The Best Damn 501 Films Ever Made: Part Six (249-200)

Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5 Part 7Part 8

Author Note: The last few months being a whirlwind of change and left little time for me to finish the list, but I’m back and ready to kill this thing Sigourney Weaver style. Part six is filled with post-modern dread and existentialism. There’s films in part six with dissociative properties, and films filled with energy. We have William Fiendkin, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Frantisek Vlacil, George Lucas and a couple Fritz Lang movies – a wide array of unique stories. The craft in this section carries many of this films with the likes of Thelma Schoonmaker showing her editing prowess or the unsettling nature of Christian Berger’s cinematography in Cache. Finish it off with John Ford’s best Western in Stagecoach and you’ll get a well-rounded view of cinema

249. The Color of Money (1986)

Dir: Martin Scorsese (4)

DP: Michael Ballhaus (3)

Editor: Thelma Schoonmaker (4), 

Writers: Richard Price (1), Walter Trevin (1)

Starring: Paul Newman (1), Tom Cruise (1), Mary Elizabeth Mastriano (1), John Turturro (2)

Country: USA (120)

Genre: Drama (78)

The classic Scorsese soundtrack headlines a pulse pounding pace spearheaded by incredibly inventive editing from Thelma Schoonmaker, that adds something so indescribably satisfying to the experience. And that’s without mentioning the absolutely commanding performance from Paul Newman, playing off the mentor role with the explosive Tom Cruise. Newman adds great depth to the hustler persona, but ultimately shows it’s all an act. The trio of Newman, Cruise, and Mary Elizabeth Mastratonio makes a dynamic set of characters all playing off each other, but it’s the electrifying craft of Scorsese that makes this a stone cold classic.

248. Spotlight (2015)

Dir: Tom McCarthy (1)

DP: Masanobu Takayanagi (1)

Editor: Tom McCardle (1)

Writers: Tom McCarthy (1), Josh Singer (1)

Starring: Mark Ruffalo (1), Michael Keaton (1), Rachel McAdams (1), Liev Schreiber (), Stanley Tucci ()

Country: USA (121)

Genre: Drama (79)

The second best film about the power of journalism, led by one of my all-time favorite ensembles. “Spotlight” deals with a heavy subject matter of deep, systemic child abuse by the Catholic Church and the desperate coverup. Each actor completely buys into their character and the importance of their work is felt. The film is directed to feel the entire town of Boston pushing down on the Boston Globe. A fantastic script with Ruffalo, McAdams, Keaton and Liv Schreiber in a smaller role delivers a surprisingly emotional punch.

247. Moonlight (2016)

Dir: Barry Jenkins (2)

DP: James Laxton (2)

Editor: Nat Sanders (2)

Writer: Barry Jenkins (2), Terrell Alvin McCraney (1)

Starring: Mahershala Ali (1), Trevante Rhodes (1), Andre Holland (1), Janelle Monáe (1), Jharrel Jherome (1), Ashton Sanders (1), Alex Hibbert (1)

Composer: Nicholas Britell (2)

Country:  USA (122)

Genre: Drama (80)

Barry Jenkins era defining Moonlight is an all-encompassing story of a young man’s journey to understanding himself. Told in three distinct chapters of his life, all conveying similar themes through wildly different perspectives. One of the most tender films of the 21st century, and one that has plenty of compassion but still shows the world as it is and not how we want it to be.

246. Eyes Without a Face (1960)

Dir: Georges Franju (1)

DP: Eugen Schufftan (1)

Editor: Gilbert Natot (1)

Writer: Pierre Boileau (1), Thomas Narcejac (1), Claude Sautet (1), Jean Redon (1), Pierre Gascar (1)

Starring: Pierre Brasseur (1), Alida Valli (1), Edith Scoob (2)  Juliette Mayniel (1)

Composer: Maurice Jarre (4)

Country: France (20)

Genre: Horror (23)

Georges Franju’s Eyes Without A Face is a truly shocking horror. It’s subtle in tone, not overwrought with visual stimulation, but has effective buildup to the titular scene…and that scene delivers. It’s stylish but not in any obvious sense and has a bit of realism incorporated through the procedural nature of the direction. Edith Scoob, as the masked woman, conveys her pain through minute body movements and twitches. A progressive French horror.

245. Dog’s Day Afternoon (1975)

Dir: Sidney Lumet (4)

DP: Victor J. Kemper (3)

Editor: Dede Allen (1)

Writer: Frank Pierson (2)

Starring: Al Pacino (4), John Cazale (2), Charles Durning (1), Chris Saradon (1)

Country: USA (123)

Genre: Crime (19)

My adoration for Sidney Lumet’s filmography spans across decades, but his work in the 1970’s is second-to-none. He delivered over and over this decade and here he gives some legendary actors a perfect vehicle to flex their personalities. Al Pacino is filthy good delivering a multi-layered performance with massive implications. It’s a simple narrative, but an open canvas for these great actors to express their character. Lumet’s strength was his ability to pull out some of the best performances of all-time with great writing and an emphasis on rehearsal.

244. Harold and Maude (1971)

Dir: Hal Ashby (2)

DP: John A. Alonzo (1)

Editor: William A. Sawyer (1), Edwards Warschilka (1)

Writer: Colin Higgins (1)

Starring: Ruth Gordon (1), Bud Cort (2), Vivian Pickles (1), Cyril Cusack (1)

Composer: Cat Stevens (1)

Country: USA (124)

Genre: Black Comedy (3)

Hal Ashby has the most delightful sensibilities that he translates into vehemently dark subject matter, merging the two into something unseen. Harold and Maude serves as one of those films – a misaligned romance between two of the most unlikeliest of people, spawns something truly beautiful and lasting. An endearing film about finding yourself and despite it being shrouded in Harold’s dark mental state, it’s one of the most optimistic films ever made with a gleefully sad but happy ending.

