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Top 10 Best of the Best in Movies

It is another movie list, but this is one with a difference. In this list I have selected various aspects of film making and chosen the best of the best. For example, the best actor in history, the best actress in history. I am sure that there will be some disagreement with my choices, but you are welcome to comment and tell me what you think.

1. Best Actor

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Winner: Marlon Brando
Notable Movies: A Streetcar Named Desire

Marlon Brando is widely considered the greatest movie actor of all time, rivaled only by the more theatrically oriented Laurence Olivier in terms of esteem. No actor ever exerted such a profound influence on succeeding generations of actors as did Brando. More than 50 years after he first scorched the screen as Stanley Kowalski in the movie version of Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) and a quarter-century after his last great performance as Col. Kurtz in Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now (1979), all American actors are still being measured by the yardstick that was Brando. Brando eclipsed the reputation of other great actors circa 1950, such as Paul Muni and Fredric March. Only the luster of Spencer Tracy’s reputation hasn’t dimmed when seen in the starlight thrown off by Brando. However, neither Tracy nor Olivier created an entire school of acting just by the force of his personality. Brando did.

Get the best of Marlon Brando, including A Streetcar Named Desire, when you buy TCM Greatest Classic Legends Film Collection: Marlon Brando at Amazon.com!


2. Best Actress

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Winner: Renée Jeanne Falconetti (often credited as Maria Falconetti)
Notable Movies: The Passion of Saint Joan of Arc

A noted stage actress for many years, Falconetti is best known for The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928). It is considered by some historians to have been the single greatest performance ever put on film. Born in Sermano, Corsica, Falconetti became a stage actress in Paris in 1918. By the time that director Carl Dreyer saw her act in amateur theater and selected her as his leading lady in his up-and-coming production La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc, she was already a celebrated stage artiste, and had appeared in one film, La Comtesse de Somerive (1917), directed by Georges Denola and Jean Kemm. Her portrayal of Joan of Arc in La Passion is widely considered one of the most astonishing performances ever committed to film, and it would remain her final cinematic role. You can watch this complete film on the Top 10 Brilliant Complete Movies Online.

3. Best Cinematographer

Hall

Winner: Conrad Hall
Notable Movies: The Road to Perdition, American Beauty, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Runners Up: Gregg Toland, James Wong Howe

Born in Tahiti, the son of writer James Norman Hall, author of “Mutiny on the Bounty,” Conrad Hall studied filmmaking at USC. He and two classmates formed a production company and sold a project to a local television station. Hall’s company branched out into making industrial films and TV commercials. They were hired to shoot location footage for several feature films, including’s Disney’s The Living Desert (1953). In the early 1960s, Hall was hired as a camera assistant on several features and worked his way up to camera operator. He received his first cinematographer credit in 1965. Hall won acclaim for his rich and complex compositions, especially for In Cold Blood (1967) and won an Academy Award for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969). He won two more Oscars, for American Beauty (1999), in 2000, and Road to Perdition (2002).


4. Best Director

468Px-Orson Welles 1937

Winner: Orson Welles
Notable Movies: Citizen Kane

Runners Up: Stanley Kubrick, Alfred Hitchcock, Federico Fellini

Orson Welles was gifted in many arts (magic, piano, painting) as a child. When his mother died (he was nine) he traveled the world with his father. When his father died (he was fifteen) he became the ward of Chicago’s Dr. Maurice Bernstein. Recommendations by Thornton Wilder and Alexander Woollcott got him into Katherine Cornell’s road company, with which he made his New York debut as Tybalt in 1934. The same year he married, directed his first short, and appeared on radio for the first time. His first film to be seen by the public was Citizen Kane (1941), a commercial failure losing RKO $150,000, but regarded by many as the best film ever made. Many of his next films were commercial failures and he exiled himself to Europe in 1948. In 1956 he directed Touch of Evil (1958); it failed in the U.S. but won a prize at the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair. In 1975, in spite of all his box-office failures, he received the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 1984 the Directors Guild of America awarded him its highest honor, the D.W. Griffith Award. His reputation as a film maker has climbed steadily ever since.

