The Online Film Critics Society announced their latest top 100 list this morning: The 100 Best First Films. Citizen Kane in the top spot is pretty much a no-brainer, though I have to admit I voted for Breathless ahead of it and I’m surprised to see Godard’s film only clocking in at #5. I guess I gave it some extra credit simply for being “influential” and “important” as well as being revolutionary in its day.

Here are the top 10 films. You can read member-written blurbs about the top 25 as well as see the entire list of 100 films at the OFCS website.

  1. Citizen Kane (Orson Welles)
  2. Eraserhead (David Lynch)
  3. Night of the Living Dead (George A. Romero)
  4. The Maltese Falcon (John Huston)
  5. Breathless (Jean-Luc Godard)
  6. Reservoir Dogs (Quentin Tarantino)
  7. The Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton)
  8. Blood Simple (Joel Coen and Ethan Coen)
  9. The 400 Blows (François Truffaut)
  10. 12 Angry Men (Sidney Lumet)

Check out a suggested master list of first films after the jump and pick your own top 10 in the comments section.

Stuart Gordon’s Re-Animator is one notable omission that I spotted.

10 Things I Hate About You (Gil Junger)

12 Angry Men (Sydney Lumet)

40-Year-Old Virgin, The (Judd Apatow)

400 Blows, The (François Truffaut)

About Last Night… (Edward Zwick)

Accatone (Pier Paolo Pasolini)

Addams Family, The (Barry Sonnenfeld)

Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai Across the 8th Dimension, The (W.D. Richter)

Age D’Or, L’ (Luis Buñuel)

Airborne (Rob Bowman)

Airplane! (Jerry Zucker, Jim Abrahams, David Zucker)

Albino Alligator (Kevin Spacey)

Alice (Jan Svankmajer)

Alien 3 (David Fincher)

American Beauty (Sam Mendes)

American Pie (Paul and Chris Weitz)

Amores Perros (Alejandro González Iñárritu)

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (Adam McKay)

And God Created Woman (Roger Vadim)

Anne of the Thousand Days (Charles Jarrott)

Antwone Fisher (Denzel Washington)

As Tears Go By (Wong Kar Wai)

Atlante, L’ (Jean Vigo)

Auntie Mame (Morton DaCosta)

Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery (Jay Roach)

Away from Her (Sarah Polley)

Bad Boys (Michael Bay)

Bad Company (Robert Benton)

Bad Taste (Peter Jackson)

Badlands (Terrence Malick)

Bangkok Dangerous (Danny Pang Fat and Oxide Pang Chung)

Barefoot in the Park (Gene Saks)

Barravento (Glauber Rocha)

Beau Serge, Le (Claude Chabrol)

Behind Enemy Lines (John Moore)

Being John Malkovich (Spike Jonze)

Bellboy, The (Jerry Lewis)

Belly (Hype Williams)

Best Man, The (Malcolm D. Lee)

Better Off Dead (Savage Steve Holland)

Big Night (Campbell Scott and Stanley Tucci)

Bill Cosby: Himself (Bill Cosby)

Billy Elliot (Stephen Daldry)

Bird with the Crystal Plumage, The (Dario Argento)

Black Girl (Ousmane Sembene)

Black Peter (Milos Forman)

Black Sunday (Mario Bava)

Blair Witch Project, The (Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez)

Bleak Moments (Mike Leigh)

Blind Husbands (Erich von Stroheim)

Blood of a Poet (Jean Cocteau)

Blood of Jesus (Spencer Williams)

Blood Simple (Joel and Ethan Coen)

Blue Collar (Paul Schrader)

Blue Light, The (Leni Riefenstahl)

Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (Paul Mazursky)

Bob Roberts (Tim Robbins)

Body Heat (Lawrence Kasdan)

Boondock Saints, The (Troy Duffy)

Bottle Rocket (Wes Anderson)

Bound (Andy and Larry Wachowski)

Boxing Helena (Jennifer Lynch)

Boy With Green Hair, The (Joseph Losey)

Boyz N the Hood (John Singleton)

Breathless (Jean-Luc Godard)

Breathless (Yang Ik-joon)

Brick (Rian Johnson)

Bright Young Things (Stephen Fry)

Brothers McMullen, The (Edward Burns)

