Top 50 Films of the Last 5 Decades

Create lists of the best, worst, favorites, etc... and request or share recommendations with other users. Add your Top 10 lists here!

Top 50 Films of the Last 5 Decades

Postby wpqx » Thu Apr 17, 2008 5:51 pm

The top 50

Philip French's pick of the top 50 films from the past five decades

Sunday April 13, 2008
The Observer


Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)
The Master pushes the envelope.

La Dolce vita (Federico Fellini, 1960)
Fantastic satire succeeds neo-realism.

L'Avventura (Michelangelo Antonioni. 1960)
Can the cinema achieve the subtlety of a novel by James or Fitzgerald?

Winter Light (Ingmar Bergman, 1962)
The central film of a trilogy on 20th-century faith and doubt.

Jules et Jim (François Truffaut, 1962)
The French New Wave becomes a tidal movement.

Lawrence of Arabia (David Lean, 1962)
The epic reaches epic heights.

The Servant (Joseph Losey, 1963)

The American exile Losey, the emerging playwright Pinter and the ambivalent actor Bogarde interrogate the new Britain.

Bonnie and Clyde (Arthur Penn, 1967)
The Zeitgeist as gangster film.

2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968)
A quantum leap for science fiction by the most revolutionary figure to settle here since Karl Marx.

The Wild Bunch (Sam Peckinpah, 1969)
A great western, an allegory about Vietnam, it raised the ante on screen violence like no other film.


Five Easy Pieces (Bob Rafelson, 1970)
Jack Nicholson in a great road movie.

Performance (Nicolas Roeg, Donald Cammell, 1970)
Morally ambiguous film about changing Britain.

Solaris (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1972)
Complex response to 2001: A Space Odyssey.

O Lucky Man! (Lindsay Anderson, 1973)
The begetter of the British New Wave indicts a decadent Britain.

Picnic at Hanging Rock (Peter Weir, 1975)
Australian cinema establishes itself on the world scene.

Alice in the Cities (Wim Wenders, 1974)
Raw harbinger of new German cinema.

Jaws (Steven Spielberg, 1975)
A shark, a shock and a new way of launching films changed the filmgoing experience forever.

Annie Hall (Woody Allen, 1977)
The disciple of Bob Hope and Ingmar Bergman invents the relationship movie.

Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979)
The most overwhelming film to emerge from Vietnam.

The Tin Drum (Volker Schlöndorff, 1979)
Adept adaptation of magic-realist novel.


Raging Bull (Martin Scorsese, 1980)
The peak of Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro's partnership.

Angel (Neil Jordan, 1982)
Astonishing debut thriller, its background the Northern Ireland troubles.

Gandhi (Richard Attenborough, 1982)
Ben Kingsley is indelible in a film that realised a dream of one of British cinema's greatest figures.

Ran (Akira Kurosawa, 1985)
Lear in Japan, an old master's last masterpiece.

My Beautiful Laundrette (Stephen Frears, 1985)
One of the best Thatcher's Britain movies.

Blue Velvet (David Lynch, 1986)
After The Elephant Man, and the overblown science fiction film Dune, Lynch amazed us with this surreal masterpiece.

The Mission (Roland Joffé, 1986)
Thoughtful British epic and Palme d'Or winner with an unforgettable Ennio Morricone score.

Hope and Glory (John Boorman, 1987)
One of the greatest British directors revisits his World War Two childhood.

Au revoir les enfants (Louis Malle, 1987)
Malle finally confronts his childhood experiences in Nazi-occupied France.

Where is My Friend's House? (Abbas Kiarostami, 1987)
The Iranian cinema arrives in challenging and uncompromising form.


The Player (Robert Altman, 1992)
One of the best Hollywood-on-Hollywood movies.

The Long Day Closes (Terence Davies, 1992)
A delicate memoir of working-class life by one of our subtlest film-makers.

Farewell My Concubine (Chen Kaige, 1993)
The new Chinese cinema at its most exquisite.

The Remains of the Day (James Ivory, 1993)
The Merchant-Ivory-Jhabvala team at their most searching.

Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, 1994)
A landmark in popular, personal post-modernist cinema.

The Bandit Queen (Shekhar Kapoor, 1994)
Peckinpah meets Satyajit Ray in the best Indian film of the decade.

Land and Freedom (Ken Loach, 1995)
The Spanish Civil War finds its perfect director.

Secrets & Lies (Mike Leigh, 1996)
One of the finest portraits of family life.

Heat (Michael Mann, 1995)
A great stylist comes into his own.

