Carrie Rickey

Film critic/writing biography of Agnes Varda

Voted for

Sherlock Jr.1924Buster Keaton
La Règle du jeu1939Jean Renoir
The Best Years of Our Lives1946William Wyler
Rashomon1950Akira Kurosawa
Singin' in the Rain1951Gene Kelly, Stanley Donen
Kiss Me Deadly1955Robert Aldrich
Cléo from 5 to 71962Agnès Varda
A New Leaf1970Elaine May
Malcolm X1992Spike Lee
The Namesake2006Mira Nair


Sherlock Jr.

1924 USA

Surreal comedy made in the USA at the same moment Andre Breton composed the Surrealist Manifesto in France.

La Règle du jeu

1939 France

A stunning panorama of metropolitan and provincial, aristocrat and peasant, nationalism and cosmopolitanism, and a tale of two marriages that seems to sum up life in Europe just before World War II.

The Best Years of Our Lives

1946 USA

After fighting in World War II, a sailor, an aviator and a soldier return to their hometown and a world that has changed while they have been gone.


1950 Japan

Different eyewitnesses each see a rape and subsequent murder from different points of view and come away with different stories of what transpired. Implicitly the film questions the idea of objective truth and wonders whether social or class bias affects memory.

Singin' in the Rain

1951 USA

Because dance and song and Technicolor communicate feelings that cannot be found in dialogue, acting and black-and-white.

Kiss Me Deadly

1955 USA

Film noir meets the atomic bomb.

Cléo from 5 to 7

1962 France, Italy

Eloquent meditation on time that takes place in what appears to be real time, and an engaging portrait of a woman who comes to consciousness over a 90-minute period on the first day of summer.

A New Leaf

1970 USA

Dark comedy of a male gold-digger who wants to marry – and murder – a rich female botanist who knows everything about plant life and very little about human motives.

Malcolm X

1992 USA

20th-century American history told through the life of a onetime petty criminal who becomes a religious leader and then a Civil Rights activist. Each stage of his life is shot like a different genre of film, powerfully acted by Denzel Washington.

The Namesake

2006 USA, India, Japan

A lyrical adaptation of Jhumpa Lahiri's novel about a Bengali family which becomes an American family that tends it cultural roots.

Further remarks

If you asked me on a different day there would be titles by Lois Weber and Alexander Korda and Billy Wilder and François Truffaut and Martin Scorsese and Francis Coppola and Amy Heckerling and Agnieszka Holland.