My Top 200 Films of All Time

In the past week, this blog has reached the milestone of having been viewed 100,000 times. To celebrate, I am posting a list of my favorite films of all time, one that I have been working on for what feels like forever. A wise man once said that favorite movies were always the hardest to write about and, after compiling the list, I heartily concur. I worked mighty hard to write the capsule reviews of my ten favorite movies that you’ll find below, attempting to nail down exactly what qualities they possess that has made them so impactful to me from points of view both personal (as an “ordinary” movie lover) and professional (as a film studies instructor and blogger). Below the list of my ten favorites you will also find a list of 200 runners-up that has been divided into eight groups of 25 in descending order of preference.

This highly personal list, which is actually a list of my 210 favorite movies, has literally been a lifetime in the making. I hope you enjoy it.

The Top Ten:

10. Antonio das Mortes (Rocha, Brazil, 1969)
antonio-das-mortes-slide-1-decolonizing-cinema

9. Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (Akerman, Belgium, 1975)
jeanne

8. To Sleep with Anger (Burnett, USA, 1990)
ToSleepwithAnger

7.
 M (Lang, Germany, 1931)
m

6. Journey to Italy (Rossellini, Italy, 1954)
viaggia

5. A New Leaf (May, USA, 1970)
anewleaf

4. Late Spring (Ozu, Japan, 1949)
latespring

3. Vagabond (Varda, France, 1985)
vagabond

2. Man with the Movie Camera (Vertov, Russia, 1929)
vertov2

1. A Brighter Summer Day (Yang, Taiwan, 1991)
brighter

First 25 Runners-Up (Listed Alphabetically By Director’s Family Name):

1. L’avventura (Antonioni, Italy, 1960)
2. A Man Escaped (Bresson, France, 1956)
3. Viridiana (Bunuel, Spain, 1961)
4. A Woman Under the Influence (Cassavetes, USA, 1974)
5. Gertrud (Dreyer, Denmark, 1964)
6. Tih Minh (Feuillade, France, 1918)
7. Wagon Master (Ford, USA, 1950)
8. Contempt (Godard, France/Italy, 1963)
9. Rear Window (Hitchcock, USA, 1958)
10. A Touch of Zen (Hu, Taiwan, 1971)
11. Our Hospitality (Keaton, USA, 1923)
12. The Decalogue (Kieslowski, Poland, 1988)
13. Wanda (Loden, USA, 1970)
14. Ugetsu (Mizoguchi, Japan, 1953)
15. City Girl (Murnau, USA, 1930)
16. Letter from an Unknown Woman (Ophuls, USA, 1948)
17. Tokyo Story (Ozu, Japan, 1953)
18. The Rules of the Game (Renoir, France, 1939)
19. Out 1 (Rivette, France, 1971)
20. Andrei Rublev (Tarkovsky, Russia, 1966)
21. Play Time (Tati, France, 1967)
22. L’atalante (Vigo, France, 1934)
23. The Leopard (Visconti, Italy, 1963)
24. Greed (Von Stroheim, USA, 1924)
25. Chimes at Midnight (Welles, Spain/Italy, 1965)

Second 25 Runners-Up (Listed Alphabetically By Director’s Family Name):

26. L’argent (Bresson, France, 1983)
27. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (Bunuel, France, 1972)
28. City Lights (Chaplin, USA, 1931)
29. Daisies (Chytilova, Czechoslovakia, 1966)
30. Casablanca (Curtiz, USA, 1942)
31. Earth (Dovzhenko, Ukraine, 1930)
32. The Mother and the Whore (Eustache, France, 1974)
33. Berlin Alexanderplatz (Fassbinder, Germany, 1980)
34. Spring in a Small Town (Fei, China, 1948)
35. Les Vampires (Feuillade, France, 1915-1916)
36. How Green Was My Valley (Ford, USA, 1941)
37. Goodbye to Language (Godard, Switzerland/France, 2014)
38. Vertigo (Hitchcock, USA, 1958)
39. Three Times (Hou, Taiwan, 2005)
40. The Ballad of Narayama (Imamura, Japan, 1983)
41. Twin Peaks: The Return (Lynch, USA, 2017)
42. The Band Wagon (Minnelli, USA, 1953)
43. The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums (Mizoguchi, Japan, 1939)
44. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (Murnau, USA, 1927)
45. The Gospel According to St. Matthew (Pasolini, Italy, 1964)
46. The Red Shoes (Powell/Pressburger, UK, 1948)
47. Bigger Than Life (N. Ray, USA, 1956)
48. The Phantom Carriage (Sjostrom, Sweden, 1921)
49. Citizen Kane (Welles, USA, 1941)
50. Some Like It Hot (Wilder, USA, 1959)

