Sunday, 27 February 2011

Yardsticks – by which all others are measured…


An updated, expanded, constantly evolving version of my “yardsticks” list; that is, my own personal preferences amongst the oeuvres of the many filmmakers who have each, in their different styles, motives, and preoccupations, defined something I love about cinema. The films are in alphabetical order. This list is highly personal and subject to alterations of feeling as time goes by. The core rule, as ever, is one film per director, notwithstanding co-directing credits or uncredited work; no documentaries.
  1. 2046 (Wong Kar Wai)
  2. 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days (Cristian Mungiu)
  3. The Adventures of Robin Hood (Michael Curtiz, William Keighley) 
  4. Alexander Nevsky (Sergei Eisenstein)
  5. Alice’s Restaurant (Arthur Penn)
  6. Aliens (James Cameron)
  7. All About My Mother (Pedro Almodovar)
  8. All That Jazz (Bob Fosse)
  9. All the President’s Men (Alan J. Pakula)
  10. Les amants du Pont-Neuf (Leos Carax)
  11. An American Werewolf in London (John Landis)
  12. Andrei Rublev (Andrei Tarkovsky)
  13. Angel Face (Otto Preminger)
  14. Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola)
  15. Army of Shadows (Jean-Pierre Melville)
  16. Bad Boy Bubby (Rolf de Heer)
  17. Barry Lyndon (Stanley Kubrick)
  18. Ben-Hur (William Wyler)
  19. The Big Trail (Raoul Walsh)
  20. The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
  21. Blow-Up (Michelangelo Antonioni)
  22. Blue Velvet (David Lynch)
  23. Boarding Gate (Olivier Assayas)
  24. The Body Snatcher (Robert Wise)
  25. Branded To Kill (Seijun Suzuki)
  26. Bride of Frankenstein (James Whale)
  27. Broken Blossoms; or, the Yellow Man and the Girl (D.W. Griffith)
  28. Castle Keep (Sydney Pollack)
  29. Caught (Max Ophüls)
  30. Celine and Julie Go Boating (Jacques Rivette)
  31. The Charge of the Light Brigade (Tony Richardson)
  32. Chimes at Midnight (Orson Welles)
  33. The Claim (Michael Winterbottom)
  34. Come and See (Elem Klimov)
  35. Communion (Alfred Sole)
  36. Confessions of an Opium Eater (Albert Zugsmith)
  37. The Conformist (Bernardo Bertolucci)
  38. The Crowd (King Vidor)
  39. The Cruel Sea (Charles Frend)
  40. Cul-de-Sac (Roman Polanski)
  41. Dark Victory (Edmund Goulding)
  42. Dark Waters (Andre de Toth)
  43. The Day He Arrives (Sang-soo Hong)
  44. Deep Red (Dario Argento)
  45. Delicatessen (Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro)
  46. Diary of a Lost Girl (G. W. Pabst)
  47. Die Nibelungen: Siegfried / Kriemhild's Revenge (Fritz Lang)
  48. Dirty Harry (Don Siegel)
  49. Docteur Jekyll et les Femmes (Walerian Borowczyk)
  50. Don’t Look Now (Nicholas Roeg)
  51. Down By Law (Jim Jarmusch)
  52. Dressed To Kill (Brian De Palma)
  53. The Duellists (Ridley Scott)
  54. Ed Wood (Tim Burton)
  55. El Cid (Anthony Mann)
  56. El Topo (Alejandro Jodorowsky)
  57. Elephant (Gus Van Sant)
  58. The Embryo Hunts in Secret (Koji Wakamatsu)
  59. Exiled (Johnny To)
  60. Farewell To The King (John Milius)
  61. Far From the Madding Crowd (John Schlesinger)
  62. Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (Russ Meyer)
  63. Fat Girl (Catherine Breillat)
  64. Fitzcarraldo (Werner Herzog)
  65. The French Connection (William Friedkin)
  66. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (Joseph L. Mankiewicz)
  67. Gone With The Wind (Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Sam Wood)
  68. The Gorgon (Terence Fisher)
  69. Greed (Erich Von Stroheim)
  70. Green for Danger (Frank Launder, Sidney Gilliat)
