The following film list is all about the top 100 masterpieces that influenced the history of cinema.  Those are the movies that are reference today even when they were created a hundred years ago and possibility will continue to be a reference for the next century.  From Metropolis to Citizen Kane, the list has all the key films from a history of cinema perspective.

Topics

The list is divided into 10 different categories following the history of cinema including:


Origins of Cinema : from 1895 to 1929

The story of Cinema began with the Lumieres brothers in France in 1895.  In the following decades  a new visual language is created across both Europe and America.  The new born directors start working with recognizable cinematographic conventions and various films genre appear from science fiction with Fritz Lang to historical film epics with D. W. Griffith, passing by vampire horrors and surrealist cinema.

Top 10 films from the origin of cinema include:

  1. A trip to the Moon  (1902)
  2. Birth of a Nation (1915)
  3. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
  4. Nosferatu (1922)
  5. Nanook of the North (1922)
  6. Battleship Potemkine (1925)
  7. Metropolis (1927)
  8. Napoleon (1927)
  9. Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
  10. An Andalucian Dog (1929)

A trip to the Moon (1902)

A Trip to the Moon or Le Voyage dans la lune is a 1902 French movie directed by magician director Georges Méliès, loosely based  on two popular Jules Verne novels and known to be the first science fiction film in cinematic history.  Indeed it uses innovative animation and special effects such as the famous scene where the spaceship land in the eye of the moon.

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A trip to the Moon - Top 100 films in cinematic history

A trip to the Moon - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Birth of a Nation (1915)

The Birth of a Nation is an American silent film directed by D. W. Griffith which chronicles the relationship of two families during the Civil War with key historic scenes such as the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln.  The film was a huge commercial success, but was highly controversial due to the depiction of racism,  which inspired D.W. Griffith to produce Intolerance the following year.

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Birth of a Nation - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Birth of a Nation - Top 100 films in cinematic history

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari directed by Robert Wiene is considered one of the greatest horror movies of the silent era as well as one of the most influential of German Expressionist.  The film is also famous for being the first to introduce the twist ending in cinema.

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The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari - Top 100 films in cinematic history

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Nosferatu (1922)

Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror, simply known as Nosferatu is a German Expressionist horror film directed by F. W. Murnau  and loosely based on Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula.  The film starred Max Schreck in the role of the vampire Nosferatu Count Orlok.

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Nosferatu - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Nosferatu - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Nanook of the North (1922)

Nanook of the North is a 1922 silent documentary film by Robert J. Flaherty in the tradition of what would later be called salvage ethnography.  The film is considered the first feature-length documentary, showing the struggles of Inuk Nanook and his family in the Canadian arctic.

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Nanook of the North - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Nanook of the North - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Battleship Potemkine (1925)

The Battleship Potemkin is one of the greatest masterpieces by Russian director Sergei Eisenstein showing a dramatized version of the 1905 mutiny of the battleship Potemkin crew against their officers of the Tsarist regime.  The film is known for being one of the most influential propaganda films of all time.

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Battleship Potemkine - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Battleship Potemkine - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Metropolis (1927)

Metropolis is a science-fiction film following the German expressionist school, directed by Fritz Lang and set in a futuristic urban dystopia,  depicting the social crisis between workers and owners.  It is famous for being the most expensive silent film ever made, at a cost of about 5 million Reichsmark ($200 million when adjusted for inflation).

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Metropolis - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Metropolis - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Napoleon (1927)

The 1927 Napoleon is an epic silent French film directed by Abel Gance displaying the rise of Napoleon from its school youth to the invasion of Italy.  The film is often considered to be ahead of its time being one of the first to use handheld cameras and new editing methods.

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Napoleon - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Napoleon - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)

The Passion of Joan of Arc is a French silent film starring Renée Jeanne Falconetti and directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer depicting the trial, imprisonment, torture and execution of Joan of Arc.  It is widely regarded as a one of cinema greatest films, celebrated for its direction and main character excellent performance.

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Passion of Joan of Arc - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Passion of Joan of Arc - Top 100 films in cinematic history

An Andalucian Dog (1929)

Un Chien Andalou or An Andalusian Dog is a silent surrealist short film by debuting Spanish director Luis Bunuel and famous artist Salvador Dali.  It is famous for being unconventional with a disjointed chronology and use of dream logic or Freudian free association in its narrative flow.

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An Andalucian Dog - Top 100 films in cinematic history

An Andalucian Dog - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Cinema of the 30’s

The cinema of the 30’s is the decade of the classic Hollywood style where studios and their key directors from George Cukor to Michael Curtiz  passing by Victor Fleming, bring complete mastery to the movie enterprise.  It is the time where European new comer such as Ernst Lubitsch bring a touch of innovation and elegance to Hollywood.  Not to forget the new generation of American Mavericks such as Capra, Huston and Disney that challenge the limits of filmmaking, bringing this new Art to a whole new level.

Top 10 films of the 30’s include:

  1. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)
  2. Blue Angel (1930)
  3. City Lights (1931)
  4. 42nd Street (1933)
  5. Duck Soup (1933)
  6. King Kong (1933)
  7. Atalante (1934)
  8. Snow white and the seven dwarfs (1937)
  9. Olympia (1938)
  10. Rules of the Game (1939)

All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

All Quiet on the Western Front is a 1930 American epic war film directed by Lewis Milestone and based on the Erich Maria Remarque novel of the same name.  It is often considered one of the most realistic account of warfare in World War I.

