The Best Damn 501 Films Ever Made: Part Eight (150-101)

Part OnePart TwoPart ThreePart FourPart FivePart Six Part Seven

Notes from the author:

Thanks everyone for sticking around with me as I slowly work my way towards the finish line. It’s a massive undertaking and with some other time commitments in my general life, it’s hard to carve out time. Nevertheless, I’m incredibly excited to share the rest of the list with all of you. We’re getting down to some unbelievable films. Pick any in part eight and I can guarantee you something unique or engaging in return. And for the love of god, keep watching films

And coming next Monday (November 1st) I have big announcement! Stay tuned for something great

150. In the Mood for Love (2000)

Dir: Wong Kar-wai (2)

DP: Chrisotpher Doyle (2), Mark Lee Ping Bin (1)

Editor: William Chang (1)

Writer: Wong Kar-wai (2)

Starring: Tony Leung (1), Maggie Cheung (2)

Composer: Michael Galasso (1)

Country: China (6)

Genre: Romance (35), Drama (128)

Wong Kar-wai’s visual style is simply unmatched. The way he can take a standard image and manipulate it to the point of unbending, whole originality is his signature and he does this throughout every scene of In The Mood for Love. The sensuality jumps out during every scene, every cut, and every line of dialogue. It pulsates through the image and nobody can look away, trapping you in the sheer gaze and intensity of the two main characters played insatiably by Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung.

149. Shampoo (1975)

Dir: Hal Ashby (4)

DP: László Kovács (2)

Editor: Robert C. Jones (4)

Writer: Robert Towne (2), Warren Beatty (1)

Starring: Warren Beatty (2), Goldie Hawn (1), Lee Grant (1), Jack Warden (3), Tony Bill (1)

Composer: Paul Simon (1)

Country: USA (156)

Genre: Comedy (47), Romance (36)

Shampoo on the surface is a dissociated look at Beverly Hills vanity and compulsion but pull back a layer and you’ll find a subtle examination of the political elite in California not associated with Hollywood. The power structure behind Nixon Republicans in Orange County mansions, and how Hal Ashby expertly incorporates the politics into the background while playing such a major role in the narrative. It’s such an honest look at the mood of these women caught in the web of male narcissism and the life of a bored housewife as well as the faux-ambition of a man with an out of control libido

148. Battleship Potemkin (1925)

Dir: Sergei Einstein (1)

DP: Eduard Tisse (1), Vladimir Popov (1)

Editor: Sergei Eisenstein (1), Grigori Aleksandrov (1)

Writer: Nina Agadzhanova (1), Sergei Eisenstein (1), Sergei Tretyakov (1), Nikolai Aseyev

Starring: Aleksandr Antonov (1), Vladimir Barksy (1), Grigori Aleksandrov (1)

Composer: Edmund Meisel (1)

Country: Russia (4)

Genre: Silent (5), Historical Drama (7), War (24)

The epic struggle of a mutiny on the SS Potemkin was captured in all its chaotic glory. Sergei Einstein is the preeminent figure when it came to this scale and style of storytelling during the silent era and Battleship Potemkin is his magnum opus. This film popularized montage editing as it combines the shocking betrayal of the officers through its incredibly striking imagery that screams with emotion. A violently powerful film that shows the true magic of cinematography and editing to tell an effective narrative.

147. Invention for Destruction (1958)

Dir: Karel Zeman (2)

DP: Jiří Tarantík (2), Bohuslav Pikhart (1), Antonín Horák (1)

Editor: Zdeněk Stehlík

Writer: Karel Zeman (2), František Hrubín (1), Jiří Brdečka (2), Milan Vacha (1)

Starring: Lubor Tokoš (1), Arnošt Navrátil (1), Miloslav Holub (1)

Composer: Zdeněk Liška (3)

Country: Czechoslovakia (5)

Genre: Sci-fi (19), Adventure (2)

Invention for Destruction is a film of great discovery and fully embraces the imagination of the filmmaker. Karl Zeman’s vision is one of grave destruction and an age of enlightenment told through a picture book aesthetic. The backdrop appears to have creases on a page and only the bizarre-looking contraptions that make up most shots are the makeup of a children’s book. Zeman uses the Victorian line engravings that give this film such a unique visual style. The sense of wonder is captured in the images and pays homage to the father of cinema George Melies with the craft, as well as the distinct Zdenek Liska score that uses the harpsichord that complements the old-style aesthetic and imagination. It’s an experimental film from the score to the visuals and even to the script and the humor. It feels like a silent film in many ways with the physical humor and the emphasis on the image.

146. The Piano Teacher (2001)

Dir: Michael Haneke (4)

DP: Christian Berger (3)

Editor: Nadine Muse (2), Monika Willi (2)

Writer: Michael Haneke (4)

Starring: Isabelle Huppert (4) , Annie Girardot (1), Benoît Magimel (1)

Composer: Martin Achenbach (1)

Country: France (31), Austria (2), Germany (8)

Genre: Romance (37), Drama (129)

Dark, contemptuous, and forbidden love gives Isabelle Huppert the stage to make her mark on cinema and she does in awe-inspiring ways. The hurt from her is palpable as she somehow makes her characters’ decisions feel almost reasoned and thought out in Haneke’s devastating portrait of unrefined urges. Huppert has the keen sensibilities to play both a manic depressive going through a severe episode as well as a confident intellectual type that finds herself doing something unspeakable. It’s ravishing, passionate cinema.

