• Sidebar and Width settings will now no longer reset after 4 hours of inactivity! We have implemented a new system that will remember these preferences on each browser, for both members and guests. This allows you to choose different settings on different devices if you so desire.

‘Lawrence of Arabia’ Tops ASC’s List of 100 20th Century Cinematography Milestones

Oct 27, 2017
2,773
#1
The American Society of Cinematographers, in celebration of the organization’s 100th anniversary, has revealed its list of 100 milestone films in the art and craft of cinematography from the 20th century. The list culminates with a top 10, topped by Freddie Young’s lensing of David Lean’s Oscar-winning 1962 epic “Lawrence of Arabia.”

Jordan Cronenweth’s work on Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-fi standard “Blade Runner” came in at number two. Celebrated cinematographer Roger Deakins finally won an Oscar last year for the film’s sequel, “Blade Runner 2049.”

Vittorio Storaro rounded out the top three for Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 Vietnam odyssey “Apocalypse Now.” He, Conrad Hall and Gordon Willis each appeared on the overall list five times, leading the pack. John Alcott, Caleb Deschanel and Haskell Wexler each lensed four.

Organized by Steven Fierberg, ASC (“The Affair”) and voted on by ASC members, the milestones list is the first of its kind to showcase the best of cinematography as selected by professional cinematographers. The collection “represents a range of styles, eras and visual artistry, but most importantly, it commemorates films that are inspirational or influential to ASC members and have exhibited enduring influence to generations of filmmakers,” the Society states.

1. Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Freddie Young, BSC (Dir. David Lean)
2. “Blade Runner” (1982), Jordan Cronenweth, ASC (Dir. Ridley Scott)
3. “Apocalypse Now” (1979), Vittorio Storaro, ASC, AIC (Dir. Francis Ford Coppola)
4. “Citizen Kane” (1941), Gregg Toland, ASC (Dir. Orson Wells)
5. “The Godfather” (1972), Gordon Willis, ASC (Dir. Francis Ford Coppola)
6. “Raging Bull” (1980), Michael Chapman, ASC (Dir. Martin Scorsese)
7. “The Conformist” (1970), Vittorio Storaro, ASC, AIC (Dir. Bernardo Bertolucci)
8. “Days of Heaven” (1978), Néstor Almendros, ASC (Dir. Terrence Malick)
9. “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968), Geoffrey Unsworth, BSC; additional photography: John Alcott, BSC (Dir. Stanley Kubrick)
10. “The French Connection” (1971), Owen Roizman, ASC (Dir. William Friedkin)


And the Society’s full list of 100 cinematography milestones from the 20th century:


