Demetrios Matheou

Film critic, the Sunday Herald, the Independent on Sunday


Voted in the critics’ poll

Voted for

2001: A Space Odyssey


Stanley Kubrick

Bicycle Thieves, The


Vittorio de Sica



Jean-Luc Godard

Citizen Kane


Orson Welles

Days of Heaven


Terrence Malick

Godfather: Part I, The


Francis Ford Coppola

His Girl Friday


Howard Hawks

Raging Bull


Martin Scorsese

Tokyo Story


Ozu Yasujirô



Alfred Hitchcock


My principle criterion was that the films should not only be masterfully made (a given) but in some way remain as relevant and as exciting as when they were produced. Thus Citizen Kane (of course) and Breathless embody an attitude – a spirit of adventure and invention, a certain shameless ego – that is utterly of the here and now; YouTubers may not know these films, but they are in the filmmaking DNA. 2001: A Space Odyssey is cinema at its most visionary, Days of Heaven its most poetic, Bicycle Thieves its most enduringly moving. In hugely contrasting ways, The Godfather and Tokyo Story are without peer in the way that they speak of family and society; Vertigo and Raging Bull in their exposure of our darkest selves. I also wanted to acknowledge the contribution of actors, hence my choice of The Godfather over its sequel, and of His Girl Friday, because of the presence respectively of Brando and Grant, the two greatest performers in the medium. Hawks’ film also represents a joyous period in film history, when the sexes were most romantically and entertainingly well matched.

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