The B+ Movie Blog Top Ten Lists Tally

So we now have all of the Top Ten lists finished. As of this moment, there are 89 of them (1930-2018). They will be here now, forever, for posterity. I’ll keep updating them as I watch new stuff, rewatch stuff I’ve seen and my opinions change over time. Of course, as I must always do when I finish something of this magnitude, I gotta analyze everything and look for cool trends and things. That was always the best part of doing science fair projects, analyzing all the data, and I’m still just trying to chase that high.

This data will only be for how the lists appear at this moment in time. I’m not planning to go back and alter it for every little change I make. Maybe in like five years I’ll do a bulk update, but let’s just assume I’m never gonna go back to this and treat it just as something cool to look at for right now. (Though I may update this in like, six weeks, once 2019’s list gets posted, giving us an even 90 years of lists.)

Also, yes, I wrote up 89 years of Top Ten lists (all of which contain at least 20 films apiece, most of which contain 40 apiece and some up to 80 apiece) and then went back and broke each one of them down in various ways. How could you expect anything less of me?

We’re gonna begin by looking at which directors appeared the most in the Top Tens. Because, theoretically, if we look at which directors appear the most, we then have a list of my all-time favorite directors, and it should match up with the vague list I have in my head, right? So let’s see.

There are 448 different directors (which includes two sets of siblings I counted as a single entry) that appear in my Top Ten lists. There are 244 directors with just one Top Ten film, 92 directors with two Top Ten films, 49 with three films and 23 with four. There are 39 directors with 5 or more Top Ten films, and only 7 have 10 or more. We will begin with those seven.

The director with the most Top Ten appearances (which should come as a surprise to nobody) is Martin Scorsese. From a career spanning from 1967 to present, he has 16 Top Ten films. Those films are:

Mean Streets (1973)
Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974)
Taxi Driver (1976)
New York, New York (1977)
Raging Bull (1980)
The King of Comedy (1983)
The Color of Money (1986)
Goodfellas (1990)
Cape Fear (1991)
Casino (1995)
Bringing Out the Dead (1999)
Gangs of New York (2002)
The Aviator (2004)
The Departed (2006)
Hugo (2011)
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

For reference, the films of his that did not make my Top Ten, are: Who’s That Knocking at My Door? (1967), Boxcar Bertha (1972), After Hours (1985), The Last Temptation of Christ (1988), The Age of Innocence (1993), Kundun (1997), Shutter Island (2010) and Silence (2016). All but five were in my 11-20 for their respective years. Boxcar Bertha, After Hours, Kundun and Silence were in tier two and Who’s That Knocking at My Door did not appear on the list at all. So only one feature in his entire filmography failed to appear anywhere in my top ten list, and it was his first one. Empirically, I think we can say Martin Scorsese is my favorite director, and quite honestly, I don’t know if I’d refute that.

Next, we have two directors whose films appear on 14 Top Ten lists: Steven Spielberg and Billy Wilder. Taking them chronologically, we’ll begin with Wilder. From 1942 to 1981, his Top Ten films are:

Five Graves to Cairo (1943)
Double Indemnity (1944)
The Lost Weekend (1945)
Sunset Boulevard (1950)
Ace in the Hole (1951)
Stalag 17 (1953)
Sabrina (1954)
Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
The Spirit of St. Louis (1957)
Some Like It Hot (1959)
The Apartment (1960)
One, Two, Three (1961)
Irma la Douce (1963)
The Fortune Cookie (1966)

He’s one of the very few directors who managed to have multiple Top ten films in the same year.

The films of his that did not make my Top Ten are: The Major and the Minor (1942), The Emperor Waltz (1948), A Foreign Affair (1948), The Seven Year Itch (1955), Love in the Afternoon (1957), Kiss Me, Stupid (1964), The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970), Avanti! (1972), The Front Page (1974), Fedora (1978) and Buddy, Buddy (1981).

Of those, The Major and the Minor, A Foreign Affair and Love in the Afternoon all made 11-20. This is something I kept bringing up throughout the lists. 17 of his first 20 films made my top 20, with 14 making the Top Ten. He’s got six more films that went tier two, and only two of his films (ever!) did not make my list at all (Fedora and The Emperor Waltz). That’s nuts, and pretty much confirms what I’ve been telling everyone for years, that Billy Wilder is a personal deity of mine. So that’s nice that it was borne out in the data.

Now we have Spielberg. Just like Wilder, he has 14 Top Ten films. From 1974 to present, here they are:

Jaws (1975)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
The Color Purple (1985)
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
Hook (1991)
Jurassic Park (1993)
Schindler’s List (1993)
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Catch Me If You Can (2002)
Minority Report (2002)
War Horse (2011)

Not only is he one of the few directors to pull off two Top Ten films in the same year, he did it twice!

The films of his that did not make my Top Ten are: The Sugarland Express (1974), 1941 (1979), Empire of the Sun (1987), Always (1989), The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997), Amistad (1997), A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001), The Terminal (2004), War of the Worlds (2005), Munich (2005), Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008), The Adventures of Tintin (2011), Lincoln (2012), Bridge of Spies (2015), The BFG (2016), and The Post (2017).

Of those, Munich, Lincoln and Bridge of Spies made my 11-20. The rest of those films went tier two, save War of the Worlds (which is the only tier three film of his that I have) and The BFG (which does not appear on my list).

Next up, with 13 Top Ten films, we have the Coen brothers, Joel and Ethan. Having made less overall films than the other directors, they have a much higher success ratio. From 1984 to present, their Top Ten films are:

Blood Simple (1984)
Raising Arizona (1987)
Miller’s Crossing (1990)
Barton Fink (1991)
Fargo (1996)
The Big Lebowski (1998)
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001)
Intolerable Cruelty (2003)
No Country for Old Men (2007)
Burn After Reading (2008)
True Grit (2010)
Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

The films of theirs that did not make the Top Ten are: The Hudsucker Proxy (1994), The Ladykillers (2004), A Serious Man (2009), Hail, Caesar! (2016) and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018). Those are split between 11-20 (Hudsucker, Hail Caesar) and tier two (Ladykillers, Serious Man, Buster Scruggs). 13/17 Top Ten, 15/17 top twenty. Those are Billy Wilder numbers.

Now, for the last batch. We have three more directors of those top seven who have more than 10 Top Ten films. These three all have 12 Top Ten films apiece. They are John Ford, Howard Hawks and Alfred Hitchcock.

And before we even get into each one… if you asked me my favorite directors and I just spewed people out at you, I can almost guarantee you all seven of these would be in that conversation. Scorsese, Wilder, the Coens, Hitchcock, Ford, Hawks, Spielberg. It all makes complete sense.

