10 Movies From Sight and Sound’s Top 100 That Are Under 90 Minutes


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The Sight and Sound Greatest Films of All Time ballot is held each 10 years, and goals to find out a Top 100 listing of movies based on approximately 1600 film critics and academics. Every 10 years, there are naturally some films that rise up the list, some that fall down, and others that either seem suddenly or discover themselves cut. Part of Citizen Kane’s reputation got here from the very fact it topped the record for 50 years, though Vertigo replaced it in 2012, and then Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles took the highest spot in 2022.

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Given Citizen Kane and Vertigo hover round two hours in size, and Jeanne Dielman exceeds three hours, you may be forgiven for assuming the polled critics prefer longer movies. In actuality, movies of all lengths are thought of for the ballot, with a quantity of quick movies cracking the record, and quite a few characteristic movies underneath 90 minutes showing there too. The following are a number of the finest under-90-minute films on the Sight & Sound ballot, for any curious film buffs who could additionally be strapped for time.


10 ‘Modern Times’ (1936)

Charlie Chaplin in 'Modern Times'

Charlie Chaplin’s greatest film – or no much less than one of them – might need to be Modern Times. It was his final silent film, although with some limited dialogue here and there, it’s arguably not 100% silent… but finally, its story about expertise altering the world may be seen as a comment on the arrival of sound changing cinema.

Like many Chaplin films, it’s obtained a easy however participating story, and options plenty of timeless humor that’s additionally well-balanced with heartfelt emotional content. Another Chaplin classic, City Lights, can also be featured on the Sight & Sound Top 100 from 2022, and coincidentally, both clock in at slightly below an hour and a half, at 87 minutes every.

9 ‘Bicycle Thieves’ (1948)

Lamberto Maggiorani and Enzo Staiola looking at each other in Bicycle Thieves Image via Ente Nazionale Industrie Cinematografiche

Character-focused dramas hardly ever get simpler and more hard-hitting than Bicycle Thieves, maybe the definitive movie from the Italian Neorealism movement. It follows a father struggling to offer for his family in post-WW2 Italy, and finds his job in jeopardy after his bicycle is stolen, which units him and his young son on a quest to search out who took the bike and get well it.

Its simplicity might make it sound dull, however it’s something but, succeeding because of how natural the performances are and how perfectly explored the movie’s common feelings are. It also would not run the chance of drawing out its simple premise, clocking in at simply 89 minutes lengthy.

8 ‘Persona’ (1966)

A boy looking at a woman in 'Persona'

Surprisingly, just one Ingmar Bergman film makes its method onto the Sight & Sound Top 100 list: 1966’s Persona. It’s additionally notable for being one of Bergman’s shorter movies, because it’s solely 83 minutes lengthy, making it stand out in opposition to epic-length movies like Fanny and Alexander and Scenes from a Marriage (both of which also have even longer miniseries edits).

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It’s a twisty – and maybe also twisted – psychological thriller that centers on two women: a nurse and an actress. The former is asked to take care of the latter, but their assembly changes every woman’s life eternally, given their personalities quickly begin to merge, or so it seems. It’s a strange movie, however one that’s exhausting to neglect, and it achieves a fantastic deal within its short runtime.

7 ‘The General’ (1926)

Buster Keaton doing a stunt on a train in

Alongside Chaplin, Buster Keaton is well some of the well-known filmmakers/actors of the silent era. He was behind a few of early cinema’s greatest and most necessary films, although in phrases of deciding which of his films is his finest, few can measure up to The General when it comes to inventiveness and leisure worth.

It’s a real mix of genres total, encompassing action, comedy, and romance, and even plays out throughout the united states Civil War. Keaton performs a young man who needs to rescue the love of his life and his practice from the film’s villains, with a lot of this 67-minute-long movie taking half in out like an extended chase scene, full of physical comedy and impressive stuntwork.

