The 15 Greatest Films of All Time According to 358 Directors

Culture February 23, 2016 By Lifehacklane

Whatever your views, films- at least, the good ones- divide opinions and get us talking. But it is these 15 films- handpicked by 358 respected industry directors- that are truly befitting of the often overused term 'masterpiece.' 

Here, we'll go through what 358 esteemed directors believe are the fifteen greatest movies of all time.

15. Andrei Rublev (1966)

Directed by the extraordinarily gifted Russian director, Andrei Tarkovsky, Andrei Rublev details the life of the iconic 15th-century painter in a time of moral upheaval and testing times that ultimately led to Tsardom in Russia.

For many, Tarkovsky was cited as the greatest director of all time, while Ingmar Bergman- a master of direction in his own right- believed Tarkovsky was unrivalled in his brilliance. "Tarkovsky for me is the greatest (director), the one who invented a new language, true to the nature of film, as it captures life as a reflection, life as a dream."  


14. 400 Blows, The (1959)

Often viewed by many as the French equivalent of J.D. Salinger's classic coming-of-age story, 'The Catcher in the Rye,' '400 Blows, The' chronicles the life of teenage protagonist Antoine Daniel, who runs away from home, dissatisfied with the limited life he is forced to lead.

The film was directed by French director François Truffaut and is thought to be an autobiographical account of his childhood.

13. Persona (1966)

Ingmar Bergman was the leading auteur in cinema, which actually meant that what the Swede said, the Swede often saw. But perhaps his greatest vision to be realised on the big screen was that of Persona, his 1966 showpiece in modernist horror which would go on to influence a plethora of contemporary directors, including Woody Allen and David Fincher.


12. Raging Bull (1980)

Considered Martin Scorsese's masterpiece, his 1980 biopic of the former middleweight boxing champion, Jake LaMotta, garnered reviews of the highest orders and in doing so cemented Mardy's status as a true icon in cinematic direction.

11. Breathless (1960)

One of France's finest film directors, the legendary Jean- Luc Godard film, Breathless, was one of the first of its kind in the French New Wave genre and is seen by many as his best work.

The plot is rather bittersweet and centres around a Humphrey Bogart-obsessed criminal on the run from the police after shooting a policeman. But it's when he's on the run that he falls in love with an aspiring American journalist, and without giving any spoilers away, the film's ending certainly lives up to its name.

10. Bicycle Thieves (1948)

Wonderfully adapted to the screen from the Luigi Bartolini novel, the film focuses on the story of a father and his son searching for a lost bicycle amidst the hustle and bustle of the Rome streets- which without, he will lose his job.

However, though now hailed by many as the greatest film of all time, the film initially took a while to catch on among critics before it was considered a masterpiece in Italian neorealism.

9. Mirror (1974)

With a 100% approval rating on the popular movie rating website 'Rotten Tomatoes', Andrei Tarkovsky's second film on the list is an autobiographical, stream of consciousness masterpiece and is heralded by many as the greatest movie of all time.

8. Vertigo (1958)

While it may not boast a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Alfred Hitchcock's 97% Rotten Tomatoes rated psychological thriller isn't far off. 

In fact, it's a film so profoundly admired by critics and movie buffs that even the man himself, in an interview with the respected French film critic, François Truffaut, admitted to it being his favourite film.

7. The Godfather (1972)

Rated by a plethora of film historians, critics, directors, and fervent cinema-goers as the greatest film of all time, Francis Ford Coppola's masterful adaptation of the novel by Mario Puzo is ranked second on IMDB's (Internet Movie Data Base) respected top 250 films list, while its sequel is just behind at number 3.

6. Apocalypse Now (1979)

After The Godfather had reached critical and commercial success of unprecedented proportions, Brando and Coppola teamed up again for the epic Vietnam war movie, 'Apocalypse Now.'

Nihilistic, gritty, raw and ambitious, Apocalypse Now is now rated by many as the greatest war movie of all time.

5. Taxi Driver (1976)

While Apocalypse Now reflected the brutal realities of the Vietnam conflict, Scorcese's Taxi Driver encapsulated the post-Vietnam society in a way few others had. And while Taxi Driver missed out on Best Picture at the Academy Awards, it is regarded by critics as Mardy's strongest work.

Incidentally, the Paul Schrader screenplay spawned the famous phrase, 'You talkin' to me?"

4. 8½ (1963)

Italian cinema features heavily in this list, and that includes the Fellini masterpiece '8½.' The avant-garde film, which chronicles the interwoven dreams of a famed director suffering from a creative block, won Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars and is considered by many as Fellini's strongest work.

3. Citizen Kane (1941)

Citizen Kane is often synonymous with the accolade of being, 'The Greatest Film Ever Made', and though it hasn't quite reached the top on this occasion, Orson Well's masterpiece about a rags-to-riches tycoon is a tour de force of visual storytelling.

2. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Stanley Kubrick was one of Hollywood's true visionaries, and it is perhaps, '2001: A Space Odyssey', that cemented such an acclaimed reputation. But contrary to widespread belief, the film, which deals heavily with the themes of existentialism and artificial intelligence, was slow to be recognised as the masterpiece it is seen as today. But the cult following that eventually followed assured Kubrick's movie a spot in the history books of cinema.

1. Tokyo Story (1953)

Coming in at number one on the British Film Institutes 2012 Sight & Sounds poll is Yasujirō Ozu's emotionally rich family drama, 'Tokyo Story.' Indeed, Tokyo Story is so respected among film critics that the late Roger Ebert- perhaps the 'greatest critic of all time- chronicled Tokyo Story in his famed series of great movies. If that wasn't high praise, the classic also holds a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes. For those unfamiliar with Ozu's work, the film is like many of his others in that it deals with the themes of family relationships and the changing societies to which each generation adapts their life.

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