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We Interrupt This List Already in Progress to Bring You Another List Already in Progress.

After I posted about watching the AFI Top 100, a former student asked me about recommendations from the Criterion Collection (Hello Lydia! Hope all is well! Hope you find something you like here!). I’ve seen a small percentage of the Collection, and as a film obsessive choosing one to watch can be mentally crippling, much less trying to rank them. Luckily, despite what these lists may seem to indicate, I like a well-rounded film diet, one that includes Neil Breen and Street Trash (1987) as well as Maya Deren and Agnes Varda, so I’ve watched only a portion of what the collection offers.

I made a few rules. I did a top five from each decade, with the occasional short film as a bonus. I also didn’t include any film that appears on my AFI list. Also, like I told my student, I skew towards horror and surrealism, so, again, I don’t mean this as a “best of” but a list of favorites.


Quick Reference:
My Top Ten Through the Decades

The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
The Orphic Trilogy (The Blood of a Poet/Orpheus/Testament of Orpheus) (1930-1959)
Black Narcissus (1947)
Ikiru (1952)
Last Year at Marienbad (1961)
The Spirit of the Beehive (1973)
Eraserhead (1977)
Dekalog (1988)
Dreams (1990)
Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)


The Full List

The Phantom Carriage (1921)
Häxan (1922)
Safety Last! (1923)
Body and Soul (1925)
The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)

The Orphic Trilogy (The Blood of a Poet/Orpheus/Testament of Orpheus)
M (1931)
Vampyr (1932)
I Was Born, But ….(1932)
It Happened One Night (1934)

The Great Dictator (1940)
The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941)
Cat People (1942)
Black Narcissus (1947)
Bicycle Thieves (1948)

Ikiru (1952)
The Wages of Fear (1953)
Tokyo Story (1953)
Godzilla (1954)
Diabolique (1955)

Bonus short: “The Red Balloon” (1956)

Last Year at Marienbad (1961)
8 1/2 (1963)
The Naked Kiss (1964)
Red Desert (1964)
The Battle of Algiers (1966)

Bonus Short: “La jetée” (1963)

The Spirit of the Beehive (1973)
Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974)
A Woman Under the Influence (1974)
Grey Gardens (1976)
Eraserhead (1977)
House (1977)

(Yeah, that 5 equals 6, but I couldn’t remove any of those films.)

Videodrome (1983)
Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985)
Mala Noche (1985)
Dekalog (1988)
Do the Right Thing (1989)

Dreams (1990)
The Double Life of Veronique (1991)
My Own Private Idaho (1991)
Crumb (1995)
Breaking the Waves (1996)

George Washington (2000)
Y tu mamá también (2001)
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)
Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
Brand Upon the Brain! (2006)

I didn’t include the 2010s because I’ve only seen two in the collection.

Categories: Inspiration Lists Movies

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Stephen McClurg

I like red peppers and Jan Švankmajer movies.

1. Current Listening: Lots of soul from Muscle Shoals

2. Current Viewing: A Hard Day's Night (1964).

3. Current Reading: H.G. Wells: In the Days of the Comet

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