András Bálint Kovács

Professor of Film Studies

Voted for

La dolce vita1960Federico Fellini
Pulp Fiction1994Quentin Tarantino
Casablanca1942Michael Curtiz
Mirror1975Andrei Tarkovsky
Rear Window1954Alfred Hitchcock
Persona1966Ingmar Bergman
The Godfather Part II1974Francis Ford Coppola
À bout de souffle1960Jean-Luc Godard
Mulholland Dr.2001David Lynch
Nomadland2020Chloé Zhao


La dolce vita

1960 Italy, France

This film shows the imprint of the biggest cultural transformation of the 20th century: the slow decline of elite highbrow culture and the increasing dominance of the new popular media culture. No film, book or other cultural product has ever provided such a rich overview of this important change in European culture. Also, this is a synthesis of Fellini's classical and modernist styles, and marks a major turning point in his career. This film marked western culture in more than one way, many of its motifs (including its title) have become cultural icons. Additionally, this is a film that can be appreciated by a wide audience with different cultural backgrounds even today.

Pulp Fiction

1994 USA

This film has an original, intricate narrative structure, far from linear yet crystal clear and appreciated by an audience who usually appreciate only straightforward, linear films. Almost all the actors provide their best acting in this film. Many of its lines have become proverbial, it is interesting, funny and witty at every moment, it has perfect rhythm, every episode and every scene is elaborated. Finally it has also psychological depth. One of the best entertainments ever.


1942 USA

When a tennis player (Novak Djokovic) in 2022 in Wimbledon quotes a line (not accurately though) from a film from 1942, it means that the film is eternal cultural gooda. This is an archetypal story about infinite sadness cured by love, friendship, interior freedom and bravery.


1975 USSR

Out of the many modernist stream-of-consciousness films, this is the one that has the most dense philosophical, religious, historical and psychological material, accompanied by an unparalleled visual universe. This is one of those rare films that only a few people understand, yet it can be enjoyed by many more. It is a key to Russian cultural spiritualism at the level of Dostoevsky and Tolstoy.

Rear Window

1954 USA

This film is an everlasting masterclass in how to develop an emotional conflict disguised in a murder investigation thriller. The main story is hidden in several supporting subplots; many viewers do not even recognise them, but still they feel thrilled and engaged. The film is full of psychological finesse, while the investigation storyline is no less engaging and exciting.


1966 Sweden

This film is a masterclass in how to direct actors. It represents communication between two characters, one of whom doesn't say a word while the other doesn't stop talking. Gestures and facial expression communicate with words. A rich human relationship is born out of this mutilated conversation, which becomes the interaction between two subconscious emotional lives. No film ever could surpass its achievement in directing and acting. In the meantime, this film is one of the richest metaphors about the end of modern art.

The Godfather Part II

1974 USA

Simply the best storytelling and acting, in a film that tells the story of a man who has got caught in the net of tradition and lets go of his desire for individual freedom.

À bout de souffle

1960 France

One of the masterpieces of modern French cinema, which liberated filmmakers from a lot of constraints and started the era of playfulness, mixing strong emotions with intellectualism and raising film art to the level of traditional arts. This film has changed the way we think of cinema forever. Without Godard, and without Breathless in particular, cinema today would not be what it is.

Mulholland Dr.

2001 France, USA

This is a film that nobody can understand on their own. It takes a lot of investigation, thinking and research to make sense of the story. But without doubt, it is one of the most enchanting experiences for a wide audience, which proves that cinema is primarily not for the brains but for the emotions. The film's every episode is exciting, interesting and surprising, it is as if we watched a series of short clips that seem to be connected somehow, only we don't know how exactly. Isn't that just how we experience life? It is exciting, mysterious, erotic and hides a dark secret that we know is there, but is never disclosed. There are a lot of films that are difficult to make sense of, but this is the most fascinating of all.


2020 USA

May be this is a too recent film to be included among the 'best of all time', but I'll take the risk. This film never stopped being engaging from the beginning to the end. Every moment was full of wonder, new experience, and my attachment to the main character never weakened, and I was curious about her life past and future from the beginning to the end. During the film my understanding of the character's situation was constantly changing, but this was not just a shift of focus, it was an incessant enrichment, whereby at the end I felt that I had an understanding of the complexity of the life of someone who has lost everything and tries to build up something new by acquiring new experiences going into the depths of life. I think that the actress Frances McDormand has a lot to be thanked for in this film.