Heather Hendershot

Professor of Media Studies/Editor Cinema Journal, City University of New York

US

Voted in the critics’ poll

Voted for

Best Years of Our Lives, The

1946

William Wyler

Bimbo's Initiation

1931

Dave Fleischer

Great Ecstasy of Woodcarver Steiner

1975

Werner Herzog

Hotel Terminus

1988

Marcel Ophüls

Nosferatu

1922

F. W. Murnau

Once Upon a Time in the West

1968

Sergio Leone

Random Harvest

1942

Mervyn LeRoy

Rio Bravo

1958

Howard Hawks

Salesman

1968

Albert Maysles/David Maysles/Charlotte Zwerin

Sherlock Jr

1924

Buster Keaton

Comments

To me, ‘greatest’ is very personal. ‘Most important’ is entirely a different matter; such a list would be weighted toward many of the films that I regularly teach in my classes – films that are representative or canonical. Instead, I offer the films that most move me, whether by virtue of performance (Sherlock Jr.), pathos (Best Years of Our Lives), historical ambition (Hotel Terminus), or sheer chutzpah (Bimbo’s Initiation). Although some of the films on my list are somber (Salesman), they all strive for or in some way appeal to a notion of collective humanity.

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