We've looked this week at the favorite movies selected by such respected filmmakers as Stanley Kubrick and Martin Scorsese. Today we round out this trio of eminent directors with the greatest films of all time according to Woody Allen, voting in the almighty Sight and Sound poll. The director of Annie Hall, Crimes and Misdemeanors, and Midnight in Paris selected, in no particular order, the following:
- The 400 Blows (François Truffaut, 1959)
- 8½ (Federico Fellini, 1963)
- Amarcord (Federico Fellini, 1972)
- The Bicycle Thieves (Vittorio de Sica, 1948)
- Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)
- The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (Luis Buñuel, 1972)
- Grand Illusion (Jean Renoir, 1937)
- Paths of Glory (Stanley Kubrick, 1957)
- Rashomon (Akira Kurosawa, 1950)
- The Seventh Seal (Ingmar Bergman, 1957)
It comes as no shock that Ingmar Bergman makes the list, given Allen's well-documented and openly admitted enthusiasm for (and, in cases like Interiors, direct imitation of) the man who made The Seventh Seal. If that vote represents Allen's contemplative, morally serious side, then the vote for Luis Buñuel's enduringly funny surrealist farce The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie represents his well-known predilection for humor, often class-based, which occasionally melts into silliness.
Like Scorsese, Allen includes Kubrick, though for his early Paths of Glory rather than the more widely-seen 2001. Like both Scorsese and Kubrick, he picks a Fellini — two, in fact — and all three of their lists illustrate that it would take a contrarian filmgoer indeed to deny Orson Welles' Citizen Kane a vote. Kubrick, you'll recall, also had great praise for Vittorio de Sica and François Truffaut, and their early pictures show up among Allen's selections. Take Kubrick, Scorsese, and Allen's lists together, and you have a few principles to guide your viewing: concentrate on the midcentury masters. Citizen Kane really does merit all those accolades. And above all, make sure you watch your Fellini. But which films did Fellini love?
Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture and writes essays on literature, film, cities, Asia, and aesthetics. He’s at work on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall.