We have selected the top 15 films of the 20th Century. The highest manifestations of what is called “Cinema”: they are the masterpieces of the Seventh Art. In doing so, we have traveled the history of the medium that more than any other has influenced the culture.
It was not an easy operation, considering the caliber of titles worthy of being in the hit parade.
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Here’s my list of the Top 15 films of the 20th Century:
15. Braveheart (1995)
Braveheart is a 1995 American epic war film directed and co-produced by Mel Gibson, who portrays William Wallace, a late-13th-century Scottish warrior. The film is fictionally based on the life of Wallace leading the Scots in the First War of Scottish Independence against King Edward I of England.
14. Apocalypse Now! (1979)
Napalm that burns the Vietnamese jungle and inflames an entire political season. An acrid smell – which for the “colonel” Robert Duvall has the taste of victory – envelops the Cinema towards the end of the 70s. Apocalypse Now is still considered the war movie par excellence, a treatise on philosophy disguised as a war diary.
13. Dance With Wolves (1990)
Northern Cavalry Lieutenant John Dunbar is ordered to go to Fort Sedgwick. It will reach its destination, however, morally deviating from the politics of the white man and from the absurd extermination perpetrated by the colonizers against the Native Americans.
A thoughtful Kevin Costner (he never separates from a diary in which he notes episodes and anecdotes) is the undisputed protagonist of a revisionist western brutal), wanted at all costs by the star of The Untouchables.
12. The Apartment (1960)
The most original way to use a tennis racket? Jack Lemmon suggests it to us, who in The Apartment improvises a culinary “service” out of the ordinary: his C.C. Baxter drains the spaghetti on a game racket. Stuff that not even Federer in the celebrations of the last Grand Slam.
A bittersweet comedy in which Billy Wilder portrays the most cynical side of American individualism, through the portrait of an employee of a large insurance company who obtains various promotions thanks to the favors he grants to his superiors.
In fact, they lend them the key to their single apartment to allow them to meet their respective lovers. The duets between Jack Lemmon and Shirley Maclaine remain one of the most beautiful pages of Hollywood in black and white.
11. Taxi Driver (1976)
Completely unable to communicate, Travis Bickle drives taxis during the night service (chosen specifically to remedy insomnia). The work leads him to clash with a violent reality, which testifies to the palpable decline of American society in the 70s.
Martin Scorsese, at the second collaboration with the fetish Robert De Niro (previously there was Mean Streets), signs one of the pillars of the history of cinema, filtering from the windshield of a taxi the urban jungle.
10. Rome, Open City (1945)
Breathe the sense of a collective tragedy: this is the ultimate goal of a master like Roberto Rossellini, a director capable – with Rome as an open city – of assigning a profound historiographic value to an audiovisual work. The film with Anna Magnani (unattainable!) And Aldo Fabrizi can be considered almost like a deferred chronicle of the German occupation on Italian soil.
9. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
A lesson in Cinema by Stanley Kubrick, author of the 2001 sci-fi masterpiece: A Space Odyssey, the master’s most enigmatic and reflective work (Omnia). A sci-fi blockbuster capable of emphasizing ontological questions that embrace man as a whole.
An immortal work that transcends science fiction: primates, astronauts, monoliths and devious calculators (that Hal 9000 that inspired Big Brother’s omnipresent eye) that dance – on the notes of the waltz On the beautiful blue Danube – harmoniously between satellites and prehistory.
8. The Great War (1959)
Mario Monicelli sent the duo Alberto Sordi and Vittorio Gassman to the front. The two matadors of Italian laughter offer two masks of Italy at war against the Austrians in the three years ’15 -’18.
7. Blade Runner (1982)
A finale full of tears and rain. The protagonists are an android hunter and a replicant, intent on writing one of the most memorable pages in the history of cinema.
Ridley Scott, after rereading Philip K. Dick (author of But do androids dream of electric sheep?), sits behind the camera of Blade Runner, futuristic noir built under neon lights and existential reflections.
6. Citizen Kane (1941)
At only twenty-five, Orson Welles directs his first film, Citizen Kane, which remains the most complete work of the American director. The story focuses on the life of the tycoon Charles Foster Kane, a publisher rich in capital and poor in feelings who has come to the point of death.
5. The man who fell to earth (1976)
A strange character arrives in a small town, tall and thin, very fragile and lopsided. He has some brilliant diamonds of great value with him, which he sells in a few days; without getting too noticed, he puts aside a considerable sum, which he uses to build some never seen devices, incredible inventions: once patented, these objects invade the market and make him very rich.
4. Casablanca (1942)
“Will we meet tonight?”; “I never make plans so early.” Rick Blaine speaks, cynical and disenchanted, manager of a club in Casablanca during the Second World War. To give physiognomy to one of the most famous characters in the history of cinema is Humphrey Bogart, who wears headgear and trench coat and trims cult lines throughout the film.
3. The Graduate (1967)
The concerns of a young student behind the splendid film directed by Mike Nichols and based on the novel of the same name by Charles Webb. Benjamin Braddock, belonging to the American middle class, is the protagonist of The Graduate, one of the most influential and cited films in the history of Cinema.
2. 8 ½ (1963)
An indolent director who has lost his inspiration and dreams of a harem of women. Marcello Mastroianni hides Federico Fellini’s concerns behind a pair of sunglasses in what is, together with La dolce vita, the masterpiece of the Italian director: 8 ½. Preciously made film in which omens of death and life’s pleasures, professional aspirations and family boredom coexist.
1. The Deer Hunter (1978)
Three workers from a foundry. Three sacrificial victims of a war, that of Vietnam, meaningless. Memorable war drama by Michael Cimino and played by two actors in a state of grace: Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken (awarded with the Oscar).
Before closing our list of the 15 best films (whose ranking order, we remember, is purely questionable), one last consideration must be made: there are at least as many titles that we would have liked to include and that in the end were instead sacrificed for several reasons.
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