SpelingError's Top 100 Favorite Short Films


Some time ago, I made an effort to expand the number of short films I've seen. Aside from having watched some well‐known classics, I felt the short film format was one I had barely scratched the surface of. After asking for recommendations from a handful of people, watching as much short films as possible from a few decently sized lists I came across, and exhausting the filmography of a handful of filmmakers who largely specialize in short films (even though I typically don't like to do this), I now feel pretty confident with publishing this.

The main hurdle I had to jump over was, though I knew some well‐known classics would inevitably make this list, I also wanted to have a decently high number of surprises throughout it as well, even in the top 20. To achieve this, I kept making efforts to delve deeper into obscure/international releases until I felt confident with my choices, while simultaneously making sure not to hand out high ratings to obscure short films just for the sake of it.

Another big hurdle I ran into when I started was determining how short a film has to be for it to quality as a short film. Some people define a short film as 30 minutes or less, while the Academy defines short films as 40 minutes or less (credits included). I've also seen some people count all films under an hour as short films. In short (heh), I don't think there's a single, universally accepted definition which everyone will agree on. After looking through the pool of films I wanted to give recognition to, I ultimately decided I was most comfortable with 45 minutes or less.

Almost everything in this list can be watched for free on YouTube, but a few films might be harder to track down. Let me know if you need any help.

The List:

100) Allures (1961, Jordan Belson)
99) Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century (1953, Chuck Jones)
98) Talking Heads (1980, Krzysztof Kieślowski)
97) At Land (1944, Maya Deren)
96) Balance (1989, Christoph Lauenstein and Wolfgang Lauenstein)
95) À Propos De Nice (1930, Jean Vigo and Boris Kaufman)
94) Black Ice (1994, Stan Brakhage)
93) 9 Variations on a Dance Theme (1966, Hilary Harris)
92) Inspiration (1949, Karel Zeman)
91) Death and Transfiguration (1983, Terence Davies)

90) What's Opera, Doc? (1957, Chuck Jones)
89) Uncle Yanco (1967, Agnès Varda)
88) A Trip to the Moon (1902, Georges Méliès)
87) The Flat (1968, Jan Švankmajer)
86) Fuses (1967, Carolee Schneemann)
85) The Big Shave (1967, Martin Scorsese)
84) Barres (1984, Luc Moullet)
83) Food (1993, Jan Švankmajer)
82) Visions in Meditation #2: Mesa Verde (1989, Stan Brakhage)
81) A Dog's Life (1918, Charlie Chaplin)

80) The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar (2023, Wes Anderson)
79) Lost & Found (2018, Andrew Goldsmith and Bradley Slabe)
78) Goodbye (2015, Tyler Russo)
77) Tango (1981, Zbigniew Rybczyński)
76) Begone Dull Care (1949, Evelyn Lambart and Norman McLaren)
75) Opening Speech (1960, Norman McLaren)
74) Virile Games (1988, Jan Švankmajer)
73) The Brickmakers (1972, Marta Rodríguez and Jorge Silva)
72) The House of Small Cubes (2008, Kunio Kato)
71) Hair-Raising Hare (1946, Chuck Jones)

70) Yantra (1957, James Whitney)
69) The Skeleton Dance (1929, Walt Disney)
68) Forklift Driver Klaus: The First Day on the Job (2001, Stefan Prehn and Jörg Wagner)
67) One Week (1920, Buster Keaton and Edward F. Cline)
66) Krakatau (1986, Mariusz Grzegorzek)
65) The Mad Doctor (1933, David Hand)
64) The Dream of a Ridiculous Man (1992, Aleksandr Petrov)
63) Early Abstractions (1987, Harry Smith)
62) The Night it Rained (1967, Kamran Shirdel)
61) Duck Amuck (1953, Chuck Jones)

60) Down to the Cellar (1983, Jan Švankmajer)
59) Thunder Road (2016, Jim Cummings)
58) Wasp (2003, Andrea Arnold)
57) Spacy (1981, Takashi Ito)
56) A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy)
55) Cat Skin (1962, Joaquim Pedro de Andrade)
54) OPAL (2020, Jack Stauber)
53) Blight (1996, John Smith)
52) Rabbit Fire (1951, Chuck Jones)
51) Scorpio Rising (1964, Kenneth Anger)

