×

‘Lawrence of Arabia’ Tops ASC’s List of 100 20th Century Cinematography Milestones

The American Society of Cinematographers, in celebration of the organization’s 100th anniversary, has revealed its list of 100 milestone films in the art and craft of cinematography from the 20th century. The list culminates with a top 10, topped by Freddie Young’s lensing of David Lean’s Oscar-winning 1962 epic “Lawrence of Arabia.”

Jordan Cronenweth’s work on Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-fi standard “Blade Runner” came in at number two. Celebrated cinematographer Roger Deakins finally won an Oscar last year for the film’s sequel, “Blade Runner 2049.”

Vittorio Storaro rounded out the top three for Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 Vietnam odyssey “Apocalypse Now.” He, Conrad Hall and Gordon Willis each appeared on the overall list five times, leading the pack. John Alcott, Caleb Deschanel and Haskell Wexler each lensed four.

Organized by Steven Fierberg, ASC (“The Affair”) and voted on by ASC members, the milestones list is the first of its kind to showcase the best of cinematography as selected by professional cinematographers. The collection “represents a range of styles, eras and visual artistry, but most importantly, it commemorates films that are inspirational or influential to ASC members and have exhibited enduring influence to generations of filmmakers,” the Society states.

See below for the full list.

In addition, the City of Los Angeles will acknowledge and honor the ASC’s 100th anniversary on Tuesday at the historic ASC clubhouse in Hollywood. In attendance will be District 13 city councilman Mitch O’Farrell as well as venerable members of the ASC including president Kees van Oostrum and ASC 100th Committee chair Richard Crudo. The proclamation will be made along with the revelation of a 100th anniversary seal in the clubhouse courtyard.

Monday the ASC announced its annual list of nominees in film and television categories, featuring movies like “First Man” and “Roma,” as well as television series such as “Gotham” and “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

The 33rd annual ASC Awards will be held on Saturday, Feb. 9.

The ASC’s top 10 best-shot films of all time are:

1. Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Freddie Young, BSC (Dir. David Lean)
2. “Blade Runner” (1982), Jordan Cronenweth, ASC (Dir. Ridley Scott)
3. “Apocalypse Now” (1979), Vittorio Storaro, ASC, AIC (Dir. Francis Ford Coppola)
4. “Citizen Kane” (1941), Gregg Toland, ASC (Dir. Orson Wells)
5. “The Godfather” (1972), Gordon Willis, ASC (Dir. Francis Ford Coppola)
6. “Raging Bull” (1980), Michael Chapman, ASC (Dir. Martin Scorsese)
7. “The Conformist” (1970), Vittorio Storaro, ASC, AIC (Dir. Bernardo Bertolucci)
8. “Days of Heaven” (1978), Néstor Almendros, ASC (Dir. Terrence Malick)
9. “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968), Geoffrey Unsworth, BSC; additional photography: John Alcott, BSC (Dir. Stanley Kubrick)
10. “The French Connection” (1971), Owen Roizman, ASC (Dir. William Friedkin)

And the Society’s full list of 100 cinematography milestones from the 20th century:

