|2001: A Space Odyssey
|The Day the Earth Caught Fire
|It's a Wonderful Life
|Monty Python's Life of Brian
|Mad Max 2
2001: A Space Odyssey
Quite simply, the greatest film ever made. You're not the same person psychologically after seeing it that you were before.
It may have been a box office disappointment when it opened but you soon couldn't move for films, television and even adverts that were trying for that "Blade Runner look." Hugely influential then and it it still is today.
The film that perfected the giallo, that peculiarly Italian mix of sex, violence and thrills. Argento's best film by a very long way.
The Day the Earth Caught Fire
As British summer's get ever hotter with every passing year, Guest's masterpiece is looking more and more like prophecy with every passing year and sadly one suspects that it'll be increasingly relevant in years to come. Watch it on the hottest day of the year for the full, horrifying immersive effect.
It's a Wonderful Life
Is there anything useful left to say about It's a Wonderful Life? Probably not - just watch it, have a good cry and feel properly uplifted.
Monty Python's Life of Brian
Ealing comedies were great. The Carry Ons too. But this is the funniest British film of them all, a joyously silly romp that upset many, delighted even more and contains the funniest two word line ("I'm not") in any film ever.
Of course it's a Christmas film (a man struggles to get home to his family on Christmas Eve... and his wife's named Holly!). It couldn't be more different to It's a Wonderful Life but between them you've got the greatest Christmas Eve double bill of all time.
Spielberg has made some marvellous films in his time but none of them quite match Jaws. Brilliantly directed, making the primal terror of what might be lurking beneath the ocean waves more alive than it had even been before or since, great performances, memorable lines and the whopping great man-eating shark. Never bettered, not even by its own director.
In the west, Otomo's still breath-taking cyberpunk vision of a post-World War III Tokyo wrenched anime out of the hands of the fans and made it accessible to a wider audience. Brutal, beautiful, thought-provoking and head-scratching in equal measure, it's as powerful today as it was in 1987 and has stood the test of time better than most Japanese animations. And likely always will.
Mad Max 2
In the 1980s, if science fiction film-makers weren't trying to make their films look like Blade Runner, they were trying to make them look like Mad Max 2 (Italian popular cinema would have collapsed a lot sooner without it). It redefined what an action film should be and proved that not every sequel has to be a pale imitation of its forebear.
It's really not possible to say what the "greatest" films of all time are without having seen all of them, an impossible task for even the most devoted and dedicated of film fans/critics/makers/historians. So I've gone for the ones that had the most impact on me, the ones that I've returned to time and time again. Of the films that I have seen, these are just the ones I'd regard as the greatest.