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Sight and Sound list of the best films of all-time

Wednesday 12/7/22

I used to put stock in things like the Sight and Sound lists that come out every ten years--one a directors' poll, the other from the critics--and that were released the other day. It was one reason why I wanted to write for Sight and Sound when I was getting started, which I did.

But there's not a lot of truth in these lists and I now see them more as impediments than anything conducive to enriching experiences or as useful introductions. They tend to focus on certain kinds of works to the exclusion of others (comedy and horror are looked down upon, even though comedy and horror are fundamentals of human life). I think people go with what they think they should go with--work that is properly serious, or looks that way--rather than what they believe is best.

Fellini, for instance, is a boring, provincial filmmaker, the kind typically touted by faux-intellectuals who will always be the last to know anything, but people aren't secure enough to say that 8 1/2 is boring and they pretend it's a masterpiece.

These aren't in any order, but they are films that I'd have in the conversation--as my side of it--as some of the best films ever made and as films that foster many things in the people who view them, which is one of those things that seems to me the point.

The Rules of the Game (1939)

Out of the Past (1947)

Citizen Kane (1941)

Chimes at Midnight (1966)

The Wizard of Oz (1939)

The Searchers (1956)

Withnail and I (1987)

Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

L'Atalante (1934)

Scrooge (1951)

Rio Bravo (1959)

The General (1926)

Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928)

Singin' in the Rain (1952)

Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)

Star Wars (1977)

Sons of the Desert (1933)

A Hard Day's Night (1964)

The Curse of the Cat People (1944)

A Canterbury Tale (1944)

Sunrise (1927)

A Man Escaped (1956)

Make Way for Tomorrow (1937)

Shoeshine (1946)

It's a Wonderful Life (1946)


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