A free way to build your virtual collection, make lists, and share them. It’s your new home on Criterion.com.
Learn More »
One of the gifts a movie lover can give another is the title of a wonderful film they have not yet discovered. - Roger Ebert
This list contains the titles of Roger Ebert's Great Movies List that are also in Criterion. The movie title will be accompanied by the published date of the critic when he named it Great Movie and a fragment of the critic.
Published date: 09/29/02.
Comment: "This is a film where tension comes from personality conflict, dialogue and body language, not action."
Published date: 09/26/04.
Comment: "I have seen it many times, been through it twice in shot-by-shot analysis, and yet it always seems to be happening as I watch it. Recurring dreams are like that."
Published date: 05/28/00.
Comment: "8 1/2 is the best film ever made about filmmaking."
Published date: 10/27/96.
Comment: "One of the great life-affirming landmarks of the movies."
Published date: 11/21/11.
Comment: "Watching a film like A Man Escaped is like a lesson in the cinema. It teaches by demonstration all the sorts of things that are not necessary in a movie. By implication, it suggests most of the things we're accustomed to are superfluous."
Published date: 01/14/98.
Comment: "Perhaps the greatest of Cassavetes' films."
Published date: 08/12/07.
Comment: "A portrait of rotten journalism and the public's insatiable appetite for it."
Published date: 04/27/97.
Comment: "Ali: Fear Eats the Soul might sound like improbable, contrived soap opera. It doesn't play that way."
Published date: 01/04/04.
Comment: "A totally accessible film. It deals directly, hilariously, and sometimes poignantly with the good people of this small town."
Published date: 05/31/11.
Comment: "From time to time I return to Ozu feeling a need to be calmed and restored. He is a man with a profound understanding of human nature, about which he makes no dramatic statements."
Published date: 05/21/06.
Comment: "Rarely has a film shown so truly that place in the heart where hope lives with fatalism."
Published date: 05/19/04.
Comment: "Bresson is one of the saints of the cinema, and Au Hasard Balthazar is his most heartbreaking prayer."
Published date: 05/07/06.
Comment: "A schoolboy cannot be expected to understand how swiftly violence and evil can strike out and change everything."
Published date: 06/24/11.
Comment: "Nature is always deeply embedded in Malick’s films. It occupies the stage and then humans edge tentatively onto it, uncertain of their roles."
Published date: 12/26/99.
Comment: "One of the most magical of all films."
Published date: 07/25/99.
Comment: "It is possibly the best-known erotic film of modern times, perhaps the best."
Published date: 05/25/03.
Comment: "Bob le Flambeur (1955) has a good claim to be the first film of the French New Wave."
Published date: 07/20/03.
Comment: "Modern movies begin here, with Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless in 1960. No debut film since Citizen Kane in 1942 has been as influential."
Published date: 03/12/06.
Comment: "Cat People wasn't frightening like a slasher movie, using shocks and gore, but frightening in an eerie, mysterious way that was hard to define; the screen harbored unseen threats."
Published date: 01/06/02.
Comment: "All discussions of Marcel Carne's Children of Paradise begin with the miracle of its making."
Published date: 06/04/06.
Comment: "Here is a film to treasure."
Published date: 12/21/97.
Comment: "Contains some of Chaplin's great comic sequences."
Published date: 08/26/12.
Comment: "While many early New Wave films had a jaunty boldness of style, Varda in this film shows a sensibility to subtly developing emotions."
Published date: 08/18/02.
Comment: "Bergman never made another film this painful. To see it is to touch the extremes of human feeling. It is so personal, so penetrating of privacy, we almost want to look away."
Published date: 11/20/05.
Comment: "Among documentaries about artists, "Crumb" (1994) is unusual in having access to the key players and biographical artifacts of Crumb's entire life."
Published date: 12/26/97.
Comment: "A poem in praise of making movies. Not good movies, not bad movies -- movies."
Published date: 12/07/97.
Comment: "This is a movie made by a man who knew how something felt, and found a way to evoke it in us."
Published date: 04/02/00.
Comment: "You shouldn’t watch the films all at once, but one at a time. Then if you are lucky and have someone to talk with, you discuss them, and learn about yourself. Or if you are alone, you discuss them with yourself, as so many of Kieslowski’s characters do."