  71. Gun Crazy (Joseph H. Lewis)
  72. Hairspray (John Waters)
  73. A Hard Day’s Night (Richard Lester)
  74. Heavenly Creatures (Peter Jackson)
  75. Heaven’s Gate (Michael Cimino)
  76. Hell To Eternity (Phil Karlson)
  77. Henry & June (Phillip Kaufman)
  78. Henry V (Kenneth Branagh)
  79. The Hitch-Hiker (Ida Lupino)
  80. The Hustler (Robert Rossen)
  81. Il Decameron (Pier Paolo Pasolini)
  82. Isle of the Dead (Mark Robson)
  83. It's a Gift (Norman Z. McLeod)
  84. Johnny Guitar (Nicholas Ray)
  85. Judex (Georges Franju)
  86. Kes (Ken Loach)
  87. The Kid (Charles Chaplin)
  88. King Kong (Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack)
  89. Kiss Me Deadly (Robert Aldrich)
  90. Kaidan (Masaki Kobayashi)
  91. Lady Snowblood (Toshiya Fujita)
  92. The Last of the Mohicans (Michael Mann)
  93. The Last Temptation of Christ (Martin Scorsese)
  94. L'Atalante (Jean Vigo)
  95. Lawrence of Arabia (David Lean)
  96. Le Corbeau (Henri-Georges Clouzot)
  97. Les Enfants du Paradis (Marcel Carné)
  98. The Leopard (Luchino Visconti)
  99. The Leopard Man (Jacques Tourneur)
  100. Levrés de Sang (Jean Rollin)
  101. The Lion In Winter (Anthony Harvey)
  102. Lord Jim (Richard Brooks)
  103. The Manchurian Candidate (John Frankenheimer)
  104. Marat/Sade (Peter Brook)
  105. Marie Antoinette (Sofia Coppola)
  106. Martin (George Romero)
  107. Matewan (John Sayles)
  108. MASH (Robert Altman)
  109. The Masque of the Red Death (Roger Corman)
  110. Matinee (Joe Dante)
  111. Mikey and Nicky (Elaine May)
  112. Mona Lisa (Neil Jordan)
  113. Monsieur Hulot's Holiday (Jacques Tati)
  114. The Mortal Storm (Frank Borzage)
  115. The Mother and the Whore (Jean Eustache)
  116. Mr Smith Goes to Washington (Frank Capra)
  117. My Darling Clementine (John Ford)
  118. Naked (Mike Leigh)
  119. Napoleon (Abel Gance)
  120. Near Dark (Kathryn Bigelow)
  121. The New World (Terrence Malick)
  122. A Night at the Opera (Sam Wood)
  123. The Nun’s Story (Fred Zinneman)
  124. O Lucky Man! (Lindsay Anderson)
  125. Odd Man Out (Carol Reed)
  126. Once Upon a Time in America (Sergio Leone)
  127. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (Nuri Bilge Ceylan)
  128. Operazione Paura (Mario Bava)
  129. Orphée (Jean Cocteau)
  130. Out of the Blue (Dennis Hopper)
  131. Paris, Texas (Wim Wenders)
  132. The Pawnbroker (Sidney Lumet)
  133. The Phantom Carriage (Victor Sjostrom)
  134. The Philadelphia Story (George Cukor)
  135. Pickpocket (Robert Bresson)
  136. Point Blank (John Boorman)
  137. The Public Enemy (William A. Wellman)
  138. Punishment Park (Peter Watkins)
  139. The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (Billy Wilder)
  140. Raiders of the Lost Ark (Steven Spielberg)
  141. Red Beard (Akira Kurosawa)
  142. The Red Shoes (Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger)
  143. Red Psalm (Miklós Jancsó)
  144. Remorques (Jean Grémillon)
  145. Repo Man (Alex Cox)
  146. Reservoir Dogs (Quentin Tarantino)
  147. Rififi (Jules Dassin)
  148. Rio Bravo (Howard Hawks)
  149. Robocop (Paul Verhoeven)
  150. 'Round Midnight (Bertrand Tavernier)
  151. The Rules of the Game (Jean Renoir)
  152. The Saragossa Manuscript (Wojciech Has)
  153. Savage Messiah (Ken Russell)
  154. Sayat Nova (Sergei Paradjanov)
  155. The Scarlet Empress (Josef von Sternberg)
  156. Shadows (John Cassavettes)
  157. Seance on a Wet Afternoon (Bryan Forbes)
  158. See No Evil (Richard Fleischer)
  159. The Serpent and the Rainbow (Wes Craven)
  160. The Shepherd of the Hills (Henry Hathaway)
  161. Sherlock Jnr (Buster Keaton)