145. Hana-bi (1997)

Dir: Takeshi Kitano (3)

DP: Hideo Yamamoto (2)

Editor: Takeshi Kitano (3)

Writer: Takeshi Kitano (3)

Starring: Takeshi Kitano (3), Kayoko Kishimoto (1), Ren Osugi (3), Susumu Terajima (4), Tetsuo Watanabe (3)

Composer: Joe Hisashi (6)

Country: Japan (50)

Genre: Crime (24), Drama (130)

Hana-bi channels Kitano’s enraged energy but shows a certain restraint in the depiction of his wife. It takes time to reflect on the good moments that give the brutal violence its purpose, balancing the two harsh tones beautifully—delivered delicately by the Joe Hisashi score with a tenderness not customarily associated with yakuza and police procedurals, where Kitano can tell a uniquely structured story about devotion and defiance. The film is centered around Kitano’s pent-up anger, fighting life and death in every scene. All capped off by a final poetic scene that wraps up this film perfectly.

144. Rope (1948)

Dir: Alfred Hitchcock (5)

DP: Joseph A. Valentine (2), William V. Skall (1)

Editor: William H. Ziegler (2)

Writer: Arthur Laurents (1)

Starring: James Stewart (2), John Dall (1), Farley Granger (2), Joan Chandler (1)

Composer: David Buttolph (1), Francis Poulenc (1)

Country: USA (157)

Genre: Thriller (40), Crime (25)

The original one-take-one setting structure was brought to life by Alfred Hitchcock. The one film ol’ Hitch detest and thinks was a mistake for making but I beg to differ. On the contrary, it’s one of Hitchcock’s best utilization of his trademark tension, and the idea that the tension can’t escape the room only makes it more claustrophobic. Every line utter has a sense of dread and the way Hitchcock works his way around the cuts is genius. It’s more Rear Window than Vertigo, but it’s still one of his absolute best

143. Secret Sunshine (2007)

Dir: Lee Chang-dong (2)

DP: Cho Yong-kyu (1)

Editor: Kim Hyun (2)

Writer: Lee Chang-dong (2), Yi Chong-jun (1)

Starring: Jeon Do-yeon (1), Song Kang-ho (6), Jo Young-jin (1),  

Composer: Christian Basso (1)

Country: South Korea (14)

Genre: Drama (131)

Devastating heartbreak and one of the greatest films with the focus entirely on the process of grief. Lee Chang-dong forces these feelings in deeply uncomfortable but necessary ways. He wants those feelings to overwhelm and tear down any defenses. He’s not afraid to confront these emotions in a constructive, revealing way that feels universal. The performances are great but it’s the tone that makes this a seminal picture and uniquely equipped to handle a subject no one wants to grapple with outside of their real lives.

142. Ghost in the Shell (1995)

Dir: Mamoru Oshii (1)

DP: Hisao Shirai (1)

Editor: Shūichi Kakesu (1), Shigeyuki Yamamor (1)

Writer: Kazunori Itō (1), Masamune Shirow

Starring: Atsuko Tanaka (1), Akio Ōtsuka (1), Iemasa Kayumi (1)

Composer: Kenji Kawai (1)

Country: Japan (51)

Genre: Animation (11), Sci-fi (20)

Ghost in the Shell is an awe-inspiring animated film that takes the premise of the soul and its vessels to new interesting heights. The premise and script are world-class, allowing Mamoru Oshii to flex his aesthetic prowess and give us a seminal 90’s classic that will stand the test of time due to the style and questions it asks of the future. An utterly fascinating discussion on the deeper themes and meanings to be had with Ghost in the Shell.

141. Some Like it Hot (1959)

Dir: Billy Wilder (7)

DP: Charles Lang (3)

Editor: Arthur P. Schmidt (3)

Writer: Billy Wilder (7)

Starring: Marilyn Monroe (1) Tony Curtis (1),  Jack Lemmon (6), Joe E. Brown (1)

Composer: Adolph Deutsch (1)

Country: USA (158)

Genre: Comedy (49), Romance (38)

Peak screwball comedy with extra flavors of delicious gossip and situational humor that Billy Wilder accentuates to an unbelievable degree. The three central performances – Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, and Marilyn Monroe – will go into the screwball comedy hall of fame, alongside Carey Grant and Katherine Hepburn, because each performance is unique in its own right and leaves a lasting impression. The craft is excellent, the pacing immaculate, and the acting absolutely essential.

140. Spirited Away (2001)

Dir: Hayao Miyazaki (5)

DP: Atsushi Okui (3)

Editor: Takeshi Seyama (2)

Writer: Hayao Miyazaki (5)

Starring: Rumi Hiragi (1), Miyu Irino (1), Mari Natsuki (1), Yakusho Sawaguchi (1) 

Composer: Joe Hisashi (7)

Country: Japan (52)

Genre: Animation (12), Fantasy (18)

Unending imagination splattered on-screen with magical hidden worlds, unforeseen creatures, and all told through the perspective of one curious little girl. The only Ghibli film to win an Oscar and a film that has become a cultural staple since its release. It’s the Miyazaki film that put his gorgeous filmmaking on the Hollywood map. As for the film, it seemingly deep dives into the subconscious of a child discovering the world and translates that to a screen in gorgeous vibrant colors. It’s the Miyazaki film born out of his other films and a culmination of his brilliant life’s work.

139. Double Indemnity (1944)

Dir: Billy Wilder (8)

DP: John F. Seitz (3)

Editor: Doane Harrison (2)

Writer: Billy Wilder (8), Raymond Chandler (3), James M. Cain (3)

Starring: Fred MacMurray (2), Barbara Stanwyck (2), Edward G. Robinson (1), Porter Hall (4)

Composer: Miklos Rozsa (2)

Country: USA (159)

Genre: Noir (14)

The penultimate Noir experience and a great starting point for anyone venturing into the genre. Billy Wilder’s best film. One that best expresses his technical prowess as a filmmaker, showing his propensity towards complexity and layered narratives with compelling writing. Double Indemnity is his most back-stabby, shady, and cool. A combination of all the things that make Noir undefeated.