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All Quiet on the Western Front - Top 100 films in cinematic history

All Quiet on the Western Front - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Blue Angel (1930)

The Blue Angel is a film directed by Josef von Sternberg considered to be the first major German sound film as well as bringing to world fame actress Marlene Dietrich.

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Blue Angel - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Blue Angel - Top 100 films in cinematic history

City Lights (1931)

City Lights is a silent romantic comedy-drama film written, directed and starring Charlie Chaplin.  It is often considered as one of the highest accomplishments of his prolific career. Although classified as a comedy, City Lights has an ending widely regarded as one of the most moving in cinema history.

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City Lights - Top 100 films in cinematic history

City Lights - Top 100 films in cinematic history

42nd Street (1933)

42nd Street is an American lively backstage musical directed by Lloyd Bacon.  It was very successful at the box office and widely nominated for different prestigious films awards.  The film is often considered a masterpiece in its genre and features on a variety of top cinema lists.

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42nd Street - Top 100 films in cinematic history

42nd Street - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Duck Soup (1933)

Duck Soup is a 1933 Marx Brothers anarchic comedy film directed by Leo McCarey and featuring the "Four Marx Brothers" including Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Zeppo.  Although it wasn’t a really a commercial and critical hit, it since achieved the status of a classic and often considered the Marx Brothers’ finest film.

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Duck Soup  - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Duck Soup - Top 100 films in cinematic history

King Kong (1933)

King Kong is a fantasy monster adventure film co-directed by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack about the now famous gigantic island-dwelling gorilla-like creature called Kong who dies in an attempt to possess a beautiful young woman.

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King Kong - Top 100 films in cinematic history

King Kong - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Atalante (1934)

L’Atalante is a 1934 French film directed by Jean Vigo and starring Jean Dasté, Dita Parlo and Michel Simon. It has been hailed by many critics as one of the greatest films of all time.

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Atalante - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Atalante - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Snow white and the seven dwarfs (1937)

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the first animated feature film produced in America and  first to be produced by Walt Disney as well as the first full-length cel-animated feature in motion picture history.  Following its success, various Walt Disney animated classics followed.

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Snow white and the seven dwarfs - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Snow white and the seven dwarfs - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Olympia (1938)

Olympia is a 1938 film by Leni Riefenstahl documenting the 1936 Summer Games and known to be the first documentary feature film on the Olympic Games ever made.  The cinematography techniques employed were groundbreaking  and universally admired,  however the film remains controversial due to its political context.

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Olympia - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Olympia - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Rules of the Game (1939)

The Rules of the Game or La Règle du jeu is a 1939 French film directed by Jean Renoir about upper-class French society just before the start of World War II.  He was inspired by France greatest authors including Alfred de Musset’s Les Caprices de Marianne as well as Moliere and Marivaux.

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Rules of the Game - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Rules of the Game - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Cinema during the war: from 1939 to 1945

The cinema during  the wars were characterise by films with the obvious Second War Context such as the Casablanca, but also some of the greatest films in the short history of Cinema such as Citizen Kane.  It is also the beginning of poetic realism in France with amongst other Michel Carne and Italian neorealism with Luchino Visconti’s.

Top 10 films of the 30’s include:

  1. Gone with the wind (1939)
  2. Philadelphia Story (1940)
  3. His Girl Friday (1940)
  4. Grapes of Wrath (1940)
  5. Citizen Kane (1941)
  6. Maltese Falcon (1941)
  7. In which we serve  (1942)
  8. Be or not to be (1942)
  9. Casablanca (1942)
  10. Ossessione (1943)

Gone with the wind (1939)

Gone with the Wind is a American historical epic film directed by Victor Fleming and adapted from Margaret Mitchell’s Pulitzer-winning 1936 novel of the same name. It is the story of the American Civil War and Reconstruction era from a Southern point of view, starring  Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh.  It is known to be the first major film shot in colour.

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Gone with the wind - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Gone with the wind - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Philadelphia Story (1940)

The Philadelphia Story is a 1940 American romantic comedy film directed by George Cukor and starring Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn.  It is considered one of the best examples of a comedy of remarriage, a genre popular in the 1930s and 1940s, in which a couple divorce, flirt with outsiders and then remarry.

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Philadelphia Story - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Philadelphia Story - Top 100 films in cinematic history

His Girl Friday (1940)

His Girl Friday is an American screwball comedy film directed by Howard Hawks and starring Cary Grant as Walter Burns and Rosalind Russell as Hildy Johnson. It is famous for its rapid-fire dialogue.

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His Girl Friday - Top 100 films in cinematic history

His Girl Friday - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Grapes of Wrath (1940)

The Grapes of Wrath is a drama film directed by John Ford  and based on John Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel of the same name.  The film follows an Oklahoma family across the United States journey during the Great Depression of  the 1930s.

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Grapes of Wrath - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Grapes of Wrath - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Citizen Kane (1941)

Citizen Kane is an American drama film directed by and starring Orson Welles often considered the greatest movie of all time.  It is famous for its innovative cinematography, music and narrative structure.  The story displays the life and legacy of Charles Foster Kane, a character based upon the American newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst.

