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My Current But Ever-Changing Top 100 Films

09 March 2012 | Film Lists | by David Zou

Since this is the 50th post on this blog,I’m gonna do something special to mark it.Finally,I’ve decided to make the ultimate list every film buff would make.

One key phrase in the title needs special attention here,”current but ever changing”,it means this list is made from a very restricted view of mine,so if you wonder why xxx is not in the list,ok,it’s simple,because I may haven’t even seen it yet.It also means that this list is not permanent,it may change tomorrow,it may look quite different after 6 months,but I guess films I watch after today need to be real special to replace those in the list,because it is almost a pretty irreplaceable line-up to me.

Another thing I have to clear up is that this list is made up of my favorite 100 films,not the most important 100 films in cinema history.Those are films either I have watched many times or I would like to watch again anytime soon.So films like The Birth of Nation and Battleship of Potemkin are not listed here just because I haven’t built a special fondness for them.

A great reason I didn’t make this list until now is that I couldn’t find a perfect way to avoid missing any films I love,I still can’t promise that,but I will try to divide this list into certain parts to minimize the mistakes I may make.I will only pick one film from each director and that’s the most painful thing for me to do,but I need to do it to do justice to all great directors all over the world.I also will not write my feelings towards these films because it is a hell of task to do in one time and I’m pretty sure they will be covered up sooner or later on this very blog,but I do want to discuss any of them with you guys in the comments

I know you are impatient now,I hope this list is worth your time and demonstrate my taste of cinema well.


China 10


Spring Fever(Lou)

Farewell,My Concubine(Chen)

Raise the Red Lantern(Zhang)

Chungking Express(Wong )

A Better Tomorrow(Woo)

Mad Detective( To)

Raining in the Mountain(Hu)

Lust & Caution(Lee)

A Brighter Summer Day(Yang)

a brighter summer day pic


Japan 10

Ran(A. Kurosawa)

Tokyo Story(Ozu)

Sansho the Bailiff(Mizoguchi)

Floating Clouds(Naruse)


Empire of Passion(Oshima)

The Insect Woman(Imamura)



The Woman in the Dunes(Tashigahara)

ran pic


Korea 1



Iran 2

Taste of Cherry(Kiarostami)

A Separation(Farhadi)


India 1

The Music Room(Ray)


France 16

Pierrot Le Fou(Gordard)

Day for Night(Truffaut)

The Earrings of Madame de…(Ophuls)


The Rules of the Game(Renoir)

Three Colors:Blue(Kieslowski)

Sweet Movie(Makavejev)


Children of Paradise(Carne)

Le Million(Clair)

The Phantom of Liberty(Bunuel)

Army of Shadows(Melvile)


My Uncle(Tati)


Bitter Moon(Polanski)

Rosetta(Darne Brothers)

robert bresson pickpocket


Germany 4

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari(Wiene)



The Marriage of Marian Braun(Fasbinder)


Italy  11

Nights of Cabiria(Fellini)

Bicycle Thieves(De Sica)



The Leopard(Visconti)

Divorce Italian Style(Germi)


The Battle of Algiers(Pontecorvo)

Once Upon a Time in the West(Leone)

Deep Red(Argento)

Cinema Paradiso(Tornatore)



Greece 1

Landscape in the Mist(Angelopoulos)


Yugoslovia 1

Black Cat,White Cat(Kusturica)


Soviet Union 1



Spain 2

Laws of Desire(Armodovar)
The Holy Mountain(Jodorowsky)


Sweden 1

Sawdust and Tinsel(Bergman)


UK 8

The Red Shoes(P&P)



Monty Python and the Holy Grail(Gillam,Jones)

Kind Hearts and Coronets(Harmer)

The Third Man(Reed)

The Innocents(Clayton)

Doctor Zhivago(Lean)

brazil film pic


US 32

2001:A Space Odyssey(Kubrick)

Rear Window(Hitchcock)

Citizen Kane(Wells)

The Silence of the Lambs(Demme)

Apocalypse Now(Coppola)

Schindler’s List(Spielberg)

Taxi Driver(Scorsese)

Naked Lunch(Coronenberg)

Dressed to Kill(De Palma)


Double Indemnity(Wilder)

It’s a Wonderful Life(Capra)

City Lights(Chaplin)

Our Hospitality(Keaton)

To Be or Not To Be(Lubitsch)

Rio Bravo(Hawks)

All About Eve(Mankiewicz)

Fight Club(Fincher)

Dogville(Von Tier)


There’s Always Tomorrow(Sirk)

The Big Lebowski(Coen Brothers)

Sex,Lies and Videotape(Soderbergh)

The Player(Altman)


Night on Earth(Jamusch)

Before Sunset(Linklater)

12 Angry Men(Lumet)



Pulp Fiction(Tarantino)

Terminator 2(Cameron)



Let me know your thoughts on my picks.Also,if you made such a list somewhere before,paste the url in the comments,I’m eager to see yours.





