Matthew Sweet

Historian; broadcaster

UK

Voted in the critics’ poll

Voted for

Battleship Potemkin

1925

Sergei M Eisenstein

Citizen Kane

1941

Orson Welles

Days of Heaven

1978

Terrence Malick

Great Expectations

1946

David Lean

Kid, The

1921

Charles Chaplin

Kind Hearts and Coronets

1949

Robert Hamer

King Kong

1933

Merian C. Cooper/Ernest B. Schoedsack

Napoleon

1927

Abel Gance

Third Man, The

1949

Carol Reed

Wizard of Oz, The

1939

Victor Fleming

Comments

Lord, this was painful. I feel the ghosts of Hitchcock, Billy Wilder and Cavalcanti will be gathering to push me down the stairs tonight. Looking at this list it seems clear that I have a problematic relationship with colour, though I’ll say in my defence that so much in the cinema of the last 50 years seems a refinement or a reworking of work from its first 50 – and the echoes of these ten films are, I think, everywhere in contemporary film. And a picture from the 1980s or after still feels too young for canonical status.

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