5. Best Production Designer

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Winner: Cedric Gibbons
Notable Movies: The Wizard of Oz, Pride and Prejudice, An American in Paris

Runners Up: John Box, Ken Adam

After graduating from New York’s Art Students League he worked for his architect father, then started film work at Edison Studios in 1915 assisting Hugo Ballin. In 1918 he moved to Goldwyn as art director and, in 1924, began his 32 year stint as supervising art director for some 1500 MGM films, with direct responsibility in well over 150 of those. He designed the Oscar itself, winning it 11 of the 37 times he was nominated for it. Some of his designs influenced American interiors, and it has been argued that he was the most important art director in the history of American cinema.

Read all about the most magnificent people in movie making with 85 Years of the Oscar: The Official History of the Academy Awards at Amazon.com!


6. Best Special Effects

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Winner: Douglas Trumbull
Notable Movies: 2001, A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner, Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Legendary filmmaker and visual effects pioneer, Douglas Trumbull, was one of the Special Photographic Effects Supervisors for 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). He went on to become the Visual Effects Supervisor for such classics as Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), and Blade Runner (1982), each of which earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Visual Effects. He is the recipient of an Academy Award in the area of Scientific and Technical Achievement, as well as the International Monitor Award and American Society of Cinematographers’ Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding contributions in the field of filmmaking. The majority of the completed cinema projects that Trumbull has been associated with have come to be recognised as classics, gaining audiences over time. Brainstorm predicted the fascination of virtual reality while Silent Running reflected the emerging ecology movement of the early 1970s, and is today regarded as a science fiction classic.

7. Best Sound Designer

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Winner: Walter Murch
Notable Movies: Apocalypse Now, The Godfather, The English Patient

Walter Murch has been editing sound in Hollywood since starting on Francis Ford Coppola’s film “The Rain People” (1969). He edited sound on “American Graffiti” (1973) and “The Godfather Part II” (1974), won his first Academy Award nomination for “The Conversation” (1974), won his first Oscar for “Apocalypse Now” (1979), and won an unprecedented double Oscars for sound and film editing for his work on “The English Patient” (1996). Most recently he helped reconstruct “Touch of Evil” to Orson Welles original notes, and edited The Talented Mr. Ripley. Mr. Murch has directed — Return to Oz (1985) — and longs to do so again, but as an editor and sound man he is one of the few universally acknowledged masters in his field. For his work on the film “Apocolypse Now”, Walter coined the term “Sound Designer”, and along with colleagues such as Ben Burtt, helped to elevate the art and impact of film sound to a new level.


8. Best Editor

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Winner: William Hornbeck
Notable Movies: A Place in the Sun, It’s a Wonderful Life, Shane

Frank Capra called William Hornbeck “the greatest film editor in the history of motion pictures,” and in a 1977 poll 100 of his peers named Hornbeck the best editor in the film industry, two great compliments for a man relatively unknown to most filmgoers. In a tribute to Hornbeck after his death, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences distributed a program note that said, “If William Hornbeck had been anything other than a film editor, he would have been proclaimed by the world at large to be what his associates always knew him to be—a true Hollywood legend.” Although the general public is not familiar with his name and few film books refer to him, he was unquestionably one of the true pioneers of his chosen field of film editing. Hornbeck’s career is remarkable for its influence and longevity. The Hornbeck style was eclectic and flexible. (“If you had rules for editing,” he said, “you could put it in a book and anyone could become an editor.”) His editing technique is simple: it serves its story, and the intent of the director, according to what is most appropriate; it is superbly crafted; it is humanistic in tone. Two films Hornbeck cut for George Stevens, Shane and A Place in the Sun, illustrate these tendencies.

9. Best Screenwriter

Wilder

Winner: Billy Wilder
Notable Movies: Sunset Boulevard, The Lost Weekend, The Apartment

Runners up: Woody Allen

Billy Wilder broke into films as a screenwriter in 1929, and wrote scripts for many German films until Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933. Wilder immediately realized his Jewish ancestry would cause problems, so he emigrated to Paris, then the US. Although he spoke no English when he arrived in Hollywood, Wilder was a fast learner, and thanks to contacts such as Peter Lorre (with whom he shared an apartment), he was able to break into American films. His partnership with Charles Brackett started in 1938 and the team was responsible for writing some of Hollywood’s classic comedies, including Ninotchka (1939) and Ball of Fire (1941). He is regarded as one of the most brilliant and versatile filmmakers of Hollywood’s golden age. Many of Wilder’s films achieved both critical and public acclaim. He won 7 academy awards and was nominated 15 times.

