480 Filmmakers Reveal the 100 Greatest Movies in the World

Nobody knows more about cin­e­ma than crit­ics. But in an entire­ly dif­fer­ent way, nobody knows more about cin­e­ma than direc­tors. That, per­haps, is one of the rea­sons that Sight and Sound mag­a­zine has, for the past thir­ty years, con­duct­ed two sep­a­rate once-in-a-decade polls to deter­mine the great­est films of all time. Last week we fea­tured the results of Sight and Sound’s lat­est crit­ics poll here on Open Cul­ture, but the out­come of the direc­tors’ vote — whose elec­torate of 480 “spans exper­i­men­tal, art­house, main­stream and genre film­mak­ers from around the world” — mer­its its own con­sid­er­a­tion.

As all the cinephile world knows by now, Chan­tal Aker­man’s Jeanne Diel­man, 23, quai du Com­merce, 1080 Brux­elles came out on top of Sight and Sound’s crit­ics poll this year. That tem­po­ral­ly expan­sive mas­ter­work of pota­toes, veal cut­lets, pros­ti­tu­tion, and mur­der did­n’t place quite so high­ly in the direc­tors poll. It ranks at num­ber four, below Ozu Yasu­jirō’s Tokyo Sto­ry, Fran­cis Ford Cop­po­la’s The God­fa­ther, Orson Welles’ Cit­i­zen Kane, and — at num­ber one — Stan­ley Kubrick­’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, which, for those who make movies, evi­dent­ly remains the “ulti­mate trip” that its late-six­ties mar­ket­ing cam­paign promised.

The roundup of indi­vid­ual bal­lots at World of Reel reveals that 2001’s sup­port­ers include a wide range of auteurs — Olivi­er Assayas, Bi Gan, Don Hertzfeldt, Gas­par Noé, Joan­na Hogg, Edgar Wright, Mar­tin Scors­ese — not all of whose own work shows clear evi­dence of hav­ing been influ­enced by Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke’s at once lav­ish and stark vision of mankind’s des­tiny in the realms beyond Earth. But 2001’s real achieve­ment was less to tell its par­tic­u­lar sto­ry, no mat­ter how mind-blow­ing, than to expand the pos­si­bil­i­ties of cin­e­ma itself: to exe­cute, as exam­ined in the video essay above, a kind of cin­e­mat­ic hyp­no­tism.

Of course, Kubrick is huge­ly admired by view­ers and mak­ers of movies alike. Bar­ry Lyn­don appears on both top-100 lists, though it seems as if crit­ics favor The Shin­ing more than film­mak­ers. The lat­ter group cast more votes for Kubrick­’s Cold-War com­e­dy Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Wor­ry­ing and Love the Bomb. Also among the dozens of titles only in the film­mak­ers’ top 100 include Abbas Kiarosta­mi’s Where Is the Friend’s House? and Taste of Cher­ry, Kuro­sawa Aki­ra’s Throne of Blood and Ikiru, Sergei Para­janov’s The Col­or of Pome­gran­ates, and even Steven Spiel­berg’s Jaws — which, no less than 2001, sure­ly appeals to any film­mak­er’s innate sense of spec­ta­cle.

See the direc­tors top 100 films here.

Relat­ed con­tent:

Aki­ra Kurosawa’s List of His 100 Favorite Movies

David Lynch Lists His Favorite Films & Direc­tors, Includ­ing Felli­ni, Wilder, Tati & Hitch­cock

Andrei Tarkovsky Cre­ates a List of His 10 Favorite Films (1972)

Mar­tin Scors­ese Reveals His 12 Favorite Movies

Stan­ley Kubrick’s List of Top 10 Films: The First and Only List He Ever Cre­at­ed

The Ten Great­est Films of All Time Accord­ing to 358 Film­mak­ers

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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  • Chuck Anziulewicz says:

    “2001: A Space Odyssey” has been my favorite movie since I first saw it at the dri­ve-in dur­ing the sum­mer of 1968, when I was all of nine years old. The movie changed my Uni­verse. I con­sid­er it the purest expres­sion of cin­e­mat­ic art ever made.

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