My 250 Favourite Films of All Time

As of 2017, here (presented in chronological order) are my 250 Favourite Films of All Time…


  • You Can’t Take It With You (Capra, 1938) Capra’s It’s A Wonderful Life may be his best-known piece of socially-conscious storytelling, but another Jimmy Stewart collaboration outdoes it in bruising truthfulness and emotional power.
  • The Wizard of Oz (Fleming, 1939)
  • Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (Capra, 1939)
  • The Shop Around The Corner (Lubitsch, 1940)
  • Pinocchio (Ferguson/Hee, 1940)
  • Rebecca (Hitchcock, 1940)
  • Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941)
  • Sullivan’s Travels (Sturges, 1941) If Howard Hawkes invented the fast, snarky dialogue that inspired everyone from Paddy Chayefsky to Aaron Sorkin, Preston Sturges perfected it. Throughout his career, he transformed the perception of male and female roles in American cinema, and did so in hilarious fashion. Travels, a major influence on The Coen Brothers, is a marvellous Hollywood satire.
  • Saboteur (Hitchcock, 1942)
  • The Magnificent Ambersons (Welles, 1942)
  • Casablanca (Curtiz, 1942)
  • Laura (Preminger, 1944)
  • State Fair (Lang, 1945) A story of jam-making contests and short summer flings, Rodger and Hammerstein’s gentlest musical is a surprisingly melancholy piece on youth and yearning.
  • Spellbound (Hitchcock, 1945)
  • The Big Sleep (Hawks, 1946)
  • The Best Years of Our Lives (Wyler, 1946)
  • A Matter of Life and Death (Powell/Pressburger, 1946)
  • Odd Man Out (Reed, 1947)
  • Rope (Hitchcock, 1948)
  • A Canterbury Tale (Powell/Pressburger, 1944)
  • On The Town (Donen/Kelly, 1949) Sinatra, Kelly and Munshin are three sailors with one free day in New York City. Sex, partying and urban chaos ensue… but in a charming, clean 1940s way.
  • Ladri di biciclette (De Sica, 1948)
  • Harvey (Koster, 1950)
  • Alice in Wonderland (Geronimi/Jackson, 1951)
  • A Place in the Sun (Stevens, 1951)
  • An American in Paris (Minnelli, 1951)
  • Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (Lewin, 1951)
  • Singin’ in the Rain (Donen/Kelly, 1952)
  • The Quiet Man (Ford, 1952)
  • Hans Christian Andersen (Vidor, 1952)
  • I Confess (Hitchcock, 1953)
  • The Band Wagon (Minnelli, 1953)
  • From Here To Eternity (Zinnemann, 1953)
  • Rear Window (Hitchcock, 1954)
  • Brigadoon (Minnelli, 1954)
  • The Night of the Hunter (Laughton, 1955) Charles Laughton’s only directorial effort gives the Hunchback of Notre Dame actor a 100% record of brilliance. Robert Mitchum is at his most terrifying as a murderous preacher on the trail of two children, but it’s Stanley Cortez’s black-and-white cinematography that gives the film its haunting heart.
  • To Catch A Thief (Hitchcock, 1955)
  • Kismet (Minnelli, 1955)
  • Rebel Without A Cause (Ray, 1955)
  • The Ladykillers (Mackendrick, 1955)
  • The Searchers (Ford, 1956) John Ford directed many a classic western, but few have the soulfulness- and resulting longevity- of this dark adventure, with John Wayne at his most troubled– and his very best.
  • The Man Who Knew Too Much (Hitchcock, 1956)
  • 23 Paces to Baker Street (Hathaway, 1956)
  • Funny Face (Donen, 1957)
  • 12 Angry Men (Lumet, 1957)
  • Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958)
  • Gigi (Minnelli, 1958)
  • Bell, Book and Candle (Quine, 1958) James Stewart, Kim Novak and Jack Lemmon lead one of cinema’s finest casts in this supernatural rom-com. Novak plays a witch; Lemmon her warlock brother; Stewart the bumbling neighbour she enchants. Magical in every sense, this is an under-recognised gem.
  • North by Northwest (Hitchcock, 1959) Nobody does it better than Hitch, and North is film history’s seminal thriller. Without it, there would likely be no Bond, Bourne or Indy. The mesmerising duo of Cary Grant and Eve Marie Saint star opposite a fabulously evil James Mason in an epic chase picture; every frame of which gleams with perfection.
