Jason Dorwart

Professor of Global Theatre Studies
USA/Hong Kong

Voted for

Metropolis1927Fritz Lang
The Seventh Seal1957Ingmar Bergman
North by Northwest1959Alfred Hitchcock
Rocky1976John G. Avildsen
The Silence of the Lambs1990Jonathan Demme
The Shawshank Redemption1994Frank Darabont
Die Klavierspielerin2001Michael Haneke
Carol2014Todd Haynes
Get Out2017Jordan Peele
The Peanut Butter Falcon2019Tyler Nilson, Michael Schwartz



1927 Germany

A revolutionary film in both form and content. The theme mirrors the aesthetic in a remarkable way and shaped science fiction filmmaking and changed the visual codes of film. The film's depiction of the future of capitalism and commerce appears to serve as a warning about the ultimate downfall of ever-expanding capitalist society in the frighteningly exponential growth of the film industry itself.

The Seventh Seal

1957 Sweden

The rare film where every shot is beautiful on its own. Seventh Seal functions as both high art and popular entertainment and Bergman manages to speak to the masses with a film that is put together with cinematic precision. In a world where meaning is falling apart, Bergman points to the importance of the nuclear family in providing meaning and futurity to the isolated individual.

North by Northwest

1959 USA

This movie is iconic in its visual ability to create suspense and tension. This film is groundbreaking in developing the action thriller into one of the most entertaining and engaging forms of Hollywood film. Cary Grant's handsome everyman is the perfect stooge for this film. The fact that he is a character who doesn't seem to belong in an action thriller makes the film all the more gripping. While the film is very much of its time, there is nothing dated about it and it stands up to even the most recently made thrillers.


1976 USA

Typically seen as the quintessential American underdog sports story, Rocky is so much more. It is also one of the most romantic films ever made. The film also brilliantly depicts life in South Philadelphia in an honest and gritty way. This is a genuinely sweet, triumphant, and emotionally affecting film. It is a feel-good film that gives its audience exactly what it wants.

The Silence of the Lambs

1990 USA

With brilliant performances from its lead actors, it deftly toes the line between horror film and psychological thriller. This is a brilliant horror movie which manages to depict humankind's fear of the contagion of mental illness.

The Shawshank Redemption

1994 USA

While panned by critics when it was first released, The Shawshank Redemption succeeds through its tightly plotted slow burn. Eminently satisfying to the audience, the film is watchable and enjoyable in a way that is both inspiring and titillating for the audience.

Die Klavierspielerin

2001 Austria, France, Germany

La Pianiste is a brilliant depiction of sexual desire, masochism, and the marginalisation of BDSM relationships. The film depicts the erotic side of BDSM while also exploring intergenerational traumas that often cause us to confuse and conflate kinky sexual desires with pathologised psychology.


2014 United Kingdom, USA

Based on revolutionary and groundbreaking source material, the performances and direction make this film live up to its potential. The film is beautifully shot in a way that acknowledges the sublimation of marginalised desires that makes the audience reconsider the prevalence of same-sex relationships during the 1950s. Ultimately this is one of the most romantic films ever made. The film's ability to depict the tension of sexual desire while also leaving a hint of ambiguity makes it even more powerful.

Get Out

2017 USA, Japan

While on the surface this is a parody horror film, Get Out is also nearly perfectly constructed in plot and mise-en-scène. The opening scene is a brilliant take on the fish out of water opening scene of many horror movies. While this type of scene typically depicts a white character lost in an urban or backwoods area, Jordan Peele manages to make suburban isolation terrifying in a way that truly highlights why a Black character might be terrified in an environment that many would consider bland and white-bread.

The Peanut Butter Falcon

2019 USA

The Peanut Butter Falcon is revolutionary in its honest depiction of mental disability. Disabled audiences were unambiguous and vociferous in their praise for the film. The authentic casting of a disabled actor lends a truth and authenticity to the film in a way that a nondisabled actor never could. The actors are entertaining and engaging in a way that makes this film repeatedly re-watchable. The film honestly depicts that disabled people do not regard their own lives as inherently tragic in the way that many films typically depict them. Even a few years out this film feels like a watershed moment in truthful understanding of disability. Ultimately, this film is entertaining, moving, and funny.