Bruce LaBruce

The Raspberry Reich; Otto, or, Up with Dead People

Canada

Voted in the directors’ poll

Voted for

Alphaville

1965

Jean-Luc Godard

Best Years of Our Lives, The

1946

William Wyler

Gospel According to St Matthew, The

1964

Pier Paolo Pasolini

Interiors

1978

Woody Allen

Killing of a Chinese Bookie, The

1976

John Cassavetes

Ladies Man, The

1961

Jerry Lewis

Luna

1979

Bernardo Bertolucci

Nashville

1975

Robert Altman

Ryan's Daughter

1970

David Lean

Vertigo

1958

Alfred Hitchcock

Comments

Since it’s obviously ridiculous to attempt to choose definitively the ten best films of all time, I’ve picked the ten films that have either most influenced me personally, or which I think have influenced generations of filmmakers.

Nashville: Altman creates the perfect allegory for American politics and social mores with a depiction of the country music capital that is both scathing and heartfelt.

Killing of a Chinese Bookie: One of the most influential independent films of the last 50 years, Cassavetes’ unlikely mix of the Hollywood gangster and noir genres with his own personal improvisational style always remains electrifying.

The Gospel According to St. Matthew: Only an atheist director could make the ultimate film about religion.

Interiors: Only a Jewish director could make the ultimate film about goyim.

The Ladies Man: Technically innovative (Lewis pioneered video assist with this film, for example) and endlessly inventive, it’s arguably the director’s masterpiece.

The Best Years of Our Lives: There are so many classical Hollywood films that could easily make the ten best list but this subtly anti-war film, using Greg Toland’s deep focus photography, is about as perfect as you can get, and always moves me to tears no matter how many times I watch it.

Luna: An amazingly audacious film about one of the strongest taboos in society that’s done with great humour and aesthetic beauty (Vittorio Storaro’s cinematography is genius), with the late Jill Clayburgh carrying off an impossible role with complete believability and grace.

Alphaville: Depicting a dystopian society in which the word ‘love’ has been outlawed, it’s still the perfect allegory for the modern world, and it’s all perfectly realised using available locations and without special effects.

Vertigo: I did a nerdy shot-by-shot analysis of this film for my Master’s thesis, but its profound depiction of fear, loss and sexual obsession still always catches me up emotionally (and people who now dismiss Hitchcock because of his rear-screen projection technique really need to get over it).

Ryan’s Daughter: Revisiting this film several times recently, it seems a pity that a work that is arguably Lean’s late masterpiece could have been so egregiously dismissed for being old-fashioned. Its epic treatment of a forbidden love affair, its political and moral ambiguities and its subversive depiction of the complex sexuality of the central female character and her unorthodox relationship with an equally complex man give it a timeless quality that many other supposedly radical films of its era that were championed over it simply don’t have.

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