  • Les quatre cents coups (Truffaut, 1959)
  • Ben-Hur (Wyler, 1959)
  • Darby O’Gill & The Little People (Stevenson, 1959
  • The Apartment (Wilder, 1960)
  • Psycho (Hitchcock, 1960)
  • Bells Are Ringing (Minnelli, 1960)
  • To Kill A Mockingbird (Mulligan, 1962)
  • Ivanovo detstvo (Tarkovsky, 1962)
  • The Birds (Hitchcock, 1963)
  • Charade (Donen, 1963)
  • The Sword in the Stone (Reitherman, 1963)
  • The World of Henry Orient (Roy Hill, 1964)
  • Mary Poppins (Stevenson, 1964)
  • The Sound of Music (Wise, 1965) Debatably the greatest stage musical of them all, Rodger and Hammerstein’s Austrian epic was filmed with remarkable ambition and heart, with Julie Andrews leading a phenomenal ensemble cast.
  • That Darn Cat! (Stevenson, 1965)
  • Batman: The Movie (Martinson, 1966)
  • Monkeys, Go Home! (McLaglen, 1967)
  • Barefoot in the Park (Saks, 1967) Establishing many of the contemporary rom-com clichés, this Jane Fonda/Robert Redford two-hander is brilliantly funny, sexy and thoroughly bohemian.
  • The Gnome-Mobile (Stevenson (1967)
  • Cool Hand Luke (Rosenberg, 1967)
  • Doctor Doolittle (Fleischer, 1967)
  • The Graduate (Nichols, 1967)
  • The Odd Couple (Saks, 1968)
  • Finian’s Rainbow (Coppola, 1968) Fred Astaire is unarguably one of the greatest movie stars of all time, and this- his final musical- is one of the genre’s true classics. The Irish characters won our Irish hearts, but the reward of multiple viewings reveals poignant anti-racism themes. Despite what you might have been led to believe, this is Coppola’s finest film.
  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Hughes, 1968)
  • The April Fools (Rosenberg, 1969)
  • Au hasard Balthazar (Bresson, 1966)
  • The Out-of-Towners (Hiller, 1970)
  • Death in Venice (Visconti, 1971)
  • Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (Stuart, 1971)
  • Bedknobs & Broomsticks (Stevenson, 1971) Angela Lansbury may be best known for starring on Murder, She Wrote, but her greatest role will always be as Eglantine Price, the kindly witch (in training) who takes in three foster children during World War II. From the creators of Mary Poppins, this (superior) forgotten musical has David Tomlinson (Poppins‘ Mr Banks), extended animated sequences and some of the best songs ever performed on screen.
  • Harold and Maude (Ashby, 1971)
  • Silent Running (Trumbull, 1972)
  • The Godfather (Coppola, 1972)
  • Man of La Mancha (Hiller, 1972)
  • Badlands (Malick, 1973)
  • The Conversation (Coppola, 1974)
  • Chinatown (Polanski, 1974)
  • The Godfather: Part II (Coppola, 1974)
  • Dog Day Afternoon (Lumet, 1975)
  • One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (Forman, 1975)
  • Taxi Driver (Scorsese, 1976)
  • Network (Lumet, 1976)
  • Annie Hall (Allen, 1977)
  • Star Wars (Lucas, 1977) Where, oh where, would Hollywood be without Star Wars? The foundation for almost every blockbuster made since, Lucas’ original is a near-perfect fairytale with impeccable wit, heart and spectacle.
  • Pete’s Dragon (Chaffey, 1977)
  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Spielberg, 1977)
  • The Deer Hunter (Cimino, 1978)
  • Superman (Donner, 1978)
  • Manhattan (Allen, 1979)
  • Apocalypse Now (Coppola, 1979)
  • Being There (Ashby, 1979) An early premonition of Donald Trump’s political career, this peculiar tragicomedy sees career-best Peter Sellers as a simpleton gardener elevated to political power through a series of mishaps. A startlingly moving adaptation of Jerzy Kosiński’s novel.
  • The Empire Strikes Back (Kershner, 1980)
  • The Elephant Man (Lynch, 1980)
  • Blade Runner (Scott, 1982)
  • Tootsie (Pollack, 1982)
  • The King of Comedy (Scorsese, 1982)
  • Ghostbusters (Reitman, 1984)
  • Back to the Future (Zemeckis, 1985)
  • After Hours (Scorsese, 1985)
  • Hannah & Her Sisters (Allen, 1986)
  • Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (Hughes, 1986)
  • Raising Arizona (Coen, 1987)
  • Withnail & I (Robinson, 1987)
  • Beetlejuice (Burton, 1988)
  • Die Hard (McTiernan, 1988)
  • Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade (Spielberg, 1989)
  • Terminator 2: Judgement Day (Cameron, 1991)
  • Barton Fink (Coen, 1991) A neurotic John Turturro and a blow-hard John Goodman meet in a hotel as Turturro’s eponymous screenwriter struggles to script a wrestling picture. Biblical drama ensues. The Coen Brothers’ best film and, in Fink, their most timelessly-appealing protagonist.
