There are some films on my list that wouldn't even be considered good by prevailing critical opinion, let alone great. (The Brown Bunny and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me come to mind. Remember when Roger Ebert famously declared that The Brown Bunny was the worst film ever screened at Cannes? This from a man who gave four stars to Prometheus—so that's sayin' something. If my memory serves me correctly, didn't Vincent Gallo then wish—out loud—that Ebert would die? If you've seen Ebert lately, you know that he's still—technically speaking—alive, but I'd still think twice before giving Gallo a bad review in the future.)
Keep in mind that this list is accurate only as of this very moment. Now that I am typing this next sentence, it is no longer accurate. But I can reassure those of you who may doubt the resolve of these opinions that my top ten has remained relatively stable since Mulholland Dr. was released in 2001. I can't really say enough about Mulholland Dr. It has everything I'm looking for in a movie—surrealism, mystery, suspense, profound truth, midgets, boobies... And the love story between Betty/Diane (Naomi Watts) and Rita/Camilla (Laura Elena Harring) is certainly the most moving (and horrifying) that I'm aware of. I think people tend to lose sight of this amid all the Lynchian trappings—the creepy bum behind the dumpster, the Cowboy, Ann Miller, the tiny elderly couple scurrying out of a brown paper bag, etc.
I was surprised to discover that I actually have ten films in common with the Sight and Sound list. I was equally surprised that Luis Bunuel, John Cassavetes, and Powell & Pressburger were completely ignored by that list. And what about Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast and D.W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation? I thought every film critic on earth had a big throbbing hard-on for those films. (Incidentally, neither one appears on my list either.)
1. Mulholland Dr. (2001), David Lynch.
2. Cries and Whispers (1972), Ingmar Bergman.
3. Vivre Sa Vie (1962), Jean-Luc Godard.
4. Persona (1966), Ingmar Bergman.
5. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Stanley Kubrick.
6. The Brown Bunny (2003), Vincent Gallo.
7. Opening Night (1976), John Cassavetes.
8. Juliet of the Spirits (1965), Federico Fellini.
9. You, the Living (2007), Roy Andersson.
10. All About Eve (1950), Joseph Mankiewicz.
11. Pierrot le fou (1965), Jean-Luc Godard.
12. Barton Fink (1991), Joel & Ethan Coen.
13. A Woman Under the Influence (1974), John Cassavetes.
14. Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993) Woody Allen.
15. Citizen Kane (1941), Orson Welles.
16. Psycho (1960), Alfred Hitchcock.
17. Pulp Fiction (1994), Quentin Tarantino.
18. Black Narcissus (1947), Powell & Pressburger.
19. The Conversation (1974), Francis Ford Coppola.
20. Dressed to Kill (1980), Brian De Palma.
21. Duck Soup (1933), Leo McCarey.
22. Pink Flamingos (1972), John Waters.
23. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992), David Lynch.
24. Dr. Strangelove (1964), Stanley Kubrick.
25. Harakiri (1962), Masaki Kobayashi.
25. The Night of the Hunter (1955), Charles Laughton.
26. The Silence (1963), Ingmar Bergman.
27. 8½ (1963), Federico Fellini.
28. Safe (1995), Todd Haynes.
29. Ran (1985), Akira Kurosawa.
30. Manhattan (1979), Woody Allen.
31. Taxi Driver (1976), Martin Scorsese.
32. The Double Life of Veronique (1991), Krzysztof Kieslowski.
33. For All Mankind (1989), Al Reinert.
34. The Lost Weekend (1945), Billy Wilder.
35. The Godfather (1972), Francis Ford Coppola.
36. The Searchers (1956), John Ford.
37. Touch of Evil (1958), Orson Welles.
38. The Straight Story (1999), David Lynch.
39. Taste of Cherry (1997), Abbas Kiarostami.
40. Hud (1963), Martin Ritt.
41. Inglourious Basterds (2009), Quentin Tarantino.
42. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972), Luis Bunuel.
43. The Seventh Continent (1989), Michael Haneke.
44. Johnny Guitar (1954), Nicholas Ray.
45. Fargo (1996), Joel & Ethan Coen.
46. Blow Out (1981), Brian De Palma.
47. Rear Window (1954), Alfred Hitchcock.
48. The Godfather Part II (1974), Francis Ford Coppola.
49. Ikiru (1952), Akira Kurosawa.
50. In a Lonely Place (1950), Nicholas Ray.
1. Mulholland Drive.
2. Cries and Whispers.
3. Vivre Sa Vie.
5. 2001: A Space Odyssey.
6. The Brown Bunny.
7. Opening Night.
8. Juliet of the Spirits.
9. You, the Living.
10. All About Eve.