Some of the names of the greatest films of all time, according to the British Film Institute, include “Citizen Kane,” “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “8 ½.” The films all rank highly on surveys of film critics, scholars and directors.
Orson Welles wrote, directed and starred in “Citizen Kane,” a fictionalized account of the life of newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst. Released in 1941, the film broke new ground in terms of narrative, camera techniques and use of dialogue. “Citizen Kane” uses a mix of non-linear storytelling and unconventional camera angles to tell the story of the corrupting effects of power and wealth.
Based on the science fiction novel by Arthur C. Clarke, “2001: A Space Odyssey” is director Stanley Kubrick’s magnum opus, a chilling tale of technology run amok. The film’s iconic opening sequence, which juxtaposes primitive apes discovering tools with futuristic space travel, is one of the most recognizable in modern cinema, indicating Kubrick’s obsession with the frightening potential of technology. “2001” offers a highly aestheticized take on humankind’s insignificance in the face of its own creations.
Italian auteur Federico Fellini took his own writer’s block and channeled it into artistic greatness for 1963’s “8 ½,” the loosely autobiographical story of a famous film director struggling to complete a new picture. Disjointed, surrealistic and highly self-referential, Fellini’s most respected film is particularly popular with other directors.