David Rooney

Chief Film Critic, The Hollywood Reporter

Voted for

A Brighter Summer Day1991Edward Yang
The Last Picture Show1971Peter Bogdanovich
Nashville1975Robert Altman
Le notti di Cabiria1957Federico Fellini
Out of the Past1947Jacques Tourneur
Rear Window1954Alfred Hitchcock
Sans Soleil1982Chris Marker
Shoplifters2018Hirokazu Koreeda
Tokyo Story1953Yasujirō Ozu
The Wizard of Oz1939Victor Fleming


This is my third time participating in the Sight and Sound poll; narrowing my choices down to just 10 never gets easier. That said, I found myself going back to original picks I had bumped out the last time, in 2012, and reconsidering them. I'm probably botching the assignment by leaning toward personal favorites over more objective choices for the greatest films ever made, but so be it. I felt separation anxiety losing James Whale's Bride of Frankenstein, Douglas Sirk's Written on the Wind, Preston Sturges's The Lady Eve, François Truffaut's The 400 Blows, John Ford's The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Francis Ford Coppola's first two Godfather films, Martin Scorsese's Raging Bull and Joseph L. Mankiewicz's All About Eve, some of which have been on my previous lists. It kills me trying to choose my favorite Hitchcock – I went with Rear Window, but could just as easily have picked Vertigo, Shadow of a Doubt or Strangers on a Train. The toughest part is choosing anything from post-2000, not because of a lack of worthy contenders but because films from previous decades have taken up space in my head and heart for so much longer. Last time around, I went with Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth, but this time, the lingering emotional experience of Shoplifters kept coming back to me. Other 21st-century entries I considered were Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain, Barry Jenkins's Moonlight, Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette and two Pixar features, WALL-E and Toy Story 3. The one I wrestled with possibly the longest was Ryusuke Hamaguchi's ravishing reflection on grief and connection, Drive My Car, from last year, which I guess should be read as a sign that I believe some of the best films ever made are still being made.