Cinema that was invented in the last decade of 19th century, flourished in the 20th century and for the most part,it was the most popular and in a way the most creative art format, borrowing from other art forms. After the invention of television, and the production of TV films in the second half of the last century, and later on the internet media and the new age of digitalism and online streaming or stealing of the movies, at least over the past couple of decades, Cinema has lost its glory. At the same time, while in the first half or most of the 20th century, Cinema was heavily in the hands of story tellers, photographers, and actors, who were all led by the filmmaker or the creator, in the last few decades of the past century and more so in the present 21st century, it is dominated by digital special effects and out of reality. So cinema as an art format has greatly transformed to a technical/digital industry. Along the many efforts across the globe to save this modern art against the box office sales pressure and capital demand, this site hopes to contribute a small part in this endeavor!
Cinema initially sprang from photography, so that later on and to this day, it is called “motion picture” or “movies”, while the term “film” could be used for both cinema and photography. In the beginning, cinema was simply, pictures in motion with no other adding arts or technology, such as sound, music, or else, but acting. That is why for the first few decades since the birth of cinema, the movies were “silent” and this art form had to rely basically on the power of imagery with all its cinematographic components and the filmmakers like painters on canvas had to do whatever they could to create a powerful moving picture on the screen in addition to silent acting without talk. In this endeavor, some relied on set design, the use of light and shadows, like the German expressionists, and some relied on editing like Eisenstein, and some relied mostly on acting and sensible realism like Chaplin. At the time and even today, it is easier to rate and rank a silent film, as there were no white noise of sound or talk and all were imagery and picture in motion to measure. Due to simplicity, originality and the role of these pure ingredients, the silent films are still on the top of many best films of all time, such as the works of Serge Eisenstein, Fritz Lang, D.W.Griffith, and Charles Chaplin.
The sound brought theatrical acting to the cinema despite strong oppositions of silent films’ actors who were great action actors, specially in comedy. While 1920’s were still dominated by the silent movies, the 1930’s were the era of infiltration of theatrical acting to cinema that lasted for several decades until the recent domination of special effects and interception of digitalism into cinema. Orson Welles, Humphrey Bogart, Catharine Hepburn, Bette Davis, Vivien Leigh, James Dean and Marlon Brando were such actors who stemmed from theatre or acted as such. This continued to the modern era so that the newer actors such as Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Leonardo DiCaprio continued with such legacy. The theatrical acting while added rich flavor to the story telling and content through dialogues to the cinema, in many instances became very close to theatrical plays and robbed the cinematic experience and presentation, and limited the filmmakers in showing their talents. This is somewhat parallel to the digital cinema nowadays, where digitalism and special effects have totally stolen the rich cinematic creation.
Evaluation, rating and ranking movies, is not a matter of personal taste, likeness, or even a collective voting of majority, as the majority could be wrong and do not consider all the components of a film, with a delicate consideration of the differential factors. In other words, the role of camera, acting and editing are not the same and do not carry the similar weights as special effect. Unfortunately this has not been done closely in most rating and ranking of the motion pictures and the best lists, or awards such as Oscar. Beyond the different components of a film, that somewhat and singularly are recognized as in awards for script, acting, editing, directing, etc., the following factors in ranking the best films are essential. (Of course based on the following criteria, the earlier a film, the higher the rank would be, except the films that in addition to these factors, they have the “best impression” that could go beyond the time boundary. This is certainly very rare and on our list could include only a few rare top films such as “The Battleship Potemkin”, “Man with a movie camera” and “Metropolis”. Finally any originality and technicality if not cinematic or visual and at the service of story telling, entertainment or enlightening , like experimental works of some such as Godard do not count in this site evaluation and ranking of the films.
- Originality: No matter how well a film has been made today, if it is a copy of an original work, or an adaptation in one form or another, it would put it out of any best rank. An original work, even if not well done to perfection, it is still original and a creation that needs to be considered. Of course the earlier films fairly take on a lot of credits from this factor, but this may encourage the true filmmakers not to be copiers or followers but original and creative!
- Technicality: This factor should cover all the technical aspects of filmmaking from the story and script to the all works of camera, acting, editing, special effects, etc. The originality and proper application of each technique or component need to be considered in ranking.
- Impact Factor/Significance: This is the factor influencing other films, urging them to copy and experience the original work in part or in whole. This factor is not only the influence that an original work has on the industry, but on people in general and other forms of art and aspects of life as well. In conjunction with the influence that a film could have on other films or else, the significance of the film on cinema as a whole and on the history of this art medium is important and will be counted on.
- Survival: This shows how long a work, no matter how great, it will be remembered and looks fresh for years to come, specially in the eyes of the true cinema patriots.
Throughout this site, in writing on films and ranking them, the above factors will be delicately considered, though no evaluation or ranking could be rightful. Such comprehensive evaluation and ranking will hopefully encourage others to take on such or similar process in ranking and awarding, and avoiding a single factor such as the content of the story for political or trend of the time reasons!
Almost all available films in English or with English subtitles from the early years of inception of cinema in this list have been diligently reviewed. Since the originality criteria is very important and could affect the other criteria of technicality, impact and survival, this review has been so far until the year 1999. The following films that have been on some greatest films lists or have been ranked high or awarded by different organizations, have been particularly more carefully watched and reviewed.
In evaluation and recognition of the great and specifically the greatest films, beyond the factors of originality, technicality, impact factor and survival, the overall and instant impression of a film has been greatly considered. This impression that instantly in the first few minutes of the film befalls on the viewer, is what could move a film up the ladder of time and originality to the top of this list here. This impression factor also could include a film that’s not original in singularity, but original and novel in the application of previous original techniques.
The story content of the film does not bear any importance on this site in recognition and ranking the great films as it is customary in other awards and ranking recognitions. Also any adaptation from other sources such as novels or plays to the film takes off the originality of the film, unless such adaptation has become an original of its own. This list of greatest films of all time, unlike many other such lists is not limited to a certain number, e.g. 100, so it could be less or more and it is also ongoing, though the newer films have less chance or such recognition due to the high chance of lack of originality.
The films in blue colour have been great, but not the greatest to be in our list, and the film in red colour have been the greatest films of all time in our list:
1906:The story of Kelly Craig (Charles Tait) (Australia)
1911:L’inferno (Francesco Bertolini) (France) / Defence of Sevastopol (A.Khanzonov/V.Goncharov) (Russia)
1912:Cleopatra (C.Gaskil) (USA) / Robin Hood (E.Arnaud/H.Blache) (USA)
1913:Ouo Vadis (Enrico Guazzoni) (Italy) /L’enfent de Paris (Leonce Perret) (France)
1914:Cinderella (J,Kirkwood Sr.)(USA)/The Mysterious X (B.Christensen) (Denmark)
1915:The Birth of a Nation (D.W.Griffith) (USA)/The Golem (P.Wegener/H.Galeen) (Germany) /Alice in the Wonderland (W.W.Young) (USA)/The Italian (R.Barker) (USA)
1916:Intolerance (D.W.Griffith) (USA)/20,000 Leagues under the sea (S.Paton) (USA) /Sherlock Holmes (A.Berthelet) (USA)/The end of the world (A.Blom) (Denmark)
1918:A trip to Mars (Holger-Madsen) (Denmark)
1919:Harariki (F.Lang) (Germany)
1920:The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (R. Wiene) (Germany)/Erotikon (M.Stiller) (Sweden)
1921:The Kid (Chaplin) (USA)