138. Stalker (1979)

Dir: Andrei Tarkovsky (2)

DP: Aleksandr Knayzhinsky (1), Leonid Kalashnikov (1)

Editor: Lyudmila Feiginova (2)

Writer: Andrei Tarkovsky (2), Arkadiy Strugatskiy (1), Boris Stugatskiy (1)

Starring: Aleksandr Kaydanovskiy (1), Anatoliy Solonitsyn (2), Nikolay Grinko (2)

Composer: Eduard Artemyev (2)

Country: Russia (5)

Genre: Sci-fi (20), Drama (132)

The atmospheric pressure of Tarkovsky’s Stalker is profound and the production itself is responsible for the death of its own author. It’s a vivid, dour, and endlessly philosophical journey into an otherworldly and isolated place in the world: The Zone. The acting is simply magnificent, taking three inquisitive character archetypes and placing them in unfamiliar terrain. One of the most immersive films ever made with Tarkovsky’s touch.

137. His Girl Friday (1940)

Dir: Howard Hawks (1)

DP: Joseph Walker (3)

Editor: Gene Havlick (2)

Writer: Charles Lederer (1), Ben Hecht (5)

Starring: Cary Grant (2), Rosalind Russell (1), Ralph Bellamy (1), Gene Lockhart (1)

Composer: Sidney Cutner (1), Felix Mills (1), Ben Oakland (1)

Country: USA (160)

Genre: Drama (133), Comedy (50)

The quick-twitch, snappy dialogue of Howard Hawks deviously charming His Girl Friday can’t be replicated. The script and performances are on their own tier, with almost every single line being extra quotable and memorable. Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell deliver such remarkable performances, able to stay within the pacing and timing of any given scene and give the dialogue extra emphasis through their immaculate delivery. There’s not a single scene that gets overlooked

136. Kuroneko (1968)

Dir: Kaneto Shindo (1)

DP: Kiyomi Kuroda (1)

Editor: Hisao Enoki (1)

Writer: Kaneto Shindo (1)

Starring: Kichiemon Nakamura (1), Nobuko Otowa (1), Kiwako Taichi (1)

Composer: Hikaru Hayashi (3)

Country: Japan (53)

Genre: Horror (38), Samurai (6)

Shindo’s control over the atmosphere is astonishing. He tells the story of Kuroneko, a legendary Japanese folk tale, about the brutality of the Samurai. Told through the radical black-and-white cinematography and sharp set designs create this aura of suspense. The “black cats” that haunt this village are mystical in their depiction, literally flying through the air. It’s a fabulous film. A great Japanese horror experience that relates to traditional storytelling techniques expertly told through a new medium. Add in the glorious Hiraku Hayashi score that takes this from good to great. Shindo’s overall vision was executed well to achieve the atmosphere.

135. The Pianist (2002)

Dir: Roman Polanski (2)

DP: Paweł Edelman (1)

Editor: Herve de Luze (1)

Writer: Ronald Harwood (1), Wladyslaw Szpilman (1)

Starring: Adrien Brody (4), Thomas Kretschman (2), Frank Finlay (1), Maureen Lipman (1), Emilia Cox (1)

Composer: Wojchiech Kilar (1)

Country: France (32)

Genre: War (25)

The craft from Polanski is a masterclass. No film in history has replicated the claustrophobia of the Holocaust as the “The Pianist.” The devastation is never-ending and brought to life through Adrian Brody’s distraught performance. The ending is a testament to the survivors, including Polanski himself.

134. The Big Sleep (1946)

Dir: Howard Hawks (2)

DP: Sidney Hickox (1)

Editor: Christian Nyby (1)

Writer: Jules Furthman (1), Leigh Brackett (2), Raymond Chandler (4), William Faulkner (1)

Starring: Humphrey Bogart (4), Lauren Bacall (1), John Ridgley (1), Martha Vickers (1), 

Composer: Max Steiner (5)

Country: USA (161)

Genre: Noir (15)

The best pure Raymond Chandler adaptation and peak Bacall and Bogey cinema. The dark, hidden underbelly of this bizarrely constructed narrative creates an atmosphere where at no point should the audience take a character at their word. Insatiably quotable in the script and delivery, it succumbed to Chandler’s charms and Hawks tells this story as it’s supposed to be told. No omitting details to make it more cohesive. A truly phenomenal adaptation of an unadaptable book.

133. High and Low (1963)

Dir: Akira Kurosawa (8)

DP: Asakazu Nakai (5), Takao Saito (3)

Editor: Akira Kurosawa (5)

Writer: Akira Kurosawa (8), Hideo Oguni (4), Evan Hunter (1), Ryuzo Kikushima (4), Eijiro Hisaita (1)

Starring: Toshiro Mifune (6), Tatsuya Nakadai (5), Kyoko Kagawa (4), Tatsuya Mihashi (1)

Composer: Masaru Sato (4), Franz Schubert (1)

Country: Japan (54)

Genre: Crime (26)

Kurosawa presents an economic and moral dilemma in such a dynamic way where we struggle along with the characters. We also get to sit back and watch Toshiro Mifune act his fucking ass off. A police procedural, crime film, and family drama rolled into one. High and Low covers the social dynamics of modern Japan at that time in a tightly packed, tense thriller. One of Kurosawa’s best in a contemporary setting.

132. The Ruling Class (1972)

Dir: Peter Medak (1)

DP: Ken Hodges (1)

Editor: Ray Lovejoy (1)

Writer: Peter Barnes (1)

Starring: Peter O’Toole (1), Alastair Sim (1), Arthur Lowe (1), Harry Andrews (2), Carol Browne (1)

Composer: John Cameron (1)

Country: United Kingdom (29)

Genre: Comedy (51), Drama (134)

Peter O’ Toole playing a schizophrenic Jesus Christ inherits the Gurney estate after the cross-dressing Earl of Gurney dies. A peculiar black comedy with one of my all-time favorite performances from O’ Toole. Endlessly quotable with nearly every line uttered from O’Toole reaching some level of genius in the dialogue’s double-sided meaning and his incredible delivery. It’s a brilliant comedy.

