar", Spain, 2001
  1. Citizen Kane
  2. The Leopard (Visconti)
  3. Ordet
  4. Vertigo
  5. The Searchers
  6. The Godfather 1&2
  7. Sunrise
  8. Gertrud
  9. The Man who Shot Liberty Valance
  10. 2001: A Space Odyssey

Another 100 Greatest Films
Tom Dirks' 100 Greatest Films
200 Greatest Films (chronological)
100 Years...100 Movies
Movieline Magazine
Premiere Magazine
National Film Registry Titles
Greatest Silent Films

TM, ®, Copyright © 1998 Piero Scaruffi