Phil Hoad

Freelance writer

Voted for

Aguirre, Wrath of God1972Werner Herzog
Andrei Rublev1966Andrei Tarkovsky
Barry Lyndon1975Stanley Kubrick
Blue Velvet1986David Lynch
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp1943Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Monty Python's Life of Brian1979Terry Jones
Performance1970Donald Cammell, Nicolas Roeg
Predator1987John McTiernan
Singin' in the Rain1951Gene Kelly, Stanley Donen
Tokyo Story1953Yasujirō Ozu


Aguirre, Wrath of God

1972 Federal Republic of Germany

We've entered a different era from cinema as doomed colonialism (and it's shocking that Klaus Kinski hasn't been cancelled yet). But there is no frontier film more transfixing than this.

Andrei Rublev

1966 USSR

Now this is what I call a cinematic universe - with a big swinging bell at the centre.

Barry Lyndon

1975 USA, United Kingdom

Further proof post-Lolita and Clockwork Orange that Kubrick did have a sense of humour, and the ironies under the suave tableaux and chamber music make it endlessly rewatchable.

Blue Velvet

1986 USA

Lynch was still leftfield even in the 90s, but the mainstream has caught up to his ordinary-uncanny sensibility.

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp

1943 United Kingdom

Love down the decades, across all borders. And don't we need that now?

Monty Python's Life of Brian

1979 United Kingdom

Python's crowning glory: so funny, so smart, so ruthless.


1970 USA, United Kingdom

The British film industry today could do with a hit of whatever Cammell and Roeg were smoking when they made this true renegade masterpiece.


1987 USA

I may be entering a "world of hurt" for including this, but if it is on, I will watch it. Entertainment deserves to be counted.

Singin' in the Rain

1951 USA

The purest cinema, and almost as much of a reality-bender - as all good musicals should be - as Performance.

Tokyo Story

1953 Japan

Its tranquillity and wisdom had my cinephobic dad sat riveted in front of it - and I can pay it no higher compliment.

Further remarks

I prefer not to think too directly about "greatness" - that's the province of aggregates, poll results and consensus.

But these are 10 films that either made killer first impressions on me (increasingly rare, but Andrei Rublev managed it in the last year), or have continued to delight me over time.

I generally feel like comedy and entertainment get short shrift in these kind of polls, outside of the venerable likes of Chaplin and Keaton. Inventing great screen comedy is maybe the most difficult task for writers, but it can be a gateway to the deepest ironies and paradoxes. We should celebrate that more.