Third 25 Runners-Up (Listed Alphabetically By Director’s Family Name):

51. Beau Travail (Denis, France/Djibouti, 1999)
52. Singin’ in the Rain (Donen/Kelly, USA, 1952)
53. Ordet (Dreyer, Denmark, 1955)
54. Unforgiven (Eastwood, USA, 1992)
55. Coeur Fidele (Epstein, France, 1923)
56. The Searchers (Ford, USA, 1956)
57. Park Row (Fuller, USA, 1952)
58. Two Lane Blacktop (Hellman, USA, 1971)
59. Certified Copy (Kiarostami, Italy/France, 2010)
60. Spies (Lang, Germany, 1928)
61. Boyhood (Linklater, USA, 2014)
62. The Awful Truth (McCarey, USA, 1937)
63. Army of Shadows (Melville, France, 1969)
64. Floating Clouds (Naruse, Japan, 1955)
65. Chinatown (Polanski, USA, 1974)
66. Anatomy of a Murder (Preminger, USA, 1959)
67. Charulata (S. Ray, India, 1964)
68. Last Year at Marienbad (Resnais, France/Italy, 1961)
69. My Night at Maud’s (Rohmer, France, 1969)
70. All That Heaven Allows (Sirk, USA, 1955)
71. Stalker (Tarkovsky, Russia, 1979)
72. Satantango (Tarr, Hungary, 1994)
73. A Fugitive from the Past (Uchida, Japan, 1965)
74. The Crowd (Vidor, USA, 1928)
75. The Best Years of Our Lives (Wyler, USA, 1946)

Fourth 25 Runners-Up (Listed Alphabetically By Director’s Family Name):

76. The Long Goodbye (Altman, USA, 1973)
77. Au Hasard Balthazar (Bresson, France, 1966)
78. Le Boucher (Chabrol, France, 1970)
79. The Strange Case of Angelica (De Oliveira, Portugal, 2010)
80. Day of Wrath (Dreyer, Denmark, 1943)
81. 8 1/2 (Fellini, Italy, 1963)
82. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (Ford, USA, 1962)
83. Nouvelle Vague (Godard, France, 1990)
84. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Hawks, USA, 1953)
85. Goodbye South Goodbye (Hou, Taiwan, 1996)
86. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, USA, 1968)
87. Seven Samurai (Kurosawa, Japan, 1954)
88. Trouble in Paradise (Lubitsch, USA, 1932)
89. A Moment of Innocence (Makhmalbaf, Iran, 1996)
90. The Naked Spur (Mann, USA, 1953)
91. The Headless Woman (Martel, Argentina, 2008)
92. Boy (Oshima, Japan, 1969)
93. Pandora’s Box (Pabst, Germany, 1929)
94. The Taking of Power by Louis XIV (Rossellini, France/Italy, 1966)
95. Black Girl (Sembene, Senegal, 1966)
96. Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach (Straub/Huillet, Germany, 1968)
97. The Lady Eve (Sturges, USA, 1941)
98. The Roaring Twenties (Walsh, USA, 1939)
99. In the Mood for Love (Wong, Hong Kong, 2000)
100. Humanity and Paper Balloons (Yamanaka, Japan, 1937)

Fifth 25 Runners-Up (Listed Alphabetically By Director’s Family Name):

