Kenneth Branagh

Frankenstein; Henry V


Voted in the directors’ poll

Voted for

Au Revoir les enfants


Louis Malle

Black Narcissus


Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger

Brief Encounter


David Lean

Citizen Kane


Orson Welles



Woody Allen



Abel Gance

Raging Bull


Martin Scorsese

Searchers, The


John Ford

Third Man, The


Carol Reed



Sydney Pollack


Manhattan is rhapsodic musically, visually and emotionally. The grim comedy of city lives turned to poetry. Grandly ambitious, funny and heartbreaking.

Black Narcissus is sinister and erotic. A pioneering triumph of atmosphere and sound. Spiritually grubby – and proud of it.

Au revoir les enfants is a personal film of exquisite pain. The loss of childhood innocence theme transcends to a requiem for the 20th century. Youthful performances of complete and simple honesty.

Welles’s feat of imagination in Citizen Kane remains dazzling and inspiring. Cinema aspiring to great art, political import – and delivered with unabashed showmanship. The fervour of the work is as excited and electric as ever. The thriller plot never disappoints.

Raging Bull is a masterpiece in every element of execution. Revolutionary in its influence on performance, cinematography and sound. Funny and tragic in its immense visceral impact. It is a flawless work of art.

Brief Encounter is apparently simple romance lifted to tragic dimensions through the human and the humane. A film that uncovers the heart and soul of the British to the world.

The Third Man refuses to yield its mysteries after multiple viewings, but beckons one still, with the grimily sumptuous capture of a city on both physical and metaphysical plain. The Searchers is a master western of breathtaking visual poetry. Ford at his most searing, beautiful and dangerous. Wayne's performance is complex and unsettling. A complete sensory immersion in cinema's myth of the West.

Napoleon is a perfect match of epic subject and master filmmaker. For its pioneering and technical innovation alone, it is an incandescent achievement of imagination.

Tootsie is a superb comedy of deceptive simplicity. It at once parodies satirises and glorifies art, acting, cinema, TV and modernity at large. Hoffman is magnificent, Murray is sublime, and Jessica Lange's radiance is heart-stopping.

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