Bronx Tale, A (Robert De Niro)

Buck and the Preacher (Sidney Poitier)

Buffalo ’66 (Vincent Gallo)

Bugsy Malone (Alan Parker)

Bus 174 (José Padilha)

But I’m a Cheerleader (Jamie Babbit)

Cabin Fever (Eli Roth)

Cabin in the Sky (Vincente Minnelli)

Caddyshack (Harold Ramis)

Caged Heat (Jonathan Demme)

Calvaire (Fabrice Du Welz)

Can’t Stop the Music (Nancy Walker)

Capote (Bennett Miller)

Carnival of Souls (Herk Harvey)

Casper (Brad Silberling)

Castle, The (Rob Sitch)

Castle of Cagliostro, The (Hayao Miyazaki)

Catch Us If You Can (John Boorman)

Cell, The (Tarsem Singh)

Chariots of Fire (Hugh Hudson)

Charlie’s Angels (McG)

Chaser, The (Na Hong-jin)

Chicago (Rob Marshall)

Chocolate War, The (Keith Gordon)

Choke (Clark Gregg)

Chopper (Andrew Dominik)

Citizen Kane (Orson Welles)

Citizen Ruth (Alexander Payne)

Clean and Sober (Glenn Gordon Caron)

Clean, Shaven (Lodge Kerrigan)

Clerks (Kevin Smith)

Clockmaker, The (Bertrand Tavernier)

Closely Watched Trains (Jiri Menzel)

Commare seca, La (Bernardo Bertolucci)

Con Air (Simon West)

Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (George Clooney)

Cooler, The (Wayne Kramer)

Couples Retreat (Peter Billingsley)

CQ (Roman Coppola)

Crash (Paul Haggis)

Crazy in Alabama (Antonia Banderas)

Critters (Stephen Herek)

Cronos (Guillermo del Toro)

Dances with Wolves (Kevin Costner)

Dark Star (John Carpenter)

Decline of Western Civilization (Penelope Spheeris)

Delicatessen (Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet)

Delinquients, The (Robert Altman)

Dernier Combat, Le (Luc Besson)

Destination Tokyo (Delmer Davies)

Deterrence (Rod Lurie)

Diamonds of the Night (Jan Nemec)

Dillinger (John Milius)

Diner (Barry Levinson)

District 9 (Neill Blomkamp)

Dog Soldiers (Neil Marshall)

Donnie Darko (Richard Kelly)

Down in the Delta (Maya Angelou)

Downhill Racer (Michael Ritchie)

Dragnet (Tom Mankiewicz)

Driller Killer, The (Abel Ferrara)

Drugstore Cowboy (Gus Van Sant)

Duel (Steven Spielberg)

Duellists, The (Ridley Scott)

Dumb and Dumber (Peter and Bobby Farrelly)

Easy Rider (Dennis Hopper)

Eggshells (Tobe Hooper)

Electric Dreams (Steve Barron)

Element of Crime, The (Lars von Trier)

Elevator to the Gallows (Louis Malle)

Enfance nue, L’ (Maurice Pialat)

Equilibrium (Kurt Wimmer)

Eraserhead (David Lynch)

Everything Is Illuminated (Liev Schreiber)

Eve’s Bayou (Kasi Lemmons)

Evil Dead, The (Sam Raimi)

Executive Decision (Stuart Baird)

Eye of God (Tim Blake Nelson)

Falling from Grace (John Mellencamp)

Falls, The (Peter Greenaway)

Fandango (Kevin Reynolds)

Fast Times at Ridgemont High (Amy Heckerling)

Fear and Desire (Stanley Kubrick)

Final Destination (James Wong)

Fistful of Fingers, A (Edgar Wright)

Fists in the Pocket (Marco Bellocchio)

Following (Christopher Nolan)

For Your Eyes Only (John Glen)

Forbidden Zone (Richard Elfman)

Force of Evil (Abraham Polonsky)

Forgetting Sarah Marshall (Nicholas Stoller)

Foul Play (Colin Higgins)

Frailty (Bill Paxton)

Fresh (Boaz Yakin)

Friday (F. Gary Gray)

Fried Green Tomatoes (Jon Avnet)

Fritz the Cat (Ralph Bakshi)

Garden State (Zach Braff)