Published date: 04/13/11.
Comment: "A film like Diary of a Country Priest gathers its strength as it continues. There's always the sense that Bresson knows exactly where he's going and the simplest way to get there."
Published date: 06/30/89.
Comment: "Comes closer to reflecting the current state of race relations in America than any other movie of our time."
Published date: 10/13/02.
Comment: "Nicolas Roeg's 1973 film remains one of the great horror masterpieces, working not with fright, which is easy, but with dread, grief and apprehension."
Published date: 10/24/04.
Comment: "It plays today more as a period piece than as living cinema, but it captures so surely the tone and look of that moment in time."
Published date: 08/01/04,
Comment: "From the very first moments of El Norte, we know that we are in the hands of a great movie."
Published date: 12/05/04.
Comment: "[Bergman] glides beyond the mere telling of his story into a kind of hypnotic series of events that have the clarity and fascination of dreams. Rarely have I felt so strongly during a movie that my mind had been shifted into a different kind of reality."
Published date: 03/16/03.
Comment: "We'd had a revelation. This was the direction American movies should take: Into idiosyncratic characters, into dialogue with an ear for the vulgar and the literate, into a plot free to surprise us about the characters, into an existential ending."
Published date: 03/30/97.
Comment: "Sooner or later, everyone who loves movies comes to Ozu. He is the quietest and gentlest of directors, the most humanistic, the most serene. But the emotions that flow through his films are strong and deep."
Published date: 12/18/05.
Comment: "The love between the two children is almost too pure and simple to be believed -- unless you can remember being a child."
Published date: 05/31/12.
Comment: "This is a musical and a comedy, but it's something more, a portrait of an impresario for whom opening theater and producing a show are the highest goals in life."
Published date: 11/09/97.
Comment: "They say you can make a great documentary about almost anything, if only you see it well enough and truly, and this film proves it."
Published date: 10/03/99.
Comment: "... the camera doesn't point or intrude, but glides."
Published date: 02/23/12.
Comment: "It would be wrong for me to reveal the details of the story Tsugumo tells. What I can say is that it is heartbreaking."
Published date: 07/08/01.
Comment: "Along the way it becomes a revealing and heartbreaking story about life in America."
Published date: 10/31/99.
Comment: "There is a teasing quality to Mamet's presentations that reminds me of a skilled magician, meticulously laying out his cards while telling us a story."
Published date: 06/05/05.
Comment: "A film seething with anger, passion, greed and emotional violence. That the characters are generally well-behaved says less about their manners than their inhibitions."
Published date: 09/29/96.
Comment: "I think this is one of the few movies that might actually be able to inspire someone to lead their life a little differently."
Published date: 08/13/09.
Comment: "In a Lonely Place is a superb example of the mature Hollywood studio system at the top of its form."
Published date: 06/09/02.
Comment: "Brooks' great achievement in the film is to portray Smith and Hickock as the unexceptional, dim-witted, morally adrift losers they were."
Published date: 01/19/12.
Comment: "It is one of those works that has proceeded directly to the status of Great Movie without going through the intermediate stage of being a good movie."
Published date: 01/19/12.
Comment: "It is one of those works that has proceeded directly to the status of Great Movie without going through the intermediate stage of being a good movie."
Published date: 06/20/04.
Comment: "There is joy in the filmmaking that feels fresh today and felt audacious at the time."
Published date: 08/05/01.
Comment: "It never less than dazzling to look at."
Published date: 09/15/02.
Comment: "Despite its murders and intrigues, its betrayals and blood feuds, Kind Hearts and Coronets has a dry and detached air."
Published date: 10/15/00.
Comment: "It is on many lists of the greatest films, a distinction that obscures how down to earth it is, how direct in its story of a new marriage off to a shaky start."
Published date: 01/19/97.
Comment: "L'Avventura becomes a place in our imagination -- a melancholy moral desert."
Published date: 05/14/12.
Comment: "To watch a film like this, or any Rohmer film, creates a sense of peaceful regard in me. He isn't afraid of losing my attention with too much dialogue, or too little action. He invites me to arrive at my own moral judgments."