10. Best Costume Designer

Contest-Head

Winner: Edith Head
Notable Movies: Roman Holiday, Samson and Delilah, The Sting

Runners Up: Milena Canonero, Colleen Atwood

Edith Head’s 35 Oscar nominations and 8 awards make her both the most honored costume designer and woman in Academy Award history to date. A photograph of Miss Head working on a dress design appears on one stamp of a sheet of 10 USA 37¢ commemorative postage stamps, issued 25 February 2003, celebrating American Filmmaking: Behind the Scenes. The stamp honors costume design. She was responsible for some of the best-known Hollywood fashion images of her day, with her costumes being worn by the most glamorous and famous actresses in films seen by millions. Head’s influence on world fashion was far reaching, especially in the 1950s when she began appearing on Art Linkletter’s television program and writing books on fashion. Despite her own accomplishments, she also had a reputation for taking credit for others’ work — but in the studio days a department head not uncommonly claimed credit for everything in her department.

Sources: IMDB, Wikipedia

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Listverse Staff

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  • Bonnie_

    No mention of Peter Jackson and the LOTR trilogy? I think it is the single most masterful work ever brought to the screen. All was pitch perfect; writing, acting, directing, special effects, music, editing.

    Instead of LOTR, I see "Silent Running," the worst piece of depressing 70's crap I've ever had to sit through, "American Beauty," the ridiculous hit piece on American family life, and OH PLEASE, "Citizen Kane," a bloated piece of self indulgence that keeps getting "best movie ever nods" because every other lemming says so.

    Ahem. Sorry. Need more coffee.

    • Blair

      LOTR is far from perfect. Return of the King had to be the most boring, over drawn movie I’ve ever had the misfortune of sitting through.

    • Randal graves

      That look was so gay. I thought Sam was gonna tell the little hobbits to take a walk so he could saunter over to Frodo and suck his fucking cock. Now *that* would have been an Academy Award worthy ending

  • Reea

    interesting list, very informative!

  • Reea: Thanks :)

  • YH

    i see where you are going with this one, but i wouldnt say that all of these people are the best of the best of all time. but you almost got it.

    Try a list for living or still active best of the best. Get people into the new shit, i know old movies are great, just drop some knowledge so some of these newbie moviephiles can have something to look forward to when the movies come out.

    Greatest living and active director? Scorsese or Wong kar wai?

    or actor? David caruso or Keanu Reeves (joke) everyone knows its Javier Bordem.

    anyway, so on.

  • Heh Bonnie_ – I can offer you a chill pill too if you’d like :)

    YH: This is a list from the start to the now of film – I agree it would be different if it were the now only.

  • stugy

    Great list, but I would have added an 11th category, for original soundtrack or score. Just watch some classic scenes on mute and you can see how much the music adds.

    If I had to pick a winner for this category it would be between Howard Shore in LOTR, Miklos Rozsa in Ben Hur, Bernard Herrmann for Citizen Kane to Taxi Driver, and of course John Williams for every recognizable theme in movies…

    • Anna M.

      I was thinking of this category, too. :) Definitely John Williams.

  • stugy: I was very tempted to do so – and you definitely name the names I would have been considering for the prize.

  • When I clicked on this I was expecting a debacle, but this is a pleasingly solid list. In particular, the selections of Trumbull and Murch give me a great deal of delight.

    I would immediately disagree with only two: cinematographer should’ve been Sven Nykvist, and director should’ve been Kubrick. Not that your choices were bad or wrong, just I find these artists’ work to be of a higher standard. I say again, if you haven’t seen any of Nykvist’s work with Bergman, get on it.

    Keep it up with these film lists, you surprise me every time!