Going sequentially again, we begin with John Ford. From 1930-1966, his 12 Top Ten films are:

Up the River (1930)
The Informer (1935)
Stagecoach (1939)
Young Mr. Lincoln (1939)
The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
How Green Was My Valley (1941)
My Darling Clementine (1946)
The Quiet Man (1952)
Mister Roberts (1955)
The Searchers (1956)
How the West Was Won (1962)
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

He also has two years with two Top Ten films. Technically How the West Was Won was an anthology film in which he only directed a segment, but he did direct some of it and was credited, so I’m counting it. I’m also not gonna mention which of his films didn’t make the Top Ten, because there are a lot.

He has 7 more films that went 11-20: The Lost Patrol (1934), The Whole Town’s Talking (1935), The Prisoner of Shark Island (1936), Wee Willie Winkie (1937), Drums Along the Mohawk (1939), The Fugitive (1947) and Rio Grande (1950). (The big note there is that Drums Along the Mohawk gives him three films in the top 20 in 1939, which arguably is the greatest year in the history of cinema. So there’s that.)

And in tier two, he has 18 more films: Arrowsmith (1931), Steamboat Round the Bend (1935), The Hurricane (1937), Four Men and a Prayer (1938), The Long Voyage Home (1940), They Were Expendable (1945), Fort Apache (1948), She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949), Wagon Master (1950), When Willie Comes Marching Home (1950), Mogambo (1953), The Long Gray Line (1955), The Wings of Eagles (1957), The Last Hurrah (1958), The Horse Soldiers (1959), Two Rode Together (1961), Donovan’s Reef (1963), Cheyenne Autumn (1964).

Not a bad run. In 36 years, he has 37 films in the top 40.

Next we have Howard Hawks. From 1930 to 1970, here are his 12 Top Ten films:

Scarface (1932)
Bringing Up Baby (1938)
Only Angels Have Wings (1939)
His Girl Friday (1940)
Sergeant York (1941)
To Have and Have Not (1944)
The Big Sleep (1946)
Red River (1948)
I Was a Male War Bride (1949)
Monkey Business (1952)
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953)
Rio Bravo (1959)

His films in 11-20 are: The Dawn Patrol (1930), Twentieth Century (1934), Come and Get It (1936) and Air Force (1943), and his tier two films are Barbary Coast (1935), The Road to Glory (1936), Ball of Fire (1941), O. Henry’s Full House (1952) (of which he directed a segment) and Land of the Pharaohs (1955).

And now, Alfred Hitchcock. From 1930 to 1976, his Top Ten films are:

Rebecca (1940)
Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
Lifeboat (1944)
Notorious (1946)
Rope (1948)
Strangers on a Train (1951)
Rear Window (1954)
The Wrong Man (1956)
Vertigo (1958)
North by Northwest (1959)
Psycho (1960)
Marnie (1964)

His 11-20 films are: The 39 Steps (1935), Foreign Correspondent (1940), Mr. and Mrs. Smith (1941), Saboteur (1942), Spellbound (1945), Stage Fright (1950), Dial M for Murder (1954), To Catch a Thief (1955), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), The Birds (1963) and Torn Curtain (1966). His tier two films are: The Lady Vanishes (1938), The Paradine Case (1947), Under Capricorn (1949), The Trouble with Harry (1955), Frenzy (1972) and Family Plot (1976).

All that adds up to this fact: since he came to America in 1940, only TWO of his films, I Confess (1953) and Topaz (1969), did not make my list in any form. Not too shabby.

– – – – –

There are another 32 directors who have five or more Top Ten films:

 

9

  • George Stevens (1935, 1936, 1938, 1943, 1948, 1951, 1953, 1956, 1959)
  • W.S. Van Dyke (1934, 1934, 1936, 1936, 1938, 1939, 1939, 1940, 1941)
  • William Wyler (1936, 1942, 1946, 1949, 1953, 1958, 1959, 1961, 1965)

 

8

  • Frank Capra (1933, 1934, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1944, 1946)
  • David Fincher (1995, 1997, 1999, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2014)
  • Elia Kazan (1945, 1947, 1951, 1954, 1955, 1957, 1961, 1963)
  • Stanley Kubrick (1957, 1960, 1964, 1968, 1971, 1975, 1980, 1987)
  • Ernst Lubitsch (1931, 1932, 1933, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1942, 1943)
  • Christopher Nolan (2000, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2017)
  • Michael Powell (1940, 1941, 1943, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1951, 1960)

 

7

  • George Cukor (1933, 1938, 1940, 1944, 1950, 1954, 1964)
  • John Huston (1941, 1942, 1948, 1948, 1951, 1952, 1985)
  • Quentin Tarantino (1992, 1994, 1997, 2003, 2004, 2009, 2012)

 

6

  • Paul Thomas Anderson (1997, 1999, 2002, 2007, 2014, 2017)
  • Michael Curtiz (1932, 1938, 1938, 1942, 1942, 1945)
  • Brian De Palma (1976, 1981, 1983, 1987, 1996, 1998)
  • Wilfred Jackson (1937, 1940, 1940, 1950, 1951, 1955)
  • Hamilton Luske (1940, 1940, 1950, 1951, 1955, 1961)
  • Leo McCarey (1933, 1935, 1937, 1937, 1944, 1945)

 

5

  • Wes Anderson (2001, 2004, 2009, 2012, 2014)
  • Charlie Chaplin (1931, 1936, 1940, 1947, 1952)
  • Francis Ford Coppola (1972, 1974, 1974, 1979, 1990)
  • Clyde Geronimi (1950, 1951, 1955, 1959, 1961)
  • Stanley Kramer (1958, 1960, 1961, 1967, 1969)
  • David Lean (1945, 1946, 1957, 1962, 1965)
  • Sergio Leone (1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1984)
  • Barry Levinson (1984, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1997)
  • Sidney Lumet (1957, 1973, 1975, 1976, 1982)
  • Hayao Miyazaki (1984, 1986, 1988, 1989, 2001)
  • Emeric Pressburger (1943, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1951)
  • Wolfgang Reithermann (1959, 1961, 1963, 1967, 1970)
  • Oliver Stone (1986, 1987, 1991, 1994, 1999)
  • Fred Zinnemann (1952, 1953, 1960, 1966, 1977)

Note: The directors on these lists you haven’t heard of… they’re all Disney directors, who worked on all the early animated films (which all had multiple credited directors).