Published date: 01/05/97.
Comment: "The movie is made with boundless energy. Fellini stood here at the dividing point between the neorealism of his earlier films ... and the carnival visuals of his extravagant later ones."
Published date: 05/30/99.
Comment: "It is a deliberate, artificial artistic construction. I watched it with a pleasure so intense I was surprised."
Published date: 02/13/05.
Comment: "One of the best two or three films Ozu ever made."
Published date: 06/08/97.
Comment: "One of the pleasures of Le Samourai is to realize how complicated the plot has grown, in its flat, deadpan way."
Published date: 10/21/09.
Comment: ""Leon Morin, Priest" is a consistently intriguing film, because Melville so cleverly plays with our expectations. There is an undercurrent of sincere religiosity at work."
Published date: 08/03/97.
Comment: "The film doesn't ask for sympathy for the killer Franz Becker, but it asks for understanding: As he says in his own defense, he cannot escape or control the evil compulsions that overtake him."
Published date: 02/11/10.
Comment: "The movie is not a melodramatic tearjerker. It's so tough it might not be filmable today, when even Alzheimer's stories have happy endings."
Published date: 11/14/99.
Comment: "Robert Altman has made a dozen films that can be called great in one way or another, but one of them is perfect, and that one is McCabe & Mrs. Miller."
Published date: 12/15/07.
Comment: "The most unconventional biopic I've ever seen, and one of the best."
Published date: 06/08/03.
Comment: "Jacques Tati is the great philosophical tinkerer of comedy, taking meticulous care to arrange his films so that they unfold in a series of revelations and effortless delights."
Published date: 12/23/08.
Comment: "This beloved Canadian film is rich in characters, glowing with life in the midst of death."
Published date: 10/10/96.
Comment: "There are some real laughs in it, but Mr. Hulot's Holiday gives us something rarer, an amused affection for human nature -- so odd, so valuable, so particular."
Published date: 11/11/12.
Comment: "Works because Lynch is absolutely uncompromising."
Published date: 10/26/97.
Comment: "My Darling Clementine must be one of the sweetest and most good-hearted of all Westerns."
Published date: 06/13/99.
Comment: "What they actually say is not really the point, I think. I made a lot of notes about Andre's theories and Wally's doubts, but this is not a logical process, it is a conversation, in which the real subject is the tone, the mood, the energy. Here are two friends who have each found a way to live successfully. "
Published date: 05/29/08.
Comment: "God, but this film is beautiful."
Published date: 09/25/05.
Comment: "Nanook is one of the most vital and unforgettable human beings ever recorded on film."
Published date: 09/06/00.
Comment: "More than anything else, it is a tender poem to the wounded and the sad."
Published date: 08/16/98.
Comment: "As artificial as Cabiria's behavior sometimes seems, it always seems her own, and this little woman carries herself proudly through the gutters of Rome."
Published date: 08/17/97.
Comment: "Alfred Hitchcock's Notorious is the most elegant expression of the master's visual style, just as Vertigo is the fullest expression of his obsessions."
Published date: 03/21/99.
Comment: "It is still possible to feel the power of the film and of Brando and Kazan, who changed American movie acting forever."
Published date: 03/08/08.
Comment: "When the film was over, I had plans. I could not carry them out. I went to bed. Not to sleep. To feel. To puzzle about what had happened to me. I had started by viewing a film that initially bored me. It had found its way into my soul. Even after the first half hour, I had little idea what power awaited me, but now I could see how those opening minutes had to be as they were."
Published date: 05/14/00.
Comment: "Seeing Orpheus today is like glimpsing a cinematic realm that has passed completely from the scene."
Published date: 05/16/11.
Comment: "Pale Flower is one of the most haunting noirs I've seen, and something more; in 1964 it was an important work in an emerging Japanese New Wave of independent filmmakers, an exercise in existential cool. It involves a plot, but it is all about attitude."
Published date: 08/25/07.
Comment: "What makes Del Toro's "Pan's Labyrinth" so powerful, I think, is that it brings together two kinds of material, obviously not compatible, and insists on playing true to both, right to the end. Because there is no compromise there is no escape route, and the dangers in each world are always present in the other."
Published date: 04/26/98.