“Metropolis” (1927)
“Napoleon” (1927)
“Sunrise” (1927)
“Gone with the Wind” (1939)
“The Wizard of Oz” (1939)
“The Grapes of Wrath” (1940)
“Citizen Kane” (1941)
“How Green Was my Valley” (1941)
“Casablanca” (1942)
“The Magnificent Ambersons” (1942)
“Black Narcissus” (1947)
“The Bicycle Thief” (1948)
“The Red Shoes” (1948)
“The Third Man” (1949)
“Rashomon” (1950)
“Sunset Boulevard” (1950)
“On the Waterfront” (1954)
“Seven Samurai” (1954)
“The Night of the Hunter” (1955)
“The Searchers” (1956)
“The Bridge on the River Kwai” (1957)
“Touch of Evil” (1958)
“Vertigo” (1958)
“Breathless” (1960)
“Last Year at Marienbad” (1961)
“Lawrence of Arabia” (1962)
“8 1/2” (1963)
“Hud” (1963)
“Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” (1964)
“I Am Cuba (Soy Cuba)” (1964)
“Doctor Zhivago” (1965)
“The Battle of Algiers” (1966)
“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” (1966)
“Cool Hand Luke” (1967)
“The Graduate” (1967)
“In Cold Blood” (1967)
“2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968)
“Once Upon a Time in the West” (1968)
“Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” (1969)
“The Wild Bunch” (1969)
“The Conformist” (1970)
“A Clockwork Orange” (1971)
“The French Connection” (1971)
“Klute” (1971)
“The Last Picture Show” (1971)
“McCabe and Mrs. Miller” (1971)
“Cabaret” (1972)
“The Godfather” (1972)
“Last Tango in Paris” (1972)
“The Exorcist” (1973)
“Chinatown” (1974)
“The Godfather Part II” (1974)
“Barry Lyndon” (1975)
“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Next” (1975)
“All the President’s Men” (1976)
“Bound for Glory” (1976)
“Taxi Driver” (1976)
“Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (1977)
“The Duellists” (1977)
“Days of Heaven” (1978)
“The Deer Hunter” (1978)
“Alien” (1979)
“All That Jazz” (1979)
“Apocalypse Now” (1979)
“Being There” (1979)
“The Black Stallion” (1979)
“Manhattan” (1979)
“Raging Bull” (1980)
“The Shining” (1980)
“Chariots of Fire” (1981)
“Das Boot” (1981)
“Reds” (1981)
“Blade Runner” (1982)
“Fanny and Alexander” (1982)
“The Right Stuff” (1983)
“Amadeus” (1984)
“The Natural” (1984)
“Paris, Texas” (1984)
“Brazil” (1985)
“The Mission” (1986)
“Empire of the Sun” (1987)
“The Last Emperor” (1987)
“Wings of Desire” (1987)
“Mississippi Burning” (1988)
“JFK” (1991)
“Raise the Red Lantern” (1991)
“Unforgiven” (1992)
“Baraka” (1992)
“Schindler’s List” (1993)
“Searching for Bobby Fischer” (1993)
“Trois Couleurs: Bleu” (1993)
“The Shawshank Redemption” (1994)
“Se7en” (1995)
“The English Patient” (1996)
“L.A. Confidential” (1997)
“Saving Private Ryan” (1998)
“The Thin Red Line” (1998)
“American Beauty” (1999)
“The Matrix” (1999)
“In the Mood for Love” (2000)

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Amanda Awards

    ‘Out Stealing Horses’ Tops Norway’s 2019 Amanda Awards

    HAUGESUND, Norway —  Hans Petter Moland’s sweeping literary adaptation “Out Stealing Horses” put in a dominant showing at Norway’s Amanda Awards on Saturday night, placing first with a collected five awards, including best Norwegian film. Celebrating its 35th edition this year, the Norwegian industry’s top film prize helped kick off the Haugesund Film Festival and [...]

  • Editorial use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    Richard Williams, 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' Animator, Dies at 86

    Renowned animator Richard Williams, best known for his work on “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” died Friday at his home in Bristol, England, Variety has confirmed. He was 86. Williams was a distinguished animator, director, producer, author and teacher whose work has garnered three Oscars and three BAFTA Awards. In addition to his groundbreaking work as [...]

  • Instinct

    Locarno Film Review: 'Instinct'

    Now that “Game of Thrones” has finally reached its conclusion, releasing its gifted international ensemble into the casting wilds, will Hollywood remember just what it has in Carice van Houten? It’s not that the statuesque Dutch thesp hasn’t been consistently employed since her startling 2006 breakout in Paul Verhoeven’s “Black Book,” or even that she’s [...]

  • Good Boys Movie

    Box Office: 'Good Boys' Eyes Best Original Comedy Opening of 2019

    Universal’s “Good Boys” is surpassing expectations as it heads toward an estimated $20.8 million opening weekend at the domestic box office following $8.3 million in Friday ticket sales. That’s well above earlier estimates which placed the film in the $12 million to $15 million range, marking the first R-rated comedy to open at No. 1 [...]

  • Pedro Costa’s 'Vitalina Varela' Wins at

    Pedro Costa’s 'Vitalina Varela' Triumphs at Locarno Film Festival

    The 72nd Locarno Film Festival drew to a close Saturday with Portuguese auteur Pedro Costa’s dark and detached film “Vitalina Varela” coming away with several awards together with superlatives from segments of the hardcore cinephile crowd, including jury president Catherine Breillat. In announcing the Golden Leopard prize for the film, as well as best actress [...]

  • Vitalina Varela

    Locarno Film Review: 'Vitalina Varela'

    Frequently beautiful compositions and the theatrical use of a fierce kind of artifice have long been the hallmarks of Portuguese auteur Pedro Costa, regarded by a small but influential group of aesthetes as one of the great filmmakers of our era. For those in tune with his vision, the director’s films offer an exciting lesson [...]

  • Notre dame

    Locarno Film Review: 'Notre dame'

    Not to be too cynical about it, but might the recent horrific fire in Paris’ cathedral attract audiences to a film in which the gothic gem plays a major role? It’s likely a wiser marketing strategy than promoting the unrelenting silliness of Valerie Donzelli’s oh-so-kooky comedy “Notre dame,” the writer-director-star’s return to contemporary Paris following [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content