Lawrence of Arabia, Blade Runner top ASC’s best-shot films of 20th Century

Today the American Society of Cinematographers celebrates its 100th anniversary, and to mark the incredible occasion they’ve revealed an equally incredible list of 100 Milestone Films, capped off with the 10 Best-Shot movies ever made – selecting from visual masterpieces of the 20th century. Among the top ten are some of the most undeniably gorgeous movies ever put to film, including BLADE RUNNER, 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, CITIZEN KANE with the legendary epic LAWRENCE OF ARABIA coming in at number one.  

Organized by the ASC’s Steven Fierberg (THE AFFAIR), the list is described as “the first of its kind to showcase the best of cinematography as selected by professional directors of photography.” The rest of the top 10 include APOCALYPSE NOW, THE GODFATHER, RAGING BULL, THE CONFORMIST, DAYS OF HEAVEN and THE FRENCH CONNECTION.

Fierberg issued a quote with the release, saying, “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.

Here are the top 10 in order, followed by the rest of the 100 Milestone Films, in order of release:

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)

And now 11-100

  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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