Inventory: Rosenbaum’s Top Hundred Films

Film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum has been vital to my cinema hobby. Back in the early 2000’s I knew I wanted to watch more good films – but how to tell which films are good? Everybody seemed to recommend exactly the same ol’ boring things as everyone else. Then one day, looking up some best-of-decade lists online, I found Rosenbaum’s top-ten, which featured Dead Man (one of my own faves which I felt was criminally underappreciated) and eight I’d never even heard of. “I must see these movies,” I thought. But I couldn’t find them all straight away, so I busied myself by buying all of Rosenbaum’s books and trying to figure out what else he likes (because anyone who loves Dead Man has the very best taste). Fortunately, he soon published another book (Essential Cinema) with lists of his favorite films, highlighting the top hundred.

I’d managed to see most of the top hundred early last year when I decided to make an effort to watch the last thirty, and others by the same filmmakers for context, so I could better enjoy (or at least understand) what I’m seeing. I loved most of these, with some definite exceptions – but you can’t argue with a man’s list of favorites, you can only make your own.

Watched in the last few years, with link to blog entry:

Le Tunnel sous la Manche (1907 Melies)
Tih Minh (1918 Feuillade)
Foolish Wives (1922 von Stroheim)
Greed (1924 von Stroheim)
Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927 Murnau)
The Docks of New York (1928 von Sternberg)
Arsenal (1929 Dovzhenko)
Lonesome (1929 Fejos)
Night at the Crossroads (1932 Renoir)
I Was Born, But… (1932 Ozu)
Ivan (1932 Dovzhenko)
Love Me Tonight (1932 Mamoulian)
Hallelujah, I’m a Bum (1933 Milestone)
Sylvia Scarlett (1935 Cukor)
Make Way For Tomorrow (1937 McCarey)
Rules of the Game (1939 Renoir)
Story of the Late Chrysanthemums (1939 Mizoguchi)
Christmas in July (1940 Sturges)
The Magnificent Ambersons (1942 Welles)
Heaven Can Wait (1943 Lubitsch)
Seventh Victim (1943 Robson)
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946 Wyler)
Spring in a Small City (1948 Fei Mu)
Stars In My Crown (1950 Tourneur)
The Big Sky (1952 Hawks)
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953 Hawks)
The Naked Spur (1953 Mann)
The Sun Shines Bright (1953 Ford)
The Saga of Anatahan (1954 von Sternberg)
Johnny Guitar (1954 Ray)
Sansho the Bailiff (1954 Mizoguchi)
Track of the Cat (1954 Wellman)
Ordet (1955 Dreyer)
A Man Escaped (1956 Bresson)
Guys and Dolls (1956 Mankiewicz)
The Killing (1956 Kubrick)
India (1958 Rossellini)
Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959 Resnais)
Rio Bravo (1959 Hawks)
Shadows (1959 Cassavetes)
Breathless (1960 Godard)
The Cloud-Capped Star (1960 Ghatak)
Last Year at Marienbad (1961 Resnais)
A Wife Confesses (1961 Masumura)
The House Is Black (1963 Farrokhzad)
Play Time (1967 Tati)
The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967 Demy)
L’Amour Fou (1969 Rivette)
La Region Centrale (1971 Snow)
Out 1 (1971 Rivette)
Out 1: Spectre (1972 Rivette)
Avanti! (1972 Wilder)
Parade (1973 Tati)
Celine and Julie Go Boating (1974 Rivette)
Providence (1977 Resnais)
Doomed Love (1978 Oliveira)
Perceval Le Gallois (1979 Rohmer)
Too Early, Too Late (1981 Straub/Huillet)
Orderly or Disorderly (1981 Kiarostami)
Manuel on the Island of Wonders (1985 Ruiz)
Mix-Up (1985 Romand)
Melo (1986 Resnais)
Where is the Friend’s Home? (1987 Kiarostami)
Yeelen (1987 Cisse)
Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988 Davies)
A Tale of the Wind (1988 Ivens/Loridan)
The Asthenic Syndrome (1989 Muratova)
Nouvelle Vague (1990 Godard)
Actress / Center Stage / Ruan Ling Yu (1991 Kwan)
A Brighter Summer Day (1991 Yang)
The Puppetmaster (1993 Hou Hsiao-hsien)
Satantango (1994 Tarr)
When It Rains (1995 Burnett)
Dead Man (1995 Jarmusch)
Inquietude (1998 Oliveira)
The Wind Will Carry Us (1999 Kiarostami)
Platform (2000 Jia)

Watched in the ancient pre-blog era:

Les Vampires (1915 Feuillade)
Die Nibelungen (1924 Lang)
Spies (1928 Lang)
City Lights (1931 Chaplin)
M (1931 Lang)
Citizen Kane (1941 Welles)
Day of Wrath (1943 Dreyer)
Ivan the Terrible 1 & 2 (1945 Eisenstein)
Monsieur Verdoux (1947 Chaplin)
The Steel Helmet (1951 Fuller)
Othello (1952 Welles)
Rear Window (1954 Hitchcock)
The Tiger of Eschnapur / The Indian Tomb (1959 Lang)
L’Eclisse (1962 Antonioni)
Gertrud (1964 Dreyer)
Au Hasard Balthazar (1966 Bresson)
Black Girl (1966 Sembene)
F For Fake (1974 Welles)
Barry Lyndon (1975 Kubrick)
Stalker (1979 Tarkovsky)
Love Streams (1984 Cassavetes)
Close Up (1990 Kiarostami)
Artificial Intelligence: AI (2001 Spielberg)

The rest of the top-thousand list is going to take a while. Bear with me.