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Citizen Kane - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Citizen Kane - Top 100 films in cinematic history

The Maltese Falcon (1941)

The Maltese Falcon is a film written and directed by directorial debut John Huston, based on the novel of the same name by Dashiell Hammett and featuring Humphrey Bogart.  The story follows a private detective’s dealings with a jewel-encrusted statuette of a falcon mystery.  It is considered the first major work of the film noir genre.

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The Maltese Falcon - Top 100 films in cinematic history

The Maltese Falcon - Top 100 films in cinematic history

In Which We Serve (1942)

In Which We Serve is a British patriotic war film directed by David Lean and Noël Coward, based on the exploits of Captain Lord Louis Mountbatten, commander of the HMS Kelly destroyer which sunk during the Battle of Crete.  The film made with the assistance of the Ministry of Information remains a classic example of wartime British cinema through its patriotic imagery of national unity and social cohesion within the context of the Second World War.

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In Which We Serve - Top 100 films in cinematic history

In Which We Serve - Top 100 films in cinematic history

To Be or Not to Be(1942)

To Be or Not to Be is a American comedy directed by Ernst Lubitsch, about a troupe of actors in Nazi-occupied Warsaw who use their abilities at disguise and acting to fool the occupying troops.  The title is a reference to the famous "To be, or not to be" in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

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To Be or Not to Be - Top 100 films in cinematic history

To Be or Not to Be - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Casablanca (1942)

Casablanca is a American romantic drama film directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.  The story is about a man torn between love and virtue. Indeed he must choose between his love for a woman and helping her and her Czech Resistance leader husband escape from the Vichy-controlled Moroccan city of Casablanca to continue his fight against the Nazis.

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Casablanca - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Casablanca - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Ossessione (1943)

Ossessione or Obsession is an Italian film based on the novel, The Postman Always Rings Twice, by James M. Cain.  The film is Luchino Visconti’s first feature film and it is often considered the first Italian neorealist film.

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Ossessione - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Ossessione - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Postwar Cinema: from 1945 to1950

The Postwar Cinema area is defined  by the few years following the end of the second World War.  Some of the key films including Rome, Open City and A Matter of life have a war related thematic other such as Passport to Pimlico try to depict a funnier side of events.   Japanese cinematography, especially with Kurosowa are starting to be discovered in Europe and America.

Top 10 films of Postwar Cinema include:

  1. Children of Paradise (1945)
  2. Rome, Open City  (1945)
  3. A Matter of life and death (1946)
  4. It’s a wonderful Life (1946)
  5. Bicycle Thieves (1948)
  6. Letter from an unknown women (1948)
  7. Passport to Pimlico (1949)
  8. Third Man (1949)
  9. Orpheus (1950)
  10. Rashomon (1950)

Children of Paradise (1945)

Children of Paradise  or Les Enfants du Paradis is a French film by Marcel Carné, made during the German occupation of France during World War II.  It is the story of a beautiful courtesan, Garance, and the four men who love her in their own ways: a mime artist, an actor, a criminal and an aristocrat.

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Children of Paradise - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Children of Paradise - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Rome, Open City (1945)

Rome, Open City is an Italian war drama film, directed by Roberto Rossellini set in Rome during the Nazi occupation in 1944. The film won several awards at various film festivals and was also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

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Rome, Open City - Top 100 films in cinematic history

test - Top 100 films in cinematic history

A Matter of Life and Death (1946)

A Matter of Life and Death is a romantic fantasy film set during World War II created by the British writer-director-producer team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger.

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A Matter of Life and Death - Top 100 films in cinematic history

A Matter of Life and Death - Top 100 films in cinematic history

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

It’s a Wonderful Life is an American comedy/drama film produced and directed by Frank Capra and based on the short story "The Greatest Gift" written by Philip Van Doren Stern.  The film is about a man whose imminent suicide on Christmas Eve brings about the intervention of his guardian angel.

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It's a Wonderful Life - Top 100 films in cinematic history

It's a Wonderful Life - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Bicycle Thieves (1948)

Bicycle Thieves is a Italian neorealist film directed by Vittorio De Sica about the story of a poor man searching the streets of Rome for his stolen bicycle.  The film is based on the novel of the same name by Luigi Bartolini.

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Bicycle Thieves - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Bicycle Thieves - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Passport to Pimlico (1949)

Passport to Pimlico is a British comedy film directed by Henry Cornelius inspired by a true incident during the Second World War, when the royal family of the Netherlands fled to Canada.

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Passport to Pimlico - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Passport to Pimlico - Top 100 films in cinematic history

The Third Man (1949)

The Third Man is a British film noir directed by Carol Reed best known for its atmospheric cinematography, excellent performances and unique musical score.

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The Third Man  - Top 100 films in cinematic history

The Third Man - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Orpheus (1950)

Orpheus is a French film starring Jean Marais directed by Jean Cocteau as the central part of his Orphic Trilogy, which also consists of The Blood of a Poet (1930) and Testament of Orpheus (1960).

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Orpheus - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Orpheus - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Rashomon (1950)

Rashomon is a crime mystery film directed by Akira Kurosawa, famous for being the film that introduced the master the and Japanese cinema to Western audiences. The film won many award including the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and an Academy Honorary Award.

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Rashomon - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Rashomon - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Cinema of the 50’s

The Cinema of the 50’s Cinema is characterized by a new beginning with various dancing and singing films in Hollywood. On the other hand however, the is a remaining of war pessimism with the film noir genre and their dodgy detectives and femmes fatales.

