Stuart Murray

Professor of Contemporary Literatures and Film (University of Leeds)

Voted for

Singin' in the Rain1951Gene Kelly, Stanley Donen
Alien1979Ridley Scott
The Wizard of Oz1939Victor Fleming
Metropolis1927Fritz Lang
Bicycle Thieves1948Vittorio De Sica
Ngati1987Barry Barclay
The Bourne Supremacy2004Paul Greengrass
Jaws1975Steven Spielberg
Wild Strawberries1957Ingmar Bergman
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly1966Sergio Leone


Singin' in the Rain

1951 USA

Sumptuous. Gorgeous musical and best film about filmmaking ever made.


1979 USA, United Kingdom

Visually spectacular and conceptually so complex - bodies, feminism, cross-species etc. Also great ensemble acting.

The Wizard of Oz

1939 USA

Brilliantly surreal. Takes the excessiveness of the novel and screens out the childishness. Songs are incredible and whole is stunningly imaginative and original.


1927 Germany

Spectacular - all other filmic visions of the future (Blade Runner etc) are sourced in the aesthetics of Metropolis. It's design is simply amazing. The film's politics are simplistic and naive, but so many scenes (especially of the workers and their machines) are breathtaking.

Bicycle Thieves

1948 Italy

So brilliantly stripped down. The aesthetics are stunning - the starkness of the cinematography - and the story so beautifully simple. It emits a power few films can match.


1987 New Zealand

A hugely important intervention in the history of filmmaking - the first fiction film solely directed by an Indigenous filmmaker. Follows a rural Maori community's articulation of its values in 1940s New Zealand, but what makes it special is how it embraced its topic in its own making - Barclay and producers made the whole shoot a communal activity and saw its production as a process of giving back to the community the stories it offered to the director. The first screening was in the small coastal location in which it was filmed (Barclay believed that filmmakers should show their films for free to the people who inspired them, even pay audiences to attend). Such aesthetics and processes are increasingly common now, but Barclay set the precedent.

The Bourne Supremacy

2004 Germany, USA

Simply the best action film I know. The plot is sophisticated, the acting (especially Matt Damon) excellent and the psychology nicely complex, but the truly amazingly elements are the cinematography and editing. Each shot is perfectly constructed, meaning the overall tone and look of the film are consistent in a way that few can match. The way it avoids predictable sentimentality is equally rare. I never tire of watching it.


1975 USA

Studies in masculinity aren't much in vogue these days, but this is wonderful for so many other reasons. The dialogue is brilliant and the ensemble acting, in the domestic scenes especially, is wonderful.

Wild Strawberries

1957 Sweden

The ultimate study of introspection. Beautifully paced and shot, it builds its subjects into its form perfectly. And the acting is sublime.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

1966 Italy

This could be in any top ten for the score alone, but the sublime cinematography is wonderful and the understated yet totally excessive acting is brilliant. And there's simply no other film like it.