Director: Akira Kurosawa (8th)
The first time I caught Rashomon, it was like my entire body was transported to another realm of existence. I cease to exist and my soul lived on through this film. Kurosawa spoke to a specific part of my pysche and brought me in through sheer visceral curiosity and characters that intrigued beyond reason. Toshiro Mifune and Machiko Kyo deliver something unseen in their performances.
There Will Be Blood (2007)
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson (4th)
Visual storytelling. The art of cinema itself is captured in Paul Thomas Anderson’s masterpiece of sight, sound, and performance. One performance in particular, the indomitable Daniel Day-Lewis as the oil tycoon Daniel Plainview, is utterly remarkable work. It’s definitively my favorite performance of all-time, but the greatness of this film is the visceral nature of the storytelling.
Clockwork Orange (1975)
Director: Stanley Kubrick (6th)
If you haven’t noticed by now, Stanley Kubrick films are a serious obsession of mine and Clockwork Orange is the film that led me down the Kubrick rabbit hole and a realization of his genius. Anthony Burgesses story is also magnificent, but nobody could have ever brought that world into film like Kubrick. The most daring and challenging film ever made.
Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned to Stopped Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
Director: Stanley Kubrick (7th)
The best screenplay ever written. The greatest collection of characters and performances, three of which are performed by Peter Sellers. A devilishly clever approach to nuclear war introduced through the paranoid General Ripper (Sterling Hayden) and brought home from the glorious lust for war from George C. Scott. It’s such a brilliant film that is hilariously dark. Vera Wang taking us out to mushroom clouds will always stick with me…
Barry Lyndon (1975)
Director: Stanley Kubrick (8th)
And here we are, number one. The best film ever released into existence and of course, it’s the epitome of art and character in film with Stanley Kubrick’s illustrious Barry Lyndon. A film so meticulously detailed as if the camera lens is the brush painting onto a canvass, carefully placing each object in the frame to spark emotion. Redmond Barry (Ryan O’ Neal) is a character I find endless intriguing in his travels. It’s the perfect film. Exquisitely beautiful in look, feel, and character.
If you made it through the entire list, I thank you. And just as a disclaimer: I will not apologize for any films on my list as it’s my personal opinion. Feel free to message me to have a civil discussion about the list.