101. The Passenger (Antonioni, Italy, 1975)
102. Lucky Star (Borzage, USA, 1929)
103. The Unknown (Browning, USA, 1927)
104. Los Olvidados (Bunuel, Mexico, 1950)
105. Love Streams (Cassavetes, USA, 1984)
106. Bicycle Thieves (De Sica, Italy, 1948)
107. Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (Fassbinder, Germany, 1974)
108. Zodiac (Fincher, USA, 2007)
109. Pierrot le Fou (Godard, France, 1965)
110. Scarface: The Shame of a Nation (Hawks, USA, 1932)
111. Psycho (Hitchcock, USA, 1960)
112. Vengeance is Mine (Imamura, Japan, 1979)
113. The Housemaid (Kim, S. Korea, 1960)
114. Naked (Leigh, UK, 1993)
115. The Shop Around the Corner (Lubitsch, USA, 1940)
116. Mulholland Drive (Lynch, USA, 2001)
117. The Life of Oharu (Mizoguchi, Japan, 1952)
118. Mon Oncle d’Amerique (Resnais, France, 1980)
119. Celine and Julie Go Boating (Rivette, France, 1974)
120. Goodfellas (Scorsese, USA, 1990)
121. Detour (Ulmer, USA, 1945)
122. Cleo from 5 to 7 (Varda, France, 1962)
123. Senso (Visconti, Italy, 1954)
124. The Docks of New York (Von Sternberg, USA, 1928)
125. Touch of Evil (Welles, USA, 1958)

Sixth 25 Runners-Up (Listed Alphabetically By Director’s Family Name):

126. McCabe and Mrs. Miller (Altman, USA, 1971)
127. Red Desert (Antonioni, Italy, 1964)
128. Pickpocket (Bresson, France, 1959)
129. Anxiety (De Oliveira, Portugal, 1998)
130. Vampyr (Dreyer, Germany/Denmark, 1932)
131. Hindle Wakes (Elvey, UK, 1927)
132. The Quiet Man (Ford, USA/Ireland, 1952)
133. Weekend (Godard, France, 1967)
134. Rio Bravo (Hawks, USA, 1958)
135. A City of Sadness (Hou, Taiwan, 1989)
136. Brief Encounter (Lean, UK, 1945)
137. Touki Bouki (Mambety, Senegal, 1973)
138. Some Came Running (Minnelli, USA, 1958)
139. The Earrings of Madame de . . . (Ophuls, France, 1953)
140. Floating Weeds (Ozu, Japan, 1959)
141. A Nos Amours (Pialat, France, 1983)
142. The Music Room (S. Ray, India, 1958)
143. Grand Illusion (Renoir, France, 1937)
144. Hiroshima Mon Amour (Resnais, France, 1959)
145. Germany Year Zero (Rossellini, Germany/Italy, 1948)
146. Taxi Driver (Scorsese, USA, 1976)
147. The Ascent (Shepitko, Russia, 1977)
148. The Arch (Tang, Hong Kong, 1969)
149. Out of the Past (Tourneur, USA, 1947)
150. Yi Yi (Yang, Taiwan, 2000)

Seventh 25 Runners-Up (Listed Alphabetically By Director’s Family Name):

151. The Piano (Campion, Australia/New Zealand, 1993)
152. The Thing (Carpenter, USA 1982)
153. The Young Girls of Rochefort (Demy, France, 1967)
154. 35 Shots of Rum (Denis, 2008)
155. The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dreyer, France/Denmark, 1928)
156. Lonesome (Fejos, USA, 1928)
157. Young Mr. Lincoln (Ford, USA, 1939)
158. First Name: Carmen (Godard, France, 1983)
159. North By Northwest (Hitchcock, USA, 1959)
160. Right Now, Wrong Then (Hong, S. Korea, 2015)
161. The Taste of Cherry (Kiarostami, Iran, 1997)
162. Peppermint Candy (Lee, S. Korea, 1999)
163. Sansho the Bailiff (Mizoguchi, Japan, 1954)
164. Black Narcissus (Powell/Pressburger, UK, 1947)
165. Laura (Preminger, USA, 1944)
166. In a Lonely Place (N. Ray, USA, 1950)
167. Stromboli (Rossellini, Italy, 1950)
168. Mr. Thank You (Shimizu, Japan, 1936)
169. Mr. Hulot’s Holiday (Tati, France, 1953)
170. Life Without Principle (To, Hong Kong, 2011)
171. The Emigrants/The New Land (Troell, Sweden, 1971)
172. The 400 Blows (Truffaut, France, 1959)
173. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Wiene, Germany, 1920)
174. Chungking Express (Wong, Hong Kong, 1994)
175. The Goddess (Wu, China, 1934)

Eighth 25 Runners-Up (Listed Alphabetically By Director’s Family Name):

