(What I Currently Think Are) The Greatest Films of All Time

  1. Persona [Ingmar Bergman, 1966]
  2. 2001: A Space Odyssey [Stanley Kubrick, 1968]
  3. The Mirror [Andrei Tarkovsky, 1974]
  4. [Federico Fellini, 1963]
  5. Satantango [Bela Tarr, 1994]
  6. Citizen Kane [Orson Welles, 1941]
  7. Synecdoche, New York [Charlie Kaufman, 2008]
  8. Apocalypse Now [Francis Ford Coppola, 1979]
  9. Smultronstället [Ingmar Bergman, 1957]
  10. Memento [Christopher Nolan, 2000]
  11. Raging Bull [Martin Scorsese, 1980]
  12. C'era una volta il West [Sergio Leone, 1968]

the Exorcist?? are you nuts.

hey here's an idea..why don't you endorse me?

It was terrible!
And, endorsed =]

I thought you liked The Aviator?

crap that's gotta go top 5

Good to see some love for the Cube series. If you haven't already, get Cube Zero, the prequel.

yeah im torrenting atm, I'm keen to learn more about the point of the cube etc, as the outside world and Izon have barely been talked about so far. In your opinion, which was better, Cube 1 or 2?

Definitely 1. 2 was probably the worst of the three, and makes little sense next to 3, and probably ruins the mystery of the series.

3 shows you the outside, but is still confusing. It's a good thing...

you need to see some more classics

yeah, this is mostly just my own opinions on films, and the exposure I get of films is usually 95 - present, so unless they're modern day classics i can't really find any cause there's so much to choose from. Any personal recommendations?

If anything, you need to watch less mainstream movies. This isn't a dig at you, just saying you need to dig out a few rarer movies to watch.

my movie taste isn't half as refined as my musical taste so that probably explains it, any recommendations to watch?

That's cool dude.

Firstly try out The Untold Story, which stars Anthony Wong, a fantastic HK movie.

try watching Ben-Hur. You seem to be into more action movies so I would recommen that. I believe it was from 1959, but that doesn't mean there isn't any action in it. There is an infamous seen where a chariot runs over a couple people...which at that time produced some rather grusome corpses. In that same scene Charelton Heston did actually partialy fall of his own chariot and git hit by another one, which wasn't planned but they kept it in anyway. You'd probably also like Lawrence of Arabia, North by Northwest, Patton, oh and I have to recommend one of my favorites Full Metal Jacket.

I loved Sin City as well (you can probably find my extended discussion about it with 0dysseus somewhere on Listology). However, I can think of at least one other (very) major film that selectively used colour to highlight thematic elements: Schindler's List. And I think it did it much better, no disrespect to the fantastic Frank Miller. The colour in Sin City is visually impactful, but mere window dressing compared to Schindler's List. Also, you should check out my really old list about colour in film here.

Yeah Schindler's List is about the jew who transports people in the Second world war isn't it? I'd like to give it a go, people I know who have seen it seem to be singing high praises about it, plus that design edge has an appeal to me, I'll look out for it! thanks

You haven't seen Schindler's List?!? Yes, it's worth seeing, my mixed feelings about Spielberg aside. And Schindler was a German aiding the Jews. The use of colour is very very selective in that film, which gives it all the more impact when it appears.

damn i really gotta see it, any other good recommendations?

Well, reading over your list, I think most of my recommendations would go down well with you, as you seem to like very similar movies to me.

I can't think of any films off the top of my head that I would recommend; if anything occurs to me I'll let you know. However, there is a tv series, just 2 seasons long from the UK that I think you'd love. It's called Spaced and stars the guys from Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. I don't know how easily you could get your hands on it, but if you can I highly recommend it.

I've heard about Spaced! It's meant to be really down to earth good humour, in a similar style to the two films so yeah that I'll download/buy soon. Thanks!

Bit late now, but saw Schindler's List, and as you can see it's my new no.1 :)

I definitely agree with Shawshank being #1. Good list!

thanks, I fell in love with that film the first time I saw it, great performance from both leads IMO.

