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What films do you think have the best cinematography?

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What films do you think have the best cinematography?

Old 09-29-06, 06:05 PM
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Which Films Do You Think Have The Best Cinematography?

Personally, I'm going with "The Conformist" and "Citizen Kane" as my top two. Both films use shadows in an incredibly revolutionary way to tell their stories. I also give honorable mentions to Rosemary's Baby, the Godfather Trilogy, I am Cuba, 8 1/2, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, Touch of Evil and Terrance Malick's four films. I'm obviously omitting a fair amount here, too many beautiful films to mention. Essentially though, what films do you think have the best cinematography in film history? Feel free to list as many as you need to get your point across.
Cheers.

Last edited by b325; 09-29-06 at 06:55 PM.
Old 09-29-06, 06:22 PM
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I'll have to go with Terrence Malick as well. The New Worl was beautifully shot, as awful as it was sitting through that film - I was a little bored.
Another great one is "Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind". And Mystic River, I can't quite put my finger on it, but that style really had ... something ... urgh whatever, liked it a lot!
Old 09-29-06, 08:18 PM
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George Washington, Barry Lyndon, Lawrence of Arabia, and Road To Perdition are among my favs that haven't been said yet.
Old 09-29-06, 09:01 PM
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2001 and Lawrence definitely is up there among top 5.
Old 09-29-06, 09:31 PM
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Just off the top of my head that hasn't been mentioned: Apocalypse Now
Old 09-29-06, 09:52 PM
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It starts with 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY and goes down from there. I gotta give a shoutout to the underrated classic CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND, though...
Old 09-29-06, 11:27 PM
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Forrest Gump
Field of Dreams
E.T. The Extraterrestrial
The Devils Advocate
Femme Fatale
True Lies
The Terminator films
Boogie Nights
Collateral
Heat
Minority Report
Return of the King
The Matrix films
The Patriot(2000)
V for Vendetta
Old 09-29-06, 11:34 PM
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Tess

The Godfather Part Ii

Manhattan

Superman

Shane

Gone With The Wind

Casino

Blade Runner
Old 09-29-06, 11:43 PM
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Originally Posted by DieselsDen
Casino
Glad somebody mentioned this one. Although the Vegas backdrop is an obvious attention-getter, the way Bob Richardson is able to give the characters those white outlines is so cool. He's also done this in a few Oliver Stone movies.
Old 09-29-06, 11:54 PM
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Sin City is brilliant, just brilliant. It goes without saying. It was filmed to that each shot was a replica of a frame in the graphic novels. Smart stuff.

Pi is good, too. It makes you feel just as claustrophobic and troubled as the main character does, by using super close-up camera positions and really stylised contrast. Excellent cinematography.
Old 09-30-06, 12:03 AM
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The Godfather, Raging Bull, Citizen Kane, Once Upon a Time in the West.

Recently, films like Kingdom of Heaven and Brokeback Mountain.

Oh, and I second Apocalypse Now. The sunset scenes are beautiful, as is the Kurtz compound and French plantation.
Old 09-30-06, 12:13 AM
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I think Sven Nykvist is possible the greatest cinematographer of all time. His work with Ingmar Bergman is brilliant, especially in Fanny and Alexander and Cries and Whispers. Also, Philip Kaufman's The Unbearable Lightness of Being was beautifully shot. I think his work in color is his best but really his talent shines through in black and white too.

Everything Terrence Malick has ever done should be mentioned, especially Days of Heaven and The New World.

The films of Andrei Tarkovsky are beautifully shot. Offret (Sacrifice) was another one shot by Sven Nykvist.

David Lean is one of my favorite directors and everything I've seen by him has been a masterpiece in terms of visual style. His early black and white work like Great Expecations and Oliver Twist is stunning in its use of shadows and of course his later epics like Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago are masterpieces.

Francis Ford Coppola has a great eye for things like this as is best evidenced with Apocalypse Now.

