Benjamin Crabtree's Cinematic Canon

This is a chronological list of my 700 favorite and most essential films of all time. This is NOT a "greatest films of all time" list, as I have focused on my personal opinions over the classic movie canon created by scholars, cinephiles, and critics. While my list features many critically-acclaimed and commercially successful films throughout cinema history, I have included several underrated and under-appreciated films that I adore even more than some of the objective "best films of all time." The Lord of the Rings Trilogy counts as one entry, as I believe the sum is far better than the individual parts.

Eventually, I hope to expand this canon to 1,000 films. Until then, I will add films to it incrementally.

I hope that my list serves both as an introduction into great cinema and a mine for underrated gems. Enjoy!

  • The Immigrant
  • Safety Last!
  • Our Hospitality
  • Sherlock, Jr.
  • A Page of Madness
  • Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
  • Metropolis
  • The Kid Brother
  • The Cameraman
  • The Passion of Joan of Arc
  • Lonesome
  • Man with a Movie Camera
  • Pandora's Box
  • Rain
  • People on Sunday
  • Westfront 1918
  • Borderline
  • À propos de Nice
  • M
  • City Lights
  • Le Million
  • Comradeship
  • I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang
  • I Was Born, But...
  • The Music Box
  • The Blood of a Poet
  • Footlight Parade
  • Design for Living
  • Zero for Conduct
  • It Happened One Night
  • L'Atalante
  • The 39 Steps
  • Top Hat
  • The Bride of Frankenstein
  • Swing Time
  • Modern Times
  • A Day in the Country
  • Pépé le Moko
  • Make Way for Tomorrow
  • Grand Illusion
  • The Awful Truth
  • Clock Cleaners
  • Port of Shadows
  • The Rules of the Game
  • Stagecoach
  • Only Angels Have Wings
  • Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
  • The Roaring Twenties
  • Le Jour se Lève
  • His Girl Friday
  • The Great Dictator
  • Rebecca
  • Foreign Correspondent
  • Sullivan's Travels
  • Citizen Kane
  • The Maltese Falcon
  • Here Comes Mr. Jordan
  • To Be or Not to Be
  • Casablanca
  • There Was a Father
  • Cat People
  • The Magnificent Ambersons
  • Les Visiteurs du Soir
  • Shadow of a Doubt
  • The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
  • I Walked with a Zombie
  • Meshes of the Afternoon
  • Double Indemnity
  • To Have and Have Not
  • Laura
  • Spellbound
  • Brief Encounter
  • Rome, Open City
  • Mildred Pierce
  • Detour
  • Paisan
  • My Darling Clementine
  • It's a Wonderful Life
  • The Killers
  • The Best Years of Our Lives
  • A Matter of Life and Death
  • The Big Sleep
  • Notorious
  • The Lady from Shanghai
  • Out of the Past
  • Black Narcissus
  • Odd Man Out
  • Red River
  • The Red Shoes
  • Bicycle Thieves
  • The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
  • Germany Year Zero
  • Moonrise
  • Late Spring
  • The Third Man
  • Stray Dog
  • Kind Hearts and Coronets
  • Bitter Rice
  • In a Lonely Place
  • Sunset Boulevard