Citizen Kane tops OFCS’ 100 Best First Films

The Online Film Critics Society has revealed its list of the 100 Best First Films of All Time. The list – generated by votes from OFCS members, including yours truly – celebrates the best directorial debuts in the history of cinema.

So, Citizen Kane was always going to be number one – but hey, it earned it! The entire list is full of wonderful, worthy titles that you must check out if you’ve not already.

Here is how the top 20 turned out:

1. Citizen Kane (dir. Orson Welles)
2. Eraserhead (dir. David Lynch)
3. Night of the Living Dead (dir. George A. Romero)
4. The Maltese Falcon (dir. John Huston)
5. Breathless (dir. Jean-Luc Godard)
6. Reservoir Dogs (dir. Quentin Tarantino)
7. The Night of the Hunter (dir. Charles Laughton)
8. Blood Simple (dir. Joel and Ethan Coen)
9. The 400 Blows (dir. Francois Truffaut)
10. 12 Angry Men (dir. Sidney Lumet)
11. L’Atalante (dir. Jean Vigo)
12. Toy Story (dir. John Lasseter)
13. Badlands (dir. Terrence Malick)
14. Being John Malkovich (dir. Spike Jonze)
15. This Is Spinal Tap (dir. Rob Reiner)
16. Gates of Heaven (dir. Errol Morris)
17. Hiroshima mon amour (dir. Alain Resnais)
18. Airplane!/Flying High! (dir. Zucker/Abrahams/Zucker)
19. Duel (dir. Steven Spielberg)
20. The Iron Giant (dir. Brad Bird)

Check out the rest of the top 100 here!

I was invited to provide a short paragraph on why This Is Spinal Tap deserves its position in the list:

In 1984, a very special comedy arrived in cinemas and was overwhelmingly embraced by audiences. Made on a miniscule budget of only $4.5 million, it went on to gross approximately $146 million worldwide. It spent five weeks atop the U.S. box office and spawned six sequels. That film was Police Academy. A peculiar little fake-doco from comedian-cum-director Rob Reiner debuted in cinemas three weeks before Police Academy bowed… and went largely ignored. But here we are, twenty-six years later, and people aren’t dressing up like Larvell Jones and Carey Mahoney on Halloween. They’re dressing as the core members of the legendary metal band Spinal Tap: David St. Hubbins (named after the patron saint of quality footwear), Derek Smalls (notorious zucchini smuggler) and Nigel Tufnel (writer of the haunting piano solo “Lick My Love Pump”). This Is Spinal Tap — full of unforgettable one-liners, offensively catchy songs and genuinely touching performances — slowly but surely wormed its way into the public consciousness, kick-starting the mockumentary movement and making “11” a perfectly viable level of volume on future speaker systems. Although Reiner’s directorial career would not live up to the promise of his debut feature (Rumour Has It features more gut-churning moments than Videodrome), This Is Spinal Tap remains an unequivocally influential achievement in comedy. How much funnier could this film be? The answer is none. None more funnier.

You can read far more interesting and informed paragraphs on the rest of the top 20 titles here!

In case you were wondering (and why would you) here is how I voted:

1. Synecdoche New York, 2. Citizen Kane, 3. Reservoir Dogs, 4. Blood Simple, 5. Being John Malkovich, 6. This Is Spinal Tap, 7. Night of the Living Dead, 8. 12 Angry Men, 9. Clerks, 10. The Iron Giant.

Discuss: Your thoughts on the list? What would you like to have seen crack the top 20?

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