Joan Mellen

professor emerita Temple University, Philadelphia Pa. USA

Voted for

Battleship Potemkin1925Sergei M. Eisenstein
Ivan the Terrible1945Sergei M. Eisenstein
Seven Samurai1954Akira Kurosawa
The Conformist1970Bernardo Bertolucci
Belle de jour1967Luis Buñuel
The Exterminating Angel1962Luis Buñuel
Greed1923Erich von Stroheim
Modern Times1936Charles Chaplin
McCabe & Mrs. Miller1971Robert Altman
The Godfather Part II1974Francis Ford Coppola


Battleship Potemkin

1925 USSR

This film is a clinic in filmmaking, in film-editing. It invents the genre.

Ivan the Terrible

1945 USSR

This film teaches us how to penetrate the nuances of history. The color sequence in Part II introduces film to color as to psychological ambiguity.

Seven Samurai

1954 Japan

Kurosawa is Eisenstein's principal heir and is the genius of Japanese cinema.

The Conformist

1970 Italy, France, Federal Republic of Germany

Freud and Marx collide in this brilliant interpretation of World War Two, the personal and political as interchangeable.

Belle de jour

1967 France, Italy

Any Bunuel film would qualify.

The Exterminating Angel

1962 Mexico

I chose this one because it is so uncompromising.


1923 USA

I'm claiming "Greed" as an American film. It is truly original.

Modern Times

1936 USA

This one requires no explanation.

McCabe & Mrs. Miller

1971 USA

The story of the American West bar none.

The Godfather Part II

1974 USA

With the Altman film, this is America.