2 January 2011

50 Great Films Seen in 2010 (Not Including New-Release Films)

It's the start of a new year, a new film year here on Dark Eye Socket, so a quick look back to, oh, two days ago to last year and my pick of the 50 Best Films I Saw for the First Time in 2010 (not including new-release films), again in a handy list format just like last year's. As ever, it's for canonical fun and simply because I want to keep track of what films made the strongest impact on me over the years. It's also a quick and handy place to refer people who might ask for recommendations.

Christopher Lee as Dracula in Dracula: Prince of Darkness
one of my 50 Great Films of 2010

Of course, there will be the full 2010 lists in my Top Ten Films of the Year, along with the Worst Films of the Year, Female & Male Performances and the random grab bag of Nifty Surprises and Iffy Disappointments; these will start next week and run up until the end of January. But, for now, here's 50 thoroughly great films according to my 2010 viewing habits. To avoid the lengthy and arduous (and most often futile - these things change, and change frequently) process of having to list the films in any favourable arrangement, they are in alphabetical order. I guess I liked them fine all in the same way. But anything where Chrisopher Lee hisses at a priest then jumps through a window usually gets top place.

English language, or most frequently used, titles are in bold, significant alternative titles are in italics, directors' names and production year in parenthesis.

The Age of Innocence (Martin Scorsese/1993)
The Apostle (Robert Duvall/1998)
Audition (Takeshi Miike/1999)
Le ballon rouge/The Red Balloon (Albert Lamorisse/1956) (s) *
The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (Eugène Lourié/1953)
Bigger Than Life (Nicholas Ray/1956)
Broken Embraces Los abrazos rotos (Pedro Almodóvar/2009)
The Car (Elliot Silverstein/1977)

Central Park (Frederick Wiseman/1989) *
Colin (Marc Price/2008)
The Conformist Il conformista (Bernardo Bertolucci/1970) *
Cutter's Way (Ivan Passer/1981)
Cycling the Frame (Cynthia Beatt/1988) (s) *
Daughters of Darkness Les lèvres rouges (Harry Kümel/1971) *
Deep Cover (Bill Duke/1992)
Devil in a Blue Dress (Carl Franklin/1995)
Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (Freddie Francis/1968)
Dracula: Prince of Darkness (Terence Fisher/1966) *
The Fortune Cookie (Billy Wilder/1966)
Forty Guns (Samuel Fuller/1957)
Footprints Le orme/Footprints on the Moon (Luigi Bazzoni, Mario Fanelli/1975)
From Beyond the Grave (Kevin Connor/1973)
Funny Girl (William Wyler/1968)
The Gates (Albert Maysles, Antonio Ferrera/2005) *

The Hitch-Hiker (Ida Lupino/1953)
Inferno (Dario Argento/1980) *
In Search of a Midnight Kiss (Alex Holdridge/2007)
The Intruder L'intrus (Claire Denis/2004) *
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Don Siegel/1956)
It Happened One Night (Frank Capra/1934) *
Jackie Brown (Quentin Tarantino/1997)
Johnny Guitar (Nicholas Ray/1954)
Lifeboat (Alfred Hitchcock/1944)
Memories of Murder Salinui chueok (Bong Joon-ho/2003) *
Night of the Demon (Jacques Tourneur/1957)
Om Shanti Om (Farah Khan/2007) *

On Dangerous Ground (Nicholas Ray, Ida Lupino/1952)
Park Row (Samuel Fuller/1952)
Pontypool (Bruce McDonald/2008)
Profound Desires of the Gods Kamigami no Fukaki Yokubo (Shôhei Imamura/1968) *
Quatermass and the Pit (Roy Ward Baker/1967)
Rosetta (Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne/1999)
Season of the Witch Hungry Wives/Jack's Wife (George A. Romero/1972) *
The Third Man (Carol Reed/1949)
Thirst Bakjwi (Chan-wook Park2009)
3 Women (Robert Altman/1977) *
The Tomb of Ligeia (Roger Corman/1964)
The Trigger Effect (David Koepp/1996)
Umberto D. (Vittorio De Sica/1952) *
Where the Sidewalk Ends (Otto Preminger/1950)
While She Was Out (Susan Montford/2008)

* denotes potential titles for my personal all-time best/favourite films list.
(s) denotes a short film


  1. Lifeboat, yes yes and thrice yes. Baffling how reams are written on more prosaic Hitch films like North By Northwest and Psycho (not that these don't deserve attention) and next to nothing about Lifeboat, a classic 'in camera' drama which is ingeniously directed and politically very risque. Along with Frenzy and Shadow of a Doubt, one of Hitch's best, for me.

  2. The Car.
    The freakin' Car.

    Love that flick!


    posting on the downlow :-)

  3. Johnny Guitar is one of my fave because of its weirdness. So I endorse any list containing it.

    I'm slightly shocked you just saw Night of the Demon, judging from your taste, it feels like something one would think made you fall in love with movies as a child.

  4. Julien - Thanks for reading. I'd agree with you, Lifeboat is one of Hitchcock's best. And ditto the love for Frenzy. (Still not seen Shadow of a Doubt.) I did write a mini bit on Lifeboat for my paused-for-now series of posts, Tuesday Title, here:


    Loved the sometimes comical, sometimes desolate banter and struggle between the characters - something which I'm sure Hitchcock spent time winding up for maximum effect. I think Tallulah Bankhead gives one of the finest female performances ever in it. Superb.

    LordBronco - Oh yes, The Car. Or Auto-Jaws? Motor-Omen? It's so well made, esp. the first half. It's got a very disconcerting mood to it and should be celebrated more. Maybe it'll have its "day of cult appeal" soon.

    Jose - The surreal touches in Johnny Guitar are splendid. They make it stand out, don't they. The costumes, and what they indicate for McCambridge and Crawford, were esp. good... Yes, it's odd that it took me so long to get around to Night of the Demon. I had seen bits, but not all of it. It was fairly recent actually. They were many horrors that made me fall for the movies, which I saw as a kid, and still plenty more to see, too. Glad I got to see it now though. Thanks for the comment, Jose.