The return of a revered filmmaker and the confinement of a persecuted fellow director drove passions high for the top released and unreleased picks in this year’s critics’ poll, now in its 12th edition. Many of the theatrical favorites will be familiar from last year’s unreleased best-of slate—such titles as Uncle Boonmee may not have come soon to a theater near our respondents, but when they did, they were still very well liked. Other striking vote-getters include Andrei Ujica’s three-hour compilation film, Asghar Farhadi’s anatomy of divorce—slipping into theaters December 30—and Kenneth Lonergan’s long-in-coming production maudit Margaret. A note on the poll’s workings: around 120 North American colleagues (see complete participant list below) ranked their favorites in two categories: 1) those that received theatrical runs and 2) those viewed this year but not receiving U.S. theatrical distribution until 2012—if at all. For each ballot, a first-place choice was allotted 20 points, 19 for second, and so on. We published the results for the Top 20 in the current issue. Below are the Top 50.

You’ve heard our take on this year’s crop of films. Now it’s your turn to give us your top picks and your takes on the movies of 2011. We’ll print the poll results in our March/April issue and publish your comments on our website—and all entries will automatically be entered in a contest for free DVDs from the Criterion Collection! Stand up and be counted: send your ranked list of the year’s 20 best films (plus your rants, raves, and insights) with your name, address, and phone number, to fcpoll
[at], mail them to Film Comment Readers’ Poll, 70 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023, or submit them online here. Deadline: February 10, 2012. Prizes: First Prize: your choice of Criterion Collection DVDs, up to $200 in value. Second Prize: up to $120. Third & Fourth Prizes: up to $80. The winners, who will be picked by random draw, will select prizes, subject to availability, from the Criterion Collection catalogue.


(Released theatrically in the U.S.)

Tree of Life

1. The Tree of Life
Terrence Malick, U.S.

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

2. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thailand/U.K./France/Germany


3. Melancholia
Lars von Trier, Denmark/Sweden/France/Germany

A Separation

4. A Separation
Asghar Farhadi, Iran

A Dangerous Method

5. A Dangerous Method
David Cronenberg, Canada/Germany

Mysteries of Lisbon

6. Mysteries of Lisbon
Raúl Ruiz, France/Portugal

Certified Copy

7. Certified Copy
Abbas Kiarostami, France/Italy/Belgium

Meek's Cutoff

8. Meek’s Cutoff
Kelly Reichardt, U.S.


9. Hugo
Martin Scorsese, U.S.


10. Poetry
Lee Chang-dong, South Korea

Film Socialisme

11. Film Socialisme
Jean-Luc Godard, Switzerland

Le Havre

12. Le Havre
Aki Kaurismäki, Finland/France

Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu

13. The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu
Andrei Ujica, Romania

Le Quattro Volte

14. Le quattro volte
Michelangelo Frammartino, Italy/Germany/Switzerland

The Descendants

15. The Descendants
Alexander Payne, U.S.

Nostalgia For the Light

16. Nostalgia for the Light
Patricio Guzmán, Chile/France/Germany

A Brighter Summer's Day

17. A Brighter Summer Day
Edward Yang, Taiwan/Japan

Midnight in Paris

18. Midnight in Paris
Woody Allen, Spain/U.S.

Take Shelter

19. Take Shelter
Jeff Nichols, U.S.


20. Margaret
Kenneth Lonergan, U.S.


21. Shame
Steve McQueen, U.K.


22. Drive
Nicolas Winding Refn, U.S.

Cave of Forgotten Dreams

23. Cave of Forgotten Dreams
Werner Herzog, U.S.

Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy

24. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Tomas Alfredson, U.K./France/Germany

