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  • Eve O'Dea

The 25 Best Films I Have Ever Seen

Updated: Nov 4, 2023

I have seen a lot of movies in 25 years. The first I can remember is The Wizard of Oz in my childhood living room, dressed as a tiny Glinda. The most recent, as of Halloween night 2023, is The Nightmare Before Christmas. My Letterboxd has the total number at 1,422, with 174 this year alone. Yet I am plagued by the overwhelming amount of films I have not seen: cult classics, underground gems, even blockbusters that have eluded me. Still, in the interest of reflection on my 25th birthday, I have compiled a list of what I believe to be the 25 greatest films I have ever seen, keeping in mind that I, a humble film lover, am totally unqualified to declare anything the “best” or "greatest”. While some of my personal favourites are included on this list, I tried to maintain a realistic level of objectivity. Of course, over time, this list will change, as it should. Tomorrow morning, I might wake up in a cold sweat, panicking that I forgot one title in particular. Hopefully this only encourages me to revisit such a list every year, as my cinematic education evolves and expands, and I continue to grow as a person.


Without further ado, here are the 25 best films I have seen in 25 years (in alphabetical order)


All That Heaven Allows (1955) dir. Douglas Sirk


Badlands (1973) dir. Terrence Malick


Battleship Potemkin (1925) dir. Sergei Eisenstein


Beau Travail (1999) dir. Claire Denis


Black Orpheus (1959) dir. Marcel Camus


Brief Encounter (1945) dir. David Lean


Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962) dir. Angès Varda


Closely Watched Trains (1966) dir. Jiří Menzel


The Cranes are Flying (1957) dir. Mikhail Kalatozov


The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943) Dir. Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger


The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) dir. Orson Welles


Mulholland Drive (2001) dir. David Lynch


Paris, Texas (1984) dir. Werner Herzog


The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) dir. Carl Theodor Dryer


Paths of Glory (1957) dir. Stanley Kubrick


Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019) dir. Céline Sciamma


Ran (1985) dir. Akira Kurosawa


The Red Balloon (1956) dir. Albert Lamorisse


The Red Shoes (1948) dir. Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger


Seven Samurai (1954) dir. Akira Kurosawa


Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927) dir. F.W. Murnau


Tokyo Story (1953) dir. Yasujirō Ozu


The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) dir. Jacques Demy


The Virgin Spring (1960) dir. Ingmar Bergman


The Wizard of Oz (1939) dir. Victor Fleming


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