131. Schindler’s List (1993)

Dir: Steven Spielberg (5)

DP: Janusz Kaminski (3)

Editor: Michael Kahn (4)

Writer: Steve Zallian (2)

Starring: Liam Neeson (1), Ben Kingsley (1), Ralph Fiennes (2), Caroline Goodall (1)

Composer: John Williams (6)

Country: USA (162)

Genre: War (26), Drama (135)

The sheer terror of undermining the Nazi’s authority in Germany and carefully walking that line. In Spielberg’s masterpiece, he touches on the heart of the holocaust, alone a journey to a sanctuary that serves as a small semblance of warmth and humanity. The gorgeous yet real depiction of the holocaust, one led by two outstanding performances from Liam Neeson and Ben Kingsley makes this a touching experience rather than utter devastation.

130. Terrorizers (1986)

Dir: Edward Yang (1)

DP: Chang Chan (1)

Editor: Liao Ching-Song (1)

Writer: Edward Yang (1), Hsiao Yeh (1), 

Starring: Cora Miao (1), Lee Lichun (1), Chin Shih-Chieh (1)

Composer: Xiaoling Weng (1)

Country: Taiwan (2) 

Genre: Crime (27), Drama (136) 

Edward Yang’s understanding of a changing Taiwan through globalization and greed is at the center of his third feature, The Terrorizers. A weaving, poetic narrative surrounding three loosely connected couples all falling into the same despondent cultural apathy and failing to comprehend their values, making them emotionally unstable. The entire film feels like it’s shot in a daze: the white color palette, the cloudy aesthetics, and bleak undertones of discontent make this an unbalanced haze of human connection. A story simultaneously disconnected from reality while shaping the existence of so many people in Taipei. Even in Yang’s more outwardly concerning films, they don’t feel as cold to the touch as The Terrorizer but are equally as lasting as those experiences.

129. Wings of Desire (1987)

Dir: Wim Wenders (2)

DP: Henri Alekan (2)

Editor: Peter Przygodda (2)

Writer: Wim Wenders (1), Peter Handke (1), Richard Reitinger (1), Bernand Eischenschitz (1)

Starring: Bruno Ganz (1), Otto Sander (1), Solveig Dommartin (1), Curt Bois (1)

Composer: Jurgen Knieper (1)

Country: Germany (9), France (33)

Genre: Drama (137)

Wim Wenders has such a soft touch through his filmmaking. A humanistic style with a focus on behavior and our relation to other people. Wings of Desire is a film about how we treat others and how the desire to live outweighs anything else when we extend ourselves to others. An overwhelmingly poignant observant story that’s unlike anything else.

128. The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989)

Dir: Peter Greenaway (1)

DP: Sacha Vierny (2)

Editor: John Wilson (1)

Writer: Peter Greenaway (1)

Starring: Richard Bohringer (1), Michael Gambon (4), Helen Miren (1), Alan Howard (3), Tim Roth (3)

Composer: Michael Nyman (1)

Country: United Kingdom (30), France (34)

Genre: Drama (138), Romance (39) 

The energy of Peter Greenway’s masterpiece of lust and jealousy is unmatched. The panning camera from set-to-set presents an ever-changing and evolving narrative, with loud and soft characters engaging in a battle of wills. It’s a gorgeous production design, amazing ensemble, and bizarre story that makes this a beyond memorable experience with the pitch-perfect ending. It’s unique style and executed, flat-out

127. Cape Fear (1962)

Dir: J. Lee Thompson (1)

DP: Sam Leavitt (2), Robert Willoughby (1)

Editor: George Tomasini (2)

Writer: John D. MacDonald (1), James R. Webb (1)

Starring: Gregory Peck (2), Robert Mitchum (3), Polly Bergen (1), Martin Balsam (1), Telly Savalas (2)

Composer: Bernard Hermann (4)

Country: USA (163)

Genre: Thriller (41)

Adrenaline pulsating thriller with two incredible dueling performances from Robert Mitchum and Gregory Peck. The protection of a family from a cold-blooded killer with a vendetta. Mitchum’s menacing and calculated creates the ultimate dread hanging over the story. The Bernard Herman score and the central theme is that of legends and add an extra layer to this film

126. The Face of Another (1966)

Dir: Hiroshi Teshigahara (1)

DP: Hiroshi Segawa (1)

Editor: Yoshi Sugihara (4)

Writer: Kobo Abe (2)

Starring: Tatsuya Nakadai (6), Machiko Kyo (3), Mikijiro Hira (1), Kyoko Kishida (2)

Composer: Toru Takemitsu (3)

Country: Japan (55)

Genre: Sci-fi (21), Drama (139) 

Hiroshi Teshigahara’s probing style of storytelling makes The Face of Another an enthralling portrait of a man’s psyche. A potent, well-acted, and shot film that asks the question of what makes the person – the skin or the soul and what happens when our outer flesh takes control of our inner selves. A story where identity is treated as a secondary characteristic to appearance and the weight of a personality is no longer attached to the person. It’s another Teshigahara film that challenges at every opportunity, and despite a rather predictable plot, it finds subtle ways to push the narrative further through vibrant imagery, a brilliant overarching score from Toru Takemitsu that sets the tone, and a beyond fascinating main character played by the legendary Tatsuya Nakadai.