Gates of Heaven (Errol Morris)

Gattaca (Andrew Niccol)

Generation, A (Andrzej Wajda)

George Washington (David Gordon Green)

Get Carter (Mike Hodges)

Go Fish (Rose Troche)

Going All the Way (Mark Pellington)

Gone Baby Gone (Ben Affleck)

Gong Show Movie, The (Chuck Barris)

Goodbye, Mr. Chips (Herbert Ross)

Grand Theft Auto (Ron Howard)

Grease (Randal Kleiser)

Grease 2 (Patricia Birch)

Great Muppet Caper, The (Jim Henson)

Great McGinty, The (Preston Sturges)

Gridlock’d (Vondie Curtis-Hall)

Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, A (Dito Montiel)

Gummo (Harmony Korine)

Gumshoe (Stephen Frears)

Half Nelson (Ryan Fleck)

Halloween II (Rick Rosenthal)

Hard Candy (David Slade)

Hard Eight (Paul Thomas Anderson)

Hard Rain (Mikael Salomon)

Hard Times (Walter Hill)

Harlan County U.S.A. (Barbara Kopple)

Harlem Nights (Eddie Murphy)

Head (Bob Rafelson)

Heathers (Michael Lehmann)

Heaven Can Wait (Warren Beatty and Buck Henry)

Hedwig and the Angry Inch (John Cameron Mitchell)

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (John McNaughton)

Henry V (Laurence Olivier)

Henry V (Kenneth Branagh)

Hester Street (Joan Micklin Silver)

Hired Hand, The (Peter Fonda)

Hiroshima mon amour (Alain Resnais)

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The (Garth Jennings)

Hollywood Boulevard (Joe Dante)

Hollywood Shuffle (Robert Townsend)

Home at the End of the World, A (Michael Mayer)

Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (Joe Johnston)

Honeymoon Killers, The (Leonard Kastle)

House of 1000 Corpses (Rob Zombie)

House of Games (David Mamet)

House of Yes, The (Mark Waters)

House Party (Reginald Hudlin)

Householder, The (James Ivory)

Human Nature (Michel Gondry)

Hunger, The (Tony Scott)

Hustle & Flow (Craig Brewer)

I Shot Jesse James (Samuel Fuller)

I Wanna Hold Your Hand (Robert Zemekis)

Idolmaker, The (Taylor Hackford)

Igby Goes Down (Burr Steers)

I’m Gonna Git You Sucka (Keenan Ivory Wayans)

In Bruges (Martin McDonagh)

In the Company of Men (Neil LaBute)

In the Loop (Armando Iannucci)

In the Mood (Phil Alden Robinson)

In Which We Serve (David Lean and Noel Coward)

Indian Runner, The (Sean Penn)

Inside (Julien Maury, Alexandre Bustillo)

Invention of Lying, The (Ricky Gervais)

Iron Giant, The (Brad Bird)

It Happened Here (Kevin Brownlow)

It’s a Trad, Dad (Richard Lester

Ivan’s Childhood (Andrei Tarkovsky)

I’ve Loved You So Long (Philippe Claudel)

Je tu il elle (Chantal Akerman)

Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling (Richard Pryor)

Johnny Suede (Tom DiCillo)

Jour de Féte (Jacques Tati)

Juice (Ernest R. Dickerson)

Jumpin’ Jack Flash (Penny Marshall)

Kalifornia (Dominic Sena)

Keeping the Faith (Edward Norton)

Kid, The (Charles Chaplin)

Kids (Larry Clark)

Killer of Sheep (Charles Burnett)

Killing Zoe (Roger Avary)

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (Shane Black)

Knife in the Water (Roman Polanski)

Lady in the Lake (Robert Montgomery)

Lake Mungo (Joel Anderson)

Landlord, The (Hal Ashby)

Lars and the Real Girl (Craig Gillespie)

Last House on the Left, The (Wes Craven)

Last Night (Don McKellar)

Layer Cake (Matthew Vaughn)

Left-Handed Gun, The (Arthur Penn)

Lemora: A Child’s Tale of the Supernatural (Richard Blackburn)

Let It Ride (Joe Pytka)

Libertad, La (Lisandro Alonso)

Little Fugitive (Morris Engel and Ruth Orkin)

