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Cahiers du cinéma’s 100 Greatest Films


French film magazine Cahiers du Cinéma have compiled a list of the 100 greatest films of all time.

It is published this month in an illustrated book and was put together by 76 French film directors, critics and industry executives.

Here are the 100 films:

  1. Citizen Kane – Orson Welles
  2. The Night of the Hunter – Charles Laughton
  3. The Rules of the Game (La Règle du jeu) – Jean Renoir
  4. Sunrise – Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau
  5. L’Atalante – Jean Vigo
  6. M – Fritz Lang
  7. Singin’ in the Rain – Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly
  8. Vertigo – Alfred Hitchcock
  9. Children of Paradise (Les Enfants du Paradis) – Marcel Carné
  10. The Searchers – John Ford
  11. Greed – Erich von Stroheim
  12. Rio Bravo – Howard Hawkes
  13. To Be or Not to Be – Ernst Lubitsch
  14. Tokyo Story – Yasujiro Ozu
  15. Contempt (Le Mépris) – Jean-Luc Godard
  16. Tales of Ugetsu (Ugetsu monogatari) – Kenji Mizoguchi
  17. City Lights – Charlie Chaplin
  18. The General – Buster Keaton
  19. Nosferatu the Vampire – Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau
  20. The Music Room – Satyajit Ray
  21. Freaks – Tod Browning
  22. Johnny Guitar – Nicholas Ray
  23. The Mother and the Whore (La Maman et la Putain) – Jean Eustache
  24. The Great Dictator – Charlie Chaplin
  25. The Leopard (Le Guépard) – Luchino Visconti
  26. Hiroshima, My Love – Alain Resnais
  27. The Box of Pandora (Loulou) – Georg Wilhelm Pabst
  28. North by Northwest – Alfred Hitchcock
  29. Pickpocket – Robert Bresson
  30. Golden Helmet (Casque d’or) – Jacques Becker
  31. The Barefoot Contessa – Joseph Mankiewitz
  32. Moonfleet – Fritz Lang
  33. Diamond Earrings (Madame de…) – Max Ophüls
  34. Pleasure – Max Ophüls
  35. The Deer Hunter – Michael Cimino
  36. The Adventure – Michelangelo Antonioni
  37. Battleship Potemkin – Sergei M. Eisenstein
  38. Notorious – Alfred Hitchcock
  39. Ivan the Terrible – Sergei M. Eisenstein
  40. The Godfather – Francis Ford Coppola
  41. Touch of Evil – Orson Welles
  42. The Wind – Victor Sjöström
  43. 2001: A Space Odyssey – Stanley Kubrick
  44. Fanny and Alexander – Ingmar Bergman
  45. The Crowd – King Vidor
  46. 8 1/2 – Federico Fellini
  47. La Jetée – Chris Marker
  48. Pierrot le Fou – Jean-Luc Godard
  49. Confessions of a Cheat (Le Roman d’un tricheur) – Sacha Guitry
  50. Amarcord – Federico Fellini
  51. Beauty and the Beast (La Belle et la Bête) – Jean Cocteau
  52. Some Like It Hot – Billy Wilder
  53. Some Came Running – Vincente Minnelli
  54. Gertrud – Carl Theodor Dreyer
  55. King Kong – Ernst Shoedsack & Merian J. Cooper
  56. Laura – Otto Preminger
  57. The Seven Samurai – Akira Kurosawa
  58. The 400 Blows – François Truffaut
  59. La Dolce Vita – Federico Fellini
  60. The Dead – John Huston
  61. Trouble in Paradise – Ernst Lubitsch
  62. It’s a Wonderful Life – Frank Capra
  63. Monsieur Verdoux – Charlie Chaplin
  64. The Passion of Joan of Arc – Carl Theodor Dreyer
  65. À bout de souffle – Jean-Luc Godard
  66. Apocalypse Now – Francis Ford Coppola
  67. Barry Lyndon – Stanley Kubrick
  68. La Grande Illusion – Jean Renoir
  69. Intolerance – David Wark Griffith
  70. A Day in the Country (Partie de campagne) – Jean Renoir
  71. Playtime – Jacques Tati
  72. Rome, Open City – Roberto Rossellini
  73. Livia (Senso) – Luchino Visconti
  74. Modern Times – Charlie Chaplin
  75. Van Gogh – Maurice Pialat
  76. An Affair to Remember – Leo McCarey
  77. Andrei Rublev – Andrei Tarkovsky
  78. The Scarlet Empress – Joseph von Sternberg
  79. Sansho the Bailiff – Kenji Mizoguchi
  80. Talk to Her – Pedro Almodóvar
  81. The Party – Blake Edwards
  82. Tabu – Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau
  83. The Bandwagon – Vincente Minnelli
  84. A Star Is Born – George Cukor
  85. Mr. Hulot’s Holiday – Jacques Tati
  86. America, America – Elia Kazan
  87. El – Luis Buñuel
  88. Kiss Me Deadly – Robert Aldrich
  89. Once Upon a Time in America – Sergio Leone
  90. Daybreak (Le Jour se lève) – Marcel Carné
  91. Letter from an Unknown Woman – Max Ophüls
  92. Lola – Jacques Demy
  93. Manhattan – Woody Allen
  94. Mulholland Dr. – David Lynch
  95. My Night at Maud’s (Ma nuit chez Maud) – Eric Rohmer
  96. Night and Fog (Nuit et Brouillard) – Alain Resnais
  97. The Gold Rush – Charlie Chaplin
  98. Scarface – Howard Hawks
  99. Bicycle Thieves – Vittorio de Sica
  100. Napoléon – Abel Gance

The reaction from some outlets in this country is surprise that there are no British films on the list.

