Neil Mitchell

Freelance writer and editor

Voted for

Wake in Fright1971Ted Kotcheff
The Battle of Algiers1966Gillo Pontecorvo
El Topo1970Alejandro Jodorowsky
KANAL1956Andrzej Wajda
Planet of the Apes1967Franklin J. Schaffner
The Texas Chain Saw Massacre1974Tobe Hooper
Berlin Alexanderplatz
BARA NO SORETSU1970Toshio Matsumoto
EDVARD MUNCH1976Peter Watkins
Do the Right Thing1989Spike Lee


Wake in Fright

1971 USA, Australia, United Kingdom

A movie that reeks of beer, sweat and alienation in the Australian outback. Visiting director Kotcheff has delivered a horribly gripping vision of small-town isolationism and one man's descent into alcohol-fuelled psychosis.

The Battle of Algiers

1966 Italy, Algeria

An absolutely ferocious war film with a quasi-documentary shooting style that compounds the urgency of the events portrayed onscreen. Uncompromising and influential.

El Topo

1970 USA, Mexico

Like anything Jodorowsky touches, this 'Acid Western' is a wild ride through the imagination of its creator. Blurring the lines between overt symbolism and base exploitation, El Topo's imagery is memorably bizarre.


1956 Poland

The second part of Wajda's War Trilogy, and the first to be made about the Warsaw Uprising, Kanal dispenses with romanticism, instead presenting a Dantean vision of desperation as resistance fighters take to the city's sewers to try and escape the Nazis.

Planet of the Apes

1967 USA

A classic of the science fiction genre, topped off with one of cinema's most memorable endings. I'll never tire of watching Planet of the Apes.

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre

1974 USA

Tobe Hooper's low-budget shocker is everything I want from a horror movie – the squalor is palpable, it's deeply unpleasant and does everything it needs to in under 90 minutes. Fantastic.

Berlin Alexanderplatz

Federal Republic of Germany, Italy

I could have chosen a number of Fassbinder's films, but this towering mini-series, running almost 16 hours in total, is a quite extraordinary achievement.


1970 Japan

A superior entry in the Japanese New Wave, Funeral Parade of Roses is provocative, challenging and a viewing experience that expands the boundaries of what films and their central protagonists can be.


1976 Norway, Sweden

This three-and-a-half-hour biographical portrayal of the Norwegian Expressionist, shot in Watkins's idiosyncratic docu-drama style, is the director's finest work. Utterly engrossing and entirely uninterested in commercial sensibilities.

Do the Right Thing

1989 USA

Nothing short of incendiary in terms of both style and content. Lee's vision of racial tensions in a Brooklyn neighbourhood is as vital now as it was on general release.

Further remarks

Ask me again in a week, let alone ten years, and I would probably submit an entirely different list of films. The ones chosen, however, are all representative of my tastes and strike me as being up there with anything else cinema has yet given us.