Pretty good list.

I would have to recommend movies such as:

Pi/Requiem For A Dream/The Fountain (all 3 are by Darren Aronofsky, and he seems to be just getting better with each new film he puts out).

I do have to put Lord of The Rings as a recommendation, real epic and overall good movies... though compared to the books they really aren't that good (but PJ did as good a job as he could've I suppose).

As someone said you seem to like action movies, and it surprises me to not see some classics such as Terminator 2: Judgment Day on your list. I don't remember much of the first Terminator, and the third one was kind of weak, but it is a good action movie that touches on time travel, the end of the world and robots. Can't go wrong :P

Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind is a great movie!

Memento is pretty good, lots of plot twists that keep you guessing until the very end.

Crash wasn't too bad... if you're into that style of movies I would probably suggest Babel and Magnolia as well.

The Squid & The Whale is another movie that I really enjoyed. Also, if you're into dry humor, I have to suggest The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou as well as The Weatherman.

You also might enjoy Leon the Professional (or just The Professional depending on what version you can find) and The Boondock Saints.

There are a lot of great movies out there, though it isn't a bad thing, a lot of your movies seem to be mainstream hits, and as such, bigger movies like the ones you've seen (regardless of their quality) over shadow the kind of gems you can find that are under the radar so to speak.

I hope you take an interest in some of the movies we've suggested, and hope you enjoy them. :)

When I get time sure! Thanks for all your recommendations I will try to watch all of them given time, and neither of ther Terminators really did it for me - I couldn't stop laughing the whole way through lol.

I understand what you mean about the Terminators, I really enjoy them mainly for the sort of atmosphere they have (mainly T2). Apocolyptic stuff always interests me one way or another, as with time travel. :P

Time travel is a great plus in films (exception: Back To The Future)! Especially paradoxes and such, they always make for interesting plotlines. If you could recommend any films like that I'd be really grateful. Not to say the terminators aren't good, just not my personal cup of tea as I don't feel Arny can act that well lol.


That link has a nice list of movies dealing with time travel.

However, I can't really think of anything off the top of my head. Donnie Darko... Frequency maybe... maybe you'll find some good movies while scrolling through the above list?

To be honest with you, I'm also interested in finding some good time travel movies myself.

The Fountain, as I already suggested, is a great movie. Though it doesn't quite deal with time travel, it does take place over the course of a thousand years or so. Real great and beautiful movie too.

(Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, lol/random)

thanks! I've heard a lot of good things about Donnie Darko, I'll definitely get around to watching that. Bill & Ted...umm..well..it didn't really do it for me :P lol.

I would consider most of these "guy" movies, but that's ok since you are one, hehe.

Don't you like the Star Wars trilogies? I thought those would definitely appeal to you.

Anyway, a couple I would recommend based on your taste would be, the Ring, Midnight Cowboy, Deliverance, and the Shining. All of them are pretty disturbing (not sure if you're into that sort of thing).

What about Run Lola Run, or Y Tu Mama Tambien?

Also, 'Kids' is one you either find incredibly disturbing and horrible, or unforgettable. Might be difficult to find in the UK though.

Guy movies maybe, but they're all classics and not some half assed action movie list.
And eurgh no way! So predictable, boring and cheesey. Star Wars isn't really my thing at all lol.
I really wanna see the Ring & The Shining too, and haven't heard of the rest lol. Thanks for the recommendations

The orignal Star Wars are in no way cheesey! They're classics. But I admit I'm not a huge fan of the new ones.

Anyway, try Run Lola Run. It's a german film, and there's tons of techno in it, haha.

Great list

also GREAT Reviews!

Fight Club
"Aside from the fact that this film whole heartedly tears open materialistic society today in a hilarious but quite worryingly true fashion"

Great wording and i have to agree, the boldness of this film is what attracted me too it, what a masterpiece.

I agree with Donnie Darko as you know, what a film, as you say its quite a watch, it drains you and makes you think, awesome.