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  • Vivek Jain via Facebook

    You have some very good movies in that list, some of them are my favorites too. But I haven’t yet explored Edward Yang and am just waiting for right time to see his movies.

  • A lot of great movies there. I think my biggest surprises were: no Kurosawa, and the presence of Bitter Moon. I love Polanski generally, but I thought that was a terrible film! To each his own.

  • Tim

    This is a pretty great list, man. A great mix of films from all over the globe, including some films from directors whose films don’t normally appear on these lists. I’ve seen a good portion of them, except your list from China. Sadly, I haven’t seen one, so now I have a short list to start with. Good job!

    • Thanks for your comments,Tim.I tried my best to include all great films from different countries,and there are also many good films from “small film countries”,I think I will mention them in my later posts.I’m glad this list is helpful to you,most of them are very accessible.

  • Billy Bones via Facebook

    Impressive list, David.

  • Kudos for Hausu, Salo, and Deep Red.

  • Surprised you only have one each Fellini and Kieselowski. Someone suggested “Black Cat, White Cat” to me years ago, and I’d forgotten all about it. I’ll have to see if my library has it.

  • Great list! I’m happy to see WKW, Kobayashi, and Argento on it. and congrats on your 50th post, for some reason I thought your blog has been around for much longer that that.

    • Thanks,I love all the three directors you mentioned and I will watch all their films if I had the chance.I’m glad you felt I have been around for a while,that means I did an ok job impressing you guys.

  • Correction… Lars von Trier is Danish. Otherwise, great list. I can’t really do one considering that it’s always ever-changing and I need to put more thought into it.

    • I divided these parts based on the language the film was made,so I put Von Tier as well as Wenders and Sirk in the US section.You don’t have to make it since it’s quite time-consuming and brain-consuming too!! But making a list and compare it with the list you make 6 months later would be an interesting thing to do.

  • Great list – highly personal and eclectic, the way all such lists should be! I was particularly glad to see off the beaten path titles like BITTER MOON and MAD DETECTIVE, which are personal favorites but which seldom make “Best of” lists.
    One quibble though: no Hou Hsiao-Hsien?
    My own top 100 list is coming in the next few months . . .

    • Thanks for the compliment,Mike.I know you are a big fan of To,and you MUST have seen more his films than me.BITTER MOON is a controversial one,just a guy on twitter said it was a terrible film.

      Hou is the kind of director I have not developed too much,I need time to do him justice.

      I’m looking forward to your list,and I know I will bring back some treasures from there!!

      • DVDs cannot do justice to Hou’s film because often the films’ aspect ratio is cropped incorrectly. His films rely heavily on exquisite framing and is the key to his style of deliberate counter-intuitive narrative. He’s truly a closet avant-gardist… and one of the great ones. Unless you possess his DVDs in correct aspect ratio, you will not be able to appreciate his films unless you watch them in the theater. Think of how Tati’s films would suffer in that scenario. Happy viewing!

        • I think you are absolutely right,I have a box set of his films,the image quality is poor in his early ones.I don’t know if they got the aspect ratio right,I need to check it out.Tati’s play time is a great example of this,you have to see it in theater to notice every interesting details since it was shoot in 70mm.

  • Sawdust and Tinsel is an interesting Bergman pick. Personally, I love it, but I never hear it mentioned with some of his more well-known masterpieces.

    • That is my first Bergman and I was very impressed by the cinematography and acting,since then I watched several other Bergman,but this one really sticks to me.

  • My own baker’s dozen, in no particular order. The list can change when I sneeze, of course. The pattern in my list is that all the directors tend to be consummate formalists.
    Rules of the Game – Renoir
    Play Time – Tati
    Au Hasard Balthazar – Bresson
    Passion of Joan of Arc – Dreyer
    Ivan the Terrible – Eisenstein
    Late Spring – Ozu
    Sherlock Jr. – Keaton
    Voyage to Italy – Rossellini
    Celine and Julie Go Boating – Rivette
    Pierot le Fou – Godard
    Life and Nothing More – Kiarostami
    Puppetmaster – Hou
    Mothlight – Brakhage

    • Many interesting picks, and indeed very personal,I have only seen 6 of them, only 2 out of them we picked the same one from the directors.Passion of Joan of Arc,Ivan the Terrible and Voyage to Italy are the films I always want to see.

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  • I love the diversity of this list.

    • Thanks for stopping by,John.Diversity is something I strive for in this list.

  • I would have liked to see Raging Bull. Also none of the Godfather films. Three colors trilogy is an exceptional cinema……but RED was far more mystical and brilliant than BLUE…..The Rest of the list is adorable….I was curious for your reason of exclusion of these masterpieces of modern times….Also no Romantic Comedies ??

    • Thanks for the comments,Arjun.The reason of exclusion of these masterpieces of modern times is simply because I’m a “classic” guy,and I don’t watch too many films after 1980s.1960s and 70s remain two of the greatest decade for me.

      I’m also not a man who is into Romantic Comedies,and I don’t have the habit of considering them as “great” films,if I am asked to pick some,It Happened One Night and Groundhog Day would be on my list.

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