A quarantine list: 250 of my favourite films

250 of my favourite films, put together just because. I have attempted to limit the list to one film per director, except in the cases where that proved impossible. This then is not ‘my top 250 films’ or anything but just 250 brilliant films, in no real order, and (hopefully) a way to highlight as many great directors as possible.

No real commentary, which would consist only of fawning and superlatives, just a few things about the list. There are no doubt some questionable personal choices (I’m still not sure how I chose Summer with Monika and left out Cries and Whispers) and huge numbers of great films left out, including many that would undoubtedly feature in any ‘top 250 films’ if I ever chose to make one. Some directors have only one film simply because of how much I love that particular film even if they have made a great number of films which I am fond of. So where e.g. Satyajit Ray could have had five or six on the list, he is reduced to one because of the impossibly wonderful Pather Panchali.

Most of the more contemporary directors have been limited to one film. The two directors this has sinned against the most are probably Edward Yang and Hirokazu Kore-eda. Andrea Arnold and Pedro Costa could also have probably had 3+ each. There are not enough horror films, or documentaries probably, too much noir, and more than half the comedies are from before the Second World War, there is also only one classic musical (Meet me in St Louis). I have also had to (mostly) avoid including ‘glorious trash’ or ‘terrible films that I love’ to stop the list becoming 500 or 1000 films.

The biggest geographical deficiencies are Africa and (beyond a few Third Cinema classics) Latin America: these are my deficiencies as a viewer which I am slowly trying to remedy.

Enough rambling.