Comment: "This synopsis could apply equally to a great or a laughable film. Brooks makes it a great one."
Published date: 12/08/02.
Comment: "The movie lacks any of the gimmicks used to pump up emotion and add story interest, because it doesn't need them: It is fascinated by the sadness of its own truth."
Published date: 07/21/10.
Comment: "The best thing about "Mystery Train" is that it takes you to an America you feel you ought to be able to find for yourself, if you only knew where to look."
Published date: 05/02/99.
Comment: "The movies make us into voyeurs. We sit in the dark, watching other people's lives. It is the bargain the cinema strikes with us, although most films are too well-behaved to mention it."
Published date: 01/07/01.
Comment: "A film we return to over the years, for the beauty of its images and because we hope to understand its mysteries."
Published date: 07/06/97.
Comment: "Bresson films with a certain gravity, a directness."
Published date: 08/02/98.
Comment: "A film of haunting mystery and buried sexual hysteria."
Published date: 08/29/04.
Comment: "Playtime is a peculiar, mysterious, magical film."
Published date: 10/01/00.
Comment: "Nobody can film an epic battle scene like Kurosawa."
Published date: 05/26/02.
Comment: "Rashomon (1950) struck the world of film like a thunderbolt."
Published date: 11/18/10.
Comment: "Akira Kurosawa's Red Beard is assembled with the complexity and depth of a good l9th-century novel, and it is a pleasure, in a time of stylishly fragmented films, to watch a director taking the time to fully develop his characters."
Published date: 05/01/98.
Comment: "It's a sign of the movie's complexity that John Wayne, often typecast, is given a tortured, conflicted character to play."
Published date: 08/01/02.
Comment: "There is something else unique about the heist scene: It is the centerpiece of the film, not the climax."
Published date: 07/03/05.
Comment: "The Glasses character in Safety Last would have blended with the background of the department store where he worked if it had not been for action imposed upon him. But what action!"
Published date: 02/26/06.
Comment: "As extreme a samurai film as I've seen in both senses (the ethics and the violence), and one of the best."
Published date: 10/20/07.
Comment: "Sometimes it is difficult to say exactly why a story strikes us with such power. In the case of "Sansho the Bailiff," it may be the unrelieved tragedy that strikes this good family for no good reason."
Published date: 02/21/11.
Comment: "Senso is lush, broadly emotional and beautifully photographed."
Published date: 08/19/01.
Comment: "Akira Kurosawa's The Seven Samurai (1954) is not only a great film in its own right, but the source of a genre that would flow through the rest of the century."
Published date: 12/29/10.
Comment: "There is no proper response to this film. It is an enormous fact, a 550-minute howl of pain and anger in the face of genocide. It is one of the noblest films ever made."
Published date: 01/31/12.
Comment: "It is difficult to imagine Bergman writing such dialogue, but those who knew him said he had a sense of humor that was the equal of his periods of depression and despair."
Published date: 01/19/03.
Comment: "There was so much to think about afterward, and so much that remained in my memory."
Published date: 08/01/11.
Comment: "Seen today, Stagecoach may not seem very original. That's because it influenced countless later movies in which a mixed bag of characters are thrown together by chance and forced to survive an ordeal."
Published date: 08/08/99.
Comment: "The later films have their own merits, and Stolen Kisses is one of Truffaut's best, but The 400 Blows, with all its simplicity and feeling, is in a class by itself."
Published date: 04/04/01.
Comment: "I watched "The Apu Trilogy" recently over a period of three nights, and found my thoughts returning to it during the days. It is about a time, place and culture far removed from our own, and yet it connects directly and deeply with our human feelings."
Published date: 03/07/13.
Comment: "He made dramas, musicals, thrillers, musicals, anything, but he never made another film like The Ballad of Narayama."
Published date: 12/10/00.
Comment: "Probably Fields' best film."
Published date: 10/10/04.
Comment: "What lessons a modern viewer can gain from the film depends on who is watching and what they want to see."
Published date: 03/19/99.
Comment: "The Bicycle Thief is so well-entrenched as an official masterpiece that it is a little startling to visit it again after many years and realize that it is still alive and has strength and freshness."
Published date: 06/25/00.
