Home / News / Film / ASC Cinematographers Celebrate 100th Anniversary with 100 Best Shot Films of All Time

ASC Cinematographers Celebrate 100th Anniversary with 100 Best Shot Films of All Time

The American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) has unveiled, as a part of its centennial celebration, its list of the 100 Best Shot Films of All Time.

In its official 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.

Yesterday, the group announced their nominees for the best shot films and television shows of 2018, a list that included Roma, First Man, The Handmaid’s Tale and The Man in the High Castle.

Members chose to frame this list around the 20th century to ensure that enough time has passed for the titles and work to reasonably exhibit enduring influence. 

As part of the centennial festivities, the Society released their members’ list of the 100 milestone films in the art and craft of cinematography of the 20th century. Organized by Steven Fierberg, ASC (The Affair, Good Girls Revolt, Entourage) and voted on by ASC members, the list is the first of its kind to showcase the best of cinematography as selected by professional directors of photography. 

“I believe that as individuals and also members of the ASC we need to share with the public what influenced and inspired us in our work and our artistry — films we all consider landmarks in our profession,” Fierberg says.

The list 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 list culminates in a Top 10 by number of votes, while the other 90 titles are unranked.“We are trying to call attention to the most significant achievements of the cinematographer’s art,” Fierberg assures. “We do not presume to call one masterful achievement ‘better’ than another.” 

Members chose to frame this list around the 20th century to ensure that enough time has passed for the titles and work to reasonably exhibit enduring influence. 

The Top 10

1. Lawrence of Arabia (1962), shot by Freddie Young, BSC (Dir. David Lean)

2. Blade Runner (1982), shot by Jordan Cronenweth, ASC (Dir. Ridley Scott)

3. Apocalypse Now (1979), shot by Vittorio Storaro, ASC, AIC (Dir. Francis Ford Coppola)

4. Citizen Kane (1941), shot by Gregg Toland, ASC (Dir. Orson Welles)

5. The Godfather (1972), shot by Gordon Willis, ASC (Dir. Francis Ford Coppola)

6. Raging Bull (1980), shot by Michael Chapman, ASC (Dir. Martin Scorsese)

7. The Conformist (1970), shot by Vittorio Storaro, ASC, AIC (Dir. Bernardo Bertolucci)

8. Days of Heaven (1978), shot by Néstor Almendros, ASC (Dir. Terrence Malick)

9. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), shot by Geoffrey Unsworth, BSC with additional photography by John Alcott, BSC (Dir. Stanley Kubrick)

10. The French Connection (1971), shot by Owen Roizman, ASC (Dir. William Friedkin)

The rest of the list, in order of release date:

Metropolis (1927), shot by Karl Freund, ASC; Günther Rittau

Napoleon (1927), shot by Leonce-Henri Burel, Jules Kruger, Joseph-Louis Mundwiller, 

Sunrise (1927), shot by Charles Rosher Sr., ASC; Karl Struss, ASC

Gone with the Wind (1939), shot by Ernest Haller, ASC

The Wizard of Oz (1939), shot by Harold Rosson, ASC

The Grapes of Wrath (1940), shot by Gregg Toland, ASC

How Green Was My Valley (1941), shot by Arthur C. Miller, ASC

Casablanca (1942), shot by Arthur Edeson, ASC

The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), shot by Stanley Cortez, ASC

Black Narcissus (1947), shot by Jack Cardiff, BSC

The Bicycle Thief (1948), shot by Carlo Montuori, 

The Red Shoes (1948), shot by Jack Cardiff, BSC

The Third Man (1949), shot by Robert Krasker, BSC

Rashomon (1950) shot by Kazou MIyagawa

Sunset Boulevard (1950), shot by John Seitz, ASC

On the Waterfront (1954), shot by Boris Kaufman, ASC

Seven Samurai (1954), shot by Asakazu Nakai

The Night of the Hunter (1955), shot by Stanley Cortez, ASC

Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), shot by Jack HIlyard, BSC

Touch of Evil (1958), shot by Russell Metty, ASC

Vertigo (1958), shot by Robert Burks, ASC

Breathless (1960), shot by Raoul Coutard

Last Year at Marienbad (1961), shot by Sacha Vierny

8 ½ (1963), shot by Gianni Di Venanzo

Hud (1963), shot by James Wong Howe, ASC

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), shot by Gilbert Taylor, BSC

I Am Cuba (Soy Cuba; 1964), shot by Sergei Urusevsky

Doctor Zhivago (1965), shot by Freddie Young, BSC

The Battle of Algiers (1966), shot by Marcello Gatti

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), shot by Haskell Wexler, ASC