To Die Like a Man

25. To Die Like a Man
João Pedro Rodrigues, Portugal/France

The Interrupters

26. The Interrupters
Steve James, U.S.

The Artist

27. The Artist

Michel Hazanavicius, France

Tuesday After Christmas

28. Tuesday, After Christmas
Radu Muntean, Romania


29. Aurora
Cristi Puiu, Romania


30. Weekend
Andrew Haigh, U.K.

Skin I live In

31. The Skin I Live In
Pedro Almodóvar, Spain

City of Life and Death

32. City of Life and Death

Lu Chuan, China/Hong Kong


33. Contagion
Steven Soderbergh, U.S.

Of Gods and Men

34. Of Gods and Men

Xavier Beauvois, France

Martha Marcy May Marlene

35. Martha Marcy May Marlene
Sean Durkin, U.S.


36. Bridesmaids
Paul Feig, U.S.

The Trip

37. The Trip
Michael Winterbottom, U.K.


38. Moneyball
Bennett Miller, U.S.

The Arbor

39. The Arbor
Clio Barnard, U.K.

The Future

40. The Future

Miranda July, U.S./Germany


41. Incendies

Denis Villeneuve, Canada/France

Super 8

42. Super 8
J.J. Abrams, U.S.

United Red Army

43. United Red Army
Koji Wakamatsu, Japan

Road to Nowhere

44. Road to Nowhere
Monte Hellman, U.S.


45. Tabloid
Errol Morris, U.S.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

46. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Rupert Wyatt, U.S.


47. Terri

Azazel Jacobs, U.S.

J. Edgar

48. J. Edgar
Clint Eastwood, U.S.

Jane Eyre

49. Jane Eyre
Cary Fukunaga, U.K.


50. Pina

Wim Wenders, Germany/France


(*Currently without U.S. distribution)

1. This Is Not a Film
Jafar Panahi & Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, Iran

2. The Turin Horse
Béla Tarr, Hungary/France/Switzerland/Germany

3. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia
Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Turkey

4. The Kid with a Bike
Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, Belgium/France

5. The Loneliest Planet
Julia Loktev, U.S./Germany

6. Miss Bala
Gerardo Naranjo, Mexico

7. Footnote
Joseph Cedar, Israel

8. Kill List
Ben Wheatley, U.K.

9. Sleeping Sickness
Ulrich Koehler, Germany*

10. Play
Ruben Östlund, Sweden/France/Denmark*

11. Policeman
Nadav Lapid, Israel*

12. The Color Wheel
Alex Ross Perry, U.S.

13. Two Years at Sea
Ben Rivers, U.K.*

14. Alps
Yorgos Lanthimos, Greece

15. Goodbye First Love
Mia Hansen-Løve, France/Germany

16. 4:44 Last Day on Earth
Abel Ferrara, U.S.

17. Dreileben Parts 1-3
Christian Petzold, Dominik Graf & Christoph Hochhäusler, Germany*

18. The Return
Nathaniel Dorsky, U.S.

19. The Deep Blue Sea
Terence Davies, U.K.

20. Wuthering Heights
Andrea Arnold, U.K.

21. Corpo Celeste
Alice Rohrwacher, Italy/France/Switzerland

22. Oslo, August 31st
Joachim Trier, Norway*

23. The Student
Santiago Mitre, Argentina

24. Attenberg
Athena Rachel Tsangari, Greece

25. Elena
Andrei Zvyagintsev, Russia

26. You Are Not I
Sara Driver, U.S.

27. Words of Mercury
Jerome Hiler, U.S.

28. Crazy Horse
Frederick Wiseman, France/U.S.

29. Faust
Alexander Sokurov, Russia*

30. Seeking the Monkey
Ken Jacobs, U.S.

31. Disorder
Huang Weikai, China

32. Psychohydrography
Peter Bo Rappmund, U.S.

33. Patience (After Sebald)
Grant Gee, U.K.

34. Green
Sophia Takal, U.S.

35. We Can’t Go Home Again
Nicholas Ray, U.S.

36. Killer Joe
William Friedkin, U.S.

37. Damsels in Distress
Whit Stillman, U.S.

38. Slow Action
Ben Rivers, U.K.

39. Bonsai
Cristian Jimenez, Chile/France/Argentina/Portugal

40. Michael
Markus Schleinzer, Austria

41. A Simple Life
Ann Hui, Hong Kong*

42. Take This Waltz
Sarah Polley, Canada

43. Hors Satan
Bruno Dumont, France

44. Dark Horse
Todd Solondz, U.S.*

45. Curling
Denis Côté, Canada

46. Almayer’s Folly
Chantal Akerman, France/Belgium*

47. 20 Cigarettes
James Benning, U.S.

48. Polisse
Maïwenn, France

49. Without
Mark Jackson, U.S.*

50. The Innkeepers
Ti West, U.S.