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From ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ to ‘The French Connection’ Oscar-nominated cinematographer Caleb Deschanel and the FilmWeek critics discuss the best-shot films of the 20th century

Anthony Quinn, Peter O'Toole, and Omar Sharif star in Columbia Pictures'
Anthony Quinn, Peter O'Toole, and Omar Sharif star in Columbia Pictures' "Lawrence of Arabia"

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Earlier this month, in celebration of their 100th anniversary, the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) released a list of the 100 best-photographed films of the 20th century, as voted on by ASC members.

The list is the first of its kind to showcase the best of cinematography as chosen by professional directors of photography. The films on the list come from a multitude of genres and represent a wide range of styles, eras and visual artistry, and all films from the list have exhibited an enduring influence on generations of filmmakers.

Here are the ASC’s top 10:

  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 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)

Today on FilmWeek Larry Mantle and KPCC film critics Justin Chang and Lael Loewenstein are joined by Oscar-nominated cinematographer and ASC member Caleb Deschanel to discuss the list and what makes a well-shot movie.

What movie do you admire most for its cinematography? What do you think of the ASC’s top 10?What do you think is the best-shot film of all time? Give us a call at 866-893-5722.


Caleb Deschanel, Oscar-nominated cinematographer (“The Right Stuff,” “The Natural,” “Fly Away Home,” “The Patriot,” “Passion of the Christ”) and a member of the American Society of Cinematographers

Justin Chang, film critic for KPCC and the Los Angeles Times; he tweets @JustinCChang

Lael Loewenstein, KPCC film critic; she tweets @LAELLO