Aaron’s All-Time Top 100

Here is my list, starting with my Top 11 and then alphabetized… because I want to be different, damnit!

I don’t know if we’re commenting here or later, but I think it’s remarkable how many films we have in common, Alex. I also think it’s interesting how there seems to be a list of maybe 150-200 films from which most people (in the Ira world) have pulled their lists, with another list of about 200 or so films that are outside choices that a few people have listed and then several hundred that seem to be special to individuals (that are probably wonderful that most people have not seen).

I also want to say how sorry I am that I don’t have a Tashlin or a Nicholas Ray film on my list. Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?, The Girl’s Gotta Have It, On Dangrous Ground and In a Lonely Place just missed the cut for me. I probably should have looked at that a bit more and taken off a duplicated director picture and replaced it with two of these, but I didn’t. (Sorry, Frank and Nick.) I also regret cutting What Ever Happen to Baby Jane?, because I find myself very drawn to Aldrich’s weird and dark sense of humor (I’m convinced The Scarlet Empress could have been directed by Aldrich if it had been made 20 years later… though then who would he have Svengali’d? I dunno).

Throughout this process I’ve been amazing at how great movies really stand out as great. When a person says, “you should see The Crowd or The General — those are great movies,” it’s easy to dismiss it and forget about them. But when you watch them and you see how amazing they are, it can take your breath away. (I’m not using my words good here, sorry.)

All of this is to say that it’s been a pleasure watching these films and discovering amazing work from actors and filmmakers who have been somehow forgotten. Like John Garfield. I have no idea why he’s not mentioned in the same category as Bogart, Stewart, Grant and Wayne. Because he was blacklisted? Because he died young? Because he wasn’t in Casablanca? And why are Max Ophuls and Josef von Sternberg not as well known to common people as Hawks or Welles? Their movies are just as interesting as any of theirs (better than many).

Here’s the list:

1)  Jeanne Dielman 23 Quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles (Akerman, 1975)
2) Rio Bravo (Hawks, 1959)
3) All About Eve (Mankiewicz, 1950)
4) Andrei Rublev (Tarkovsky, 1966)
5) Letter from an Unknown Woman (Max Ophuls, 1948)
6) Danton (Wajda, 1983)
7) In a Year with 13 Moons (Fassbinder, 1978)
8) Scarlet Empress (von Sternberg, 1934)
9) The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (Ford, 1962)
10) The Palm Beach Story (Sturgess, 1942)
11) Kiss Me Deadly (Aldrich, 1955)

2001: A Space Oddysey (Kubrick, 1968)

The 400 Blows (Truffaut, 1959)

Advise & Consent (Preminger, 1962)

Ali: Fear Eats The Soul (Fassbinder, 1972)

Anatomy of a Murder (Preminger, 1959)

The Asphalt Jungle (Huston, 1950)

The Bad and the Beautiful (Minnelli, 1952)

Barry Lyndon (Kubrick, 1975)

The Battle of Algiers (Pontecorvo, 1966)

La Belle et La Bete (Cocteau, 1946)

Bicycle Thieves (de Sica, 1948)

The Big Sleep (Hawks, 1946)

Black Girl (Sembene, 1966)

Breathless (Godard, 1960)

Chinatown (Polanski, 1974)

Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941)

Contempt (Godard, 1963)

The Cranes are Flying (Kalatozov, 1957)

Crimes and Misdemeanors (Allen, 1989)

The Crowd (Vidor, 1928)

Days of Heaven (Malick, 1978)

Dekalog (Kieslowski, 1989)

Diary of a Country Priest (Bresson, 1951)

The Discrete Charm of the Bourgeousie (Bunuel, 1972)

Dodsworth (Wyler, 1936)

Double Indemnity (Wilder, 1944)

The Earrings of Madame de… (Max Ophuls, 1953)

Fanny & Alexander (Bergman,1982)

Faster Pussy Cat! Kill! Kill! (Meyer, 1966)

Force of Evil (Polonsky, 1948)

The General (Keaton, 1926)

Goldfinger (Hamilton, 1964)

High and Low (Kurosawa, 1963)

His Girl Friday (Hawks, 1940)

In the Mood for Love (Wong, 2000)

Jaws (Spielberg, 1975)

Jules et Jim (Truffaut, 1962)

Koyaanisquatsi (Reggio, 1982)

Laura (Preminger, 1944)

Lola Montes (Max Ophuls, 1955)

Lone Star (Sayles, 1996)

The Magnificent Ambersons (Welles, 1942)

A Man Escaped (Bresson, 1956)

The Man with the Movie Camera (Vertov, 1929)

The Marriage of Maria Braun (Fassbinder, 1979)

McCabe and Mrs. Miller (Altman, 1971)

Mr. Hulot’s Holiday (Tati, 1953)

Murder, My Sweet (Dmytryk, 1944)

Naked Spur (Mann, 1953)

Night and the City (Dassin, 1950)

Night of the Hunter (Laughton, 1955)

North by Northwest (Hitchcock, 1959)

Notorious (Hitchcock, 1946)

Ordet (Dreyer, 1955)

Pandora’s Box (Pabst, 1929)

The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dreyer, 1928)

Pather Panchali (Satyajit Ray, 1955)

Peeping Tom (Powell, 1960)

The Postman Always Rings Twice (Garnett, 1946)

Rashomon (Kurssawa, 1950)

The Reckless Moment (Ophuls, 1949)

Red River (Hawks, 1948)

The Rules of the Game (Renoir, 1939)

Salo: Or, 120 Days of Sade (Pasolini, 1975)

Le Samourai (Melville, 1967)

Sans Soleil (Marker, 1983)

Secret Honor (Altman, 1984)

Shanghai Express (von Sternberg, 1932)

Shoah (Lanzmann, 1985)

The Shop Around the Corner (Lubitsch, 1940)

Singin’ In the Rain (Donen, Kelly, 1952)

The Son (Dardenne, Dardenne, 2002)

The Sorrow and the Pitty (Marcel Ophuls)

Spirited Away (Miyazaki, 2001)

Steamboat Bill, Jr. (Riesner, Keaton 1928)

Sunrise: A Tale of Two Humans (Murnau, 1927)

Sweet Smell of Success (Mackendrick, 1957)

Taste of Cherry (Kiarostami, 1997)

They Shoot Horses Don’t They? (Pollack, 1969)

The Thin Blue Line (Morris, 1988)

The Thin Red Line (Malick, 1998)

The Third Man (Reed, 1949)

Tokyo Story (Ozu, 1953)

Touch of Evil (Welles, 1958)

Winter Light (Bergman, 1963)

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Almodovar, 1988)

WR: The Mysteries of the Organism (Makavejev, 1971)

Yi Yi (Yang, 2000)

The Young Girls of Rochefort (Demy, Varda, 1967)

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About Aaron & Alex

We're two highly opinionated, movie-going, liberal, cynical, (single) New York Jews who like to bitch about movies.
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2 Responses to Aaron’s All-Time Top 100

  1. Julie says:

    Ummmm, I’ve never heard of most of these films, let alone seen any of them! Where should I start?!?

  2. Aaron & Alex says:

    Start with the top ten, obviously! Most of them are available on DVD (at least in the US… maybe Canadiak law is more easy and that they’re all out on snowy, maple syrupy DVD).

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