Sometimes with great directors, the clue is in the name. Richard Linklater, for example, is almost too perfectly named. In his great, sprawling films, such as the Before… trilogy or Boyhood, links or connections between scenes or characters are often made not instantly but much later, as is often the case in life itself.
In so many ways, David Lean is the polar opposite of Richard Linklater. Not only is his surname much shorter, but his films are indeed much leaner and tighter, and usually more self-consciously epic in scale. Lean’s narrative economy may have derived in part from the decade or so that he spent working as an editor before he became a director. Whatever the reason, his films remain the touchstone of 20th century epic cinema, and he himself is the great director of the past who is most often admired and praised by the great directors of today, including Spielberg and Scorsese.
Here are his Top 10 films, which are a Top 10 to rank alongside those of any director.