Courtney Howard


Voted for

City Lights1931Charles Chaplin
Jaws1975Steven Spielberg
Star Wars1977George Lucas
Sleeping Beauty1958Clyde Geronimi, Eric Larson, Wolfgang Reitherman, Les Clark
The Godfather1972Francis Ford Coppola
It Happened One Night1934Frank Capra
Do the Right Thing1989Spike Lee
Amélie2001Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Pulp Fiction1994Quentin Tarantino
My Neighbour Totoro1988Hayao Miyazaki


City Lights

1931 USA

Chaplin's film embodies all the magic and power of cinema. This charming, sweet romcom is both awe-inducing and "aww"-inducing in nature, impacting the head and the heart in equal measure. The emotional drive of the narrative and the creative construction of its slapstick is pioneering work that continues to inspire today's filmmakers.


1975 USA

A terrifying film on multiple levels that continues to find contemporary parallels. Spielberg made us afraid to go in the water, and crafted a water-tight picture, but he also worked against adversity, creatively engineering a way to work around technical issues with his behemoth star that's since set a standard modern filmmakers follow.

Star Wars

1977 USA

An otherworldly adventure that perfectly puts into practice Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey. Thrilling and fulfilling, it's a timeless story that endures in our hearts and minds.

Sleeping Beauty

1958 USA

One of the most beautiful animated films ever made from Disney. Eyvind Earle's backgrounds are a highlight in a picture teeming with them. Charles Perrault's adapted story combined with the music adapted from Tchaikovsky's ballet pleases our eyes and ears. Houses many indelible sequences and an all-timer of a villain. Actors and Animators outdid themselves on this Technirama/ Technicolor masterpiece.

The Godfather

1972 USA

The second you hear the score, even before any images appear, you know you're in for a tremendous time. Equal parts bleak and brilliant, it's a film for the ages that stands the test of time.

It Happened One Night

1934 USA

A perfect romantic comedy filled with incandescent, effervescent performances from Claudette Colbert and Clark Gable. Capra turns in sparkling, shrewd work, not just in terms of the genre, but filmmaking in general.

Do the Right Thing

1989 USA

Never has cinema felt more like a powder keg before than in filmmaker Spike Lee's hands here. A powerful, prescient picture. It opened up my world as a teen, first seeing this when it was released and my relationship with it has blossomed further in time. It's a visually and emotional arresting piece of cinema.


2001 France, Germany

Playful, romantic, hilarious and heartrending, Jeunet's signature aesthetic is bursting with vibrant energy and electricity. Audrey Tautou's painfully shy heroine, who loves a good prank as much as she loves an altruistic good deed, is beautiful and instantly loveable. Yann Tiersen's inspired score and Bruno Delbonnel's gorgeous cinematography earn top marks as well.

Pulp Fiction

1994 USA

Acts as a shot of adrenaline through the heart that fittingly contains a scene where a character gets just that. Infinitely quotable and absolutely rewatchable, Tarantino set a standard many try to imitate, but rarely can duplicate. A sprawling cast and soundtrack that's, top to bottom, perfect. This is a pop culture moment.

My Neighbour Totoro

1988 Japan

A tremendous, magnificent, lovely animated feature that's perfect for all ages. Watching it is like getting a warm hug from your best friend. New layers and depths are found over the years on revisits.

Further remarks

It's incredibly difficult to distil cinema's wealth of titles and rich history into just 10 films. However, it certainly was fun. Hopefully this will inspire others to think about what films are significant to them (and the culture at large) and search out more films to expand their worldviews and capabilities for empathy.