Comment: "Most of the films of Luis Buñuel are comedies in one way or another, but he doesn't go for gags and punch lines; his comedy is more like a dig in the ribs, sly and painful."
Published date: 02/25/09.
Comment: "The parts do not quite fit, and anyway this is not a puzzle to be assembled. It is a romance about those moments we all sometimes have when we think we see ourselves at a distance."
Published date: 11/11/01.
Comment: "One of the most mannered and contrived love movies ever filmed. It glitters and dazzles, and beneath the artifice it creates a heart, and breaks it."
Published date: 05/11/97.
Comment: "A macabre comedy, a mordant view of human nature that suggests we harbor savage instincts and unspeakable secrets."
Published date: 08/04/02.
Comment: "It is a relief to find a director who doesn't force his material, who trusts us to understand what's funny without being told."
Published date: 09/07/27.
Comment: "It is a funny film, which we expect from Chaplin, and a brave one."
Published date: 01/09/12.
Comment: "The writing and editing are the keys to how this film never seems to be the deceptive assembly that it is, but appears to be proceeding on schedule, whatever that schedule is."
Published date: 11/23/97.
Comment: "A movie like The Lady Eve is so hard to make that you can't make it at all unless you find a way to make it seem effortless. Preston Sturges does a kind of breathless balancing act here, involving romance, deception and physical comedy."
Published date: 07/04/04.
Comment: "The film is above all an evocation of mood. It is about a town with no reason to exist, and people with no reason to live there. The only hope is in transgression."
Published date: 10/29/08.
Comment: "Among those who do not already have rigid views on the subject, this film is likely to inspire more serious thought on the nature of Jesus than any other ever made."
Published date: 09/14/06.
Comment: "Written by the only man who could have written it, directed by the only man who could have directed it, and stars the only man who could have played its title character."
Published date: 10/29/12.
Comment: "Here is the saddest film I have ever seen about the life of a woman."
Published date: 12/07/03.
Comment: "Not a moment of The Manchurian Candidate lacks edge and tension and a cynical spin."
Published date: 04/24/05.
Comment: "Fassbinder himself was cruel and distant to those around him, particularly those who loved him, and in Maria Braun, he created an indelible monster who is perversely fascinating."
Published date: 08/18/11.
Comment: "He invites us to peer closely at these people he pins so precisely to the screen."
Published date: 01/17/99.
Comment: "Newly available on video at last in a high-quality print, it is the story of a man who has been compared to King Lear because of his pride, stubbornness, and the way he loses everything that matters."
Published date: 11/24/96.
Comment: "One of the most frightening of movies."
Published date: 07/06/10.
Comment: "I really do feel as if Ozu is looking at his films along with me. He isn't throwing them up on the screen for me to see by myself. Together we look at people trying to please, and often failing, and sometimes redeeming."
Published date: 02/16/97.
Comment: "You cannot know the history of silent film unless you know the face of Renee Maria Falconetti."
Published date: 01/01/05.
Comment: "The film is voluptuous in its beauty and passionate in its storytelling. You don't watch it, you bathe in it."
Published date: 02/12/06.
Comment: "Films have grown so aggressive and jittery that it takes patience to calm down into one like "The River." Its most dramatic moment takes place offscreen. Renoir is not interested in emotional manipulation but in regarding lives as they are lived. Not everyone we like need be successful, and not everyone we dislike need fail. All will be sorted out in the end -- or perhaps not, which is also the way time passes and lives resolve themselves."
Published date: 02/29/2004.
Comment: "So simple and so labyrinthine, so guileless and so angry, so innocent and so dangerous, that you can't simply watch it, you have to absorb it."
Published date: 10/27/02.
Comment: "The movie looks past the fat, bald military man with the walrus moustache, and sees inside, to an idealist and a romantic. To know him is to love him."
Published date: 01/16/05.
Comment: "The film tells the story of Catherine the Great as a bizarre visual extravaganza, combining twisted sexuality and bold bawdy humor as if Mel Brooks had collaborated with the Marquis de Sade."
Published date: 04/16/00.
Comment: "This is an uncompromising film, regarding good and evil with the same simplicity and faith as its hero."
Published date: 12/10/08.
