Sight and Sound's Best Films
Unmissable films from an essential source: the world’s wisest film magazine, whose annual list sets the standard.
Drama2019120 minsDirector: Armando Iannucci
Armando Iannucci brings David Copperfield fizzing to life with all-star collaborators in this exuberant, entertaining and sharply pertinent adaptation.
Documentary201694 minsDirector: Raoul Peck
Raoul Peck’s penetrating and acclaimed documentary reconstructs an unfinished manuscript by James Baldwin, chronicler of America’s Civil Rights Movement.
Drama2016111 minsDirector: Barry Jenkins
Winner of the 2017 Oscar for Best Picture (eventually!), Barry Jenkins’ intoxicating drama follows the furtive life of a gay black boy through 80s Miami.
Thriller2019104 minsDirector: Brandon Cronenberg
In the near future, a cool and ruthless assassin who uses other people’s bodies to carry out execution-style killings comes unstuck when her latest vehicle resists.
Action and Adventure2015106 minsDirector: Hou Hsiao-Hsien
Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s mesmerising, visually stunning tale of love and honour was Sight and Sound magazine’s best film of 2015.
Documentary2019109 minsDirector: Alexander Nanau
When burn patients begin dying from non-life-threatening injuries a group of investigative journalists uncover a vast healthcare scandal, in this gripping Romanian documentary.
Drama2016161 minsDirector: Martin Scorsese
Scorsese’s epic meditation on spiritual strength, with Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver as missionaries on the search for their missing mentor.
Drama2017112 minsDirector: Sean Baker
Tangerine director Sean Baker presents another visionary take on the wild ups and dangerous downs of life in America’s underbelly, featuring an Oscar-nominated turn from Willem Dafoe.
Drama2016137 minsDirector: Kenneth Lonergan
Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams shine in this devastating, Oscar-winning drama from Kenneth Lonergan about a man’s painful hometown return.
Drama2017127 minsDirector: Andrey Zvyagintsev
Andrey Zvyagintsev (Elena, Leviathan) delivers a masterpiece in this caustic look at contemporary Russian society, a failed marriage and the disappearance of a child. A major prize winner at both Cannes and BFI London Film Festival.
Drama201792 minsDirector: David Lowery
David Lowery's haunting exploration of love and loss, with Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck is a high-point of recent independent American cinema.
Crime2016102 minsDirector: David Mackenzie
Jeff Bridges and Chris Pine star in David Mackenzie’s acclaimed crime drama about two brothers who rob the banks that seized their ranch, and the sheriff on their heels.
Drama2017143 minsDirector: Robin Campillo
Pulsating with life and pounding with urgency, Robin Campillo’s extraordinary account of 1990s AIDS activism is a rousing, sensual and heart-breaking celebration of personal and political resistance.
Comedy2016118 minsDirector: Jim Jarmusch
Adam Driver excels in this effortlessly charming tale of a bus driver poet in New Jersey, filmed with typically groovy elan by Jim Jarmusch.
Drama201495 minsDirector: Andrew Haigh
One of the most acclaimed British features of recent years, starring Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay as a couple rocked by news from the past.
Musical2016128 minsDirector: Damien Chazelle
Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone channel old-school Hollywood glamour in this bright and playful romantic musical from director Damien Chazelle (Whiplash).
Drama201470 minsDirector: Jean-Luc Godard
Jean-Luc Godard’s typically innovative and playful meditation on technology, love and language was acclaimed one of the best films of 2014.
Biopic2016110 minsDirector: Pablo Larraín
Pablo Larraín's bold, inventive detective thriller offers an electrifying contemplation of the Chilean poet's life on the run in the late 1940s.
Documentary2015118 minsDirector: Chantal Akerman
Chantal Akerman’s rigorously observational portrait of her late mother takes on a whole new significance in the wake of the director’s own premature passing.
Drama201498 minsDirector: Christian Petzold
Nina Hoss is superb as concentration camp survivor who assumes a new identity, in Christian Petzold’s intricate post-WWII thriller.
Drama201495 minsDirector: Jean-Pierre Dardenne
Academy Award-winner Marion Cotillard’s collaboration with Cannes Festival-favourites Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne is a stunning, tense drama about a woman’s race against time to save her job.
Horror2013108 minsDirector: Jonathan Glazer
An alien Scarlett Johansson prowls the streets of Glasgow in Jonathan Glazer’s astonishing, mind-bending mixture of existential sci-fi and inner-city realism.
Drama201482 minsDirector: Pawel Pawlikowski
The Best Film winner at the 2013 BFI London Film Festival is an exquisitely shot, moving drama about a Polish nun exploring her family past, from UK-based director Pawel Pawlikowski.
Documentary2014181 minsDirector: Frederick Wiseman
The inner workings of London’s National Gallery are laid bare in this absorbing, forensic examination by revered filmmaker Frederick Wiseman.
Drama2019118 minsDirector: Shannon Murphy
Seriously ill Milla (Eliza Scanlen) clashes with her parents, who disapprove when she brings home her sketchy new boyfriend Toby, in this tragicomic debut from Shannon Murphy.
Drama201795 minsDirector: Dan Kokotajlo
A deeply religious family must decide whether to stick by their relation or abandon her, in this striking debut from Daniel Kokotajlo - a prizewinner at BFI London Film Festival 2017.
Thriller201790 minsDirector: Lynne Ramsay
Lynne Ramsay journeys with Joaquin Phoenix into the mind of an ex-soldier gun-for-hire whose own demons are as brutal as the actions of his adversaries.