Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Favorite Film Each Year (1926-2008)

Inspired by Dave Hicks' excellent blog (, I have decided to post on the right side of my blog a list of my favorite film each year from 1926-2008. Dave impressively takes things a step further by offering a review for each of his choices.  Hopefully, I'll be able to do the same at some point.

I hope you will all find some common ground, as well as some things perhaps you might not have seen.

*I guess I reserve the right to change these from time to time.  But, if I do, I'll note it in red.


  1. I appreciate the compliments, Jeff, and glad to see you do something like this. As a fellow list addict, I find it great fun to make lists like this... then make another some time later and see how your tastes and preferences have changed. Right away I see a number of films where we are in absolute agreement (Double Indemnity, Out of the Past, A Place in the Sun, Casque d'Or to name a few) and then there are a number of films I love that just missed the top spot for me (In a Lonely Place, The Best Years of Our Lives).

  2. Dave, thanks so much for inspiring this! I really love the way you did it and hope that I can at least add some material at some point for each entry.

  3. I am still examining your formidable list Jeffrey! I am also an incurable list lover, and the year-by-year method is both challenging and satisfying. Yes, Dave just finished doing this and it was quite the blast for all the commentators. I'll definitely have more to add, but there are some very great ones here, a number of which I'd completely agree with!

  4. Sam, thanks so much for the great comments! This was fun to do and very challenging. Some years it was almost painful to list one film over another. Dave's accomplishment is truly impressive. Mine really dwarfs in comparison. But I hope at least it will give people a better overview of the films that have been important to me so far.

  5. Hi Jeffrey, I haven't commented here before but I've been checking out your blog and it's fantastic, we seem to have a lot of similar cinematic enthusiasms (looking at this list, Bresson and De Palma for starters). I haven't seen The Last Lullaby, but I'll have to really try to check it out. What most struck me about this list was Mann's Men In War, which I think is one of the great American war films, and probably the most underrated. Glad to see somebody loves that movie so much.

  6. Hi Doniphon, great to see you here! I've recently discovered your blog, too, and am really loving it. I'm a big fan (obviously) of Bresson and De Palma. And that Anthony Mann is one of my favorite of his. I was glad to find a spot on this list for one of his films. Certain of my other faves (Jarmusch, Walsh, Rossellini) were shut out, for one reason or another.

    I couldn't agree with you more about MEN IN WAR. It's absolutely one of my favorite war films of all time.

    I look forward to you seeing LULLABY at some point, and I look forward to continuing to follow your excellent work. Thanks again for the great comments!

  7. Incidentally, Jeffrey, like you I am a huge fan of Bresson, and I would probably have A MAN ESCAPE and DIARY OF A COUNTRY PRIEST as prime contenders of their years, though I admit the competition there is fierce. But your designation of BALTHASAR (which for me ranks with Mizoguchi's SANSHO THE BAILIFF as the greatest film in the history of the cinema) and PICKPOCKET as well as LES DAMES is dead-on. I was fortunate enough to attend a Jonathan Demme-moderated screening of BALTHASAR at Westchester's Jacob Burns Film Center, and I posed a question to Demme about Bresson's astute and economical use of sound in the film, and in his cinema in general. Demme gave a superlative response too.

  8. Sam, I am also a huge fan of A MAN ESCAPED and MOUCHETTE (DIARY I really need to see), and it pained me a little to not find a place for at least A MAN ESCAPED. But I also really love the Sirk film from that year and felt that I had to give it the slight edge. I love Mizoguchi, too, and hate that I have none of his films on this list. That will probably change at some point.

    It's funny that you saw a screening of BALTHAZAR with Demme. That makes me very jealous. It must have been great. Do you remember much about Demme's response? If so, I'd love to hear it.

    In Los Angeles, they used to have a series at the Skirball Institute each month entitled "Great films that inspired great filmmakers" (or something like that), and I saw Paul Schrader present a screening of PICKPOCKET. It was one of the greatest cinephile experiences I've ever had. Of particular interest was the way that Schrader diffused the hostility in the room (most people there did not get Bresson) and his ability to articulate Bresson's importance. It was an incredible evening. I also had the great fortune, right around that time, to see Wim Wenders conduct a similar screening of RULES OF THE GAME.

    Additionally, Bresson's NOTES ON THE CINEMATOGRAPHER remains one of my favorite film books of all time.

    Thanks so much for the great post, Sam!