Alison Strauss

Arts Development Officer (Film and Media)

Voted for

PRÄSTÄNKAN1920Carl Th. Dreyer
Bringing Up Baby1938Howard Hawks
I Know Where I’m Going!1945Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
The Night of the Hunter1955Charles Laughton
The Red Balloon1956Albert Lamorisse
The Spirit of the Beehive1973Víctor Erice
Raiders of the Lost Ark1981Steven Spielberg
Fanny and Alexander1982Ingmar Bergman
The Piano1992Jane Campion
Mary and Max2009Adam Elliot



1920 Sweden

Affecting and beautiful drama - an ostensibly light-hearted romantic story that takes you by surprise, steals up on you and breaks your heart.

Bringing Up Baby

1938 USA

Perfect screenplay, performances and pace (and, of course, Cary Grant in a negligée).

I Know Where I’m Going!

1945 United Kingdom

The reason I moved to Scotland (that and my own laird) and a film that I never tire of rewatching. Powerful film fairytale with a mythic visual style that steers well clear of whimsy.

The Night of the Hunter

1955 USA

Dreamy (or nightmarish) and strange – I am still satisfyingly unsettled by this cinematic expression of Southern Gothic, even after multiple viewings.

The Red Balloon

1956 France

Wordless and timeless.

The Spirit of the Beehive

1973 Spain

I love this film in, which the imaginary world encroaches on the real. Ana's secret, whispered exchanges with her sister haunt me.

Raiders of the Lost Ark

1981 USA

Cinema that puts you on the edge of your seat and keeps you there is something I very much value in my moviegoing experiences, and this delivers in spades.

Fanny and Alexander

1982 Sweden, France, Federal Republic of Germany

Sumptuous, cinematic storytelling (and I'm a sucker for a magic lantern scene).

The Piano

1992 Australia, France

On my list for its sensuousness, cinematography, eroticism and emotional power.

Mary and Max


An inventive, deliciously and hilariously dark must-see movie, proving that film storytelling need never cease surprising us.

Further remarks

In common, I imagine, with many others, it pains me to assert so few as ten films as 'the greatest' but I felt honoured to be invited to contribute. I have picked titles that yield rewards even after multiple viewings, at many stages of one's life, and that use the tools and language of cinema that the medium uniquely affords. Having compiled and reflected on my list I observe that I am markedly drawn to films which figure a child's eye perspective and elements of myth, folklore and dream. A disproportionate number of my choices are silent (The Parson's Widow), dialogue-free (The Red Balloon) or feature characters who do not speak (The Piano), and in which the visual storytelling must come to the fore… but cracking dialogue can be just as much of a joy (case in point: Bringing up Baby screenplay by Hagar Wilde - aka Beverly Violet Bidwell).