Little Man Tate (Jodie Foster)

Little Miss Sunshine (Jonathan Dayton and Valarie Faris)

Living Out Loud (Richard LaGravenese)

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (Guy Ritchie)

Lola (Jacques Demy)

Long Blue Road (Gillo Pontecorvo)

Longtime Companion (Norman René)

Look Back in Anger (Tony Richardson)

Look Both Ways (Sarah Watt)

Looking for Richard (Al Pacino)

Lookout, The (Scott Frank)

Lords of Flatbush, The (Martin Davidson and Stephen Verona)

Love Actually (Richard Curtis)

Love Is Colder Than Death (Rainer Werner Fassbinder)

Mad Max (George Miller)

Made (Jon Favreau)

Madea’s Family Reunion (Tyler Perry)

Maltese Falcon, The (John Huston)

Mambo Kings, The (Arne Glimcher)

Man Is Not a Bird (Dusan Makavejev)

Man with the Screaming Brain (Bruce Campbell)

Man Without a Face, The (Mel Gibson)

Mariachi, El (Robert Rodriguez)

Marty (Delbert Mann)

Mary & Max (Adam Elliot)

Masked and Anonymous (Larry Charles)

Mauvaise Graine (Billy Wilder)

Maximum Overdrive (Stephen King)

Me and You and Everyone We Know (Miranda July)

Meatballs (Ivan Reitman)

Melvin Goes to Dinner (Bob Odenkirk)

Menace II Society (Allen and Albert Hughes)

Michael Clayton (Tony Gilroy)

Mission: Impossible III (J.J. Abrams)

Money Talks (Brett Ratner)

Monster House (Gil Kenan)

Monsters, Inc. (Pete Docter)

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones)

Moon (Duncan Jones)

More (Barbet Schroeder)

Mousehunt (Gore Verbinski)

Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium (Zach Helm)

Mr. Saturday Night (Billy Crystal)

Multiple Maniacs (John Waters)

Muppet Christmas Carol, The (Brian Henson)

Muppets from Space (Tim Hill)

Muppets Take Manhattan, The (Franz Oz)

Muriel’s Wedding (P.J. Hogan)

My Favorite Year (Richard Benjamin)

My Left Foot (Jim Sheridan)

Mystic Pizza (Donald Petrie)

Myth of Fingerprints, The (Bart Freundlich)

Nanook of the North (Robert Flaherty)

Napoleon Dynamite (Jared Hess)

Nazi Agent (Jules Dassin)

New Leaf, A (Elaine May)

New Jack City (Mario Van Peebles)

Newsies (Kenny Ortega)

Night of the Hunter, The (Charles Laughton)

Night of the Living Dead (George A. Romero)

Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (Chuck Russell)

Nil by Mouth (Gary Oldman)

Nine Queens (Fabián Bielinsky)

None But the Brave (Frank Sinatra)

Not Wanted (Ida Lupino)

Ossessione (Luchino Visconti)

Oh! What a Lovely War (Richard Attenborough)

On Deadly Ground (Steven Seagal)

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (Peter Hunt)

On the Town (Stanley Donan and Gene Kelly)

One-Eyed Jacks (Marlon Brando)

Ordinary People (Robert Redford)

Orphanage, The (Juan Antonio Bayona)

Oxford Blues (Robert Boris)

Pallbearer, The (Matt Reeves)

Pather Panchali (Satyajit Ray)

Paradise Alley (Sylvester Stallone)

Paranormal Activity (Oren Peli)

Paris Belongs to Us (Jacques Rivette)

Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure (Tim Burton)

Penelope (Mark Palansky)

Pepi, Luci, Bom… (Pedro Almodóvar)

Performance (Nicolas Roeg and Donald Cammell)

Period of Adjustment (George Roy Hill)

Permanent Vacation (Jim Jarmusch)

Personal Best (Robert Towne)

Pi (Darren Aronofsky)

Piranha II: The Spawning (James Cameron)

Play Misty for Me (Clint Eastwood)

Players Club, The (Ice Cube)

Pleasantville (Gary Ross)

Pleasure Garden, The (Alfred Hitchcock)

Plunkett & Macleane (Jake Scott)

Point Courte, La (Agnes Varda)

Poor Cow (Ken Loach)

Praying with Anger (M. Night Shyamalan)

Premonition (Alan Rudolph)

Pretty in Pink (Howard Deutch)

Primal Fear (Gregory Hoblit)

Primer (Shane Carruth)

Problem Child (Dennis Dugan)

Problem Child 2 (Brian Levant)

Producers, The (Mel Brooks)

Proof (Jocelyn Moorhouse)

Public Access (Bryan Singer)

Pumpkinhead (Stan Winston)

Quick Change (Bill Murray)

Rachel, Rachel (Paul Newman)

Raising Victor Vargas (Peter Sollett)

Ratcatcher (Lynne Ramsay)

Real Life (Albert Brooks)

Reality Bites (Ben Stiller)

Reckless (James Foley)

Red Road (Andrea Arnold)

Reflecting Skin, The (Philip Ridley)

Replacement Killers, The (Antoine Fuqua)

Repo Man (Alex Cox)

Reservoir Dogs (Quentin Tarantino)

Return of the Secausus 7 (John Sayles)

Return to Me (Bonnie Hunt)

Right at Your Door (Chris Gorak)

Ringer, The (Guy Hamilton)

Risky Business (Paul Brickman)

Roger & Me (Michael Moore)

Romeo Must Die (Andrzej Bartkowiak)

Romulus, My Father (Richard Roxburgh)

Room, The (Tommy Wiseau)

Roost, The (Ti West)

Run Fatboy Run (David Schwimmer)

Runaways, The (Floria Sigismondi)

Safe Place, A (Henry Jaglom)

Salaam Bombay! (Mira Nair)

Salton Sea, The (D.J. Caruso)

Samson & Delilah (Warwick Thornton)

Sanshiro Sugata (Akira Kurosawa)

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (Karel Reisz)

Saved! (Brian Dannelly)

Saw (James Wan)

Saw II (Darren Lynn Bousman)

Say Anything… (Cameron Crowe)

Scent of Green Papaya, The (Tran Anh Hung)

Schlock (John Landis)

Searching for Bobby Fischer (Steven Zaillian)

Second Awakening of Christa Klages, The (Margarette von Trotta)

Sentinelle, La (Arnaud Desplechin)

Serenity (Joss Whedon)

Seul Contre Tous (Gaspar Noe)

Seventh Continent, The (Michael Haneke)

Sex, Lies, and Videotape (Steven Soderbergh)

Sexy Beast (Jonathan Glazer)

Shadows (John Cassavetes)

Shallow Grave (Danny Boyle)

Shanghai Noon (Tom Dey)

Shawshank Redemption, The (Frank Darabont)

She Had to Say Yes (George Amy and Busby Berkeley)

She’s Gotta Have It (Spike Lee)

Sign of Leo, The (Eric Rohmer)

Signs of Life (Werner Herzog)

Silence de la Mer, Le (Jean-Pierre Melville)

Single Man, A (Tom Ford)

Sita Sings the Blues (Nina Paley)

Sixteen Candles (John Hughes)

Skeletons (Nick Whitfield)

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (Kerry Conran)

Slacker (Richard Linklater)

Sleepaway Camp (Robert Hiltzik)

Sleeping Car Murders, The (Costa-Gavras)

Sling Blade (Billy Bob Thornton)

Slither (James Gunn)

Something for Everyone (Harold Prince)

Speed (Jan de Bont)

Spirits of the Air, Gremlins of the Clouds (Alex Proyas)

Spy in Black, The (Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger)

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (Leonard Nimoy)

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (William Shatner)

Star Trek: Generations (David Carson)

Star Trek: First Contact (Jonathan Frakes)

Station Agent, The (Thomas McCarthy)

Step Up (Anne Fletcher)

Stereo (David Cronenberg)

Story of a Love Affair (Michelangelo Antonioni)

Straight Out of Brooklyn (Matty Rich)

Strangers (Ramin Bahrani)

Strictly Ballroom (Baz Luhrmann)

Strong Man, The (Frank Capra)

Summer Camp Nightmare (Bert L. Dragin)

Summer in the City (Wim Wenders)

Super Size Me (Morgan Spurlock)

Swamp Women (Roger Corman)

Sweet Charity (Bob Fosse)

Sweetie (Jane Campion)

Swimming with Sharks (George Huang)