1922:Nanook of the North (R.J. Flahery) (USA)/Nosferatu (F.W.Murnau) (Germany)/Othello (D.Buchowetzki) (Germany)
1923:The Ten Commandments (C.B.DeMille) (USA)
1924:Greed (E.v. Stroheim) (USA) /America (W.D.Griffith) (USA)
1925:The Battleship Potemkin (Eisentein) (Russia)/The Gold Rush (Chaplin) (USA)/Strike (Eisenstein) (Russia) /Orochi (B.Futagawa) (Japan)
1926:The General (B.Keaton) (USA) /Nana (J.Renoir) (France)
1927:Metropolis (Fritz Lang) (Germany)/Wings (W. Wellman) (USA) Sunrise: A song of two humans (R.Longford) (USA)/The Jazz singer (A.Crosland) (USA)/Berlin: Symphony of a great city (W.Ruttmann) (Germany) /October (Ten days that shook the World) (Esienstein) (Russia)/The end of Petersburg (V.Pudovkin/M.Doller) (Russia)
1928:The Crowd (K.Vidor) (USA)/The passion of Joan of arc (C.T. Dreyer) (France)/The last command (J.v. Sternberg) (USA)/The circus (Chaplin) (USA)
1929:Man with a movie camera (D.Vertov) (Russia)/Un Chien Andalou (An Andalusian Dog) (L.Bunuel) (Spain)/Pandora’s box (G.W.Pabst) (Germany) /The Broadway melody (H.Beaumont) (USA) Tokyo March (Mizoguchi) (Japan)
1930:All quiet on the western front (L.Milestone) (USA)/Earth (A. Dovezhneko) (Russia) /L’age d’or (Luis Bunuel) (Spain)/The blue angel (E.Dmytryk) (Germany)/A’ propos de Nice (J.Vigo) (France)
1931:Dracula (T.Browning)(USA)/City lights (Chaplin) (USA) Grand Hotel (E.Goulding) (USA) /M (F.Lang) (Germany) Cimarron (W.Ruggles) (USA)/Frankenstein (J.Whale) (USA)
1932:Cavalcade (F.Lloyd) (USA)/A farewell to arms (F. Borzage) (USA)/Trouble in paradise (E.Lubitsch) (USA)/Freaks (T.Browning) (USA)/Boudu saved from drowning (J.Renoir) (France)/Scarface (H.Hawks) (USA)/L’Atlantide (G.W.Pabst) (Germany/France)
1933:Baby face (A.Green) (USA)/King Kong (M.Cooper/ E.Schoedsack) (USA) /Duck soup (L.McCarey) (USA)/42nd street (L.Bacon/B.Berkeley) (USA)/Zero for conduct (J.Vigo) (France)/Don Quixote (G.W.Pabst) (France/England))/Land without bread (L.Bunuel) (Spain)/The Invisible Man (J.Whale) (USA)
1934:It’s a gift (N.Mcleod) (USA)/Three songs about Lenin (D.Vertov) (Russia)
1935:The 39 steps (Hitchcock) (USA)/Triumph of the will (L.Rienfenstahl) (Germany)/The informer (J.Ford) (USA)/The Bride of Frankenstein (J.Whale) (USA)/A night at the opera (S.Wood) (USA)/Top hat (M.Sandrich) (USA)
1936:Modern times (Chaplin) (USA)/The great Ziegfeld (R.Z.Leonard) (USA)/Camille (G.Cukor) (USA)/The crime of Monsieur Lange (J.Renoir) (Franace)/Swing time (G.Stevens) (USA)/Night mail (H.Smith) (USA)
1937: La Grand illusion (J.Renoir) (France) /Pepe le Moko (J.Duvivier) (France) /Snow white and the seven dwarfs (USA)(W.Disney/D.Hand/W.Jackson/L.Morey/P.Pearce/B.Sharpsteen) Humanity and paper balloons (S.Yamanaka) (Japan)/The awful truth (L.McCarey) (USA)
1938:Alexander Nevsky (Eisenstein) (Russia)/The lady vanishes (Hitchcock) (USA)/Pygmalion (A.Asquith/L.Howard) (USA)/You can’t take it with you (F.Capra) (USA)/Olympia (L.Reifenestahl) (Germany)/Jezebel (W.Wyler) (USA)/The Adventures of Robin Hood (M.Curtiz) (USA)
1939:Le jour se leve (M.Carne) (France)/The rules of the game (J.Renoir) (France) /The wizard of Oz (V.Fleming) (USA)/Gone with the wind (V.Fleming) (USA)/Stagecoach (J.Ford) (USA)/Ninotchka (E.Lubitsch) (USA)/Wuthering heights (W.Wyler) (USA)
1940:Fantasia (S.Armstrong/J.Algar…) (USA)/The great dictator (Chaplin) (USA)/The grapes of wrath (J.Ford) (USA)/Rebecca (Hitchcock) (USA)/Pinocchio (W.Disney/B.Sharpsteen…) (USA) The Philadelphia Story (G.Cukor) (USA)
1941:Citizen Kane (O.Welles) (USA)/The Maltese Falcon (J.Huston) (USA)/How green was my valley (J.Ford) (USA)/Sullivan’s Travels (P.Sturges) (USA)/The Lady Eve (P.Sturges) (USA)
1942:Casablanca (M.Curtiz) (USA)/The magnificent Ambersons (O.Welles) (USA)/Mrs. Miniver (W.Wyler) (USA)/Listen to Britain (H.Jennings) (England)
1943:The life and death of colonel Blimp (M.Powell) (England) Titanic (H.Selpin) (Germany)/Shadow of a Doubt (Hitchcock) (USA)
1944:Going my way (L.McCarey) (USA)/Double indemnity (B.Wilder) (USA)/Gaslight (G.Cukor) (USA)/Meet Me in St. Louis (V.Minnelli) (USA)/Laura (O.Preminger) (USA)
1945:Brief encounter (D.Lean) (USA)/The lost weekend (B.Wilder) (USA)/Spellbound (Hitchcock) (USA)/Children of paradise (M.Carne) (France)/Detour (E.Ulmer) (USA)/Rome, Open City (R.Rossellini) (Italy)/The turning point (Fridrikh Ermler) (Russia)/A diary for Timothy (H.Jennings) (England)
1946:The best years of our lives (W.Wyler) (USA)/It’s a wonderful life (F.Capra) (USA)/Notorious (Hichcock) (USA)/My darling Celmentine (J.Ford) (US)/Beauty and the beast (J.Cocteau) (France) The Killers (R.Siodmak) (USA)
1947:Gentleman’s agreement (E.Kazan) (USA)/Out of the past (J.Tourneur) (England)
1948:The Fallen idol (C.Reed) (England)/Bicycle thieves (De Sica) (Italy)/The treasure of Sierra Madre (J.Huston) (USA)/Hamlet (L.Olivier) (England)/Monsieur Vincent (M.Cloche) (France)/Letter from an unknown woman (M.Ophuls) (USA)/Red River (H.Hawks) (USA)/The red shoes (M.Powell) (England)/Macbeth (O.Welles) (USA)/Germany year zero (R.Rossellini) (Italy)/La Terra Trema (Luchino Visconti) (Italy)/Le sang des bêtes (G.Franj) (France)/ Drunken Angel (Kurosawa) (Japan)
1949:Kind hearts and coronets (R.Hamer) (England)/The Third Man (C.Reed) (England)/All the king’s men (R.Rossen) (USA)/Late spring (Y.Ozu) (Japan)
1950:Rashomon (Kurosawa) (Japan)/All about Eve (J.Mankiewicz) (USA)/Sunset Blvd. (B.Wilder) (USA)/The walls of Malapaga (R.Clement) (France)/In a lonely place (N.Ray) (USA)/Orphee (J.Cocteau) (France)/Los Olvidados (L.Bunuel) (Spain)
1951:Miss Julie (Alf Sjoberg) (Sweden)/A streetcar named Desire (E. Kazan) (USA)/An American in Paris (V. Minnelli) (USA)/The African Queen (J. Huston) (USA)/Diary of a country priest (R.Bresson) (France)/The River (J.Renoir) (France)/Othello (O.Welles) (USA)/The day the Earth stood still (Robert Wise) (USA)
1952:Forbidden games (R. Clement) (France)/Ikiru (Kurosawa) (Japan)/The importance of being earnest (A. Asquith) (England) Umberto D. (De Sica) (Italy)/The white sheik (Fellini) (Italy)/High noon (Fred Zinnemann) (USA)/The quiet man (J.Ford) (USA)/Limelight (Chaplin) (USA)/Singin’ in the rain(G.Kelly/S.Donen) (USA)
1953:M.Hulot’s holiday (J.Tati) (France)/Ugetsu (K.Mizoguchi) (Japan)/The wages of fear (H.G. Clouzot) (France/Italy)/Tokyo story (Y.Ozu) (Japan)/The war of the worlds (B.Haskin) (USA)/Julius Caesar (J.Mankiewicz) (USA)/Shane (G.Stevens) (USA)/From here to eternity (F.Zinnemann) (USA)/Roman holiday (W.Wyler) (USA)/The robe (H.Coster) (USA)/The earrings of Madame De..(M.Ophuls) (France)
1954:Seven Samurai (Kurosawa) (Japan)/La Strada (Fellini) (Italy) On the waterfront (Kazan) (USA)/Gate of hell (T.Kinugasa) (Japan) Journey to Italy (Rossellini) (Italy)/Rear window (Hitchcock) (USA) Godzilla (I.Honda) (Japan)/Twenty-four eyes (K.Kinoshita) (Japan) Johnny guitar (N.Ray) (USA)/Sansho the Bailiff (Mizoguchi) (Japan) A star is born (G.Cukor) (USA)/Sabrina (B.Wilder) (USA)/Seven brides for seven brothers (S.Donen) (USA)
1955:Richard III (L.Olivier) (England)/Summertime (D.Lean) (USA) Apu Trilogy (Pather Panchali) (Satyajit Ray) (India)/Oklahoma (F.Zinnemann) (USA)/Rebel without a cause (Kazan) (USA)/Samurai, the legend of Musashi (H.Inagaki) (Japan)/Smiles of a summer night (I.Bergman) (Sweden)/The night of the hunter (C.Laughton) (USA)/Les diaboliques (H.G.Clouzot) (France)/Marty (D.Mann) (USA)/East of Eden (Kazan) (USA)/To catch a thief (Hitchcock) (USA)
1956:The Searchers (J.Ford) (USA)/The ten commandments (C.B.DeMille) (USA)/Giant (G.Stevens) (USA)/The king and I (W.Lang) (USA)/The silent world (J.Cousteau) (France)/Invasion of the body snatchers (D.Siegel) (USA)/A man escaped (Bresson) (France)/The Burmese Harp (K.Ichikawa) (Japan)/Written on the wind (D.Sirk) (USA)/And God created woman (R.Vadim) (France)/Night and fog (A.Resnais) (France)/Apu trilogy (Aparajito) (S.Ray) (India)/Moby Dick (J.Huston) (USA)
1957: The seventh seal (Bergman) (Sweden)/Wild strawberries (Bergman) (Sweden)/12 angry men (S.Lumet) (USA)/Nights of Cabiria (Fellini) (Italy)/Sweet smell of success (A.Mackendrick) (USA) Peyton place (M.Robson) (USA)/Paths of glory (Kubrick) (USA)/The cranes are flying (M.Kalatazov) (Russia)/Throne of blood (Kurosawa) (Japan)/The bridge on the river Kwai (D.Lean) (USA)
1958:Ashes and diamonds (A.Wajda) (Poland)/Ivan the terrible, part II (Eisenstein) (Russia)/Cat on a hot tin roof (R.Brooks) (USA) Mon Oncle (J.Tati) (France)/Vertigo (Hitchcock) (USA)/Touch of evil (O.Welles) (USA)/The hidden fortress (Kurosawa) (Japan)
1959:Ballad of a soldier (G.Chukhrai) (Russia)/Fires on the plain (K.Ichikawa) (Japan)/Floating weeds (Y.Ozu) (Japan)/The 400 blows (Trauffaut) (France)/Some like it hot (B.Wilder) (USA)/Ben Hur (W.Wyler) (USA)/Anatomy of a murder (O.Preminger) (USA) Black Orpheus (O.Negro) (France)/North by Northwest (Hitchcock) USA)/Hiroshima, mon amour (A.Resnais) (France)/Pickpocket (Bresson) (France)/Il generale Della Rovere (Rossellini) (Italy)/The human condition (M.Kobayashi) (Japan)/Moi, un noir (J. Rouch) (France)/Rio Bravo (H.Hawks) (USA)/The Great War (M.Monicelli) (Italy/France)/A summer place (D. Daves) (USA)/Apu Trilogy (The World of Apu) (S.Ray) (India)/The Unsent letter (M.Kalatazov) (Russia)
1960:L’Avventura (Antonioni) (Italy)/The virgin spring (Bergman) (Sweden)/Breathless (Godard) (France)/La Dolce Vita (Fellini) (Italy) Psycho (Hitchcock) (USA)/The apartment (B.Wilder) (USA)/Two women (De Sica) (Italy)/Eyes without a face (G.Franju) (France) Rocco and his brothers (L.Visconti) (Italy)/When a woman ascends the stairs (M.Naruse) (Japan)/Purple Noon (R.Clement) (France)/The magnificent seven (J.Sturges) (USA)/Peeping Tom (M.Powell) (England)/Spartacus (Kubrick) (USA)/Cimarron (A.Mann) (USA) Ocean’s Eleven (L.Milestone) (USA)/The World of Suzie Wong (R.Quine) (England/USA)/Elmer Gantry (R.Brooks) (USA)/Shoot the piano player (Truffaut) (France)