Now, here are all the rest of the directors with multiple Top Ten films:

 

4

  • Martin Brest (1984, 1988, 1992, 1998)
  • James Cameron (1984, 1986, 1991, 1997)
  • Alfonso Cuaron (2004, 2006, 2013, 2018)
  • Stanley Donen (1952, 1954, 1963, 1967)
  • George Roy Hill (1969, 1973, 1979, 1982)
  • Spike Jonze (1999, 2002, 2009, 2013)
  • John Landis (1978, 1980, 1981, 1988)
  • Spike Lee (1989, 2002, 2006, 2018)
  • Mervyn LeRoy (1932, 1933, 1942, 1955)
  • Joseph L. Mankiewicz (1949, 1950, 1963, 1972)
  • Vincente Minnelli (1944, 1952, 1953, 1958)
  • Martin Ritt (1963, 1965, 1970, 1972)
  • David O. Russell (1999, 2004, 2010, 2012)
  • Franklin J. Schaffner (1964, 1968, 1970, 1973)
  • Ridley Scott (1979, 1982, 2000, 2015)
  • Douglas Sirk (1954, 1955, 1956, 1959)
  • Preston Sturges (1941, 1941, 1944, 1948)
  • Orson Welles (1941, 1942, 1947, 1958)
  • William Wellman (1931, 1937, 1943, 1949)
  • Sam Wood (1935, 1939, 1942, 1943)
  • David Yates (2007, 2009, 2010, 2011)
  • Terence Young (1962, 1963, 1965, 1967)

 

3

  • Robert Aldrich (1955, 1965, 1967)
  • Robert Altman (1970, 1971, 1975)
  • Darren Aronofsky (2006, 2008, 2010)
  • Hal Ashby (1973, 1978, 1979)
  • Richard Attenborough (1978, 1982, 1992)
  • Warren Beatty (1978, 1981, 1990)
  • Peter Bogdanovich (1971, 1972, 1973)
  • James L. Brooks (1983, 1987, 1997)
  • Mel Brooks (1968, 1974, 1974)
  • Richard Brooks (1958, 1960, 1966)
  • Clarence Brown (1943, 1945, 1946)
  • Tim Burton (1985, 1990, 1994)
  • Ron Clements (1989, 1992, 2016)
  • Chris Columbus (1990, 1993, 2001)
  • Jules Dassin (1947, 1949, 1950)
  • Blake Edwards (1961, 1962, 1965)
  • Federico Fellini (1954, 1960, 1963)
  • Victor Fleming (1937, 1939, 1939)
  • Milos Forman (1975, 1984, 1999)
  • Bob Fosse (1972, 1974, 1979)
  • Sam Fuller (1950, 1951, 1953)
  • Lewis Gilbert (1966, 1967, 1977)
  • Guy Hamilton (1964, 1971, 1973)
  • David Hand (1937, 1940, 1942)
  • Peter Jackson (2001, 2002, 2003)
  • Norman Jewison (1967, 1968, 1987)
  • Akira Kurosawa (1950, 1952, 1954)
  • Robert Z. Leonard (1930, 1933, 1936)
  • Richard Linklater (1993, 2014, 2016)
  • David Lynch (1980, 1986, 2001)
  • Terrence Malick (1973, 1978, 2005)
  • John McTiernan (1988, 1990, 1995)
  • Sam Mendes (1999, 2002, 2012)
  • John Musker (1989, 1992, 2016)
  • Mike Nichols (1966, 1967, 2007)
  • Alan Parker (1978, 1980, 1982)
  • Arthur Penn (1962, 1967, 1970)
  • Roman Polanski (1968, 1974, 2002)
  • Sydney Pollack (1969, 1975, 1982)
  • Bill Roberts (1940, 1940, 1942)
  • Mark Sandrich (1934, 1935, 1937)
  • John Schlesinger (1965, 1969, 1976)
  • George Seaton (1947, 1954, 1970)
  • Ben Sharpsteen (1937, 1940, 1940)
  • Don Siegel (1971, 1976, 1979)
  • John Sturges (1955, 1960, 1963)
  • Denis Villeneuve (2013, 2016, 2017)
  • Robert Wise (1951, 1961, 1965)
  • Robert Zemeckis (1985, 1994, 2000)

 

2

  • Tomas Alfredson (2008, 2011)
  • James Algar (1940, 1942)
  • Woody Allen (1977, 1985)
  • Samuel Armstrong (1940, 1942)
  • Lloyd Bacon (1933, 1933)
  • Luc Besson (1994, 1997)
  • Shane Black (2005, 2016)
  • John Boorman (1972, 1987)
  • Frank Borzage (1931, 1932)
  • Danny Boyle (2008, 2015)
  • Martin Campbell (1995, 2006)
  • John Carpenter (1978, 1981)
  • J.C. Chandor (2013, 2014)
  • Damien Chazelle (2014, 2016)
  • Jack Conway (1936, 1941)
  • John Cromwell (1938, 1944)
  • Cameron Crowe (1996, 2000)
  • Richard Curtis (2003, 2013)
  • Guillermo del Toro (2006, 2017)
  • Cecil B. DeMille (1952, 1956)
  • William Dieterle (1935, 1937)
  • Pete Docter (2009, 2015)
  • Andrew Dominik (2007, 2012)
  • Richard Donner (1978, 1987)
  • Clint Eastwood (1976, 1992)
  • Roland Emmerich (1996, 2000)
  • Peter Farrelly (1996, 2018)
  • Jon Favreau (2003, 2014)
  • Norman Ferguson (1940, 1940)
  • Richard Fleischer (1952, 1958)
  • John Frankenheimer (1962, 1962)
  • William Friedkin (1971, 1973)
  • Tay Garnett (1932, 1946)
  • Terry Gilliam (1975, 1998)
  • Alexander Hall (1934, 1941)
  • Renny Harlin (1990, 1996)
  • Henry Hathaway (1947, 1962)
  • Michel Hazanavicius (2006, 2011)
  • T. Hee (1940, 1940)
  • Arthur Hiller (1966, 1970)
  • Tom Hooper (2010, 2012)
  • John Hughes (1985, 1986)
  • Alejandro G. Iñárritu (2014, 2015)
  • Barry Jenkins (2016, 2018)
  • Henry King (1933, 1950)
  • Henry Koster (1947, 1950)
  • Mitchell Leisen (1934, 1935)
  • Doug Liman (1996, 2002)
  • George Lucas (1973, 1977)
  • Jonathan Lynn (1985, 1992)
  • Delbert Mann (1955, 1958)
  • Michael Mann (1995, 2004)
  • Penny Marshall (1988, 1992)
  • Archie Mayo (1936, 1937)
  • Martin McDonaugh (2008, 2017)
  • Adam McKay (2015, 2018)
  • Steve McQueen (2013, 2018)
  • Lewis Milestone (1930, 1931)
  • Robert Mulligan (1962, 1971)
  • Ronald Neame (1956, 1972)
  • Alan J. Pakula (1969, 1976)
  • Sam Peckinpah (1969, 1971)
  • Otto Preminger (1955, 1959)
  • Joe Pytka (1989, 1996)
  • Harold Ramis (1980, 1993)
  • Nicholas Ray (1950, 1955)
  • Robert Redford (1980, 1994)
  • Carol Reed (1948, 1949)
  • Rob Reiner (1987, 1992)
  • Ivan Reitman (1981, 1984)
  • Robert Rodriguez (1996, 2005)
  • Herbert Ross (1975, 1977)
  • Robert Rossen (1949, 1961)
  • Paul Satterfield (1940, 1942)
  • Ernest B. Schoedsack (1932, 1933)
  • Tony Scott (1986, 1993)
  • Jim Sheridan (1989, 2003)
  • Bryan Singer (1995, 2018)
  • John M. Stahl (1934, 1945)
  • Sylvester Stallone (1979, 1985)
  • Andrei Tarkovsky (1972, 1979)
  • J. Lee Thompson (1961, 1962)
  • Edgar G. Ulmer (1930, 1945)
  • Lee Unkrich (2010, 2017)
  • Gore Verbinski (2003, 2006)
  • Lana & Lily Wachowski (1999, 2008)
  • Peter Weir (1985, 1998)
  • James Whale (1931, 1935)
  • Edgar Wright (2004, 2010)
  • Joe Wright (2007, 2011)
  • Peter Yates (1968, 1979)
  • David Zucker (1980, 1988)

