Kenneth Branagh

Frankenstein; Henry V

UK

Voted in the directors’ poll

Voted for

Au Revoir les enfants

1987

Louis Malle

Black Narcissus

1947

Michael Powell/Emeric Pressburger

Brief Encounter

1945

David Lean

Citizen Kane

1941

Orson Welles

Manhattan

1979

Woody Allen

Napoleon

1927

Abel Gance

Raging Bull

1980

Martin Scorsese

Searchers, The

1956

John Ford

Third Man, The

1949

Carol Reed

Tootsie

1982

Sydney Pollack

Comments

Manhattan is rhapsodic musically, visually and emotionally. The grim comedy of city lives turned to poetry. Grandly ambitious, funny and heartbreaking.

Black Narcissus is sinister and erotic. A pioneering triumph of atmosphere and sound. Spiritually grubby – and proud of it.

Au revoir les enfants is a personal film of exquisite pain. The loss of childhood innocence theme transcends to a requiem for the 20th century. Youthful performances of complete and simple honesty.

Welles’s feat of imagination in Citizen Kane remains dazzling and inspiring. Cinema aspiring to great art, political import – and delivered with unabashed showmanship. The fervour of the work is as excited and electric as ever. The thriller plot never disappoints.

Raging Bull is a masterpiece in every element of execution. Revolutionary in its influence on performance, cinematography and sound. Funny and tragic in its immense visceral impact. It is a flawless work of art.

Brief Encounter is apparently simple romance lifted to tragic dimensions through the human and the humane. A film that uncovers the heart and soul of the British to the world.

The Third Man refuses to yield its mysteries after multiple viewings, but beckons one still, with the grimily sumptuous capture of a city on both physical and metaphysical plain. The Searchers is a master western of breathtaking visual poetry. Ford at his most searing, beautiful and dangerous. Wayne's performance is complex and unsettling. A complete sensory immersion in cinema's myth of the West.

Napoleon is a perfect match of epic subject and master filmmaker. For its pioneering and technical innovation alone, it is an incandescent achievement of imagination.

Tootsie is a superb comedy of deceptive simplicity. It at once parodies satirises and glorifies art, acting, cinema, TV and modernity at large. Hoffman is magnificent, Murray is sublime, and Jessica Lange's radiance is heart-stopping.

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