Two of the best comments left by critics in the BFI Sight and Sound poll, courtesy of Richardy Brody and Wesley Morris:
"Trying to get past the conundrum of balancing love and analysis, of taking into account personal passion, historical importance and aesthetic assessment, I landed on the word ‘awe’ to line up movies in terms of what both defines the cinema as an art and what launches it into an orbit akin to that of the other arts. But that word came afterwards; I had no hesitation about eight out of ten, and that criterion helped me out of my final jam. And yet, it seems arbitrary and Procrustean and leaves me full of regret over what’s left out."
"Some history is time reinforcing itself for posterity’s benefit, and the immediate trouble with a list of ten movies spanning two centuries is that you begin to see how posterity springs a leak. I’m not interested in reinforcement, which is the eternal argument against including Citizen Kane or Seven Samurai or Tokyo Story. It’s either: “Someone else will do it” or “This is greatness as received wisdom.” That’s not how I feel. They are great. But their greatness – and the greatness of about three dozen other movies – doesn’t thrill me the way Spike Lee’s or, in Naked, Mike Leigh’s does. I’m also interested in the recent past and the way great directors rose to the occasions of their times. Or how they were directors of their times; I didn’t choose a movie by Michael Haneke, Abbas Kiarostami, Claire Denis or Apichatpong Weerasethakul, but I could have. How reassuring it would be to see this magnificent list and not feel that the movies – cinema! – stopped after the second Godfather. No one seriously believes that, do they?"