Josh Slater-Williams

Freelance Writer

Voted for

An Autumn Afternoon1962Yasujirō Ozu
A City of Sadness1989Hou Hsiao-Hsien
Crash1996David Cronenberg
Les Demoiselles de Rochefort1967Jacques Demy
Exotica1994Atom Egoyan
Gold Diggers of 19331933Mervyn Leroy
Heat1995Michael Mann
North by Northwest1959Alfred Hitchcock
Paris, Texas1984Wim Wenders
The Red Shoes1948Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger


My initial longlist was 110 films, all works I adore. While voting on the basis of the first 10 favourite films that come to mind is a perfectly valid approach, I thought an element of curation necessary to more accurately reflect my broader tastes. The list should say something about the person. I could quite easily have submitted a ballot made up of just films from the 1960s or 80s or 90s. But that wouldn’t properly reflect my viewing habits or interests. And going with the films I’ve seen the most times wasn’t the way; I was born in the 90s, the live-action film I’ve seen the most times in my life is probably Batman Forever off a worn-out VHS.

Imposed restrictions made narrowing it down more manageable. I opted to leave out anything that premiered in the ten years since the last poll. I revisited some titles during the two-week voting window, but anything that made the cut – or very nearly did – had to be a film I’ve seen at least twice, and at least once in the last five years (I’ve seen all but two of my final selections three times or more). I stuck to one film per director and a maximum of three films per decade. While I ultimately didn’t stick to one film per genre (excluding just ‘drama’), I didn’t want too many arguably similar films bunched together. So, if one crime epic co-led by Robert De Niro was getting in, another example of that was getting cut. That said, I have two psychosexual Canadian films starring Elias Koteas on my final ballot.

The last key factor for narrowing down to 10 from 15 or 20: do I think about these films often? Are they all reflective of very different ways in which the artform excites me at the time of voting? That is the case for the 10 titles I’ve submitted.

With apologies to animation and horror cinema in general, shorts and non-fiction works, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Spike Lee, Claire Denis, John Carpenter, Akira Kurosawa, Howard Hawks, Hayao Miyazaki, Isao Takahata, Yoshifumi Kondō, Stanley Kubrick, Billy Wilder, Fritz Lang, Věra Chytilová, Jonathan Demme, David Lynch, Shinya Tsukamoto, Shinji Sōmai, Nobuhiko Obayashi, Bob Fosse, Wong Kar-wai, Terrence Malick, Richard Linklater, John Cassavetes, Steven Spielberg, Leo McCarey, Lee Chang-dong, Sofia Coppola, Hal Hartley, Joe Dante, Vincente Minnelli, Steve James, Maurice Pialat, John Woo, Krzysztof Kieślowski, Tsai Ming-liang, Orson Welles, Ernst Lubitsch, Frank Capra, Bob Clark, John Ford, Tobe Hooper, Katsuhiro Otomo, Terence Davies, King Vidor, Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, Lana and Lilly Wachowski…