Fellini's films are visually stunning, especially his later work starting with La Dolce Vita and moving through 8 1/2 up through Amarcord or so.
Old 09-30-06, 02:24 AM
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A Very Long Engagement
Dark City
Far From Heaven
The Man Who Wasn't There
Sleepy Hollow

Last edited by jchamoun; 09-30-06 at 02:29 AM.
Old 09-30-06, 06:08 AM
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Schindler's List
Grapes of Wrath
Old 09-30-06, 07:52 AM
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God yes, Schindler's List!! Of course. Ditto
Old 09-30-06, 08:11 AM
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Hero
Old 09-30-06, 10:01 AM
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It's interesting to see that a majority of people that have responded here so far have chosen some of the best filmed movies from the last twenty years. I personally have many favorites from this time period, especially any movie from Michael Mann. He has this vision that is so stark and powerful. I left the theatre after seeing Miami Vice thinking how his camera work/direction made the movie and it had a signature that left no doubt that is was a Michael Mann movie.
Anyways, the purpose of my creating this thread was to seek opinions on what are the landmarks of cinematography throughout the years. I've seen the documentary Visions of Light, which I recommend to anyone whom hasn't seen it before and I'm looking for a deeper insight into the craft. Please continue posting, this could be an interesting thread if it continues as we scan across the years to point out the most beautifully filmed movies. Cheers.

Last edited by b325; 09-30-06 at 10:04 AM.
Old 09-30-06, 10:45 AM
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Movies with good cinematography:

-Anything directed by Terrence Malick or Michael Mann
-Anything shot by the late Conrad Hall; this guy made even the most common stories look gorgeous, like American Beauty. Road to Perdition was almost like watching a series of paintings.
-In terms of what I think are landmark ones, I think a lot of the early musicals like Oklahoma and South Pacific should qualify. They were some of the first to employ Cinemascope as an attempt to lure people away from TV sets and back to theaters, and more or less started the whole widescreen process. Fitting in a way, as shooting musicals enabled almost every inch of the screen to be filled with either performers or a majestic image.

Last edited by Dr. DVD; 09-30-06 at 10:49 AM.
Old 09-30-06, 11:19 AM
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Several of Nicolas Roeg's earlier movies as cinematographer and director are all pretty striking: Petulia, Fahrenheit 451, Don't Look Now, Masque of the Red Death.

Some of Jack Cardiff's work should be mentioned. Black Narcissus is a favorite of mine (winner of the Oscar for Best Color Cinematography, 1947). I recently saw The Barefoot Contessa on TV and while the move was pretty formulaic junk IMHO, I couldn't take my eyes off it -- gorgeous saturated color in every scene.

I fear that there is probably outstanding work that I never recognize as such because it is subtle and unobtrusive. Ronald Neame spoke about his technique as a director was to become "invisible" and never have you think about the director; a cinematographer who did the same might not get the same recognition as someone who used stylized color, shadows, etc. Also, some directors work in styles that force a DP to use more natural, less dramatic lighting - Robert Altman for one, so their work might on such films not get recognized.
Old 09-30-06, 11:46 AM
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I'm going to have to say with all sincerity, Bad Boys II. While it's not the most beautiful film shot, and is only a good popcorn movie, it has the trademark super high-contrast eye-searing colors of a Michael Bay/Bruckheimer movie in spades, more than any movie in that genre before or after.
Old 09-30-06, 11:47 AM
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Koyaanisqatsi and Baraka are the best I've ever seen. No story, no actors just great cinematography. I try to always catch them when their playing on INHD. Simply jawdropping cinematography.
Old 09-30-06, 11:49 AM
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Malick's four movies, for sure. Interestingly, they were all shot by different cinematographers.
Badlands - Tak Fujimoto, Stevan Larner, and Brian Probyn
Days of Heaven - Néstor Almendros
The Thin Red Line - John Toll
New world - Emmanuel Lubezki, who Malick is also using on his next film, Tree of Life.

Some of my other favorites:

In the Mood for Love - shot by the amazing Christopher Doyle.
Call Northside 777 - shot by Joseph MacDonald.
Fargo - shot by Roger Deakins.

Last edited by kitkat; 09-30-06 at 11:52 AM.
Old 09-30-06, 02:19 PM
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I forgot to mention Raging Bull, seriously, what an amazing film to watch. How about the boxing scene where the camera goes from 24 fps to 48 fps as La Motta is walking away after the knockout and then back to 24 fps as the fight begins again. Simply incredible scene!

Last edited by b325; 09-30-06 at 03:13 PM.
Old 09-30-06, 05:00 PM
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With the exception of 'Lady in the Water' I love everything Chris Doyle has done.
Old 09-30-06, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Fincher Fan
With the exception of 'Lady in the Water' I love everything Chris Doyle has done.
What did he screw up/fail to do in LotW?

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