243. In the Realm of the Senses (1976)

Dir: Nagisa Oshima (3)

DP: Hideo Itô (1)

Editor: Keiichi Uraoka (2)

Writer: Nagisa Oshima (2), Koji Walamatsu (1)

Starring: Eiko Matsuda (1), Tatsuya Fuji (1), Aoi Nakajima (1)

Composer: Minoru Miki (1)

Country: Japan (32)

Genre: Romance (27), Drama (81)

It’s been discussed but never validated — Oshima’s In the Realm of the Senses is the horniest film ever made. Drenched in sweat with Hideo Ito’s hazy cinematography where you can almost smell the musk coming off the characters bodies as they engage in long hours of passionate, secluded,  and concerning sex. It’s a deranged obsessive form of perversion with one of the greatest, and most fitting endings ever put on film.

242. Tetsuo: The Iran Man (1989)

Dir: Shinya Tsukamoto (1)

DP: Shinya Tsukamoto (1), Kei Fujiwara (1)

Editor: Shinya Tsukamoto (1)

Writer: Shinya Tsukamoto (1)

Starring: Tomorowo Taguchi (1), Kei Fujiwara (1), Nobu Kanaoka (1)

Composer: Chu Ishikawa (1)

Country: Japan (33)

Genre: Sci-fi (12)

Shinya Tsukamoto is a visionary director with cyberpunk sensibilities that brought his claustrophobic science fiction vision to life with Tetsuo: The Iron Man. Made on a microbudget, the film is visual ecstasy with a dash of an origin story thrown in. The production design feels as if it’s coming out of the screen; it’s so pervasive in the frame and takes control of the experience. There’s never been another film made in this style and its neuroticism makes this such a memorable experience. 

241. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)

Dir: Hayao Miyazaki (3)

Editor: Naoki Kaneko (1), Tomoko Kida (1), Shouji Sakai (1)

Writer: Hayao Miyazaki (3)

Starring: Sumi Shimamoto (2), Ichiro Nagai (2), Goro Naya (2)

Composer: Joe Hisashi (5)

Country: Japan (34)

Genre: Animation (8), Fantasy (10)

A under the radar Miyazaki film with the best world building throughout his filmography. Adapted from a manga, the layers show through in ways that his other films don’t and despite an adolescent main character, it’s a very grown up narrative in nature. A desolate, post-apocalyptic, sci-fi landscape with a tone of upending desperation – it’s a mystical journey with unconventional Miyazaki art and color palette, that explores human suffering in profound ways.

240. Au Hasard Balthazar (1966)

Dir: Robert Bresson (1)

DP: Ghislain Cloquet (1)

Editor: Raymond Lamy (1)

Writer: Robert Bresson (1)

Starring: Anne Wiazemsky (1), Walter Green (1), The Burro (1)

Composer: Jean Wiener (1)

Country: France (24)

Genre: Drama (82) 

Bresson’s religious allegory involving a young girl and a donkey beautifully reflects the pain and triumph of life. Even while buried in utter despair, Bresson makes us aware of the beauty and light of the world. It’s an honest film that’s not meant to coddle audiences but mirror the world in surreal ways. The emotional attachment to this donkey and his symbolic meaning make this an evocative experience that reaches further than the simple narrative may appear.

239. We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)

Dir: Lynne Ramsay (1)

DP: Seamus McGarvey (2)

Editor: Joe Bini (2)

Writer: Lynne Ramsay (1), Rory Stewary Kinnear (1), Lionel Shriver (1)

Starring: Tilda Swinton (1), John C. Reilly (3), Ezra Miller (1), 

Composer: Jonng Greenwood (2)

Country: United Kingdom (23)

Genre: Thriller (25), Drama (83)

Lynne Ramsay makes an appearance on the list with one disturbing look into parenting. Tilda Swinton under the strict instruction of Ramsay delivers a bizarrely fresh look at the angst of parenting and the life-altering decision it is to have a child. The combination of John C. Reilly and Swinton desperately try to bond with their sociopathic teenage son, played effectively by Ezra Miller. Swinton and Miller do a phenomenal job playing off each other, making the audience understand the underlying problem with their relationship. It’s also fucking horrific and a difficult film to grapple with.

238. Alien (1979)

Dir: Ridley Scott (1)

DP: Derek Vanlint (1)

Editor: Terry Rowlings (1), Peter Weatherly (1)

Writer: Dan O’Bannon (1), Ronald Shusett (1)

Starring: Sigourney Weaver (1), Tom Skerritt (1), Harry Dean Stanton (4), John Hurt (1)  Ian Homes (1), Yaphet Kotto (1)

Composer: Jerry Goldsmith (3)

Country: USA (125)

Genre: Horror (24)

Ridley Scott’s Alien is essentially a flawless film. It’s got an amazing story, characters, production design, cinematography, a wide-reaching world, and a great score from Goldsmith. It doesn’t overlook any element of production and makes this simple isolated horror so much more. Sigourney Weaver is the perfect vehicle to experience this through, as well as the incredible ensemble cast. It’s top-notch science fiction with some of the most menacing alien designs ever created. 

237. One Cut of the Dead (2017)

Dir: Shinichiro Ueda (1)

DP: Takeshi Sone (1)

Editor: Shinichiro Ueda (1)

Writer: Shinichiro Ueda (1)

Starring: Takayuki Hamatsu (1), Yuzuki Akiyama (1), Kazuaki Nagaya (1)

Composer: Kyle Nagai (1), Shoma Ito (1), Nobuhiro Suzuki (1)

Country: Japan (35)

Genre: Comedy (34), Horror (25) 

One Cut of the Dead is unbelievably fun, with a brilliant narrative structure that had me crying laughing for the entire second half of the film. The low-budget look of the film works in the narrative’s favor, but it’s how Shinchiro Ueda sets up the humor with the horribly made short film at the start. The film coming back full-circle, after wanting to turn it off after the first act, makes this one of the most rewarding experiences. Only a few films remain on the list that made me laugh as hard as this masterpiece.

