The best movies of all time
The Independent's film critic gives his verdict on the most enduring films
What are the top 10 novels of all time? What are the top 10 plays or 10 greatest paintings? These aren’t questions often asked, even on BuzzFeed.
Scroll to see gallery
Cinema, though, has always encouraged the list makers. It’s a bastard medium, the result of what director Anthony Asquith once called “an unholy liaison between the magic lantern and the novelette.”
Even after more than 100 years, the form isn’t regarded with the same reverence as other arts. By trying to suggest a “canon” of the “greatest” films, curators and film historians are making a bid for cinema to be taken more seriously.
That's why there is always huge fanfare round the once-a-decade list drawn up by Sight and Sound Magazine - and little thought as to how reductive such a list really is.
To be included, films tend to have to be at least 40 years old. The most recently made film in Sight and Sound’s 2012 Critics’ Top 10 was 2001: A Space Odyssey...from 1968.
There is often a sense of false consensus - new generations of critics vote for exactly the same titles as their predecessors did. Last time round, it was considered major news that Citizen Kane slipped one place in the poll having topped the chart for half a century.
The list above is very much like the ones drawn up by Sight and Sound critics. Its titles are all over 30 years old.
That might seem dull but at a time when around 800 new movies are released in British cinemas every year, you need the distance of time to make meaningful judgments about which films will last.
tv Jenny Lee may have left, but Miranda Hart and the rest of the midwives deliver the goods
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Christmas comes early to Hong Kong, as millions of bank notes spill out onto busy street
- 2 The 'Black Museum': After 150 years, public can visit police’s grisly crime museum
- 3 British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
- 4 Vagina canoe artist facing two years in jail defends herself over ‘obscenity’ charges
- 5 The Queen’s speech 2014: Recap and Twitter reaction to Game of Thrones reference
Felicity Jones on being Stephen Hawking's wife in The Theory of Everything: 'I didn't want her to be a saint'
EastEnders Christmas Day special, TV review: It's all about the Carters this Christmas - and Danny Dyer is brilliant
Game of Thrones season five: First preview clip shows a beardy Tyrion, a moody Cersei and a distressed Arya
Doctor Who: Jenna Coleman to stay on as Peter Capaldi’s assistant Clara Oswald in next series
The Interview finally gets US release after Sony hack and terror threats – but reviews of North Korea satire are mixed
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader