The 75 best looking films ever made

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No. 51
'Thief' (1981)
Director: Michael Mann
DoP.: Donald Thorin



Donald Thorin was the DoP on quite a few Hollywod action films (Tango and Cash, Midnight Run, The Golden Child, Mickey Blue Eyes) but none were as striking as Thief. Together with James Caan's brooding badass 'Frank', Thief is an extremely rewatchable film.

Mann seems to shoot night scenes as good as anyone in the business and some of the best examples are to be found in Thief. Fairy lights twinkling in the foreground, the city neons bouncing off a car hood or two friends chatting, silhouetted on the shore - it's all here.
I saw this movie when I was like 12 years old and it may have been the first time I ever really noticed and understood how good-looking a movie was.



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No.50.
'Manhattan' (1979)
Director: Woody Allen
DoP.: Gordon Willis



Gordon Willis' work on this film is outstanding. The lines of buildings, bridges and people makes the location a character in its' own right. If anyone ever says "Why does a film need to be black and white these days when we have the best technology?" - then all you have to do is show them this film. It simply wouldn't have worked in colour. I just can't imagine the famous bridge shot above being shot in colour. It may not be Allen's greatest film but it has to be the best looking.



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No.49.
'November' (2017)
Director: Rainer Sarnet
DoP.: Mart Taniel



This small Estonian film went well under the radar of most people but it is worth checking out. I'd say it's easily in the top 5 best looking films of the decade. Some of the images are simply jaw dropping. Mart Tniel's use of light in dark barns, forests and other gloomy locations is gorgeous and only heightens the black and white photography.

This shot in particular is an example of how amazing this film looks, and is as beautiful as it is inventive:


Anyone who loves mysterious, odd folklore with beautiful images should seek this film out.



No.50.
'Manhattan' (1979)
Director: Woody Allen
DoP.: Gordon Willis



Gordon Willis' work on this film is outstanding. The lines of buildings, bridges and people makes the location a character in its' own right. If anyone ever says "Why does a film need to be black and white these days when we have the best technology?" - then all you have to do is show them this film. It simply wouldn't have worked in colour. I just can't imagine the famous bridge shot above being shot in colour. It may not be Allen's greatest film but it has to be the best looking.
I love this movie and the cinematography definitely ain't not on the list of reasons.



No. 53
'The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford' (2007)
Director: Andrew Dominik
DoP.: Roger Deakins



Roger Deakins' work in this film is outstanding. Using the wilderness of Alberta Canada to deputise for Missouri was a stroke of genius and the results re beautiful. Deakins has aid that the shot in the top left ^ here is the high point of his career, and who can argue. It is one of the most stunning scenes in 21st century cinema.

It's not just the camerawork and lighting though, the attention to detail in this film is impressive. For example, Brad Pitt's finger is digitally erased in every single scene as the real Jesse James shot his own finger tip off while cleaning his gun.


Easily one of the best looking films this century.
Couldn't agree more on this one...just about every shot in this film looked like an oil painting.



I'm enjoying this thread too! Wondering if we'll see entries from Akira Kurosawa and/or Terrence Malick (though the DoPs are taking deserved credit in each entry.)



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No. 48
'Blade Runner 2049'
Director: Denis Villeneuve
DoP.: Roger Deakins



Deakins nailed this film. He absolutely encapsulated and reproduced what the entire Blade Runner aesthetic should be. The effects are outstanding, the colours are eye popping and the tone of the overall film just puts the viewer in that world right from the off. The reproduction of Sean Young is done so well (she knew that footage of her was going to be in the film but was told to deny it in interviews, and even suggested fans boycott going to see the film as a misdirection, to keep it a secret.)

The orange tinted Las Vegas scene (bottom right above) was taken from a news report that Deakins saw - where a freak dust storm had turned Sydney, Australia into a ghostly red fog:


He was inspired by it so much that he used it for an entire segment of the film. It's interesting to see what goes on in the mind of a true great like Deakins, and how real events can form ideas in the likes of Sci Fi films like this. The film is a worthy sequel to the original and the images are a huge part of that.



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*sigh* Thief is the only recent one I can comment on - great movie that's visually quite striking, great choice.

Never seen Manhattan, just not much of a Woody Allen fan tbh. Do love me some b&w cinematography though so perhaps one day.
Actually getting November as a present for my upcoming birthday and will be fitting that one in before the FL Countdown deadline for sure.
Own Blade Runner 2049 but not got round to watching it yet, no idea why really as I love the original predecessor. I'll give it a spin at some point in the not too distant I'm sure.
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*sigh* Thief is the only recent one I can comment on - great movie that's visually quite striking, great choice.

Never seen Manhattan, just not much of a Woody Allen fan tbh. Do love me some b&w cinematography though so perhaps one day.
Actually getting November as a present for my upcoming birthday and will be fitting that one in before the FL Countdown deadline for sure.
Own Blade Runner 2049 but not got round to watching it yet, no idea why really as I love the original predecessor. I'll give it a spin at some point in the not too distant I'm sure.
Let me know what you think of November. Lots of eye candy in it.



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"Film is a disease. When it infects your bloodstream it takes over as the number one hormone. It bosses the enzymes, directs the pineal gland, plays Iago to your psyche. As with heroin, the antidote to Film is more Film." - Frank Capra



Wow, I somehow missed the November post. One of my favorite recent films. Eye candy, indeed. Plus skeleton helicopter thingies.

This image has single-handedly convinced me to watch this movie.



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I have been so busy the past couple of weeks, I have barely had anytime for Mofo. Hope to free up some time soon,

Obviously, I am a huge fan of Blade Runner 2049, and the cinematography is a huge part of why. I wanted to mention the excellent transitions in the film as well, such as the campfire scene, during which the sparks from the fire rise up and fade into the night, only to become part of the cityscape. great stuff.
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No. 47
'Haxan' (1922)
Director: Benjamin Christensen
DoP.: Johan Ankerstjerne



The images in this are haunting and pretty unforgetable. It's a pseudo documentary that basically charts the evolution of witchcraft through time. It's slightly odd and slightly terrifying, especially the torture sequences. But Johan Ankerstjerne's cinematography, which includes images of the torture devices, old witches and grotesque models of gargoyles and orcs is quite stunning. For 1922 it is really impressive.



No. 47
'Haxan' (1922)
Director: Benjamin Christensen
DoP.: Johan Ankerstjerne



The images in this are haunting and pretty unforgetable. It's a pseudo documentary that basically charts the evolution of witchcraft through time. It's slightly odd and slightly terrifying, especially the torture sequences. But Johan Ankerstjerne's cinematography, which includes images of the torture devices, old witches and grotesque models of gargoyles and orcs is quite stunning. For 1922 it is really impressive.
Yeah, Haxan pretty much had to be on this list.



Well, this looks like a good place to make my first post. As this is exactly what I was looking for - great cinematography. A few films on this list I haven't seen, and will look into. Thanks!