The 50 Greatest Films by The One-Line Review

"Obviously my main aim, given the project’s title, was to find “The 50 Greatest Films”. But more than that, by expanding the voting from the usual ten titles to 50, I also hoped to freshen up the results a little. My thinking being that there are films that would seldom make any one’s top ten, but would perhaps be almost essential for most people’s top 50s. Surely no list would be complete without a Marx or a Laurel and Hardy film? I was tempted to stipulate 100 titles, but thought that this may prove too daunting a task and put people off. With hindsight, 100 may have proved a better bet."

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Weight: 75


Detractions

  1. Source appears dubious (-25)

Films (50)

1. Citizen Kane

Directed by Orson Welles | 119 min | 1941

Following the death of a publishing tycoon, news reporters scramble to discover the meaning of his final utterance.


2. Vertigo

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock | Rated PG | 128 min | 1958

A San Francisco detective suffering from acrophobia investigates the strange activities of an old friend's wife, all the while becoming dangerously obsessed with her.


3. 2001: A Space Odyssey

Directed by Stanley Kubrick | Rated G | 149 min | 1968

Humanity finds a mysterious, obviously artificial object buried beneath the Lunar surface and, with the intelligent computer H.A.L. 9000, sets off on a quest.


4. The Godfather

Directed by Francis Ford Coppola | Rated R | 175 min | 1972

The aging patriarch of an organized crime dynasty transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son.


5. Casablanca

Directed by Michael Curtiz | Rated PG | 102 min | 1942

In Casablanca, Morocco in December 1941, a cynical American expatriate meets a former lover, with unforeseen complications.


6. The Third Man

Directed by Carol Reed | 93 min | 1949

Pulp novelist Holly Martins travels to shadowy, postwar Vienna, only to find himself investigating the mysterious death of an old friend, Harry Lime.


7. Taxi Driver

Directed by Martin Scorsese | Rated R | 113 min | 1976

A mentally unstable Vietnam War veteran works as a night-time taxi driver in New York City where the perceived decadence and sleaze feeds his urge for violent action, attempting to save a preadolescent prostitute in the process.


8. Seven Samurai

Directed by Akira Kurosawa | 207 min | 1954

A poor village under attack by bandits recruits seven unemployed samurai to help them defend themselves.


9. Psycho

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock | Rated R | 109 min | 1960

A Phoenix secretary steals $40,000 from her employer's client, goes on the run and checks into a remote motel run by a young man under the domination of his mother.


10. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Directed by Stanley Kubrick | Rated PG | 95 min | 1964

An insane general triggers a path to nuclear holocaust that a war room full of politicians and generals frantically try to stop.


11. The Godfather: Part II

Directed by Francis Ford Coppola | Rated R | 202 min | 1974

The early life and career of Vito Corleone in 1920s New York is portrayed while his son, Michael, expands and tightens his grip on his crime syndicate stretching from Lake Tahoe, Nevada to pre-revolution 1958 Cuba.


12. The Searchers

Directed by John Ford | 119 min | 1956

A Civil War veteran embarks on a journey to rescue his niece from an Indian tribe.


13. Rear Window

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock | 112 min | 1954

A wheelchair-bound photographer spies on his neighbours from his apartment window and becomes convinced one of them has committed murder.


14. Singin' in the Rain

Directed by Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly | 103 min | 1952

A silent film production company and cast make a difficult transition to sound.


15. Persona

Directed by Ingmar Bergman | 83 min | 1966

A nurse is put in charge of an actress who can't talk and finds that the actress's persona is melding with hers.


16. Chinatown

Directed by Roman Polanski | Rated R | 130 min | 1974

A private detective hired to expose an adulterer finds himself caught up in a web of deceit, corruption and murder.


17. Sunset Boulevard

Directed by Billy Wilder | 110 min | 1950

A hack screenwriter writes a screenplay for a former silent-film star who has faded into Hollywood obscurity.


18. Sunrise

Directed by F.W. Murnau | 94 min | 1927

A married farmer falls under the spell of a slatternly woman from the city, who tries to convince him to drown his wife.


19. Tokyo Story

Directed by Yasujirô Ozu | 136 min | 1953

An old couple visit their children and grandchildren in the city; but the children have little time for them.


20. Pulp Fiction

Directed by Quentin Tarantino | Rated R | 154 min | 1994

The lives of two mob hit men, a boxer, a gangster's wife, and a pair of diner bandits intertwine in four tales of violence and redemption.


21. The Rules of the Game

Directed by Jean Renoir | 110 min | 1939

A bourgeois life in France at the onset of World War II, as the rich and their poor servants meet up at a French chateau.


22.

Directed by Federico Fellini | 138 min | 1963

A harried movie director retreats into his memories and fantasies.


23. Lawrence of Arabia

Directed by David Lean | Rated PG | 216 min | 1962

The story of T.E. Lawrence, the English officer who successfully united and lead the diverse, often warring, Arab tribes during World War I in order to fight the Turks.


24. The Night of the Hunter

Directed by Charles Laughton, Robert Mitchum, Terry Sanders | 92 min | 1955

A religious fanatic marries a gullible widow whose young children are reluctant to tell him where their real daddy hid $10,000 he'd stolen in a robbery.


