Richard Sowada

Head of film programs, Australian Centre for the Moving Image


Voted in the critics’ poll

Voted for

12 Angry Men


Sidney Lumet

Apocalypse Now


Francis Ford Coppola

Atomic Café


Jayne Loader/Kevin Rafferty/Pierce Rafferty

Bicycle Thieves, The


Vittorio de Sica

General, The


Buster Keaton

Gimme Shelter


Albert Maysles/David Maysles/Charlotte Zwerin

Good, the Bad and the Ugly, The


Sergio Leone

Night of the Living Dead, The


George A Romero

Thin Blue Line, The


Errol Morris

Triumph of the Will


Leni Riefenstahl


Apocalypse Now is complex, random and visionary. Everything about it is miraculous. It’s also a brilliant film to project. I’ve seen projectionists ride the fantastic sound like an engineer would ride levels of a live band. Gimme Shelter is the most brilliant example of how a film can become the history – however singular the viewpoint… And it rocks! The Good, The Bad and The Ugly features funny, excellent performances, line after line of quotable dialogue and brilliant music and scope. The Thin Blue Line is a great experimental film. No character captions, no context – but a fuller, more well-defined story is hard to find. Morris makes the audience work really hard, but not one drop of sweat is raised. And the comic-book colour! Atomic Café is a brilliant commercial messing of experimental found footage and the great traditions found in films such as Frank Capra’s Why We Fight. Shock Pop. 12 Angry Men – what a great cast and brilliant script. Gripping and true. Triumph of the Will still chills. So enormous in its scope and muscle, it’s a monument to the sheer power of cinema, the ease with which people can be led and what we can become. It’s simply overwhelming in its insights into human nature. Cinema as a weapon has never had a bigger payload. The General is full of innocence and quiet humanity. It just makes me cry with joy every time I see it. Night of the Living Dead is still a constant inspiration for me in low-budget filmmaking – and my kids love it. Bicycle Thieves shows how shattering a film can be. Completely unforgettable.

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