'Lawrence of Arabia' Tops Cinematographers' List of Milestone Films

The list was released as the American Society of Cinematographers begins its Centennial celebration.
United Artists/Photofest

Lawrence of Arabia, David Lean's 1962 epic lensed by the late Freddie Young, has topped a list of milestone films in the art and craft of cinematography of the 20th century, as selected by members of the American Society of Cinematographers. The release of the list kicks off the commemoration of the society's Centennial, which will be celebrated throughout 2019.

Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic Blade Runner, lensed by the late Jordan Cronenweth, and Francis Ford Coppola's 1979 war film Apocalypse Now, shot by Vittorio Storaro, round out the top three films on the list. Storaro's work on Bernardo Bertolucci's The Conformist is also in the top 10. Others include the lateGregg Toland's work on Orson Welles' classic Citizen Kane and Owen Roizman's lensing of The French Connection.

The top 10 films are listed below, followed by a complete list of 100 films where the additional 90 titles are unranked as society members "wanted to call attention to the most significant achievements of the cinematographer’s art but not refer to one achievement as 'better' than another."

Also on Tuesday, the City of Los Angeles will recognize ASC's 100th anniversary with a proclamation, which is scheduled to be presented by City Councilman Mitch O'Farrell at the ASC's historic Hollywood clubhouse. ASC members including president Kees van Oostrum and Centennial committee chair and past president Richard Crudo will also unveil a 100th anniversary seal at the building's courtyard. A members-only reception and dinner will follow.

The top 10 films are:

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 Wells)

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 Nestor 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 here's the full list of the ASC's top cinematography of the 20th century:

1927 Metropolis

1927 Napoleon

1927 Sunrise

1939 Gone With the Wind

1939 The Wizard of Oz

1940 The Grapes of Wrath

1941 Citizen Kane

1941 How Green Was My Valley

1942 Casablanca

1942 The Magnificent Ambersons

1947 Black Narcissus

1948 The Bicycle Thief

1948 The Red Shoes

1949 The Third Man

1950 Rashomon

1950 Sunset Boulevard

1954 On the Waterfront

1954 Seven Samurai

1955 The Night of the Hunter

1956 The Searchers

1957 Bridge on the River Kwai

1958 Touch of Evil

1958 Vertigo

1960 Breathless

1961 Last Year at Marienbad

1962 Lawrence of Arabia

1963 8 1⁄2

1963 Hud

1964 Dr. Strangelove

1964 I Am Cuba (Soy Cuba)

1965 Doctor Zhivago

1966 The Battle of Algiers

1966 Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

1967 Cool Hand Luke

1967 The Graduate

1967 In Cold Blood

1968 2001: A Space Odyssey

1968 Once Upon a Time in the West

1969 Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

1969 Wild Bunch

1970 The Conformist

1971 A Clockwork Orange

1971 The French Connection 

1971 Klute

1971 The Last Picture Show

1971 McCabe and Mrs. Miller

1972 Cabaret

1972 The Godfather

1972 Last Tango in Paris

1973 The Exorcist

1974 Chinatown

1974 The Godfather: Part II

1975 Barry Lyndon

1975 One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

1976 All the President's Men

1976 Bound for Glory

1976 Taxi Driver

1977 Close Encounters of the Third Kind

1977 The Duellists

1978 Days of Heaven

1978 The Deer Hunter

1979 Alien

1979 All That Jazz

1979 Apocalypse Now

1979 Being There

1979 The Black Stallion

1979 Manhattan

1980 Raging Bull

1980 The Shining

1981 Chariots of Fire

1981 Das Boot

1981 Reds

1982 Blade Runner

1982 Fanny and Alexander

1983 The Right Stuff

1984 Amadeus

1984 The Natural

1984 Paris, Texas

1985 Brazil

1986 The Mission

1987 Empire of the Sun

1987 The Last Emperor

1987 Wings of Desire

1988 Mississippi Burning

1991 JFK

1991 Raise the Red Lantern

1992 Unforgiven

1992 Baraka

1993 Schindler's List

1993 Searching for Bobby Fischer

1993 Trois Couleurs: Bleu

1994 The Shawshank Redemption

1995 Se7en

1996 The English Patient

1997 L. A. Confidential

1998 Saving Private Ryan

1998 The Thin Red Line

1999 American Beauty

1999 The Matrix

2000 In the Mood for Love