 

And finally, here are all the remaining directors who have a single Top Ten film (since everyone who directs one of my ten favorite movies of any given year should be given their proper due):

1

  • Jim Abrahams (1980)
  • Lenny Abrahamson (2015)
  • Ben Affleck (2012)
  • Roger Allers (1994)
  • John Murray Anderson (1930)
  • Roy Andersson (1970)
  • Paul Annett (1974)
  • David Anspaugh (1986)
  • Joseph Anthony (1956)
  • Michelangelo Antonioni (1966)
  • Dario Argento (1977)
  • Dorothy Arzner (1932)
  • Ray Ashley (1953)
  • Anthony Asquith (1938)
  • John G. Avildsen (1976)
  • David Ayer (2014)
  • John Badham (1977)
  • Sean Baker (2017)
  • Tony Bancroft (1998)
  • Michael Bay (1996)
  • J.A. Bayona (2012)
  • Ford Beebe (1940)
  • Richard Benjamin (1982)
  • Robert Benton (1979)
  • Bruce Beresford (1989)
  • Ludwig Berger (1940)
  • Ingmar Bergman (1957)
  • Kathryn Bigelow (2009)
  • Don Bluth (1986)
  • Richard Boleslawski (1935)
  • Robert Bresson (1956)
  • Tod Browning (1932)
  • Chris Buck (2013)
  • Edward Buzzell (1947)
  • John Cassavetes (1974)
  • William Castle (1959)
  • Chan-Wook Park (2003)
  • Colin Chilvers (1988)
  • Derek Cianfrance (2010)
  • Michael Cimino (1978)
  • Bob Clark (1983)
  • Les Clark (1959)
  • George Clooney (2005)
  • Henri-Georges Clouzot (1953)
  • Jean Cocteau (1946)
  • Peter Collinson (1969)
  • Fielder Cook (1966)
  • Barry Cook (1998)
  • Bradley Cooper (2018)
  • Merian C. Cooper (1933)
  • Sofia Coppola (2003)
  • Charles Crichton (1988)
  • William Cottrell (1937)
  • David Cronenberg (2005)
  • John Crowley (2015)
  • Joe Dante (1989)
  • Frank Darabont (1994)
  • Andrew Davis (1993)
  • Desmond Davis (1981)
  • Jonathan Dayton (2006)
  • Jan De Bont (1994)
  • Howard Deutch (2000)
  • Ronnie Del Carmen (2015)
  • Jonathan Demme (1991)
  • Jacques Demy (1964)
  • Vittorio De Sica (1948)
  • Edward Dmytryk (1954)
  • Roger Donaldson (2005)
  • Stan Dragoti (1991)
  • Cy Endfield (1957)
  • Morris Engel (1953)
  • David Mickey Evans (1993)
  • Bobby Farrelly (1996)
  • Valerie Ferris (2006)
  • James Foley (1992)
  • Howard Franklin (1990)
  • Sidney Franklin (1934)
  • Kinji Fukasaku (2000)
  • Antoine Fuqua (2001)
  • Mike Gabriel (1995)
  • Greta Gerwig (2017)
  • Mel Gibson (1995)
  • Tony Gilroy (2007)
  • Jonathan Glazer (2000)
  • Jean-Luc Godard (1960)
  • Eric Goldberg (1995)
  • Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (2015)
  • Michel Gondry (2004)
  • Steve Gordon (1981)
  • Edmund Goulding (1932)
  • Guy Green (1965)
  • Paul Greengrass (2013)
  • Ulu Grossbard (1971)
  • John Guillermin (1974)
  • Taylor Hackford (1982)
  • Jim Handley (1940)
  • Curtis Hanson (1997)
  • Anthony Harvey (1968)
  • Byron Haskin (1949)
  • Victor Heerman (1930)
  • Graham Heid (1942)
  • Stuart Heisler (1945)
  • Brian Helgeland (1999)
  • Zach Helm (2007)
  • Buck Henry (1978)
  • Werner Herzog (2009)
  • George W. Hill (1930)
  • Walter Hill (1982)
  • Stephen Hopkins (2004)
  • Dennis Hopper (1969)
  • Leslie Howard (1938)
  • Ron Howard (1995)
  • Howard Hughes (1930)
  • Peter H. Hunt (1972)
  • Peter R. Hunt (1969)
  • Charles Jarrott (1969)
  • Jean-Pierre Jeunet (2001)
  • Alan Johnson (1983)
  • Rian Johnson (2012)
  • Mikhail Kalatozov (1957)
  • Jake Kasdan (2007)
  • Lawrence Kasdan (1983)
  • Philip Kaufman (1983)
  • William Keighley (1938)
  • Gene Kelly (1952)
  • Irvin Kershner (1980)
  • Jack Kinney (1940)
  • Randal Kleiser (1978)
  • Travis Knight (2016)
  • Zoltan Korda (1943)
  • Jerry Kramer (1988)
  • Gregory La Cava (1936)
  • Fritz Lang (1931)
  • Walter Lang (1956)
  • Yorgos Lanthimos (2018)
  • Pablo Larrain (2016)
  • Eric Larson (1959)
  • John Lasseter (1995)
  • Charles Laughton (1955)
  • Jennifer Lee (2013)
  • Richard Lester (1964)
  • Albert Lewin (1945)
  • Frank Lloyd (1935)
  • Joshua Logan (1961)
  • Adrian Lyne (1983)
  • Alexander Mackendrick (1957)
  • David Mackenzie (2016)
  • John Madden (1998)
  • James Mangold (2005)
  • Richard Marquand (1983)
  • George Marshall (1962)
  • Colm McCarthy (2016)
  • Tom McCarthy (2015)
  • Peter Medak (1972)
  • Alan Metter (1986)
  • Bennett Miller (2011)
  • David Miller (1963)
  • Frank Miller (2005)
  • George Miller (2015)
  • Rob Minkoff (1994)
  • Adrian Molina (2017)
  • Robert Moore (1976)
  • Larry Morey (1937)
  • F.W. Murnau (1930)
  • Bill Murray (1990)
  • Hal Needham (1977)
  • Jean Negulesco (1948)
  • Morgan Neville (2018)
  • Mike Newell (2005)
  • Andrew Niccol (2005)
  • Christian Nyby (1951)
  • Ruth Orkin (1953)
  • Alexander Payne (2011)
  • Perce Pearce (1937)
  • Bob Petersen (2009)
  • Wolfgang Petersen (1981)
  • Irving Pichel (1932)
  • Richard Quine (1964)
  • Bob Rafelson (1970)
  • Irving Rapper (1942)
  • Jerry Rees (1987)
  • Nicolas Winding Refn (2011)
  • Max Reinhardt (1935)
  • Jason Reitman (2009)
  • Jean Renoir (1937)
  • Guy Ritchie (2000)
  • Michael Ritchie (1976)
  • Jerome Robbins (1961)
  • Phil Alden Robinson (1989)
  • Mark Robson (1943)
  • George A. Romero (1968)
  • Stuart Rosenberg (1967)
  • Gary Ross (1998)
  • Wesley Ruggles (1931)
  • Richard Rush (1980)
  • Ken Russell (1975)
  • Mark Rydell (1981)
  • Gene Saks (1968)
  • Scott Sanders (2009)
  • Jeff Schaffer (2004)
  • Michael Schultz (1985)
  • Joel Schumacher (1993)
  • Jim Sharman (1975)
  • Vincent Sherman (1949)
  • Michael Showalter (2017)
  • James Signorelli (1983)
  • John Singleton (1991)
  • Robert Siodmak (1930)
  • Kevin Smith (1994)
  • Zack Snyder (2009)
  • Steven Soderbergh (2001)
  • Aaron Sorkin (2017)
  • Penelope Spheeris (1992)
  • Andrew Stanton (2008)
  • Robert Stevenson (1964)
  • Ben Stiller (2008)
  • Mel Stuart (1971)
  • Seijun Suzuki (1966)
  • Isao Takahata (1988)
  • Frank Tashlin (1956)
  • Norman Taurog (1931)
  • Richard Thorpe (1945)
  • Jacques Tourneur (1947)
  • Gary Trousdale 1991)
  • Francois Truffaut (1959)
  • Gus Van Sant (1997)
  • King Vidor (1931)
  • Jean Vigo (1934)
  • Josef von Sternberg (1930)
  • Michael Wadleigh (1970)
  • Andrzej Wajda (1958)
  • Raoul Walsh (1949)
  • Charles Walters (1953)
  • David S. Ward (1989)
  • Vincent Ward (1998)
  • Tim Whelan (1940)
  • Hugh Wilson (1984)
  • Kirk Wise (1991)
  • Wong Kar Wai (2000)
  • John Woo (1997)
  • Norman Wright (1942)
  • Irving S. Yeaworth Jr. (1958)
  • Harold Young (1934)
  • Steve Zaillian (1993)
  • Jerry Zucker (1980)
  • Terry Zwigoff (2003)

