100. Trainspotting (1996) Dir. Danny Boyle, 94 mins.
An adaptation of the novel by Irving Welsh, the film follows Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor), Spud (Ewan Bremner) and other heroin addicts in the late 1980s economically depressed area of Edinburgh. After quitting heroin, Renton struggles to adjust to the sober lifestyle he no longer remembers. Watch
99. Pickpocket (1959) Dir. Robert Bresson, 75 mins.
A pickpocket, Kamal, is blamed by his wife for bringing misery to other families as well as to their own home. Although, he has promised to reform himself, he cannot find another line of work which would bring him a living wage. One day, after a morning of picking pockets, Kamal finds a photograph of his wife in a man’s purse he had just stolen. Watch
98. The Right Stuff (1983) Dir. Philip Kaufman, 193 mins.
Adapted from Tom Wolfe’s best-selling 1979 book of the same name the film follows the Navy, Marine and Air Force test pilots who were involved in aeronautical research at Edwards Air Force Base, California, as well as the Mercury Seven, the military pilots who were selected to be the astronauts for Project Mercury, the first manned spaceflight by the United States. Sam Shepherd gives an iconic performance as Chuck Yeager, the first pilot to officially break the sound barrier. Watch
97. Paths of Glory (1957) Dir. Stanley Kubrick, 87 mins.
Set during World War I, the film stars Kirk Douglas as Colonel Dax, the commanding officer of French soldiers who refuse to continue a suicidal attack. Dax attempts to defend them against a charge of cowardice in a court-martial. Watch
96. Jaws (1975) Dir. Steven Spielberg, 124 mins.
In the story, a giant man-eating great white shark attacks beachgoers on Amity Island, a fictional New England summer resort town, prompting the local police chief (Roy Scheider) to hunt it with the help of a marine biologist (Richard Dreyfuss) and a professional shark hunter (Robert Shaw). Watch
95. Wild Strawberries (1957) Dir. Ingmar Bergman, 91 mins.
This profound character study chronicles an automobile trip taken by an elderly medical professor (Victor Sjostrom) to accept an honorary degree. Incidents and conversations occurring during the journey are intermixed with dreams and memories as the old man comes to terms with the life he has lived. Acclaimed Swedish silent film director, Sjostrom gives a moving performance as the reflective old man. Watch
94. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007) Dir. Andrew Dominik, 160 mins.
An adaptation of Ron Hansen’s 1983 novel of the same name, Dominik’s ambitious revisionist western dramatises the relationship between James and Ford through the series of events that led up to the shooting of the legendary outlaw. Edited by Dominik to be “a dark, contemplative examination of fame and infamy,” the studio was initially opposed to his approach as they wanted more action. The writer/director had his way, backed by producers Brad Pitt and Ridley Scott. The film is full of fine performances, particularly by Pitt, who fits the bill as the charismatic and dangerous James but is just about overshadowed by an outstanding portrayal of Robert Ford by Casey Affleck. Along with the two brilliant lead performances, it’s the stunning visuals helped by Roger Deakins’s inventive cinematographic techniques, an emotive soundtrack from Nick Cave and Warren Ellis and a bold script from Dominik that come together to create a stylish mood piece with an epic sweep that explores the casual violence and harsh loneliness of the 19th century American west and the links between criminality and fame. More…
93. The Leopard (1963) Dir. Luchino Visconti, 187 mins.
The Leopard chronicles the fortunes of Prince Fabrizio Salina and his family during the unification of Italy in the 1860s. Watch
92. The Lives of Others (2006) Dir. Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, 137 mins.
After a series of German comedies about the end of the East German socialist state, Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck (who was only 16 when the Berlin Wall fell) delivers a deeply unsettling thriller with a remarkably authentic feel. The film involves the monitoring of the cultural scene of East Berlin by agents of the Stasi, particularly Captain Wiesler (the outstanding Ulrich Mühe) who listens in to the lives of a playwright and his prominent actress lover. While the decision to make Wiesler the hero of the piece was criticised by some the film was mostly applauded in Germany and with its clever narrative, build up of suspense and emotional intensity it’s not hard to see why many believe it’s one of the very best films to come out of the country. More…