1961:Il Posto (E.Olmi) (Italy)/Viridiana (Bunuel) (Spain) West side story (R.Wise) (USA)/Through a glass darkly (Bergman) (Sweden)/The long absence (H.Colpi) (France)/Yojimbo (Kurosawa) (Japan)/Splendor in the grass (Kazan) (USA)/La Notte (Antonioni) (Italy)/Breakfast at Tiffany’s (B.Edwards) (USA)/One, two, three (B.Wilder) (USA)/The Hustler (R.Rossen) (USA)/Barabbas (Richard Fleischer) (Italy)
1962:Jules and Jim (Trauffaut) (France)/Knife in the water (Polanski) (Poland)/Lawrence of Arabia (D.Lean) (USA)/To kill a mockingbird (R.Mulligan) (USA)/Sundays and Cybele (S.Bourguignon) (France)/Keeper of promises (A.Duarte) (Brazil)/La Jetee (C.Marker) (France)/The Manchurian candidate (J.Frankenheimer) (USA)Birdman of Alcatraz (J.Frankenheimer) (USA)/Cape fear (J.L.Thompson) (USA)/Lolita (Kubrick) (USA)/Sweet bird of youth (R.Brooks) (USA)/Ivan’s childhood (A.Tarkovsky) (Russia)/L’Eclisse (Antonioni) (Italy)/Salvatore Giuliano (F.Rosi) (Italy)/Harakiri (Kobayashi) (Japan)/Cleo from 5 to 7 (A.Varda) (France/Italy)/The trial (O. Welles) (USA)/Sanjuro (Kurosawa) (Japan)/Two weeks in another town (V.Minnelli) (USA)/Phaedra (J.Dassin) (France)/My life to live (Godard) (France)
1963:81/2 (Fellini) (Italy)/Eat (A.Warhol) (USA)/America America (Kazan) (USA)/How the west was won (J.Ford/ H.Hathaway/ G.Marshall) (USA)/Lilies of the field (R.Nelson) (USA)/The Leopard (Visconti) (Italy)/Charade (S.Donen) (USA)/The Birds (Hitchcock) (USA)/Contempt (Le Mepris) (Godard) (France)/The house is black (F.Farokhzad) (Iran)/The Pink Panther (B.Edwards) (USA)/The Silence (Bergman) (Sweden)/Shock corridor (S.Fuller) (USA)/Winter Light (Bergman) (Sweden)/Jason and Argonauts (J.Chaffey) (USA)/The Great Escape (J.Sturges) (USA)/It’s a mad, mad, mad world (S.Kramer) (USA)/Cleopatra (J.Mankiewicz) (USA)/Lord of the flies (P.Brook) (USA)/The Servant (J.Losey) (Italy)/The fire within (L.Malle) (France)/Pour la suite du monde (Pierre Perrault) (Canada)/Le petit soldat (Godard) (France)/The Big City (S.J.Ray) (India)
1964:Dr.Strangelove or: How I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb (Kubrick) (USA)/For a fistful of dollars (S.Leone) (Italy) Becket (P.Glenville) (England/USA)/Yesterday, today, tomorrow (De Sica) (Italy)/The umbrellas of Cherbourg (J.Demy) (France)/Band a part (Band or outsiders) (Godard) (France)/A Hard day’s night (R.Lester) (England)/The naked kiss (S.Fuller) (USA)/Hamlet (S.Kozintsev) (Russia)/Marriage Italian style (De Sica) (Italy) The Gospel according to St.Matthew (Pasolini) (Italy)/Scorpio rising (K.Anger) (USA)/Nobody waved goodbye (Don Owen) (Canada)/Mary Poppins (R.Stevenson) (USA)/Goldfinger (G.Hamilton) (USA)/I am Cuba (Kalataov) Russia)/The fall of the Roman Empire (A.Mann) (USA)/Diamonds of the Night (Jan Němec) (Czechoslovakia)/Before the Revolution (Bertolucci) (Italy)/Black Peter (M.Forman) (Czechoslovakia)/My Fair Lady (G.Cukor) (USA)/Red Desert (Antonioni) (Italy)/The night of the Iguana (J.Huston) (USA)/Kwaidan (Kobayashi) (Japan)/Gate of flesh (S.Suzuki) (Japan)
1965:Fists in the pocket (M.Bellocchio) (Italy)/Loves of a blonde (M.Forman) (Czechoslovakia)/Dr.Zhivago (D.Lean) (USA)/The sound of music (R.Wise) (USA)/The shop on Main street (Jan Kadar/Elmar Klos) (Czechoslovakia)/The knack…and how to get it (Richard Lester) (England)/Pierrot le fou (Godard) (France)/Cat Ballou (Elliot Silverstein) (USA)/Repulsion (Polanski) (England)/Chimes at midnight (O. Welles) (USA)/Red beard (Kurosawa) (Japan) Sandra of a Thousand Delights (Visconti) (Italy)/Alphaville (Godard) (France)
1966:The battle of Algiers (Gilo Pontecorvo) (Italy/Algeria) The good, the bad and the ugly (S.Leone) (Italy)/A man for all seasons (Fred Zinnemann) (England)/The sand pebbles (R.Wise) (USA)/Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Mike Nichols) (USA)/A man and a woman (Claude Lelouch) (France)/Au hazard Balthazar (Bresson) (France/Sweden)/Persona (Bergman) (Sweden)/Andrei Rublev (A.Tarkovsky) (Russia)/Blow-up (Antonioni) (Italy)/Farenheit 451 (Trauffaut) (France)/Tokyo drifter (S.Suzuki) (Japan)/Black girl (O.Sembene) (France/Senegal)/War and Peace (King Vidor) (USA)/Alfie (Lewis Gilbert) (USA)/The Chase (Arthur Penn) (USA)/Torn Curtain (Hitchcock) (USA)/Is Paris burning? (Rene Clement) (France)
1967:Bonnie and Clyde (Arthur Penn) (USA)/The Graduate (Mike Nichols) (USA)/In the heat of the night (Norman Jewison) (USA) Closely watched trains (Jiri Menzel) (Czechoslovakia)/Playtime (Jacques Tati) (France)/The producers (Mel Brooks) (USA)/Mouchette (Bresson) (France)/The dirty dozen (Robert Aldrich) (USA/England)/The taming of the shrew (Franco Zeffirelli) (USA)/Le Samurai (jean-Pierre Melville) (France)/Belle de Jour (Luis Bunuel) (France/Italy)/Memories of underdevelopment (Tomas Gutieerz Alea) (Cuba)/Wavelength (Michael Snow) (Canada/USA) Don’t look back (D.A. Pennebaker) (USA)/Titicut follies (Fredrick Wiseman) (USA)/Portrait of Jason (Shirley Clarke) (USA)/Cool Hand Luke (Stuart Rosenberg) (USA)/Guess who’s coming to dinner (Stanley Cramer) (USA)/War and peace (Segei Bondarchuk) (Russia)/Doctor Faustus (Richard Burton/Nevil Coghill) (England) Barefoot in the park (Gene Saks) (USA)/Wait until dark (Terence Young) (USA)/In cold blood (Richard Brooks) (USA)/Camelot (Joshua Logan) (USA)/A countess from Hong Kong (Chaplin) (USA)/Oedipus Rex (Pasolini) (Italy)/Reflection in a golden eye (John Huston) (USA)
1968:Planet of the Apes (Franklin Schaffner) (USA)/2001: A space odyssey (Kubrick) (USA)/Night of the living dead (George Romero) (USA)/Oliver (Carol Reed) (England)/Romeo and Juliet (Franco Zeffirelli) Italy/England)/The Lion in the winter (Anthony Harey) (England/USA)/Once upon a time in the west (S.Leone) (Italy) Faces (John Cassavetes) (USA)/Rosemary’s baby (R.Polanski) (USA) The swimmer (Frank Oerry/Sydney Polack) (USA)/Two comrades were serving (Yevgeny Karelov) (Russia)/Kuroneko (The Black Cat) (Kaneto Shindo) (Japan)/Walden (Diaries, notes and sketches) (Jonas Mekas) (USA)/Bullitt (Peter Yates) (USA)/Shame (Ingmar Bergman) (Sweden)/Hour of the Wolf (Bergman) (Sweden)/Funny Girl (William Wyler) (USA)/Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Ken Hughes) (USA/England)/The Party (Blake Edwards) (USA)/Isadora (Karek Reisz) (England/France)/Charly (Ralph Nelson) (USA) Stolen Kisses (Truffaut) (France)/Rachel, Rachel (Paul Newman) (USA)/The Boston Strangler (Richard Fleischer)/The Shoes of the Fisherman (Michael Anderson) (USA)/If…. (Lindsay Anderson) (England)
1969:Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (George Roy Hill) (USA) Midnight cowboy (John Schlesinger) (USA)/Z(Costa-Gavras) (Algeria/France)/Wild bunch (Sam Pekinpah) (USA)/They shoot horses, don’t they? (Sydney Pollack) (USA) /Army of shadows (Jean-Pierre Melville) (France) /The sorrow and the pity (Marcel Ophuls) (France)/My night at Maud’s (Eric Rohmer) (France)/Easy Rider (Dennis Hopper) (USA)/The Red Tent (Mikhail Kaltozov) (Russia) Salesman (Albert & David Maysles/Charlotte Zwerin) (USA/Fellini’s Satyricon (Fellini) (Italy)/The passion of Anna (Bergman (Sweden)/Topaz (Hitchcock) (USA)/Cow (Dariush Mehrjui) (Iran)
1970:Patton (Frankiln Schaffner) (USA)/Investigation of a citizen above suspicion (Elio Petri) (Italy)/Tristana (Luis Bunuel) (Spain/France/Italy)/The Conformist (Bernardo Bertolucci) (Italy/France)/Dodes’ka-den (Kurosawa) (Japan)/Love Story (Arthur Hiller) (USA)/MASH (Robert Altman) (USA)/The Wild Child (Truffaut) (France)/Little Big Man (Arthur Penn) (USA)/Le Boucher (Claude Chabrol) (France/Italy)/Goin’ Down the Road (Don Shebib) (Canada)/The Artistocats (Wolfgang Reitherman) (USA)/Ryan’s Daughter (David Lean) (England)/Five Easy Pieces (Bob Rafelson) (USA)/Valerie and her week of wonders (Jaromil Jires) (Csechoslovakia) /Le cercle rouge (Jean-Pierre Melville) (France)/Claire’s Knee (Eric Rohmer) (France)/The twelve chairs (Mel Brooks) (USA)/Airport (George Seaton) (USA) The Kremlin letter (John Huston) (USA)/The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (de Sica) (Italy)
1971:A Clockwork orange (Kubrick) (England/USA)/The French connection (William Friedkin) (USA)/Fiddler on the roof (Norman Jewison) (USA)/Straw dogs (Sam Peckinpah) (England/USA)/The go-between (Joseph Losey) (England/USA)/Death in Venice (Visconti) (Italy/France)/King Lear (Grigori Kozintsev) (Russia)/Wake in Fright (Ted Kotcheff) (Australia)/Last Picture Show (Peter Bogdanovich) (USA)/Ragbar (Downpour) (Bahram Bayzai) (Iran)/Dirty Harry (Don Siegel) (USA)/Klute (Alan J. Pakula) (USA)/Mon Onlce Antoine (Claude Jutra) (Canada)/McCabe & Mrs. Miller (Robert Altman) (USA)/Macbeth (Polanski) (USA/England)/A touch of Zen (King Hu) (China) Trafic (Jaque Tati) (France)/The Panic in the needle park (Jerry Schatzberg) (USA)/Johnny got his gun (Dalton Trumbo) (USA)/Land of Silence and darkness (Werner Herzog) (Germany)/Nicholas and Alexandra (Franklin Schaftner) (England)/Bananas (Woody Allen) (USA)
1972:Fritz the cat (Ralph Bakshi) (USA)/The Godfather (F.Coppola) (USA)/The discreet charm of the bourgeoisie (Bunuel) (France /Spain/Italy)/Aguirre:The wrath of God (Werner Herzog) (West Germany)/Junior Bonner (Peckinpah) (USA)/Cabaret (Bobe Fosse) (USA)/Quiz Show (Robert Redford) (USA)/Last Tango in Paris (Bertolucci) (Italy/France)/Man of La Mancha (Arthur Hiller) (USA/Italy)/The True Nature of Bernadette (Gilles Carle) (Canada)/Roma (Fellini) (Italy)/The bitter tear of Petra von Kant (Fassbinder) (W.Germany)/Cries and Whispers (Bergman) (Sweden) Jeremiah Johnson (Sydney Pollack) (USA)/Deliverance (John Boorman) (USA)/Slaughterhouse-Five (George Roy Hill) (USA)/Frenzy (Hitchcock) (USA)/Everything you always wanted to know about sex, but were afraid to ask (Woody Allen) (USA)/State of Siege (C.Gavras) (France)
