Members of the American Society of Cinematographers have put their heads together to craft a list of the best-shot films of all time, honoring the best of the best in the realm of cinematography. The ASC is an elite professional organization comprised of cinematographers at the top of their field, and in celebration of its 100th anniversary today, they’ve revealed a list of the 100 best-shot films of all time as selected by professional cinematographers themselves.
Cinematography is a vital aspect of filmmaking that all too often goes overlooked. The art of cinematography is far more complex—and artful—than simply pointing a camera and shooting. Cinematographers spend countless hours perfecting the light for a scene, choosing the correct lenses, aspect ratio, framing, etc. all to capture the image in the best way possible for the story at hand. There is, obviously, a significant difference between good cinematography and bad cinematography, but what makes the artform so exciting is how diverse the range of “great” cinematographers is. You wouldn’t mistake a Roger Deakins-shot film for a Janusz Kaminski-shot film for a Bradford Young-shot film, and yet each DP’s artistic expression is exciting in its own right.
As for the ASC’s list of the 10 best-shot films ever made, there are a couple of obvious choices like Lawrence of Arabia (the top film) and Days of Heaven, but also some exciting choices like The French Connection thrown in as well.
Peruse the ASC’s list of the best-shot films of all time below, followed by the full list of the Top 100.