  1. Singin’ in the rain (1952)
  2. Tokyo Story  (1953)
  3. On the Waterfront(1954)
  4. All That Heavens allows (1955)
  5. Rebel without a cause (1955)
  6. Pather Panchali (1955)
  7. Night of the Hunter (1955)
  8. Seventh Seal (1957)
  9. Vertigo(1958)
  10. Ashes and Diamonds(1958)

Singin’ in the rain (1952)

Singin’ in the Rain is an American comedy musical film starring, choreographed and directed by Gene Kelly as well as Stanley Donen.  The film is a comic depiction of Hollywood during the transition from silent films to "talkies."  It is often described as one of the best musicals ever made.

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Singin' in the Rain - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Singin' in the Rain - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Tokyo Story (1953)

Tokyo Story is a Japanese film directed by Yasujiro Ozu and often regarded as his masterpiece.  The film is about an aging couple who travel to Tokyo to visit their grown children, but find their children are too absorbed in their own lives to spend much time with their parents. 

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Tokyo Story - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Tokyo Story - Top 100 films in cinematic history

On the Waterfront (1954)

On the Waterfront is a American drama film directed by Elia Kazan and stars Marlon Brando about union violence and corruption among longshoremen.  Some say it was based on a series of articles written in the New York Sun by Malcolm Johnson.  The film received eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director.

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On the Waterfront - Top 100 films in cinematic history

On the Waterfront - Top 100 films in cinematic history

All That Heavens allows (1955)

All That Heaven Allows is a romance feature film directed by Douglas Sirk and starring Jane Wyman and Rock Hudson.  The story is about a well-to-do widow and a younger landscape designer falling in love.  

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All That Heavens allows - Top 100 films in cinematic history

All That Heavens allows - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Rebel without a cause (1955)

Rebel Without a Cause is a American drama film Directed by Nicholas Ray about emotionally confused suburban, middle-class teenagers.  The film has today achieved landmark status for the acting of cultural icon James Dean who unfortunately died before the film’s release and it often considered his most celebrated role.

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Rebel without a cause - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Rebel without a cause - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Pather Panchali (1955)

Pather Panchali is a drama film written and directed by Satyajit Ray based on a Bengali novel of the same name.  It is the first film of the Apu trilogy which depicts the childhood of the protagonist Apu in the rural countryside of Bengal in the 1920s.  It was Rays’ first feature film as well as the first movie from independent India to attract major international critical attention.  It is today considered one of the greatest films ever made.

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Pather Panchali - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Pather Panchali - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Night of the Hunter (1955)

The Night of the Hunter is an American thriller film directed by Charles Laughton and starring Robert Mitchum.  It is based on the true story of Harry Powers hanged in 1932 for the murders of two widows and three children in West Virginia. The film is famous for its lyric and expressionistic style which influenced later directors such as David Lynch and Martin Scorsese.

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Night of the Hunter - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Night of the Hunter - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Seventh Seal

The Seventh Seal is a Swedish film written and directed by Ingmar Bergman.   It is the story of a medieval knight and a game of chess he plays with the personification of Death who has come to take his life. The film established  Bergman as a world-renowned director and is considered a major classic of world cinema.

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Seventh Seal - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Seventh Seal - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Vertigo

Vertigo is a 1958 cult psychological thriller by famous suspense director Alfred Hitchcock about a retired police detective suffering from acrophobia who is hired as a private investigator to follow the wife of an acquaintance to uncover the mystery of her peculiar behaviour.

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Vertigo - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Vertigo - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Ashes and Diamonds

Ashes and Diamonds is a Polish film directed by famous east European director Andrzej Wajda, based on the 1948 novel by writer Jerzy Andrzejewski. The film completed Wajda’s war films trilogy following A Generation (1954) and Kanal (1956).

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Ashes and Diamonds - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Ashes and Diamonds - Top 100 films in cinematic history

New wave Cinema: from 1959 to 1969

The decade of the 60’s in the history of Cinema is famous for bringing fresh ideas and new  techniques to the more author driven 7th art.  Indeed it is the age of the French New Wave  with the like of Godard and François Truffaut, Europe Avant garde cinema with Antonioni and Bergman, British Free cinema with Ken Loach and some new method of filmmaking on the other side of the Atlantic with Kubrick and Lumet amongst other.

Top 10 films of the New wave Cinema include:

  1. 400 Blows (1959)
  2. Some Like it Hot (1959)
  3. Breathless (1960)
  4. La Dolce Vita (1960)
  5. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
  6. Dr. Strangelove (1964)
  7. Chelsea Girls (1966)
  8. Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
  9. Wild Bunch (1969 )
  10. Easy Rider (1969)

400 Blows (1959)

The 400 Blows or Les Quatre Cents Coups is a French film directed by François Truffaut considered  one of the most defining films of the French New Wave displaying many of the characteristic traits of the movement. The story revolves around Antoine Doinel, an ordinary adolescent in Paris who is thought by his parents and teachers to be a trouble maker.

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400 Blows - Top 100 films in cinematic history

test - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Some Like it Hot (1959)

Some Like It Hot is an American comedy film directed by Billy Wilder and starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon.

