Ty Burr

Film Critic

Voted for

Late Spring1949Yasujirō Ozu
The Godfather1972Francis Ford Coppola
Céline and Julie Go Boating1974Jacques Rivette
Au hasard Balthazar1966Robert Bresson
Vertigo1958Alfred Hitchcock
Sherlock Jr.1924Buster Keaton
Where Is the Friend's House?1987Abbas Kiarostami
Phantom Thread2017Paul Thomas Anderson
Lola Montès1955Max Ophuls
Mulholland Dr.2001David Lynch


Late Spring

1949 Japan

If I could pack "Late Spring," "Tokyo Story," and "Ohayo" into one No. 1 spot, I would, but "Spring" is the one I keep coming back to, as it seems to hover so closely to the rhythms and regrets of ordinary lfe.

The Godfather

1972 USA

The greatest classical narrative in cinema history, standing Janus-like between the studio era and the modern age.

Céline and Julie Go Boating

1974 France

An endlessly enjoyable (and structurally endless) comic essay on female friendship, storytelling, Paris in summer, and the hazy line between fiction and reality.

Au hasard Balthazar

1966 France, Sweden

The greatest religious film ever made? A Christian passion play as told through the life of a donkey in postwar France. Unbearably moving no matter no matter your spiritual persuasion.


1958 USA

A great director and chronic voyeur (redundancy? discuss) comes clean about the costs of voyeurism on both the gazer and the gazed upon. The rare movie that works as theory and practice; also, it's heartbreaking.

Sherlock Jr.

1924 USA

The rare comedy that works as both theory and practice; also, it's hilarious. An anomaly -- too long for a short, too short for a feature, but what's there is perfection.

Where Is the Friend's House?

1987 Iran

A boy returns some homework to a classmate; that's it, that's all, but it's everything. A parable about human kindness -- its difficulty, resilience, necessity -- in a harsh world.

Phantom Thread

2017 USA

Too soon? Then why does this epic romance between two beautiful, horrible people get better -- richer, funnier, sadder -- with repeat viewings? Couture filmmaking from multiple artists at the top of their games, it's going to age like a vintage Mouton Rothschild.

Lola Montès

1955 France, Federal Republic of Germany

A movie about a scandalous temptress everyone wants and an actual woman nobody sees, told in a breathtaking fractal kaleidoscope of flashbacks.

Mulholland Dr.

2001 France, USA

A bifurcated masterpiece about the no-(wo)man's-land between dream and waking life and how the movies in general and Hollywood in particular suck us into the darkness.