Top Ten Movies of All-Time from Scorsese, Tarantino, Coppola, Allen, Del Toro and More


Last week, the recent Sight & Sound list of the top 50 movies of all-time (find it here) was released. The poll is conducted every ten years and this year’s edition was made by polling 846 critics, programmers, academics and distributors.

In addition to that list, however, Sight & Sound polled 358 film directors, which included Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Francis Ford Coppola, Woody Allen and Mike Leigh. Tallying the results the directors’ top ten looked like this:

  1. Tokyo Story (dir. Yasujiro Ozu)
  2. 2001: A Space Odyssey (dir. Stanley Kubrick)
  3. Citizen Kane (dir. Orson Welles)
  4. 8 1/2 (dir. Federico Fellini)
  5. Taxi Driver (dir. Martin Scorsese)
  6. Apocalypse Now (dir. Francis Ford Coppola)
  7. The Godfather (dir. Francis Ford Coppola)
  8. Vertigo (dir. AAlfred Hitchcock)
  9. Mirror (dir. Andrei Tarkovsky)
  10. Bicycle Thieves (dir. Vittoria De Sica)

The problem, for me at least, is that doesn’t really tell us much. Just like the Sight & Sound list we’re looking at something that simply lists several classic films we’ve seen referenced time and again. Happily, The Playlist has helped make things more interesting by presenting the individual lists for several of the directors included.

These top tens come from the likes of Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Woody Allen, Francis Ford Coppola, Richard Ayoade, Bong Joon-Ho, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Guillermo Del Toro, Sean Durkin, Asghar Farhadi, Michel Hazavanicius, Miranda July, Mike Leigh, Michael Mann, Steve McQueen, Jeff Nichols, David O. Russell, Bela Tarr, Edgar Wright and Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

Why do I see these as more interesting? Well, I imagine the films a director believes to be the “greatest of all-time” will most likely be the films that also influenced his/her career and made them want to become a filmmaker. It gives more specifics for those of us that may want to explore the work of Scorsese, Mann or Allen a little closer.

NOTE: This article has been edited to include only five of the top tens at the request of Sight and Sound.

Woody Allen

  1. Bicycle Thieves (1948, dir. Vittorio De Sica)
  2. The Seventh Seal (1957, dir. Ingmar Bergman)
  3. Citizen Kane (1941, dir. Orson Welles)
  4. Amarcord (1973, dir. Federico Fellini)
  5. 8 1/2 (1963, dir. Federico Fellini)
  6. The 400 Blows (1959, dir. Francois Truffaut)
  7. Rashomon (1950, dir. Akira Kurosawa)
  8. La Grande Illusion (1937, dir. Jean Renoir)
  9. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972, dir. Luis Bunuel)
  10. Paths of Glory (1957, dir. Stanley Kubrick)

Francis Ford Coppola

  1. Ashes and Diamonds (1958, dir. Andrzej Wajda)
  2. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946, dir William Wyler)
  3. I Vitteloni (1953, dir. Federico Fellini)
  4. The Bad Sleep Well (1960, dir. Akira Kurosawa)
  5. Yojimbo (1961, dir. Akira Kurosawa)
  6. Singin’ in the Rain (1952, dir. Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly)
  7. The King of Comedy (1983, dir Martin Scorsese)
  8. Raging Bull (1980, dir. Martin Scorsese)
  9. The Apartment (1960s, dir. Billy Wilder)
  10. Sunrise (1927, dir. F.W. Murnau)

Guillermo Del Toro

  1. Frankenstein (1931, dir. James Whale)
  2. Freaks (1932, dir. Todd Browning)
  3. Shadow of a Doubt (1943, dir. Alfred Hitchcock)
  4. Greed (1925, dir. Erich Von Stroheim)
  5. Modern Times (1936, dir. Charlie Chaplin)
  6. La Belle Et La Bete (1946, dir. Jean Cocteau)
  7. Goodfellas (1990, dir. Martin Scorsese)
  8. Los Olvidados (1950, dir. Luis Bunuel)
  9. Nosferatu (1922, dir. F.W. Murnau)
  10. 8 1/2 (1963, dir. Federico Fellini)

Martin Scorsese

  1. 8 1/2 (1963, dir. Federico Fellini)
  2. 2001: a Space Odyssey (1968, dir. Stanley Kubrick)
  3. Ashes and Diamonds (1958, dir. Andrzej Wajda)
  4. Citizen Kane (1941, dir. Orson Welles)
  5. The Leopard (1963, dir. Luchino Visconti)
  6. Palsa (1946, dir. Roberto Rossellini)
  7. The Red Shoes (1948, dir. Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger)
  8. The River (1951, dir. Jean Renoir)
  9. Salvatore Giuliano (1962, dir. Francesco Rosi)
  10. The Searchers (1956, dir. John Ford)
  11. Ugetsu Monogatari (1953, dir. Kenji Mizoguchi)
  12. Vertigo (1958, dir. Alfred Hitchcock)

Quentin Tarantino

  1. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966, dir. Sergio Leone)
  2. Apocalypse Now (1979, dir. Francis Ford Coppola)
  3. The Bad News Bears (1976, dir. Michael Ritchie)
  4. Carrie (1976, dir. Brian DePalma)
  5. Dazed and Confused (1993, dir. Richard Linklater)
  6. The Great Escape (1963, dir. John Sturges)
  7. His Girl Friday (1940, dir. Howard Hawks)
  8. Jaws (1975, dir. Steven Spielberg)
  9. Pretty Maids All in a Row (1971, dir. Roger Vadim)
  10. Rolling Thunder (1977, dir. John Flynn)
  11. Sorcerer (1977, dir. William Friedkin)
  12. Taxi Driver (1976, dir. Martin Scorsese)

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