Synecdoche, New York (Charlie Kaufman)

Tall Guy, The (Mel Smith)

Teaching Mrs. Tingle (Kevin Williamson)

Terms of Endearment (James L. Brooks)

Terror Train (Roger Spottiswoode)

Tetsuo, the Iron Man (Tsukamoto Shinya)

Thank You for Smoking (Jason Reitman)

That Day, On the Beach (Edward Yang)

That Sinking Feeling (Bill Forsyth)

That Thing You Do! (Tom Hanks)

They Live By Night (Nicholas Ray)

Thin Line Between Love and Hate, A (Martin Lawrence)

Things You Can Tell Just By Looking At Her (Rodrigo García Barcha)

Thirst (Rod Hardy)

Thirteen (Catherine Hardwicke)

This Is My Life (Nora Ephron)

This Is Spinal Tap (Marty DiBergi and Rob Reiner)

This Sporting Life (Lindsay Anderson)

Throw Momma From the Train (Danny DeVito)

Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (Michael Cimino)

THX 1138 (George Lucas)

Timecrimes (Nacho Vigalondo)

Titicut Follies (Frederick Wiseman)

Titus (Julie Taymor)

Toy Story (John Lasseter)

Traveler, The (Abbas Kiarostami)

Tree Grows in Brooklyn, A (Elia Kazan)

Trees Lounge (Steve Buscemi)

Triplets of Belleville, The (Sylvain Chomet)

Truly, Madly, Deeply (Anthony Minghella)

Truth or Consequences, N.M. (Kiefer Sutherland)

Twenty Four Seven (Shane Meadows)

Twin Falls Idaho (Michael Polish)

Two Hands (George Jordan)

Unbelievable Truth, The (Hal Hartley)

Under the Cherry Moon (Prince)

Valley Girl (Martha Coolidge)

Very Bad Things (Peter Berg)

Violent Cop (Takeshi Kitano)

Virgin Suicides, The (Sofia Coppola)

Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women (Peter Bogdanovich)

Waiting… (Rob McKittrick)

Walk on the Moon, A (Tony Goldwyn)

Wanda (Barbara Loden)

War Zone, The (Tim Roth)

Watership Down (Martin Rosen)

Waxwork (Anthony Hickox)

Way of the Dragon (Bruce Lee)

Way of the Gun, The (Christopher McQuarrie)

Welcome to the Dollhouse (Todd Solondz)

Westworld (Michael Crichton)

What’s Up, Tiger Lily? (Woody Allen)

When the Clouds Roll By (Victor Fleming)

Where the Buffalo Roam (Art Linson)

Whip It (Drew Barrymore)

Whirlpool of Fate, The (Jean Renoir)

Whisky Galore (Alexander Mackendrick)

White Sheik, The (Federico Fellini)

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Mike Nichols)

Who’s That Knocking at My Door (Martin Scorsese)

Withnail and I (Bruce Robinson)

X-15 (Richard Donner)

Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl (Joan Chen)

Year of the Dog (Mike White)

Yentl (Barbra Streisand)

Yesterday Girl (Alexander Kluge)

You Can Count on Me (Kenneth Lonergan)

Young Doctors in Love (Garry Marshall)

Young Stranger, The (John Frankenheimer)

Young Torless (Volker Schlondorff)

Zero Effect (Jake Kasdan)

Zombieland (Ruben Fleischer)

9 Responses to “The OFCS selects the 100 Best First Films”

  1. “I’m surprised to see Godard’s film only clocking in at #5.”

    I’m not so surprised. My guess is that the median age of the online film critics is quite young. Breathless is a good example of a film that needs to be experienced in its historical context — something hard to do in this case if you’re younger than 50.

    Need I mention that Laughton’s “best first film” turned out to be his best last film, as well?

  2. I’d definitely put “Elevator to the Gallows” and “Shadows” in the top 10. Also “THX-1138” and “She’s Gotta Have It”. “Badlands”, maybe. “Citizen Kane”, definitely. “Hiroshima, Mon Amour” was Resnais’ debut? Amazing.

    was “Fear and Desire” ever released theatrically? It was Kubrick’s first film, but I think people consider “Killer’s Kiss” or more importantly, “The Killing”, as his debut. I’d throw “The Killing’ on the top 10 for sure.

