Peter Hourigan

Retired Media Teacher

Voted for

Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans1927F.W. Murnau
Lola1961Jacques Demy
Gertrud1964Carl Th. Dreyer
La Jetée1962Chris Marker
Tokyo Story1953Yasujirō Ozu
Trois couleurs rouge1994Krzysztof Kieslowski
QUE LA BÊTE MEURE1969Claude Chabrol
The Conformist1970Bernardo Bertolucci
Hiroshima mon amour1959Alain Resnais
Rio Bravo1958Howard Hawks


Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans

1927 USA

Simply, as its subtitle says, it's a just "a tale of two humans" but the whole world of humanity is in the film.


1961 France, Italy

Is this just three barely connected stories of different women - dancer Lola, school girl Cécile, her mother Mme Desnoyers? Or is it a wonderfully complex picture - cubist? - of one woman in childhood, adulthood and maturity?


1964 Denmark

This serene, wise and deeply moving film looks back on a life triumphantly lived, triumphant because it was a life that was lived in love. As Gertrud says, "Amor omnia". Love is all.

La Jetée

1962 France

Sixty years have not clouded the wonder of the moment the still images almost invisibly come to life, encapsulating that rich wondrous moment when two lives, two moments, present and future, come into full harmony. You felt that it was so understated that you were the only person in the whole audience who noticed it - but you later discovered that everyone had been part of that moment.

Tokyo Story

1953 Japan

This was my first encounter with Ozu, and I still feel as welcome into his family (families) as I felt then.

Trois couleurs rouge


The culmination of a complex trilogy, the way Kieslowski brought three apparently random lives together in the last ten minutes had me hyperventilating. All lives are just a heartbeat away from being linked.


1969 France, Italy

Thoughts about love, death, revenge and every other human emotion - and tensely entertaining.

The Conformist

1970 Italy, France, Federal Republic of Germany

Fascist Italy was never so seductive, and so chilling in its capacity to kill the essential humanity in a person.

Hiroshima mon amour

1959 France, Japan

The horrors of history become subsumed in a love story. And a love story shares the pain and suffering and joy of life as we see it in those tragedies.

Rio Bravo

1958 USA

This is probably standing in for all the wonderful joys of American genre filmmaking - westerns, crime, love stories, musical, noir and more - rather than being a singularly great film in the usual academic sense. Who cares? It's just damned good fun.

Further remarks

Clearly there can be no objective, definitive list of the greatest films of all time. Looking at my list, it is obvious that with only two exceptions, all come from my first decade as an adult. And the ninth (Sunrise) was first seen then. It is like there is a special time in our life when our cultural experiences will have a richer resonance for us. There are many more films from other eras that I love very much, but these films seemed to strike a richer, more emotional note for me, which I guess comes from that particular stage in my own growth.