All About My Mother (Pedro Almodóvar, 1999)
The last masterpiece of the century.


Memento (Christopher Nolan, 2000)
The first major talent to emerge this century.

Hidden (Michael Haneke, 2005)
A film that jangled nerves and provoked discussion everywhere.

Brokeback Mountain (Ang Lee, 2005)
A crucial contribution to the renewal of the western that began with Dances With Wolves.

The Lives of Others (Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, 2006)
The most important German film since reunification.

Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima (Clint Eastwood, 2006)
A stunning diptych about World War Two from the Hollywood veteran.

Bamako (Abderrahmane Sissako, 2006)
The cleverest and most sophisticated film yet to come out of Africa.

No Country for Old Men (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2007)
The poised fraternal ironists excel themselves.

There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007)
Tragic epic with a towering performance from Daniel Day-Lewis.

Ratatouille (Brad Bird/Jan Pinkava, 2007)
A 20-year sierra of fine feature-length cartoons reaches its Mont Blanc.

Re: Top 50 Films of the Last 5 Decades

Postby justindeimen » Thu Apr 17, 2008 10:19 pm

Really? Nothing between 2001-2004? I can think of a Lynch film and even a South Korean crimer that could have fit in there.

Re: Top 50 Films of the Last 5 Decades

Postby wpqx » Thu Apr 17, 2008 10:59 pm

My thoughts exactly with Mulholland Drive, or even Eternal Sunshine, but this isn't my list. I've been a fan of Phillip French's writing for awhile so I found it interesting and there are a few surprises. Of course this list was made for a UK publication so I'm not surprised by some "homegrown" films. Would anyone be willing to join me in an endeavor to make our own list(s)?

Re: Top 50 Films of the Last 5 Decades

Postby jcdavies » Wed Apr 23, 2008 4:59 pm

Philip French is a very knowledgeable unpretentious critic.

My alternatives:

Andrei Rublev
2001: A Space Odyssey
The Colour of Pomegranates
8 1/2
Pierrot le Fou
My Night with Maud
Dr Strangelove
Lawrence of Arabia

Alice in the Cities
Celine and Julie go Boating
Tale of Tales
Spirit of the Beehive
Kings of the Road
Apocalypse Now
Claire's Knee

The Green Ray
Paris Texas
Raging Bull
Street of Crocodiles
Once upon a Time in America
Blue Velvet
Red Sorghum
Night of the Shooting Stars

Abraham Valley
Eternity and a Day
The Double Life of Veronique
Ulysses' Gaze
Chungking Express
Close Up
The Sheltering Sky

Mulholland Dr
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
Werckmeister Harmonies
The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes
Silent Light
The Return
The New World
The Wayward Cloud

imo there are as many good films as ever, from a range of countries, but less truly great masterpieces in recent year.

Re: Top 50 Films of the Last 5 Decades

Postby wpqx » Wed Apr 23, 2008 6:08 pm

I'm unfamiliar with Flatworld, care to offer a few details about it?

Re: Top 50 Films of the Last 5 Decades

Postby jcdavies » Wed Apr 23, 2008 7:41 pm

Ah ha, i came across it at youtube- it's a British animated film, only about 30 mins, from 1997. Just good fun, playing on previous animation conventions, and the main characters are...flat.

Re: Top 50 Films of the Last 5 Decades

Postby wpqx » Thu Apr 24, 2008 4:03 am

La Dolce Vita
Lawrence of Arabia
The Manchurian Candidate
The Exterminating Angel
8 ½
Fistful of Dollars/For a Few Dollars More/The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Au Hasard Balthazar
2001 A Space Odyssey

The Conformist
A Clockwork Orange
Johnny Got His Gun
The Godfather/Godfather II
The Mother and the #%%%*
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Star Wars
Annie Hall
Apocalypse Now
All that Jazz

Ordinary People
Raging Bull
Berlin Alexanderplatz
The Shining
Sans Soleil
Blue Velvet
Landscape in the Mist
Major League

Malcolm X
Schindler's List
71 Fragments of a Chronology of Chance
Pulp Fiction
To Live
Natural Born Killers
Before Sunrise
LA Confidential
Fight Club

Mulholland Drive
City of God
The Incredibles
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

I know I cheated on a few selections (as I always do) and there are a few films I definitely need to revisit which is why I left certain films off. These are all candidates for my overall 100, and about 40 of these are definite locks. Overall most decades were fairly balanced with the obvious exclusion of the 2000's partially because the decade is still in progress and I feel apprehensive about rating the films of today against the already established classics because all too often I've found a newer film to fall a little when I get a chance to view it again.

