Ramsey Campbell

Horror writer and general essayist, not least on films.

Voted for

La Grande Illusion1937Jean Renoir
Hangmen Also Die!1943Fritz Lang
Letter from an Unknown Woman1948Max Ophuls
Los olvidados1950Luis Buñuel
Singin' in the Rain1951Gene Kelly, Stanley Donen
Ugetsu Monogatari1953Kenji Mizoguchi
Wild Strawberries1957Ingmar Bergman
Vertigo1958Alfred Hitchcock
Touch of Evil1958Orson Welles
My Neighbour Totoro1988Hayao Miyazaki


La Grande Illusion

1937 France

The most potent of anti-war films, and considerably more—an epitome of Renoir’s humanism.

Hangmen Also Die!

1943 USA

Quintessential paranoid Fritz Lang, which demonstrates without trivialising the historical context that Mabuse’s world was and is ours.

Letter from an Unknown Woman

1948 USA

An inexhaustibly rich film, the epitome of eloquent succinctness.

Los olvidados

1950 Mexico

Extreme neorealism embraces surrealism, and Buñuel’s power to shock remains as vital as ever.

Singin' in the Rain

1951 USA

A great musical, a great comedy, a great film about film (and not just the coming of sound).

Ugetsu Monogatari

1953 Japan

Mizoguchi’s contemplative style at its most expressively Bruegelesque, further enriched by the uncanny.

Wild Strawberries

1957 Sweden

Not as close to austere perfection as other Bergman films, but his most moving.


1958 USA

Hitchcock’s most disturbing and beautiful film, more so than ever in 4K. An essay could be written on the meaning of his use of the colour green alone. A film as confessional as it is confrontational.

Touch of Evil

1958 USA

A late masterpiece, as brilliant and searching as Citizen Kane.

My Neighbour Totoro

1988 Japan

The gentlest of redemptive fantasies—like Kurosawa’s Ikiru, which it is otherwise utterly unlike, it renews the soul. A recent survey of films for the young suggested it was just for toddlers. Thank Miyazaki I haven’t grown up that much.

Further remarks

Lord, just ten films - quite a task. They're listed in the order of release. Films I was dismayed were crowded out include Les Vampires, Les Croix de Bois, Make Way for Tomorrow, Bringing Up Baby, Sons of the Desert, Citizen Kane (on the basis of only one film per director), The Reckless Moment (likewise), Ikiru, The Night of the Hunter, Ordet, The Apu trilogy, Night of the Demon, The Searchers, Last Year in Marienbad, Grave of the Fireflies, Code Unknown, the Koker trilogy... I fancy other contributors may favour some.