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  • Eve O'Dea

The 25 Best Films I Have Ever Seen

Updated: Apr 29

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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