236. Storytelling (2001)

Dir: Todd Solondz (1)

DP: Frederick Elmes (1)

Editor: Alex Oxman (1)

Writer: Todd Solondz (1)

Starring: John Goodman (3), Selma Blair (1), Robert Wisdom (1), Paul Giamatti (2), Leo Fitzpatrick (1)

Country: USA (126)

Genre: Black Comedy (4)

Understanding the mind of Todd Solondz is a journey in and of itself a journey, but how he translates his earthly understanding of human beings is something else entirely. Storytelling is a part of his study on American values through typical suburbanized family neuroses, but framed through the craft of storytelling. Similarly to Happiness, Solondz’s other masterpiece on the subject, laughing at Storytelling almost feels irresponsible. It’s a beautifully dark black comedy, with just a razor thin edge of humor that goes far beyond any preconceived idea of what’s funny. It’s less about a plot structure and more about characters spiraling. A microcosm of society’s deep seeded insecurities and how we express this through our art. The writing shows a genuine disinterest in humanity and a detachment that is just utterly wonderful. Storytelling both mocks and explores the weirdest avenues of our self-consciousness and how we translate that to story. But really, it’s just a incredibly bizarre fucking movie and I love it for that.

235. Annie Hall (1947)

Dir: Woody Allen (1)

DP: Gordon Willis (2)

Editor: Ralph Rosenblum (2)

Writer: Woody Allen (1), Marshall Brickman (1)

Starring: Diane Keaton (1), Woody Allen (1), Tony Roberts (1), Carol Kane (1)

Composer: Artie Butler (1)

Country: USA (126)

Genre: Comedy (35), Romance (28)

Personal feelings on Woody Allen aside, Annie Hall is just a pure delight. Diane Keaton delivers the greatest romantic-comedy performance of all-time as a puffy and grounded love interest that steals the attention away from Allen’s mope lead character. The unconventional structure and narrative make this a unique outlook on love and separation. It’s open to many ideas about love and doesn’t treat it as some sort of artificial thing, but a real world occurrence that comes and goes without warning. The best Allen film without question. 

234. The Insider (1999)

Dir: Michael Mann (1)

DP: Dante Spinotti (1)

Editor: Pieter Jan Brugge (1), William Goldenberg (1), Paul Rubell (1)

Writer: Eric Roth (1), Michael Mann (1)

Starring: Al Pacino (3), Russell Crowe (1), Christopher Plummer (1), Diane Venora (1)

Composer: Lisa Gerrard (1)

Country: USA (127)

Genre: Historical Drama (4)

The tension Michael Mann incorporates into this story of a 60-Minutes report is staggering. Dante Spinotti’s interior shooting is some of the most complex and mind-melding cinematography I’ve ever seen and it seeps into the character work in increasingly telling ways. A masterclass of holding the tension, the performances exemplify this pressure on screen. Pacino, Plumber, and Crowe all operate under this feeling and Mann keeps the audiences there, never releasing it – a film that moves to the tone of the subject and serves as Michael Mann’s best film.

233. The Boy and the Beast (2015)

Dir: Mamoru Hosoda (1)

DP: Ryo Horibe (1)

Editor: Shigeru Nishiyama (1)

Writer: Mamoru Hosoda (1)

Starring: Koji Yakusho (1), Aoi Miyazaki (1), Shota Sometani (1)

Composer: Masakatsu Takagi (1)

Country: Japan (36)

Genre: Animation (9), Fantasy (11)

The Boy and the Beast is undoubtedly Ghibli inspired in its characters, world building and general aesthetic quality – and while many imitators have tried the same, no film succeeded like Mamoru Hosoda’s Boy and the Beast. A film experience so welcoming and magical, that the narrative feels awe-inspiring and incredibly immersive. The color pallete pops off the screen with vibrant compositions and characters.

232. Children of Nagasaki (1983)

Dir: Keisuke Kinoshita (1)

DP: Kozo Okazaki (1)

Editor: Yoshi Sugihara (3)

Writer:  Keisuke Kinoshita (1), Taichi Yamada (1)

Starring: Go Kato (2), Yukio Toake (1), Chikage Awashima (1) 

Composer: Chuji Kinoshita (2)

Country: Japan (37)

Genre: Drama (84)

The memories of a Nagasaki survivor ar3 implanted in this incredibly heavy reliving of that fateful day in 1945. Children of Nagasaki show the brutality and inhumanity of the bomb. The devastating effects it had on the people and the message to the world to never again use these weapons. It’s a powerful film and the experience is horrifying. It gives perspective on the human cost.

231. The Age of Innocence (1993)

Dir: Martin Scorsese (4)

DP: Michael Ballhaus (3)

Editor: Thelma Schoonmaker (4)

Writer: Martin Scorsese (2), Jay Cocks (2), Edith Wharton (1)

Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis (2), Michelle Pfeiffer (1), Winona Ryder (1), Alexis Smith (1), Jonathon Pryce (3)

Composer: Elmer Bernstein (3)

Country: USA (128)

Genre: Romance (29), Drama (85)

A more delicate effort from Martin Scorsese, as he approaches the famous Edith Wharton Pulitzer Prize winning novel with the same reverence and passion for the time period as the author. Daniel Day-Lewis gives an impassioned thorn between two roses performance. The cast is beautiful, from Winona Ryder to Cameron Diaz, it’s full of unearthed emotion and simmering tension. Thelma Schoonmaker’s work, along with Ballhaus’s unmotivated camera technique, makes this a technical marvel. 