1. Pather Panchali | S. Ray, 1955

2. Yi Yi | Edward Yang, 2000

3. Yearning | Mikio Naruse, 1964

4. The Man with No Name | Wang Bing, 2010

5. Memories of Murder | Bong Joon Ho, 2003

6. The Aviator’s Wife | Eric Rohmer, 1981

7. The Green Ray | Eric Rohmer, 1986

8. The Mother and the Whore | Jean Eustache, 1973

9. Celine and Julie Go Boating | Jacques Rivette, 1974

10. Out 1 | Jacques Rivette, 1971

11. World on a Wire | R W Fassbinder, 1973

12. Fear Eats the Soul | R W Fassbinder, 1974

13. Germany in Autumn | R W Fassbinder, 1978

14. Le deuxième souffle | Melville, 1966

15. All that Heaven Allows | Douglas Sirk, 1955

16. The Philadelphia Story | George Cukor, 1940

17. The Shop Around the Corner | Lubitsch, 1940

18. Ninotchka | Lubitsch, 1939

19. The House Is Black | Forugh Farrokhzad, 1962

20. Le Feu Follet | Louis Malle, 1963

21. Grand Hotel | Edmund Goulding, 1939

22. Bringing Up Baby | Howard Hawks, 1938

23. The Seventh Continent | Michael Haneke, 1989

24. Chinatown | Roman Polanski, 1974

25. Repulsion | Roman Polanski, 1965

26. Rear Window | Hitchcock, 1954

27. Shadow of a Doubt | Hitchcock, 1943

28. Nobody Knows | Koreeda, 2004

29. Gummo | Harmony Korine, 1997

30. Safe | Todd Haynes, 1995

31. Stalker | Tarkovsky, 1973

32. Andrei Rublev | Tarkovsky, 1966

33. Mirror | Tarkovsky, 1975

34. The Life of Oharu | Mizoguchi, 1952

35. Sansho the Baliff | Mizoguchi, 1954

36. The Crucified Lovers | Mizoguchi, 1954

37. Ecstasy of the Angels | Kôji Wakamatsu, 1972

38. Tree of Wooden Clogs | Olmi, 1978

39. Meshes of the Afternoon | Maya Deren, 1943

40. Nowhere | Gregg Araki, 1997

41. Throw Away Your Books, Rally in the Streets | Shuji Terayama, 1971

42. The Human Condition I-III | Kobayashi, 1959–61

43. As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty | Jonas Mekas, 2000

44. Dog Star Man | Stan Brakhage, 1961–4

45. The Exterminating Angel | Bunuel, 1962

46. Viridiana | Bunuel, 1961

47. Jeanne Dielman… | Akerman, 1973

48. No Home Movie | Akerman, 2015

49. Spring in a Small Town | Fei Mu, 1948

50. The Eternal Breasts | Kinuyo Tanaka, 1955

51. The Battle of Algiers | Gillo Pontecorvo, 1966

52. A Page of Madness | Teinosuke Kinugasa, 1926

53. L’Inferno | Francesco Bertolini, Adolfo Padovan, 1911

54. Battleship Potemkin | Segei Eisenstein, 1925

55. Out of the Past | Jacques Tourneur, 1947

56. In a Lonely Place | Nicholas Ray, 1950

57. The Passion of Joan of Arc | Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1928

58. Ordet | Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1955

59. Aguirre, the Wrath of God | Herzog, 1972

60. Greed | Erich von Stroheim, 1924

61. The Gold Rush | Charlie Chaplin, 1925

62. The General | Buster Keaton, 1926

63. Kino-Eye | Vertov, 1928

64. Salo or the 120 Days of Sodom | Pasolini, 1975

65. Day for Night | Truffaut, 1973

66. The Conversation | Francis Ford Coppola, 1974

67. The Godfather | Francis Ford Coppola, 1972

68. Inland Empire | David Lynch, 2006

69. Red Desert | Antonioni, 1970

70. L’Avventura | Antonioni, 1960

71. Paris, Texas | Wim Wenders, 1984

72. Metropolitan | Whit Stillman, 1994

73. Los Angeles Plays Itself | Thom Andersen, 2003

74. Week End | Godard, 1967

75. Killer of Sheep | Charles Burnett, 1978

76. Beau Travail | Claire Denis, 1999

77. Sweet Smell of Success | Alexander Mackendrick, 1957

78. Days of Wine and Roses | Blake Edwards, 1962

79. The Maltese Falcon | John Huston, 1941

80. Red Road | Andrea Arnold, 2006

81. An Angel at my Table | Jane Campion, 1990

82. Picnic at Hanging Rock | Peter Weir, 1975

83. Wendy and Lucy | Kelly Reichardt, 2008

84. Tokyo Story | Ozu, 1953

85. Late Spring | Ozu, 1949

86. Casablanca | Michael Curtiz, 1942

87. Brief Encounter | David Lean, 1945

88. Punishment Park | Peter Watkins, 1971

89. Paranoid Park | Gus Van Sant, 2007

90. Dogville | Lars Von Trier, 2003

91. Festen | Thomas Vinterberg, 1998

92. Laura | Otto Preminger, 1944

93. Anatomy of a Murder | Otto Preminger, 1959

94. Woman of the Dunes | Hiroshi Teshigahara, 1964

95. The Face of Another | Hiroshi Teshigahara, 1966

96. Eureka | Shinji Aoyama, 2000

97. Mouchette | Bresson, 1967