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Some Like it Hot - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Some Like it Hot - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Breathless (1960)

Breathless or À bout de soufflé is a French romantic crime drama film directed by Jean-Luc Godard.  It was Godard’s first feature film and much acclaimed for the use of bold visual style and the innovative editing use of jump cuts.  Along with Truffaut’s 400 Blows and Alain Resnais’s Hiroshima, it brought international acclaim to the nouvelle vague.

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Breathless - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Breathless - Top 100 films in cinematic history

La Dolce Vita (1960)

La Dolce Vita is a comedy-drama film written and directed by the critically acclaimed Italian director Federico Fellini. The film is a story of a passive journalist’s week in Rome and his search for both happiness and love that will never come.  The film is generally cited as that one that marks the transition between Fellini’s earlier neo-realist films and his later art films, and is widely considered one of the great achievements in world cinema.

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La Dolce Vita - Top 100 films in cinematic history

La Dolce Vita - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Lawrence of Arabia is a British film directed by David Lean starring Peter O’Toole as  T. E. Lawrence. The film depicts Lawrence’s experiences in Arabia during World War I, including his emotional struggles, his personal identity, and his divided allegiance between his native Britain and its army and his newfound comrades within the Arabian desert tribes.  It is widely considered one of the greatest and most influential films in the history of cinema.

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Lawrence of Arabia - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Lawrence of Arabia - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Dr. Strangelove (1964)

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb commonly known as Dr. Strangelove, is a 1964 black comedy film which satirized the nuclear scare, directed, produced, and co-written by Stanley Kubrick and starring Peter Sellers and George C. Scott.

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Dr. Strangelove - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Dr. Strangelove - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Andrei Rublev (1966)

Andrei Rublev is a 1966 Russian film directed by Andrei Tarkovsky loosely based on the life of Andrei Rublev, the great 15th century Russian icon painter.  The film is all about the essence of art, artistic freedom and the importance of faith,  showing an artist who tries to find the appropriate response to the tragedies of his time.

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Andrei Rublev - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Andrei Rublev - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Chelsea Girls (1966)

Chelsea Girls is an experimental underground film directed by Andy Warhol and Paul Morrissey and became the first of Warhol’s major commercial success.  It was shot at the Hotel Chelsea and other locations in New York City, and follows the lives of several of the young women who live there, and stars many of Warhol’s superstars.

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Chelsea Girls - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Chelsea Girls - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

Bonnie and Clyde is a 1967 American crime film directed by Arthur Penn and starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway as the title characters Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker. It is considered as one of the first films of the New Hollywood era and its success motivated other filmmakers to be more forward about presenting sex and violence in their films.

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Bonnie and Clyde - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Bonnie and Clyde - Top 100 films in cinematic history

The Wild Bunch(1969)

The Wild Bunch is a 1969 cult American western film directed by Sam Peckinpah about an aging outlaw gang on the Texas-Mexico border.  The film was controversial because of its graphic, bloody violence and its portrayal of the crude men attempting to survive by any available means.

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The Wild Bunch - Top 100 films in cinematic history

The Wild Bunch - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Easy Rider (1969)

Easy Rider is a cult road movie representing America of the 60’s which also became a key piece of New Hollywood filmmaking.  It was written by Peter Fonda, directed by Dennis Hopper and have one of the first appearance of Jack Nicholson. It is the story of two bikers (played by Fonda and Hopper) who  are travelling across America to reach Louisiana with the plan to retire but discover the real America.

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Easy Rider - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Easy Rider - Top 100 films in cinematic history

The Cinema of the 70’s

The Cinema during the first half of the 70’s is remembered by the European intellectual directors such as Bernardo Bertolucci, Sergio Leone and Roman Polanski as well as the American screwball comedies of the like of Mel Brooks.  The other half of 70’s is known for  being the beginning of New Hollywood where a young generation of filmmakers combine their artistic vision with the financial backing of the Studios.   Those include some of the now considered greatest cinema author such as Woody Allen, Francis Ford Coppola , Brian de Palma and Martin Scorsese.

Top 10 films of the 70’s include:

  1. Conformist (1970)
  2. Godfather (1972)
  3. Aguirre, Wrath of Gold (1972)
  4. Nashville (1975)
  5. In the Realm of the senses (1976)
  6. Taxi Driver (1976)
  7. Annie Hall (1977)
  8. Star Wars (1977)
  9. Deer Hunter (1978)
  10. Marriage of Maria Braun (1979)

Conformist (1970)

The Conformist  is a Italian drama film directed by Bernardo Bertolucci based on the 1951 featuring Jean-Louis Trintignant and using art and decor of the 30’s associated with the Fascist area.

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Conformist - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Conformist - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Godfather (1972)

The Godfather is a 1972 American gangster film directed by Francis Ford Coppola, based on the 1969 novel by Mario Puzo and starring Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, and John Cazale.  It depicts the Italian-American Corleone crime family and is known as one of the best gangster films of all time.

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Godfather - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Godfather - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Aguirre: the wrath of god (1972)

Aguirre, the Wrath of God is a 1972 adventure film written and directed by famous German  director Werner Herzog, about the travels of Lope de Aguirre, a Spanish soldier, who goes to South America in search of El Dorado, the legendary city of gold.

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Aguirre: the wrath of god - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Aguirre: the wrath of god - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Nashville (1975)

Nashville is an American musical black comedy film directed by Robert Altman and often considered one of his best films.  The film takes a snapshot of people involved in the country music and gospel music businesses in Nashville, Tennessee, with no less than 24 main characters, an hour of musical numbers and multiple storylines.