230. Star Wars: A New Hope (1977)

Dir: George Lucas (1)

DP: Gilbert Taylor (1)

Editor: Marcia Lucas (1), Richard Chew (2), Paul Hirsch (2)

Writer: George Lucas (2)

Starring: Mark Hamill (2), Harrison Ford (2), Carrie Fisher (2)

Composer: John Williams (6)

Country: USA (129)

Genre: Sci-fi (13), Fantasy (12)

The best Star Wars film in existence. The simple, well-intentioned, self-contained, first entry into a galaxy far, far away is a marvelous example of how the tradition of taking great archetypal characters throughout history and applying them in a modern context will always be a success. George Lucas dreamed of a Samurai style space drama with Luke Skywalker’s journey beginning and ending 

229. JFK (1991)

Dir: Oliver Stone (1)

DP: Robert Richardson (1)

Editor: Pietro Scalia (1), John Hutshing (1)

Writer: Oliver Stone (1), Zachary Sklar (1)

Starring: Kevin Costner (1), Tommy Lee Jones (3), Gary Oldman (2), Joe Pesci (2),  Kevin Bacon (1), Donald Sutherland (2), Jack Lemmon (4), Laurie Metcalf (1), Sissy Spacek (3), Walter Matthau (2)

Composer: John Williams (5)

Country: USA (130) 

Genre: Political Drama (8)

The one Oliver Stone film that made a gigantic impact on me is the revealing story of the JFK assassination. A prolonged, meticulously detailed, retelling of the sequence of events that led up to that fateful day in Dallas. It builds a strong case for the coup angle and many pieces of damning evidence corroborate these findings. It’s also got maybe the most expensive cast list of all-time, but each actor buys fully into their character.

228. Paper Moon (1973)

Dir: Peter Bogdanovich (1)

DP: Laszlo Kovacs (1)

Editor: Verna Fields (2)

Writer: Alvin Sargeant (1)

Starring: Ryan O’Neal (1), Tatum O’Neil (1), Madeline Kahn (1)

Country: USA (131)

Genre: Comedy (37), Drama (86)

From my review; Paper Moon is such an endearingly tiny film that it feels impossible not to fall in love. A relationship between two curmudgeons: one a small, abandoned girl as Addie Loggains (Tatum O’Neal) and the other a charlatan on hard times, forced into taking this girl in: Moses Pray (Ryan O’Neal). Both characters are cut from the same cloth, and despite Moses’s every attempt to squash the idea that he’s her father, the truth comes to the surface with the similarities in their characters and performances.

227. Mulholland Drive (2002)

Dir: David Lynch (2)

DP: Peter Deming (2)

Editor: Mary Sweeney (1)

Writer:  David Lynch (2)

Starring: Naomi Watts (1), Laura Harring (1), Justin Theroux (1), Ann Miller (1), Patricm Fischer (1), Ribert Forster (1)

Composer: Angelo Badalamenti (2)

Country: USA (132)

Genre: Mystery (16), Drama (87)

The pinnacle of Lynch’s metaphorical storytelling – a great character piece with Naomi Watts as the perfect conduit to experience the idealistic and dreamlike state of Mulholland Drive. One of Lynch’s most malicious and telling stories, capturing the underlying nature of the Hollywood dream and the horrible reality of the casting couch. Juxtaposing dream and reality in a way that’s only possible in the transcendental state of Lynch. 

226. Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

Dir: Alfred Hitchock (2)

DP: Joseph A. Valentine (1)

Editor: Milton Carruth (1)

Writer: Alma Reville (1), Sally Benson (1), Thronton Wilder (1), Gordon McDowell (1)

Starring: Teresa Wright (1), Joseph Cotten (2), Macdonald Carey (1), Henry Travers (1)

Composer: Dimitri Tiomkin (4)

Country: USA (133)

Genre: Drama (88), Thriller (26)

A viscerally dark thriller from Hitchock that sews the seed of doubt in your mind and lets that question linger over the rest of the film. Joseph A. Valentine’s high-contrast visual style lends itself to moral questions the characters ask of themselves in sheer uncertainty. Joseph Cotten was the perfect cast – able to balance the sensible image of himself and the hidden darkness within him. The back-and-forth between Teresa Wright and Cotten is some of Hitchcock’s best work.

225. La Dolce Vita (1960)

Dir: Federico Fellini (3)

DP: Otello Martelli (2)

Editor: Leo Catozzo (1)

Writer:  Federico Fellini (3), Pier Paulo Pasolini (1), Ennio Flaiano (2), Brunello Rondi (1)

Starring: Marcello Mastroianni (2)

Composer: Nino Rota (5)

Country: Italy (4)

Genre: Drama (89), Comedy (38)

Marcello Mastroianni’s meandering journalist is aimless in nature, wandering from one thought, one woman to the next, in subsequent thoughts. It’s a film of a man seemingly lost, but somehow always in the correct location. He’s an enigma and Fellini captures his toil down the bourgeoisie parts of Roman society. In a beautifully contextualized understanding of Italy, La Dolce Vita is almost ethereal in the relation the actors have to the cameras and Fellini’s larger themes of God’s. He captures this in the glorious wide-shots of Otello Martielli, often framing Marcello’s character as something greater than mere mortal. 

