Writer / Director
|2001: A Space Odyssey
|Once upon a Time in the West
|Don't Look Now
|The Godfather Part II
|Francis Ford Coppola
|Come and See
|In the Mood for Love
|Wong Kar Wai
Hitchcock is the greatest. His films just get better with time. We loved showing Hitchcock films to our kids during lockdown. Vertigo is so dark and twisted it’s hard to believe. I could’ve put in Psycho, hard to split them.
I could’ve picked any of five films by Marty, the greatest living director, who is still challenging himself with every movie, not banging out sequels and fairground rides. I love this film in particular because for me it’s perfect in every single technical aspect; script, cinematography, sound, editing, music, the performances, the direction, and it all comes together to make one of the darkest, most challenging films with violence seeping through every scene.
2001: A Space Odyssey
This is where I swapped one of my ‘favourite’ films for one which I consider one of the ‘Greatest’. How did he do it? How did he do it then? What is it about? It’s amazing and mindblowing. Genius.
I love this film. One of the greatest and surely one of most influential films ever made. I love it because the film blows me away and inspires me: If you can tell this complex, time travelling love story with only stills, and in a short form, you can do anything if you have the imagination.
Once upon a Time in the West
I recently made a pilgrimage to Monument Valley because of this movie (and the others shot there), it was a truly spiritual experience!
I love westerns and this film has my favourite titles sequence and many of my favourite set-piece sequences in all cinema. Morricone’s music and Leone’s direction create cinematic magic.
Don't Look Now
I love Roeg’s unique, crazy, imaginative, visually stunning movies and his mastery of fractured time; the cinematography, casting, wintry Venetian locations, amazing editing all come together to create a beautiful, stunning, sad, horrific, scary, unsettling, confusing masterpiece.
The Godfather Part II
I previously cheated by putting in the original and Part II on my list as one film. I don’t know how to choose between them. Both are perfect. But this film makes the list because it has Pacino and De Niro and the epic structure. Coppola set the rules for the modern gangster film, he made so many of the greatest films of the era.
Come and See
For me the greatest (anti) war movie of all time. The journey the young characters go on, the things they/we see through their eyes, incredible performances. The cinematography. The horror of war. Unbearable to watch at times, once seen, never forgotten.
Kurosawa, the master. Mifune, the scruffy, scratching, original man with no name, I love the opening where he throws a stick to figure out which direction to take. There are so many great Kurosawa films to choose from, but I chose this because it’s blackly funny, cool, a slow build of tension, great dialogue and it’s the inspiration for so many other movies.
In the Mood for Love
The 90s/2000s era of Asian/Chinese/Hong Kong cinema was for me the best cinema in the world and a huge influence on me as I was coming out of film school. I could have picked a film by Zhang Yimou, or Tran Anh Hung - wish I had room for one by each of them, but I have selected one of the most beautiful of modern films. The cast, the costumes, production design, the cinematography, the music, the king of cool WKW at his very best, working with his amazing regular collaborators.
This top ten list becomes more difficult over time! Quite a few of the films are on my list because I revisited them over the lockdown with our kids, other films I had to cut as I have not rewatched them in the past decade.
I really should have more international films on the list… arghhh.