03/27/2012 02:04 pm ET Updated May 27, 2012

Movies: The Top 100 Films of All Time and the Best of 2011

The IRA Film Awards are the most prestigious, mysterious and exclusive movie awards in the world. Long after the frenzy of "awards season" has passed, the members of the IRAs meet to soberly discuss, debate, argue, bicker, fight, and mock each other as they decide what truly are the best films, performances and technical achievements of the previous year. They also shine a light on some of the worst achievements in cinema.

The IRAs were founded in the 1970s with one very simple thought: we've got better taste than those other award shows; let's do our own. And thus the IRAs were born. Its ranks have contained future Oscar winners, acclaimed and best-selling authors of both fiction and nonfiction (especially movie history), power players in the studio system, influential members of the media, hardcore cineastes and the team behind Inside Oscar: The Unofficial History of the Academy Awards, the most acclaimed (really, the ONLY acclaimed) awards book in history and the template for all the ones that followed in its wake. Usually composed of 10-20 members, the IRAs spend their year watching and debating the movies that really matter, the ones they hope will last and then share their judgment with the rest of the world.

This year the IRAs voted on both the best films of 2011 and the best films of all time, a laborious and fun process that involved catching up with classic movies, debating and arguing them and multiple rounds of voting. The result? A list none of us are truly happy with, naturally. I bemoan the lack of animated films and just one documentary that made the cut. Others are embarrassed by the omission of Bollywood. And so on. But it's a good list: watch all 100 films and you will have a good grounding in some classic cinema. It happened for me. I somehow had never caught director Max Ophuls. Now The Earrings Of Madame De... is high on my personal list of the best movies of all time. Same with the ground-breaking, revelatory Jeanne Dielman. So debate and mock the list, but do watch the movies you've never seen before. Enjoy! And tell me, how many of the movies on this list of 100 have you seen? (I had to see 20 of them for the first time before the final vote and I see a lot of movies!)


Best Picture: The Tree Of Life
Best Director: Terrence Malick - The Tree Of Life
Best Actor: Peyman Moadi - A Separation
Best Actress: Leila Hatami - A Separation
Best Supporting Actor: Hunter McCracken - The Tree Of Life
Best Supporting Actress: Sareh Bayet - A Separation
Best Screenplay: Ashgar Farhadi - A Separation
Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki - The Tree Of Life
Best Production Design: Dante Ferretti - Hugo
Best Score: Alberto Iglesias - Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and The Skin I Live In
Best Editing: Hank Corwin, Jay Rabinowitz, Daniel Rezende, Billy Weber, Mark Yoshikawa - The Tree Of Life
Best Costumes: Jacqueline Durran - Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Sominex Award (The Movie That Put Us To Sleep): Midnight In Paris
Dramamine Award (The Movie That Made Us Sick): The Help
Mechanical Actress: Meryl Streep - The Iron Lady
Mechanical Actor: Owen Wilson - Midnight In Paris

Go here to read all the finalists in every category and a list of past IRA winners from 1975 to the present.


1. The Rules Of The Game
2. The Magnificent Ambersons
3. Citizen Kane
4. Vertigo
5. The Searchers
6. Letter From An Unknown Woman
7. The Big Sleep
8. Psycho
9. The Man Who Shot LIberty Valance
10. The Apartment

11. Shoah
12. The Earrings Of Madame de...
13. The Shop Around The Corner
14. Tokyo Story
15. Rear Window
16. Notorious
17. Touch Of Evil
18. North By Northwest
19. The Palm Beach Story
20. The General (1926)

21. Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles
22. The Big Heat
23. Sunset Blvd.
24. Red River
25. Chinatown
26. Sunrise
27. Double Indemnity
28. Laura
29. His Girl Friday
30. Ugetsu

31. Rio Bravo
32. Anatomy Of A Murder
33. The Miracle Of Morgan's Creek
34. Chimes At Midnight
35. All About Eve
36. The Decalogue
37. The Awful Truth
38. Some Like It Hot
39. Danton
40. Imitation Of Life

41. McCabe & Mrs. Miller
42. Sherlock Jr.
43. Once Upon A Time In The West
44. 2001: A Space Odyssey
45. Ordet
46. A Man Escaped
47. Man With A Movie Camera
48. Written On The Wind
49. The Philadelphia Story
50. Kiss Me Deadly

51. Out Of The Past
52. Force Of Evil
53. Advise & Consent
54. Home From The Hill
55. Sweet Smell Of Success
56. The Lady Eve
57. Make Way For Tomorrow
58. Breathless
59. The Third Man
60. Cluny Brown

61. Pickup On South Street
62. Shanghai Express
63. The Passion Of Joan Of Arc
64. The Naked Spur
65. White Heat
66. The Crowd
67. The Crime Of Monsieur Lange
68. Night Of The Hunter
69. The Band Wagon
70. The Scarlet Empress

71. Red
72. All That Heaven Allows
73. Victor/Victoria
74. Band Of Outsiders
75. Day Of Wrath
76. Rebel Without A Cause
77. In A Lonely Place
78. The Marriage Of Maria Braun
79. It's A Wonderful Life
80. The 400 Blows

81. Metropolis
82. Diary Of A Country Priest
83. Casablanca
84. Lola Montes
85. Raging Bull
86. The Last Picture Show
87. Shock Corridor
88. Meet Me In St. Louis
89. Fanny & Alexander
90. A Star Is Born (1954)

91. Ali: Fear Eats The Soul
92. The Leopard
93. Play Time
94. A Matter Of Life And Death
95. How Green Was My Valley
96. Mildred Pierce
97. What Ever Happened To Baby Jane
98. Travels With My Aunt
99. Days Of Heaven
100. In The Mood For Love

Sight & Sound polls critics every decade. Here's their top 10 list from 2002. (They should come out with their new list around August.)

1. Citizen Kane
2. Vertigo
3. Rules Of The Game
4. The Godfather and The Godfather Part II
5. Tokyo Story
6. 2001: A Space Odyssey
7. Battleship Potemkin
8. Sunrise
9. 8 1/2
10. Singin' In The Rain

Before the final vote, I'd only seen 80 of the movies that made our final list. How many have you seen? (And yes, The Godfather movies and Battleship Potemkin and Fellini were on my personal ballot. Don't yell at me.)

Thanks for reading. Michael Giltz is the cohost of Showbiz Sandbox, a weekly pop culture podcast that reveals the industry take on entertainment news of the day and features top journalists and opinion makers as guests. It's available for free on iTunes. Visit Michael Giltz at his website and his daily blog. Download his podcast of celebrity interviews and his radio show, also called Popsurfing and also available for free on iTunes. Link to him on Netflix and gain access to thousands of ratings and reviews.