80. 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
79. 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
78. Pather Panchali (1955) Dir. Satyajit Ray, 122 mins.
The first film in the Apu trilogy, Pather Panchali depicts the childhood of the protagonist Apu (Subir Banerjee) and his elder sister Durga (Uma Dasgupta) and the harsh village life of their poor family. Watch
77. 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
76. M (1931) Dir. Fritz Lang, 111 mins.
Fritz Lang’s first talkie, which was shot in just six weeks, is set in 1930’s Berlin and revolves around the actions of a serial killer (Peter Lorre), who preys on children. As mass hysteria mounts among the public, a manhunt begins, conducted by both the police and the criminal underworld. Propelled by Lorre’s career best performance (that caused an international sensation) and the fresh use of shadowy imagery and sound, M is both a high point in German expressionism and a huge influence on what would later be called film noir. It’s a visionary masterpiece that even ninety years on still has the power to astound first time viewers. More…
75. Miller’s Crossing (1990) Dir. Joel & Ethan Coen, 120 mins.
The plot concerns a power struggle between two rival gangs (led by Albert Finney and Jon Polito) and how the protagonist, Tom Reagan (Gabriel Byrne), plays both sides off against each other. Watch
74. 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
73. The Dark Knight (2008) Dir. Christopher Nolan, 152 mins.
The second of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, that redefined the comic book movie, sees Batman (Christian Bale) joining forces with Police Lieutenant James Gordon (Gary Oldman) and District Attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) to combat a new criminal threat from the sinister Joker (Heath Ledger), a criminal mastermind who seeks to undermine the caped crusader and cause chaos in the city of Gotham. Influenced more by crime dramas, such as Michael Mann’s Heat, rather than superhero movies of the past, the film features a terrific ensemble cast and a particularly outstanding performance by Ledger (who sadly died of a drugs overdose just months after filming was completed and won a posthumous Academy Award). While there are hugely entertaining and technically impressive action sequences, its the bold narrative, complex characterisation and stunning visual work that moves the film far beyond its comic book origins into the darker territory of haunting, tragic and sometimes even poetic art. More…
72. 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…
71. Gladiator (2000) Dir. Ridley Scott, 155 mins.
Having redefined a number of genres (Horror – Alien, Sci-fi – Blade Runner and the road movie – Thelma and Louise) Ridley Scott turned his hand to reinvigorating the sword and sandal epic with a partial remake of 1964s The Fall of the Roman Empire. Russell Crowe stars as Hispano-Roman general Maximus Decimus Meridius, who is betrayed when Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix), the ambitious son of Emperor Marcus Aurelius (Richard Harris), murders his father and seizes the throne. Reduced to slavery, Maximus rises through the ranks of the gladiatorial arena to avenge the murders of his family and his emperor. Scott used the latest in computer-generated imagery to deliver a technical masterclass (particularly the visceral battle sequence in Germania) which not only won 5 Oscars but also helped rekindled interest in Roman and classical history. Among an excellent cast are terrific swansongs for Harris and Oliver Reed (who passed away before filming was complete). The level of violence and the historical anachronisms will annoy some but the striking imagery, Crowe’s powerful but yet soulful performance and a superb soundtrack from Hans Zimmer make Gladiator a monumental and thrillingly entertaining epic. More…
70. Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974) Dir. Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 94 mins.
The film revolves around an unlikely relationship which develops between an elderly woman and a Moroccan migrant worker in post-war Germany. Watch
69. Rear Window (1954) Dir. Alfred Hitchcock, 112 mins.
Laid up with a broken leg, photojournalist L.B. Jeffries (James Stewart) is confined to his tiny, sweltering courtyard apartment. To pass the time between visits from his nurse (Thelma Ritter) and his fashion model girlfriend Lisa (Grace Kelly), the binocular-wielding Jeffries stares through the rear window of his apartment at the goings-on in the other apartments around his courtyard. Watch
68. Sunset Blvd. (1950) Dir. Billy Wilder, 110 mins.
The film stars William Holden as an unsuccessful screenwriter and Gloria Swanson as a faded movie star who draws him into her fantasy world, in which she dreams of making a return to the screen. Watch
67. Spirited Away (2001) Dir. Hayao Miyazaki, 125 mins.
The film follows a sullen ten-year-old girl who is in the process of moving to a new town, and chronicles her adventures in a world of spirits and monsters. Buy
66. City Lights (1931) Dir. Charles Chaplin, 87 mins.
The story follows the misadventures of Chaplin’s Tramp as he falls in love with a blind girl (Virginia Cherrill) and develops a turbulent friendship with an alcoholic millionaire (Harry Myers). Watch
65. The Shining (1980) Dir. Stanley Kubrick, 142 mins.
The Shining is about Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson), an aspiring writer and recovering alcoholic, who accepts a position as the off-season caretaker of the isolated historic Overlook Hotel in the Colorado Rockies. Wintering over with Jack is his wife Wendy Torrance (Shelley Duvall) and young son Danny Torrance (Danny Lloyd), who possesses “the shining”, an array of psychic abilities that allow Danny to see the hotel’s horrific past. Watch
64. The Night of the Hunter (1955) Dir. Charles Laughton, 92 mins.
The plot focuses on a corrupt minister-turned-serial killer (Robert Mitchum) who attempts to charm an unsuspecting widow and steal $10,000 hidden by her executed husband. Watch
63. Solaris (1972) Dir. Andrei Tarkovsky, 169 mins.
The film is a meditative psychological drama occurring mostly aboard a space station orbiting the fictional planet Solaris. The scientific mission has stalled because the skeleton crew of three scientists have fallen into separate emotional crises. Psychologist Kris Kelvin travels to the Solaris space station to evaluate the situation only to encounter the same mysterious phenomena as the others.
62. Casablanca (1942) Dir. Michael Curtiz, 102 mins.
Set during World War II, it focuses on Rick (Humphrey Bogart), a mysterious embittered man leading a lone existence who is confronted by his lost love, Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) and finds his priorities starting to change. He becomes torn between his love for Ilsa and helping her and her Czech Resistance leader husband escape the Vichy-controlled Moroccan city. While Bogart, with his sardonic style and ambiguous screen image, is very much the hero of the piece, the film was Swedish actress Bergman’s first major Hollywood success and she provides probably her most memorable performance. The sustained close ups of her face, that show her striking beauty and fundamental nobility, explain what the narrative cannot, that she is virtuous in a way that the cynical Rick had not previously considered. An unlikely adaptation of a play never made, the production struggled through frequent script changes and an unknown ending until it was time to shoot the final scenes. Yet, by utilising familiar patterns in Hollywood narrative, an all-star supporting cast of European performers and the two compelling leads, Casablanca became the most popular of World War II movies and a romantically poignant classic. Watch
61. Reservoir Dogs (1992) Dir. Quentin Tarantino, 99 mins.
It features Harvey Keitel, Michael Madsen, Steve Buscemi, Chris Penn, Lawrence Tierney, Tim Roth, Tarantino, and criminal-turned-author Edward Bunker as members of a botched diamond heist. The film depicts the events before and after the attempted robbery. Watch