  • Beauty & The Beast (Trousdale/Wise, 1991)
  • Groundhog Day (Ramis, 1993)
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas (Selick, 1993)
  • Six Degrees of Separation (Schepisi, 1993)
  • Forrest Gump (Zemeckis, 1994)
  • The Shawshank Redemption (Darabont, 1994)
  • Pulp Fiction (Tarantino, 1994)
  • The Santa Clause (Pasquin, 1994)
  • Dumb & Dumber (Farrelly, 1994)
  • Se7en (Fincher, 1995) Serial killer dramas are rarely this unforgettable. Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman hunt the sadistic John Doe across an unnamed rainswept city. A stunningly cold film, building towards a heated desert-set finale.
  • Toy Story (Lasseter, 1995)
  • Heat (Mann, 1995)
  • Fargo (Coen, 1996)
  • Independence Day (Emmerich, 1996)
  • Trainspotting (Boyle, 1996) Danny Boyle’s trip through Edinburgh youth culture and substance abuse is a riveting and riotous piece of British cinema. The timeless appeal of its antiheroes even produced an overdue sequel in 2017.
  • Mother & Son (Sokurov, 1997)
  • The Truman Show (Weir, 1998)
  • Rushmore (Anderson, 1998)
  • The Thin Red Line (Malick, 1998)
  • The Matrix (Wachowski/Wachowski, 1999)
  • American Beauty (Mendes, 1999) Sam Mendes rips away the walls of a suburban home and reveals the dark secrets within. Kevin Spacey leads an extraordinary cast, while Thomas Newman’s career-best score provides the heartbreaking soul of this exceptional modern classic.
  • Fight Club (Fincher, 1999)
  • Being John Malkovich (Jonze, 1999)
  • Bringing Out The Dead (Scorsese, 1999)
  • Magnolia (Anderson, 1999)
  • The Wind Will Carry Us (Kiarostami, 1999)

  • Thomas and the Magic Railroad (Allcroft, 2000)
  • Almost Famous (2000)
  • O Brother, Where Art Thou? (Coen, 2000)
  • Memento (Nolan, 2000)
  • Shrek (Adamson/Jenson, 2001)
  • The Royal Tenenbaums (Anderson, 2001) Anderson cemented his reputation as one of America’s most distinct filmmakers with this dysfunctional family comedy/drama.
  • The Man Who Wasn’t There (Coen, 2001)
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Columbus, 2001)
  • Ocean’s 11 (Soderbergh, 2001)
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Jackson, 2001) Peter Jackson’s first Middle Earth epic is to date his best. Gandalf, Frodo and their fellow travellers are introduced, run from Ringwraiths and battle a Balrog. A historic blockbuster effort.
  • Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones (Lucas, 2002)
  • Mr. Deeds (Brill, 2002)
  • Russkiy kovcheg (Sokurov, 2002)
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Columbus, 2002)
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (Jackson, 2002)
  • X2 (Singer, 2003)
  • Finding Nemo (Stanton/Unkrich, 2003)
  • Lost in Translation (Coppola, 2003)
  • Elf (Favreau, 2003)
  • The Cat in the Hat (Welch, 2003) The universal hatred towards this smart, electric and visually ingenious has baffled us for over a decade. Bo Welch’s Dr. Seuss adaptation is marvellous family comedy, with Mike Myers at his very best as the titular Cat.
  • Looney Tunes: Back in Action (Dante, 2003)
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Jackson, 2003)
  • Napoleon Dynamite (Hess, 2004)
  • Shrek 2 (Adamson/Asbury, 2004)
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Cuarón, 2004) Cuarón’s third entry into the fantastic fantasy franchise is the series’ aesthetic highlight, with a tonal shift from Chris Columbus’ two instalments that nobody saw coming. This established a dark Wizarding World that future directors Mike Newell and David Yates built on brilliantly.
  • The Terminal (Spielberg, 2004)
  • Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (McKay, 2004)
  • Spider-Man 2 (Raimi, 2004)
  • Shaun of the Dead (Wright, 2004)
  • The Polar Express (Zemeckis, 2004)
  • National Treasure (Turteltaub, 2004)
  • The Spongebob Squarepants Movie (Hillenburg/Osborne, 2004)
  • The Incredibles (Bird, 2004) Brad Bird is the smartest man in modern blockbuster filmmaking, and his originally-conceptualised superhero adventure paved the way for a generation of (deeply inferior) comic-book movies. From fashion designer Edna Mode to uniquely-named villain Syndrome, the richness of The Incredibles‘ cleverness knows no limits.
  • Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (Silberling, 2004) An expressionist visual palette, a soul-wrenching Thomas Newman score and an Oscar-worthy chameleonic performance from Jim Carrey contribute to Unfortunate‘s place as one of the greatest family films in history.
  • Batman Begins (Nolan, 2005)
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Newell, 2005)
  • King Kong (Jackson, 2005)
  • The Da Vinci Code (Howard, 2006)
  • Click (Coraci, 2006)
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (Verbinski, 2006)
  • Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (Charles, 2006)
  • The Departed (Scorsese, 2006)
  • El laberinto del fauno (Del Toro, 2006)
  • The Prestige (Nolan, 2006)
  • Hot Fuzz (Wright, 2007)
  • Bridge to Terabithia (Csupó, 2007)
  • Spider-Man 3 (Raimi, 2007)
  • Shrek The Third (Miller/Hui, 2007)
  • Ratatouille (Bird/Pinkava, 2007)
  • Stardust (Vaughn, 2007)
  • Mr Magorium’s Wonder Emporium (Helm, 2007)
  • Enchanted (Lima, 2007)
  • National Treasure: Book of Secrets (Turteltaub, 2007) What Turteltaub’s two Treasure movies lack in originality, they more than compensate for in utter unbelievable entertainment value. Nicolas Cage, Justin Bartha and Diane Kruger delve into history to solve conspiracies, with a marvellous supporting cast, and action set-pieces that would make Hitchcock himself proud. We’re still waiting for that third instalment…
  • Be Kind Rewind (Gondry, 2008)
  • Wall.E (Stanton, 2008)
  • Hellboy II: The Golden Army (Del Toro, 2008)
  • The Dark Knight (Nolan, 2008)
  • Mamma Mia! (Lloyd, 2008)
  • High School Musical: Senior Year (Ortega, 2008)
  • Twilight (Hardwicke, 2008)
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Fincher, 2008)
  • Star Trek (Abrams, 2009)
  • Angels & Demons (Howard, 2009)
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Yates, 2009)
  • Funny People (Apatow, 2009) Writer/director Apatow and stars Adam Sandler and Seth Rogen are all at their very best in this thoughtful, poignant comedy-drama: a surprisingly dark meditation on middle-age and illness, with delightful sprinkles of Sandlerian silliness.
  • Inglorious Basterds (Tarantino, 2009)
  • A Serious Man (Coen, 2009)
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox (Anderson, 2009)
  • 2012 (Emmerich, 2009)
  • Iron Man 2 (Favreau, 2010)
  • Toy Story 3 (Unkrich, 2010)
  • Inception (Nolan, 2010) The most breathtaking sci-fi of the 21st century, Christopher Nolan’s masterpiece succeeds with a combination of conceptual brilliance, superb acting and masterful storytelling. Is this a dream?
  • Easy A (Gluck, 2010)
  • The Social Network (Fincher, 2010)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (Yates, 2010)
  • Rango (Verbinski, 2011)
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules (Bowers, 2011)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (Yates, 2011)
  • The Help (Taylor, 2011)
  • The Descendants (Payne, 2011)
  • Hugo (Scorsese, 2011)
  • The Muppets (Bobin, 2011)
  • Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol (Bird, 2011)
  • The Avengers (Whedon, 2012) Joss Whedon takes everything he learnt from The Incredibles and injects it into this loud, brash and stupid but immensely enjoyable Marvel crossover. Various sequels and spin-offs have so far failed to reach its high-bar of pure mindless fun.
  • Moonrise Kingdom (Anderson, 2012)
  • Ted (MacFarlane, 2012)
  • The Dark Knight Rises (Nolan, 2012)
  • Skyfall (Mendes, 2012)
  • Les Misérables (Hooper, 2012)
  • Gravity (Cuarón, 2013)
  • Whiplash (Chazelle, 2014) Damien Chazelle’s Oscar-winning drama is a stunning two-hander between Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons as drum prodigy Andrew and his bullish teacher Fletcher. Both actors are stupendous, while Chazelle’s use of flashy editing and uproarious jazz arrangements make for a breath-halting experience.
  • Boyhood (Linklater, 2014)
  • Muppets Most Wanted (Bobin, 2014)
  • Birdman (Iñárritu, 2014)
  • Interstellar (Nolan, 2014)
  • La La Land (Chazelle, 2016) Just three years after Whiplash, Damien Chazelle further cemented his reputation as Hollywood’s hottest young director with this enchanting musical romance. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are a lively and loveable pair, while Justin Hurwitz’s original songs are joyful beyond comparison.