  • tjgrs

    here’s my list…top 3 in each and in order, since, i’m a huge movie buff…

    Actor: Marlon Brando, Robert DeNiro (Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, Casino) Spencer Tracy (Captain Courageous, Boys Town, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner)
    Actress:Katherine Hepburn (Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Morning Glory), Ingrid Bergman (For Whom the Bell Tolls, Casablanca, Gaslight) Maria Falconetti
    Director:Martin Scorsese (Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, The Departed), Francis For Coppola (Godfather, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and Apocalypse Now) and Orson Welles
    Cinematographer:Conrad Hall, John Toll (Braveheart, The Thin Red Line, Legends of the Fall) and Janusz Kami?ski (Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan, Jerry McGuire)
    Production Designer: Cedric Gibbons, John Box (Laurence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago, Oliver!) and John Barry (Star Wars, Superman and A Clockwork Orange)
    Special Effects: Douglas Trumbull, John Dykstra (Star Wars)and Dennis Muren (Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, Terminator 2)
    Sound Designer: Walter Murch, Scott Millan (Gladiator, Ray, Apollo 13) and Gary Rydstrom (Titanic, Saving Private Ryan, and Jurrasic Park)
    Editor:William Hornbeck, Thelma Shoonmaker (Raging Bull, The Aviator, The Departed) and Michael Kahn (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan)
    Screenwriter:Billy Wilder, Paul Haggis (Crash, Million Dollar Baby, Letters From Iwo Jima) and Woody Allen (Bullets Over Broadway, Match Point, and Hannah and Her Sisters)
    Costume Desginer: Sandy Powell (The Aviator, Gangs of New York, Shakespeare in Love), Alexandra Byrne (The Phantom of the Opera, Hamlet, Elizabeth) and John Mollo (Star Wars)

    there are some old, and some new, but all are amazing and that cannot be doubted

    • Tobias

      totally agree

  • you should’ve put a best woman director- Sofia Coppola

  • tjgrs: with a few exceptions our lists are very similar – excellent :)

    Krissy: alas there was just room for ten – but I agree – she is a fantastic director.

  • Martin L

    The only issue I might take with this list is that I would put Kubrick in first place and Welles in runner-up. Kubrick produced many more influential films, and pioneered more cinematic technology (with the aid of the brilliant Douglas Trumbull) than Mr. Welles. But that’s just my preference. I like Stugy’s notion of a winner for soundtrack or score; there I think I’d nominate old dependable Jerry Goldsmith, just for quantity alone, though he has written excellent cinematic music for everything from Alien to Our Man Flint. Oh, one point, Jon: how do you appear on radio? (I know, I know: it helps to have a face for it.) By the way, re your other note to all of us in Cyberland: I can’t think of anything you need to fix here on this site. But don’t let me stop you.

  • Martin: Kubrick was close – believe me :) Thanks for the comment.

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  • Sean the pyro

    I just can’t put Welles ahead of Kubrick, Copola or good ole Martin S. Even the band King Missile said Martin made the best films, lol. And no I am not on a first name basis with Martin but I am not going to try spelling his last name at this time of night.

    John Williams should definitely get a mention.

  • Brian Moo

    Orson Welles’ last role was voicing Unicron in the epic Transformers movie. He was in bad health those last days of his, and he reportedly said the movie was about toys “who did horrible things to one another”.

    Random Fact of the Day!

  • Brian Moo: haha – that is a great quote.

    Sean the pyro: I love virtually every film made by Scorsese – he is a masterful film maker.

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  • cfreck1246

    Kubrick is definitely better than Welles. I hesitate to say he is the best ever because that would require knowledge of every movie ever made, and I simply do not have that kind of time.

  • FLD

    Truly impressed that this is the second nod to Mr. Dreyer’s Joan of Arc on your site. It’s been my number 1 for a while and I find myself always campaigning for it. Glad to see other people are doing so as well.

  • FLD: it is a sublime film with a sublime actress – it is a shame that it is not as well known as it should be!

  • Miruna

    I know you can’t please everyone, but i have to state my issues with the best director category.
    i myself would be torn in .. many directions on choosing just one best director in history. it’s just impossible. the world’s best director.. this means BIG conflicts between ingmar bergman, charlie chaplin, kubrick, fellini, antonioni…oh geez..
    i’m not saying welles isn’t a good director but i definitely wouldn’t say the best and certainly not for citizen kane (personally i think it’s an excellent piece of work. but thats it. and it kind of “stands alone”)

  • Andreas

    I strongly believe nicolas cage’s performance in Con Air easily makes him best actor of all time. think about it. A convincing southern accent, heart wrenching emotional scene at the end and who could forget the “give me bunny” line. best all round movie of all time. there you go, that’s right i said it.
    other possibles are jean claude van dam and steven segal.
    what can i say, sheer talent!

  • batesman

    I would nominate Hitchcock as the best and most influential filmmaker of all time, just look at the sheer mass of quality work he has produced and be amazed at how many of his films you have seen. I personally regard Kubrick and Scorsese to be better and more accomplished filmmakers, but objectively speaking, nobody can beat Hitch. Welles is an interesting choice, but his work was inconsistent at best and who here has seen more than a handful of his films.