“Metropolis” (1927)
“Napoleon” (1927)
“Sunrise” (1927)
“Gone with the Wind” (1939)
“The Wizard of Oz” (1939)
“The Grapes of Wrath” (1940)
“Citizen Kane” (1941)
“How Green Was my Valley” (1941)
“Casablanca” (1942)
“The Magnificent Ambersons” (1942)
“Black Narcissus” (1947)
“The Bicycle Thief” (1948)
“The Red Shoes” (1948)
“The Third Man” (1949)
“Rashomon” (1950)
“Sunset Boulevard” (1950)
“On the Waterfront” (1954)
“Seven Samurai” (1954)
“The Night of the Hunter” (1955)
“The Searchers” (1956)
“The Bridge on the River Kwai” (1957)
“Touch of Evil” (1958)
“Vertigo” (1958)
“Breathless” (1960)
“Last Year at Marienbad” (1961)
“Lawrence of Arabia” (1962)
“8 1/2” (1963)
“Hud” (1963)
“Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” (1964)
“I Am Cuba (Soy Cuba)” (1964)
“Doctor Zhivago” (1965)
“The Battle of Algiers” (1966)
“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” (1966)
“Cool Hand Luke” (1967)
“The Graduate” (1967)
“In Cold Blood” (1967)
“2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968)
“Once Upon a Time in the West” (1968)
“Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” (1969)
“The Wild Bunch” (1969)
“The Conformist” (1970)
“A Clockwork Orange” (1971)
“The French Connection” (1971)
“Klute” (1971)
“The Last Picture Show” (1971)
“McCabe and Mrs. Miller” (1971)
“Cabaret” (1972)
“The Godfather” (1972)
“Last Tango in Paris” (1972)
“The Exorcist” (1973)
“Chinatown” (1974)
“The Godfather Part II” (1974)
“Barry Lyndon” (1975)
“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Next” (1975)
“All the President’s Men” (1976)
“Bound for Glory” (1976)
“Taxi Driver” (1976)
“Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (1977)
“The Duellists” (1977)
“Days of Heaven” (1978)
“The Deer Hunter” (1978)
“Alien” (1979)
“All That Jazz” (1979)
“Apocalypse Now” (1979)
“Being There” (1979)
“The Black Stallion” (1979)
“Manhattan” (1979)
“Raging Bull” (1980)
“The Shining” (1980)
“Chariots of Fire” (1981)
“Das Boot” (1981)
“Reds” (1981)
“Blade Runner” (1982)
“Fanny and Alexander” (1982)
“The Right Stuff” (1983)
“Amadeus” (1984)
“The Natural” (1984)
“Paris, Texas” (1984)
“Brazil” (1985)
“The Mission” (1986)
“Empire of the Sun” (1987)
“The Last Emperor” (1987)
“Wings of Desire” (1987)
“Mississippi Burning” (1988)
“JFK” (1991)
“Raise the Red Lantern” (1991)
“Unforgiven” (1992)
“Baraka” (1992)
“Schindler’s List” (1993)
“Searching for Bobby Fischer” (1993)
“Trois Couleurs: Bleu” (1993)
“The Shawshank Redemption” (1994)
“Se7en” (1995)
“The English Patient” (1996)
“L.A. Confidential” (1997)
“Saving Private Ryan” (1998)
“The Thin Red Line” (1998)
“American Beauty” (1999)
“The Matrix” (1999)
“In the Mood for Love” (2000)
 

nin

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,857
#3
Thats a very strong top 10! Cant argue against their number one choice, since that movie is beautiful to look at.
Their choices for milestones in the 20th century is also a very good list.
 
Jan 9, 2018
301
#7
Is The French Connection really that high on the list?
It's a great movie but in a cinematography standpoint I'd rank Alien higher.
 
Oct 25, 2017
5,097
France
#12
Only saw Lawrence of Arabia once and I remember almost nothing about it save from the cinematography. I should rewatch it in better conditions.
I probably would have picked Blade Runner for #1 but it's a great top 10. The only one I might disagree with is French Connection, since I think movies like Mean Streets and Taxi Driver captured that same mood better. And maybe I would have gone with Barry Lyndon instead of 2001 but whatever, they both look superb.

Never seen or have heard of The Conformist. I'll put it on my must-see list.
 
Oct 29, 2017
394
#13
Lawrence absolutely earns that spot.

Also, I agree with the inclusion of French Connection...every 'city grime' film since owes so much to it.
 
Oct 27, 2017
3,137
#15
I really doubt this list jives with most cinematographers. 💯

Also, I’m in agreement with Days of Heaven’s placement. It changed my life.

No Peter Greenaway?
 
OP
OP
Window
Oct 27, 2017
2,773
#19
yeah I get that so why isn't there a movie by say ozu on the list? This list is very homogeneous and mainstream.
Yeah these American association lists tend to be fairly American or Western centric but this is better than most others tbh.

I'm also (pleasantly) surprised by Blade Runner coming in at #2. While lauded as a great looking film, I didn't realise that film had such wide spread reverence in the industry.
 
Oct 26, 2017
133
#21
yeah I get that so why isn't there a movie by say ozu on the list? This list is very homogeneous and mainstream.
I agree with this to the extent that the list itself is pretty boring, I can't say I can imagine being bored while actually watching any of these films but I don't think you were ever implying that.
 
Oct 26, 2017
2,516
#23
yeah I get that so why isn't there a movie by say ozu on the list? This list is very homogeneous and mainstream.
?