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Nashville - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Nashville - Top 100 films in cinematic history

In the Realm of the senses (1976)

In the Realm of the Senses is a Franco-Japanese drama film directed by Nagisa Oshima about Sada Abe, a fictionalised and sexually explicit treatment of an incident from 1930s Japan. The film generated great controversy during its release, mostly because it contains real scenes of sexual activity between the actors.

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In the Realm of the senses - Top 100 films in cinematic history

In the Realm of the senses - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Taxi Driver (1976)

Taxi Driver is a 1976 American drama film directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert De Niro, Harvey Keitel and Jodie Foster.  The story is about a Vietnam war veteran  taxi driver, who takes New York City justice into his own hands.  The film won the Palme d’Or at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival.

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Taxi Driver - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Taxi Driver - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Annie Hall (1977)

Annie Hall is a 1977 American romantic comedy directed by Woody Allen from featuring himself and Diane Keaton.   It is often considered one of Allen’s most popular and most honoured films, winning four Academy Awards.  Known for being the author of zany comedies, the is considered a major turning point in his career.

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Annie Hall - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Annie Hall - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, originally released as Star Wars is a 1977 American epic space opera film written and directed by George Lucas. It is the first of six films released in the Star Wars saga: two subsequent films complete the original trilogy, while a prequel trilogy completes the six-film saga.

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Star Wars - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Star Wars - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Marriage of Maria Braun (1979 )

The Marriage of Maria Braun is a West German film directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder.  The story is about Maria, whose marriage with the soldier Hermann remained unfulfilled due to World War II and his post-war imprisonment.  The film is consider one of the more successful works of Fassbinder and known to have shaped the image of the New German Cinema in foreign countries.

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Marriage of Maria Braun - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Marriage of Maria Braun - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Deer Hunter (1978)

The Deer Hunter is a drama film co-written and directed by Michael Cimino starring stars Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken and Meryl Streep.  It is about a trio of Russian American steel worker friends and their infantry service in the Vietnam War.

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Deer Hunter - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Deer Hunter - Top 100 films in cinematic history

The Cinema of the 80’s

Top 10 films of the 30’s include:

  1. E.T.
  2. Blade Runner
  3. Paris, Texas
  4. Heimat
  5. Come and See
  6. Blue Velvet
  7. Shoah
  8. A room with a view
  9. Cinema paradiso
  10. Do the right thing

E.T. (1982 )

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is an American science fiction film directed by Steven Spielberg about a lonely boy who befriends an extraterrestrial who is stranded on Earth. The film was huge blockbuster becoming the most financially successful film released to that point. It is a timeless story of friendship and sometimes considered the greatest science fiction film ever made.

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E.T. - Top 100 films in cinematic history

E.T. - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Blade Runner (1982)

Blade Runner is an 1982 American film directed by known director Ridley Scott and starring Harrison Ford.  It depicts the dystopian futuristic city of Los Angeles where exist genetically engineered organic robots.  Although the film performed poorly at the box office, it has since become a science fiction cult classic.

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Blade Runner - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Blade Runner - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Paris, Texas (1984)

Paris, Texas is a drama film directed by acclaimed European director Wim Wenders. The story is about Travis, who has been lost for four years and is taken in by his brother.  He later tries to put his life back together and understand what happened between him, his wife Jane (Nastassja Kinski) and his son Hunter (Hunter Carson).

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Paris, Texas - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Paris, Texas - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Heimat (1984)

Heimat meaning "homeland" in German are three series of 30 episodic films by Edgar Reitz.  The films are about the life in Germany between 1919 and 2000 through the eyes of a family from the Rhineland.  Personal and domestic life is set against glimpses of wider social and political events.

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Heimat - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Heimat - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Come and See (1985)

Come and See directed by Elem Klimov is a Soviet war movie and psychological horror drama about the Nazi German occupation of the Byelorussian SSR.  The film was produced to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Soviet victory in World War II, and was a large box-office hit, with 28,900,000 admissions in the Soviet Union alone.

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Come and See - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Come and See - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Blue Velvet (1986)

Blue Velvet is an American mystery film written and directed by David Lynch with elements of both film noir and surrealism.  Although the film was initially detested by some mainstream critics, it is now considered one of its greatest achievement.

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Blue Velvet - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Blue Velvet - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Shoah (1985)

Shoah is a nine-hour thirty-six minute documentary film completed by Claude Lanzmann in 1985 about the Holocaust or Shoah. The film primarily consists of interviews and visits to key Holocaust sites.

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Shoah - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Shoah - Top 100 films in cinematic history

A room with a view (1985)

A Room with a View is a British drama film directed by James Ivory adapted from  E. M. Forster’s novel of the same name.  The film stars Helena Bonham Carter as a young woman in the restrictive Edwardian culture of turn-of-the century England and her love for a free-spirited young man.

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A room with a view - Top 100 films in cinematic history

A room with a view - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Cinema paradiso (1988)

Nuovo cinema Paradiso or best known as Cinema Paradiso is an Italian drama film written and directed by Giuseppe Tornatore featuring music by Ennio Morricone.  The film is known as a an example of "nostalgic postmodernism", by mixing  sentimentality with comedy.