The Telegraph say:

The list in the publication Les Cahiers du Cinema features films from the USA, Germany, Russia, Italy and Sweden but there is no place for some of the biggest British directors including David Lean, Ken Loach and Peter Greenaway.

British-born Alfred Hitchcock and Charlie Chaplin are both mentioned but only for the movies that they made in Hollywood.

The nearest the British cinema industry comes to a mention is the 17th (equal) place given to 2001: A Space Odyssey, made in 1968, by the American director, Stanley Kubrick, partly with British money and with British technicians.

The 1962 classic Lawrence of Arabia came seventh in a recent list of the best 100 movies drawn up by the American Film Institute in Hollywood but is perhaps the highest profile omission.

Jean-Michel Frodon, the editor of Les Cahiers du Cinema, has pointed out that the lack of British-made films was “striking” but not part of any Gallic conspiracy:

“It does not reflect an anti-British bias. It is simply the result of the individual choices of 76 people in the French industry. Each was asked to name their 100 best films and this was the result.

Yes, it is surprising, maybe, that there is no Lawrence of Arabia, or no film by Ken Loach or Stephen Frears (The Queen).

But there are many other national film industries which are also missing. There are no Brazilian films, for instance.”

Some British films that should have made the list would surely include:

That said, if you were to ask me what are the truly great British films of the last 20 years, then I would struggle to come up with one.

In May 1957 a former editor of Cahiers (and later director) Francois Truffaut once remarked:

“The British cinema is made of dullness and reflects a submissive lifestyle, where enthusiasm, warmth, and zest are nipped in the bud. A film is a born loser just because it is English.

Maybe nothing has changed in 50 years.

> The Telegraph on the list
> Official site for Cahiers du Cinema
> Geoffrey MacNab of The Guardian in 2001 on Cahiers du Cinema

Written by Ambrose Heron

November 23rd, 2008 at 10:31 pm

Posted in Interesting,Lists,News

Tagged with ,

98 Responses to 'Cahiers du cinéma’s 100 Greatest Films'

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  1. Speaking of the Brits, “Marat Sade” certainly a ground breaking mesmerizing display of thespian excellence! And speaking of dramatic cutting edge films the original “Wicker Man” as well as Ken Russel’s “The Devils” come to mind. Other than the above mentioned exceptions, the list is an inspiration to overcome inertia and bear the price of admission.


    28 Nov 08 at 10:36 pm

  2. How is it possible that Paths of Glory is not on a list of the top 100?


    29 Nov 08 at 7:00 pm

  3. Well, if they aren’t counting 2001 as a British film — and I really can’t see why it isn’t — then Blowup can’t be counted as one either.


    30 Nov 08 at 10:36 am

  4. 2001 was produced by a Hollywood studio (MGM) so I think that makes it a US production, even though it was shot in the UK.

    This line of argument can get tricky when films are co-financed, but I think the nationality of the studio or production company is often key.

    Blowup is a bit trickier, as it was produced by the UK arm of MGM, but I think also had some Italian involvement too (Antonioni’s production company?).

    However, it did get nominated for ‘Best British Film’ at the BAFTA’s in 1968, so where that leaves it is open to debate.

    Ambrose Heron

    30 Nov 08 at 2:30 pm

  5. Forget British movies; it’s a French list and where is Varda’s Vagabond?

    Barbara Buckley

    3 Dec 08 at 2:11 am

  6. No Bunuel?


    3 Dec 08 at 6:03 am

  7. Night of the Hunter as the second second greatest film of all time? Sure it’s ok, maybe even decently good… I suppose these lists are geared only to get people forwarding them rather than taking the actual list itself seriously.

    An Affair to Remember better than Andrei Rublev? Is there any scene in AATR as memorable of those in Rublev? Perhaps my memory works differently but Affair for me worked as a passable afternoon entertainment, Rublev is an experience easily recalled. Affair wouldn’t even make my top ten favorite Grant films, let alone top 100 films of all time.

    Well, in the end this list has served it’s intended purpose, I’ve already forwarded it and here I am commenting on it, mission accomplished!

    Still, for next time – Cahiers offer a little more effort please!



    3 Dec 08 at 8:27 am

  8. I guess the French hate Gone with the Wind and Casablanca, not to mention the aforementioned Lawrence of Arabia. Not including these three film is inexcusable. What should we expect from a nation whose favorite comedian is Jerry Lewis?


    3 Dec 08 at 8:32 am

  9. FYI, there is a cinema in Paris — le Reflet Medicis in the 5th arrondissement — which has programmed a series of screenings of these films over the next several months. Not necessarily all new prints but a chance to see these flicks on the big screen.

    Philip Cacouris

    3 Dec 08 at 8:37 am

  10. Had to add a second comment. Would anyone on earth, besides Cahier and Chaplin (perhaps their inspiration for placing it so high??) actually rate Monsieur Verdoux above Modern Times in Chaplin’s oeuvre? C’mon. Was it the French-name title that sealed the deal there?

    Sure Verdoux is an excellent movie, but we’re talking Modern Times here, one of the most iconic and equally brilliant of all films.



    3 Dec 08 at 8:43 am

  11. Scarface… really? my only real criticism is that I would have put Pulp Fiction on the list instead of Scarface and maybe even a little higher. Other wise I consider myself too much of an amateur to really comment on a list compiled by writers of a film magazine.