224. Blade of the Immortal (2017)

Dir: Takashi Miike (2)

DP: Nobuyasu Kita (1)

Editor: Kenji Yamashita (1)

Writer: Tetsuya Oishi (1)

Starring: Takuya Kimura (2), Hana Sugisaki (1), Sota Fukushi (1), Hayato Ichihara (1)

Composer: Kojo Endo (2)

Country: Japan (38)

Genre: Manga (1), Fantasy (13)

Takashi Miike will be remembered more for his more shocking films (Adaption, Ichi the Killer, Visitor Q), but Blade of the Immortal will always be the film that, to me, found a perfect balance between his tortuous sensibilities and ability to tell a structured story. It’s one of his most energetic films from the first frame on and captures the spirit of the manga better than any of his other manga adaptations. The action is manga-esque and brutally violent and bloody. It’s beyond stylish and the best Miike has to offer with panel-like frames. Brilliantly creative film that surprisingly makes it into my top 250.

223. Taxi Driver (1976)

Dir: Martin Scorsese (5)

DP: Michael Chapman (1)

Editor: Tom Rolf (1)

Writer: Paul Schrader (2)

Starring: Robert De Niro (3), Cybill Shepherd (1), Jodie Foster (2), Albert Brooks (2), Harvey Keitel (5)

Composer: Bernard Hermann (2)

Country: USA (134)

Genre: Drama (90)

I’ll keep this one brief, Taxi Driver will be remembered for its introspective look at this broken character, the eccentricities of Travis Bickle brought to life masterfully by Robert De Niro, Bernard Hermann’s atmospheric masterpiece of a score, and of course, Scorsese’s loud touch on this world to push Bickle’s worsening mental into the depths. A film that looks at society at whole and asks the question of sanity.

222. Still Walking (2008)

Dir: Hirokazu Kore-eda (2)

DP: Yutaka Yamazaki (1)

Editor: Hirokazu Kore-eda (2)

Writer: Hirokazu Kore-eda (2)

Starring: Hiroshi Abe (1), Kirin Kiki (3), Yui Natsukawa (1), Yoshi Harada (1), Kazuya Takahashi (2)

Composer: Gontiti (1)

Country: Japan (39)

Genre: Drama (91)

From my review: The writing is simply outstanding and gets to the heart of these characters in basically every line of dialogue they speak. Each one is distinct in their own way, but the familiarities show that they are a family with similar traits and ideals. This makes the trauma associated with their family stand out in such a way and shows wholeheartedly how they all deal with it. Taking Ryota Yokoyama (Hiroshi Abe) as an example, his lack of empathy for his parents’ suffering is so deeply rooted into how he was treated in lieu of this tragedy. The relationship between Toshiko Yokoyama (Kirin Kiki) and Kyohei Yokoyama (Yoshido Harada) shows the generational gap and understands the difficulties of losing a child and the strain that puts on them. However, even with the many dynamics at play here, it’s all based around love for one another but shows the reality of life and time.

221. The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019)

Dir: Joe Talbot (1)

DP: Adam Newport-Berr (1)

Editor: David Marks (1)

Writer: Joe Talbot (1), Jimmie Fails (1), Rob Richert (1)

Starring: Jimmie Fails (1), Jonathon Majors (1), Rob Morgan (1), Tichina Arnold (1)

Composer: Emile Mosseri (1)

Country: USA (135)

Genre: Drama (92) 

From my review: A film comes around every so often that breaks every preconceived notion about what a film must consist of and how a story should be told. Joe Talbot’s directorial debut “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” is that film. It brings a wholly original, new perspective form to the table and creates a truly lasting impression. It’s almost surreal storytelling and a movie so firm in its own ideals while staying grounded in the changing ways of the world. It’s an individual’s story that is steeped in the heart and mind of the city of San Francisco, emboldened by the struggles but powerfully conveying a sense of strength and empathy in the people who truly love the city the most. The perspective is incredibly meaningful coming from a true state of love but ultimately a sense of loss. As Jimmie Fails says, “people aren’t one thing” and that’s a beautiful sentiment that this film conveys on a deeply personal level.

220. Metropolis (1927)

Dir: Fritz Lang (3)

DP: Karl Freund (2), Gunther Rittau (1), Walter Ruttman (1)

Editor: Fritz Lang (1)

Writer: Fritz Lang (2), Thea Von Harbou (2)

Starring: Gustav Frohlich (1), Brigitte Helm (1), Alfred Abel (1), Rudolf Klein-Rogge (2), Theodor Loos (2)

Composer: Gottfried Huppertz (1), Otto Harzner (1)

Country: Germany (5)

Genre: Sci-fi (14), Epic (4)

German expressionism at its peak and the most astounding scale in the silent era. The incredibly ambitious science-fiction film from Fritz Lang is his most grandiose venture and the result is staggering. The technologically advanced Metropolis is clean and inspiring as the workers of the world are sent below the city. Lang juxtaposes the two worlds brilliantly and it makes for a much deeper narrative with the shiny look of the city above and the grimy, dirty world below.

219. Oldboy (2003)

Dir: Park Chan-wook (2)

DP: Jeong Jeong-hun (2)

Editor: Kim Sang-bum (3)

Writer: Park Chan-wook (2), Nobuaki Minegishi (1), Hwang Jo-yoon (1), Im Joon-hyung (1), Marley Carib (1)

Starring: Choi Min-sik (3), Yoo Ji-tae (1), Kang Hye-jung (1)

Composer: Cho Young-wuk (4), Shim Hyun-jung (1)

Country: South Korea (11)

Genre: Drama (93), Thriller (27) 

Park Chan-wook at his most dark and disturbing. Choi Min-sik reaches into someplace unholy and pulls out such bloody outrage that it’s nearly impossible to comprehend. He goes out of his damn mind in this violent, broken performance and makes the film feel completely untethered. The concept behind Oldboy and the plot centering around a man trapped in an apartment-like prison, with only a television to keep him company, feels almost alien. Park Chan-wook operates in the darkest realm of his subconscious and it’s wonderfully entertaining and horrifically brutal.

218. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010)

Dir: Apichatpong Weerasethakul (1)

DP: Sayombhu Mukdeeprom (1)

Editor: Lee Chatametikool (1)

Writer: Apichatpong Weerasethakul (1), Phra Sripariyattiweti (1)

Starring: Sakda Kaewbuadee (1), Jenira Pongpas (1), Thanapat Saisaymar (1)

Country: Thailand (3)

Genre: Fantasy (14), Drama (94) 

Few, if any experiences on this list can match the calming atmospherics of Weerasethakul and Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. It explores death in a universal way, and blends the ethereal and the tangible through unorthodox means. There’s moments crafted here that challenge the best scenes I’ve ever seen and I will never forget them. The worldbuilding and character designs are incredibly surreal.

217. Kwaidan (1964)

Dir: Masaki Kobayashi (3)

DP: Yoshio Miyajima 

Editor: Hisashi Sagara (2)

Writer: Yoko Mizuki (1), Lefcardio Hearn (1)

Starring: Michiyo Aratama (1), Misiko Watanabe (1), Rentaro Mikuni (1), Kenjiro Ishiyama (2)

Composer: Toru Takemitsu (2)

Country: Japan (40)

Genre: Fantasy (15), Horror (26)

Masaki Kobayashi took on four archaic Japanese folktales about ghosts and crafted four distinctive vignettes. Each one brings something unique to the film and Kobayashi drastically changes the visual style to match the tone. It’s a haunting, vicious film full of meaning and history. I’ve never met a fan of this film with the same vignette as their favorite and that’s a sign of the film’s strength. In terms of my favorite: Hoichi the Earless, without a second of hesitation.

216. Aparajito (1956)

Dir: Satyajit Ray (4)

DP: Subrata Mitra (3)

Editor: Dulal Dutta (4)

Writer: Satyajit Ray (4), Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay (1)

Starring: Kanu Banerjee (1), Karuna Banerjee (1), Smaran Ghosal (1), Pinaki Sengupta (1)

Composer: Ravi Shankar (1)

Country: India (4)

Genre: Drama (95)

The second entry in the Apu trilogy and while it’s the lowest ranked of the three, it’s still a phenomenal film. There’s a never ending beauty to the cinematography, with breathtaking city-scapes and river shots. In the arc of Apu’s life, Aparajito is his harshest period and filled with the most regret. It shows that in life risks are needed but some risks have dire consequences and young Apu has to experience first hand. Grounded in the cries of the world, it’s the natural progression of life captured in narrative form. A slice of life film that speaks to universal truths shared among all human beings.

215. The Salesman (2016)

Dir: Asghar Farhadi (1)

DP: Hossein Jafarian (1)

Editor: Hayedeh Safiyari (1)

Writer: Asghar Farhadi (1)

Starring: Shahab Hosseini (1), Tarane Alidousti (1), Babak Karimi (1)

Composer: Sattar Oraki (1)

Country: Iran (2)

Genre: Drama (96), Thriller (28)

Asghar Farhadi builds tension and uncertainty in unfamiliar ways and it makes for an overwhelming experience. In The Salesman, the tension is boiling between man and wife, as the trust that was once established gets broken by a life-shattering incident. Emad (Shahab Hosseini) and Rana (Taraneh Alidoosti), are excellent and hold that anger, resentment, and the main theme of Death of a Salesman, embarrassment at the front of their performances. Farhadi is an undisputed master at this style of narrative and he brings out the tension beautifully and with meaning.

214. Shoeshine (1946)

Dir: Vittorio De Sica (1)

DP: Anchise Brizzi (1)

Editor: Nicollo Nazzari (1)

Writer: Sergio Amidei (1), Cesare Zavattini (1), Cesare Giulio Viola (1)

Starring: Franco Interlenghi (2), Rinaldo Smordoni (1), Annielo Mele (1)

Composer: Alessandro Cicognini (1)

Country: Italy (5)

Genre: Prison Drama (4)

First Vittorio de Sica on the top 501, the famous Italian neo-realist gives us another bleak tale of oppression that’s unbelievably poignant. This time in a juvenile prison, where two kids, down on their luck, are pinned against each other as a full-frontal examination of a broken system. De Sica takes an observer, almost omniscient perspective and shows the degradation of society through the eyes of these young people. It’s hard to fathom but the extremes bring a sense of understanding.

213. The Exorcist (1973)

Dir: William Friedkin (2)

DP: Owen Roizman (2)

Editor: Norman Gay (1), Evan A. Lottman (1)

Writer: William Peter Blatty (1)

Starring: Ellen Burstyn (2), Linda Blair (1), Max von Sydow (6), Lee J. Cobb (2)

Composer: Steve Boeddeker (1)

Country: USA (136) 

Genre: Horror (27) 

William Friedkin has gone down as one of the most influential American directors in history. He has a wide-reaching filmography with a diverse and lively set of classic films but there’s only one Exorcist. His best film and one of the most important in the horror film canon, is The Exorcist, a ravishing, apoplectic ride through demonic possession and one filled with innovative scares and storytelling. It’s rich in terrifying atmosphere and worthy of its title as the scariest film ever made. The Max Von Sydow cast puts this over the top, but it’s extremely well made in every regard.

212. Inglorious Basterds (2009)

Dir: Quentin Tarantino (2)

DP: Robert Richardson (2), Kenneth Hunter (1)

Editor: Sally Menke (2)

Writer: Quentin Tarantino (2)

Starring: Brad Pitt (2), Melanie Laurent (1), Christopher Waltz (1), Michael Fassbender (1), Diane Kruger (1), Eli Roth (1)

Country: USA (137) 

Genre: War (18)

Quentin Tarantino’s possibly best crafted film from a narrative perspective. He tells an enthralling, lifelong story of revenge and uses a variety of different styles and moods to create one of the most unique World War II films ever made. It doesn’t operate on the same level as other war films, based more on character’s and less inclined to the truth and hardships of the great war. It’s such a bold take on a horrific period in history and is so patently Tarantino in his ahistorical retelling but it’s still one of the most compelling films on the subject ever made.

211. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Dir: Wes Anderson (4)

DP: Robert Yeoman (3)

Editor: Barney Pilling (1)

Writer: Wes Anderson (4), Stefan Zweig (1), Hugo Guinness (1)

Starring: Ralph Fiennes (1), Tony Revelori (1), F. Murray Abraham (1), Adrien Brody (3), Willem Dafoe (5), Jeff Goldblum (4), Bill Murray (4), Tilda Swinton (2), Saoirse Ronan (2), Jason Schwartzma (2), Owen Wilson (5)

Composer: Alexander Desplat (3)

Country: USA (138)

Genre: Comedy (39), Drama (97)

The vibrancy of Wes Anderson’s masterpiece level, The Grand Budapest Hotel, is felt on every aesthetic point. It’s one of the most visually appealing films ever made, with an emphasis on symmetrical storytelling and the bold set designs of an Anderson film – and it’s his best production design work in his illustrious career. It’s also full of an amazing cast, all playing characters that are weirdos and lovable all rolled into one. It’s a world that is easy to spend time in and engage with, not too heavy in its depiction but does have deeper moments of reflection. The balance of a zany tone and hardship is what makes this so memorable.

210. This is Spinal Tap (1984)

Dir: Rob Reiner (1)

DP: Peter Smokler (1)

Editor: Kim Secrist (1), Kent Beyda (1)

Writer: Harry Shearer (2), Rob Reiner (1), Christopher Guest (1)

Starring: Christopher Guest (1), Michael McKeen (1), Harry Shearer (1), Rob Reiner (1), June Chadwick (1)

Composer: Harry Shearer (1), Christopher Guest (1), Rob Reiner (1)

Country: USA (139)

Genre: Satire (5), Music (2)

The greatest mockumentary of all-time. Rob Reiner spoofs a seminal period in music history, making the leading man out to be loons and idiots who need to be handheld to venues to play music. The three central performances are amazing and the story is written with such a bold sense of humor but it’s largely the performances that make it sing. The satirical writing plays off so many well known tropes and cliches that this film will always stand the test of time being one of the defining films about musicians. Add on the incredible soundtrack and this is why you see it appear on this list.

209. Memento (2000)

Dir: Christopher Nolan (3)

DP: Wally Pfister (2)

Editor: Dody Dorn (1)

Writer: Christopher Nolan (3), Jonathon Nolan (2)

Starring: Guy Pierce (1), Carrie Anne-Moss (1), Joe Pantoliano (1)

Composer: David Julyan (1)

Country: USA (140) 

Genre: Mystery (17), Thriller (29) 

Time is a myth to Christopher Nolan. Time exists but also ceases to exist in his universes. In Memento, time moves in all sorts of directions according to Guy Pierce’s character’s affliction with his memory. Nolan crafted the narrative and structure to work the way the character does and this makes for a compelling mystery that reveals itself in reverse. It’s not a particularly strong narrative, but the structure carries this film to incredible places. 

208. Good Morning (1959)

Dir: Yasujiro Ozu (5)

DP: Yuhara Atsuta (1)

Editor: Yoshiyasu Hamamura ()

Writers: Yasujiro Oda (1), Kogo noda (4)

Starring: Keiji Sada (1), Yoshiko Kuga (1), Chishu Ryu (4), Kuniko Miyake (1)

Country: Japan (41)

Genre: Drama (98)

Good Morning is an intimate character drama with a wide-reaching narrative scope conveying the changing atmosphere around consumerism in Japan. A small family of four lives out their happy days in this small town complaining and whining about neighbors and products while still enjoying one’s company. Yasujiro Ozu creates this realistic neighborly aura that’s both endearing and underhandedly cynical. Ozu writes people so honestly and tells their human problems in extremely recognizable ways and Good Morning is some of his most compassionate work.

207. The Prestige (2007)

Dir: Christopher Nolan (4)

DP: Wally Pfister (3)

Editor: Lee Smith (3)

Writer: Christopher Nolan (4), Jonathan Nolan (3), Christopher Priest (1)

Starring: Christian Bale (2), Hugh Jackman (2), Michael Caine (2), Scarlett Johansson (2), David Bowie (2)

Composer: David Julyan (2)

Country: USA (141)

Genre: Mystery (18), Drama (99)

Similar to Memento, The Prestige is all about the structure and Nolan utilizing that storytelling to subvert audiences and keep them off-balance while unleashing the mystery. The film is a visual feast, on par with Nolan’s gargantuan blockbusters, and his most clever story. The two lead performances are magic, able to conceal their characters’ intentions so masterfully that plays into the structure. It takes all of Nolan’s best qualities and puts them into one film as a high concept film with broken timelines.

206. M (1931)

Dir: Fritz Lang (4)

DP: Fritz Arno Wagner (2)

Editor: Paul Falkenberg (1)

Writer: Fritz Lang (3), Thea von Harbou (3), Egon Jacobson (1), 

Starring: Peter Lorre (1), Ellen Widmann (1), Inge Landgut (1), Otto Wenicke (1, Theodore Loos (2)

Country: Germany (6)

Genre: Thriller (30), Crime(20)

Fritz Lang’s thriller classic, featuring one of the most sensational endings to a film ever: In a citizens trial of a Child murderer, a town toils with their own idea of justice. It’s an all-encompassing view of a city dealing with a child murderer. Peter Lorre, only appearing in shadow and hearing muttering a few words to children until the end, is a menacing boogeyman figure but Lang turns the narrative entirely on its head, utilizing subversion and the imagination. 

