Sight & Sound's Best Films
Unmissable films from an essential source: the world’s wisest film magazine, whose annual list sets the standard.
Selected from the last three years, the wayward and the glorious meet here, and invite you in.
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.
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.
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.
Drama2016100 minsDirector: Ken Loach
Ken Loach’s powerful, Palme d’Or-winning invective against welfare injustice captured the mood of modern Britain and became his biggest box office success.
Drama2015131 minsDirector: Paul Verhoeven
Isabelle Huppert gives an unforgettable performance in Paul Verhoeven’s provocative thriller about one woman’s response to a violent attack.
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.
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).
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.
Whit Stillman crosses the Atlantic for this irresistible Jane Austen adaptation, following the delicious and devious exploits of Lady Susan (Kate Beckinsale).
Drama2014117 minsDirector: Richard Linklater
A gang of wild college jocks enjoy three days of freewheeling fun before school starts, in Richard Linklater’s ‘spiritual sequel’ to Boyhood and Dazed and Confused.
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.
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.
Biopic2016108 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.
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.
Drama201582 minsDirector: Lucile Hadzihalilovic
The long-awaited second feature from Lucile Hadžihalilović (Innocence) is a gorgeously surreal coming-of-age tale laced with bizarre body-horror.
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.
Drama2015107 minsDirector: László Nemes
A devastating portrait of life in a concentration camp from the perspective of a Sonderkommando; winner of Cannes Film Festival’s Grand Prix.
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.
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.
Costume drama2014110 minsDirector: Lisandro Alonso
Viggo Mortensen is a distraught Danish military man searching his fugitive daughter in Lisandro Alonso’s visually breathtaking drama.
Drama2014104 minsDirector: Peter Strickland
Peter Strickland’s visually and aurally intoxicating tale of sadomasochistic power-play is a daringly erotic sensory feast.
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.
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.