  • batesman: I appreciate your choices as I really like all of those directors. If I was to rank them I would say Kubrick 2, Hitchcock 3, Scorsese 4.

  • Emily

    funny how this is a list of the best of the best in movies, but the ad at the top is for ‘balls of fury,’ probably the biggest stinker of the year. (I haven’t seen it, I’m just guessing) Anyway, it’s a good list. I don’t know why I didn’t see it before, I missed it somehow :/

  • Jim

    dude… this looks like a list that a film professor forced down your throat. I’m surprised Deep Throat isnt on here at all… what a bunch of technical bullcrap and historical nothingness you wasted my last 5 minutes with…

  • luckyaz

    most of everyone on here nobody has heard of, come on man, you slippin. john wayne kicks every actor’s ass. scorcese is the greatest director ever(give me a movie better than goodfellas, no sissy movies), tell me a actress better than audrey hepburn, ha! you cant. put people on a list that people would know. not some statistical good people that no one knows. come on man, you slippin.

  • luckyaz: are you kidding me? This is a list of the BEST – it would be utterly wrong to put people that are famous for the sake of their fame – the people chosen here are recognized as the best in their fields by people who WORK in their fields. As for “tell me a [sic] actress better than audrey hepburn [sic]” – I did – Maria Falconetti. If Audrey were better I would have included her :)

    Jim: having never studied film, I take it as a compliment that you think my research is worthy of being taught in a University :)

  • Lilith Hel

    no one is a better costume designer than Edith Head.

  • T$

    I think that to give these topics justice for all they should have been broken down into some kind of time period. I do not think that many people my age have seen films the likes of Citizen Kane, or recognized the astounding career of Marlon Brando. With that said I respect your choices, and I have seen these movies and actors. I think in relevance to this generation Scorsese must be high on best directors. As for actors many may dispute this but I would say that a top ten would look like this.(Keep in mind I am including actors most are familiar with today)

    1. Robert De Niro- Goodfellas, Ronin, All of his movies
    2. Al Pacino- Godfather, Carlitos Way, Scarface, ect.
    3. Jack Nicholson- One Flew over the cookoo’s nest, Shining
    4. Johnny Depp- Donnie Brasco, FALILV, POTC, Blow
    5. Leonardo DiCaprio- Aviator, Departed, Gangs of NY
    6. Russell Crowe- Gladiator, Romper Stomper,Beautiful Mind
    7. Denzel Washington- Training Day, Malcolm X, Hurricane
    8. Tom Hanks- SPR, Forrest Gump, (everything else)
    9. Edward Norton- American History X, 25th Hour, Fight Club
    10.Morgan Freeman- Glory, Seven, Shawshank Redemption

    Ok, now obviously people will disagree with this however I am stern in my choices. On the basis of REAL acting these men are elite, that is not to say that they dont have some bad movies but they are the best overall. I also believe that this is just a taste of the great acting of this generation. Other actors such as Benicio Del Toro, Paul Bettany, Heath Ledger (RIP), Jaquin Pheonix, Mark Whalberg, and many more are worth admiration. Lastly I think that there are alot of good actors who dont act that much like Bruce Willis who is amazingly entertaining however he seems to play a cop, or ex cop alcoholic, or former law abiding bad ass in everything so he is entertaining but not a great ACTOR. Johnny Depp displays amazing versatility in most every movie he acts in. Depp only picks the most deep complex characters to portray so take that for what it is worth. I would personally could have put Johnny in the top spot save for those BIG three names.

  • Shawn

    Why do the actors and the director only get judged on essentially one film while the others, like the cinematographer or the art director get their slots for numerous works?

    That doesn’t seem fair, plus it really skews your choices. If you were to put the film career bests of Falconetti against say, Katharine Hepburn, Hepburn would have to be declared the winner because she has given NUMEROUS excellent film performances (The Philadelphia Story, The African Queen, Long Day’s Journey into Night, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, A Lion in Winter, On Golden Pond) while Falconetti basically has one (Joan of Arc). As a whole, Hepburn’s career is significantly more impressive and influential than Falconetti’s.

    Sure Orson Welles did an outstanding directing job on “Citizen Kane.” And yes, it was a revolutionary film that still holds up. But I could easily argue that someone like David Lean or John Ford or Scorsese or even Speilberg who have directed at least two or more outstanding films would make better candidates based upon the scope of their entire careers.

