10 of the Most Beautiful Movies Ever Made

A shortlist of mind-blowing cinematography.


“There are two ways through life: the way of nature, and the way of grace. You have to choose which one you’ll follow.”

I stumbled out of The Sunshine Theater into the bustle of New York City’s East Houston Street.

Taxis flashed by, oblivious to what I’d just witnessed: Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life, a film that grapples with the origin and meaning of existence, intercutting breathtaking space imagery with a man’s childhood memories.

The next couple of hours found me wandering the East Village, dazed and dumbstruck with wonder as I contemplated my miraculous and infinitesimal life, encompassed so completely by Malick’s masterpiece.

From The Tree of Life | Fox Searchlight Pictures, 2011

From The Tree of Life | Fox Searchlight Pictures, 2011

Its images haunt me to this day. 1950s Texas in the glow of summerlight – long shadows at day’s end – drifting souls on a windswept beach. They’re moments infused with transcendent beauty; a testament to the power of filmmaking – and to cinematography in particular.

Attempting the Impossible

Last month, the CineFix team dared to list its “Top 10 Most Beautiful Movies of All Time”. The result is a video that acknowledges the futility of the endeavor while managing to highlight ten serious contenders, including – much to my delight – The Tree of Life.

“Somewhere where the light meets the lens, where the frame flatters the location, and the camera moves just right, an incredible image is born,” the narrator introduces. From the uncut steadicam shot of Russian Ark to the seventy millimeter glory of Samsara, CineFix’s effort is an outstanding roundup of some of the most important and visually stunning films of all time.

Give it a watch, then be sure to track down and study the titles mentioned!

What do you think of CineFix’s Top Ten? Sound off in the comments below.

 Michael Koehler, with

If you’re looking to lens your own beautiful film, we’d love to point you in the right direction with our online filmmaking course.


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