    3 Dec 08 at 9:28 am

  12. Kes, Black Narcissus, Peeping Tom, Brief encounter, Becket, Long good Friday: Truffaut overrated French film un petit peu. Battle of algiers, Grapes of wrath, Dr. Strangelove, Woman under the influence, Z, Sunset Boulevard, Asphalt jungle, Rashomon, Good bad and ugly: do away with the Cahiers. Anti-establishment becomes establishment, when succesful. Also notable: many silents, but no Ingmar Bergman. This is BS indeed.


    3 Dec 08 at 10:49 am

  13. “The reaction from some outlets in this country is surprise that there are no British films on the list.”

    The reaction from this particular outlet is: where the frick is ‘Chinatown’?

    Ian James

    3 Dec 08 at 11:16 am

  14. Whoa, thats a classy list. Strikingly different from AFI. I Like It.


    3 Dec 08 at 11:21 am

  15. [...] du Cinéma hat eine Liste der 100 Besten Filme erstellt. Und ungeachtet der Tatsache, dass ein viel zu großer Teil davon sehr alte Filme sind, [...]

  16. Ladri di biciclette
    the bicycle thief!
    not thieves…

    even though i am american living in australia, i think brits are shortchanged … .. DR NO or goldeneye , or anything by douglas gordon ( especially the elephant, or the Zidane movie) …. to be better than many films on this list… …
    especially these stinkers– Some Like It Hot, Barry Lyndon ( one of the most boring movies ever), Manhattan ( depressed and more boring– annie hall was better)


    3 Dec 08 at 12:19 pm

  17. Only oldies in this list. No credibility. Seems like good cinema must be at least 30 years old.


    3 Dec 08 at 1:19 pm

  18. It is pretty striking that modern German cinema is not represented: no Schloendorff, Wenders, Reitz.

    Chris Bertram

    3 Dec 08 at 1:47 pm

  19. Probley the worst top 100 films list Ive ever seen.


    3 Dec 08 at 2:41 pm

  20. what about The Dark Knight or the Shawshank Redemption? they both rank so high on the imdb. is that site just full of fanboys and college sophomores who eat that crap up?

    champ duncan

    3 Dec 08 at 2:59 pm

  21. It might come as a surprise, friend, but 2001: ASO is certainly a British film. Brit director, filmed in the country.


    3 Dec 08 at 3:30 pm

  22. Ladri di biciclette is literally thieves of bicycles, or idiomatically bicycle thieves. The film was released for English speaking audiences as The Bicycle Thief, though.

    Andy Mac

    3 Dec 08 at 4:00 pm

  23. As far as critical list go, this one is quite good. I mean yeah, there are tons of omissions: the great British films many others have mentioned, Sunset Blvd., Chinatown, the general lack of Asian cinema (only a single Kurosawa?). But I’m guessing that can be attributed to the diffrences in French and English/American taste, and most of the films on the list are excellent.

    I am surprised that there aren’t more French films present though. The other big shocker is Rio Bravo ranking so high. I usually think its underrated by American critics, but top twenty is a big high…


    3 Dec 08 at 4:14 pm

  24. am i alone in thinking “the searchers” is one of the most overrated movies of all time?


    3 Dec 08 at 6:20 pm

  25. I can’t see a couple of the selections (Johnny Guitar?? Night of the Hunter?) BUT: where is Casablanca? And speaking of British films, how about Lawrence of Arabia?


    3 Dec 08 at 6:25 pm

  26. pretty messed up list (Godfather is #40?) it’s hard to describe everything they left off/put on when they shouldn’t have (like Mulholland Drive, i mean, i like the movie too, but nowhere near that much).


    3 Dec 08 at 6:38 pm

  27. Only one for Antonioni and Kurosawa?

    The list is a joke.


    3 Dec 08 at 7:04 pm

  28. One of the better of these lists I’ve seen. Nevertheless, there are a few peculiarities.

    Night of the Hunter at #2 I find particularly unfathomable. Is there something the French know about it that we don’t? Am I missing something? The film has always been viewed as something of a curiosity — the only film directed by actor Charles Laughton as well as the curious vehicle of a rather baroque strain of German expressionism. Yet somehow the Cahier critics feel it is superior to every film save another patently expressionistic — yet considerably more universally regarded — picture, Citizen Kane.

    A few other thoughts:

    No Modern Times on a list that places The Great Dictator at 24? Even the dreaded AFI list got that one.

    This appears to be a fiction-only list, but then Night and Fog appears at number 96. Where are the other documentaries?

    Visconti’s White Nights is a far better and more personal film than The Leopard. I’m surprised the latter is regarded so highly on a list that otherwise eschews epics.

    I dare say the list is a little lean on lean. Not that I care for his super epics, but Brief Encounter deserves a spot.

    Does anyone who made this list really believe Singin’ in the Rain is the superior film to Vertigo???

    (PS: Bill, care to elaborate what makes Some Like It Hot a stinker? Can you even name the director of Dr. No?)


    3 Dec 08 at 7:05 pm

  29. Another list with ‘Citizen Kane’ at the top. Ho-hum. Yet I continued to read the titles, encouraged as I went along by the presence of so many pre-1970s titles, an indication that, at least, it wasn’t put together by a lot of 22-year-olds. And then I hit Blake Edwards’s ‘The Party’ like a giant hole in the road. Credibility flew out the porthole.

    Malcolm Churchill

    3 Dec 08 at 7:41 pm

  30. Ladri di biciclette
    the bicycle thieves
    The singular is “ladro”. Ladri is plural



    3 Dec 08 at 8:13 pm

  31. This list make cry. Is a copy/paste list. Not Star Wars, not Lord of the Rings, Not Schindler List, and many many other films like chinatown (ian james). This list was made for peoplo who did not watch a film since many many years. Its a joke.


