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The 100 Greatest Achievements in Cinematography in the 20th Century, According to ASC

Written by on January 9, 2019 

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To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) this year, they’ve polled their members to determine 100 milestone films in the art and craft of cinematography of the 20th century. Topping the list is David Lean’s epic Lawrence of Arabia, shot by Freddie Young. Also in the top ten is Blade Runner (Jordan Cronenweth), The Conformist (Vittorio Storaro), Days of Heaven (Néstor Almendros), and more.

Organized by Steven Fierberg, he said “ASC members wanted to call attention to the most significant achievements of the cinematographer’s art but not refer to one achievement as ‘better’ than another. The selected films represent 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 on generations of filmmakers.”

See the top 10 below, along with the full list.

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)

The rest of ASC’s 100 cinematography milestones from the 20th century, now in chronological order:

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 Nest (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 Redemptio” (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)

And here are this year’s ASC nominees:

See more at ASC’s official site.


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