Anna Cale


Voted for

Taxi Driver1976Martin Scorsese
Hidden2004Michael Haneke
Spirited Away2001Hayao Miyazaki
Local Hero1983Bill Forsyth
North by Northwest1959Alfred Hitchcock
La Haine1995Mathieu Kassovitz
His Girl Friday1939Howard Hawks
In the Mood for Love2000Wong Kar Wai
Brief Encounter1945David Lean


I am sure most contributors to this poll will say the same, but it is almost impossible to choose a list of the 10 greatest films. How do you distill over a century of great art and storytelling into a shortlist of choices?

There are films which are pivotal moments in cinematic history, technical masterpieces, cinema which pushes the boundaries visually, or captures a moment in time. Important films, vital films everyone should see in order to understand the journey of cinema and its rich history. Those pioneering filmmakers who took risks to further the art form, visionaries and game-changers. Reflecting all of that in 10 choices is challenging, and those films will I am certain, be reflected elsewhere in this poll.

So instead I have gone with my instincts, and chosen films which have moved me in some way as a viewer. Films that linger in the mind, made me feel something powerful or gloriously unexpected, perfectly crafted storytelling which took my breath away or a film so visually or aurally stunning I felt transformed. Sharply scripted, superbly paced, a lesson in screen presence, or in some cases all three.

Some of my choices play with the emotions, with the punch of a dramatic plot twist, that tight feeling in the pit of your stomach when you realise what might be about to happen, or the tears that come unexpectedly. They all have something about them which set them apart and makes them great films. Sometimes it is hard to quantify what that something might be, it just ‘is’.

By accident more than design, the films I have chosen reflect different points in cinema history. From the golden age of Hollywood or the British studio system, to American independents that pushed boundaries, and more contemporary films which prove that cinema is always evolving. My choices also reflect the richness of cinema not in the English language, and of films using mediums other than live action.

Cinema is a wonderful, beautiful, living thing to be celebrated and enjoyed. It should challenge and educate, but also entertain audiences and tell wonderful stories. Maybe I have gone with my heart rather than my head with some of my choices, but that is the power of film, it can do that to us.