The website They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They? boasts what is quite possibly the most comprehensive list of the 1000 greatest films of all time. It’s earned this distinction by compiling over 2,000 “greatest films” lists from critics, filmmakers, scholars and other qualified film enthusiasts. Bill Georgaris, proprietor of the site, has collected these lists for several years now; this January, Bill unveiled his fourth update to the list of 1,000.
While I’ve harbored some reservations about the list’s success in truly reflecting the best of cinema around the world, I still think it’s a tremendous achievement and an excellent guide for anyone interested in extensively exploring many of the greatest films ever made. I’ve certainly taken the list to heart, as it is what drives the main mission of my personal blog.
A number of these films happen to be available for viewing on this here site – 17 as of this writing, with half of them placing in the top 200 of the list. Here are the first eight, with links for your viewing pleasure:
The Blue Angel #261
Josef von Sternberg’s 1930 masterpiece introduced the world to one of history’s most sizzling screen actresses – and launched one of cinema’s most legendary director-actress collaborations.
Meshes of the Afternoon #290
Maya Deren’s legendary experimental film imagines a dreamlike dance that loops back into itself – a clear influence on David Lynch’s Mulholland Dr.
The Sacrifice #412
The final film of Andrei Tarkovsky not only amounts to his apocalyptic swan song, but also a heartfelt tribute to Swedish director Ingmar Bergman – and might also offer some clues for understanding Lars von Trier’s exasperating Antichrist.
Voyage dans la Lune #449
George Melies might be considered the first master of the cinematic medium; looking at this outer space fantasy, you have to wonder how far the movies have really come from Melies’ spectacular cinema.
La Ronde #636
Max Ophuls’ rousing period piece uses jaw-dropping camerawork to connect a string of sexual encounters in late 19th century France. It may be the greatest film ever about the spread of syphilis (however obliquely).
Happy Together #839
Hong Kong cinema icon Wong Kar-Wai cemented his fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants brand of filmmaking with this landmark of gay cinema, starring Leslie Cheung and Tony Leung going through the wild death throes of their love affair in Argentina.
Saga of Gosta Berling #931
Mauritz Stiller’s Swedish epic made Greta Garbo into an overnight sensation; once Hollywood caught sight of her in this film the rest was history.
Scarlet Street #940
One of Fritz Lang’s most haunting achievements, charting how Edward G. Robinson’s likable everyman transforms into a murderous monster through his guilt-ridden sexual desires.