If you have not seen it i would recommend True Romance, starring Christian Slater. Written by Quentin Tarantino , its awesome, i think you'd enjoy. its filled with classic scenes

I'm never sure if anyone reads my reviews or likes them, so it's very nice to hear positive comments about them :)
Donnie Darko is a masterpiece IMO too, it had no templated style and was just unique.
I'll definitely check it out, could you possible give a vague idea of storyline?
Thanks for the feedback & endorsement =]

yeah np, sorry for late reply. Slater's character meets Alabama (Patricia Arquette) who is a prostitute, they decide to marry and Slater goes to collect her stuff from her pimp, but when they got what they think is her stuff they find loads of cocaine, and the mob wants it back so the rest of film is them on the run

its packed with fantastic scenes, and its written by Tarantino so , thats already a plus

Sorry for late reply, I'll def check that out thanks!

did u watch house of flying daggers and meet joe black on tv? or please tell me u bought them on dvd so i can watch em wen i get bck home :D watched one flew over the cuckoo's nest last night. it is v good movie. not sure i'd rate it quite as highly as you have though. Did you say you've read the book in english? i'd like to read the book. also if you get nineteen eighty four from the school library, keep it over xmas so I can read it too!

HoFD was Tv, not recorded sorry mate, was AMAZING. Joe black was also, though it's recorded. it's pretty immense too. We watched in english, never read the book. I can't keep it over xmas from my current taking out, i'll get so badly done in, but i can take it out again for you? There's a new fit librarian, peg leg went and left x

Umm... Blind dear? You have Apocalypse Now listed twice... unless you're thoroughly thrilled by it THAT much... and it's worthy of multiple places...

It would seem I do, thanks for pointing that out, I wouldn't have it at 12th actually, I meant to have it at the lower position. Any opinions of the list?

hhmm mate i wouldn't mind getting your views on Scarface? i personally love the movie however some people have commented that it was too far fetched and over the top at times, same goes for pacino's performance, whats your views on this?

i personally felt it gave the film an epic feel and i liked the almost throwaway popcorn style of this crime film

Scarface is pure excess, and people who have said it was too over top are stating the obvious - it's meant to be like that. Montana has so much money he doesn't know what to do with it, wasting is effortlessly on whatever he can. As the film says, "Nothing exceeds like excess". It's also meant to have a moral to it, though clearly cynics of this film missed it. I also think it's highly enjoyable film, though not to be taken too seriously.
My favourite movies not only have an amazingly well written storyline, if I'm to love a film it has to have truly immense characters too, and have really interesting relationships between them eg. Red & Andy (Shawshank Redemption), Tyler & Narrator & Marla (Fight Club), Donnie & Anyone who he speaks to (:P)(Donnie Darko), Renton and his fellow druggies and friends (Trainspotting), Howard Hughes with his many women (The Aviator) etc. So yeah, I liked scarface, and Montana is funny and likeable at first, though the transparency of his character really shows on rewatchs.

I have a whole series of recommendations for you:
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Being John Malkovich
12 Monkeys
Mulholland Drive
Blade Runner
Requiem for a Dream

(seeing as you liked Fight Club, Donnie Darko, and Trainspotting, I figure you might like those).

Good selection, I agree with a lot of them.

I checked up on Being John Malkovich a few days ago, I reckon I'll give it a go soon, and my birthday's coming up and I've already asked for blade runner. And yeah, definitely I'll give the rest a watch and see what I think, but it may take a while, and thanks!

Being John Malkobich - Check
I enjoyed it, I'm amazed he agreed to do the role. John Cusack is brilliant in it, thanks for the recommendations, I'll check the rest when I have time

Seen Pi too now, and loved it.

Schindler's List has become number 1. nice. as i said in my other comment i've yet too see it :(

you seen American Gangster yet i haven't but should be soon!

