Roger Ebert’s 10 Greatest Films Of All Time

Here now in alphabetical order, the films Roger Ebert considered to be the best ever made. From his 2012 submission to the prestigious Sight & Sound magazine poll, along with excerpts from his rationale behind each selection.

1. Aguirre, The Wrath of God (Directed by Werner Herzog, 1972)

“Aguirre” is the most evocative expression of Herzog’s genius…

2. Apocalypse Now (Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, 1979)

“Apocalypse Now” is a film which still causes real, not figurative, chills to run along my spine, and it is certainly the bravest and most ambitious fruit of Coppola’s genius.

3. Citizen Kane (Directed by Orson Welles, 1941)

“Citizen Kane” speaks for itself.

4. La Dolce Vita (Directed by Federico Fellini, 1960)

“La Dolce Vita” has become a touchstone in my life: A film about a kind of life I dreamed of living, then a film about the life I was living, the about my escape from that life.

5. The General (Directed by Buster Keaton, 1926)

There must be a silent film, and I consider “The General” to be his best.

6. Raging Bull (Directed by Martin Scorsese, 1980)

I believe “Raging Bull” is (Scorsese’s) best and most personal, a film he says in some ways saved his life. It is the greatest cinematic expression of the torture of jealousy—his “Othello.”

7. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Directed by Stanley Kubrick, 1968)

“2001: A Space Odyssey” is likewise a stand-along monument, a great visionary leap, unsurpassed in its vision of man and the universe.

8. Tokyo Story (Directed by Yasujiro Ozu, 1953)

The older I grow and the more I observe how age affects our relationships, the more I think “Tokyo Story” has to teach us.

9. The Tree of Life (Directed by Terrence Malick, 2011)

Malick boldly begins with the Big Bang and ends in an unspecified state of attenuated consciousness after death. The central section is the story of birth and raising a family.

10. Vertigo (Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)

One of my shifts last time was to replace Hitchcock’s “Notorious” with “Vertigo,” because after going through both a shot at a time during various campus sessions, I decided that “Vertigo” was, after all, the better of two nearly perfect films.

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