205. 12 Years A Slave (2013)

Dir: Steve McQueen (1)

DP: Sean Bobbitt (1)

Editor: Joe Walker (1)

Writer: John Ridley (1), Solomon Northup (1)

Starring: Chiwetel Ejifor (1), Michael Fassbender (2), Lupita Nyong’o (1), Benedict Cumberbatch (1), Michael Kenneth Williams (2), Brad Pitt (3)

Composer: Hans Zimmer (3)

Country: USA (142)

Genre: Historical Drama (5)

Steve McQueen made one of the degining films on the human injustice of slavery. Choosing the devastating story of Solomon Northup, a free Black man kidnapped into slavery, shows first hand, the horrific nature and inhumanity through a perspective that comes from a place of freedom. Northup’s freedom being ripped away and stolen drives McQueen’s vision for the film and it reflects in the eyes of Chiwetel Ejiofor’s performance. Beautifully shot, poetically written, Steve McQueen’s masterpiece.

204. Marketa Lazarova (1967)

Dir: Frantisek Vlacil (1)

DP: Berich Batka (1)

Editor: Miroslav Hajek (2)

Writer: Frantisek Vlacil (1), Frantisek Pavlicek (1), Vladislav Vancura (1)

Starring: Frantisek Velecky (1),

Magda Vasaryova (1), Ivan Paluch (1)

Composer: Zdenek Liska (2)

Country: Czechoslovakia (3)

Genre: Historical Drama (6)

A wide-ranging, brutal dysmorphia of the human experience transitioning out of unrepentant savagery of the dark ages. It’s indefinable visual ecstasy, shot in the harsh Czech winters, with a rapturous score that tells a story of something more profound. It’s hard to express the thematic messaging of this film in one concise sentence with how vast the world that was constructed in this film becomes and the writing touches upon such deeper truths of the Czech people. Furthemore, the craft on display from Miroslav Hajek as editor, intermittently flashing back and forward, tells a defining story of the Czech people. The boldness of Frantisek’s Vlacil’s vision is unmatched and the end result is a towering, immense work of art that will live on forever. Inaccessible to most but for those who do engage with it will be rewarded with an overpowering piece of cinema that reaches for greatness, not holding back its dark sensibilities for the sake of the audience. There’s honesty in the approach and pretentious as it may seem, it gets to the heart of our intuition and faults in our character in such impactful ways. Masterpiece

203. Cache (2005)

Dir: Michael Haneke (2)

DP: Christian Berger (2)

Editor: Michael Hudecek (1), Nadine Muse (1)

Writer: Michael Haneke (2)

Starring: Daniel Auteuil (1), Juliette Binoche (2), Ana Girardot (2), Maurice Benichou (1)

Country: France (25)

Genre: Mystery (19), Drama (100), Thriller (31)

The silent, concealed, and subversive mind of one Michael Haneke comes out in his 2005 thriller, Cache. A brilliant director creating something wholly unique, using similar narrative structure but tweaking with an invasive premise to the story and characters. I can promise you, nothing you see before or after this film will fill you with the same sense of dread. It’s an experience floating in its own orbit, that has a sense of the unnatural. The conclusion will leave you lost and bothered. Watch it now.

202. In the Name of the Father (1993)

Dir: Jim Sheridan (1)

DP: Peter Biziou (3)

Editor: Gerry Hambling (2)

Writer: Terry George (1), Jim Sheridan (1)

Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis (3), Pete Postlethwaite (1), Emma Thompson (1), John Lynch.(1)

Composer: Trevor Jones (2)

Country: Ireland (1)

Genre: Drama (101), Prison Drama (5) 

Daniel Plainview is his most memorable character Daniel Day-Lewis ever played but his performance as Jerry Conlon,  featured in In The Name of the Father, is the one performance I’ll always consider his best. The impassioned, reasoned, and empathetic sensibilities of Day-Lewis brings such a dynamic element to Conlon’s life and he makes us feel the enormity of his situation through the performance. And don’t get me wrong, the rest of the cast is incredible – Emma Thompson, in a smaller role, adds more stability and Pete Postlethwaite as Conlon’s father brings this film home, but it’s Daniel Day-Lewis who puts his stamp on this film. It’s one of the five best actors to ever live giving his best performance.

201. Stagecoach (1939)

Dir: John Ford (2)

DP: Bert Glennon (1)

Editor: Otho Lovering (1), Dorothy Spencer (1)

Writers: Ben Hecht (3), Dudley Nichols (1), Ernest Haycox (1)

Starring: John Wayne (2), Claire Trevor (2), Andy Devine (1), Thomas Mitchell (4), Louie Platt (1)

Country: USA (143)

Genre: Western (5)

A landmark achievement in the western genre, John Ford’s Stagecoach is a marvel of technical craft and was a film that helped define the genre itself. A phenomenal cast, including one John Wayne, all delivering hilariously reverent performances. The editing and cinematography influenced countless number of future filmmakers.

200. Donnie Darko (2001)

Dir: Richard Kelly (1)

DP: Steven Poster (1)

Editor: Sam Bauer (1)

Writer: Richard Kelly (1)

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal (2), Jena Malone (1), Drew Barrymore (1), Maggie Gyllenhaal (2), Beth Grant (2), Patrick Swayze (1)

Composer: Michael Andrews (1)

Country: USA (144)

Genre: Mystery (20), Fantasy (16)

Donnie Darko is one of those dark and brooding films that you see during your formative years that speaks to every desire to be unconventional and rebellious. It speaks to larger truths about the world and society and leaves you questioning all of it. Richard Kelly’s truly ambitious vision is a teenage fantasy that hinges on those feelings and had a profound impact on me growing up. Oh and Jake Gyllenhaal gives a career best performance.