See the British Film Institute’s top 10 all-time films

2001: A Space Odyssey

The British Film Institute conducts a worldwide survey of critics every 10 years and asks them to rank the top 100 motion pictures ever created. 

According to MovieWeb, the results of their last poll have just been published in the BFI’s magazine Sight and Sound, and have some logical inclusions, but also some very surprising ones. 

Here are the 10 best movies ever, ranked, according to the poll of the British Film Institute:

10/10 Singin’ in the Rain (1951)

A musical about doing musicals, this film with Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds is pure joy and fun. One of those movies that even all these years later, when seen for the first time, produces amazement in the viewer from start to finish, especially in the Gene Kelly’s number that gives the movie its title. The Stanley Donen film (he also co-choreographed) is back in the top-10 of the BFI after 2012, when it got 20th place. Singin’ in the Rain also explains many of the spectacular musicals that came after, as its roots can be traced in films like Moulin Rouge! and La La Land.

Kelly’s widow and biographer, Patricia Ward, said to IndieWire that she thinks his husband would find today’s musicals: “a bit regressive, honestly. I think that he would think that maybe we’re going backwards a bit because oftentimes you look at the dancing; the dancing is very much like the 1930s and ’40s. It’s a line of people lined up. And they’re more like Pepsi commercials and things, as opposed to the camera in there moving. The camera’s often stationary, or the camera is zinging around almost out of control, and then you see just body parts flying. That was anathema to Gene.”

9/10 Man With a Movie Camera (1929)

This Russian film made by Dziga Vertov is a documentary that proves that the film medium can be beautiful even without much artifice. Vertov only employs camera shots, movement of the camera, editing, and score to create an incredible film that shows the life of a Soviet city. 

8/10 Mulholland Drive (2001)

David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive might be one of the best fantasy films ever made; a puzzle inside a riddle in a question. Its sense of atmosphere and dream logic is winning viewers every year, as its disconnected world is becoming much more real for those always in a haze because of social media and the news. 

7/10 Beau Travail (1998)

Galoup (Denis Lavant) remembers his time as an ex-Foreign Legion officer leading troops in Djibouti, and his jealousy of new recruit Sentain (Grégoire Colin). Claire Denis has been a director with whom many great actors have worked over the years. This film is one of the reasons why. She’s one of the only directors who can do poetry with images, and Beau Travail is a perfect example of that ability. 

6/10 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

2001: A Space Odyssey is a movie, that, like its story, went where no one had been before. Kubrick created a film that’s as beautiful, as it’s philosophical; as scary as magical; and as advanced as anyone could’ve thought of. This is Stanley Kubrick’s best movie, period. 

5/10 In the Mood for Love (2000)

In the Mood for Love tells the story of Chow Mo-Wan (Tony Leung) and Su Li-Zhen (Maggie Cheung), two neighbours who suspect their respective couples are having an affair. During their conversations, they start to fall in love with each other, but don’t want to cross any lines. Wong Kar Wai’s film is a beautiful, moody, melancholic, unique showing of what real romance can be in a movie. 

4/10 Tokyo Story (1953)

Yasuhiro Ozu’s masterpiece looks like a simple story of an old couple, who realise their family no longer needs them, but it’s much more. It’s a story about life and how it never stops; a film about the passage of time; a movie that uses small vignettes to tell the most tragic of all stories: time stops for no one. 

3/10 Citizen Kane (1941)

Citizen Kane is Orson Welles’ best movie; one that played with story and structure, but also with what a film could do technically in telling the story of Charles Foster Kane. The rumour is that this film was about Charles Randolph Hearst, and that he did everything in his power to discredit the movie, but what everyone remembers is the significance of “rosebud”, and the innovative shooting tricks Welles invented for the film. 

2/10 Vertigo (1958)

Hitchcock is one of the greatest directors ever, and this film is one of his best. Vertigo tells the story of detective John “Scottie” Ferguson (James Stewart), as he gets obsessed with Madeleine Ester (Kim Novak) and follows her on his last job. Madelaine looks like someone from Scottie’s past, making everything more difficult and confusing. This Hitchcock film is a unique exploration of fears, vices, compulsions, and, well, vertigo. 

1/10 Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975)

The film at the number one spot on the BFI poll is not a movie known by many, and was never a blockbuster, and in the last poll was at number 35. This is the first film directed by a woman, not only to reach the first spot, but also to reach the top-10. What Chantal Ackerman’s Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles has going for itself is being utterly feminist. The film depicts women’s oppression through the story of this Belgian housewife; a mother, a part-time sex worker, and an enigma. 

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