176. La Captive (Akerman, France, 2000)
177. Killer of Sheep (Burnett, USA, 1977)
178. Holy Motors (Carax, France, 2012)
179. Vitalina Varela (Costa, Portugal, 2019)
180. Brightness (Cisse, Mali, 1987)
181. Daughters of the Dust (Dash, USA, 1991)
182. The Long Day Closes (Davies, UK, 1992)
183. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Demy, France, 1964)
184. Renaldo and Clara (Dylan, USA, 1978)
185. Alexander Nevsky (Eisenstein, Russia, 1938)
186. Notorious (Hitchcock, USA, 1946)
187. The Assassin (Hou, Taiwan, 2015)
188. A Touch of Sin (Jia, China, 2013)
189. Eyes Wide Shut (Kubrick, USA/UK, 1999)
190. Centre Stage (Kwan, Hong Kong, 1992)
191. Days of Heaven (Malick, USA, 1978)
192. Sans Soleil (Marker, France, 1983)
193. Mikey and Nicky (May, USA, 1976)
194. Groundhog Day (Ramis, USA, 1993)
195. Johnny Guitar (N. Ray, USA, 1952)
196. The Green Ray (Rohmer, France, 1986)
197. Our Neighbor, Miss Yae (Shimazu, Japan, 1934)
198. People on Sunday (Siodmak/Ulmer/Zinnemann, Germany, 1930)
199. The Blue Angel (Von Sternberg, Germany, 1930)
200. Ashes and Diamonds (Wajda, Poland, 1958)

About michaelgloversmith

Filmmaker, author and Film Studies instructor. View all posts by michaelgloversmith

34 responses to “My Top 200 Films of All Time

  • My Top 100 Films of All Time « White City Cinema | Have You Seen This Movie

    […] Follow this link: My Top 100 Films of All Time « White City Cinema […]

  • david

    A Brighter Summer Day is your fave? WOW,I thought it would be a Bresson film since your fave director is him.

    I’ve said that if CC releases A Brighter Summer Day,it would be the happiest day in my life,I think you must feel the same!!

    I’m still checking the list!!

  • david

    I counted,I’ve only seen 47 of it,still a long way to go!! I’ve only seen 5 of your top 10,but 17 of your top 25 runner-up.NO. 2,7,8,any proper dvd release?

    • michaelgloversmith

      David, yeah, the list is full of surprises. I even surprised myself while making it!

      No. 2 & 8 would need new restorations and transfers but, my god, would those make unbelievable blu-ray boxed sets. I know Kino is putting out a blu-ray of Feuillade’s Les Vampires later this year so, hopefully, that will do well and maybe they’ll put out Tih Minh also. Voyage in Italy actually does have a proper DVD release (under the title Journey to Italy):

      Viaggio in Italia DVD

      “Voyage IN Italy” is the more accurately translated title. I can’t stand the fact that it is translated as “Journey TO Italy” since the movie is not about anyone going to Italy but rather it’s about the interior, spiritual journey the characters undergo once they are already there.

      • david

        Thanks for the release information,your list definitely opened up my eyes,I haven’t even heard some of your top 10.how interesting that the Scorsese documentary is called “My voyage to Italy”.

        Do you know that Carlotta also released Sunrise and City Girl and there is a European dvd company(I can’t remember the name) released a Tarkovsky box-set?Are you that kind of guy would buy a film again simply for the supplements and commentary track?

      • michaelgloversmith

        I didn’t know about the Carlotta Murnau releases but I do already own the Fox DVD box set as well as the Masters of Cinema blu-rays. I would not buy a film again for supplements and commentary tracks. To be honest, it sometimes takes me years to get around to delving into those special features. I do however frequently re-buy films for the image-quality upgrade. (I own the ITV 39 Steps blu-ray, for instance, but I’m going to pick up the Criterion this summer.) What about you?

      • david

        I would do that sometimes,if the first collection is nothing but a feature film and the new one has tons of valuable fancy stuff in supplements.I’m a supplements maniac,I do not feel comfortable if I watch a film without any special features.

        Most of the time I will re-buy a blu-ray as an upgraded one,but this is really a big project since I’ve collected so many dvds,it is really a temptation sometimes I can not resist.

  • Corrine Strang

    Michael, thanks for the time & effort put into this list. It most certainly will be kept & used for future reference!

