Most Profound Films

  1. Citizen Kane - Orson Welles (1941)
  2. Nostalghia - Andrei Tarkovsky (1983)
  3. Persona - Ingmar Bergman (1966)
  4. Werckmeister Harmonies - Bela Tarr (2000)
  5. Mirror - Andrei Tarkovsky (1974)
  6. Red - Krzysztof Kieslowski (1994)
  7. 2001: A Space Odyssey - Stanley Kubrick (1968)
  8. The Traveling Players - Theo Angelopoulos (1975)
  9. Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East? - Bae Yong-kyun (1989)
  10. Stalker - Andrei Tarkovsky (1979)
  11. Lost Highway - David Lynch (1997)
  12. Mulholland Drive - David Lynch (2001)
  13. Landscape in the Mist - Theo Angelopoulos (1988)
  14. Blow Up - Michelangelo Antonioni (1966)
  15. The Sacrifice - Andrei Tarkovsky (1986)
  16. Ulysses' Gaze - Theo Angelopoulos (1995)
  17. Eternity and a Day - Theo Angelopoulos (1998)
  18. Wings of Desire - Wim Wenders (1987)
  19. Satantango - Bela Tarr (1994)
  20. Cache - Michael Haneke (2005)
  21. The Dance of Reality - Alejandro Jodorowsky (2013)
  22. Andrei Rublev - Andrei Tarkovsky (1966)
  23. The Tree of Life - Terrence Malick (2011)
  24. Synecdoche, New York - Charlie Kaufman (2008)
  25. Last Year at Marienbad - Alain Resnais (1961)
  26. Hiroshima, Mon Amour - Alain Resnais (1959)
  27. Under the Skin - Jonathan Glazer (2014)
  28. Dogville - Lars Von Trier (2003)
  29. Solaris - Andrei Tarkovsky (1972)
  30. 8 1/2 - Federico Fellini (1963)
  31. The Color of Paradise - Mahid Majidi (1998)
  32. The Willow Tree - Mahid Majidi (2005)
  33. Dead Man - Jim Jarmusch (1995)
  34. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives - Apichatpong Weerasethakul (2010)
  35. My Joy - Sergei Loznitsa (2010)
  36. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring - Kim Ki-duk (2003)
  37. La Dolce Vita - Federico Fellini (1960)
  38. Taxi Driver - Martin Scorsese (1976)
  39. Memento - Christopher Nolan (2000)
  40. Blade Runner - Ridley Scott (1982)

  42. Touch of Evil - Orson Welles (1958)
  43. Inland Empire - David Lynch (2006)
  44. Sans Soleil - Chris Marker (1983)
  45. Chinatown - Roman Polanski (1974)
Author Comments: 

By "profound" I am primarily referring to the following definition: "being or going far beneath what is superficial, external, or obvious."

Hahaha, yes! Almost every Tarkovsky film certainly deserves to be here-- dude is THE philosopher of the cinema.

Absolutely agree

I scrolled down to make a comment eerily similar to this one, and then wouldn't you know it - someone beat me to it by a few months!!

Faces, The Spirit of the Beehive and Lancelot du Lac immediately spring to mind as omissions. I'm not convinced of the profundity of films like Blow Up and Memento; but having six Tarkovsky films listed definitely compensates that. Nice to see the often overlooked Spring, Summer... mentioned.

Haven't seen Spirit... or Lancelot... yet. Faces is an amazing film, but what's so profound about it?

Blow Up is profound beyond belief - but as with Citizen Kane it's not necessarily obvious. Maybe I'll review it soon to explain my thoughts more. There aren't that many films that make one delve more intellectually into its psyche than with Memento...

Note: this list definitely needs updating, which I'll do soon...

Faces takes an honest, devastating look at the way people have the tendency to retreat from reality into the familiar and safe. The way it analyzes how humans will heartbreakingly compromise their own identities in order to fabricate the facade of safety is deep. Cassavetes is Thackeray--not Swift--he isn't clinical and disdainful in his engagement of the flaws of humanity, he loves every single one of his characters, and just hopes they can awake from their nightmare. I've watched it a few times and there's always something new that strikes me. To be honest, all his films are profound: Husbands, Faces, Opening Night... he doesn't have Welles' technical finesse, but he's much more of a philosopher, albeit one who doesn't seem conscious of it.

Ironically, the emotions people are shown to ignore, most movies do as well...

I totally agree with your summary of Faces and I do find it more profound than many films (particularly the final sequences), but I don't find it as profound as the films I have here. Still, I wouldn't second guess someone if they chose it.

For me, a film like Faces is profound on one significant level: the emotional expression and depth of its characters. A film such as Stalker is profound visually, thematically, characters, structure/editing, music, sound, etc...and this sort of depth of profundity is prevalent throughout this list (obviously increasingly so near or at the top).

I'd consider it more strongly perhaps for a lower echelon in my "most emotionally devastating" list and maybe even my "most invigorating" list. It would be on the fringe of either top 50, but would probably have a better shot at each of those than this one. Also, I should probably add it to my "best acting" list at some point (understatement).

You know, I'd love to see some categorical lists such as this from you :)

ha, I can't work in these categories. The taxonomic approach is, for me, interesting to read but I can't divide my value system into such labels. It lacks definition. I'll definitely keep up to date as you update your lists, though.