  • Peggi

    Hey Shawn, if you like Katharine Hepburn, check out the new blog on the website for the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center in Old Saybrook, CT. Go to http://www.katharinehepburntheater.org.

  • k1w1taxi

    I agree with Shawn that basing Best Actress on a one film career is rather unfair, after all even Keanu has managed one good acting performance (ok, one not totally crap). This therefore mitigates against someone like Katherine Hepburn who has displayed wonderful skills across not only a number of films but also a number of genres.

    The genre thing is also the reason I would vote against Brando. All his performances look essentially the same. Compare his body of work against a De Niro or a Tracy and, I’m sorry but it just does not stack up.

    And finally, The director. Orson Welles directed, apparently, one Great Film and even that lost money. Compared to the careers of Kubrick, Hithcock and Scorcese who all have multiple Great Films to their name, and in the cases of Scorcese and Kubrick across more than one genre.

    Cheers
    Lee

  • Joebecca

    I have to agree this list is all about opinion. I’m 32 and although i’ve heard of most of the movies these people had something to do with, there are soooo many people that have done bigger and better since then (1928??). while i would agree that these people may have set a standard, for sure, I would never call any of them the best of the best anymore. there have been over 100 years of cinema and unfortunately, with youth finding out less and less about the past, in another 20-30 years from now, these people may be nothing more of a memory of what once was, nothing compared to what is being done today. its unfortunate maybe, but it’s true.

  • steve

    edith head is the inspiration for the costume designer in the incredibles.

  • Mark

    This was a great effort that created a highly debatable list. I don’t agree with most of it, but it still gave me a lot to think about and was entertaining from start to finish.

  • This place is shit

    Brando?
    Give me a #$^&@*ing break. This just solidifies that this entire site is full of reeking #$%^@.

  • Ash

    Best special effects should definately have gone to Rik Baker

    Rik Baker Monster Maker!

  • LApatik

    Andrei Tarkovski as best director…

  • Euan

    nobody even mentioned godard… ridiculous…

  • dm

    For Director: I will go for Wong Kar Wai, Guiseppe Tornatore, David Lynch or Stanley Kubrick

    For Cinematographer: Christopher Doyle

    For Screenwriter: Michel Gondry

  • 41

    it’s just ridiculous how the ‘best of the best’ are always from like 30-60 years ago. what is this? afraid of elitists or something who deny that there are absolutely brilliant people in the cinema business today?

    i won’t take ‘influential’ for a reason

  • Mememe

    Just a little note.

    #5 – Best Production Designer
    That’s not a picture of Cedric Gibbons – that’s E.R. Burroughs, the writer (creator of Tarzan and John Carter of Mars, among others).

  • CatChick1964

    Wow… a list I have absolutely no arguements about.

    Awesome!!

  • Nancy

    This list is fanatastic. I loved how you mentioned such overlooked categories such as production designer, sound designer, and, of course, costume designer, which is so essential to movies but is rarely mentioned. And I agree with nearly everything. My personal list:
    1. Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro, Montgomery Clift, Leonardo DiCaprio
    2. Meryl Streep, Ingrid Bergman, Katherine Hepburn (I should so see that Joan of Arc movie)
    3.Gregg Toland
    4.Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorsese, Orson Welles, Frederico Fellini, Quentin Tarantino (I know, he’s not a soulful, epic director, but he’s definitely some type of genius)
    4.Alex McDowell, Ken Adam
    6.Douglas Trumbull, all the way. Blade Runner was especially beautiful. I loved how everything looked real and how so little suspension of disbelief was required, unlike the Star Wars series.
    7.I have no knowledge of this field, unfortunately.
    8.William Hornbeck, Thelma Schoonmaker (I’m a huge fan of her)
    9.Quentin Tarantino, Woody Allen, Billy Wilder, Paul Schrader
    10.Edith Head, of course, excluding her would be insane, Theodora Van Runkle, Milena Canonera, Colleen Atwood (my pa actually worked with her once, but it was on that crap Planets of the Ape remake), Piero Gherardi (La Dolce Vita)

  • Nancy

    Oh, and for actors, Heath Ledger and Johnny Depp, above DiCaprio. I just briefly forgot about them. And I think Marion Collitard is a genius as well.

  • Minty

    Great list.
    The only one I have to disagree with is director. Kubrick is my all-time favorite director.

  • tpicco

    Edith Head was a horrible human being who put her name on many many designs done by her underlings. She is a thief. Maybe her designs are good, but many of them weren’t hers.