125. The 400 Blows (1959)

Dir: François Truffaut (2)

DP: Henri Decae (2)

Editor:  Marie-Josephe Yoyotte (1)

Writer: François Truffaut (3)

Starring: Jean-Pierre Leaud (2), Claire Maurier (1), Albert Remy (1), Georges Flamant (1)

Composer: Jean Constantine (1)

Country: France (35)

Genre: Drama (140), Coming-of-age (6) 

A Truffaut coming-of-age film, focusing on the joys of childhood through the perspective of a broken child. Experiencing the world through harsh terms and Truffaut makes sure to exemplify this in his work. A stunning piece of art through essentially a hangout movie with a considerable amount of detail.

124. Taste of Cherry (1997)

Dir: Abbas Kiarostami (3)

DP: Homayun Payvar (1)

Editor: Abbas Kiarostami (2)

Writer:  Abbas Kiarostami (3)

Starring: Homayoun Ershadi (1)

Country: Iran (5)

Genre: Drama (141)

The introspective nature of an Abbas Kiarostami script is what makes his film experiences so lasting and memorable. In Taste of Cherry, there’s a unique dichotomy and direction each conversation takes and the film grasps an entire worldview based on the variety of people Mr. Badii (Homayoun Ershadi) encounters on his distressing journey through his past life and the final decision he’s made. The course of each conversation is beyond fascinating and the responses to Mr. Badii’s request are so measured and authentic. It’s not only that these conversations took place, but the context of when and who they took place with that makes the subject of their conversations so enthralling.

123. Shura (1971)

Dir: Toshio Matsumoto (1)

DP: Tatsuo Sazuki (1)

Editor: Toshie Iwasa (1)

Writer: Toshio Matsumoto (1)

Starring: Katsuo Nakamura (1), Juro Kara (1), Yasuko Sanjo (1)

Composer: Bunichi Nishimatsu (1)

Country: Japan (56)

Genre: Horror (39)

Shrouded in alluring darkness, feeding into the soul of each character, which manifests itself into an environment of sheer horror. A universe where each decision made by the main character Gengo (Katso Nakamura) digs them all deeper into despair. Shuro is ultimately about shame and temptation turning human beings into a beast. From the start, Gengo is under Koman’s (Yasuko Sanjo) spell, easing into the absolute devastation of the third act.

122. Suspiria (1977)

Dir: Dario Argento (1)

DP: Luciano Tovoli (1)

Editor: Franco Fraticelli (1)

Writer: Dario Argento (1), Daria Nicolodi (1), Thomas De Quincey (1)

Starring: Jessica Harper (1), Stefania Casini (1), Flavio Bucci (1), Barbara Magnolfi (1)

Composer: Goblin (1)

Country: Italy (9)

Genre: Horror (40)

Dario Argento’s Goblin scored Suspiria is a blood-infused witches curse of an experience. It’s dipped in acid and free to explore the horrific depths of its surrealism, Gothic horror, and Giallo stylings. The mix of the music, visuals, and coven vision for the narrative gives it such a distinct flavor that makes people fall in love with this film.

121. Boogie Nights (1997)

Dir: Paul Thomas Anderson (3)

DP: Robert Elswit (3)

Editor: Dylan Tichenor (1)

Writer: Paul Thomas Anderson (2)

Starring: Mark Wahlberg (1), Julianne Moore (1), Burt Reynolds (1), John C. Reilly (3), Phillip Seymour Hoffman (2)

Composer: Michael Penn (1)

Country: USA (164)

Genre: Drama (142)

The glory and fall of a pornstar shot and written as perfectly as one can do it. Paul Thomas Anderson burst onto the scene with a bold, brash, and sexed crazed view of the porn industry that shows it as honestly and glamorized as possible. It’s fantastical but also grounded but above all else genuinely entertaining.

120. Days of Heaven (1978)

Dir: Terrence Malick (3)

DP: Nestor Almendros (1)

Editor: Billy Weber (3)

Writer: Terence Malick (2)

Starring: Richard Gere (1), Brooke Adams (1), Linda Manz (1), Sam Shepard (1)

Composer: Ennio Morricone (4)

Country: USA (165)

Genre: Drama (143)

Malick’s most concise and interconnected narrative feature and a beautiful one at that. Combining his grandiose approach to the imagery by grounding the narrative heavily in the lives of a loving couple. It’s Malick’s swan song, able to convey the relatable of suffering through all people with the sheer amount of extraordinary beauty in the world. Scored through Ennio Morricone’s epic theme that is flowing with life. Masterfully edited, shot, and writing. A story looking back on better days.

119. The Last Picture Show (1971)

Dir: Peter Bogdanovich (2)

DP: Robert Surtees (1)

Editor: Donn Cambern (1), Peter Bogdanovich (1)

Writer: Larry McMurty (1), Peter Bogdanovich (1)

Starring: Jeff Bridges (1), Timothy Bottoms (2), Cybill Shepherd (2), Cloris Leachman (1), Ellen Burstyn (3), Ben Johnson (1)

Country: USA (166)

Genre: Drama (144)

Malick’s most concise and interconnected narrative feature and a beautiful one at that. It is combining his majestic approach to the imagery by grounding the narrative heavily in the lives of a loving couple. It’s Malick’s swan song, able to convey the relatable suffering through all people with the sheer amount of extraordinary beauty in the world. Scored through Ennio Morricone’s epic theme that is flowing with life. Masterfully edited, shot, and written. A story looking back on better days.