6 ‘La Jetée’ (1962)


Among the most essential short films of all time would have to be 1962’s La Jetée, which still feels distinctive and revolutionary 60 years on from its launch. It’s a post-apocalyptic sci-fi film that takes place after a third devastating World War, and entails touring again into the past to relive memories within the hope that it may answer questions in regards to the future.

Time journey ends up being concerned, making all of it much more complicated than many full-length characteristic films, despite La Jetée solely being 28 minutes lengthy. It’s additionally notable for its presentation, which is a sequence of nonetheless photographs, making it feel like a very cinematic (and gripping) slideshow presentation for most of its quick length.

5 ‘Man with a Movie Camera’ (1929)

Man With a Movie Camera

Man with a Movie Camera is a groundbreaking documentary movie, even though what it goals to cover sounds very simple on paper. For its 68-minute-long runtime, it covers urban life throughout the Soviet Union within the 1920s, with no actual narrative to speak of, and definitely no specific characters or subjects focused on.

Despite that, it is very engrossing, as a result of the visuals are immensely artistic and all the modifying is rather ingenious. It holds a reputation for being one of the well-regarded Russian movies of all time – documentary or in any other case – and positively earns said popularity, holding up as a great movie virtually a century on from it being made.

4 ‘Rashomon’ (1950)

Akira Kurosawa made many nice films all through his lengthy profession, with two ending up on the most recent Sight & Sound poll. Funnily sufficient, a kind of movies – Seven Samurai – is his longest, whereas the other one – Rashomon – ranks amongst his shortest function movies.

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At just 88 minutes, Rashomon doesn’t waste a lot time, and certainly, tells one story from a quantity of perspectives to demonstrate how complex memory could be, and how unreliable eyewitnesses typically are. It helped put Kurosawa and Japanese cinema in general on the world map way back within the early 1950s, and so it simply earns a spot on an inventory of the Top 100 motion pictures of all time.

3 ‘The Gleaners & I’ (2000)

the gleaners and i Image via Agnés Varda

Agnès Varda made quite a few function movies all through her decades-long career, although could be extra well-known for her documentaries. The Gleaners & I is one such documentary, and follows Varda as she interviews quite so much of gleaners: individuals who collect produce left behind by harvesters.

Thanks to Varda’s style and warm character, it finally ends up being an endearing and entertaining documentary, even when it won’t sound like a lot on paper. It’s a testament to how just about any subject can be utilized for the central topic of a documentary, if the documentarian is expert enough to make it interesting for viewers.

2 ‘Meshes of the Afternoon’ (1943)


Meshes of the Afternoon is the shortest film on Sight and Sound’s most recent record, as it clocks in at solely 14 minutes long. It’s an exploration of desires and presumably alternate realities/timelines, with it following a single woman’s strange recurring visions, offering viewers little indication of exactly what the movie is intended to be about.

But that’s not the point, as a end result of it’s a kind of experimental films the place the viewer’s expected to find their own which means in what they see play out on-screen. Such an approach might feel lazy or boring on the filmmaker’s half if their film was both obscure and boring, but thankfully, Meshes of the Afternoon is something but boring, with immense fashion and memorably haunting pictures making it one surreal journey price taking. Additionally, the brief runtime additionally helps make it more simply rewatchable.

1 ‘My Neighbor Totoro’ (1988)

Catbus smiling at Totoro and Satsuke in My Neighbor Totoro.

Spirited Away is likely probably the most well-known Hayao Miyazaki movie on the Sight and Sound record, but there’s another, shorter movie by the nice director that makes its method into the highest 100: My Neighbor Totoro. It follows two younger ladies who go to stay within the countryside with their father, and subsequently befriend unusual spirits in a nearby forest.

It’s an enthralling animated movie, and one which’s more probably to appeal in equal quantities to viewers younger and outdated. It runs for simply 86 minutes, which is a perfect size for a narratively simple but visually advanced movie like this one.

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