Trevor Johnston

Film critic, Sight & Sound, Time Out London


Voted in the critics’ poll

Voted for

Au Hasard Balthazar


Robert Bresson

Avventura, L'


Michelangelo Antonioni

Citizen Kane


Orson Welles

Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, The


Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger



Alfred Hitchcock

Passion of Joan of Arc


Carl Theodor Dreyer

Shame, The


Ingmar Bergman



F. W. Murnau

Taxi Driver


Martin Scorsese

Tokyo Story


Ozu Yasujirô


Au Hasard is an overpowering experience, but nothing to do with sentiment, more a troubling recognition of the fathomless suffering in the world. I choose L’Avventura not just for the landmark open narrative, but for Antonioni’s amazing architectural sense that composition is expression. All celluloid life is present in Citizen Kane; seeing it for the first or umpteenth time remains a revelation. There is no better film on the triumph and tragedy of Britishness than The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp. The technical mastery, the suave Hollywood gloss, the wrenching pain of the emotional landscape: Notorious is an encapsulation of Hitchcock’s cruel artistry. The Passion of Joan of Arc sees Dreyer and Falconetti in an astringnent, spiritually piercing and utterly timeless combination. The Shame, Bergman’s terrifying vision of the fragility of modern lives, stands out even amidst his imposing filmography. Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans is an ambitiously constructed reverie that today remains an ecstatic affirmation of filmic possibilities… even without sound! Taxi Driver is a ferociously raw exploration of isolation and a modern classic with which many people feel a deep and personal connection. Tokyo Story is present on this list as much as a vote for the warmth and humanity of Ozu’s entire oeuvre as recognition for a single title.

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