  • JAKE

    no robert redford

  • Boo

    Why isn’t Tim Burton on this????? He’s the best director EVER.

  • COCO OBRIEN`

    Johnny Depp!!! Johnny Depp!!! is just amazingly talented, *and handsome ;)

  • elleoh

    best female director (and frankly could be right up there with the men)- Julie Taymor

    A question I posed to a colleague on the way to my acting class in my first year of university

    Me: So what is the difference between a “character actor” and a regular actor?

    Colleague: as far as I can tell it’s an actor who for the most part is so into their character that they are virtually unrecognizable from one role to the next and is usually in a supporting role, like *Gary Oldman, Merril Streep or Philip Seymore Hoffman…

    Me: So basically “character” acting is just good acting

    Colleague: yeah I guess…unless your the lead… then your a “crossover”..

    Me: labels are dumb sometimes

    Colleague: Yes, yes they are…Oh yeah. and you are usually homely too, that’s why there aren’t many “character” actresses

    Me: My film acting prof. said I would be a great character actress

    Colleague: Sorry….

    * some of the actors that would be on my list

  • Sarah

    you should have included john williams for original scores in a movie. he has been a part of almost every major movie, such as jaws, star wars, and jurassic park.

  • alexman

    i’m sorry but i think all actors and actresses until about the late 60’s/70’s were pretty bad. they acted to a set standard of over the top- wooden-esq, theatrical style that isnt at all realistic. although i like or admire some of them the lack of realism kinda makes them seem crap. they probably would have been good had they acted to the methods and notions we now go by

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  • flgh

    jfrater are the “Best of the Best” in Movies only those from before there was color & when most people’s parents eithere weren’t yet born or merely toddlers?

  • blodflekk

    I have to disagree with this list. They are all horrible choices, these people all suck!

  • jes

    I’ve been browsing your site for the first time tonight, and I have to say, though entertaining, the majority of choices for your lists pertaining to films are over-cited, pretentious b.s. and essentially useless. If I had a nickle for every lister who touted Citizen Kane, The Shining, A Clockwork Orange and Let the Right One In as best of the best, I could afford the massive doses of No-Doz required to sit through any of the above mentioned movies without slipping into a boredom-induced coma.

  • Logi

    An actress that never got enough acclaim is Gena Rowlands: Gloria, Hysterical Blindness

  • nicoleredz3

    I think it was based on opinions, not facts…

  • You say Orson Welles is the best director for ONE great movie?

  • Rutledal

    Orson Welles made 2 maybe 3 great movies and is terribly overrated, he might have been one of the most important movie directors of all time, but not best. And not even a mention of John Ford, for shame.

  • Okan

    how about the rest of the world?

  • leeislush

    Good choices …. But Greta Garbo has to surely win greatest perfomance by an actress for CAMILLE -1936, and Travis Banton was one hell of a costume designer for Paramount in the 1930's, clothing Dietrich, Lombard, Mae West and the likes

  • Adam

    people are too obsessed with making the “break through” and “ahead of the time” things the best of all time. it’s ridiculous. It’s like calling bill russell the best center of all time because he won the most championships of all time…when in reality he couldn’t make a single nba team. The games evolved and so does everything else. There’s a reason why I haven’t watch any of those movies. Because there boring. Because there’s 100 years of material and most of the stuff you put on your list just doesn’t stack up. It’s NOT as entertaining. So stop saying “well for it’s time…”…put those people in the old days here and they’d tell you that stuff is boring compared to today…i guarantee it.

  • AP

    These seem like you used Wikipedia and IMDB to form your opinion, rather than watching these selections and their competitors. Orson Welles did a swell job on Citizen Kane and it is highly regarded as one of (if not THE) best film of all time… but that doesn’t make him the best director.

    Next time, write about what you have personal experience with rather than what you can find using the internet.

  • Well, On a humorous note and having a sense of humor, why not have Bugs Bunny as the greatest actor whoever lived. And whoever did the sound effects for The Three Stooges should be on this list.

  • Best Director Runner Ups : Also Akira Kurosawa should be included

  • Robert

    Best of the best in US perhaps. You’re forgetting Kurosawa and countless others who supersede many of these in raw talent.

  • T.B.

    Edith Head, right on! The others will be debated till the end of . . . cinema. My personal favorite director is John Ford. Lots of movies to choose from with that bloke.

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