– – – – – – – – –

Now let’s get into all the trivia.

One big fact — there is an exclusive list of directors who had multiple Top Ten films in one year. A lot of directors have two listed films in the same year, but two Top Tens… that’s rare. It’s happened 18 times (23 if we count the six Disney directors who worked on the same films), mainly in the 30s and 40s, when directors would crank out 5-6 films a year. 19 directors have achieved this feat. Two of them achieved it twice, and one of them achieved it three times!

These are the directors with multiple Top Ten films in the same year:

  • W.S. Van Dyke, 1934: Manhattan Melodrama and The Thin Man
  • W.S. Van Dyke, 1936: After the Thin Man and San Francisco
  • Leo McCarey, 1937: The Awful Truth and Make Way for Tomorrow
  • Michael Curtiz, 1938, The Adventures of Robin Hood and Angels with Dirty Faces
  • Victor Fleming, 1939: Gone With the Wind and The Wizard of Oz
  • John Ford, 1939: Stagecoach and Young Mr. Lincoln
  • W.S. Van Dyke, 1939: Another Thin Man and It’s a Wonderful World
  • Norman Ferguson, T. Hee, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Bill Roberts, Ben Sharpsteen, 1940: Fantasia and Pinocchio
  • Preston Sturges, 1941: The Lady Eve and Sullivan’s Travels
  • Michael Curtiz, 1942: Casablanca and Yankee Doodle Dandy
  • John Huston, 1948: Key Largo and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
  • Billy Wilder, 1957: The Spirit of St. Louis and Witness for the Prosecution
  • John Ford, 1962: How the West Was Won and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
  • John Frankenheimer, 1962: Birdman of Alcatraz and The Manchurian Candidate
  • Mel Brooks, 1974: Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein
  • Francis Ford Coppola, 1974: The Conversation and The Godfather Part II
  • Steven Spielberg, 1993: Jurassic Park and Schindler’s List
  • Steven Spielberg, 2002: Catch Me If You Can and Minority Report

Woody Van Dyke… three years with two Top Ten films. Crazy. Curtiz did it twice, Spielberg did it twice. The craziest thing to me is that 1939… six of the Top Ten films were by three directors. And that’s the Golden Year!