    3 Dec 08 at 8:16 pm

  32. Casablanca anyone?


    3 Dec 08 at 8:23 pm

  33. Top 100 without following?

    - Seven Samurai
    - Pather Panchali
    - Jean de Florette
    - Pulp fiction
    - Fargo
    - Annie Hall
    - Billy Elloit


    3 Dec 08 at 8:24 pm

  34. [...] …Trommelwirbel für die angeblich hundert besten Filme aller Zeiten: [...]

  35. Some Like It Hot a stinker? Puhlease! One of my favorite films of all time!


    3 Dec 08 at 8:53 pm

  36. Schindler’s List? Of course not; that crass commercialist Speilberg directed it, so it can’t be any good.
    Whenever Citizen Kane tops a “best 100″ list I am automatically suspicious that the list is full of recycled opinions. I wish someone could explain to me what the experts see in that movie. I don’t see much of anything before it puts me to sleep.


    3 Dec 08 at 9:43 pm

  37. One glaring problem– Seven Samurai is 56 slots too low. Apocalypse Now should be in the top 10 also. Instead, we get Singin’ in the Rain at 7? WTF?

    I can understand a French poll having lots of French films, but a single Kurosawa entry is just ridiculous.


    3 Dec 08 at 9:46 pm

  38. This list is eccentric for the sake of being eccentric. I applaud for finally a non-American biased compilation of great films but still, no ‘ Casablanca’ and ‘ An Affair To Remember ‘ . Something’s wrong.


    3 Dec 08 at 9:46 pm

  39. No ‘Casablanca’? Come on now.

    BTW, it does translate as ‘Bicycle Thieves’ in Italian, even though it was changed to ‘The Bicycle Thief’ in America

    Will G.

    3 Dec 08 at 11:09 pm

  40. I can’t really believe that no one would nominate an out-and-out British film as worthy enough to put on the list. Ones like A Matter of Life and Death (or other Powell & Pressburger films like Life & Death of Colonel Blimp, I Know Where I’m Going, Black Narcissus), Third Man, Ealing films like Kind Hearts & Coronets, Ladykillers, or Passport to Pimplico, Lean films like Lawrence of Arabia, Hobson’s Choice, Great Expectations, or others such as Green for Danger, Odd Man Out, or Fallen Idol can’t make a list such as this is a piece of tripe. Very few Hollywood studio films like Casablanca (I mean why isn’t this on the list, there is no reason), Duck Soup, or White Heat made it.

    Ones I can’t see at all being on this list. I mean Freaks is a good film, but not that great. Johnny Guitar is more cult classic than actual one. Intolerance gets on the list because they seem to want to be PC and avoid calling Birth of a Nation great, The Wind is good, but Seastrom did better.

    All I have to say, send the emails saying what a bum you think I am

    Michael Nella

    3 Dec 08 at 11:36 pm

  41. Many good choices and a good number of nice surprises (The Dead from John Huston is a good choice, and To Be and Not To Be from Lubitch is a very good choice as is Pandora’s Box from Pabst), but did Jean-Luc Godard and his cronies get final say on this list? I like to knock the Brits down a notch here and there when I can, but of course it’s absurd that there aren’t any British films on the list. Not only are the obvious ones from Hitchcock, Lean, Powell and Loach deserving to make such a list, but so are films like The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner from Tony Richardson or The Horse’s Mouth from Ronald Neame (just as examples) or recent films from Mike Leigh, etc. The British probably do excel more on teleivision than at the cinema, but that hasn’t always been the case nor is it always the case today. Not including a British film (or rather, several of them) feels like a symptom of French bias and cultural ignorance, despite French denials.

    Also, Japanese and Asian cinema is ridiculously under-represented. Max Ophus and Jean-Luc Godard get three nods on the list (three mediocre ones from Godard if you ask me), but Ozu only gets one film while Kurosawa and Mizoguchi only get two each? And nothing from Imamura, Ichikawa, Kobayahsi, Masumara, Suzuki, Kore’eda, etc? Nothing from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong or Korea and only one film from India? Hollywood gets plenty of representation, but too often the wrong films are represented. I’m sorry, but The Barefoot Contessa, The Party and Manhanttan, though all have great qualities, are not among the best films ever made (well, The Party is kind of a bold choice). Nothing from Scorsese? Nothing from Preston Sturges or, gulp, John Cassavettes? Yes, I can understand Cahiers du Cinema ignoring Spielberg, William Wyler and Casablanca. To ignore these guys is a requirement of joinging the French critical establishment. But Coppolla certainly was not the only guy going in the late 60s and early 70s in the U.S. And a pet peeve — enough of the cult of The Searchers. And pick a deserving John Ford film instead of always going with the film school darling The Searchers. Go with My Darling Clementine or Stagecoach. I’m also surprised there is so little in the way of film noir on this list.

    Wait, nothing from Roman Polanski? Only one from Bunuel? (El, and not Viridiana or L’Age d’Or?) Nothing from The Czech Republic or Poland? Only three films from Russia? Only one from Spain? No Italian comedies? I understand and pretty much agree that France, Italy, the Germans and Hollywood dominate in the number of great films ever made since their industries have had incredibly intense periods of creativity and set the standards early on. But this is rather silly. The British, the great Asian directors and Eastern Europeans have clearly made some of the best films of all time.