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Cinema paradiso - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Cinema paradiso - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Do the right thing (1989)

Do the Right Thing is a American drama created by Spike Lee featuring film debut Martin Lawrence.  The film was a commercial success and received numerous accolades and awards, including an Academy Award nomination for Lee for Best Original Screenplay.

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Do the right thing  - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Do the right thing - Top 100 films in cinematic history

The Cinema of the 90’s

Top 10 films of the 90’s include:

  1. Raise the red lantern (1991)
  2. Unforgiven (1992)
  3. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
  4. Three Colours: Blue, White and Red(1994)
  5. Through the Olives Tress(1994)
  6. Four Weddings and a funeral (1994)
  7. Toy Story (1995)
  8. Fargo (1996)
  9. Boogie Nights (1997)
  10. Fight Club (1999)

Raise the red lantern (1991)

Raise the Red Lantern is a Chinese film directed by Zhang Yimou, starring Gong Li and based on the 1990 novel Wives and Concubines by Su Tong.  The film noted for its opulent visuals and sumptuous use of colours, is the story of a young woman who becomes one of the concubines of a wealthy man during the Warlord Era.

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Raise the red lantern - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Raise the red lantern - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Unforgiven (1992)

Unforgiven is an American Western film produced and directed by Clint Eastwood.  The film which is about an aging outlaw and killer, was only the third western to win the Oscar for Best Picture following Cimarron (1931) and Dances With Wolves (1990).

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Unforgiven - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Unforgiven - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Reservoir Dogs is a American crime film and the debut of director and writer Quentin Tarantino starting Harvey Keitel, Steve Buscemi, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen and Chris Penn. It depicts the events before and after a botched diamond heist, though not the heist itself.  The film has become a classic of independent film and a cult hit.

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Reservoir Dogs - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Reservoir Dogs - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Three Colours: Blue, White and Red (1994)

The Three Colours Trilogy is the collective title of three films Bleu, White and Red directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski.  Two films were made in French and one primarily in Polish.  The films were Kieslowski’s first major successes outside of Poland and are his most acclaimed works after The Decalogue.

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Three Colours - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Three Colours - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Through the Olive Trees (1994)

Through the Olive Trees is a film directed and written by Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami, known for its minimalist and naturalistic style.  It is set in earthquake-ravaged Northern Iran and is a complex study of the link between art and life, constantly blurring the boundaries between fiction and reality.

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Through the Olive Tree - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Through the Olive Trees - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Four Weddings and a funeral (1994)

Four Weddings and a Funeral is a British romantic comedy film directed by Mike Newell featuring Hugh Grant. The film was an unexpected success, becoming the highest-grossing British film in cinema history at the time an winning an Academy Award for Best Picture.

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Four Weddings and a funeral  - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Four Weddings and a funeral - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Toy Story (1995)

Toy Story is an American computer-animated film released by Walt Disney Pictures and famous for being the first ever feature film to be made entirely with CGI as well as Pixar’s first big production.  The film follows a group of toys who pretend to be lifeless whenever humans are present.

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Toy Story - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Toy Story - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Fargo (1996)

Fargo is an American dark comedy-crime film produced, directed and written by the brothers Joel and Ethan Coen and starring Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi and William H. Macy.  The film was as huge success and earned seven Academy Award nominations and best Director at Cannes Film Festival.

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Fargo - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Fargo - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Boogie Nights (1997)

Boogie Nights is a drama film written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson.  It is set in Los Angeles’s San Fernando Valley and shows the 70s Golden Age of the Porn industry and its excess in the 1980s, following a young nightclub dishwasher who becomes a popular star.

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Boogie Nights - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Boogie Nights - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Fight Club (1999)

Fight Club is an American film directed by David Fincher adapted from the novel of the same name and starring Edward Norton and Brad Pitt. The film made poorly at the box office but quickly became one of the most controversial and talked-about films of 1999.  It only became a cult film when it was later release on DVD.

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Fight Club - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Fight Club - Top 100 films in cinematic history


Cinema of the noughties

The cinema of the noughties is characterize by being truly global with even main Hollywood productions such as acclaimed film Traffic have story set across various regions.  From Japan’s metropolis where you can get lost in translation to the favelas of Brazil, passing by Chinese martial art, film production has become a worldwide phenomenon with stories, styles and actors mixing on a global scale.  The techniques and visual effect seen in this decade are unprecedented and would make jealous even cinema greatest moviemakers.

Top 10 films of the noughties include:

  1. Amores Perros (2000)
  2. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
  3. In the mood for Love (2000)
  4. Traffic (2000)
  5. Lord of the Rings (2001)
  6. City of God (2002)
  7. Lost In Translation  (2003)
  8. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind (2004)
  9. Children of Men (2006)
  10. The Dark Knight (2008)

Amores Perros (2000)

Amores Perros is a 2000 neorealist Mexican drama directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu, the first of its triptych about death.  The film shows three distinct stories which are connected by a car accident in Mexico City and is often referred to as the "Mexican Pulp Fiction”.

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Amores Perros - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Amores Perros - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is a martial art film directed by acclaimed director Ang Lee and is famous for its masterfully choreographed kung fu and action sequences.  Shot on a low budget It became the highest-grossing foreign-language film in American history and won over 40 awards.