Now, breaking down the specifics of the numbers:

#1

— The most #1 films by a single director is three. That’s a feat pulled off by four directors:

  • Francis Ford Coppola: The Godfather (1972), The Godfather Part II (1974) and Apocalypse Now (1979)
  • Peter Jackson: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Two Towers (2002), The Return of the King (2003)
  • Steven Spielberg: Jaws (1975), Jurassic Park (1993) and Saving Private Ryan (1998)
  • Martin Scorsese: Raging Bull (1980), Goodfellas (1990) and The Departed (2006)

— Twelve (technically fourteen) directors have two #1 films. They are:

  • Joel and Ethan Coen: Fargo (1996) and True Grit (2010)
  • Alfonso Cuaron: Gravity (2013) and Roma (2018)
  • Michael Curtiz: The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) and Casablanca (1942)
  • Howard Hawks: His Girl Friday (1940) and Rio Bravo (1959)
  • George Roy Hill: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) and The Sting (1973)
  • Elia Kazan: A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) and On the Waterfront (1954)
  • David Lean: Brief Encounter (1945) and Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
  • Mervyn LeRoy: I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932) and Gold Diggers of 1933 (1933)
  • Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger: Black Narcissus (1947) and The Red Shoes (1948)
  • Billy Wilder: Sunset Boulevard (1950) and The Apartment (1960)
  • William Wyler: Dodsworth (1936) and Roman Holiday (1953)
  • Robert Zemeckis: Back to the Future (1985) and Forrest Gump (1994)

— 21 Best Picture winners have been my #1 film for their respective year. They are: All Quiet on the Western Front, Gone With the Wind, Casablanca, On the Waterfront, Marty, The Apartment, West Side Story, Lawrence of Arabia, The French Connection, The Godfather, The Sting, The Godfather Part II, Rocky, The Deer Hunter, Amadeus, The Silence of the Lambs, Forrest Gump, Return of the King, The Departed, The Artist and Birdman.

— Aside from winners, 31 more Best Picture nominees have been my #1 film for their respective year. We’ll skip naming them all here, but just know that 52 of the 89 #1 films were nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars.

— Two animated films have been a #1 film: Snow White (1937) and Wall-E (2008)

— Four foreign films have been a #1 film: M (1931), The Cranes Are Flying (1957), Suspiria (1977) and Roma (2018)

Snow White is the first #1 film that is in color.

— There are 18 directors whose only appearance in a Top Ten list is for a #1 film: Dario Argento (Suspiria), John G. Avildsen (Rocky), Michael Cimino (The Deer Hunter), Bob Clark (A Christmas Story), William Cottrell (Snow White), Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs), Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl), Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), Steve Gordon (Arthur), Mikhail Kalatozov (The Cranes Are Flying), William Keighley (The Adventures of Robin Hood), Gene Kelly (Singin’ in the Rain), Fritz Lang (M), Larry Morey (Snow White), Perce Pearce (Snow White), Jerome Robbins (West Side Story), Andrew Stanton (Wall-E) and Scott Sanders (Black Dynamite).

— Only two directors have achieved back-to-back number 1 films. Mervyn LeRoy had them in 1932 and 1933, with I Am a Fugitive from A Chain Gang and Gold Diggers of 1933. The other is Peter Jackson, who had a three-peat with all three Lord of the Rings films. LeRoy’s, to me, are more impressive, not being part of a trilogy or being connected in any way, but still, those are the only two directors who managed multiple #1 films in a row.

#2

— Four (technically five) directors have three #2 films:

  • Joel and Ethan Coen: Barton Fink (1991), The Big Lebowski (1998) and Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
  • Alfred Hitchcock: Rear Window (1954), North by Northwest (1959) and Psycho (1960)
  • John Huston: The Maltese Falcon (1941), The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) and The African Queen (1951)
  • George Stevens: Swing Time (1936), The More the Merrier (1943) and Giant (1956)

— Six directors have two #2 films:

  • Chris Columbus: Home Alone (1990) and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)
  • John Ford: The Informer (1935) and The Quiet Man (1952)
  • Howard Hawks: Scarface (1932) and Bringing Up Baby (1938)
  • Sydney Pollack: They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (1969) and Tootsie (1982)
  • Quentin Tarantino: Pulp Fiction (1994) and Inglourious Basterds (2009)
  • Billy Wilder: The Lost Weekend (1945) and Stalag 17 (1953)

— One of only two documentaries to appear in my Top Ten is a #2: Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (2018)

— Four animated films have gone #2: Fantasia (1940), Cinderella (1950), Toy Story (1995), Inside Out (2015)

— Two foreign films have gone #2: Grand Illusion (1937) and The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964)

#3

— John Ford has the most #3 films, with five: The Grapes of Wrath (1940), How Green Was My Valley (1941), My Darling Clementine (1946), Mister Roberts (1955) and How the West Was Won (1962).

— Stanley Kubrick has three #3 films: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Barry Lyndon (1975) and The Shining (1980)

— Twelve directors have two #3 films:

  • Tomas Alfredson: Let the Right One In (2008) and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)
  • Wes Anderson: Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) and The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
  • Tim Burton: Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985) and Edward Scissorhands (1990)
  • Frank Capra: You Can’t Take It With You (1938) and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
  • David Fincher: Se7en (1995) and The Social Network (2010)
  • Joseph L. Mankiewicz: All About Eve (1950) and Sleuth (1972)
  • Sam Mendes: American Beauty (1999) and Skyfall (2012)
  • Martin Scorsese: Taxi Driver (1976) and The King of Comedy (1983)
  • Steven Spielberg: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) and Schindler’s List (1993)
  • Quentin Tarantino: Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003) and Kill Bill: Volume 2 (2004)
  • Billy Wilder: Double Indemnity (1944) and Ace in the Hole (1951)
  • Terence Young: From Russia with Love (1963) and Thunderball (1965)

— Frank Capra John Ford both have back-to-back #3 films, both interestingly doing it back-to-back. Capra’s two are You Can’t Take It With You (1938) and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) and Ford’s are The Grapes of Wrath (1940) and How Green Was My Valley (1941). Quentin Tarantino also has back-to-back #3 films, with Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003) and Kill Bill: Volume 2 (2004)

— One of the two documentaries that appear on my Top Ten lists is a #3: Woodstock (1970)

— Three animated films have gone #3: Beauty and the Beast (1991), Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) and Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)

— Six foreign films have gone #3: Bicycle Thieves (1948), The Wages of Fear (1953), Seven Samurai (1954), Tokyo Drifter (1966), Amélie (2001) and Let the Right One In (2008)

— Four James Bond movies have gone #3: From Russia with Love (1963), Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965) and Skyfall (2012)

#4

— Two directors have three #4 films:

  • Steven Spielberg: Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) and The Color Purple (1985)
  • Billy Wilder Sabrina (1954), Some Like It Hot (1959) and The Fortune Cookie (1966)

— Six (technically seven) directors have two #4 films:

  • Joel and Ethan Coen: O Brother Where Art Thou? (2000) and No Country for Old Men (2007)
  • John Ford: Stagecoach (1939) and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
  • Renny Harlin: Die Hard II (1990) and The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)
  • Martin Scorsese: The Color of Money (1986) and Casino (1995)
  • William Wyler: The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) and The Heiress (1949)
  • Fred Zinnemann: High Noon (1952) and The Sundowners (1960)

— Steven Spielberg has back-to-back #4s, with Temple of Doom (1984) and The Color Purple (1985)

— John Ford has #3 and #4 in the same year, with How the West Was Won (1962) and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)

— Only 2 animated film have been #4: The Lion King (1994) and Moana (2016)

— Three foreign films have gone #4: People on Sunday (1930), Ashes and Diamonds (1958) and (1963).