    Yet, despite my protests, this is still a pretty interesting list, sometimes bold but also rather too typical for Cahiers du Cinema…

    Ed Nicholson

    3 Dec 08 at 11:44 pm

  42. Not a great list, and a bit biased towards French cinema. How can you make a list of the greatest films of all time and not include Lawrence of Arabia, The Third Man, and Rashomon? John Ford and Akira Kurosawa (two of the cinema’s great masters) are only represented once– and Kurosawa doesn’t appear until number 57. I’m just a little bit baffled.


    4 Dec 08 at 12:19 am

  43. Lawrence of Arabia? What the heck? I must admit I’m proud Citizen Kane made the top spot but no LoA? I also would have moved Potemkin further up. It was groundbreaking. Still in all, having Freaks in the #21 spot does make up for quite a bit.


    4 Dec 08 at 12:40 am

  44. *sigh*
    Bill, you make me sad. Some Like It Hot is not a stinker.
    But more importantly, WTF? I understand that it isn’t an American list, but no Gone With the Wind? Seriously? I can get over the lack of staples like The Wizard of Oz, never much liked that film anyhow. But Gone With the Wind…or something classic like Ben Hur? You picked Freaks instead? That horror movie about pinheads and midgets? Seriously??


    4 Dec 08 at 12:45 am

  45. If Star Wars is not on the list, it is not a legtimate list.


    4 Dec 08 at 12:51 am

  46. @BC

    Stanley Kubrick was not a British director. He may have lived and worked in the UK, but he was most definitely an American.

    As for 2001, I still maintain it is a US film shot in the UK.

    What does everyone else think?

    Ambrose Heron

    4 Dec 08 at 1:11 am

  47. Nice list… however, it’d be better with Raging Bull in the top ten and Taxi Driver in the top twently… and replace Barry Lyndon with A Clockwork Orange.

    Mo Jad

    4 Dec 08 at 1:59 am

  48. “Mark it zero dude.”


    4 Dec 08 at 2:15 am

  49. ‘Maarten’ – Fanny and Alexander is by Bergman! I’d agree it’s his best film but Persona comes a close second. Why it’s not higher up the list, and Persona and The Seventh Seal are not on the list at all when films such as Night of the Hunter, Freaks, Johnny Guitar, and Singing in the Rain are there amazes me. It’s worth remembering that the French have unusual tastes – repeats of Benny Hill still turn up on French TV and he is regarded as one of Britain’s greatest comedians! It says it all!! Other omissions -The Sacrifice, Tarkovsky, Annie Hall (certainly before Manhattan) and a toss up between Laurence of Arabia, Brief Encounter or The Third Man (it’s absence also astounds me as it turns up in Parisian cinemas on a regular basis and is highly thought of by the French.


    4 Dec 08 at 2:21 am

  50. While I do appreciate this list in some of it’s omissions (Gone With The Wind is not a Top 100 film) I always find it disappointing that more recent cinema is almost always excluded from ‘Best Of’ lists except when done by pubescent fan-boys who would have The Dark Knight as the best film ever. I’m not saying that I think highly commercial Hollywood cinema should place on a Top 100 list but rather that recent cinema should not be excluded simply by the act of being recent. This list is heavily skewed towards older films and while some of them are indeed deserving, so too are more recent cinematic accomplishments, and again, I’m not meaning fan-boy fodder.

    I suppose the central problem to any list like this is what criteria we can truly use to come up with a list that defines the best films of all time. It’s virtually impossible.


    4 Dec 08 at 2:30 am

  51. It doesn’t really matter where films come from, but really there should be some Powell & Pressburger on this list. It’s a howling omission. The lack of Herzog is also ludicrous.

    Moonfleet!? That’s the first time I’ve ever seen that on a list of this kind.


    4 Dec 08 at 3:27 am

  52. The Wizard of Oz??


    4 Dec 08 at 3:36 am

  53. That was, by far, the most pointless top 100 list ever created. Most of those films, including Citizen Kane, more overrated than Abraham Lincoln…

    It doesn’t include:
    Pulp Fiction
    Star Wars
    Dawn of the Dead (1978)
    The Shawshank Redemption
    The Departed
    No Country for Old Men

    What the Hell, people? Have you all been living under a rock for the past 25 years? If you put the Godfather, you HAVE to put the Godfather Part II, which was substantially better than its predecessor.


    4 Dec 08 at 3:38 am

  54. I take it someone doesn’t like Casablanca.


    4 Dec 08 at 4:38 am

  55. im sorry, we all rolled over the crass notion that ‘billy elliot’ should be enrolled in the top 100 films of all time. i can only conceive that this was a drunken error, and not possibly considered ever a contender. i can agree that ‘freaks’ is an oversight, it may have been arguably groundbreaking but certainly not great cinema. maybe the list should be more perceived as ‘cinema’ and not ‘movies’, in which case, contemporary ‘cinema’ if we can call it that, does not really deserve to have as many entries within the last 20 yrs as people would like. as much as it is a good movie, ‘pulp fiction’ cannot be classed in the same vein as something a well delivered as ‘dr. strangelove’, or ‘sunset boulevard’; ‘godfather’ notably deserves its place, i would argue higher, but in an uncomprehensibly large and diverse medium, i dont think anyone could ever collectively define the 100 greatest films of all time. film and cinema is greatly personal. its also generational. i could argue that the coens ‘blood simple’ and ‘fargo’ are works of exceptional depth and poignancy, im incredibly impressed with nolan, coppola and kubrick, but thats my opinion, and to think that would carry to the hoi polloi would be inherently facetious. i personally have no love for as many chaplin films on this list, and i personally hate woody allen. nor will anyone ever collectively be truly truly satisfied with a complete and definitive list as short as 100 ‘films’, its silly to try. each film you have ever seen has moved you in a different way, this is why we have even bothered to view this list. cinema is personal, and each person will find different qualities in every film. but hopefully, we can all rally round and collectively argue that billy elliot is shit? :)


    4 Dec 08 at 5:24 am

  56. A Top-100 Movies list that leaves out The Lord Of The Rings is one I can’t get on board with. I love older movies too, but you’ve completely skewed their representation. You’re honestly telling me that “Freaks” is a far better movie than any part of the Lord Of The Rings saga or Chinatown? Are you out of your mind?