25. Apocalypse Now

Directed by Francis Ford Coppola | Rated R | 153 min | 1979

During the Vietnam War, Captain Willard is sent on a dangerous mission into Cambodia to assassinate a renegade colonel who has set himself up as a god among a local tribe.


26. City Lights

Directed by Charles Chaplin | 87 min | 1931

With the aid of a wealthy erratic tippler, a dewy-eyed tramp who has fallen in love with a sightless flower girl accumulates money to be able to help her medically.


27. Bicycle Thieves

Directed by Vittorio De Sica | 89 min | 1948

Set in Post-WWII Italy, a working class man's bicycle is stolen. He and his son set out to find it.


28. Annie Hall

Directed by Woody Allen | Rated PG | 93 min | 1977

Neurotic New York comedian Alvy Singer falls in love with the ditzy Annie Hall.


29. Touch of Evil

Directed by Orson Welles | Rated PG-13 | 95 min | 1958

A stark, perverse story of murder, kidnapping, and police corruption in a Mexican border town.


30. The Passion of Joan of Arc

Directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer | 114 min | 1928

A chronicle of the trial of Jeanne d'Arc on charges of heresy, and the efforts of her ecclesiastical jurists to force Jeanne to recant her claims of holy visions.


31. Blade Runner

Directed by Ridley Scott | Rated R | 117 min | 1982

A blade runner must pursue and try to terminate four replicants who stole a ship in space and have returned to Earth to find their creator.


32. M

Directed by Fritz Lang | 99 min | 1931

When the police in a German city are unable to catch a child-murderer, other criminals join in the manhunt.


33. The General

Directed by Clyde Bruckman, Buster Keaton | 67 min | 1926

When Union spies steal an engineer's beloved locomotive, he pursues it single-handedly and straight through enemy lines.


34. Some Like It Hot

Directed by Billy Wilder | 120 min | 1959

When two musicians witness a mob hit, they flee the state in an all-female band disguised as women, but further complications set in.


35. Once Upon a Time in the West

Directed by Sergio Leone | Rated PG-13 | 175 min | 1968

Epic story of a mysterious stranger with a harmonica who joins forces with a notorious desperado to protect a beautiful widow from a ruthless assassin working for the railroad.


36. The 400 Blows

Directed by François Truffaut | 99 min | 1959

Moving story of a young boy who, left without attention, delves into a life of petty crime.


37. Duck Soup

Directed by Leo McCarey | 68 min | 1933

Rufus T. Firefly is named president/dictator of bankrupt Freedonia and declares war on neighboring Sylvania over the love of wealthy Mrs. Teasdale.


38. Double Indemnity

Directed by Billy Wilder | 107 min | 1944

An insurance representative lets himself be talked into a murder/insurance fraud scheme that arouses an insurance investigator's suspicions.


39. Raging Bull

Directed by Martin Scorsese | Rated R | 129 min | 1980

An emotionally self-destructive boxer's journey through life, as the violence and temper that leads him to the top in the ring destroys his life outside it.


40. All About Eve

Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz | 138 min | 1950

An ingenue insinuates herself into the company of an established but aging stage actress and her circle of theater friends.


41. A Clockwork Orange

Directed by Stanley Kubrick | Rated X | 136 min | 1971

In future Britain, charismatic delinquent Alex DeLarge is jailed and volunteers for an experimental aversion therapy developed by the government in an effort to solve society's crime problem - but not all goes according to plan.


42. The Apartment

Directed by Billy Wilder | 125 min | 1960

A man tries to rise in his company by letting its executives use his apartment for trysts, but complications and a romance of his own ensue.


43. La Grande Illusion

Directed by Jean Renoir | 114 min | 1937

During the first World War, two French soldiers are captured and imprisoned in a German P.O.W. camp. Several escape attempts follow until they are sent to a seemingly impenetrable fortress which seems impossible to escape from.


44. Ikiru

Directed by Akira Kurosawa | 143 min | 1952

A bureaucrat tries to find a meaning in his life after he discovers he has terminal cancer.


45. It's a Wonderful Life

Directed by Frank Capra | Rated PG | 130 min | 1946

An angel helps a compassionate but despairingly frustrated businessman by showing what life would have been like if he never existed.


46. Rashomon

Directed by Akira Kurosawa | 88 min | 1950

A heinous crime and its aftermath are recalled from differing points of view.


47. The Wizard of Oz

Directed by Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Mervyn LeRoy, Norman Taurog, King Vidor | 102 min | 1939

Dorothy Gale is swept away to a magical land in a tornado and embarks on a quest to see the Wizard who can help her return home.


48. Do the Right Thing

Directed by Spike Lee | Rated R | 120 min | 1989

On the hottest day of the year on a street in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, everyone's hate and bigotry smolders and builds until it explodes into violence.


49. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Directed by Sergio Leone | 161 min | 1966

A bounty hunting scam joins two men in an uneasy alliance against a third in a race to find a fortune in gold buried in a remote cemetery.


50. L'Avventura

Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni | 143 min | 1960

A woman disappears during a Mediterranean boating trip. During the search, her lover and her best friend become attracted to each other.