Top Directors Pick Their 15 Greatest Films of All Time

1959

Film-making discussions will forever hold a strong position in the dinner table talks. It will continue to spark debates between people. Films divide opinions and get us talking. We are passionate about our movies and we’d go overboard should someone disparage our favorite masterpieces. However, when renowned directors in the industry unanimously agree on certain masterpieces, we have no option but to shake our heads in agreement. Here are 15 films handpicked by top esteemed industry directors as the greatest films of all time.

15. Andrei Rublev (1965)

Hailed as one of the greatest directors of all time, Andrei Tarkovsky showcased his film making prowess by directing the wonderfully crafted, Andrei Rublev. The plot revolves around the life of the 15th century painter and his struggles. Ingmar Bergman, a director that commands respect with his stellar work, has been quoted saying, “Tarkovsky for me is the greatest director, the one who invented a new language, true to the nature of the film, as it captures life as a reflection, life as a dream.”

14. The 400 Blows (1959)

The movie, The 400 Blows, is often viewed by many as the French equivalent of J.D Salinger’s classic, The Catcher in the Rye. The movie chronicles around the life of Antoine Daniel, a teenager who runs away from home, in a bid to escape the limited life he is coerced into living. Directed by Francois Truffaut, many believe that the movie is an autobiographical account of his childhood.

13. Persona (1966)

Ingmar Bergman is not an unknown figure in the movie industry by any stretch of the imagination. The clairvoyant director would go on to inspire many notable directors including Woody Allen and David Fincher with his modernist horror masterpiece, Persona. He was adept at crafting his vision into a visual masterpiece.

12. Raging Bull (1980)

Martin Scorsese proved his worth as a director when he released the 1980 biopic, Raging Bull. Based on the life of the former middleweight boxing champion, Jake LaMotta, the movie was met with universal acclaim. Raging Bull helped cement Martin’s position into the pantheon of all-time greats.

11. Breathless (1960)

The movie, Breathless, was one of the first of its kind in the French New Wave genre. Its director, Jean-Luc Godard, earned plenty of rave plaudits for his direction and vision; many even consider Breathless to be his best work. The plot revolves around a criminal on the run after gunning down a law enforcer. While on the run, he falls head over heels for a burgeoning American journalist.

10. Bicycle Thieves (1948)

Based on Luigi Bartolini’s novel, the movie chronicles around a father and a son duo on the lookout for a lost bicycle amidst the hustling and bustling streets of Rome. Failure to locate the bicycle would result in the father losing his job. Although critics were slow to warm up to the movie initially, they eventually jumped on the bandwagon of lovers of the film.

9. Mirror (1974)

Mirror is one the few movies to hold a 100% approval rating on the movie rating website, Rotten Tomatoes. This is Andrei Tarkovsky’s second movie on the list and it is an autobiographical gem that is widely regarded a masterpiece with no equals.

8. Vertigo (1958)

Vertigo possesses an approval rating of 97% on Rotten Tomatoes and it is admired by both critics and movie buffs in equal measures. Many rate the psychological thriller as their favorite movie. Acclaimed French film critic, Francois Truffaut, has even gone on record to proclaim it as his favorite movie.

7. The Godfather (1972)

The Godfather is Francis Ford Cappola’s masterful adaptation of the novel by Mario Puzo bearing the same name. It is ranked second on IMDB’s respected top 250 films list and rightly so. Regular cinema goers, film directors, critics and film historians all hold the movie in the highest regard.

6. Apocalypse Now (1979)

Brando and Coppola joined allegiance to work on the epic Vietnam War movie, Apocalypse Now, after achieving unprecedented success with The Godfather. The war movie is gritty, raw, ambitious and nihilistic. When knowledgeable people talk about war movies, Apocalypse Now never fails to get a mention.

5. Taxi Driver (1976)

Directed by Martin Scorsese, the movie showed the post-Vietnam society in America. Although the movie was unlucky to miss out on the Best Picture award at the Academy Awards, people to this day can’t stop praising the movie that spawned the famous phrase, ‘You talkin’ to me?’

4. 8 ½ (1963)

This list would have lost all credentials without the mention of Fellini’s masterpiece, 8 ½. The movie heavily focuses on the life of a famed director facing a creative block. The movie was even bestowed upon with an Oscar for the Best Foreign Film. Understandably, 8 ½ is viewed as Fellini’s best work.

 

3. Citizen Kane (1941)

The rags-to-riches story has been told numerous times on the silver screen, but none have been able to leave much of an everlasting impression as Citizen Kane has. Orson’s masterpiece is a visual storytelling treat and is rightly rated by many as ‘The Greatest Film Ever Made.” Unfortunately, it just misses out on the top position on this occasion by a narrow margin.

2. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Stanley Kubrick earned most of his acclaimed reputation with his movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey. Many people view the movie to be ahead of its time. Hence, it wasn’t met with glowing reviews when it first released. Dealing with the themes of existentialism and artificial intelligence, it had a strong cult following that ensured the movie received its due credit.

1. Tokyo Story (1953)

The movie, Tokyo Story, came in at number one on the British Film Institutes 2012 Sight & Sounds poll. The emotionally rich family drama, directed by Yasujiro Ozu, has a certified 100% approval score on Rotten Tomatoes. Even famed late great critic, Roger Ebert, validated the impressive movie. Like many of Ozu’s work, the movie shines light on family relationships and the changing societies to which each generation adapts.