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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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