91. Some Like it Hot (1959) Dir. Billy Wilder, 120 mins.
Wilder’s classic comedy follows two musicians (Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis) who dress in drag in order to escape from mafia gangsters whom they witnessed commit a crime inspired by the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre. Watch
90. Annie Hall (1977) Dir. Woody Allen, 93 mins.
A romantic comedy classic from a screenplay Allen co-wrote with Marshall Brickman. Produced by Allen’s manager, Charles H. Joffe, the film stars Allen as Alvy “Max” Singer, who tries to figure out the reasons for the failure of his relationship with the film’s eponymous female lead, played by Diane Keaton in a role written specifically for her. Watch
89. L’atalante (1934) Dir. Jean Vigo, 89 mins.
Jean Dasté stars as Jean, the captain of a river barge who lives with his new wife Juliette (Dita Parlo) on the boat, along with first mate Père Jules (Michel Simon) and the cabin boy (Louis Lefebvre). Watch
88. Days of Heaven (1978) Dir. Terrence Malick, 94 mins.
Remarkably immersive and visually stunning, Days of Heaven is set in 1916 and tells the story of Bill and Abby, lovers who travel to the Texas Panhandle to harvest crops for a wealthy farmer. Bill encourages Abby to claim the fortune of the dying farmer by tricking him into a false marriage. Watch
87. Metropolis (1927) Dir. Fritz Lang, 153 mins.
The film is set in the massive, sprawling futuristic mega-city Metropolis, whose society is divided into two classes, one of planners and management, who live high above the Earth in luxurious skyscrapers, and one of workers, who live and toil underground. Watch
86. Wings of Desire (1987) Dir. Wim Wenders, 128 mins.
The film is about invisible, immortal angels who populate Berlin and listen to the thoughts of its human inhabitants, comforting those who are in distress. One of the angels (Bruno Ganz), falls in love with a beautiful, lonely trapeze artist (Solveig Dommartin). The angel chooses to become mortal so that he can experience human sensory pleasures and discover human love with the trapeze artist. Watch
85. Modern Times (1936) Dir. Charles Chaplin, 87 mins.
Modern Times is a silent comedy written and directed by Charlie Chaplin in which his iconic Little Tramp character struggles to survive in the modern, industrialised world. Watch
84. The Shawshank Redemption (1994) Dir. Frank Darabont, 142 mins.
An adaptation of Stephen King’s prison drama that follows banker Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) who is sentenced to life in Shawshank State Penitentiary for the murder of his wife and her lover, despite his claims of innocence. Over the following two decades, he befriends a fellow prisoner, Ellis “Red” Redding (Morgan Freeman), and becomes instrumental in a money laundering operation led by the prison warden Samuel Norton (Bob Gunton). A film that struggled at the box office but grew in reputation thanks to word of mouth. Particularly notable are Freeman’s superb narration and Robbins compelling performance. More…
83. Children of Paradise (1945) Dir. Marcel Carne, 190 mins.
Set against the Parisian theatre scene of the 1820s and 1830s, it tells the story of a beautiful courtesan, Garance, and the four men who love her in their own ways, a mime artist, an actor, a criminal and an aristocrat. Francois Truffaut stated that he would have given up all his films to have directed this one. Watch
82. Brazil (1985) Dir. Terry Gilliam, 94 mins.
Influenced by the surrealism of Fellini, Gilliam’s Orwellian sci-fi is set in a consumer driven dystopian world, in which there is an over reliance on whimsical and poorly maintained machines. It centres on Sam Lowry (Jonathan Pryce), who lives in a small apartment and works in a mind numbing job while trying to find a woman who appears in his dreams. Watch
81. The Searchers (1956) Dir. John Ford, 119 mins.
After a break from the genre which had lasted six years, John Ford returned to the western with what many consider to be his masterpiece. The Searchers is Ford’s most psychological film and stars John Wayne, eliciting a monumental performance, as Ethan Edwards, a bitter middle-aged Civil War veteran, who spends seven years obsessively roaming the West, with Martin Pawley (Jeffrey Hunter), his adoptive nephew, to find his niece, who was abducted by Comanches. Achingly poignant, it’s a film where Ford shows off his great skill for humanising the epic and finds a perfection in his measured and assured shooting style and his command of landscape as realised in his extraordinary vistas of his beloved Monument Valley. While reaction was a little muted on release, The Searchers has gone on to be acclaimed as Ford’s most important and influential film. More…