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Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - Top 100 films in cinematic history

In the mood for Love (2000)

In the Mood for Love is a Hong Kong film directed by master cinematographer Wong Kar-wai nominated for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2000.  It is part of an informal trilogy, together with the first part Days of Being Wild released in 1991 and the last part 2046 released in 2004.

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In the mood for Love - Top 100 films in cinematic history

In the mood for Love - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Traffic (2000)

Traffic is a 2000 American crime drama film directed by Steven Soderbergh exploring the illegal drug trade from various perspectives including the user, enforcer, politician and a trafficker.  The film was critically acclaimed and earned numerous awards.

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Traffic - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Traffic - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Lord of the Rings (2001)

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is a 2001 fantasy film directed by Peter Jackson based on the first volume of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.  The story is about the young hobbit Frodo Baggins and his eight companions that form the Fellowship of the Ring and their journey to Mount Doom.   It was a major box office success, being the second highest-grossing film of 2001 in the U.S.

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Lord of the Rings - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Lord of the Rings - Top 100 films in cinematic history

City of God (2002)

City of God  or Cidade de Deus is a Brazilian crime film directed by Fernando Meirelles based on real events.  It depicts the growth of organized crime in the Cidade de Deus suburb, a favelas of Rio de Janeiro, between the end of the ’60s and the beginning of the ’80s.

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City of God - Top 100 films in cinematic history

City of God - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Lost in Translation (2003)

Lost in Translation is an American film directed by Sofia Coppola and starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson.  The film blends elements of comedy as well as more serious themes common in drama films. It was a major critical success and won for Best Original Screenplay.

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Lost in Translation - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Lost in Translation - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind (2004)

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is an American science fiction film directed by Michel Gondry.  The film is about a couple who have each other erased from their memories. It uses elements of science fiction, nonlinear narration and neo-surrealism to explore the nature of memory and romantic love.

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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Children of Men (2006)

Children of Men is a American-British dystopian science fiction film directed by Alfonso Cuarón and starring Clive Owen, Julianne Moore and Michael Caine.  The story is set in the United Kingdom of 2027 where two decades of global human infertility have left humanity with less than a century to survive.

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Children of Men - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Children of Men - Top 100 films in cinematic history

The Dark Knight (2008)

The Dark Knight is a superhero film directed, produced and co-written by Christopher Nolan and a sequel to 2005’s Batman Begins.  The film is known for its beautiful cinematography and bringing back the dark Knight into Batman as well as for the great performance from the cast including Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman and especially Heath Ledger as the "Joker" who unfortunately died shortly after.

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The Dark Knight - Top 100 films in cinematic history

The Dark Knight - Top 100 films in cinematic history

Top 100 films in cinematic history complete list

The following is the complete list of the top 100 most important films in cinematic history:

  1. Birth of a Nation
  2. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
  3. Nosferatu
  4. Nanook of the North
  5. Battleship Potemkine
  6. Metropolis
  7. Napoleon
  8. An Andalucian Dog
  9. Passion of Joan of Arc
  10. All Quiet on the Western Front
  11. Blue Angel
  12. City Lights
  13. 42nd Street
  14. Duck Soup
  15. King Kong
  16. Atalante
  17. Snow white and the seven dwarfs
  18. Olympia
  19. Rules of the Game
  20. Gone with the wind
  21. Philadelphia Story
  22. His Girl Friday
  23. Grapes of Wrath
  24. Citizen Kane
  25. Maltese Falcon
  26. Little Foxes
  27. Be or not to be
  28. In which we serve
  29. Casablanca
  30. Ossessione
  31. Children of Paradise
  32. A Matter of life and death
  33. It’s a wonderful Life
  34. Bicycle Thieves
  35. Letter from an unknown women
  36. Passport to Pimlico
  37. Third Man
  38. Orpheus
  39. Rashomon
  40. Singin’ in the rain
  41. Tokyo strory
  42. On the Waterfront
  43. All that heavens allows
  44. Rebel without a cause
  45. Pather Panchali
  46. Night of the Hunter
  47. Seventh Seal
  48. Vertigo
  49. Ashes and Diamonds
  50. 400 Blows
  51. Some Like it Hot
  52. Breathless
  53. La Dolce Vita
  54. Satuday night and Sunday Monday
  55. Avventura
  56. Last Year in Marienbad
  57. Lawrence of Arabia
  58. Dr. Strangelove
  59. Battle of Algiers
  60. Sound of Music
  61. Andrei Rublev
  62. Chelsea Girls
  63. Bonnie and Clyde
  64. Wild Bunch
  65. Easy Rider
  66. Conformist
  67. Godfather
  68. Aguirre, Wrath of Gold
  69. Nashville
  70. In the Realm of the senses
  71. Taxi Driver
  72. Annie Hall
  73. Star Wars
  74. Marriage of Maria Braun
  75. Deer Hunter
  76. E.T.
  77. Blade Runner
  78. Paris, Texas
  79. Heimat
  80. Come and See
  81. Blue Velvet
  82. Shoah
  83. A room with a view
  84. Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown
  85. Cinema paradiso
  86. Do the right thing
  87. Raise the red lantern
  88. Unforgiven
  89. Reservoir Dogs
  90. Three Colours: Blue, White and Red
  91. Through the Olives Tress
  92. Four Weddings and a funeral
  93. Toy Story
  94. Fargo
  95. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
  96. In the mood for Love
  97. Traffic
  98. Lord of the Rings
  99. City of God
  100. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind