Joan Mellen

Professor, Department of English and Creative Writing, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pa., USA

US

Voted in the critics’ poll

Voted for

1963

Federico Fellini

2001: A Space Odyssey

1968

Stanley Kubrick

Battle of Algiers, The

1966

Gillo Pontecorvo

Battleship Potemkin

1925

Sergei M Eisenstein

Conformist, The

1970

Bernardo Bertolucci

Godfather: Part II, The

1974

Francis Ford Coppola

Ivan the Terrible

1945

Sergei M Eisenstein

Life of Oharu, The

1952

Mizoguchi Kenji

Seven Samurai

1954

Akira Kurosawa

Viridiana

1961

Luis Buñuel

Comments

These films share a willingness to confront received wisdom. They all have an edge, originality and ferocity. They’re defiant, both stylistically and conceptually. When they’re over, you’re stunned and your mouth is dry. All take responsibility for the truths they uncover, and they have held their heads up over time. Among my runners-up were Greed, La Chinoise, Ceremonies, and McCabe and Mrs. Miller.

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