Philip Horne

Academic; critic; professor, English, University Collage London


Voted in the critics’ poll

Voted for

Bicycle Thieves, The


Vittorio de Sica

Citizen Kane


Orson Welles

It's a Wonderful Life


Frank Capra

Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, The


Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger

My Night with Maud


Eric Rohmer

Passion of Joan of Arc


Carl Theodor Dreyer

Règle du jeu, La


Jean Renoir

Seven Samurai


Akira Kurosawa

Tokyo Story


Ozu Yasujirô



Alfred Hitchcock


I have chosen films of balance, wisdom and complexity, films that reward repeated return visits, films whose oddities are inspired and satisfying, with which one can go together through life. Still, any such list feels arbitrary. Some great careers go unrepresented here. No Fritz Lang, Lubitsch, Robert Bresson, Jean Vigo, Hawks, Ford, Pasolini, Fellini, Kieslowski, Buñuel or Kubrick. Where are, for instance, Truffaut’s 400 Coups, Scorsese’s Raging Bull, Ford’s The Searchers, Dickinson’s Queen of Spades, Keaton’s The General, Chaplin’s City Lights, Griffith’s Birth of a Nation, Tarkovsky’s Solaris, Boorman’s Deliverance, Polanski’s Chinatown, Carpenter’s Halloween or Fincher’s Zodiac? My choices are fairly canonical and none of the directors are now living: these are the foundations. They are all films in which a number of extraordinary talents converge, making them miracles of collaboration and discovery.

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