Cool Hand Luke (1967), shot by Conrad Hall, ASC

The Graduate (1967), shot by Robert Surtees, ASC

In Cold Blood (1967), shot by Conrad Hall, ASC

Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), shot by Tonino Delli Colli, AIC

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), shot by Conrad Hall, ASC

The Wild Bunch (1969), shot by Lucien Ballard, ASC

A Clockwork Orange (1971), shot by John Alcott, BSC

Klute (1971), shot by Gordon Willis, ASC

The Last Picture Show (1971), shot by Robert Surtees, ASC

McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971), shot by Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC, HSC

Cabaret (1972), shot by Geoffery Unsworth, BSC

Last Tango in Paris (1972), shot by Vittorio Storaro, ASC, AIC

The Exorcist (1973), shot by Owen Roizman, ASC

Chinatown (1974), shot by John Alonzo, ASC

The Godfather: Part II (1974), shot by Gordon Willis, ASC

Barry Lyndon (1975), shot by John Alcott, BSC

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), shot by Haskell Wexler, ASC

All the President’s Men (1976), shot by Gordon Willis, ASC

Taxi Driver (1976), shot by Michael Chapman, ASC

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), shot by Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC, HSC

The Duellists (1977), shot by Frank Tidy, BSC

The Deer Hunter (1978), shot by Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC, HSC 

Alien (1979), shot by Derek Vanlint, CSC

All that Jazz (1979), shot by Giuseppe Rotunno, ASC, AIC

Being There (1979), shot by Caleb Deschanel, ASC

The Black Stallion (1979), shot by Caleb Deschanel, ASC

Manhattan (1979), shot by Gordon Willis, ASC

The Shining (1980), shot by John Alcott, BSC

Chariots of Fire (1981), shot by David Watkin, BSC

Das Boot (1981), shot by Jost Vacano, ASC

Reds (1981), shot by Vittorio Storaro, ASC, AIC

Fanny and Alexander (1982), shot by Sven Nykvist, ASC

The Right Stuff (1983), shot by Caleb Deschanel, ASC

Amadeus (1984), shot by Miroslav Ondricek, ASC, ACK

The Natural (1984), shot by Caleb Deschanel, ASC

Paris, Texas (1984), shot by Robby Müller, NSC, BVK

Brazil (1985), shot by Roger Pratt, BSC

The Mission (1986), shot by Chris Menges, ASC, BSC

Empire of the Sun (1987), shot by Allen Daviau, ASC

The Last Emperor (1987), shot by Vittorio Storaro, ASC, AIC

Wings of Desire (1987), shot by Henri Alekan

Mississippi Burning (1988), shot by Peter Biziou, BSC

JFK (1991), shot by Robert Richardson, ASC

Raise the Red Lantern (1991), shot by Lun Yang

Unforgiven (1992), shot by Jack Green, ASC

Baraka (1992), shot by Ron Fricke

Schindler’s List (1993), shot by Janusz Kaminski

Searching For Bobby Fischer (1993), shot by Conrad Hall, ASC

Trois Coulieurs: Bleu (Three Colours: Blue; 1993), shot by Slawomir Idziak, PSC

The Shawshank Redemption (1994), shot by Roger Deakins, ASC, BSC

Seven (1995), shot by Darius Khondji, ASC, AFC

The English Patient (1996), shot by John Seale, ASC, BSC

L. A. Confidential (1997), shot by Dante Spinotti, ASC, AIC

Saving Private Ryan (1998), shot by Janusz Kaminski

The Thin Red Line (1998), shot by John Toll, ASC

American Beauty (1999), shot by Conrad Hall, ASC

The Matrix (1999), shot by Bill Pope, ASC

In the Mood for Love (2000), shot by Christopher Doyle, HKSC

About Erik Anderson

Erik thanks his mother for his love of all things Oscar, having watched the Academy Awards together since he was in the single digits; making lists, rankings and predictions throughout the show. This led him down the path to obsessing about awards. Much later, he found himself at GoldDerby, led by Tom O’Neill and then migrated over to Oscarwatch (now AwardsDaily), headed up by Sasha Stone before breaking off to create AwardsWatch. He is a member of the International Cinephile Society, GALECA (The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics), the International Press Academy and is the founder/owner of AwardsWatch.

Check Also

‘First Man,’ ‘Mission: Impossible,’ ‘A Quiet Place,’ ‘ROMA’ lead Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE) nominations

Mission: Impossible -Fallout (Courtesy of Paramount) First Man, Mission: Impossible – Fallout, A Quiet Place …

%d bloggers like this: