Alex Gibney


Voted for

I Am Not Your Negro2016Raoul Peck
À bout de souffle1960Jean-Luc Godard
Vertigo1958Alfred Hitchcock
Seven Samurai1954Akira Kurosawa
Gimme Shelter1970David Maysles, Albert Maysles, Charlotte Zwerin
The Exterminating Angel1962Luis Buñuel
The Sorrow and the Pity1969Marcel Ophüls
Once upon a Time in the West1968Sergio Leone
Blade Runner1982Ridley Scott
Lawrence of Arabia1962David Lean


I Am Not Your Negro

2016 USA, France, Belgium, Switzerland

I wanted to include four films in this slot. All four are innovative documentaries that make up their own rules and are about vital topics. I Am Not Your Negro is about race. Stories We Tell is about identity, Waltz with Bashir is about memory and how we come to grips with brutal moments in our past, and When We Were Kings combines the best of cinéma vérité with the power of recollection.

À bout de souffle

1960 France

Breathless changed cinema and made it accessible to every filmmaker. Godard helped us all say: “I did it my way.”


1958 USA

A haunting film about obsession and searching for something you can’t quite understand.

Seven Samurai

1954 Japan

An epic kinetic masterpiece about power. At the end, when the ground is littered with dead bodies, planting season begins again, as it does every year. As the surviving samurai stand about the graves of their comrades, each one marked by a sword, Shimura Takashi says, “It is the farmers who have won.”

Gimme Shelter

1970 USA

A cinéma vérité masterpiece edited like a murder mystery by Charlotte Zwerin, the often forgotten third director with the Maysles Brothers. Who was murdered? The sixties.

The Exterminating Angel

1962 Mexico

A black comedy of social relations by a wickedly funny and viciously angry surrealist who lets us see that civilisation is a façade of bad manners and nothing is exactly as it seems.

The Sorrow and the Pity

1969 Federal Republic of Germany, Switzerland

The masterpiece by the great documentarian Marcel Ophuls, whose quote guides my work: “I always have a point of view. The trick is showing how hard it is to get to that point of view.”

Once upon a Time in the West

1968 Italy, USA

A Marxist western with an Ennio Morricone score. 'Nuff said. (Except that I played the title track at my wedding.)

Blade Runner

1982 USA, Hong Kong

Elon Musk should watch Blade Runner.

Lawrence of Arabia

1962 United Kingdom

When I was 10, I saw Lawrence of Arabia seven times in my local theatre. Every 10 years I would watch it again and get more out of it.

Further remarks

OK, I don’t believe in 'best of' lists. How to compare Citizen Kane (which was one of my top 20) with Wall-E, Metropolis or Tokyo Story? And ranking them seems also fraught.

But I think it’s interesting to ponder what 10 films are particularly important to me. So here are mine.