    Parker J

    4 Dec 08 at 6:58 am

  57. no bunuel, no eisenstein? no iranian films? what kind of top 100 list is this? whatever happened to the refined french sensibilities?


    4 Dec 08 at 7:12 am

  58. “what about The Dark Knight or the Shawshank Redemption? they both rank so high on the imdb. is that site just full of fanboys and college sophomores who eat that crap up?”

    Yes, it is. The Dark Knight is a good movie. Best movie ever made? It hasn’t even come out on DVD yet, just relax. Shawshank is a good movie. Inspirational? Life-changing? There are subtler ways to do things other than blatant voice-over narration. Literacy rates are down and masturbation rates are up. Coincidence?


    4 Dec 08 at 7:19 am

  59. Where is Werner Herzog?? ‘Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes’ and ‘Fitzcarraldo’ are among two of the most influential pieces of cinema in the past 30 years–definitely some of the most honest. As for great British movies: ‘Withnail & I’. Surely makes my top 10!

    Aidan Stone

    4 Dec 08 at 7:29 am

  60. A list is just a list is just a list, and a list today would be a different list tomorrow. I think I’ve seen 80 of the films. If you think about the films left out then it’s easy to see that there’s not much room for British films – I certainly wouldn’t want anything by Ken Russel there, and I’d rather a Mike Leigh than a David Lean. Anyway, you could add a few from Imamura and Kurosawa and Ozu. No Bergman. Tarkovsky under represented. No Terry Malick, no Wajda, no Johnny To, no Buñuel. And why would anyone leave out Pather Panchali? I suppose it just proves that I’m not a French cinema critic.


    4 Dec 08 at 10:39 am

  61. That was, by far, the worse top 100 list ever created.

    It doesn’t include:
    Fight Club
    Pulp Fiction
    Star Wars
    Batman The Dark Night
    Lord of Rings
    City of God
    Raiders of the Lost Ark
    Blade Runner

    They don’t know nothing about films.

    George Fercalli

    4 Dec 08 at 3:35 pm

  62. [...] – Mais listinhas: agora os cem melhores filmes pela Cahiers Du Cinema. [...]

  63. Speaking as a Brit, i’m not in the least bit offended that there aren’t any British films on the list – it just reflects the persepective with which one should view these lists (it’s 70-odd French writers for God’s sake!). Speaking of which, however, the complete lack of contemporary film hints that this list is useful only for nostalgists. I’m a 26 year-old who’s grown up, for better or worse, on Fincher, Gondry, the Coen Brothers and PT Anderson, so this list does not speak for me.

    Still, the general order of the list is striking. ‘Seven Samura’, ‘Bicycle Thieves’ and ‘Fanny & Alexander’ so low down?! Please…


    4 Dec 08 at 6:01 pm

  64. where’s Gone with the Wind??? Casablanca??? The Wizard of Oz??? and 2001: A Space Odyssey should be at least in the top 20!


    4 Dec 08 at 6:07 pm

  65. [...] hoo!! Cheese eating surrender monkeys!! How dare the French snub England and omit a single British film from their list of the 100 most beautiful movies ever made eh? Well, I think [...]

  66. I was relieved to see Kazan on the list, but the choice is inexplicable. Streetcar, Baby Doll and On the Waterfront are his masterworks, more influential than most other directors’ work, not only among filmmakers but in life as we perceive it, as we live it, as we interact with each other. Is this not the dream of all serious artists and should we not reflect seriously on the influence of that great triumvirate — Williams, Kazan and Brando — who show us the light and the way there?

    Barbara Buckley

    5 Dec 08 at 10:38 pm

  67. [...] os outros 90 filmes da lista aqui. Dos dez primeiros, eu só vi três:  “Cidadão Kane” (sobre o qual ainda preciso [...]

  68. [...] ver com vandalismo? Cientistas explicam 3) Dez coisas que você não sabia sobre Freddie Mercury 4) Os 100 melhores filmes segundo a Cahiers du Cinema (não tem filme inglês :P) 5) Remixtures dá um tempo 6) Segurança do Rio planeja uso de ‘maconhômetro’ 7) Fãs dizem [...]

  69. A shockingly bad list. I echo the shock at the omission of films like Gone with the Wind, Rashomon, Lawrence of Arabia, All About Eve, Sunset Boulevard, Casablanca, Wizard of Oz,
    The Third Man, Brief Encounter, etc., and add newer masterpieces like City of God, The Pianist, Brokeback Mountain, Spring Summer Fall Winter…Spring, Water, Satantango, Breaking the Waves, Network, etc. And France’s own greatest Grand Illusion only at #68? They also forgot their own Au Hasard Balthazar, L’Atalante, Le Million and Napoleon, among others. Wow, bad.


    10 Dec 08 at 8:16 am

  70. @ Ben

    L’Atalante is at Number 5 on the list.