I really recommend it, very moving, with astonishing performances and it's shot so slickly, it has this vintage feel which I love, I think you'd really love it. I haven't, I'm not sure what to make of it, most big cinema flicks recently have been terrible. I watched Transformers the other day and I honestly thought it was a joke. Seriously, what is this cube? And since when does "good" and "evil" come into Civilisations?
Maybe if you're 10 years old this film is fucking awesome, but for everyone else - they think the storyline is truly poor. There was one redeeming feature - robot fights kick ass. Haha, but as a whole film, I hated it.

yes, transformers is very much a high concept film and is a prime example of "the death of Narrative cinema" lol

are you a fan of the pixar movies by the way?

pixar films can be good, some of the originals, but a couple seemed like they were run of the mill - Finding Nemo, Toy Story 2, Shark Tale etc, ones I enjoyed were The Iron Giant, Toy Story 1, Shrek (good ideat at the time I think), The Incredibles, and a couple of others. And you?

Lemme give ya a hand here. The following are Pixar films:

Toy Story
A Bug's Life
Toy Story 2
Monsters, Inc.
Finding Nemo
The Incredibles

All other CGI films are A) not Pixar and B) varying degrees of crap on a cracker. The latter applies especially to the fucking Dreamworks films (i.e. Shrek, Shark Tale, Madagascar, etc.).

Ahh, my very foolish mistake sorry. I merely meant "pixar" films as CGI, not their company alone. As The Iron Giant is CGI but not pixar, what is your opinion of it?

Iron Giant wasn't a CGI film

Just sayin'

Eurgh sorry I'm really down with all the film jargon - cartoon/CGI, it's all made with computers nowadays neway hehe

ah well as cosgrove says pixar didn't do shrek , iron giant or shark tale but if you were talking about CGI in general then fine. well personally i have to say i love all pixar expect for Bugs life and cars. Cars because it didn't have any human characters and didn't seem to have the amount of heart that other pixar films did. i have to disagree with your opinion on nemo, i guess you are right in the sense that a character being lost and finding his way home in animated films is not un-heard of, but i loved the film.

Shrek i reallly like, shrek 2 was so so, and i've seen first 50 mins of shrek 3 and it seemed ok

Iron Giant i need to see as it was directed by brad bird

I was indeed referring to CGI in general sorry, although from the list, Pixar do seem to be the people who do it best. Apparently they have a new one coming out in a while, something to do with robots which looks quite fun (: !
I guess with all CGI films, there's a fine line between getting it right for kids and everyone else (the reason I liked the first Shrek was that it hit both, and was a laugh. The reason I didn't like the second two was they were derivative and unoriginal.), and some films do it just right, while others (like Cars or Shark Tale seemed like crap to be honest).

Iron Giant was very good as I remember it, but I saw it some time ago, so I can't give a really good opinion on it. What is your favourite CGI film by the way?

i agree it is a thin line and a difficult one to get right, making it just enough for kids and just enough for adults. For example, i loved The Incredibles. However that IMO didn't have enough for the kids. Theres stuff about husband/wfie relationship, family life, and a scene where Mr Incredible grabs a woman with force after she has him captured, which i felt was really off tone ofr a pixar movie. Deffo pixar's darkest film.

Cars yes, was utter crap. Too kiddish, i really disliked it, it seemed a step back for pixar. Shark tale i enjoyed on my first viewing, mainly for the voice work but on second viewing its pretty bad.

My favourite CGI movie... Toy Story. With Antz a close second.

Toy Story seems a common favourite, I gotta admit it is a great one, and so good for the time it was made as well!

I know what you mean about the incredibles, and the voice work for CGI films is always quite appealing at first, because quite often they have very well known top spec stars doing the work, but its often the plots which let the film down, as there's definitely no problem with the standard of graphics (aside from maybe Madagascar.)

ah i like that This Is England has made the list, a powerful film

aye definitely, similar to American History X in many ways.

i have cloned this list, hope you don't mind mate, man, its hard making these types of lists!

Nah no problem, and yeah it's hard to make definitive choice. I look forward to seeing your top 10 !

wow some big changes here to the list and format, i like the picture format!

oh, if your wondering why i haven't added you on xbox, its because only after 3 weeks i got the red ring !! :( but should be back on soon

Thankyou! Any thoughts on the new additions on here? No it's fine, hope you get it fixed soon!

Citizen Kane is one i need to see.