#5

Three directors have three #5 films:

  • Leo McCarey, Duck Soup (1933), Ruggles of Red Gap (1935) and The Awful Truth (1937)
  • Howard Hawks: Only Angels Have Wings (1939), The Big Sleep (1946) and Monkey Business (1952)
  • Elia Kazan: A Face in the Crowd (1957), Splendor in the Grass (1961) and America America (1963)

— Six directors have two #5 films:

  • George Cukor: Born Yesterday (1950) and My Fair Lady (1964)
  • Ernst Lubitsch: One Hour with You (1932) and Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife (1938)
  • John McTiernan: The Hunt for Red October (1990) and Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995)
  • Christopher Nolan: Batman Begins (2005) and Dunkirk (2017)
  • Franklin J. Schaffner: Planet of the Apes (1968) and Patton (1970)
  • Douglas Sirk: Written on the Wind (1956) and Imitation of Life (1959)

— Six animated films have gone #5: Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984), The Brave Little Toaster (1987), Grave of the Fireflies (1988), The Little Mermaid (1989), Spirited Away (2001) and Up (2009)

— Four foreign films have gone #5: L’Atalante (1934), Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984), Grave of the Fireflies (1988) and Spirited Away (2001)

#6

— Two directors have three #6 films:

  • Martin Scorsese: Gangs of New York (2002), The Aviator (2004) and The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
  • George Stevens: Alice Adams (1935), A Place in the Sun (1951) and The Diary of Anne Frank (1959)

— Nine directors have had two #6 films:

  • Warren Beatty: Heaven Can Wait (1978) and Dick Tracy (1990)
  • Charlie Chaplin: Modern Times (1936) and Limelight (1952)
  • Michael Curtiz: Doctor X (1932) and Angels with Dirty Faces (1938)
  • Blake Edwards: Days of Wine and Roses (1962) and The Great Race (1965)
  • Roland Emmerich: Independence Day (1996) and The Patriot (2000)
  • John Huston: Across the Pacific (1942) and Key Largo (1948)
  • Hayao Miyazaki: My Neighbor Totoro (1988) and Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)
  • W.S. Van Dyke: Another Thin Man (1939) and Shadow of the Thin Man (1941)
  • Billy Wilder: Witness for the Prosecution (1957) and Irma la Douce (1963)

— Hayao Miyazaki has back-to-back #6s: My Neighbor Totoro (1988) and Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)

— Four animated films have gone #6: An American Tail (1986), My Neighbor Totoro (1988), Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989) and Toy Story 3 (2010)

— Four foreign films have gone #6: The Blue Angel (1930), My Neighbor Totoro (1988), Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989) and Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

#7

Three directors have three #7 films:

  • Barry Levinson: The Natural (1984), Rain Man (1988) and Avalon (1990)
  • Claude Geromini: Alice in Wonderland (1951), Sleeping Beauty (1959) and One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961)
  • Hamilton Luske: Pinocchio (1940), Alice in Wonderland (1951) and One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961)

Twelve directors have two #7 films:

  • John Boorman: Deliverance (1972) and Hope and Glory (1987)
  • Richard Brooks: Elmer Gantry (1960) and The Professionals (1966)
  • Frank Capra: Lady for a Day (1933) and Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1939)
  • Brian De Palma: Carrie (1976) and Snake Eyes (1998)
  • Howard Hawks: Red River (1948) and I Was a Male War Bride (1949)
  • Wilfred Jackson: Pinocchio (1940) and Alice in Wonderland (1951)
  • Akira Kurosawa: Rashomon (1950) and Ikiru (1952)
  • Sergio Leone: A Fistful of Dollars (1964)and For A Few Dollars More (1965)
  • Ernst Lubitsch: Ninotchka (1939) and To Be or Not to Be (1942)
  • David O. Russell: The Fighter (2010) and Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
  • Martin Scorsese: Mean Streets (1973) and Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974)
  • George Stevens: Vivacious Lady (1938) and Shane (1953)

— Three directors have back-to-back #7 films:

  • Howard Hawks: Red River (1948) and I Was a Male War Bride (1949)
  • Sergio Leone: A Fistful of Dollars (1964) and For A Few Dollars More (1965)
  • Martin Scorsese: Mean Streets (1973) and Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (1974)

— Six animated films have gone #7: Pinocchio (1940), Alice in Wonderland (1951), Sleeping Beauty (1959), One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961), Castle in the Sky (1986), Aladdin (1992)

— Six foreign films have gone #7: Beauty and the Beast (1946), Rashomon (1950), Ikiru (1952), Stalker (1979) Castle in the Sky (1986) and In the Mood for Love (2000)

#8

— Two directors have three #8 films:

  • George Cukor: Little Women (1933), Holiday (1938) and The Philadelphia Story (1940)
  • Christopher Nolan: Memento (2000), The Prestige (2006) and Inception (2010)

— Ten (technically eleven) directors have two #8 films:

  • Joel and Ethan Coen: Miller’s Crossing (1990) and Intolerable Cruelty (2003)
  • Stanley Donen: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) and Two for the Road (1967)
  • Sam Fuller: The Baron of Arizona (1950) and Pickup on South Street (1953)
  • Alan Parker: Midnight Express (1978) and Fame (1980)
  • Michael Powell: The Tales of Hoffmann (1952) and Peeping Tom (1960)
  • Martin Ritt: Hud (1963) and The Great White Hope (1970)
  • Ridley Scott: Blade Runner (1982) and The Martian (2015)
  • Steven Spielberg: Hook (1991) and Minority Report (2002)
  • Joe Wright: Atonement (2007) and Hanna (2011)
  • William Wyler: The Big Country (1958) and Ben-Hur (1959)

— William Wyler is the only director to have back-to-back #8s: The Big Country (1958) and Ben-Hur (1959).

