How the directors and critics voted

George A. Romero

Top Ten

  1. The Brothers Karamazov (Brooks)
  2. Casablanca (Curtiz)
  3. Dr. Strangelove (Kubrick)
  4. High Noon (Zinnemann)
  5. King Solomon's Mines (Bennett)
  6. North by Northwest (Hitchcock)
  7. The Quiet Man (Ford)
  8. Repulsion (Polanski)
  9. Touch of Evil (Welles)
  10. The Tales of Hoffmann (Powell, Pressburger)


If I were to attempt selections based on content or craftsmanship, I'd be intellectualising. I'd probably sound phoney, and I would no doubt include
one or two of my own films which, intellectually, I believe to be works of genius. I prefer to think of top ten as meaning favourite. When I'm condemned to hell - a good bet - I'll probably drag along a sack full of DVDs. When Charon says, "You can only bring ten. Feed the rest to Cerberus," which ten will I pick? To last me an eternity?
The Brothers Karamazov (Brooks)
Nobody is going to agree with me on this one. It's corny, it's Hollywood. But it's got The Yul. It's got Lee J., Baseheart, Salmi. It's got foxy Claire Bloom. It's even got Captain Kirk! And Maria Schell. Wow! She does a dance in a tavern, fully clothed, which might be the sexiest dance ever recorded. What can I tell you, the music makes me cry. And so does David Opatoshu.
Casablanca (Curtiz)
Those wonderful airplanes, wonderful hats, a wonderful gin joint. All wrapped up in one of the greatest flicks of all time.
Dr. Strangelove (Kubrick)
I wish I could pick all of Kubrick. I know, intellectually, that he's done 'better work', but Strangelove cracks me up. Lolita runs a close second, but having grown up in the days of 'duck and cover', in a perverse way I do love the Bomb. I also figure that when I'm in the ovens Sue Lyon won't be much of a turn-on any more, Shelly Winters will only make my pain worse, and I can get my Peter Sellers fix from Strangelove.
High Noon (Zinnemann)
How can anyone get through an eternity without ever again seeing a Western? Having grown up with Hopalong, I love Westerns, and I have a lot of faves... You might ask, "How can I pick a Western that doesn't star The Duke?" Well, I have The Duke covered (see below). But High Noon has Princess Grace and it has The Coop! I can't go to my damnation without The Coop.
King Solomon's Mines (Bennett)
Here's another one that will make the entire staff at the entertainment desk of Village Voice snicker. Come on, guys. I'm already going to hell! Let me enjoy myself, will ya? I grew up at the Loews American in the Bronx. Aside from 'forbiddens' like The Blackboard Jungle and (gasp) God's Little Acre, the most provocative glimpses of 'adult behaviour' we ever laid eyes on came to us from the grand Hollywood spectacles our parents took us to see because they believed them to be 'safe'.
North by Northwest (Hitchcock)
Faced with eternal damnation, I figure I'm going to want some fun. Maybe Cary, in that cornfield, will make my hell seem a bit less hellish.
The Quiet Man (Ford)
I was raised a Catholic, so it might be this film has an extra tug on me. But as I watch it, even in my now-corrupted state, each time I fall more in love with it.
Repulsion (Polanski)
We're now in what is thought of as my 'zone' - the horror film. Many wouldn't place Repulsion in this category, but I do. Is Jaws a horror film? Is The Silence of the Lambs? Yes. And they've elevated the genre. But hey, man, we're talkin' Roman here! You want scary. Take it from a scary guy. Go watch Repulsion.
Touch of Evil (Welles)
Faced with hell, who needs Citizen Kane? I'd take Touch of Evil any day of the eternity. Not the 'restored' version. Bring on Mancini!
The Tales of Hoffmann (Powell, Pressburger)
This is one notch out of alphabetical order, but I decided to give it the status of last position because it's my favourite film of all time; the movie that made me want to make movies.

Last Updated: 03 Aug 2011