Ross Maclean


Voted for

The Apartment1960Billy Wilder
The Awful Truth1937Leo McCarey
Fargo1995Joel Coen
The Godfather1972Francis Ford Coppola
The Red Shoes1948Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Seven Samurai1954Akira Kurosawa
The Shining1980Stanley Kubrick
There Will Be Blood2007Paul Thomas Anderson
TURKS FRUIT1973Paul Verhoeven


To make my first ballot for this poll remotely achievable, I had to create a distinct line of division in my head between ‘greatest’ and ‘favourite’. There is, of course, an unavoidable bleed between the two but dividing them involved more than a few wrenching decisions.

While I tried not to be too rigid about this, my criteria were ultimately boiled down to a personal mix of impact and time. I didn’t impose an arbitrary cut-off date but I found myself naturally leaning towards films I’d had longer to sit with both with regards to newer releases and when I watched older films. Being unable to pin it down without having lived with it for a long time meant even recent watches of highly regarded films didn’t benefit from the foothold afforded by time (—including, sadly, a lot of amazing work directed by women).

Each film is one that made an initial impression which endured, revealing more and deepening its offer: whether the quality of its badinage, its buried vulnerability, its overbearing air of hostility, its deep-rooted absurdity, a hitherto unnoticed lightness of touch, or in a more general sense of awe at the craft involved.

If there were a thread running through at least some of these, it might be mystery — at least the incomprehensible forces which drive people’s behaviour towards each other and the extreme outcomes to which that can lead. In another sense, it might be breaking free of rigid strictures. Or, perhaps, I want to skirt round being inexorably drawn to the vicarious thrill of seeing darker impulses acted upon, whether played for laughs or chills, and regardless of any sense of justice being meted out for them or not.

I like to think there’s a zesty balance of light and shade between them as individual films and a few that find a sweet spot harmonising the two within the same film.