My list of the 100 greatest films

Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

A while back Jeff St. Clair asked some CounterPunch contributors for a list of what they considered to be the 100 greatest films of all time. I put this together pretty much off the top of my head and not in preferential order. I would say that those that came to mind first probably rate the highest, particularly “Sansho the Bailiff”, which I consider the greatest film ever made. Have you seen it? If not, put it on your bucket list. I saw it in 1961 and it has haunted me ever since. I notice, btw, that there were 101 ilms in my list–I am not sure why. In any case, you can take these to the bank.

  1. Sansho the Bailiff
  2. Weekend
  3. Seven Samurai
  4. Battle of Algiers
  5. Wages of Fear
  6. Dr. Strangelove
  7. Battleship Potemkin
  8. Berlin Alexanderplatz
  9. Jules and Jim
  10. Chinatown
  11. Modern Times
  12. Metropolis
  13. Napoleon
  14. Lola Montes
  15. Lonely are the Brave
  16. Tokyo…

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18 comments

  1. I see you’ve listed most of my favorites, including a few gems like “Morgan”, “Z”, & “Battle of Chile”. This will come in very handy for 2015 Netflix orders.

  2. Curious as to why you’ve included “McCabe & Mrs. Miller” and surprised that “The Conformist” or “Garden of the Finzi-Continis” were not on the list.

    1. The Conformist was a good (if homophobic film) but I feel it’s outdated. The idea that homosexuality is a cause of fascism has long been debunked.

      1. i didn’t see the film making this point. I thought it was about cowardice, and not specifically the cowardice of a man who has rejected himself. I saw the film several times & must have missed where he’s shown as being secretly gay. To me, it was more about sexual repression in general or the state of being split off from one’s emotions and sexuality, an authoritarian conformism as a whole as being the cause of fascism.

        1. I’ve got a copy of it. I will have to watch it again. I haven’t seen it for awhile.

  3. Some that would be on my list: “State of Siege”, “Missing”, “Primary Colors”, “The Graduate”, “The Conformist”, “Garden of the Finzi-Continis”, “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”, “Entre Nous”, “The Boys in the Band”, “Rapture” (with Horst Bucholz), “Jackie Brown”, “Malcolm X”, “Do the Right Thing”, “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter”, “The Sand Pebbles”, “The Group”, “Women In Love”, “Radio Days”, “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg”, “Night of the Shooting Stars”, “Black Orpheus”, “Blow-up”, and “Last Year at Marienbad”.

    1. Malcolm X almost made it.

      Les Amants Du Pont-Neuf would have gotten on the list before Umbrellas of Cherbourg.

      1. OK, will check this out

        1. Juliette Binoche missed her calling as a hip hop dancer.

  4. Well I only wanted to have it at 10. And I wanted them to be movies I’ve written about, or I would have certainly included Barbara Kopple’s Harlan County USA (it would have been the only female directed film on the list). Another female directed film that almost made it was A Dry White Season.

    My list is very Eurocentric.

    But my main goals are to get people to see A Man Escaped, The King of Comedy, and Attack, probably the only three movies on my list that haven’t been widely viewed in the United States. So I fit them in with a few standards like October and Grapes of Wrath.

    I also wanted to make it clear that Saturday Night Fever, not The Deerhunter, was the great 1970s film about the fall of the white working class.

  5. Speaking of Jackie Brown, Tarantino cast Robert Foster as the male hero based on his performance in Medium Cool.

    1. Well, I loved Robert Forster in Medium Cool, and he was marvelous in Jackie Brown.

      1. He was fantastic in “Diamond Men” as well & glad that this is why Tarantino cast him.

  6. I knew you’d like those Bresson films.

    1. I still haven’t been able to convince anyone to see “A Man Escaped.”

  7. I knew you’d like those Bresson films. Speaking of Aldrich, have you seen “Kiss Me Deadly”?

    1. No. Never seen it.

      1. Speaking of “greatest films” lists, they’re really “films I like” lists and once you get to 100, you’re really just listing the standards with a few of your own favorites.

        “Weekend” is much better to have watched than it is to watch. La Chinoise is a lot more fun to watch.

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