118. The Naked Island (1960)

Dir: Kaneto Shindo (2)

DP: Kiyomi Kuroda (2)

Editor: Toshio Enoki (1)

Writer: Kaneto Shindo (2)

Starring: Nobuko Otowa (2), Taiji Tonoyama (6), Shinji Tanaka (1), Masanori Horimoto (1)

Composer: Hikaru Hayashi (4)

Country: Japan (57)

Genre: Drama (145)

The Naked Island is a sheer, unfiltered struggle of one isolated family. Shot in one of the most beautiful locations imaginable – the uninhabitable island of Sukune off the coast of Japan – Kaneto Shindo tells this entire story through profound imagery with little dialogue. It’s a visual tour-de-force with some of the most unbelievable cinematography ever filmed. The compositions and blocking speak for the characters and the physical performances of these actors convey the immense struggle of living outside the circle of society. The plot is entirely straightforward, but it becomes a complex emotional undertaking that develops into more heavy themes of survival and sufferance. A towering tale of human endurance

117. Neon Genesis: Evangelion (1997)

Dir: Hideaki Anno (1), Kazuya Tsurumaki (1)

DP: Hisao Shirai (2), Motoaki Ikegami (1)

Editor: Sachiko Miki (1)

Writer: Hideaki Anno (1)

Starring: Megumi Ogata (1), Megumi Hayashibara (2), Kotono Mitsuishi (1)

Composer: Shiro Sagusi (1)

Country: Japan (58)

Genre: Animation (13), Sci-fi (22)

An ode to one of the greatest pieces of fiction ever produced, “The End of Evangelion” is the true end to the Evangelion saga and an explosive piece of storytelling. In a truly magnificent finish to the Shinji, Asuka, and Rei storyline, the film carries to a devastatingly dark place. The *primordial soup of humanity,* if you know what I’m saying. My advice: watch all of Evangelion.

116. A Short Film About Killing (1998)

Dir: Krzysztof Kieślowski (3)

DP: Sławomir Idziak (3)

Editor: Ewa Smal (1)

Writer: Krzysztof Kieślowski (3), Krzysztof Piesiewicz (3)

Starring: Mirosław Baka (1), Krzysztof Globisz (1), Jan Tesarz (1)

Composer: Zbigniew Preisner (3)

Country: Poland (4)

Genre: Crime (28), Drama (146)

A Short Film About Killing is peak Kieslowski – concise, direct, and overpowering in its portrayal of murder and any senseless act of violence. It’s a maddening ordeal in the script but a jaw-dropping visceral experience through Kieslowski’s incredible visuals. Every frame is a dour, dark painting of a world off-balance, while Kieslowski does try to make sense of the unexplainable nature of the crime of murder but comes away even more deadened and lost. The yellow hues and overexposed negatives give this film a feeling that’s never been replicated before or since and plays into the derangement of the narrative. It’s filled with obvious death imagery as if it hangs over everything that happens in the film and bleeds into every interaction. The film can be defined as a general sense of unease, which begins from the first frame to the last. It’s the vicious cycle of human suffering, devoid of sentimentality and wanting the audience to consider what they see on screen deeply, without any sense of emotion. The anti-capital punishment sentiment at the heart of Miroslaw Baka’s story, as even the most nonsensical, random crimes don’t deserve damnation by the state, and even an impassioned, righteous human rights argument delivered by Krzysztof Globisz isn’t enough to break a cruel system.

115. Black God, White Devil (1964)

Dir: Glauber Rocha (2)

DP: Waldemir Lima (1) 

Editor: Glauber Rocha (1), Rafael Justo Valverde (1)

Writer: Walter Lima Jr (1), Glauber Rocha (2), Paulo Gil Soares (1)

Starring: Geraldo del Rey (1), Yona Magalhães (1), Othon Bastos (1)

Composer: Glauber Rocha (1)

Country: Brazil (3)

Genre: Drama (147), Western (5), Crime (29)

In Black God, White Devil, the man going against institutions, shot in a heroic western style, focusing on the devil trapped within all things. It doesn’t come across as a philosophical piece of work due to the overabundance of style. Still, it’s incredibly thought-provoking and angry at the inescapable world of humanity in no uncertain terms. A film set during the Brazilian drought, as desperation becomes one with the culture, and the weak are easily manipulated, it questions the very foundation of Brazil. The film speaks of carving a destiny for these people, but by the end, our main characters, Manuel and Rosa, make a discovery so profound and troubling, showing them a world devoid of destiny. It’s bleak, rotten, and gripped with fear of what we don’t understand.

114. Europa (1991)

Dir: Lars von Trier (2)

DP: Edward Klosinski (1), Jean-Paul Meurisse (1), Henning Bendtson (1)

Editor: Herve Schneid (1)

Writer: Lars Von Trier (2), Niels Vørsel (1)

Starring: Jean-Marc Barr (1), Barbara Sukowa (1), Udo Kier (1), Max von Sydow (7)

Composer: Joachim Holbek (1)

Country: Denmark (3)

Genre: Drama (148)

The Joachim Holbek orchestral score slowly fades in and up comes Max von Sydow’s commanding tone of voice, bracing the audience for the avant-garde state of mind the film will soon put you under. Uncompromising, unrepentant, and highly stylized, it’s an incredible visual and audio experience that speaks to an outsiders misunderstanding of the situation and of themselves

113. Love Exposure (2008)

Dir: Sion Sono (1)

DP: Sohei Tanikawa (1)

Editor: Junichi Itou (1)

Writer: Sion Sono (1)

Starring: Takahiro Nishijima (1), Hikari Mitsushima (1), Sakura Ando (2), Makiko Watanabe (1)

Composer: Tomohide Harada (1)

Country: Japan (59)

Genre: Drama (149), Crime (30)

Love Exposure is a Sion Sono epic of mass proportions – a four-hour-long journey through the spiritual, ethereal, and humanistic mind of masterful up-skirt photographer Takahiro (Yu Honda). A journey that goes to so many unexpected places but still hangs onto the lifeblood of his existence which is finding his Virgin Mary and the cultist conformist that sway him from his ultimate goal. The range of the film is mind-boggling, going from strict, bleak, and a staunch criticism of organized religion to lighthearted and fun and then bizarre and surreal. And it all seems to fit in Sono’s spectacularly backward world, as each subsequent plot point only adds more to the emotionally confused screenplay (and I mean this as a compliment).

112. Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975)

Dir: Pier Paolo Pasolini (1)

DP: Tonino Delli Colli (1)

Editor: Nino Baragli (1)

Writer: Pier Paolo Pasolini (1), Donatien Alphonse (1)

Starring: Paolo Bonacelli (1), Giorgio Cataldi (1), Aldo Valletti (1), Caterina Boratto (1)

Composer: Ennio Morricone (3)

Country: Italy (9)

Genre: Drama (150)

Pasolini’s Saló is the infamous gag-inducing film of radicalized fascism imbued with an underhand history and revealing nature towards Italian politicians. The backstory is almost as compelling as the film, leading to Pasolini’s death. The film itself is an absolutely inescapable nightmare that has plenty of shock value. Knowing the history certainly makes it palatable, but there is a strange, sick, sadistic entertainment value here that I’m endlessly intrigued by.

111. Kagemusha (1980)

Dir: Akira Kurosawa (9)

DP: Takao Saito (4), Shoji Ueda (2)

Editor: Akira Kurosawa (6)

Writer: Akira Kurosawa (9), Masato Ide (2)

Starring: Tatsuya Nakadai (7), Tsutomu Yamazaki (4), Kenichi Hagiwara (1), Jinpachi Nezu (1)

Composer: Shinchiro Ikebe (2)

Country: Japan (60)

Genre: Drama (151), War (27)

Kurosawa’s most underrated film bar-none. It’s the writing of the protagonist and visual design. The protagonist plays a shadow of another human being, feels his love, and then gets tossed aside like dirt. A powerful message towards familial bonds told through one of the legendarily great Japanese actors Tatsuya Nakadai and he gives an overwhelmingly poignant portrayal. On the outset, it’s Kurosawa’s vibrant color palette to only reveal a deep emotional heart.

110. Pulp Fiction (1994)

Dir: Quentin Tarantino (3)

DP: Andrzej Sekula (2)

Editor: Sally Menke (2)

Writer: Quentin Tarantino (3), Roger Avery (1) 

Starring: John Trovolta (1), Samuel L. Jackson (1), Uma Thurman (1), Bruce Willis (1), Ving Rhames (1), Harvey Keitel (6), Tim Roth (4)

Country: USA (166)

Genre: Crime (31), Drama (152)

Quentin Tarantino delivered his most eclectic, unambiguously stylish film that defined his career. Pulp Fiction is an unstructured thrill ride through a brief moment in the period that brings a diverse set of characters barreling towards each other at tremendous speeds. It’s an eight-ball of cocaine energy, placing scene after scene of divine enlightenment and tragic results. It’s a powerhouse of an ensemble and it hits quickly. Brilliant and fun.

109. Y Tu Mama Tambien (2001)

Dir: Alfonso Cuaron (1)

DP: Emmanuel Lubezki (1)

Editor: Alfonso Cuaron (1), Alex Rodriguez (1)

Writer: Alfonso Cuaron (1), Carlos Cuaron (1)

Starring: Gael Garcia Bernal (1), Diego Luna (1), Maribel Verdu (2)

Country: Mexico (4)

Genre: Drama (153), Romance (40)

Excerpt from my review: 

It’s hard to put into words the beauty of this film and how meaningful and lasting the experience is. It’s such a deep dive into friendship, love, the meaning of life, but most importantly the unexpectedness that comes with life. How situations, feelings, and moments seemingly come out of nowhere and that life happens on the fly. This film encapsulates that idea while giving us a full understanding of Mexican culture as a young man or as a married woman. The worldbuilding is so subtle yet so vast and truly covers the entire culture and personal experience of this moment. It pays a lot of attention to small details, not only in the plot but in the setting. It’s unspeakably gorgeous in the execution and focuses on these characters that are at times narcissistic and self-serving, but always show a softer side despite all efforts to suppress it in front of others. In essence, “Y Tu Mama Tambien” is life itself and a truly human experience that needs to be cherished.

108. Shoplifters (2018)

Dir: Hirokazu Kore-eda (3)

DP: Ryuto Kondo (1)

Editor: Hirokazu Kore-eda (3)

Writer: Hirokazu Kore-eda (3)

Starring: Lily Franky (1), Sakura Ando (3), Mayu Matsuoka (1), Kari Jyu (1), Kirin Kiki (4)

Composer: Haruomi Hosono (1)

Country: Japan (61)

Genre: Drama (154)

The appallingly human story is about a makeshift family living on the outskirts of society. It’s stunningly beautiful and filled with compassion for these characters. Sakura Ando and Lily Frankie broke me in this film. The family dynamics and class structure presented in Shoplifters curate excellent discussion. A meaningful film with just an amazing ensemble. Kore-eda’s masterpiece.

107. Midnight Cowboy (1969)

Dir: John Schlesinger (1)

DP: Adam Holender (1)

Editor: Hugh A. Robertson (1)

Writer: Waldo Salt (1)

Starring: John Voight (1), Dustin Hoffman (2)

Composer: John Barry (1)

Country: USA (167)

Genre: Drama (155)

John Schlesinger’s Midnight Cowboy is all over the place thematically, but that’s the beauty of this story and film. Jon Voight as the oddball Cowboy traveling to the big city, alongside my favorite Dustin Hoffman performance, makes this experience so bizarre and special. The way each plot point is framed and presented is different and no aspect of this film is the same. It’s absolutely brilliant.