Because it is a list compiled by the members of the American Society of Cinematographers, a professional organization based in Los Angeles and centered around celebrating and raising the excellence of American work.
 
Oct 26, 2017
2,516
#26
There are tons of great movies on it but it's very one sided. I expected the list to capture a wider gamut of cinematographic artistry.
This isn't a list that compiled the thoughts of 1 or a few people. This was a vote of 380 different people. Of course the mainstream works would rise to the top.
 
Oct 27, 2017
945
#30
This isn't a list that compiled the thoughts of 1 or a few people. This was a vote of 380 different people. Of course the mainstream works would rise to the top.
I get that, but I still expected a better list from professionals. This reads like a favorite movie list. Does anyone really think Shawshank Redemption is a milestone in cinematography?
 
OP
OP
Window
Oct 27, 2017
2,773
#32
Mmmmh. Looking at the list again and... No Hara-kiri? That's a crime.
Unless it was not eligible or something. But Seven Samurai is on there so this seems weird.
Kurosawa is pretty much the only Japanese filmmaker who gets mainstream recognition in the US.
 
Oct 27, 2017
3,995
#34
His most popular work is in the 21st century. Missed the cut off.
The only two critically acclaimed works of his were A Little Princess and Sleepy Hollow , right? From the looks of the list, I'm not sure they were big enough movies. The movies on the list from the 90s onwards were huge.
Ohhh, right it's only up to 2000. I remember Sleepy Hollow looking nice but probably not deserving that list
 
Oct 27, 2017
6,848
#37
I want to have more knowledge of movies, since I missed out a lot of stuff that are considered classics or were popular at reléase time, but I don't know where to watch them legally while also not spending a big buck on discs
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,147
#38
Pretty Amero-centric list (it is the ASC after all though) but it’s hard to argue with the quality of it. The only somewhat controversial choice I guess would be The French Connection, but that was certainly a landmark film for the camera techniques even if it’s not as aesthetically pleasing and formally restrained as the other entries. Still, this list should have something from like Kurosawa, Bergman, and Tarkovsky to cast a wider net.

Edit: ah I see Kurosawa and Bergman at least got on the larger top 100 list.
 
Nov 11, 2017
283
#39
Pretty Amero-centric list (it is the ASC after all though) but it’s hard to argue with the quality of it. The only somewhat controversial choice I guess would be The French Connection, but that was certainly a landmark film for the camera techniques even if it’s not as aesthetically pleasing and formally restrained as the other entries. Still, this list should have something from like Kurosawa, Bergman, and Tarkovsky to cast a wider net.

Edit: ah I see Kurosawa and Bergman at least got on the larger top 100 list.
It’s got Rashomon and Fanny and Alexander.

I’d say Herzog is the biggest wtf exclusion, especially given fucking AMERICAN BEAUTY is on this thing.
 
Oct 25, 2017
5,197
#42
I have no problems with that, or that Top 10. I think you could probably put the Wizard of Oz somewhere in that top 10 as well, but otherwise, no issues either way.

Lawrence of Arabia is like Dr. Zhivago and The Godfather for me, movies that when they're on my TV, I won't even make a point to watch them but there goes my day.
 
Oct 28, 2017
1,687
#43
It's a fantastic film and is extremely slick looking. It really revolutionized how filmmakers and photographers viewed large format film. Apart from the technical aspects, it's also extremely artful, well composed and uses left to right movement to make the world feel expansive and adventurous.




I wish I could find a gif of the tracking shot of him walking along the derailed train above the cheering crowd. That shit is like a moving painting.
 
Oct 29, 2017
2,953
#45
Put me the boat of people surprised to see the French Connection over films like Fanny and Alexander
(And this is coming from someone who was copying shots from the French Connection in college)
 
Oct 27, 2017
1,285
Germany
#47
Where's M?
Lang is there with Metropolis, but M is still beautiful and feels almost modern in the way it's cut and how the transitions are handled.

Otherwise, this is a solid list! At least the 100 - personally I would have at least put one Kurosawa in the top 10.