    Ambrose Heron

    10 Dec 08 at 5:38 pm

  71. [...] old theory of auteurism, the critics at Cahiers put together a list steeped in derrièrism, which included not a single boring Tarkovsky film or any British movies at all, relegating such tedious efforts as [...]

  72. I can easily see leaving Star Wars off the list, if one wants the list to be based on filmmaking skill. For all of its economic influence it’s a pretty clumsily made movie. Perhaps that is the true source of its unending popularity: It is so poorly written and acted that it fairly invites viewers to reshape it as a more complex, nuanced film in their heads/fanfiction/cosplay.

    Nor do I get the love for Pulp Fiction. It’s diverting, sure, but remove its cavalcade of references to other films and television programs and you don’t have a lot. Tarantino writes eminently quotable dialogue but he’s not a particularly insightful filmmaker; his films are like term papers from a student is better read than he is educated.

    But yeah, Godfather II, Lawrence of Arabia and Peeping Tom deserve spots on the list.


    28 Dec 08 at 10:38 pm

  73. 2001 is definitely an American film. Two films which are definitely British and should be on this list: Don’t Look Now and The Wicker Man.

    I don’t know what’s more depressing: that the Cahiers du Cinema people seem to think good cinema ended in about 1963; or that so many people on here seem to think that they know a lot about cinema when clearly they’ve seen next to nothing that was made in a language other than English or before 1977. If you haven’t seen The General, Battleship Potemkin, The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, M, La Regle du jeu or L’Avventura (to name but a few) then you have no right whatsoever to comment on this list.


    31 Dec 08 at 12:14 pm

  74. There are far more superior lists and examinations of movies than this. Take a look at the’s 1000 greatest, which pulls together top 10s from every industry person they can find.’s top 1000 films are voted on by contributors aged from 19-76 years old and thus the list does not discriminate on the age of the film.

    Stuart Bull

    12 Oct 09 at 3:40 pm

  75. Wow nearly as bad as the AFI’s.


    5 Nov 09 at 10:18 pm

  76. [...] in the Rain rates #5 on the most recent AFI top 100 movies list, #7 on the far more comprehensive Cahiers du Cinema top 100 films list, and #75 on the populist and fanboy driven IMDB Top 250.  So, why haven’t I seen it?  [...]

  77. the best list have made ever! (maybe aggelopoulos could be there…)
    excellent films! congratulations!


    31 Jan 10 at 1:50 pm

  78. A Very snob and pretencious list!


    11 Feb 10 at 2:40 am

  79. I have learned to distrust French film critics…any British film on the list would be a concession, if not a kind of betrayal.

    The list can hardly be considered objective, it is full of French directors who have made no better films than the British or Indians. Personally, almost any early film by the Bengali director Satyajit Ray is better than most of the films by Renoir, Vigo, Godard, Resnais, Bresson, Cocteau, Rohmer or even the great Truffaut.

    Any list of this kind must ultmately be qualified as subjective- ‘A List of the greatest films of all time by a bunch of French intellectuals that get their tickets free and think that Truffaut is God…etc, etc,’

    The greatest film is the one that you like the most, period.

    Gary Finch

    22 Feb 10 at 3:42 pm

  80. At 49th I found Mr.Guitry……Amazed…..
    It’ s quite bizarre I dont’ find any Bunuel or Herzog ! ! ! ! ! !
    If you pretend to rank the ideal movies as a suggestion for cinema lovers there’s something wrong ! ! ! ! ! !


    16 Jul 10 at 2:49 pm

  81. I have to refute the idea that 2001 is not a (primarily at least) British film. Made at Shepperton and Elstree with a British crew and supporting cast, and a screenplay co-written by Arthur C Clarke based on his short story. Fair enough, MGM put up the money and Kubrick (who spent most of his career In Britain anyway) directed it, but Leonard Rossiter’s in it for goodness sake, how more British can you get?

    I won’t comment on the omissions as you will always leave out deserving films in a list of only 100, but some of the inclusions are truly bizarre. Moonfleet? Not exactly the First fritz Lang film to spring to mind. I quite like The Party, but i’ve never seen it on any kind of list like this before, but perhaps the french like it because it’s so Tati-esque.


    21 Jul 10 at 6:44 pm

  82. Those who don’t see films of Eisenstein, Bergman, Gance or Bunuel have to buy glasses. The fact that you have forgotten them means that you haven’t watched well the list. So, how can you criticize it ?
    I think there is two defaults in this list : first, there isn’t recent movies enough (Wong Kar-Wai, Lars von Trier, Abbas Kiarostami,…) ; and there is too much occidental movies (above all American and French).
    A French friend.
    PS : thank you Georges Fercalli for your very, very great suggestions. At least, we can say that you are a great specialist in cinema !


    22 Aug 10 at 11:32 am

  83. The good list has turned out. Only in it not 100, but only 86 pictures. There are no English pictures? And it is true, as an English cinema mediocre enough. It is much weaker American, French, German, Russian and Italian. Who watches English film? On the whole Englishmen. Not in France, not in Russia it isn’t popular. So that Truffaut of the rights!

    P.S. Thus Englishmen extremely aren’t attentive, as it is possible not to notice a film Buñuel
    in the list.