Re: Top 50 Films of the Last 5 Decades

Postby A » Fri May 30, 2008 2:26 am

I'm a bit in a list-mood, so here are my selections:


La Jetée "The Pier" (Chris Marker / France / 1962)
Le Mépris "Contempt" (Jean-Luc Godard / France / 1963)
Suna no onna "Woman in the Dunes" (Hiroshi Teshigahara / Japan / 1964)
Deus E o Diabo na Terra do Sol "Black God, White Devil" (Glauber Rocha / Brazil / 1964)
Andrei Rublyov "Andrei Rublev" (Andrei Tarkovski / Soviet Union / 1966)
Bonnie and Clyde (Arthur Penn / USA / 1967)
Csillagosok, katonak "The Red and The White" (Miklos Jancso / Hungary, Soviet Union / 1967)
2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick / USA, UK / 1968)
Goto, l'île d'amour "Goto, Island of Love" (Walerian Borowczyck / France / 1968)
Sayat Nova "The Color of Pomgranates" (Sergej Paradjanov / Soviet Union / 1968)


Iko shashvi mgalobeli "Lived Once a Song-Thrush" (Otar Iosseliani / Soviet Union / 1970)
Tokyo senso sengo hiwa "The Man Who Left His Will on Film" (Nagisa Oshima / Japan / 1970)
Zabriskie Point (Michelangelo Antonioni / USA / 1970)
La maman et la putain "The Mother and the %%%$$" (Jean Eustache / France / 1973)
Mes petites amoureuses (Jean Eustache / France / 1974)
Barry Lyndon (Stanley Kubrick / UK / 1975)
Dzieje grzechu "Story of a Sin" (Walerian Borowczyk / Poland / 1975)
Örökbefogadás "Adoption" (Márta Mészáros / Hungary / 1975)
1900 (Bernardo Bertolucci / Italy, France, West Germany / 1976)
Suspiria (Dario Argento / Italy / 1977)


Possession (Andrzej Zulawski / France, West Germany / 1981)
Moonlighting (Jerzy Skolimowski / UK / 1982)
Sans soleil "Sunless" (Chris Marker / France / 1982)
Klassenverhältnisse "Class Relations" (Danièle Huillet, Jean-Marie Straub / West Germany, France / 1984)
La pirate "The Pirate" (Jacques Doillon / France / 1984)
Tenshi no tamago "Angel's Egg" (Mamoru Oshii / Japan / 1985)
Ran (Akira Kurosawa / Japan, France / 1985)
Offret "The Sacrifice" (Andrei Tarkovsky / Sweden, UK, France / 1986)
Hotaru no haka "Grave of the Fireflies" (Isao Takahata / Japan / 1988)
Majo no takkyûbin "Kiki's Delivery Service" (Hayao Miyazaki / Japan / 1989)


Nema-ye Nazdik "Close Up" (Abbas Kiarostami / Iran / 1990)
Trys dienos "Three Days" (Sharunas Bartas / Soviet Union / 1991)
Groundhog Day (Harold Ramis / USA / 1993)
Tikhiye stranitsy "Whispering Pages" (Alexander Sokurov / Russia, Germany / 1993)
Haonan haonu "Good Men, Good Women" (Hsiao-hsien Hou / Taiwan, Japan / 1995)
Heat (Michael Mann / USA / 1995)
Moe no Suzaku "Suzaku" (Naomi Kawase / Japan / 1996)
The Thin Red Line (Terrence Malick / USA, Canada / 1998)
Wandâfuru raifu "After Life" (Hirokazu Koreeda / Japan / 1998)
Pola X (Les Carax / France, Switzerland, Germany, Japan / 1999)


Eureka (Shinji Aoyama / Japan / 2000)
Zhantai "Platform" (Zhang Ke Jia / China, Hong Kong, Japan, France / 2000)
Bungalow (Ulrich Köhler / Germany / 2002)
Kôfuku no kane "Blessing Bell" (Sabu / Japan / 2002)
The Brown Bunny (Vincent Gallo / USA, Japan, France / 2003)
Marseille (Angela Schanelec / Germany / 2004)
Sud pralad "Tropical Malady" (Apichatpong Weerasethakul / Thailand, France, Germany, Italy / 2004)
Au-delà de la haine "Beyond Hatred" (Olivier Meyrou / France / 2005)
Batalla en el cielo "Battle in Heaven" (Carlos Reygadas / Mexico, Belgium France, Germany / 2005)
couldn't decide for a no.10 - too many contenders...

Return to Lists and Recommendations

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests