THE 30 BEST-SHOT FILMS OF ALL-TIME
by Bethany Watson
Oftentimes, directors get all the credit when a movie is being celebrated. Other crucial individuals such as cinematographers, are ignored. This sort of misconception is rife not only in film but in spheres like music, cybersport, etc. However, every insider knows that for a movie to be shot correctly, the cinematographer has to be excellent. In this collation, we celebrate some of the best-shot movies of all time. (In no particular order).
1. M (1931)
In this gripping tale, German police team up with career criminals to hunt down a child murderer. The movie is perhaps most remarkable for its creative use of the camera, regardless of how early in the years the movie was shot.
2. The Mirror (1975)
In this moving tale, Tarkovsky shows why he is one of the most revered directors of all time. He creates a hypnotic and nostalgic feeling with his use of long shots and experimental montage. The Mirror was a movie far ahead of its peers.
3. Black Narcissus (1947)
This was one of the movies that executed the transition from black and white to colored filming well. Jack Cardiff studied the work of great cinematographers like Vermeer to pull off this amazing body of work.
4. Days of Being Wild (1990)
This is a true Hong Kong crime movie. Days of Being Wild is a tale of a man searching for his true mother after discovering the truth from his adoptive parent. As expected, there are quick shots of fight scenes.
5. The Tree of Life (2011)
In this Terrence Malick directed movie starring Brad Pitt, a young man struggles with reconciling his parents’ teachings with what he knows of the world. Here, Malick showed that he was well ahead of his peers in directing powerful movies.
6. Chinatown (1974)
This is a crime detection movie. A tough private investigator hired to follow an unfaithful spouse finds more than he bargained for. Chinatown is considered a neo-noir movie. Each shot taken in the movie powerfully captures the costume, set design, and actors in a way that makes them come alive.
7. The Godfather 1 & 2 (1972 & 1974)
The Godfather grips you from its first scene. Every shot in the movie intends to draw you into the world of crime and adventure in the gorgeous city of Sicily. It achieves just that.
8. Brazil (1985)
The state haunts a bureaucrat as he journeys in search of the woman he loves. This movie packs all the punches in the right places, leaving you breathless with its powerfully captured shots.
9. Chungking Express (1994)
This is an offering from legendary director Kar Wai Wong. The story follows two men who fall in love with quite dissimilar women, but both united by their quest to make these women love them. The explosion of colors in this movie will definitely leave any viewer reeling.
10. Blow Out (1981)
A man finds himself in possession of evidence about a murder and has to run for his life. There are only a few movies that match the elegant quality depicted in this movie.
11. Nights of Cabiria (1957)
If you like Italy, you will be enamored with this movie. Nights of Cabiria shows how dreamy and beautiful the streets of Rome can look when captured with the right lens.
12. Carmen (1983)
This is essentially a dancing movie. The story follows two dancers who got caught in a romance while rehearsing for a Spanish drama. Beyond the brilliance of the actors, the lighting, editing, and camera composition all come together to highlight the power of love.
13. Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
This Sergio Leone film cements his reputation as one of the best directors of his generation. The movie narrates the tale of a widow, a desperado, and a mysterious stranger.
14. The Leopard (1963)
The Leopard shows the yawning gap that could exist between generations. An aging Italian prince finds himself at odds with his young nephew, who is an acute representation of the past. The movie is notable for its ballroom scenes.
15. The French Connection (1971)
One remarkable thing about this crime movie is that it was shot entirely on location. Another notable thing is its naturalistic cinematography style. A truly powerful movie!
16. Days of Heaven (1978)
This is another Malick movie. In it, the camera (literally) follows two lovers as they do whatever it takes to get ahead in life. This movie showcases how powerful cinematography can set the texture and mood of a movie.
17. Roma (1972)
This fashion-focused movie shows how excellent shots can enhance the beauty of fashion.
18. In the Mood for Love (2000)
It is often difficult to capture the sensual emotions between lovers. Wong Kar-wai does this effortlessly in this movie. He makes use of a unique red palette and introduces a smoky haze to bring to life this story about affection between two lovers.
19. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
This is a fictionalized account of the life of English fighter, T.E. Lawrence. A vast portion of the movie was shot in the desert. This would have been an epic failure but for the mastery exhibited by the cinematographers. In watching the movie, you could almost smell the desert and feel the movie come alive.
20. Leviathan (2014)
A man goes up against the corrupt mayor in this movie set in a Russian town. This movie has an epic feels to it, which is underscored by pictures of the rolling landscapes shown in the movie. The blue/grey color palette used in the movie also blends in just fine.
21. Barry Lyndon (1975)
This is a truly romantic story set in the 1800s. A lot of natural lighting was used in shooting the movie, so it must have taken a lot of work to get done. However, the shots all come together beautifully to give an amazing movie.
22. Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985)
I can best you haven’t seen this one. You should. The use of color is excellent.
23. I am Twenty (1965)
This movie is definitely not as popular as some of the movies here, but still remarkable nonetheless. The movie follows three war veterans who return home and struggle to fit into life as they left it. It is shot in stunning black and white cinematography.
24. Waltz with Bashir (2008)
If you can look beyond the fact that this is an animated movie, you’ll appreciate the level of mastery exhibited in the shots used in it. It uses a unique style to give the images a lovely feel.
25. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
This science-fiction movie set the pace for cinema-style movies. It is on record that more than 30 experts were consulted before filming. This probably explains why its cinematography is top-notch.
26. The Conformist (1970)
This is truly one of the best movies ever made. It features a brilliant story arc, powerful images, and an amazing cast. You should definitely see it.
27. Blade Runner (1982)
In Blade Runner, director Ridley Scott makes use of experimental shots and unusual camera angles to bring the movie to life. It won the BAFTA award for Best Cinematography.
28. Raging Bull (1980)
True to its title, this movie is about a raging bull: boxer, Jake LaMotta. Directed by Martin Scorsese and photographed by Michael Chapman, this black and white offering has earned its place in the best-shot movies of all time.
29. Citizen Kane (1941)
It is not often that established cinematographers partner rookies to make a movie. However, this was exactly what happened in the making of this movie. Veteran photographer, Gregg Toland, partnered rookie director Orson Welles to produce this masterpiece.
30. The Master (2012)
A naval veteran returns home and quickly falls in the snare of a man known as the master. The brilliance of the cinematography is in how it captures even the tiniest details of a post-war world.
Here you have it: our 30 best-shot movies of all times. What are you waiting for? Go see them!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Since her teen years, Bethany Watson was always interested in writing and e-sports, so she decided to merge these two passions by choosing the career of a journalist who mostly writes about trends in e-sports. She regularly contributes to the major media publications in the niche and serves as an editor for bestesportsbettingsites.net.