Wesley Morris

Film critic, the Boston Globe

US

Voted in the critics’ poll

Voted for

Au Hasard Balthazar

1966

Robert Bresson

Battleship Potemkin

1925

Sergei M Eisenstein

Do The Right Thing

1989

Spike Lee

Metropolis

1927

Fritz Lang

Naked

1993

Mike Leigh

One and a Two, A

1999

Edward Yang

Sunrise

1927

F. W. Murnau

Taxi Driver

1976

Martin Scorsese

There Will Be Blood

2007

Paul Thomas Anderson

Vertigo

1958

Alfred Hitchcock

Comments

Some history is time reinforcing itself for posterity’s benefit, and the immediate trouble with a list of ten movies spanning two centuries is that you begin to see how posterity springs a leak. I’m not interested in reinforcement, which the eternal argument against including Citizen Kane or Seven Samurai or Tokyo Story. It’s either: “Someone else will do it” or “This is greatness as received wisdom.” That’s not how I feel. They are great. But their greatness – and the greatness of about three dozen other movies – doesn’t thrill me the way Spike Lee’s or, in Naked, Mike Leigh’s does. I’m also interested in the recent past and the way great directors rose to the occasions of their times. Or how they were directors of their times; I didn’t choose a movie by Michael Haneke, Abbas Kiarostami, Claire Denis or Apichatpong Weerasethakul, but I could have. How reassuring it would be to see this magnificent list and not and feel that the movies – cinema! – stopped after the second Godfather. No one seriously believes that, do they?

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