Victoria Luxford

Film Critic

Voted for

Pulp Fiction1994Quentin Tarantino
The Godfather1972Francis Ford Coppola
The Third Man1949Carol Reed
Psycho1960Alfred Hitchcock
Jaws1975Steven Spielberg
Singin' in the Rain1951Gene Kelly, Stanley Donen
GoodFellas1990Martin Scorsese
Blade Runner1982Ridley Scott
A Matter of Life and Death1946Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger
Pan's Labyrinth2006Guillermo del Toro


Pulp Fiction

1994 USA

A mesmerising story of crime, love and violence. It represents the very best of what Tarantino can do as a director, enveloping the viewer in a world filled with unique characters and thrilling scenarios. Serving as a highlight for a very exciting time in American filmmaking, despite the many influences on display there has been nothing quite like this before or since.

The Godfather

1972 USA

A synonym for greatness in cinema. For all of the cultural celebrations of Marlon Brando's Don Corleone, it's easy to forget that the bulk of this first film was about a man trying to escape the Don's world. We share Kay's (Dianne Keaton) despair as we see the fresh-faced soldier slowly slide into darkness through breathtaking scenes such as the restaurant assassination, or his final, loaded request: "Don't ask me about my business." Wonderful storytelling from start to finish.

The Third Man

1949 United Kingdom

The greatest British film of all time, and a masterclass in telling a story off-screen as well as on it. So often in cinema it's more thrilling to follow the bad guy, and while Graham Greene's script leaves you in no doubt as to who the villain of the piece is, Orson Welles' performance means you are as obsessed by Harry Lime as every character in the story. There's no greater example of this than Lime's introduction, lit by a lone window light and smiling as if knew the secrets of the world.


1960 USA

“There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it” – Alfred Hitchcock's famous quote about scaring audiences is vindicated in this 109-minute masterclass. By breaking so many preconceived notions of Hollywood, he created a new standard of horror that had its roots in the ordinary. America is a country of highways, of journeys, of possibilities; and Hitchcock placed unimaginable terror in a mundane setting most of us would be familiar with. As summed up brilliantly in the final chilling voiceover, the threat of Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) is not that he had supernatural powers, but that he was so normal he could be waiting for you, undetected, at the next rest stop…


1975 USA

Steven Spielberg's breakthrough influenced the blockbuster, but that legacy often overshadows the story itself. A morality tale of public panic, from an infamously troubled shoot came a film that is perfect in its execution – the direction, performances, soundtrack all combine to make a wonder of a movie.

Singin' in the Rain

1951 USA

Happiness distilled. The genius of Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O'Connor means that a much more intelligent film lies beneath the happy-go-lucky packaging. Capturing the contrast between the vanity of stardom and the earnest desire to perform (or "make 'em laugh"), this post-war pick-me-up shows all the great qualities of the Golden Age of Hollywood.


1990 USA

With the grace of an opera and the brutality of a boxing match, Goodfellas is one of the great American crime stories. Funnier than you remember, it's an affectionate ode to wise guys that birthed so many tropes but is still feels fresh and original more than 30 years on.

Blade Runner

1982 USA, Hong Kong

A sci-fi film like no other. I've never quite understood the theory that Deckard (Harrison Ford) is a replicant, because to me this is a story about a man taught to value life by those who need more of it. Refined over the years by re-edits, it's the perfect example of the wonder of the genre.

A Matter of Life and Death

1946 United Kingdom

Sometimes the highest concepts are driven by very simple values. David Niven's pilot is not simply fighting for a few more years on Earth, but for love. At the time of the film's release, just a year after the end of the second world war, it sent a message that made sense of the darkness in such a simple way. I also can't think of a better opening for a film, as Niven's character celebrates all that is worth living for even as he faces death.

Pan's Labyrinth

2006 Spain, Mexico, USA

Despite what Disney will tell you, fairytales have their origin in some very frightening places. Here, Guillermo Del Toro transports us to a magical underworld as a way of dealing with very adult themes. Mixing the best of modern and traditional filmmaking techniques, it leaves me in floods of tears every time.

Further remarks

I've always found the process of 'ranking' films a little bit difficult – as Barry Norman once remarked, it's like saying "chalk is good, but cheese is better". Nevertheless, my choices reflect what I value in cinema, and films that have opened new doors for me as a film lover. Pulp Fiction will always hold a special place in my heart as it found me at the right place and the right time, telling its story in a way that has felt just right for me. Being a film fan who has found something of value in thousands of movies over my lifetime, it can be a little bit painful to boil it down to just 10. However, I hope these choices highlight what I value most about big-screen storytelling.