1973:The spirit of the beehive (Victor Erice) (Spain)/The Sting (George Roy Hill) (USA)/Day for night (Francois Truffaut) (France) Badlands (Terrence Malick) (USA)/Don’t look now (Nicolas Roeg) (England/Italy)/The exorcist (William Friedkin) (USA)/Papillion (Frankiln Schaffner) ((USA/France)/We all loved each other so much (Etoore Scola) (Italy)/Amarcord (Fellini) (Italy)/American Graffiti (George Lucas) (USA)/Mean Streets (Scorsese) (USA)/Scenes from a Marriage (Bergman) (Sweden)/Paper Moon (Bogdanovich) (USA)/The Experience (Abbas Kiarostami) (Iran)/Save the Tiger (John Avlidsen) (USA)/Serpico (Sydney Lumet) (USA)/Immoral Tales (Walerian Borowczyk) (France)/Harmonica (Sazdahani) (Amir Naderi) (Iran)/Sleeper (Woody Allen) (USA)/The way we were (Sydney Pollack) (USA)/A simple event (Sohrab Shahid-Saless) (Iran)
1974:Chinatown (Polanski) (USA)/The conversation (Francis Ford Coppola) (USA)/Scent of a woman (Dino Risi) (Italy)/Blazing Saddles (Mel Brooks) (USA)/The Enigma of Kasper Hauser (Werner Herzog) (W.Germany)/Young Frankestein (Mel Brooks) (USA)/Ali: Fear eats the soul (Rainer Werner Fassbinder) (W.Germany)/The Great Gatsby (Jack Clayton) (USA)/Celine and Julie go boating (Jacques Rivette) (France)/The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (Joseph Sargent) (USA)/The Towering Inferno (John Guillermin) (USA)/The Godfather Part II (F.Coppola) (USA)/The Yakuza (S.Pollack) (USA/Japan)/The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Tobe Hooper) (USA)/The Traveller (Abbas Kiarostami) (Iran)/Les Ordres (Michel Brault) (Canada)/Murder on the Orient Express (S.Lumet) (USA/England)/Alice doesn’t live here anymore (Scorsese) (USA)/The Night Porter (Liliana Cavani) (Italy/USA)/Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz (Ted Kotcheff) (Canada)/The Phantom of Liberty (Bunuel) (France/Italy)/Arabian Nights (Pasolini) (Italy)/Bring me the head of Alfredo Garcia (Peckinpah) (USA)
1975:Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Terry Gilliam/Terry Jones) (England)/Jaws (Spielberg) (USA)/One flew over the Cuckoo’s nest (Milos Forman) (USA)/Barry Lyndon (Kubrick) (England/USA)/Dog day afternoon (Sidney Lumet) (USA)/Dersu Uzala (Kurosawa) (Japan/Russia)/The story of Adele H (Truffaut) (France)/Mirror (Andrei Tarkovski) (Russia)/The lost honour of Katharina Blum (Volker Schlondorff/Margarethe von Trotta) (W.Germany)/Jeanne Dileman, 23 quai du commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (Chantal Akerman) (Belgium/France)/Still Life (Sohrab Shahid-Saless) (Iran)/Grey gardens (Albert Maysles/David Maysles) (USA)/The battle of Chile Part I (Patricio Guzman) (Chile) Nashville (R.Altman) (USA)/The Magic Flute (Bergman) (Sweden)/Requiem (Amir Naderi) (Iran)/Dayereh Mina (The Cycle) (Dariush Mehrjui)/The Messiah (Rossellini)(Italy/France)/ Shampoo (W. Beatty) (USA) The Passenger (Antonioni) (Italy/Spain/France)/The man who would be King (J. Huston)(USA/England)
1976:Taxi driver (Scorsese) (USA)/Rocky (John Avildsen) (USA)/All the President’s Men (Alan J.Pakula) (USA)/Network (S.Lumet) (USA)/Black and white in color (Jean Jacques Annaud) (France)/ Seven beauties (Lina Wertmuller) (Italy)/Harlan county USA (Barbara Kopple) (USA)/In the realm of the senses (Nagisa Oshima) (Japan)/The Tenant (Polanski) (France)/The Omen (Richard Donner) (England/USA)/A Wedding Suit (Abbas Kiarostami)/Marathon Man (John Schlesinger) (USA)/1900 (Bertolucci) (Italy)/Fellini’s Casanova (Italy)
1977:Star Wars: Episode IV- A new hope (George Lucas) (USA)/Padre Pardone (Paolo/Vittorio Taviani) (Italy)/Annie Hall (W.Allen) (USA)/The Wishing Tree (Tengiz Abuladze) (Georgia)/Julia (Fred Zinnemann) (USA)/Office romance (Eldar Ryazanov) (Russia)/Report (Abbas Kiarostami) (Iran)/Madame Rosa (Moshe Mirzahi) (France)/Stroszek (Werner Herzog) Germany)/The obscure object of desire (Bunuel) (France/Spain)/House (Nobuhiko Obayashi) (Japan)/Cross of iron (Peckinpah) (USA)/Saturday night fever (John Badham) (USA)/Close encounters of the third kind (Steven Spielberg) (USA)/High Anxiety (Mel Brooks) (USA)/New York, New York (Scorsese) (USA)
1978:The Deer Hunter (Michael Cimino) (USA)/Get out your handkerchiefs (Bertrand Blier) (France)/Moliere (Ariane Mnouchkine) (France)/Grease (Randal Kleiser) (USA)/Autumn Sonata (Bergman) (Sweden/Germany)/The tree of wooden clogs (Ermanno Olmi) (Italy)/Superman (Richard Donner) (USA)/The Lord of the Rings (Raplh Bakhshi)(USA/England)/Heaven can wait (Warren Beatty) (USA)/Desiderium (Sooteh-Delan) (Iran)/The Inglorious Bastards (Enzo Castellari) (Italy)/Les Miserables (Glen Jordan) (England)/The Boys from Brazil (Franklin Schaffner) (USA)/Coming Home (Hal Ashby) (USA)
1979:Alien (Ridley Scott) (USA)/Apocalypse now (Coppola) (USA)/Kramer vs. Kramer (Robert Benton) (USA)/The tin drum (Volker Schlondroff) (Germany/Yugoslavia/Poland/France)/Stalker (Tarkovsky) (Russia)/And justice for all (Norman Jewison) (USA)/The Marriage of Maria Braun (Rainer Werner Fassbinder) (Germany)/Laura (David Hamilton) (France)/Manhattan (W.Allen) (USA)/Monty Python’s Life of Brian (Terry Jones)(England)/Caligula (Tinto Brass) (USA/Italy)/All that jazz (Bob Fosse) (USA)/Being there (Hal Ashby) (USA)/First Case, Second Case (Abbas Kiarostami) (Iran)/The Rose (Mark Rydell) (USA)/Star Trek: The Motion Picture (Robert Wise) (USA)/Tess (Roman Polanski) (France/England)/La Luna (Bertolucci) (Italy)/The China Syndrome (James Bridges) (USA)/Wise Blood (John Huston)
1980:The Shinning (Kubrick) (USA/England)/Airplane (Jim Abrahams/ David & Jerry Zucker) (USA)/Raging Bull (Scorsese) (USA)/Ordinary people (R.Redford) (USA)/Coal’s miner daughter (Michael Apted) (USA)/Moscow does not believe in tears (Vladimir Menshov) (Russia)/Kagemusha (Kurosawa) (Japan)/The last metro (Truffaut) (France)/Mon oncle d’Amerique (Alain Resnais) (France)/Atlantic City (Louis Malle) (France/Canada)/Good Riddance (Les Bons debarras (Francis mankiewicz) (Canada)/The Blues Brothers (John Landis) (USA)/American gigolo (Paul Schrader) (USA)/Health (Robert Altman) (USA)/Heaven’s Gate (Michael Cimino) (USA)/Star Wars : The Empire strikes back (Lucas) (USA)/The Elephant Man (David Lynch) (USA/ England)/Stardust Memories (W.Allen) (USA)
1981:Das Boot (Wolfgang Peterson) (Germany)/Chariots of fire (Hugh Hudson) (England)/Reds (W.Beatty) (USA)/Coup de Trochon (Bernard Tavernier) (France)/Indiana Jones: Raiders of the lost Ark (Spielberg) (USA)/Escape from New York (John Carpenter) (USA)/Mephisto (Istvan Szabo) (Hungry)/Body Heat (Lawrence Kasdan) (USA)/The postman always rings twice (Bob Rafelson) (USA)/History of the World Part I (M.Brooks) (USA)/Escape to Victory (J.Huston) (USA)/Man of iron (Andrzej Wajda) (Poland)/On Golden Pond (Mark Rydell) (USA)/The French Lieutenant’s Woman (Karel Reisz) (England)/The Bunker (George Schaefer) (USA)/Blow out (Brian De Palma) (USA)/Absence of Malice (Sydney Pollack) (USA)
1982:E.T.: The Extra-terrestrial (Spielberg) (USA)/Blade runner (Ridley Scott) (USA)/Pink Floyd: The Wall (Alan Parker/Gerald Scarfe) (England)/Gandhi (Richard Attenborough) (England/India)/Tootsie (Sydney Poolack) (USA)/Missing (Gavras) (France)/Volver a empezar: Begin the Beguine (Jose Luis Garci) (Spain)/Sophie’s choice (Alan J. Pakula) (USA)/Fitzcarraldo (Werner Herzog) (Germany)/First blood (Ted Kotcheff) (USA)/A Midsummer night sex comedy (W. Allen) (USA)/Poltergeist (Tobe Hooper) (USA)/The King of Comedy (Scorsese) (USA)/The Year of Living Dangerously (Peter Weir) (Australia)/Diner (Barry Levinson) (USA)/The Verdict (Sidney Lumet) (USA)/The World according to Garp (George Roy Hill) (USA)/Koyaanisqatsi (Godfrey Reggio) ((USA)
1983:Terms of endearment (James Brooks) (USA)/Fanny and Alexander (Bergman) (Sweden/France/Germany)/Tender mercies (Bruce Berestford) (USA)/The ballad of Narayama (Shoheil Imamura) (Japan)/Le Bal (Ettora Scola) (Algeria/Italy/France)/Scarface (Brian De Palma) (USA)/A Nos Amours (Maurice Pialat) (France)/Monty Python: the Meaning of Life (Terry Jones) (England)/Local Hero (Bill Forsyth) (England)/Nostalghia (Tarkovsky) (Russia)/Sans Soleil (Chris Marker) (France)/ The Grey Fox (Phillip Borsos) (Canada)/Flashdance (Adrian Lyne) (USA)/L’Argent (R. Bresson)
1984:Amadeus (Milos Forman) (USA)/The killing fields (Ronlad Joffe) (England)/Dangerous moves (Richard Dembo) (France/Switzerland)/ Paris, Texas (Wim Wenders) (Germany/France)/The Terminator (James Cameron) (USA)/Once upon a time in America (Sergio Leone) (Italy)/A Nightmare on Elm Street (Wes Craven) (USA)/Ghostbusters (Ivan Reitman) (USA)/Indian Jones and the Temple of Doom (Lucas) (USA)/The Never Ending Story (Wolfgang Petersen) (Germany)/The Natural (Barry Levinson)(USA)/Nineteen-Eighty-Four (Michael Radford) (England)/Stranger than Paradise (Jim Jarmusch) (USA/Germany)/ Children of the Corn (Fritz Kiersch) (USA)/Birdy (Alan Parker) (USA)/The Cotton Club (Coppola) (USA)/Maria’s Lovers (Andrei Konchalovsky) (USA)/A Passage to India (David Lean) (England/USA)/Broadway Danny Rose (W.Allen) (USA)
