Derek O'Connor

Writer, Editor & Filmmaker

Voted for

Greed1923Erich von Stroheim
Modern Times1936Charles Chaplin
The Third Man1949Carol Reed
Tokyo Story1953Yasujirō Ozu
2001: A Space Odyssey1968Stanley Kubrick
Aguirre, Wrath of God1972Werner Herzog
The Thing1982John Carpenter
Beau travail1998Claire Denis
Mulholland Dr.2001David Lynch
Mad Max: Fury Road2015George Miller



1923 USA

The greatest lost film of them all.

Modern Times

1936 USA

Sentimental or nihilistic or both? And still so modern…

The Third Man

1949 United Kingdom

Is there such thing as a perfect film? This comes as close as any I know.

Tokyo Story

1953 Japan

Is this Top 100 list self-fulfilling? This is the only movie in my own Top 10 that I actively sought out after reading an earlier Top 100…. and dammit, they’re right.

2001: A Space Odyssey

1968 USA, United Kingdom

In this case, the poster still says it all: ‘The Ultimate Trip’.

Aguirre, Wrath of God

1972 Federal Republic of Germany

Released the year I was born, and as gloriously demented as ever a half century later.

The Thing

1982 USA

Every list should contain at least one wild card. Arguably the most prescient film of our time.

Beau travail

1998 France

A shimmering fever dream, starring the greatest mover in cinema, Denis Lavant.

Mulholland Dr.

2001 France, USA

An artist who has long transcended the medium paints his masterpiece, heralding a new century of opportunity.

Mad Max: Fury Road

2015 USA, Australia

Sometimes you look back to look forward – a propulsive beast infused with the divine feminine that the Lumière Brothers would have totally vibed with.

Further remarks

"Why'd y'spill yer beans?" The only way to make sense of this impossible task is as a game: therefore I chose a personal favourite from each decade over the past hundred years that encapsulated something of the magic of the medium while suggesting what happens next – each one, in its own unique fashion, giving us pure cinema. The Top 100, or the canon it suggests, remains important. We can’t presume that these films can or will be seen as they were intended – on the biggest screen imaginable – but there is hope, there is joy, and they’ve been writing off the movies for at least half a century now. My feeling is that the medium remains young, vital and loaded with endless possibility.