  162. Shock Corridor (Samuel Fuller)
  163. The Shooting (Monte Hellman)
  164. The Shout (Jerzy Skolimowsky)
  165. The Silence (Ingmar Bergman)
  166. Singin’ In The Rain (Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly)
  167. Slap-Shot (George Roy Hill)
  168. Street of Shame (Kenji Mizoguchi)
  169. Sunrise:  A Song of Two Humans (Friedrich Wilhem Murnau)
  170. Superman (Richard Donner)
  171. Sweet Smell of Success (Alexander Mackendrick)
  172. Taking Off (Milos Forman)
  173. The Tarnished Angels (Douglas Sirk)
  174. The Taste of Cherries (Abbas Kiarostami)
  175. The Ten Commandments (Cecil B. DeMille)
  176. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Tobe Hooper)
  177. Them! (Gordon Douglas)
  178. There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson)
  179. The Thing (John Carpenter)
  180. Three Times (Hsiao-hsien Hou)
  181. Toby Dammit (Federico Fellini)
  182. Tokyo Story (Yasujiro Ozu)
  183. The Travelling Players (Theo Angelopoulos)
  184. Treasure of the Sierra Madre (John Huston)
  185. The Trojan Women (Michael Cacoyannis)
  186. Trouble Every Day (Claire Denis)
  187. Twelve O'Clock High (Henry King)
  188. Two English Girls (Francois Truffaut)
  189. Two Lovers (James Gray)
  190. Two Weeks In Another Town (Vincente Minnelli)
  191. Two Women (Vittorio de Sica)
  192. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Jacques Demy)
  193. Un Chien Andaluse (Luis Bunuel)
  194. Underground (Emir Kusturica)
  195. Valerie and Her Week of Wonders (Jaromil Jirês)
  196. Vampyr (Carl Dreyer)
  197. Van Diemen’s Land (Jonathan Auf Der Heide)
  198. Vengeance Is Mine (Shôhei Imamura)
  199. Venus in Furs (Jésus Franco)
  200. Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock)
  201. Viaggio in Italia (Roberto Rossellini)
  202. Week-End (Jean-Luc Godard)
  203. Went the Day Well? (Alberto Cavalcanti)
  204. When a Woman Ascends a Staircase (Mikio Naruse)
  205. The Wild Bunch (Sam Peckinpah)
  206. Witchfinder General (Michael Reeves)
  207. Zulu (Cy Endfield)
  208. Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain (Tsui Hark)

4 comments:

Sam Juliano said...

So, am I to understand Rod, that this list contains what you feel is the best film by each of these respected directors? It will take some time for me to comment comprehensively, and I will soon enough, but I'm stopping in just before the winner of the Best Picture prize is awarded stateside. The expected name in that envelope won't please you I'm sure,but who ever accused the Oscars of credability? Ha!

james1511 said...

Just so you know, Rod, your link for Red Psalm actually points to your review of The Wicker Man.

This is a fascinating list, both in terms of the choice of films *and* directors. Hopefully one day there'll be reviews linked to all of them.

Roderick Heath said...

James: thanks for noticing that; problem fixed. Yes, hopefully one day I will be able to give links to all.

Sam: No, I wasn't happy, and in fact I haven't been made that mad for quite a few years. But, you know, it's no skin off my nose. In any event, this list is really more for perusal, and, yes, warning to readers about where I come from aesthetically.

Erich Kuersten said...

This list is brilliant! For several reasons, including that you leave the obvious stuff to someone else, and focus on the best of the weird, awesome, and half-forgotten. Any list with Come and See, Trouble Every Day, and Boarding Gate on it has got to be important and I plan to check out a few movies I haven't seen based on their inclusion here - such as Confessions of an Opium Eater.