Shawshank Redemption is so simply directed, and so elegantly acted. It’s just a beautiful film.
Rear Window. The perfect suspense film.
The Crowd (King Vidor)
I know, not my first choice, but Rules of the Game, Sunrise, Persona and 3rd Man have all had multiple mentions already.
Army of Darkness
The answer was immediate for me, and I am surprised it hasn’t been mentioned: Nicholas Ray’s “In A Lonely Place”.
Next in line: Dreyer’s “Ordet”, Cassavetes “Faces”, Bunuel’s “The Exterminating Angel”, and the entirety of Jean Vigo’s cinematic work.
Lost in Translastion
Pierrot le Fou
I can watch this film over and over and over. Never gets old.
The performances, the direction, the score, the pacing. I just get sucked in each time and forget I’m even watching a movie.
The speech from Quint. The opening sequence. The cutting of the Tiger shark open at night.
Sirk’s “All That Heaven Allows”
Kubrick"s “Barry Lyndon”
Losey’s “La Truite”
Ozu’s “Tokyo Story”
Fassbinder’s “Veronika Voss”
Buneul’s “Diary of a Chambermaid”
Wilder’s “Ace in The Hole”
Wilder’s “A Foreign Affair”
Minnelli’s “Meet Me in St. Louis”
Meyer’s “Faster Pussycat, Kill, Kill”
The Third Man.
Orson Wells be damned, it’s the score and cinematography that really nails it for me.
Tokyo Story, every frame is perfect.
Army of Shadows
Some Like it Hot – perfectly acted, perfectly written, perfectly directed, just plain perfect – and funny, too.
For a somewhat different reason, also Unbearable Lightness of Being comes to mind. It has all of the above as well as a perfect blending of the narrative and musical (Janacek) score. It is a beautiful movie to watch, too. Oh, and it is perfect because it has Julliette Binoche and Lena Olin in it – in the buff (they were in Chocolat, too, but not nearly as good).
dratted double vision post
Battle of Algiers or Harold and Maude or The Apartment
My first viewings of Yi Yi, Ugetsu, Aparajito, Five Easy Pieces and Godfather 2 so absolutely blew me away, I’d nominate one of those.
2001: A Space Odyssey
Beauty and the Beast (Cocteau)
Blade Runner (imperfect…but perfectly imperfect)
Bringing Up Baby
The Day the Earth Stood Still
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
The Godfather and Godfather 2
His Girl Friday
Holiday (Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn)
The Iron Giant
Lawrence of Arabia
The Lion in Winter
My Neighbor Totoro
The Philadelphia Story
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Royal Space Force: Wings of Honneamise
The Seventh Seal
Singin’ in the Rain
Sleeping Beauty (Disney)
Some Like it Hot
The Third Man
To Kill a Mockingbird
Just as a start…
Dazed and Confused
The final sequence of FRENCH CAN-CAN.
hmmmmm…..they would be very personal choices i guess:
Though I enjoyed 2046 (I was with 5 friends watching that film in a theater, and 3 of them left along with half of the theater), it is by no means a perfect film and I can’t find any part of the word perfect to be synonymous with that film. I can understand how the imperfection of that film creates a thought-provoking experience of self-reflection, but other than that I am still baffled.
If I am trying to think of the factors that determine a PERFECT film, I can find their individual importance but it’s very important to boil it down.
Direction: Does the direction and aesthetic control (decisions) reinforce or amplify the film’s quality to a high degree. That being said, are there decisions that the director makes, ones that complement the film’s tone, pacing and mood. (Opening shot in The Godfather is a good example of this)
Casting and Acting: Do all the actors fit their respective roles? When watching the film, do you think of that man as that individual character in the story or do you identify him as Al Pacino. That’s not to say that actors can’t be versatile, but I definitely feel that some actors fit certain roles much better than others. I think it can go both ways, but great character actors become those characters.
Narrative and Writing: Is the narrative interesting? Is the writing realistic? Do you ever find the characters or story to be unrealistic? I don’t mean realistic in terms of “real world” terms, but in terms of the environment and world in which the story takes place. Do you believe the story and the things you see and hear. Also, a unique narrative and storytelling structure is a strong factor in a dynamic story.
Other Production Values (lighting, editing, art direction, etc.): Does the lighting and art direction adhere to, and complement the aesthetic and narrative tone of the film? Again, I’ll use The Godfather as an example because it’s a well-known film and good example. Gordon Willis, the DOP for The Godfather, used lighting in every scene as a means to reinforce the storytelling and tone of the film. A good example is the set design and lighting during the first scene, notice the ways in which the lighting and aesthetic tone help reinforce the mood and dialogue of the scene. Willis also mentioned how he would position key lights unusually high so that Brando’s eyes beneath his browline, would appear dark so you couldn’t see his eyes. He did this specifically because he felt in certain scenes (mainly with other leading members of the Italian family) he wanted Don Corleone to remain a mysterious, almost a dark figure whom you couldn’t guess what he was up to or wanted to do next. So a lot of these factors really play in to the mood and tone of the film.
So on terms of film-production and direction, I would probably nominate The Godfather as the closest candidate in my mind. It is easily the best cast film and I would say there are few films that maintain their aesthetic tone as The Godfather.
Sansho the Bailiff
The Shop on Main Street
Au Hasard Balthasar
Why, Blue Velvet, of course!
The Wild Bunch
the mother and the whore and paris, texas
La haine and notorious come to mind
The Man Who Planted Trees.
Pather Panchali aka “The Song of the Road” by Satyajit Ray (1958). Brilliant in every way.
In the Mood for Love (WKW) is also stunningly satisfying…