98. The Devil, Probably | Bresson, 1977

99. Taxi Driver | Martin Scorsese, 1976

100. Zodiac | David Fincher, 2007

101. Les Diaboliques | Clouzot, 1955

102. Barton Fink | The Cohens, 1991

103. The Misfits | John Huston, 1961

104. Sunset Blvd. | Billy Wilder, 1950

105. Double Indemnity | Billy Wilder, 1944

106. The Big Clock | John Farrow, 1948

107. The Night of the Hunter | Charles Laughton, 1955

108. Suspiria | Dario Argento, 1977

109. The Thing | John Carpenter, 1982

110. The Furies | Anthony Mann, 1950

111. Never Look Away | Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, 2018

112. Stella Dallas | King Vidor, 1937

113. El Topo | Jodorowsky, 1970

114. Cleo from 5 to 7 | Agnes Varda, 1962

115. The Searchers | John Ford, 1956

116. Sans Soleil | Chris Marker, 1983

117. Brazil | Terry Gilliam, 1985

118. Raiders of the Lost Ark | Spielberg, 1981

119. Paths of Glory | Kubrick, 1957

120. Harlan County USA | Barbara Kopple, 1976

121. The Matrix | Lilly and Lana Wachowski, 1999

122. Punch Drunk Love | Paul Thomas Anderson, 2002

123. Daisies | Vera Chytilova, 1966

124. Happiness | Todd Solondz, 1998

125. The Leopard | Visconti, 1963

126. Remember the Night | Mitchell Leisen, 1940

127. Nashville | Robert Altman, 1975

128. The Long Goodbye | Robert Altman, 1973

129. All the President’s Men | Alan J. Pakula, 1976

130. The Conformist | Bertolucci, 1970

131. Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion | Elio Petri, 1970

132. The Manchurian Candidate | John Frankenheimer, 1962

133. The Day of the Jackal | Fred Zinnemann, 1973

134. The Beekeeper | Theodoros Angelopoulos, 1986

135. Diamonds of the Night | Jan Nemec, 1964

136. Persona | Bergman, 1966

137. Summer with Monika | Bergman, 1953

138. The Testament of Dr. Mabuse | Fritz Lang, 1933

139. In the Mood for Love | Wong Kar-Wai, 2000

140. Dazed and Confused | Richard Linklater, 1994

141. Cemetery of Splendour | Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2015

142. Spirited Away | Hayao Miyazaki, 2001

143. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia | Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2011

144. Like Someone in Love | Abbas Kiarostami, 2012

145. Hiroshima, Mon Amour | Alain Renais, 1959

146. All About My Mother | Pedro Almodovar, 1999

147. Annie Hall | Woody Allen, 1977

148. Z | Costas-Gavras, 1969

149. Black Narcissus | Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger, 1947

150. The Innocents | Jack Clayton, 1961

151. Citizen Kane | Orson Welles, 1941

152. Touch of Evil | Orson Welles, 1958

153. A Summer at Grandpa’s | Hsiao-Hsien Hou, 1984

154. Badlands | Terrence Malik, 1973

155. Le Boucher | Chabrol, 1970

156. Vive L’Amour | Ming-liang Tsai, 1994

157. Shoah | Claude Lanzmann, 1985

158. Salesman | Albert Maysles, David Maysles, 1969

159. Glengarry Glen Ross | James Foley, 1992

160. Swimming with Sharks | George Huang, 1994

161. Scarecrow | Jerry Schatzberg, 1973

162. Alice | Jan Svankmajer, 1988

163. Leviathan | Andrei Zvyaginstev, 2014

164. Songs from the Second Floor | Roy Andersson, 2000

165. In the White City | Alain Tanner, 1983

166. Love Exposure | Sion Sono, 2008

167. Dogtooth | Yorgos Lanthimos, 2009

168. Black Rain | Shôhei Imamura, 1989

169. Mon Oncle Antoine | Claude Jutra, 1971

170. In the Realm of the Senses | Nagisa Ôshima, 1976

171. The Naked Island | Kaneto Shindo, 1960

172. Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot | Jacques Tati, 1953

173. Black Girl | Ousmane Sembène, 1966

174. Funeral Parade of Roses | Toshio Matsumoto, 1969

175. Alien | Ridley Scott, 1979

176. The French Connection | William Friedkin, 1971

177. Synecdoche, New York | Charlie Kaufman, 2008

178. The League of Gentlemen | Basil Dearden, 1960

179. The Four Feathers | Zoltan Korda, 1939

180. Clerks | Kevin Smith, 1994

181. Bicycle Thieves | Vittorio De Sica, 1948

182. Earth | Aleksandr Dovzhenko, 1930

183. Confessions | Tetsuya Nakashima, 2010

184. The Hour of the Furnaces | Octavio Getino, Fernando E. Solanas, 1968

185. Colossal Youth | Pedro Costa, 2006

186. Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters | Paul Schrader, 1985

