Ian Aitken

Professor Emeritus
Hong Kong

Voted for

Vertigo1958Alfred Hitchcock
La Règle du jeu1939Jean Renoir
Battleship Potemkin1925Sergei M. Eisenstein
Tokyo Story1953Yasujirō Ozu
M1931Fritz Lang
The Godfather1972Francis Ford Coppola
The Searchers1956John Ford
Seven Samurai1954Akira Kurosawa
Rashomon1950Akira Kurosawa
The Birds1963Alfred Hitchcock



1958 USA

The apex of Hitchcock's career, in which his characteristic themes find their most subtle form of expression. There are moments of sublime cinema in this film, often emphasised by moving camerawork, and the outstanding musical score.

La Règle du jeu

1939 France

On the surface, a slight comedy of manners, and yet considered so dangerous that it was banned by the French government of the day. Renoir's film shows a morally bankrupt ruling class leading France into slaughter in the forthcoming Second World War. No more devastatingly ironic and subtle critique of wealth, power and privilege has ever been made. A great film by a committed activist film-maker.

Battleship Potemkin

1925 USSR

A truly revolutionary film, at the level of both form and content. When it emerged in 1925, this film transformed cinema, placing film squarely amidst the high arts, rather than just amidst the commercial arena. No other film in the history of the cinema has had such a revolutionary impact.

Tokyo Story

1953 Japan

Ozu's most important film, and the apogee of his realist film-making


1931 Germany

Lang's most important film

The Godfather

1972 USA

Coppola's best film

The Searchers

1956 USA

The most important western film

Seven Samurai

1954 Japan

Kurosawa's most important film, and he is also perhaps the most important director


1950 Japan

Kurosawa's groundbreaking, modernist, relativist film

The Birds

1963 USA

The most important horror film.