50) The Hand (1965, Jiří Trnka)
49) The Little Girl Who Sold the Sun (1999, Djibril Diop Mambéty)
48) I'm Here (2010, Spike Jonze)
47) The Telephone Box (1972, Antonio Mercero)
46) The Black Tower (1987, John Smith)
45) Boulder Blues And Pearls And... (1992, Stan Brakhage)
44) Zone (1995, Takashi Ito)
43) Neighbours (1952, Norman McLaren)
42) Dog Star Man: Part III (1964, Stan Brakhage)
41) Camera Makes Whoopee (1935, Norman McLaren)

40) The Red Balloon (1956, Albert Lamorisse)
39) Fire in Castilla (Tactilvision From the Moor of the Fright) (1961, José Val del Omar)
38) More (1998, Mark Osborne)
37) Castro Street (1966, Bruce Baillee)
36) Box (1982, Takashi Ito)
35) The Heart of the World (2000, Guy Maddin)
34) Window Water Baby Moving (1959, Stan Brakhage)
33) Geneviève (1965, Michel Brault)
32) Land Without Bread (1933, Luis Buñuel)
31) Dog Star Man: Part II (1963, Stan Brakhage)

30) The Wrong Trousers (1993, Nick Park)
29) Thunder (1982, Takashi Ito)
28) World of Tomorrow (2015, Don Hertzfeldt)
27) Dog Star Man: Part IV (1964, Stan Brakhage)
26) The Man Who Planted Tress (1987, Frédéric Back)
25) Darkness/Light/Darkness (1989, Jan Švankmajer)
24) The Exquisite Corpus (2015, Peter Tscherkassky)
23) La Soufrière (1977, Werner Herzog)
22) Hapax Legomena III: Critical Mass (1971, Hollis Frampton)
21) Sherlock, Jr. (1924, Buster Keaton)

20) Dog Star Man: Part I (1962, Stan Brakhage)
19) The Grandmother (1970, David Lynch)
18) The Act of Seeing With One's Own Eyes (1971, Stan Brakhage)
17) Hedgehog in the Fog (1975, Yuri Norstein)
16) Apaches (1977, John Mackenzie)
15) A Song of Love (1950, Jean Genet)
14) The Pit, the Pendulum and Hope (1984, Jan Švankmajer)
13) Night and Fog (1955, Alain Resnais)
12) Prelude: Dog Star Man (1962, Stan Brakhage)
11) Pas De Deux (1968, Norman McLaren)

10) La Jetée (1962, Chris Marker)
9) Delicacies of Molten Horror Synapse (1991, Stan Brakhage)
8) Un Chien Andalou (1929, Luis Buñuel)
7) The Vampires of Poverty (1978, Carlos Mayolo and Luis Ospina)
6) Grim (1985, Takashi Ito)
5) The Burden (2017, Niki Lindroth von Bahr)
4) The House Is Black (1963, Forugh Farrokhzad)
3) Meshes of the Afternoon (1943, Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid)
2) Mirror of Holland (1950, Bert Haanstra)
1) Wavelength (1967, Michael Snow)

Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century (1953, Chuck Jones)

GASP! My entry was not so far fetched a guess!

GASP! My entry was not so far fetched a guess!
I think four of his films are on this list. None of them quite rise to favorite level for me, but he certainly has a handful of very good films under his belt.

Duck Dodgers is indeed a classic. It has a special place in my heart because the convention DragonCon plays it every year during their big costume contest while tabulating the scores.

In 2020, since they had to run the convention virtually, they made a fan tribute to it which ended up being pretty darn funny. Keep your eyes peeled for Eddie McClintock, Mark Meer and Garrett Wang of Warehouse 13, Mass Effect and Star Trek: Voyager fame respectively:

I mainline Windex and horse tranquilizer
I, too, enjoy drugs.
A hundred percent death proof.

Tomato Necromancy - now with Vitamin R!

I forgot the opening line.
I'm still expecting The Travelling Players to somehow show up here.
Remember - everything has an ending except hope, and sausages - they have two.

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