Comment: "The film is oblique. Most of the rest of the story involves reading between the lines."
Published date: 02/1/01.
Comment: "The popularity of Jonathan Demme's movie is likely to last as long as there is a market for being scared."
Published date: 11/20/12.
Comment: "What follows is considered a coded message about Franco’s fascist regime, but it’s not for me to connect the dots. I relate to it more strongly as a poetic work about the imagination of children, and how it can lead them into mischief and sometimes rescue them from its consequences."
Published date: 10/21/97.
Comment: "One of those rare films where you remember the names of the characters because you remember them -- as people, as types, as benchmarks."
Published date: 05/06/09.
Comment: "This 1940 movie is one of the great entertainments. It lifts up the heart."
Published date: 12/08/96.
Comment: "Of all the movies I have seen, this one most completely embodies the romance of going to the movies."
Published date: 01/21/01.
Comment: "The satire has a deft, wicked touch."
Published date: 03/09/03.
Comment: "After he completed "Red" (1994), the final film in his "Three Colors" trilogy, Krzysztof Kieslowski announced that he would retire. This was not a man weary of work. It was the retirement of a magician, a Prospero who was now content to lay aside his art--to read and smoke."
Published date: 07/24/08.
Comment: "You can freeze almost any frame of this film and be looking at a striking still photograph."
Published date: 11/09/03.
Comment: "It ennobles the cinema. It says, yes, a movie can help us make small steps against our imperfections."
Published date: 02/01/04.
Comment: "There's not a trace of vanity in [Gabin's] performance."
Published date: 10/11/98.
Comment: "It is about people who are almost impossibly adult, in that fanciful movie way -- so suave, cynical, sophisticated, smooth and sure that a lifetime is hardly long enough to achieve such polish. They glide."
Published date: 03/09/04.
Comment: "One of the greatest of all films."
Published date: 04/28/02.
Comment: "It is said that at one level or another, Chaplin's characters were always asking that we love them. Umberto doesn't care if we love him or not. That is why we love him."
Published date: 01/17/08.
Comment: "Unlike most sociologically oriented films in the true crime genre, it lacks the Freudian explanation for everything and shows us pure evil, remote and inhuman."
Published date: 12/04/12.
Comment: "Fassbinder's visual style is the perfect match for this subject."
Published date: 05/23/04.
Comment: "Recent critics find Victim timid in its treatment of homosexuality, but viewed in the context of Great Britain in 1961, it's a film of courage."
Published date: 04/29/10.
Comment: "Buñuel was anything but a sentimentalist, and Spain was wrong if it expected a joyous homecoming. His film was not anti-Catholic nor against the ruling class, but it established his virtuous nun, her rich landowning uncle and his son, her cousin, in a dark and scandalous story."
Published date: 04/01/01.
Comment: "This is a great movie, and I am not surprised to find Susan Sontag describing it as one of the most extraordinary, beautiful, and original works of art that I know of."
Published date: 04/13/97.
Comment: "Is it a parable about noble savages and the crushed spirits of city dwellers? That's what the film's surface seems to suggest, but I think it's also about something deeper and more elusive: The mystery of communication."
Published date: 04/12/98.
Comment: "The film evokes a mood of reverie, elegy and meditation."
Published date: 12/01/07.
Comment: "[I] was awestruck by its bleak, courageous power."
Published date: 03/25/09.
Comment: "Why does the film, which I have made sound so depressing, remain so popular after more than 20 years? It achieves a kind of transcendence in its gloom. It is uncompromisingly, sincerely, itself. It is not a lesson or a lecture, it is funny but in a consistent way that it earns, and it is unforgettably acted."
Published date: 02/01/98.
Comment: "More than almost any other film I can think of, Woman in the Dunes' uses visuals to create a tangible texture -- of sand, of skin, of water seeping into sand and changing its nature."
Published date: 07/15/07.
Comment: "An insanely brilliant comedy."
Published date: 01/18/98.
Comment: "In countless ways visible and invisible, Sirk's sly subversion skewed American popular culture, and helped launch a new age of irony."
Published date: 04/10/05.
Comment: "Even Eastwood's Man With No Name is inspired, perhaps, by the samurai in Yojimbo."