1985:Brazil (Terry Gilliam) (England/USA)/Out of Africa (Sydney Pollack) (USA)/The official story (Luis Puenzo) (Argentina)/When father was away on business (Emir Kusturica) (Yugoslavia)/Shoah (Claude Lanzmann)(France)/Purple rose of Cairo (W.Allen) (USA)/Lost in America (Albert Brooks) (USA)/The Runner (Davandeh) (Amir Naderi) (Iran)/Ran (Kurosawa) (Japan/France)/Tampopo (Juzo Itami) (Japan)/My Life as a Dog (Lasse Hallstrom) (Sweden)/My Beautiful Laundrette (Stephen Frears) (England)/Back to the future (Robert Zemeckis) (USA)/Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (Paul Schrader) (USA)/After Hours (Scorsese) (USA)/The Breakfast Club (John Hughes) (USA)/Steaming (J.Losey)(England)/Witness (Peter Weir) (USA)/Death of a Salesman (Volker Schlondorff) (USA)/Plenty (Fred Schpisi) (England/USA)
1986:Platoon (Oliver Stone) (USA)/Hannah and her sisters (W.Allen) (USA)/The assault (Fons Rademakers) (Netherland)/The Decline of the American Empire (Denys Arcand) (Canada)/The Mission (Roland Joffe) (England)/The singing detective (Keith Gordon) (USA)/Blue Velvet (David Lynch) (USA)/Bashu, the little stranger (Bahram Beizaei) (Iran)/ Dust in the Wind (Hou Hsiao-hsien)(Taiwan)/Hadsworth Songs (John Akomfrah) (England)/Top Gun (Tony Scott) (USA)/Nine ½ weeks (Adrian Lyne) (USA)/Stand by Me (Rob Reiner) (USA)/Boycott (Mohsen Makhmalbaf) (Iran)/The Name of the Rose (Jean-Jacques Annaud) (Italy/Germany/France)/The Tenants (Dariush Mehrjui) (Iran)/The Fly (David Cronenberg) (USA)/The Color of Money (Scorsese) (USA)/ Children of a Lesser God (Randa Haines) (USA)/Heartburn (Mike Nichols) (USA)
1987:The last Emperor (Bertolucci) (Italy/England)/Babette’s Feast (Gabriel Axel) (Denmark)/Au revoir les enfents (Louis Malle) (France/Germany)/ Under the Sun of Satan (Maurice Pialat) (France)/Broadcast news (James Brooks) (USA)/Wings of desire (Wim Wenders) (Germany/France)/The Emperor’s naked army marches on (Kazuo Hara) (Japan)/Full Metal Jacket (Kubrick) (USA/England)/Dirty Dancing (Emile Adrolino) (USA)/The Untouchables (Brian De Palma) (USA)/Fatal Attraction (Adrian Lune) (USA)/Where is the Friend’s Home? (Abbas Kiarostami)(Iran)/Robocop (Paul Verhoeven) (USA)/Wall Street (Oliver Stone) (USA)/Empire of the Sun (Spielberg) (USA)/ Moonstruck (Norman Jewison) (USA)/Good Morning Vietnam (Barry Levinson) (USA)/Hope and Glory (John Boorman) (England/USA)/I’ve heard the Mermaids Singing (Patricia Rozema) (Canada)/The Peddler (Mohsen Makhmalbaf) (Iran)/Ironweed (Hector Babenco) (USA)/Pelle the Conqueror (Bille August) (Denmark/Sweden)/Cry Freedom (Richard Attenborough) ((England/South Africa)/Radio Days (W.Allen) (USA)/September (W.Allen) (USA)/The Cyclist (Mohsen Makhmalbaf) (Iran)
1988:The Last Temptation of Christ (Scorsese) (USA)/Rain Man (Barry Levinson) (USA)/Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown (Pedro Almodovar) (Spain)/Dead ringers (David Cronenberg) (Canada/USA)/The unbearable lightness of being (Philip Kaufman) (USA)/Dekalog (Krzysztof Kieslowski) (Poland)/Frantic (Polanski) (USA/France)/Cinema Paradiso (Giuseppe Tornatore) (Italy)/The Accused (Jonathan Kaplan) (USA)/The Beast of War (Kevin Reynolds) (USA)/Dangerous Liaisons (Stephen Frears) (USA)/Akira (Katsuhiro Otomo) (Japan)/The Thin Blue Line (Errol Morris) (USA)
1989:Do the right thing (Spike Lee) (USA) /Indiana Jones and the last crusade (Spielberg) (USA)/Born on the fourth of July (Oliver Stone) (USA)/Dead poets society (Peter Weir) (USA)/Driving Miss Daisy (Bruce Beresford) (USA)/My left foot (Jim Sheridan) (Ireland/England)/Tie me up! Tie me down (Almodovar) (Spain)/Sex, lies and videotapes (Steven Soderbergh) (USA)/The Killer (John Woo) (China)/The Power of Kangwon Province (Hong San-Soo) (South Korea)/Roger and me (Michael Moore) (USA)/Henry V (Kenneth Branagh) (England)/ Jesus of Montreal (Denys Arcand) (Canada)/Glory (Edward Zwick) (USA)/Casualties of War (Brian De Palma) (USA)/Lean on Me (John Avlidsen) (USA)/Crimes and Misdemeanors (W.Allen) (USA)/New York Stories (Scorsese/Coppola/W.Allen) (USA)/Fat Man and Little Boy (Roland Joffe) (USA)/Marriage of the blessed (Mohsen Makhmalbaf) (Iran)
1990:Goodfellas (Scorsese) (USA)/Dances with wolves (Kevin Kostner) (USA)/Journey of hope (Xavier Koller) (Turkey/Switzerland)/Wild at heart (David Lynch) (USA)/Miller’s crossing (Joel Coen) (USA)/Europa Europa (Agnieszka Holland) (Poland/Germany/France) /Close-up (Abbas Kiarostami) (Iran)/Cyrano de Bergerac (Jean-Paul Rappeneau) (France/Hungry)/The Witches (Nicolas Roeg) (England/USA)/The Godfather Part III (F.Coppola) (USA)/Dreams (Kurosawa) (Japan)/Nikita (Luc Besson) (France)/Pretty Woman (Garry Marshall) (USA)/Edward Scissorhands (Tim Burton) (USA)/Revenge (Tony Scott) (USA)/Ghost (Jerry Zucker) (USA)/Havana (Sydney Pollack) (USA)/Hamlet (Franco Zeffirelli) (England/USA)/Reversal of Fortune (Barbet Schroeder) (USA)/Awakenings (Penny Marshall) (USA)/Home Alone (Chris Columus) (USA)/Henry & June (Philip Kaufman) (USA)/Hamoun (Dariush Mehrjui) (Iran)
1991:The silence of the Lambs (Jonathan Demme) (USA)/Mediterraneo (Gabriele Salvatores) (Italy)/Raise the Red Lantern (Zhang Yimou) (China)/Delicatessen (Jean-Pierre Jeunet/Marc Caro) (France)/Barton Fink (Joel Coen) (USA)/Europa (Lars von Trier) (Denmark)/The commitments (Alan Parker)(Ireland/England/USA)/Thelma & Louise (Ridley Scott) (USA)/Shadows and Fog (W.Allen) (USA)/High Hills (Pedro Alomdovar) (Spain)/JFK (Oliver Stone) (USA)/The Adjuster (Atom Egoyan) (Canada)/The Doors (Oliver Stone) (USA)/Defending your life (Albert Brooks) (USA)/Fried Green Tomatoes (Jon Avnet) (USA)/Bugsy (Barry Levinson) (USA)/Cape Fear (Martin Scorsese) (USA)/In the Alleys of Love (Khosrow Sinai) (Iran)/Naked Lunch (David Cronenberg) (Canada/England)
1992:Unforgiven (Clint Eastwood)(USA)/Indochine (Regie Wargnier) (France)/A few good men (Rob Reiner) (USA)/The best intentions (Bille August) (Sweden)/A River runs through it (Robert Redford) (USA)/Leolo (Jean-Calude Lauzon) (Canada)/The crying game (Neil Jordan) (USA)/Damage (Louis Malle) (France/England) /The Player (Robert Altman) (USA)/Reservoir Dogs (Quentin Tarantino)(USA)/Lessons of darkness (Werner Herzog) (Germany)/The Quince tree sun (Victor Erice) (Spain)/Bob Roberts (Tim Robins) (USA)/Basic instinct (Paul Verhoeven) (USA)/Batman returns (Tim Burton) (USA)/Life and nothing more (Abbas Kiarostami) (Iran)/Once Upon a Time, Cinema (Mohsen Makhmalbaf) (Iran)/Hard Boiled (John Woo) (China)/Shining through (David Seltzer) (USA/England)/Final Analysis (Phil Jaonu) (USA)/A Stranger among us (Sydney Lumet) (USA)/Single white female (Barbet Schroder) (USA)/The last of the Mohicans (Michael Mann) (USA)/Glengarry Glen Ross (James Foley) (USA)/Hero (Stephen Frears) (USA)/Bram Stoker’s Dracula (F.Coppola) (USA)/Malcolm X (Spike Lee) (USA)/Bad Lieutenant (Abel Ferrara) (USA)/Toys (Barry Levinson) (USA)/The Lover (Jean-Jacques Annaud) (France)/Scent of a woman (Martin Brest) (USA)/Hoffa (Danny DeVito) (USA)/Belle époque (Fernando Terueba) (Spain)/Strictly Ballroom (Baz Luhrmann) (Australia)
1993:Schindler’s list (Spielberg) (USA)/Philadelphia (Jonathan Demme) (USA)/Farewell my concubine (Chen Kaig) (China)/The scent of green papaya (Tran Anh Hung) (Vietnam/France)/Falling down (Joel Schumacher) (USA)/What’s eating Gilbert Grape (Lasse Hallstrom) (USA)/D’Est (From the East) (Chantal Akerman) (Russia/Poland/Germany)/ Three Colors: Blue (Krzysztof Kieslowski) (Poland/Frnace/Switzerland)/Searching for Bobby Fischer (Steven Zailian) (USA) /Jurassic Park (Spielberg) (USA)/Benny’s video (Michael Haneke) (Austria/Switzerland) /Mrs. Doubtfire (Chris Columbus) (USA)/The Fugitive (Andrew Davis) (USA)/The Firm (Sydney Pollack) (USA) /Indecent Proposal (Adrian Lyne) (USA)/The Pelican Brief (Alan J. Pakula) (USA) /The Age of Innocence (Scorsese) (USA) /The Piano (Jane Campion) (New Zealand) /A Bronx Tale (Robert De Niro) (USA)/Shadowlands (Richard Attenborough) (England)/ Carlito’s Way (Brian De Palma) (USA)/A Perfect World (Clint Eastwood) (USA)/Iron Monkey (Yuen Wo-ping) (China)/In the name of the father (Ireland/England)/ Manhattan Murder Mystery (W.Allen) (USA)
1994:Pulp Fiction (Qunetin Tarantino) (USA)/Burnt by the sun (Nikita Mikhalkov)/Forest Gump (Robert Zemeckis) (USA)/Eat, drink, man, woman (Ang Lee) (Taiwan)/Satantango (Bela Tarr) (Hungry)/Strawberry and chocolate (Tomas Gutierrez) (Cuba/Mexico)/Il Postino (Michael Radford/Massimo Troisi) (Italy)/Chungking express (Wong Kar-Wai) (China)/Shawshank Redemption (Frank Darabont)/Ed Wood (Tim Burton) (USA)/Three colors: White (Krzysztof Kieslowski) (France/Poland/Switzerland)/Three Colors: Red (Krzysztof Kieslowski) (France/Poland/Switzerland)/Leon: The Professional (Luc Besson) (France)/Hoop dreams (Steve James)/The Lion King (Roger Allers/Rob Minkoff) (USA)/Crumb (Terry Zwigoff) (USA)/Four weddings and a funeral (Mike Newell) (England)/Through the Olive trees (Abbas Kiarostami) (Iran)/The Mask (Chuck Russel) (USA)/Speed (Jan de Bont) (USA)/Natural Born Killers (Oliver Stone) (USA)/Disclosure (Barry Levinson) (USA)/Bullets over Broadway (W.Allen) (USA)/Immortal beloved (Bernard Rose) (England/USA)
1995:Seven (David Fincher) (USA)/Leaving Las Vegas (Mike Figgis) (USA)/Apollo 13 (Ron Howard) (USA)/12 Monkeys (Terry Giliam) (USA) /Sense and sensibility (Ang Lee) (USA)/Toy story (John Lasseter) (USA)/Braveheart (Mel Gibson) (USA)/Antonia’s line (Marleen Gorris) (The Netherland)/Underground (Emir Kusturica) (Serbia/Bulgaria/France)/Ulysses’ gaze (Theo Angelopoulos) (Greece) /Dead Man Walking (Tim Robbins) (USA)/Before Sunrise (Richard Linklater) (USA)/The White Balloon (Jafar Panahi)(Iran) /Mighty Aphrodite (W.Allen) (USA)/Hello Cinema (Mohsen Makhmalbaf)(Iran)/Babe (Chris Noonan) (USA)/Casino (Scorsese) (USA)/The usual suspects (Bryan Singer) (USA)/Rob Roy (Michael Caton-Jones) (USA)/The Bridges of Madsion County (Clint Eastwood) (USA)/Sabrina (Sydnye Pollack) (USA)/Nixon (Oliver Stone) (USA) /Jade (William Friedkin) (USA)/To die for (Gus Van Sant) (USA)/Canadian Bacon (Michael Moore) (USA)/Les Miserables (Claude Lelouch) (France)/Don Juan DeMarco (Jeremy Leven) (USA)
