Here follows a personal list of favourite, significant or just thoroughly entertaining movies, one for each year from 1930 to 2010. I reiterate, this is a personal list, so it is unashamedly Anglo-American for the most part, but I’ve also tried to keep an eye on cinema as a developing art form and include movies which cast longer shadows at the expense of quirkier choices whose appeal to me might be harder to fathom (for example, my absolute favourite movie of 1986 is Little Shop of Horrors but I couldn’t leave out Withnail & I). I’ve also tried to include as many different genres as I can – musicals, comedies, thrillers, police procedurals, westerns and space operas – you’ll find them all here. Finally, when faced with really tough choices, I’ve picked movies which are most typical of their era, which seemed appropriate under the one-film-per-year constraint.

Lists like these tend to generate outraged debate. Good! Let me know what gems I have omitted. If you can be bothered – compile your own list, and fill it full of Kurosawa, Bunel, Bergman, Truffaut and show me up of the Anglo-centric philistine I no doubt am.

1930 Feet First
1931 City Lights
1932 The Music Box
1933 Duck Soup
1934 It Happened One Night
1935 The 39 Steps
1936 The Great Zeigfeld
1937 Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
1938 The Lady Vanishes
1939 The Wizard of Oz
1940 The Philadelphia Story
1941 Citizen Kane
1942 Road to Morocco
1943 Casablanca
1944 Double Indemnity
1945 Brief Encounter
1946 It’s a Wonderful Life
1947 The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
1948 Rope
1949 The Third Man
1950 Sunset Boulevard
1951 The Lavender Hill Mob
1952 Singin’ In The Rain
1953 Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
1954 On The Waterfront
1955 The Ladykillers
1956 Forbidden Planet
1957 12 Angry Men
1958 Vertigo
1959 Some Like it Hot
1960 Spartacus
1961 Breakfast at Tiffany’s
1962 Dr No
1963 8½
1964 Carry on Cleo
1965 The Sound of Music
1966 The Fortune Cookie
1967 The Graduate
1968 2001: A Space Odyssey
1969 Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
1970 MASH
1971 Dirty Harry
1972 The Godfather
1973 The Exorcist
1974 The Godfather Part II
1975 Jaws
1976 The Pink Panther Strikes Again
1977 Annie Hall
1978 Grease
1979 Alien
1980 The Blues Brothers
1981 Raiders of the Lost Ark
1982 Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
1983 Trading Places
1984 Gremlins
1985 Back to the Future
1986 Withnail and I
1987 The Untouchables
1988 Die Hard
1989 The Little Mermaid
1990 Goodfellas
1991 The Silence of the Lambs
1992 Unforgiven
1993 Jurassic Park
1994 Pulp Fiction
1995 Sense and Sensibility
1996 Shine
1997 LA Confidential
1998 Saving Private Ryan
1999 The Matrix
2000 Billy Elliot
2001 Amélie
2002 Chicago
2003 Finding Nemo
2004 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
2005 The 40 Year Old Virgin
2006 Little Miss Sunshine
2007 Michael Clayton
2008 The Dark Knight
2009 The Hangover
2010 …. to early to say. I hear Inception is good…