The American Society of Cinematographers (ASC), an elite organization of cinematographers at the top of their field, is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its founding today. What better way to honor that milestone than to create a list of 100 milestone films known for the art and craft of cinematography in the 20th century, and they call it the Best Shot Films Of All Time.
ASC says this is the first time a list like this has been compiled, at least by a group of pros who should know what they are talking about. The list culminates in a Top 10 (the other 90 are unranked). The Top 10 Best Shot Films Of All Time are:
- Lawrence of Arabia (1962), shot by Freddie Young, BSC (Dir. David Lean)
- Blade Runner (1982), shot by Jordan Cronenweth, ASC (Dir. Ridley Scott)
- Apocalypse Now (1979), shot by Vittorio Storaro, ASC, AIC (Dir. Francis Ford Coppola)
- Citizen Kane (1941), shot by Gregg Toland, ASC (Dir. Orson Wells)
- The Godfather (1972), shot by Gordon Willis, ASC (Dir. Francis Ford Coppola)
- Raging Bull (1980), shot by Michael Chapman, ASC (Dir. Martin Scorsese)
- The Conformist (1970), shot by Vittorio Storaro, ASC, AIC (Dir. Bernardo Bertolucci)
- Days of Heaven (1978), shot by Néstor Almendros, ASC (Dir. Terrence Malick)
- 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), shot by Geoffrey Unsworth, BSC with additional photography by John Alcott, BSC (Dir. Stanley Kubrick)
- The French Connection (1971), shot by Owen Roizman, ASC (Dir. William Friedkin)
In its release, ASC explains the criteria for the selections. “The lists were voted on by ASC members who wanted to call attention to the most significant achievements of cinematographic art. The selected films represent a range of styles, eras and visual artistry, but most importantly, the lists commemorate films that are inspirational to ASC members, and have exhibited enduring influence on generations of filmmakers,” ASC said. This list comes on the heels of their nominations announced yesterday for the best of 2018 in film and TV. The film nods included Roma, Cold War, A Star Is Born, The Favourite, and First Man.
Founded by 15 cinematographers in 1919, the ASC has been a professional cornerstone for the men and women who oversee the photography of motion pictures and television through the masterful manipulation of lighting, composition, color and camera movement. The Society’s esteemed international membership represents the most prolific artists in the field. When a cinematographer’s name is followed by the letters “ASC,” it denotes a level of professional and artistic success signifying that they are among the finest practitioners of their craft.
The full list of 100 Milestone Films — and accompanying photos and extended captions for the Top 10 Best Shot Films — can be found on the American Cinematographer Instagram and Facebook accounts, and at www.theasc.com.