The greatest film ever made began with the meeting of two brilliant minds: Stanley Kubrick and sci-fi seer Arthur C Clarke. ‘I understand he’s a nut who lives in a tree in India somewhere,’ noted Kubrick when Clarke’s name came up – along with those of Isaac Asimov, Robert A Heinlein and Ray Bradbury – as a possible writer for his planned sci-fi epic. Clarke was actually living in Ceylon (not in India, or a tree), but the pair met, hit it off, and forged a story of technological progress and disaster (hello, HAL) that’s steeped in humanity, in all its brilliance, weakness, courage and mad ambition. An audience of stoners, wowed by its eye-candy Star Gate sequence and pioneering visuals, adopted it as a pet movie. Were it not for them, 2001 might have faded into obscurity, but it’s hard to imagine it would have stayed there. Kubrick’s frighteningly clinical vision of the future – AI and all – still feels prophetic, more than 50 years on.—Phil de Semlyen
Lists are made to argue over, and a list of the best movies of all-time is likely to start a fistfight. That’s how much cinema means to the most hardcore filmgoers. So coming up with a single, definitive canon to satisfy all tastes is damn near impossible… but that wasn’t going to stop us from trying. On this ever-evolving list of the 100 greatest films ever made, you’ll find everything from populist blockbusters to arthouse classics, great comedies and romantic comedies to horror flicks, Oscar winners to underseen rarities, sweeping epics to intimate character studies. It spans a decade-plus, multiple countries and incalculable technological developments. A lot of ground is covered but, well, a canon of greatest films is always going to spark a heated debate. Just no fisticuffs, okay?
Written by Abbey Bender, Dave Calhoun, Phil de Semlyen, Bilge Ebiri, Ian Freer, Stephen Garrett, Tomris Laffly, Joshua Rothkopf, Anna Smith and Matthew Singer