    23 Nov 10 at 10:16 pm

  84. where are taxi driver, goodfellas, raging bull, rashomon, m*a*s*h, casablanca, schindler’s list, godfather II, chinatown, once upon a time in west, ran, pulp fiction, starwars, fargo, annie hall, treasures of sierra madre, psycho, graduate, blow up, rosemary’s baby, tenant, conversation, jaws, wild strawberries, persona, lawrence of arabia, third man, dr.strangelove, ordet, last year in marienbad, Solyaris, a clockwork orange, the good the bad and the ugly, high noon, L’avventura , seventh seal, the red shoes, The Maltese Falcon, Le charme discret de la bourgeoisie, His Girl Friday , Le notti di Cabiria , Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes , shadows and …
    no scorsese!
    films on the list are great but so many better movies are outta list. nat a bad list, but not a good list either. I’ve seen better. a disappointment for french critics.


    12 Jan 11 at 10:09 am

  85. [...] Agree-don’t agree with the list? Pick a film you think deserves to have been included but wasn’t and justify it in the comments section below.  The best constructive argument will win a choice of the DVD or soundtrack of that film posted to them. Competition closes on 29 March 2011.  Read the original list of 100 films, for French speakers or a simplified version. [...]

  86. It is hard to argue with the top 10 films in this list. I’m glad to see that they included “The Night of the Hunter” and “The Searchers” in the top 10. To me that gives the list a great deal of credibility, as both are masterpieces of the highest order, and reward repeated viewings. Overall very good and informative list.


    11 Mar 11 at 5:49 pm

  87. i think each one of us is free to make his own list of best movies but personaly i don’t like this list it’s unfaire there are lots of great movies that should have been in this ranking like raging bull, fargo, goodfellas, e.t., shindler list,on the water front, dr. strangelove, the dekalog, three color, pulp fiction, aguirre the wrath of god, do the right thing,…. i think lots of great movies that are better than movies like talk to her or mullholand drive are not in this ranking that’s why i think it’s unfaire


    28 Mar 11 at 10:09 am

  88. Not a great list, but the outrage over not including films like The Dark Knight, Lord of the Rings, The Shawshank Redemption.. is just preposterous.


    3 Jul 11 at 5:05 pm

  89. [...] Cahiers du cinéma’s 100 Greatest Films | FILMdetail. Pass this on!Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. [...]

  90. [...] Cahiers du cinéma’s 100 Greatest Films | FILMdetail. Pass this on!Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. Tags: Film, Lists [...]

  91. [...] After viewing this masterpiece once again, I was awestruck by its multilayers of meaning, by its masterly use of light and dark and how visuals, words and music can forge endless combinations of creativity. It’s no surprise French magazine Cahiers du Cinéma ranked Night of the Hunter #2 in its list of the “100 Most Beautiful Films.” [...]

  92. I laugh at these silly americans calling for their films to be on this list. No wonder everyone hates you. The dark knight? Really? casablanca? Should that even be considered a film?
    Probably Pulp Fiction should have made it.
    But don’t be stupid americans, your ‘films’ aren’t that great. Films from Japan, France, Germany, set the standard for the generation of filmmaking. You guys just have the money.


    5 May 12 at 5:48 am

  93. [...] do filme The Night of the Hunter (A Sombra do Caçador, 1955), filme que há pouco tempo os Cahiers du cinéma, numa lista semelhante à da revista britânica, consideravam ser a segunda maior obra-prima na [...]

  94. I like this list, not because I think it’s the most consummate list of the “most beautiful/greatest films ever”, but because it’s a little bit different. AFI has it’s list, and it’s all American and pretty poppy in comparison. Sight and Sound do their list, which is more eclectic and international, and more concerned with historical and influential films.

    Here, The Night of the Hunter is at number 2, a strong statement and I think a justified one. This list gives love to Lubitsch and Hawks — placing To Be Or Not To Be and Rio Bravo in the top 20 — which polls of these kind rarely do, as many consider those two masters to be pure genre, Hollywood-assembly-line entertainers, which they were. But that doesn’t mean they weren’t great.

    By not picking the obvious choices — Music Room but not Pather Panchali, Notorious but not Psycho, Pickpocket but not Au Hasard Balthazar, Fanny and Alexander but not Persona or The Seventh Seal — this lists inspires readers to go out and see the lesser known great films out there, the “second tier” work of great filmmakers. This list suggests that these films are just as worthy if not more worthy than their more acclaimed brethren.

    After seeing this list, I went out and watched Contempt and Laura and The Scarlet Empress and the work of Max Ophuls. You don’t often see these pieces on Greatest Movies lists, but they deserve to be watched none the less. And because the main purpose of polls like these is really to recommend great movies to young film lovers, this list is perfectly adequate. Let’s not get hung up on all the omissions, cause honestly, we each could do our own Top 100 and they would all be completely different. There is NO perfect Greatest Movies List.


    20 Aug 12 at 5:05 pm

  95. Of British films of the last 20 years, Trainspotting is one worthy of a list that appears to have been taken hostage by nostalgia.


    14 Nov 13 at 9:10 pm

  96. At the risk of playing the “Emperor’s clothes” boy, I will say that there are about 10 films here that I consider to be nearly unwatchable. Inscrutably, tediously pretentious. Or saccharine/hokey beyond belief. Or downright kitsch. Besides the unwarranted snub to British directors, I get the impression that Bergman is not exactly beloved to the CAHIERS crowd…

    David Lincoln Brooks

    29 Jun 14 at 8:42 pm

  97. The French have that cornball, “Pierrot” sense of humor… which in 2014 looks quite creaky.

    David Lincoln Brooks

    29 Jun 14 at 8:56 pm

  98. I wouldn’t take lists like this too seriously. They are basically a snapshot of tastes at a particular time, designed to provoke debate.
    There is no ‘Top 10′ or ‘Top 100′ films of all time.


    30 Jun 14 at 11:10 am

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