What are, in my opinion, the 115 most “important” movies that I have yet to see. I would do just 100, but I couldn’t cut out some of the movies. I have seen the following movies and taken them off the list:
1. Scarlet Street (Fritz Lang, 1945) – 4/5 – Like a lot of Lang’s noirs, this starts off too slowly, but it gains energy in the second half. The cast is good and so are the visuals. Good overall, could have been better.
2. Army of Shadows (Jean-Pierre Melville, 1969) – 5/5 – I hope I’m never an underground revolutionary, but, if I ever do become one, I think this movie gave me a good idea of what it’d be like: miserable.
3. if… (Lindsay Anderson, 1968) – 3/5 – Ehh, I’m not into that certain style of weirdness that was popular from the mid-60’s to the late-70’s that this movie fits in. I don’t have a name for it. Better than most of the others I’ve seen, but still…
4. When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (Mikio Naruse, 1960) – 4/5 – Great performance from Takamine, but it feels too long.
5. The Player (Robert Altman, 1992) – 4/5 – Not the best Altman I have seen, but it’s a funny, clever riff on the Hollywood system.
6. Triumph of the Will (Leni Riefenstahl, 1935) – 4/5 – Hard to watch at times now that we’ve had the most part of a century for hindsight. Sometimes it slows down too much, sometimes it still has a strong grip on the viewer. Most fascinating because it lets us see evil from its own point of view.
7. Anatomy of a Murder (Otto Preminger, 1959) – 5/5 – Hands down the best courtroom movie I have ever seen.
8. Le Million (Rene Clair, 1931) – 4/5 – Considered to be one of the first features to do something interesting with sound, this put a big smile on my face from start to finish.
9. Orpheus (Jean Cocteau, 1950) – 5/5 – What on Earth did I just watch? I don’t know, but it was glorious.
10. Voyage to Italy (Roberto Rossellini, 1953) – 5/5 – Rossellini knows how to film emotions better than maybe any other director. Only he could have made that ending work.
11. Day for Night (Francois Truffaut, 1973) – 4/5 – It feels somewhat plain for a former French New Wave pioneer, but it was entertaining.
12. Written on the Wind (Douglas Sirk, 1956) – 4/5 – I’m not sure yet if Douglas Sirk really deserves the master reputation he currently has, but his movies are gripping for whatever reason.
13. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Jacques Demy, 1964) – 5/5 – A tragic musical that actually works omg.
14. Belle de Jour (Luis Bunuel, 1967) – 4/5 – I prefer Bunuel when his bite is much sharper, but this is strangely captivating and Deneuve is always great.
15. The Young Girls of Rochefort (Jacques Demy, 1967) – 5/5 – More Demy greatness! If this movie does not make you happy you are a sociopath.
16. The Cameraman (Buster Keaton & Edward Sedgwick, 1928) – 5/5 – People who think silent comedies aren’t funny need to be forced to watch this.
17. The Wind (Victor Sjostrom, 1928) – 5/5 – Holy shit this movie creeped me out. God damn.
18. Killer of Sheep (Charles Burnett, 1977) – 5/5 – Heartbreaking, human look at the citizens the American Dream left behind.
19. The River (Jean Renoir, 1951) – 5/5 – Renoir feels at peace with the way of the world with this movie. It’s the type of movie I think one could only make after being alive for several years and gaining some real wisdom. Plus it’s downright beautiful.
20. Nanook of the North (Robert J. Flaherty, 1922) – 5/5 – So what if almost all of it is lies? It’s still great cinema. Nanook is one of the most enduring characters in movie history.
21. Napoleon (Abel Gance, 1927) – 5/5 – Overblown in the best sense of the world, with cinematic techniques that still feel fresh and innovative today. A movie just as epic as the man it is about.
22. Strike (Sergei Eisenstein, 1925) – 4/5 – By a significant margin my favorite Eisenstein. His very bad problems with storytelling and handling characters are not an issue here; it’s mostly incident after incident, leaving Eisenstein free to experiment. And I’ll be honest, I think the editing here is better than in Battleship Potemkin.
23. This is Spinal Tap (Rob Reiner, 1984) – 4/5 – Hilarious and brilliant look at everything that made 80s rock bands so very, very easy to parody.
24. Rome, Open City (Roberto Rossellini, 1945) – 4/5 – I don’t really think this is Rossellini at his best. His later movies reach a special place in their portrayal of human suffering, but here is just feels above average. And it’s really homophobic, too. But the low-budget, documentary-like feel, incredibly innovative then, still works very well.
25. Cinema Paradiso (Giuseppe Tornatore, 1988) – 3/5 – An alright schmaltz fest that tugs at the heart-strings too much without succeeding all that often. I don’t see too much in it.
26. Earth (Aleksandr Dovzhenko, 1930) – 3/5 – Parts of it really are as poetic at portraying rural life as people say, and other times it gets bogged down in the usual flaws of Soviet montage picture – overstuffed with too many ideas and no clear sense of what to do with them, weak storytelling, and uneven control of mood and atmosphere.
27. The Last Laugh (F.W. Murnau, 1924) – 5/5 – Even today, Murnau’s camera moves with a sense of urgency and inventiveness that puts other movies to shame. And Jannings gave a heartbreaking performance.
28. The Decalogue (Krzysztof Kieslowski, 1988) – 5/5 – Kubrick was right, you only realize long after you have watched them how much Kieslowski’s movies reach your heart. Episode 5 is my favorite, because of course.
29. A History of Violence (David Cronenberg, 2005) – 4/5 – It’s a pretty good examination of the dark side of small towns (if sometimes a bit too obvious), but I prefer Cronenberg when he deals with the disgusted and the perverted.
30. The Crowd (King Vidor, 1928) – 5/5 – The tragedy of modern life, laid out for everyone to see.
31. L’Eclisse (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1962) – 5/5 – No one could film loneliness like Antonioni. But it’s far from a boring movie – every shot, every frame grabs your attention and you find yourself so involved in Vitti’s struggle that you feel dazed when it is over.
32. Red Desert (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1964) – 5/5 – I feel I relate a lot to Red Desert, since it is about someone struggling to adapt to a world she feels she does not belong to, a world indifferent to her and created to isolate her from other people. But it also reminded me, to my immense surprise, of The Leopard, since both of them make the point that the main characters are not adapting to a changing world and that this is the source of their tragedy.
33. Band of Outsiders (Jean-Luc Godard, 1964) – 4/5 – A very fun Godard film, with that snappy sense of youthful energy driving it from beginning to end.