— Five animated films have gone #8: Bambi (1942), Lady and the Tramp (1955), Pocahontas (1995) Frozen (2013) and Coco (2017)

— Two foreign films have gone #8: The Seventh Seal (1957) and Solaris (1972)

#9

— Seven (technically eight) directors have two #9 films:

  • Martin Brest: Midnight Run (1988) and Scent of a Woman (1992)
  • Joel and Ethan Coen: Blood Simple (1984) and The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001)
  • Alfred Hitchcock: Lifeboat (1944) and Marnie (1964)
  • Richard Linklater: Dazed and Confused (1993) and Everybody Wants Some!! (2016)
  • Oliver Stone: Wall Street (1987) and Any Given Sunday (1999)
  • Preston Sturges: The Lady Eve (1941) and Unfaithfully Yours (1948)
  • W.S. Van Dyke: Marie Antoinette (1938) and It’s a Wonderful World (1939)

— W.S. Van Dyke and J.C. Chandor have back-to-back #9s. Chandor has All Is Lost (2013) and A Most Violent Year (2014). Van Dyke has Marie Antoinette (1938) and It’s a Wonderful World (1939)

— John Frankenheimer has a #8 and a #9 in the same year, with The Manchurian Candidate (1962) and Birdman of Alcatraz (1962).

— Only one animated movie has been #9: The Sword in the Stone (1963)

— Six foreign films have gone #9: A Man Escaped (1956), The 400 Blows (1959), Breathless (1960), A Swedish Love Story (1970), Battle Royale (2000) and Oldboy (2003)

#10

— David Yates is the only director with three #10 films. All Harry Potter films: Order of the Phoenix (2007), Half-Blood Prince (2009) and Deathly Hallows Part 1 (2010). Those last two obviously were back-to-back.

— Six directors have two #10 films:

  • Paul Thomas Anderson: Magnolia (1999) and Punch-Drunk Love (2002)
  • Richard Attenborough: Gandhi (1982) and Chaplin (1992)
  • Federico Fellini: La Strada (1954) and La Dolce Vita (1960)
  • Alfred Hitchcock: Rope (1948) and The Wrong Man (1956)
  • Ernst Lubitsch: The Smiling Lieutenant (1931) and The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
  • Robert Redford: Ordinary People (1980) and Quiz Show (1994)

— Preston Sturges had a #9 and #10 in the same year with The Lady Eve (1941) and Sullivan’s Travels (1941)

— Two foreign films have gone #10: La Strada (1954) and La Dolce Vita (1960)

— Three animated movies have gone #10: The Jungle Book (1967), The Aristocats (1970) and Mulan (1998)

– – – – –

I feel like I need to conclude with the part that ties everything together, since it’s ultimately part of the core identity of this site: the Oscars.

My Top Ten lists almost fully coincide with the entire history of the Oscars. I’m really only 2½ years off from them (1927/28, 1928/29 and half 1929/1930), and there are really only ten films affected by this (one of which is a lost film). So for the most part, we’re covered. That said…

— In only four years does my Top Ten list contain every single Best Picture nominee. Those years are 1961, 1970, 1974 and 1975.

— Furthermore, there are an additional 22 years where all the Best Picture nominees are in either the Top Ten or 11-20: 1939, 1945, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1964, 1966, 1971, 1978, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1997, 2007 and 2015. It’s particularly impressive for the first and last year on that list, as those years had more than five nominees.

— There are an additional 41 years (1931/1932, 1938, 1940, 1942, 1943, 1944, 1946, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1965, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1972, 1976, 1977, 1984, 1985, 1988, 1991, 1993, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2016) where all the Best Picture nominees end up in the Top Ten, 11-20 or tier two.

— That means that in only 22 years did all the Best Picture nominees not end up in my top 40 favorite movies of the year. Those years are 1929/1930, 1930/1931, 1932/1933, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937, 1941, 1973, 1980, 1986, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1999, 2004, 2009, 2010, 2014, 2017 and 2018. That first year is a situation where the two films that did not make the list are from 1929, so really it’s only 21 years.

Of those 21 years, I can pinpoint which movies failed to make the top 40 for me.

  • 1930/1931: East Lynne & Trader Horn
  • 1932/1933: The Private Life of Henry VIII & She Done Him Wrong & Smilin’ Through
  • 1934: Flirtation Walk & One Night of Love & Viva Villa!
  • 1935: Broadway Melody of 1936 & David Copperfield & The Lives of a Bengal Lancer & Naughty Marietta
  • 1936: A Tale of Two Cities
  • 1937: One Hundred Men and a Girl
  • 1941: One Foot in Heaven

(Between 1942 and 1972, every single Best Picture nominee was in my top 40 films of the year.)

  • 1973: Cries and Whispers
  • 1980: Tess
  • 1986: A Room with a View
  • 1992: Howards End

(Everything prior to this moment failed to make my list entirely. Everything below did make my list, but in tiers three and four.)

  • 1994: Four Weddings and a Funeral
  • 1995: Il PostinoSense and Sensibility
  • 1996: Secrets & Lies
  • 1999: The Cider House Rules
  • 2004: Sideways
  • 2009: District 9
  • 2010: The Kids Are All Right
  • 2014: Selma
  • 2017: Get Out
  • 2018: Black Panther

I find it impressive that only once since 1935 did more than one Best Picture nominee end up outside my top 40.

Also, that’s only 30 films (+2 that were pre-1930) in the history of Best Picture. There have been 544 total Best Pictures, and I’ve got 512 of them in my top 40, with 11 in lower tiers, only 19 not on the list at all, and 2 pre-lists. That’s pretty damn good.

I should also note that some of those films, particularly pre-1940 don’t factor into my lists because there aren’t enough films on them for there to be a full tier two. Once I see enough films I like to round those out, some of those films will come off this list.

– – – – –

More random bits of trivia:

  • Martin Scorsese has hit the most different numbers with his Top Ten entries, with 9. He has never had a film be #10.
  • Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg and Billy Wilder have all hit 8 numbers. Hitchcock is missing #3 and #7, Spielberg is missing #6 and #9, while Wilder is missing #7 and #10.
  • The Coen brothers, Howard Hawks, David Fincher & W.S. Van Dyke have hit 7 numbers. The Coens are missing #6, #7 and #10, Hawks is missing #3, #4 and #9, Fincher is missing #1, #4 and #6 and Van Dyke is missing #2, #5 and #8.
  • Victor Fleming is the only director to achieve both a #1 and #2 film in the same year, in 1939, with Gone With the Wind and The Wizard of Oz.
  • Michael Curtiz has a #1 film and a #3 film in the same year, in 1942, with Casablanca and Yankee Doodle Dandy.
  • Mike Nichols has a #1 and #2 in consecutive years, with Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) and The Graduate (1967).
  • Alfred Hitchcock, in three years, has a #1, #2 and #2. Those are Vertigo (1958), North by Northwest (1959) and Psycho (1960).
  • Powell and Pressburger, in three consecutive years, have a run of #2, #1 and #1 – A Matter of Live and Death (1946), Black Narcissus (1947) and The Red Shoes (1948).

– – – – –

And those are my top ten lists, guys.

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