1996:The English Patient (Anthony Minghella) (USA)/Fargo (Joel Coen) (USA/England)/Secret and Lies (Mike Leigh) (England/France)/Shine (Scott Hicks) (Australia)/Kolya (Jan Sverak) (Czech Republic)/Lone Star (John Sayles) (USA)/Breaking the waves (Lars von Trier) (Denmark/Englnad)/Mission impossible (Brian De Palma) (USA)/Kansas City (Robert Altman) (USA)/Gabbeh (Mohsen Makhmalbaf) (Iran)/The Island of Dr. Moreau (John Frankenheimer) (USA) /Michael Collins (Neil Jordan)(USA)/Sleepers (Barry Levinson) (USA)/Sling Blade (Billy Bob Thornton) (USA)/Jack (F.Coppola) (USA)/The Birdcage (Mike Nichols) (USA)
1997:Titanic (James Cameron) (USA)/Good will hunting (Gus Van Sant) (USA)/Midnight in the garden of good and evil (Clint Eastwood) (USA)/Character (Karakter) (Mike van Diem) (Netherland/Belgium)/ Mad City (Costa Gavras) (USA/Fireworks (Hana-bi) (Takeshi Kitano) (Japan)/The Disappearance of Garcia Lorca (Death in Granada) (Marcos Zurinaga) (Spain)/Taste of Cherry (Abbas Kiarostami) (Iran)/As good as it gets (James Brooks) (USA)/The Sweet Hereafter (Atom Egoyan) (Canada)/Children of Heaven (Majid Majidi) (Iran)/A,B,C…Manhattan (Amir Naderi)(Iran/USA)/L.A. Confidential (Curtis Hanson) (USA)/Mimic (Guillermo del Toro) (USA)/The Fifth Element (Luc Besson) (France)/Jackie Brown ((Tarantino) (USA)/Amistad (Spielberg) (USA)/Donnie Brasco (Mike Newell) (USA)/The Lost World: Jurassic Park (Spielberg) (USA)/4 Little girls (Spike Lee) (USA)/Life is beautiful (Roberto Benigni) (Italy)/The Mirror (Jafar Panahi) (Iran) /The Rainmaker (F.Coppola) (USA)/U Turn (Oliver Stone) (USA)/Contact (Zemeckis) (USA)/Live Flesh (Almodovar) (Spain/France)/Night falls on Manhattan (Sydney Lumet) (USA)/Affliction (Paul Schrader)(USA)
1998:Saving private Ryan (Spielberg) (USA)/Central Station (Walter Salles) (Brazil)/Ringu (Hideo Nakata) (Japan)/Run Lola Run (Tom Tykwer) (Germany)/The celebration (Festen) (Thomas Vinterberg) (Denmark)/Histoire du cinema (Jean-Luc Godard) (France)/The Legend of 1900 (Giuseppe Tornatore) (Italy)/The Apple (Samira Makhmalbaf) (Iran)/Armageddon (Michael Bay) (USA)/Shakespeare in Love (John Madden)/American History X (Tony Kaye) (USA)/The Pear Tree (Dariush Mehrjui) (Iran)/The Truman Show (Peter Weir) (USA)/The Idiots (Idioterne) (Lars von Trier) (Denmark)/Elizabeth (Shekhar Kapur)(England)/The Big Lebowski (Joel and Ethan Coen) (USA)/To be or not to be (Kianoush Ayari) (Iran)/Gods and Monsters (Bill Condon) (England/USA)/Primary Colors (Mike Nichols) (USA)/Ronin (John Frankenheimer) (USA)/Meet Joe Black (Martin Brest) (USA)/The Thin Red Line (Terrence Malick) (USA)/The Red Violin (Francois Girard) (Canada/Italy/England) 1998
1999:The Matrix (The Wachowskis) (USA)/The sixth sense (M. Night Shyamalan) (USA)/All about my mother (Pedro Almodovar) (Spain)/American Beauty (Sam Mendes) (USA)/Being John Malkovich (Spike Jonze) (USA)/Rosetta (Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne) (France)/Angela’s ashes (Alan Parker) (Ireland/England/USA)/Buena Vista Social Club (Wim Wenders) (Germany/USA/France/Cuba)/The Green Mile (Frank Darabont) (USA)/Second skin (Gerardo Vera) (Spain)/The Cider House Rules (Lasse Hallstrom) (USA)/Girl, Interrupted (James Mangold) (USA)/Peppermint candy (Lee Chang-dong) (South Korea)x/The Talented Mr. Ripley (Anthony Minghella) (USA)/Audition (Takashi Miike) (Japan)//Cookie’s Fortune (Robert Altman) (USA)/Yana’s Friends (Arik Kaplun) (Israel)/Bringing out the dead (Scorsese) (USA)/Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. (Errol Morris) (USA)/Solomon & Gaenor (Paul Morrison) (England)/Audition (Takashi Miike) (Japan)/Toy Story 2 (John Lasseter) (USA)/The Wind will carry us (Abbas Kiarostami) (Iran)/The Hurricane (Norman Jewison)(USA)/Magnolia (Paul Thomas Anderson) (USA)/Himalaya (Eric Valli) (Nepal)/Music of the Heart (Was Craven) (USA)/Felicia Journey (Atom Egoyan) (Canada)x/Under the Sun (Colin Nutley) (Sweden)/The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc (Luc Besson) (France)/Man on the Moon (Milos Forman) (USA)/Anna and the King (Andy Tennat) (USA)/The Virgin Suicides (Sofia Coppola) (USA)/Celebrity (W.Allen) (USA) 1998/East/West (Regis Wargnier)(France/Bulgaria/Russia/Spain/Ukraine)/Random Hearts (Sydney Pollack) (USA)/Liberty Heights (Barry Levinson) (USA)/The Insider (Michael Mann) (USA)/Boys don’t Cry (Kimberly Peirce) (USA)/Analyze this (Harold Ramis) (USA)/Eyes Wide Shut (Kubrick)(England/USA)/Any Given Sunday (Oliver Stone) (USA)
In 1980’s at the same time of the revival of Italian cinema and the renaissance in Spanish cinema, a new wave of cinema in a third world country took the world by surprise. Nourished by its history long rich culture and literature specially in poetry and spiritualism, the cinema in Iran took a huge leap in this modern visual art that has survived well to this very day. Adapting Hollywood films from 1930s, the cinema in Iran maintained a commercial nature of depicting storytelling until in the mid to late 1960s when the influence of French Avant Garde and Italian Neo-realism influenced the intellectuals in Iran to use the film medium for their ideology and cultural expressions. Davoud Mollapour with “The husband of Ahoo Khanoom” in 1968, Masoud Kimiai with “Kaiser” and Dariush Mehrjui with “The Cow” revolutionized the commercial films in Iran.
But it was not until the opening of “Institute for the intellectual development of children and adolescents” in 1965 that the modern arts including cinema formally took on the new wave movement and was used as an intellectual and artistic medium of expression. From this institute great filmmakers such as Abbas Kiarostami, Amir Naderi, Bahram Beyzai, Majid Majidi, and Sohrab Shahid-Saless rose to the world level of great filmmakers and at times surpassed their European contemporaries whom they were influenced by. From this new wave of filmmakers, Abbas Kiarostami took the spiritual, poetic and intellectual side with his major film experience in “The Experience” in 1973, then continued his line of work with “The Traveller” driving around Iran for exploration and perhaps self-discovery, that pleased the western critics immensely. At the same time Bahram Bayzai took on a middle ground and delved into the contemporary Persian culture, suppressed and depressed to the current level after centuries of invasions and occupations in “Ragbar” in 1972 and “Sooteh-Delan” in 1978. Sohrab Shahid-Saless influenced mostly by the French Avant Garde and rich spiritual Persian poetry depicted his culture with his freeze frames and slow camera moves in “A Simple Event” in 1973 and “Still Life” in 1975. Amir Naderi followed Italian neorealism and specifically De Sica to depict the most realistic, unspoiled reality of his culture at least of the poor struggling class with “Harmonica” in 1973 and “The Runner” in 1985.
Growing in “Institute for the intellectual development of children and adolescents” some of these filmmakers having had to make films for or about children, their works were enriched with the sentiments and innocence of this age group. “Harmonica” and “The Runner” by Naderi, “Bashu, the little stranger” by Baizaei, “Where is the Friend’s House?” by Kiarostami, and “The White Balloon” by Jafar Panahi were earlier such depictions. The attention of the world of cinema specially in Europe and Cannes Film Festival had already been absorbed by such rich and novel works from a new line of pure cinema just before “Children of Heaven” of Majid Mojidi hit the screens worldwide. The purity, simplicity and innocence of the lives in the film was an awakening and inspiration for the rest of global cinema that longed to see another neo-realistic work since “Bicycle Thieves” of De Sica. The attention was so high and far as North America where the film was the first Iranian film to be nominated for the best foreign language film in 1999 to lose only to “Life is beautiful” of Roberto Bengini. But the film was the first Persian film to win the Newport Film Festival, the Warsaw International Film Festival, and the Singapore International Film Festival, Montreal Film Festival and to compete for the Grand prize at the American Film Institute’s Festival in 1997.
From Earth to Heaven:
In the same year of 1997 when Hollywood continues with her blockbuster films making with Titanic, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Men in Black, Tomorrow never dies, Air Force One, As Good as it gets, and The Fifth Element among many more, a low budget, simple and honest film about the bitter and sad reality of life far from Hollywood surprises and enlightens critics and the audiences to shame worldwide. “Children of Heaven” is an example of daily story of many poor children in Iran and similarly in many other underdeveloped or third world countries in middle east, Africa, Asia, and Latin America. They are the children of earth that in fact belong to heaven and are “Children of Heaven”.
The 9-year old Ali takes his younger sister, Zahra’s old shoes for repair while shopping groceries for the family, store to store, but loses the shoes in one the shops. Meanwhile the camera committed to the art of cinema, walking us through the poor area of the capital Tehran the way it was 20 years ago. The shops , bazaars, the narrow alleys and the house where Ali and his family share with a few other families are visually convincing in its honest true depiction of the lives of ordinary people in their daily life struggles.
