Michel Hazanavicius

The Artist; OSS 117: Cairo; Nest of Spies


Voted in the directors’ poll

Voted for

City Girl


FW Murnau

City Lights


Charles Chaplin

To Be or Not To Be


Ernst Lubitsch

Citizen Kane


Orson Welles

Apartment, The


Billy Wilder

Shining, The


Stanley Kubrick

North by Northwest


Alfred Hitchcock

Third Man, The


Carol Reed

Raging Bull


Martin Scorsese

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs


David Hand et al


City Girl: The poetic power of images, the universality and the purity of the narration. It’s the essence of cinema.

City Lights: Chaplin was the best at everything: actor, director, screenwriter, producer, clown, acrobat, dancer, musician. The art of counterpoint: scenes that are still funny today, in a melodramatic script that’s stayed touching. It’s impossible not to cry in the last scene, one of the most beautiful scenes ever made.

To Be or Not to Be: The perfect comedy. Extremely funny, irreverent, visionary, savage. Lubitsch’s Berlin humour stays a reference and a model to this day.

Citizen Kane: The foundation. The Bible. The ABC of cinema. Seeing this film at the right moment opens up perspectives completely unsuspected until then.

The Apartment: The perfect director, the perfect balance between commercial contingencies and artistic requirements. Wilder was always at the right distance from mankind. To paraphrase a Jewish proverb, he knew man very well, but loved them all the same.

The Shining: Mastermind. The perfect mechanism. So perfect that it stays in the irrational. Hyper-visual, hyper-cinematographic, hyper-perverse and at the same time accessible to everyone.

North by Northwest: cinema in all its splendour. Charming, graphically perfect, joyous, intense, fun, full of second-degree stuff, stylish.

The Third Man: The ultimate atmosphere film. More than a story or situation, it's the context, the scenery, the shadow play, and of course the music which gives the film its power.

Raging Bull: Surely the best biopic ever made, or how to give a supposedly true story an exceptional dramatic power. Scorsese and De Niro at their peak. Simultaneously tragic, visually perfect, epic and flamboyant.

Snow White: Without a doubt the first film to ever come close to painting. A senseless enterprise, the first time that children's entertainment was really taken seriously and which gave a departure point for a series of childrens' films of great quality that were innovative and creative and continue today with Pixar films.

Latest from the BFI

  • Latest from the BFI

    Latest news, features and opinion.

More information

Films, TV and people

  • Films, TV and people

    Film lists and highlights from BFI Player.

More information

Sight & Sound magazine

  • Sight & Sound magazine

    Reviews, interviews and features from the international film magazine.

More information

Back to the top