106. The Trial (1962)

Dir: Orson Welles (3)

DP: Edmond Richard (2)

Editor: Orson Welles (2), Frederick Muller (1), Yvonne Martin (1)

Writer: Orson Welles (2), Franz Kafka (1)

Starring: Anthony Perkins (1), Jeanne Moreau (2), Romy Scheider (1), Orson Welles (3), Akim Tamiroff (2)

Composer: Jean Ledrut (1)

Country: France (36), Germany (10)

Genre: Crime (32), Drama (156)

Franz Kafka’s The Trial is a labyrinth of political and civil unrest – an elusive and unexplained journey into the depths of the legal system and operating under the guise of “open arrest.” Anthony Perkins is the perfect vehicle to experience this unbending vision from Welles that somehow turns the novel into a visual masterpiece with unbelievable set designs that make the film feel ethereal and larger than the plight of one individual.

105. All The President’s Men (1976)

Dir: Alan J. Pakula (2)

DP: Gordon Willis (3)

Editor: Robert L. Wolfe (2)

Writer: William Goldman (1)

Starring: Robert Redford (2), Dustin Hoffman (3), Jason Robards (1), Jack Warden (2), Hal Holbrook (1)

Composer: David Shire (2)

Country: USA (168)

Genre: Drama (157)

A brilliant film that captures the sheer importance of journalism in an unorthodox visual style. It’s one of the most important reporting jobs in modern American politics and the film captures the enormity of it while maintaining a personal relationship with Woodward (Redford) and Bernstein (Hoffman) – both delivering all-time great performances (along with Robards as the Editor). Some of the greatest interior cinematography ever put on film.

104. Magnolia (1999)

Dir: Paul Thomas Anderson (4)

DP: Robert Elswit (4)

Editor: Dylan Tichenor (4)

Writer: Paul Thomas Anderson (3)

Starring: Tom Cruise (1), Phillip Seymour Hoffman (3), Phillip Baker Hall (2), William H. Macy (2), Julianne Moore (2), John C. Reilly (4), Melora Waters (1)

Composer: Jon Brion (2)

Country: USA (168)

Genre: Drama (158)

One of the most audacious narratives ever made – six separate but interconnected storylines, all dealing with the inability to love or the contrast to that. It’s a balancing act of love and desire, life and death, all captured through these six diametrically opposed characters that all eventually reach the same narrative stopping point that is visually stunning and completely unexpected. It might be the most extraordinary end to a film in history. However, the cast is the strength of this film. Tom Cruise has never been better, and his hyper-masculine but the broken role was perfect for him. Julianne Moore, Phillip Baker Hall, John C. Reilly, Philip Seymour Hoffman are all at their emotional peak.

103. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Dir: Roman Polanski (3)

DP: William A. Fraker (1)

Editor: Sam O’Steen (1), Bob Wyman (1)

Writer: Roman Polanski (2), Ira Levin (1)

Starring: Mia Farrow (1), John Cassavetes (2), Ruth Gordon (2), Sidney Blackmere (1)

Composer: Krzysztof Komeda (1)

Country: USA (169)

Genre: Horror (41)

The classic occult film that brought sacrilege into the mainstream in 1968. A visceral masterpiece of a horror film that purposefully undermines a young couple and takes advantage of their youth and ambition. It’s the horror of overbearing neighbors, inching into every aspect of your life and the deterioration of one’s soul slowly and methodically. Mia Farrow is perfect as Rosemary, but it’s the full cast that brings this damning vision to life.

102. Prisoners (2013)

Dir: Denis Villeneuve (2)

DP: Roger Deakins (6)

Editor: Joel Cox (1), Gary D. Roach (1)

Writer: Aaron Guzikowski (1)

Starring: Hugh Jackman (3), Jake Gyllenhaal (3), Maria Bellon (1), Terrence Howard (1), Paul Dano (1), Viola Davis (1)

Composer: Johann Johannsson (1)

Country: USA (170)

Genre: Thriller (42), Crime (33)

Denis Villeneuve operating in the vitriol dark world of Prisoners opens up his craft in fascinating ways. Deakins has never shot a film with this level of darkness and he captures the upside-down of this story in such evocative ways. The enraged Hugh Jackman performance cements the tone of Villeneuve’s vision, showing the ruthlessness of the world and Gyllenhaal internalizes this struggle in Detective Loki. A multifaceted look at the destructive power of child abduction.

101. Enter The Void (2009)

Dir: Gaspar Noe (1)

DP: Benoît Debie (1)

Editor: Gaspar Noe (1), Marc Boucrot (1)

Writer: Gaspar Noe (1)

Starring: Paz de la Huerta (1), Nathaniel Brown (1), Cyril Rox (1), Olly Alexander (1)

Composer: Thomas Bangaltar (1)

Country: France (37), Canada (2) 

Genre: Drama (159), Avant-garde (7)

Gaspar Noe takes the convention of narrative structure and laughs before throwing them out and starting from scratch. Enter The Void is one of those films, not plot or character-driven, but experienced through otherworldly influence. It’s a film that exemplifies the great power of the medium of cinema and the all-encompassing host of the camera. It’s unlike anything else in existence.

101. Memories of Murder (2003)

Dir: Bong Joon-ho (2)

DP: Kim Hyung-koo (1)

Editor: Kim Sun-min (3)

Writer: Bong Joon-ho (2), Kim Kwang-rim (1), Shim Sung-bo (1)

Starring: Song Kang-ho (7), Kim Sang-kyung (1), Kim Roi-ha (3), Song Jae-ho (1)

Composer: Taro Iwashiro (1)

Country: South Korea (14)

Genre: Crime (34), Thriller (43)

The true-crime story of one of South Korea’s most infamous serial killers with a master of the craft in Bong Joon-ho capturing the madness, stress, and maddening energy of the search. All the actors are so bought into the tone of the film, from the satirical humor to the unending frustration of the hunt. The cinematography shows this isolation and hurt with some of the greatest wide-shot compositions I’ve ever seen. It’s internalized pain and externalized loss, all seen through the incredibly expressive face of Song Kang-ho.