Ali desperate and sad of having lost his little sister’s shoes first hides the truth from her, but later on tells her the truth. The little Zahra is in tears of how she goes to school without shoes, that Ali comes up with the idea of sharing his shoes as her school is in the morning and his in the afternoon shift. Ali has to wait half way for Zahra to get to him to switch shoes and Ali has to run not to be late for his school. Zahra unhappy that Ali’s shoes are too old and dirty and she is embarrassed to wear them that Ali suggests washing them that she does. Again Majidi behind the camera shows the condition of the living of Ali and Zahra’s poor family of five with a baby sibling and a sick mother living in one single room. The children’s helping with the house chores so their sick mother not to work are as sincere and honest as it can get.
One day while Zahra running after school to get to Ali switching shoes, one shoe fall in a creek on the street that’s finally helped by someone to catch it. Ali too late that day and upset that his shoes are wet, is warned by the school principal that if being late again he would be suspended. To please Zahra who’s unhappy for the loss of her shoes and in order not to tell their parents, Ali gives her a pen that his teacher has given him as a prize for doing well in a test. The film all the way being shown from the perspective of these two children, is magnificent when with the camera paints the mental preoccupation of Zahra when her eyes in school on daily basis is on her peers’ nice shoes.
One day in the school yard during the recess, Zahra’s eyes fall on a pair of similar shoes another girl is wearing in despair, so she follows the girl until she locates her house. That day Ali is late again so his school principal suspends him, that while leaving a teacher walking in intervenes so he is allowed to get back in, only to promise if late again he will be suspended. Zahra takes Ali and shows him the house of her school mate wearing the similar shoes that she suspects to be her lost shoes, but both are frightened of going to the house.
Ali’s father who has a low paid job of serving tea in a mosque, is lent a detoxifying pump to go uptown to rich houses on the weekend and work as a gardener and make more money for the family. He takes Ali with him on his bike, passing through the uptown with its luxury and modern building, rich and big houses in contrast with the lower part of the town where they live. Ali and his father paddle on their bike through the uptown and house to house out of breath asking if anyone needs a gardener, but with no success. Ali who helps his father by ringing the houses’ bells and asking the residents if they need gardening, as he is more articulate and assertive while both so far desperate. Helpless and about to give up that a young boy at the last house, named also Ali who’s lonely and living in a big house with his grandfather asks him if he could come in and play with him. While Ali and his father desperately leave, the little boy already out with his grandfather come out and call them back. Ali’s father is given some detoxifying fruit trees and pruning of the garden while Ali is allowed to playing with the other Ali. At the end of the day Ali’s father is paid generously that put smile on both faces, heading back home.
One day in school, the gym teacher announces about a running race with the third prize being a pair of sneakers. Ali excited and passing the test participates in the race. Breaking the news happily to Zahra, he promises to be for sure in the third place to win the shoes for his sister. The race in the uptown with most of participants being rich kids, the film depicts well another contrast of the poverty and wealth specifically through the eyes of Ali. While running hard, the film elegantly shows Ali’s flashbacks of his and Zahra’s daily running to share a pair of old shoes, and his promise to his sister that he will win the third prize for the new shoes. At the end and despite falling down by the push of a competitor, Ali gets to the finish line almost at the same time with a few other boys. To his disappointment but the joy of his gym teacher and the school principal, Ali wins the first prize. While his photos are taken by the press, Ali does not look happy as he has not won the third prize and a pair of shoes for his sister.
Ali gets home sad and breaks the news to Zahra who’s waiting for a pair of new shoes. Sitting sad and exhausted by the house little pond, taking off his old shoes now with big holes and not wearable after the race, Ali dips his feet full of blisters in the water where a few gold fishes are swimming and the film ends. A beautiful simple and honest film ends in no happy ending and leaves the lives of Ali, Zahra, their family and the rest of alike in the same struggling life situation as it was, for if it did otherwise those lives would not have changed for real.
In closing remarks “Children of Heaven” one more time will be redefined based on the following criteria:
- Originality: “Children of Heaven” while is not original in concept and depiction of the reality of ordinary and poor lives’ struggles, it is original in its simplicity, honesty and being shown through the eyes of innocent little children. So Majid Majidi with his “Children of Heaven” brought back to live again the neo-realism of cinema that thought having been faded and proved that there are still real life stories need to be told on the screen by a genuine and honest new realism and that is the new wave of cinema from Iran.
- Technicality: The technicality of “Children of Heaven” is in its script, the set location, the elegant and simple visual depiction of simple minds of children through mental imagery and flashbacks. Moreover the acting of Ali, Zahra and their father is as real as it could get and a reminder of “Bicycle Thieves” and acting of ordinary people in a feature film.
- Impact Factor: The influence of “Children of Heaven” has been on the global cinema as a whole that no filming style is outdated as long as needed for the subject story, so neo-realism for the depiction of reality of lives. This impact will be seen in later years from the films coming out of Iran and other third world countries.
- Survival: “Children of Heaven” has survived well to this very day in its beauty, simplicity and awakening of minds that with low budget could create masterpieces as well.
Roberto Benigni, an Italian comedy actor and filmmaker with his “Life is Beautiful” in 1997 that was released almost a year later than Italy in US, proved to be a genius like his master Charlie Chaplin. Naturally a born comedian in his masterpiece, he uses humor and irony to tell a story of love, sacrifice and inhumanity of Nazis in the World war II to enlighten his own nation whose fascist government of Mussolini was on the devil axis and a partner in the big crime. Despite the universal accolade of the film by critics and the public worldwide, there were a few who did not understand the film and its impact on the Italian mentality then and later in recognition of the atrocities of the fascists and Nazis on Jews even in their native country, ending in over 7,000 loss of lives.
In fact Benigni was smart to consult, from the start of the film and even writing the script, with the Jewish-Italian historian and scholar, Marcello Pezzetti who had travelled over 250 times to Auschwitz and interviewed hundreds of holocaust survivors over the years. He even attended with Pezzetti a full-immersion holocaust history course to acquire more knowledge of the most tragic inhumanity incident of our modern time. Benigni had also one of the real holocaust survivor, Rubino Romeo Salmoni whose memoir “In the End, I Beat Hitler” was a main inspiration for the film, on the set as another consultant. As in the film that Guido (Roberto Benigni) who sacrifices his own life for the survival of his young son Giosue or Joshua (Giorgio Cantarini), Benigni preferred that ending opposed to the death of his son per Pezzetti’s suggestion.
Life is or was Beautiful:
While half of the film is a love story with an uninterrupted comic moments created solely by Benigni himself who like Chaplin not just acted, but directed and co-wrote the script, is a beautiful funny story of love, the second half is tragic, with still ongoing comic moments for the survival in the concentration camp. So the beautiful life of two lovers that produced a beautiful boy before the Nazis occupation of Italy after the country surrender to the allies in 1943, is lost to the racial discrimination and ends in a concentration camp. For the survival of the spirit and life of his little son, Guido continues with his magical and fantasy story making to convince him believing the camp is a contest for the hardest working participant (his father) to collect one thousand points to win a tank. At the end Guiod sacrifices his own life to rescue his son, hiding him in a safe outside to just come out the next morning when all are gone to see his prize tank.
Arriving with his friend to the small town of Arezzo in Tuscany to work in his uncle’s restaurant until he applies for a permit to open a bookstore, Guido runs into Dora (Nicoletta Braschi, Benigni’s real wife) whom he falls in love right away. With constant comic actions and well written and acted script mostly by one man, Benigni as Guido, he runs a few more times accidentally to Dora whom he calls her princess. Meanwhile he waits a German doctor who’s obsessed with riddles and soon interested in Guido who solves his riddles easily and gave him hard ones to solve. He also serves lunch once to an inspector who’s visiting the school where Dora teaches, so he takes the opportunity to pretend to be the inspector, arriving to the school wearing an Italian flag. In one of the funniest scenes of the film, when he is asked to lecture about the superiority of the Italian race to the young students, he jumps on a desk and shows himself and different parts of his body including his earlobes and belly buttons as the perfect examples of a superior race. Having all the scene improvised, Benigni makes the film a mockery of racism, in the manner Chaplin did in “The Great Dictator”.
Another funny but thoughtful moment of the film is Guido using Schopenhauer will power’s philosophy to influence Dora to fall in love with him by his hand movements as if to hypnotize her. Despite a few degrading criticism of labeling Benigni as a clown, addressing Schopenhauer’s philosophy of influence on others that impacted Nietzsche whose philosophy of “Will to Power” and “Ubermensch” or “Superman” was an influence on Hitler is an example of his genius in mockery of extreme ideologies that once and again have led to humans’ misery. Finally and at the end of the first happy half of the film, Guido when he works as a waiter in Dora’s engagement party to a rich local, he steals her on his uncle’s horse that is painted green and written on some anti-semitic remarks.
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Since “Snow White and Seven Dwarfs” of 1937 and “The Wizard of Oz” in 1939, there has not been any great children, family or animation film until “Toy Story” that in 1995 broke the silence and traditions of filmmaking by being the first entirely computer generated animation feature film. The film deserted the animated cartoons and started a new trend of computer generated animation as a new fashion in cinema that was repeated in so many future films such as “Finding Nemo”, “The Incredibles”, “Brave”, “Coco”, “Monsters Inc.”, “Cars”, “Monster University”, “The Good Dinosaur”, “Finding Dory”, “Up” and three more editions of “Toy Story” including the most recently “Toy Story 4” currently on the screen. The above short list all produced by the “Pixar Animation Studios” and mostly nominated or winners of academy awards.
Pixar that started in 1974 in New York Institute of Technology by Alexander Schure who established a computer graphic lab to create the first computer-animated film. But the task was ambitious and the science of computer had not developed much then, even with the financial help of Lucasfilm, then Apple Inc. and its founder Steve Jobs who invested his own money in Pixar, after being fired from Apple. It was not until the major assistance and investment by Disney Studios that made possible the total computer-generated animation beyond experimental and short films in a major feature film of “Toy Story”. Created by John Lasseter as his feature film debut who also co-wrote the script, “Toy Story” has used the voice of veteran actors such as Tom Hanks (Woody), Tim Allen (Buzz Lightyear), Don Rickles (Potato Head), John Morris (Andy), R. Lee Ermey (Sergeant, the leader of a large troop of plastic green army men) among others. “Toy Story” brought animation more to life and while the human figures in the film such as the boy Andy and others look unreal or dolls like, enlivening the toys to have lives of their own, walk, talk, getting into actions, fight and having emotions, was a total innovation and novelty.
Toy Story: A New Beginning
The film opens with Andy, a young boy on his birthday playing and torturing his toys. When on their own, the toys have their own free lives and under the leadership of the cowboy sheriff Woody have daily meetings and manage their errands as much as they could. All worried to be replaced with the new toy gifts brought by the guest at the birthday party, Woody sends a troop of plastic green army men under their leader, Sergeant to carry downstairs a baby monitor to find out about the new toys and if they will be replaced. At the end no toys have been replaced, but a new toy, the Buzz Lightyear who believes to be a real space ranger joins the bunch and becomes Woody’s rival in the leadership.
The other toys seeing Buzz Lightyear, having so many electronic gadgets attached to his spacesuit get the second thought about changing the old fashioned Woody as their leader. Woody throws Buzz out of the bedroom window that angers the toys and they protest against him as they are also afraid to be terminated by him next. When Andy boy takes Woody with him in his mom’s car leaving the house for a pizza dinning, Buzz fallen in the bushes downstairs jumps in the back of the car and leaves with them. The car Stopping at a gas station, Buzz and Woody get into a fight and out of the car and when finally making peace, the car has already left them stranded. Both toys soon find a pizza delivery truck and jump on to get to the restaurant and Andy, but they are picked up by his neighbor, Sid who’s sadistic with his toys.