Seeing one flew over on the list makes me wanna re-watch!

oh, btw, do you have a fave actor or actress and does that influence your fave films?

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest is such a great masterpiece of cinema, a film which really did deserve the number of Oscars it received. And Citizen Kane is a must-see, I was kicking myself afterwards realising I should have seen it sooner. It's pretty cheap and easy to get your hands on too, it's only about 5 pounds.

De Niro would probably be the actor who I admire and favouritise the most, as his work (apart from his new awful work) is nearly all amazing; Goodfellas, Casino, Raging Bull, Taxi Driver (And I've heard many great things about Mean Streets too). Others I like are: Jack Nicholson, Edward Norton, Ralph Fiennes, Morgan Freeman (who doesn't?!), Al Pacino, Cate Blanchett, Anthony Hopkins and a few others I can't think of.
That said, there are some actors who I really like but are very hit and miss; Samuel L Jackson (His only masterpiece work (and he really was the best actor in it) was Pulp Fiction, but anything he's in he has a huge screen presence and is a very talented actor, he just generally has quite poor taste at choosing which movies to do.), Leo De Caprio (Yes he started as a pretty boy on Titanic, and earlier made a few very poor films, but he does now have a much better choice in films and his acting is much more fine tuned - The Aviator, The Beach, The Departed, Blood Diamond are all great films.) & Brad Pitt (Has done some really good work - Se7en, Fight Club, Kalifornia & I've heard great things about Jesse James. Yet that said - All the ocean's films, The Mexican, 7 Years in Tibet etc etc are bad.)

Although aside from all that I now base what I want to watch on recommendations from people who have a similar taste to mine, and on director. Of course, if someone I like is in a film, I'll still check it out, though not as quickly as if I heard Stanley Kubrick had an unknown masterpiece which has only just been found. My Fav Directors are;
Stanley Kubrick, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Ridley Scott, Welles (though I can't really comment as I've only seen 1, it was amazingly directed and innovative) & even Spielberg has made some really good films (though some bad ones too.) Good new ones (I don't know how the rest of their careers will turn out though) IMO are Tarantino, Fincher & Aronofsky - They've all already made classics and if they stay on track should continue to do so - although Tarantino needs to up his work, Death Proof was quite good, but I'm expecting another classic soon.

De niro is so good. I haven't seen all of Mean Streets but from what i did see i loved De niro's performance, also Harvey K. who i dont like in most cases (hated his character in taxi driver for instance)was solid in the 50 minutes of mean streets i saw.

Samuel L Jackson, yeah he has in recent years made some dumb decisions (Jumper!?) but i agree he was the highlight in pulp. I also would make a point for Bruce Willis in Pulp whose section of the movie is also pretty solid. Morgan Freeman i also enjoy, he'd be in my top 10 i think. Have you seeen Million Dollar Baby?

With Fincher it seems he makes a poorly received film followed by a largly considered classic (Alien 3 - Seven / The Game - Fight Club / Panic Room - Zodiac) but he's always been a fave of mine. oh you watched Zodiac lately right? thoughts?

It seems i liked Death Proof a little more than you then but i agree that when you place it against Pulp / Dogs or Jackie Brown it doesn't quite cut it. Though i'm a little worried about this War movie he has comming up....

I worry somewhat about tarantino, he's a bit odd and lately his films have been looking quite bad actually. I read up on imdb and remembered my thoughts on KB1 & 2 and they were terrible, he was trying to do something he can't do. He should have stopped after 1 realising that it was poor. And Death Proof was quite cool, but it was a gimmick movie more than a good piece of filmmaking IMO. If Inglorious Bastards is actually any good (and it would surprise me if it is TBH) I will happily admit that he was just going through a phase and perhaps is back on track. A Proper war film might do him some good, he's done too many crime flicks down with over the top language and violence - it worked for RD & PF, but the rest seemed lame and weak. Also, apparently he's incredibly immature and acts like a fucktard if I'm honest most of the time - not eccentricity, just an irritating personality. The fame might be going to his ever-growing head and that may be the reason for the decline in his films.
Fincher on the other hand, is still quite an unknown among the general public despite his great films with quite good reception from the public. It's mainly because he doesn't plaster his name all over the titles like Tarantino does, but I'll stop ranting on QT now.
Fincher is getting better with every movie - Zodiac was a terrific movie (Downey Jr and Gyllenhaal were very good), but the main highlight was the direction and overall look and feel of the film, he really has a niche for the acute points and immersing you in the world of the film. His direction has gotten better with every film I've seen that he's directed, so the next (if) time he gets a Fight-Club standard script and combines it with his growing skill and talent we could witness a truly monumentous piece of filmmaking from him.
I actually really like Harvey Keitel, and yes De Niro really is great. He is a truly great actor, brings a lot more to the role than just reading his lines and speaking them with force - he looks the part, he walks and acts the part, he puts himself through hell to BE the part (Raging Bull).

I liked Kill Bill 1, but i think KB2 is his weakest work by far, dull i thought. Yes maybe he should step away from these gimmick films, he makes films i he wants to see, maybe he should make some others want to see :)

Fincher Continues to suprise me. Not one of his movies have failed to draw me in, they are all up to a great standard. Actually going back to directors, i think my top 5 would go like this

1. Wes Anderson
2. Tim Burton
3. Tarantino
4. Fincher
5. Coen Bros

I agree (with both the Fincher and Tarantino comments)

Interesting list, I also like all the directors you mentioned except Wes Anderson which I'm yet to have an opinion on as I've not seen any of his films!

I moved 2001 back up to first spot. It's just so good, and reading this gives further insight into the films seemingly unfathomable depth.

Wow. I'm not surprised that the author of that article likes 2001, because like 2001, the article takes far too long and uses far too much complexity to say something that is ultimately fairly simple.

I understand your point about the article, and some parts of it are a bit long-winded, but it does raise some points that I previously hadn't thought of. I feel that 2001 is the perfect length, I used to think parts were a bit too slow but I realise now they're just right. Also, I used to feel the same about the simplicity (I did with Eight And A Half and Persona too at first), but now I believe there are so many messages and philisophical points to be made that it's amazing (although, there are some more obvious and simple points obviously).

What in your view is the point of 2001 (as in, the message it is trying to convey)?

Well, when you strip out all that alchemical mumbo-jumbo from the article, I think you get two main points that Stanley Kubrick is making through the film:

1. Newer and newer technology makes humanity more sterile and soulless.

2. There must be some sort of entity, represented by the monolith, that is necessary to spark humanity's evolution/transformation. (I don't really buy the article's point that the monolith makes 2001 a religious film. I think the monolith could represent any number of things that aren't religious in nature, such a societal structures.)

These are points I had considered before, and I think I would say these are the big messages the movie is trying to convey. I honestly don't think it is attempting to convey anything whatsoever about alchemy, and I think a lot of that interpretation is largely fabricated. It works the same way as kabbala: you can read anything into the film if you want to. Just read his argument about how much the number 3 appears in the film and think of how weak that sounds. Try to construct the same argument about any one-digit number. I bet you can come up with one that's just as good.

His point about the film being the monolith is interesting, but I'm not sure I buy that either. I think he gives 2001 too much credit for affecting that generation. After all, he points out that few people understood what it meant, so how much did it really open up their minds? And it's not like it opened up their minds to seeing/creating similar films, since there really hasn't been a movie like 2001 before or since. So either Kubrick was even more pretentious than we thought and wrongfully felt that by making this film, he was creating the most important thing ever; or it's just a coincidence.

I will admit that the comparisons to The Odyssey were very interesting and somehow they never occurred to me before.

In thinking about this film, I feel like many people get bogged down with trying to understand just what the hell happens in it. Once you get that, I don't feel like the film really has as many messages as you said, and I feel like the ones I outlined above aren't exactly groundbreaking (Note: I'm talking about messages regarding things that matter, like humanity, not things that don't matter, like alchemy). Do you think the film says something bigger and more revolutionary that I don't fully understand?