  3. I can’t believe Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is Mike Nichols’ first film.

    I scrolled down the list and had a chuckle when Dances with Wolves clocked in at #96, above Get Carter no less. Man, DwW just won’t go away no matter how much scorn is piled on it. Obviously it has its supporters.

  4. Hmmm… I was about to post a list of my own (actually, I already did) but misread the post, and didn’t notice that it was for best FIRST films. Which complicates things. This is off the top of my head.

    (1) THX 1138 (2) Breathless (3) The Duellists (4) Pitfall (5) Thief (6) Bottle Rocket (7) Slacker (8) The 400 Blows (9) Akira (10) Eraserhead

  5. For those of you keeping score at home, here’s how I voted. Ask me on a different day and I’d probably have voted differently, but you know how it is:

    1. Breathless – Jean-Luc Godard
    2. Citizen Kane – Orson Welles
    3. 400 Blows, The – François Truffaut
    4. Maltese Falcon, The – John Huston
    5. Sex, Lies, and Videotape – Steven Soderbergh
    6. Reservoir Dogs – Quentin Tarantino
    7. Being John Malkovich – Spike Jonze
    8. Badlands – Terrence Malick
    9. Drugstore Cowboy – Gus Van Sant
    10. Duel – Steven Spielberg
    11. Get Carter – Mike Hodges
    12. Knife in the Water – Roman Polanski
    13. Atlante, L’ – Jean Vigo
    14. This Sporting Life – Lindsay Anderson
    15. Blind Husbands – Erich von Stroheim
    16. Slacker – Richard Linklater
    17. Body Heat – Lawrence Kasdan
    18. Easy Rider – Dennis Hopper
    19. Night of the Hunter, The – Charles Laughton
    20. Monty Python and the Holy Grail – Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones
    21. Repo Man – Alex Cox
    22. This Is Spinal Tap – Marty DiBergi and Rob Reiner
    23. You Can Count on Me – Kenneth Lonergan
    24. Blood Simple – Joel and Ethan Coen
    25. Eraserhead – David Lynch

  6. It’s kind of obvious this list was created by a group of predominantly middle-to-upper-middle class white, male, western hemisphere dwellers. I’d feel better whining about this fact if it wasn’t (a) par for the course and (b) I wasn’t one myself.

    But a couple points:
    — It feels a little like cheating to include former TV and music video directors like Spike Jonze, Terry Gilliam and David Fincher. By the time they directed movies, they were well versed in the visual art of the cinematic, if not cinema itself.
    — Ditto the lack of non-Western World directors. I’d humbly submit Bong Joon-ho’s Barking Dogs Never Bite.
    — Where are all the women? Lynne Ramsay’s Ratcatcher deserves to be much higher than #100. That it is a stunning, heart-wrenching film. Clare Denis’ Chocolat may not be her best film, but it’s certainly better than…
    — Four–count ’em–FOUR Star Trek movies? Way to fly your geek flags high, bros.

  7. If everyone who’d ever directed a couple popular music videos were retroactively capable of making a decent feature-length film, there would be about two dozen fewer horrifically bad genre films in the last 20 years. I don’t think music videos are solid training for anything other than making more music videos and/or pretentious commercials.

    Although it does appear every actor has a great first feature in them.

  8. Sure we may have been spared some iffy genre pics, Joel, but it seems for every McG there’s a Romanek or a Pellington or a Jonze or Fincher.

    There are plenty of actor-directors that fail to rise to the level of Eastwood or Laughton. Jack Nicholson and John Wayne’s turns in the director’s chair were no great shakes. And there are plenty of actors who give it a try, flop spectacularly and never direct again (Alec Baldwin’s Devil and Daniel Webster remake).

  9. I think we can all agree this list is far from perfect, especially after you get past the 25 mark. Perhaps they would’ve been better off just offering a top 25.

    It’s not a curated list like some are, meaning it was just subject to a vote of the membership. PIck 25 films, a #1 vote gets 25 points and on down the line to #25 getting 1 point. All it would take is one really big fan of Love Actually to get it placed in the ’70s ahead of a lot of other deserving films.

    Nevertheless, the fun in lists like these is in disagreeing with them and also in thinking about a subset of films you might not have thought about before.

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