… to watch the one hundred (and fifty, or more - maybe two hundred) greatest films ever made, in 52 weeks, starting on July 1, 2017 with Buster Keaton in The General (1926) and ending on June 30, 2018 with The Bicycle Thieves (1948). The list includes films I've never seen which I know are highly regarded: Ray's Pather Panchali, Dreyer's The Passion of Joan of Arc, Ozu's Tokyo Story, Murnau's Sunrise, Vigo's Atalante, as well as Ingmar Bergman's Fanny and Alexander.
Of course there will be many American and British films along the way, including Wilder's Sunset Boulevard, Ford's The Searchers, Hitchcock's Vertigo and Welles's Citizen Kane. As well as five films by Scorsese and four by Coppola. And five by Fellini. five by Kurosawa, three by Bresson.
Thirty-nine film directors are represented (but possibly forty-five).
Thirty-six are from just 7 countries and there are three others who have one representative, only - but multiple films.
I can line the statistics up, in the order in which the films were made, or order of importance, or order of most important films on a country by country basis, or the number of films made by individual filmmakers, or by filmmakers on a country by country basis. All make sense.
Whatever the statistics - my order - from the views of the one-thousand wisest film/screen/movie minds in the world - that's the journey I've undertaken.
Only three of my favourite hundred films appear in this list despite the fact that in the first thirty years of my life I'd seen more than half of the 150 greatest films ever.
I am setting myself a reasonably demanding target:
The choice of films, which I’ve compiled in a long and extensive list of cinema from many countries around the world (essentially) comes from five sources: the Sight and Sound / British Film Institute survey, which has been revised every decade since it began in 1952; the original Halliwell, The Filmgoers Companion; Pauline Kael’s umpteen books of critiques; Roger Ebert’s book of Great Films and TIME Magazine's list of one hundred films. Plus the AFI's list, plus the IMDB's highest-rankers.
But, guess what?
The majority of films these five or six sources consider as indisputably great – are already on the list I'm pursuing - as they agree with the vast majority of academics, historians and other critics.
- Philip Powers, 1 July 2017