I agree with you that there is quite a bit of crap in that article, I merely highlighted it because it gives such an in depth look at it, of course not of all it is correct, but it's an alternative view. It picks up on some very subtle things that I would've otherwise overlooked, even if I disagree with them its certainly got some novel concepts.

1. Newer and newer technology makes humanity more sterile and soulless.

2. There must be some sort of entity, represented by the monolith, that is necessary to spark humanity's evolution/transformation. (I don't really buy the article's point that the monolith makes 2001 a religious film. I think the monolith could represent any number of things that aren't religious in nature, such a societal structures.)

I agree with your points, as it's why Kubrick made HAL more human than his human counterparts, and the society thing is right too (I too disagree with the 'alchemy' theory and the religious part of that article).

I think also that the point Kubrick is making is that as of yet the human race is uncivilised, still with armies and weapons (which is what the first monolith brings), and has not reached the level of 'enlightenment' that the star child brings.

Also, he is making a point about how insignificant we are in the grand scheme of things, that we are merely a tiny entity in a huge universe (and in the context of the film our only progress comes from the monoliths).

I really like your Kabbala reference, it sort of reminds me of the whole 'Bible Code' thing. The movie Pi makes a good point about it too.

In thinking about this film, I feel like many people get bogged down with trying to understand just what the hell happens in it.

Perhaps you're right, though perhaps in some ways it adds to its mystery and appeal, allowing speculation on its true meaning. No one speculates the philosophical points of Raging Bull though either, and that is a masterpiece (in my view). Maybe I'm misguided, I dunno. I just thought the article was an interesting take on 2001 and its real meaning.

Do you think the film says something bigger and more revolutionary that I don't fully understand?

No, of course not, sorry if it seemed like I intended it to mean that, I was just curious for your opinion on it, I don't think anyone really knew except Clarke & Kubrick and they're both dead. :)

I think the idea of the first monolith bringing armies and weapons is a little muddled in the article. I am more tempted to agree with you that Kubrick was saying violence is the mark of a species that isn't all that civilized, as opposed to the article which seems to be saying that war is inherently tied into this pursuit for truth. I think in reality the first monolith introduced the concept of tools to the apes, and it is the primitive nature of the apes that drives them to violence, rather than the monolith somehow introducing violence along with these fundamental truths.

I'm not sure I really buy the whole insignificance thing or the idea that all of human history is worthless as the article states. I don't disagree with these opinions, but I don't think it's really a theme of the film. The article uses that famous jump cut to make its case, but I think rather than Kubrick saying "ignore everything that comes between these two shots," he is rather trying to draw a parallel.

many people get bogged down with trying to understand just what the hell happens in it - By this I meant not that people get bogged down with trying to explain its philosophical messages, but rather that most people don't even understand what happens on the surface (understandably since the last chapter is fairly abstruse), and they interpret the film's events rather than its philosophy. I don't think a film is deep just because its events are worth interpreting; I think what it is saying should be worthwhile as well.

Lately I have been unconvinced that the messages of 2001 live up to the smoke and mirrors, but you have given me some food for thought because I started thinking about comparisons between HAL and the murderous monkeys. What does it mean that HAL seems to be the one being amongst the soulless humans that seems to be capable of emotion, and like the monkeys, that too results in murder? It's almost like Kubrick is saying that humanity's downfall is its ability to feel, that only by sterilizing these feelings can we attain a higher level of consciousness. If that's not a Kubrickian theme, I don't know what is.

I think in reality the first monolith introduced the concept of tools to the apes, and it is the primitive nature of the apes that drives them to violence, rather than the monolith somehow introducing violence along with these fundamental truths.

Precisely, I agree.

I'm not sure I really buy the whole insignificance thing or the idea that all of human history is worthless as the article states. I don't disagree with these opinions, but I don't think it's really a theme of the film. The article uses that famous jump cut to make its case, but I think rather than Kubrick saying "ignore everything that comes between these two shots," he is rather trying to draw a parallel.

