Carrie Rickey

Film critic; writer

US

Voted in the critics’ poll

Voted for

Belle et la Bete, La

1946

Jean Cocteau

Cleo from 5 to 7

1962

Agnès Varda

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

2000

Ang Lee

E.T.

1982

Steven Spielberg

Malcolm X

1992

Spike Lee

Metropolis

1927

Fritz Lang

Olympia

1938

Leni Riefenstahl

Sherlock Jr

1924

Buster Keaton

Singin' in the Rain

1951

Stanley Donen/Gene Kelly

Third Man, The

1949

Carol Reed

Comments

Lists, lists, so many lists: best rookie features, greatest last films, most inspirational, scariest, funniest. On its 60th anniversary of compiling the greatest movies ever made, Sight & Sound magazine is soliciting nominations for the Ten Best movies ever. How would you approach the question? Citizen Kane will almost inevitably top the list. If you define ‘greatest’ as “most influential’, then yes, Citizen Kane. Its deep-focus cinematography and multi-perspective narrative are hugely influential. But just because Saw has influenced a generation of torture-porn films, I wouldn’t put it on my ballot. A best film ever needs something more than influence. It needs universality, staying power and freshness (by those criteria, yes, Citizen Kane). It needs to ravish the viewer visually, narratively and emotionally. With these criteria in mind, I meditated for five minutes. These are the first ten films that popped in my head: Leni Riefenstahl’s Olympia, which introduced the grammar (not to mention the hero worship) of the sports movie; Jean Cocteau’s La belle et la bete, a primal and lyrical telling of an enduring fairytale; Spike Lee’s Malcolm X, which employed four different filmmaking techniques to suggest symphony and coda of an extraordinary life; Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, a timeless allegory of good, evil and urban planning; Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly’s Singin’ in the Rain – pure happiness; Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, where action is wedded to emotion; Carol Reed’s The Third Man, a breathtaking moral thriller; Agnès Varda’s Cleo from 5 to 7, the portrait of a woman in real time; Steven Spielberg’s E.T., an ode to wonder and connectedness; Buster Keaton’s Sherlock, Jr., a movie about the magic and possibilities of movies. No Citizen Kane. No The Godfather. No Vertigo. No Seven Samurai. No Pixar. No worries. Which criteria would you use? Which movies would be on your list?

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