Maura McHugh

Blogger; graphic novelist

UK

Voted in the critics’ poll

Voted for

Apocalypse Now

1979

Francis Ford Coppola

Citizen Kane

1941

Orson Welles

Miller's Crossing

1990

Joel & Ethan Coen

Ran

1985

Akira Kurosawa

Some Like It Hot

1959

Billy Wilder

Straight Story, The

1999

David Lynch

Sweet Smell of Success

1957

Alexander Mackendrick

Three Colours: Blue

1993

Krzysztof Kieslowski

Three Women

1977

Robert Altman

Umberto D

1952

Vittorio de Sica

Comments

Citizen Kane remains a classic because at its heart it is a mystery about a man that is never solved. Yet the pace never flags, and it is staged, shot and acted flawlessly. Umberto D is a simple, humble film about a crotchety man and his dog, but it’s emotionally devastating. Social realist filmmaking at its best. You need a good comedy in your life, and it doesn’t get much better than gender-bending romp Some Like it Hot, with its music and Shakespearian mistaken identities. Sweet Smell of Success gives us New York in all its crummy glory, with fantastic performances, glorious dialogue and morally ambiguous characters. “I love this dirty town.” Three Women is Altman’s most under-appreciated film. It’s a dreamy, challenging work about the fluidity of personality, in which he manages to out-Bergman Bergman. Apocalypse Now is a compelling, groundbreaking film about the journey into the heart of darkness and the insanity of war. Ran is an incredible transposing of the heartbreaking King Lear to feudal Japan: huge emotions, incredible acting, tremendous characters and staging, all shot by a master. Miller’s Crossing remains my favourite Coen Brothers film, a quintessential gangster movie with a flawed, dubious hero at its centre. Three Colours: Blue is Kieslowski’s touching portrayal of the journey through grief and mourning to forgiveness and new life. It’s incredibly shot and layered with harmonious music and colour. In The Straight Story a man travels to reunite with his brother, yet the journey is the important part. It is slowly, sensitively and sympathetically shot, with a griping central performance. I could add 20 more to that list, but I’d gladly watch just those ten movies for the rest of my life.

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