The jump is illustrating that despite advances in this technology of war, we are still barbaric (in terms of the higher beings who control the monoliths say) in our intention. Once we encounter the other monoliths, we begin our journey toward becoming a higher being.

It's almost like Kubrick is saying that humanity's downfall is its ability to feel, that only by sterilizing these feelings can we attain a higher level of consciousness.

I personally hadn't thought of that, I like that idea though.

It's one of those films that provokes endless debate without any definitive answers, but I've enjoyed sharing my thoughts and hearing yours :).

Persona is my #2 too! :D

Good list; here's some thoughts on your selections:
- 2001 is overrated and its significance transcends its merits
- Raging Bull has no place so high on a Greatest Films list, although Deniro's performance is one for the ages
- Despite Memento being so great I've never personally considered it in the upper echelon, but now you've given me something to brood on. . .
- I'd probably put the Mirror at number one, it's the best example of film as art and the art of film; Tarkovsky is probably the greatest filmmaker ever.

- Last Year in Marienbad. It's a great, great movie.
- La Passion de Jeanne D'Arc. It's Dreyer's masterpiece, 'nuff said.


Your comment on 2001 makes me think back to the first time I watched the film; I was so prepared for brilliance, already knowing of its huge significance and thus viewed it in the wrong light. However, now whenver I watch it, it is as art, and not merely as a piece of cinematic history, and it is utterly beautiful.

Not seen your first suggestion, but the Passion in more about acting than say, Raging Bull is, and while a good film that is its primary merit.

Kubrick seems to have eluded me the past few times. I'm not sure what it is; but where I first found 2001 to be hypnotic I found it dull... where Clockwork was initially mesmerizing it no longer seemed to deliver the goods. Kubrick's technique is undeniable but there isn't much else to it.

I can't argue with your thoughts on the Passion; Falconetti undoubtedly delivers one of the finest roles ever. I suppose I am biased towards Dreyer; I find he makes the likes of Bergman (while being a top tier director) seem almost lightweight.

And sorry, one last suggestion, Eraserhead. To me, that right there represents the summit of not only surrealism but auteurism as well. Mark my words, it will be studied and acknowledged as a true masterpiece a millennium from.

Once again: great list! Although of course I have one more quibble to make, this time regarding Persona. Those stupid montage scenes get to me everytime; the height of pretension. Still one of the greatest movies ever and definitely deserves a place on this list.

I urge you not to give up on Kubrick. If there's 1 word that describes him, it's subtle. Yeah, his "craft is impeccable", probably the greatest technical director ever, but don't mistake his undeniable stylistic abilities as a lack of substance. The more I watch films & the more I learn about history or psychology or mythology or politics or gender or philosophy, the more I realize how densely interesting his films are.

Synecdoche, New York is the new number one, and it really is deserving. Utterly profound on countless levels, it takes the psychological intensity of Lynch, the cryptic complexity of Kubrick and sheer emotional depth of Tarkovsky and blends them with superb craft into a masterpiece. Metaphor and reality are merged as one and for the two hours it lasts, we quite literally live and breathe Caden's thoughts, Hoffman's perforance being a piece of art in itself (and integral to the film's brilliance). Every shot is beautiful, every action natural and every scene a piece of poetry in itself. The script by Kaufman is predictably brilliant, but it is so much more deep even than his other great works (Eternal Sunshine, Being John Malkovich) that they literally pale in comparison.

If the great cinematic leaps of the past were Birth of a Nation, Citizen Kane and 2001: A Space Odyssey, then Synecdoche, New York is surely the next step; as Joyce did with literature, Kaufman brings the artform as close to the human mind as it can possibly get, the formalised technique of story-telling seeming simply childish next to it (Time is sporadic, as is reality and function). I think every one who watches the film can take something personal about themselves away from it, but at the same time Caden is not a generic character who is everyone, he is a specific person, whom we empathise with on numerous levels, as well as respect, pity, admire and sometimes dislike.

I honestly have never felt so moved by a piece of cinema as I was by this, and I can now see why AfterHours can experience Tarkovsky's Nostalghia on a similar emotional level.

What do you think about cultural significance and innovation in art?