  • Adam Wilson

    (Oops, I posted this originally under the wrong section. That’s what I get for commenting from my phone)

    Long time reader, first time commenter. Just thought I’d say thanks for putting what was obviously a lot of effort in making such a personal list. One question: I noticed that 4 out of your 10 favorites push over the three-hour mark…I would say that since the ratio of movies of that length compared to what would be considered “feature-length” is quite low, perhaps you could explain how such a high percent came to be there? Is it a personal preference in that you enjoy a story to be told at a pace that feels naturalistic, or a more technical one in that it takes skill to thread such a long narrative together and have it remain interesting? Thanks again!

    • michaelgloversmith

      Adam, thanks for reading. It’s true that I do have a personal preference for longer movies! I think the answer to your question would be the latter option that you mentioned rather than the former. I happen to like things that are kind of extreme. I like to see a movie where I feel the filmmakers have taken a certain idea and run with it as far as they can. A more expansive running time will allow them to reach places that a film with a shorter running time just can’t. Rivette is the king of this.

      There are also plenty of very long films in my runner-up section, including The Decalogue, Berlin Alexanderplatz and Jeanne Dielman.

  • jilliemae

    First off, “Gertrud” looks great–why haven’t we watched it together? And I am exciting to see some Scorsese on there, but am completely surprised that I haven’t seen most of your top 10! I thought I knew you better!

  • drew

    I counted 45 that I’ve seen (only 3 in the top ten). My personal favorites are all there – The Searchers, Vertigo, The Good the Bad and the Ugly, The Red Shoes, and All that Heaven Allows.
    Thanks for taking the time to do this.

  • Susan Doll

    Love City Girl. Good to see it getting some attention because all the accolades go to Sunrise.

    Got to admit the dirty foot in the girl’s face would not make me run out to catch the Rivette film. From a marketing standpoint, not the way to tout that film!

    • michaelgloversmith

      Ha! Well, I was severely limited in terms of appropriately sized images I was able to find for this film. You should also know that, within the context of Out 1, this is a theater troupe performing an acting exercise.

      BTW, I hope you appreciate the fact that I included films by four female directors on the list (more than the total percentage directed by women in the history of the medium): Cecille Tang, Danielle Huillet, Chantal Akerman and Agnes Varda.

  • Bherz

    Thanks for the great list Mike. I’ve seen some of these but many more I have not. I have a feeling I’ll be revisiting this list quite a few times.

  • michaelgloversmith

    My brother suggested it might be interesting if I broke down the list by sorting the titles according to country and decade.

    Here are the results.

    By country:

    USA – 41
    France – 17
    Japan – 9
    Italy – 8
    Germany – 6
    Russia – 6
    England – 3
    Taiwan – 3
    Denmark – 2
    Hong Kong – 2
    Iran – 2
    Spain – 2
    Australia – 1
    Belgium – 1
    China – 1
    Hungary – 1
    India – 1
    Mali – 1
    Poland – 1
    Portugal – 1
    Sweden – 1

    By decade:

    pre-1920 – 2
    1920s – 13
    1930s – 12
    1940s – 12
    1950s – 17
    1960s – 21
    1970s – 12
    1980s – 9
    1990s – 6
    2000s – 6

  • Mine

    Nice post again 🙂 I’m learning English and I don’t like read book level by level like a child :). But I love read your blog and I learning both English and knowledge about movies, thank you.
    All best.

  • Omar Pineda

    I think i’ve only seen 15 of these movies. Some of them i own, but haven’t seen yet.

  • chrisfilm

    100,000 eh? Congrats! I’m working close to 50k myself!

    Glad to see love for City Girl. As great as Sunrise is, City Girl is most definitley Murnau’s masterpiece. I just wish he had made more love stories during his time.

  • John Charet

    I really love this list. Your choices are fantastic. Since you got Feuillade’s Tih Minh at number 2 makes me want to search it out even more. I love the fact that Edward Yang’s A Brighter Summer Day made it on the list. It would be on my list too:)

  • Dean

    Bullshit. Why bother to try to justify moral or aesthetic degeneracy under the guise of art film? You don’t come even remotely close.

  • Dean

    In re: Now playing, Nymphomania reviews

  • namejastin

    moral or aesthetic

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