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In climbing the ladder of cinema in time searching for originality and novelty in technicality so the film to have impact on others and survive, the chance of finding any great film not to surpass but to match the frontiers in the field would be less and less. From 1988 to 1994 there has been only one single film of “Schindler’s List” to consider one of the greatest. But the single year of 1994, it happened to release several good films such as “Pulp Fiction”, “Satantango”, “Il Postino”, “Shawshank Redemption”, “Three colors: White & Red”, “The Lion King”, “Four weddings and a funeral”, “Natural Born Killers”, “Leon: The Professional” etc. but still one file to be considered one of the greatest films of all time and that is “Forest Gump” with some originality and novel technicality.
Forrest Gump: Life is like a floating feather in air
The film opens with the camera following a flying feather over the city of Savannah, Georgia in early 1980’s that finally lands on the foot of Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks) who is sitting on a bus stop bench. He picks up the feather and puts it in his briefcase that holds some other collected memorabilia items. He introduces himself as “Forrest Gump” to a black lady sitting beside him on the bench. He offers her some chocolate from a box and saying the popular quote of the film “My mamma always said: Life was like a box of chocolate. You never know what you’re going to get”. Then Forrest points and comments to the lady’s nice white sneaker, saying those must be comfortable and remembering lots of shoes that he wore and even the first one that takes us back to his boyhood in an orthopedic office with his mother (Sally Field). His first pairs of shoes were attached to leg braces for correction of his curved spine.
Forrest in his memory flashbacks explains that his mother picked the name of Forrest for him after one of the heroes of the south in the civic war, General Forrest who started the club of “Ku Klux Clan” with the members covering their faces with a white mask looking like ghosts. His protective mother was not able to accept his boy’s low IQ and him attending special education school. So she sleeps with a school principal to accept Forrest in his school. He was raised by his single mother in a big house by a lake that was often full with many guests. On his first day to school on the school bus, he meets a beautiful little girl named Jenny (Hanna R. Hall) who will become his long-time friend, spending many moments together that the film flashbacks on some. One day while with Jenny, three boys on their bikes drop him then chase him, when Jenny tells him “Run Forrest run”. He starts running with all his power so his prostheses coming off and he runs faster away, passing through the town with the surprise of bystanders to Jenny’s house. Jenny who was living with his abusive father soon was transferred to his grandma’s house closer to Forrest’s home. The two continue with their tender friendship all the way through high school. One day again the same three boys now young men in their car start to chase Forrest that Jenny again encourages him to run and he again runs so fast passing through a college football field surprising the coaches that he runs faster than their players. So Forrest joins the university of Alabama football team and becomes the principal factor of the their victories.
The life story of Forrest goes along with the history of United States from the 60’s at the time of the presidency of John F. Kennedy, when the blacks called “Coons” were denied entrance to the university of Alabama supported by its governor Wallace that Kennedy administration had to use the military force to interfere and allows racial equality. The governor Wallace with the support of his pro-segregation followers, critical of the federal government being a military dictatorship decided to run for the presidency to take care of the matters in his way, but he was shot in an assassination attempt, though he did not die. At this point the black lady at the bus stop bench leaves and gets on her bus and Forrest continues his story to another lady who has just joined them on the bench with her little son and discloses having been a college student at the time of Wallace assassination. Forrest tells her that Jenny (Robin Wright as adult Jenny) was in the college at the time as well and though they were apart, he would go and visit her at times.
One of these times of visit that the film shows while Forrest waiting to see Jenny in a rainy evening, when Jenny arrives in her boyfriend’s car, upset Forrest out of her protection starts beating forces the boyfriend to drive away. After protesting to him, Jenny takes Forrest to her house and her bedroom, dries him, takes off her clothes to sleep with him, but Forrest who still is little boy in the body of a man, shies away and Jenny realizes the fact of his nature and just cuddles with him. In a party for the celebration of the university of Alabama’s football team victory at the White House, Forrest being thirsty drinks all the free beers. When it is his time to be congratulated by Kennedy and when shakes his hands, and is asked how he feels, Forrest responds he “gotta pee” that makes the president and others chuckle. In continuation of retelling his life story that is a review of the modern American history, Forrest says that someone killed the nice president Kennedy in his car while driving at a parade in Dallas, then shortly after someone else killed his brother too, though he was in his kitchen.
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From the science fiction and fantasy filmmaker of “Jaws”, “Close encounter of the third kind”, “E.T.”, and the “Indiana Jones” series, comes the serious drama film of “Schindler’s List” about the Jewish holocaust survivors of the World War II. Steven Spielberg who was busy making his first edition of “Jurassic Park” in the same year of 1993, was finally convinced by one of the real Polish Jews on the Schindler’s list, Poldek Pfefferberg who survived the extermination in Auschwitz by Nazis to make the film, the same way he convinced the Australian novelist, Thomas Keneally to write the novel “Schindler’s Ark” that the film was adapted from.
Spielberg who was not certain of his capability to make such a serious film and had suggested directors, Roman Polanski, Martin Scorsese, Sydney Pollack and David Lean to make it, finally decided to make this different film for personal and family reasons and not profit. By chance and a right decision, Spielberg made his greatest film of his life, and in contrast with his other science fiction digital films in color, he shot this film in black and white and with the assistance of the cinematographer Janusz Kaminski, the film took well its real melodrama tragic context of an inhumanity stain on the humans’ past history lest not to forget. On many list of the greatest films of all time, “Schindler’s List” won 7 academy awards out of 12 nominations, including the best picture, best director, best adapted screenplay, and best original score by John Williams. It ranks number 8 on the AFI of 100 best American films of all time’s second edition in 2007.
Although slow to pick up at the start, as Spielberg tried to give it a documentary format, the film’s two great sections and scenes of liquidation of the Jews in Krakow Ghetto and the final scene of the speech of Oskar Schindler, hours before the Germans’ surrender and the end of the war, and the wide respect and recognition of the survived Jews to him as their savior are the sensitive moments of the film to make it great. In the liquidation scene, Spielberg puts a little girl walking in a red coat while the rest of the film is still in B&W to symbolize how the American government was ignorant of the Holocaust and the Jewish genocide. “It was as obvious as a little girl wearing a red coat, walking down the street, and yet nothing was done to bomb the German rail lines. Nothing was being done to slow down … the annihilation of European Jewry”.
One of the greatest impact of the film has been perhaps on the conscience of the Germans’ people that why not like Schindler they helped in the survival of many men, women and children who were massacred by the mass frenzy of Nazis in the name of survival of a better race against a lower one. The fact of the real existence of Schindler as a member of Nazi party to save 1200 Jews from death in Auschwitz has been hard to believe even for Spielberg after reading the story, and lies in the center of the story subject. While at the start, his agenda was a profit making enterprise of running his metal factory with free labor of the Jewish prisoners, over time he recognizes his role in their survival. Appreciation by his captive Jewish workers for saving their lives, particularly at the end when all gather to listen to his redemption speech breaks his heart so to regret in tears why he did not save more.
Schindler’s List: Schindler’s Ark
The list of 1200 Jewish men and women that Schindler made and saved as per title of the novel of Thomas Keneally has been compared by the survivors to Noah Ark. The real Oskar Schindler was a German industrialist who took over a metal factory for profit making with the use of free labors of the captive Jews in Krakow, but over time he gets attached to his workers and tries to rescue them from the atrocities of the Nazis and saves them from extermination. Schindler (Liam Neeson) with the aid of Itzhak Stern (Ben Kingsley), a captive Jewish accountant meets with several wealthy Jews in the ghetto and asks for money for bribing the top German officers to let them work in his factory and also rescue their lives from extermination while his venture gets off the ground.
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While American cinema as an art medium fell with digitalism and special effects in exaggeration and to commercialism initiated by Lucas and Spielberg, and revived only briefly with the subject of Vietnam war on the screen, the cinema in other countries such as Italy and Spain took a life again. Right at the same year of 1988 when Italian cinema revived with “Cinema Paradiso” by Giuseppe Tornatore, the Spanish cinema came to the forefront of world attention with “Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown” by Pedro Almodovar. A country going to civil war for freedom and democracy in 1930’s, but defeated by the phalanges leading by the dictator Franco, revolted once again but this time culturally in mid 70s after the death of the dictator.
Raising professionally during this cultural renaissance and interested in experimental theatre and cinema, Almodovar used cinema as a medium to express his and his country revival to freedom. From his first feature debut, “Pepi, Luci, Bom” that he shot in 16mm in 1982 then blew it up into 35 mm feature to his “Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown” in 1988 that brought him to the global attention and his last film “Pain and Glory” that just released recently in 2019, Almodovar’s style like his master Louis Bunuel is unconventional, satirical, simultaneously dark and funny, and appealing to everyone from the lay to critical viewers.
Acclaimed as one of the great contemporary filmmakers, Almodovar already has won 2 American academy, 5 British, 6 European, 2 Golden Globes and 9 Goya Awards, 4 Cannes Film Festival prizes. He is a holder of French Legion of Honour in 1997, Gold Medal of Merit in the Fine Arts from the Spanish Ministry of Culture in 1999, a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2001, an honorary doctoral degree from Harvard University in 2009, and from Oxford University in 2016, an honorary European Film Academy Achievement id World Cinema award in 2013, the President of 2017 Cannes Film Festival and is scheduled to receive the Honorary Golden Lion from the 76th Venice Film Festival in August 2019.
Renaissance in Cinema:
As important as the Italian “Neorealism” and French “Avant Garde” movements in cinema in 40’s to 60’s, the revival and renaissance of cinema in Italy and Spain saved this art medium from falling in the oblivion of digitalism and commercialism. Against the dominance of Hollywood over the world cinema with its heavy commercial box office productions that in later years followed by TV, internet and streaming film companies productions, this renaissance to this very day has kept the art of cinema to some degree alive.
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“Cinema Paradiso” is a film about cinema, love for the films and how cinema used to be. Depicting what cinema has been like in the lives of people in the past, specially in Italy after the second world war, the film tells such a story in an Italian village. Cinema that has been the major entertainment of all the people across the globe and brought people of all ages close together with all their laughter and tears is shown in “Cinema Paradiso” like a flashback. The film is not just about cinema and love of films, but a love story at three levels.
The first one is the love of cinema in a 6-years old boy Salvatore or Toto (Salvatore Cascio) who prefers to be in the projector room of “Cinema Paradiso” than in the church as an altar boy or even in school or playing out with other kids. So he imposes himself to Alfredo (Philippe Noiret) the projectionist of “Cinema Paradiso” to take him as an assistant and teach him the trade and to be close with his favorite films and stars, and collect more celluloid films. This relationship grows mutually into a loving and caring relationship that finally works for both as Alfredo who loses his sight in a fire in the projector room is replaced by Toto who will run the cinema on his own. The third loving relationship is between Salvatore when a teenager who falls in love with Elena (Agnese Nano), a beautiful teenage girl at the first sight.
Cinema Paradiso: A Flashback on Cinema, Love and Life
While “Cinema Paradiso” is about love of cinema and films for what it was in the lives of people, it is not just a “history of cinema” like Godard’s. But the film is well written and intertwined with the life itself and true loves in real life. While the film is about films and cinema, it holds tenderly to its own life story that is another classic beautiful film on its own. So Toto, then the teenage Salvatore and later on the adult Salvatore, Alfredo and Elena all become stars of their own lives and the film “Cinema Paradiso”. The film that is basically a flashback on cinema, specially the classic films with all their glamour, stars, romances, laughter and tears, it is a flashback on the lives of the subject of the film, specially Slavatore, who as an adult filmmaker in Rome, recaptures his childhood and teenage life when he receives the news of the death of Alfredo. Before returning home back to the village of Giancaldo in Sicily for Alfredo’s funeral, he remembers his childhood, his growing love for cinema, his friendship with Alfredo, then his love for Elena that all changed for ever.
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