187. A Prophet | Jacques Audiard, 2009

188. Twenty-Four Eyes | Keisuke Kinoshita, 1954

189. Godzilla | Ishirô Honda, 1954

190. Primer | Shane Carruth, 2004

191. Hunger | Steve McQueen, 2008

192. Locke | Steven Knight, 2013

193. Holy Motors | Leos Carax, 2012

194. The Battle of Chile: Parts I-III | Patricio Guzmán, 1975–9

195. Yesterday Girl | Alexander Kluge, 1966

196. Sicily! | Danièle Huillet, Jean-Marie Straub, 1999

197. Happy Hour | Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, 2015

198. It’s Such a Beautiful Day | Don Hertzfeldt, 2012

199. Two Years at Sea | Ben Rivers, 2011

200. The Ister | David Barison, Daniel Ross, 2004

201. The Spirit of the Beehive | Víctor Erice, 1973

202. Cinema Paradiso | Giuseppe Tornatore, 1988

203. High Plains Drifter | Clint Eastwood, 1975

204. The Great Silence | Sergio Corbucci, 1968

205. The Dreamed Ones | Ruth Beckermann, 2016

206. Detour | Edgar G. Ulmer, 1945

207. Rashomon | Akira Kurosawa, 1950

208. Gilda | Charles Vidor, 1946

209. Museum Hours | Jem Cohen 2012

210. Symbiopsychotaxiplasm | William Greaves, 1968

211. The Fifth Element | Luc Besson, 1997

212. Portrait of a Lady on Fire | Céline Sciamma, 2019

213. Portrait of Jason | Shirley Clarke, 1967

214. Don’t Look Now | Nicholas Roeg, 1973

215. Man of Aran | Robert J. Flaherty, 1934

216. Gregory’s Girl | Bill Forsyth, 1980

217. Meet Me in St Louis | Vincente Minnelli, 1944

218. Love Letter | Shunji Iwai, 1995

219. The Devil and Daniel Johnston | Jeff Feuerzeig, 2005

220. À Flor do Mar | João César Monteiro, 1986

221. The Act of Killing | John Oppenheimer, 2012

222. Honey | Semih Kaplanoğlu, 2010

223. La Grande Bouffe | Marco Ferreri, 1973

224. In the Heat of the Night | Norman Jewison, 1967

225. Shock Corridor | Samuel Fuller, 1963

226. eXistenZ | David Cronenberg, 1999

227. Network | Sidney Lumet, 1976

228. A Face in the Crowd | Elia Kazan, 1957

229. Dawn of the Dead | George A. Romero, 1978

230. The Evil Dead | Sam Raimi, 1981

231. All About Eve | Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1950

232. Clean, Shaven | Lodge Kerrigan, 1993

233. Man Bites Dog | Rémy Belvaux, André Bonzel, 1992

234. The Swimmer | Frank Perry, Sydney Pollack, 1968

235. Persepolis | Vincent Paronnaud, Marjane Satrapi, 2007

236. The Vanishing | George Sluizer, 1988

237. The Woman Who Left | Lav Diaz, 2016

238. Werckmeister Harmonies | Béla Tarr, Ágnes Hranitzky, 2000

239. Amadeus | Milos Forman, 1984

240. Freaks | Todd Browning, 1932

241. Kids | Larry Clark, 1995

242. Illustrious Corpses | Francesco Rosi, 1976

243. The Cow | Dariush Mehrjui, 1969

244. Leaving Las Vegas | Mike Figgis, 1995

245. The Wicker Man | Robin Hardy, 1973

246. The Curlew’s Cry | Hinri Barakat, 1959

247. Pink Flamingos | John Waters, 1972

248. True Romance | Tony Scott, 1993

249. Robocop | Paul Verhoeven, 1987

250. Plein Soleil | René Clément, 1960

I failed:

251. The Naked Prey | Cornell Wilde, 1965

252. Heavenly Creatures | Peter Jackson, 1994

253. Summer Hours | Olivier Assayas, 2008

254. An Affair to Remember | Leo McCarey, 1957

Failed terribly:

255. The Red Balloon | Albert Lamorisse, 1956
256. The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology | Sophie Fiennes, 2012
257. Orphée | Jean Cocteau, 1950
258. I, Tonya | Craig Gillespie, 2017
259. Silkwood | Mike Nichols, 1983
260. Tangerine | Sean Baker, 2015
261. The Woodmans | Scott Willis, 2010
262. The Hands of Orlac | Robert Weine, 1924
263. Harun Farocki | The Inextinguishable Fire, 1969
264. The Silence of the Lambs | Jonathan Demme, 1991
265. Manhunter | Michael Mann, 1982
266. Seconds | John Frankenheimer, 1966

267. Threads | Mick Jackson 1984
268. La Haine | Mathieu Kassovitz, 1995

Posting this now before I change my mind or any more creeping dread about what’s missing sets in…

[Creeping dread edit:
Apologies to Abel Gance, Masao Adachi, Louis Feuillade, Peter Greenaway, Jean Epstein, Mario Peixoto, Hiroshi Shimizu, Ken Russell, René Viénet, Alan Schneider, Jia Zhangke, Krzysztof Kieślowski, Raúl Ruiz, John Cassavetes, Marguerite Duras and probably a lot more.]

Yorkshire person. Editor @readysteadybook. Writer @thequietus, @3ammagaine, @gorse_journal, @LAReviewofBooks + more. Communism, literature, philosophy.