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Roger Ebert's Top 10 Films of All Time (And a Few He Snubbed Himself)

By DNAinfo Staff on April 4, 2013 4:17pm  | Updated on January 15, 2015 11:43am

 Roger Ebert was snubbed in the Oscar nominations this year, some fans say.
Roger Ebert was snubbed in the Oscar nominations this year, some fans say.
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rogerebert.com

DOWNTOWN — Some fans of the late film critic Roger Ebert are fuming on social media Thursday over his film biography "Life Itself" being passed over for an Oscar.

The omission marked the second time that director Steve James has missed being nominated for a film that many widely thought deserved recognition, some noted, using #rogerebert to vent on Twitter. James was also the director of the widely acclaimed, Chicago-set 1994 documentary "Hoop Dreams."

Larry Rohther of the New York Times wrote that Ebert not being among the nominees for best documentary was "curious" and "a major snub." Tweeted former Ebert colleague, entertainment reporter Bill Zwecker of the Sun-Times and Fox32: "It's like #HoopDreams all over again."

 "Life Itself," a biography of the late film critic Roger Ebert.
"Life Itself," a biography of the late film critic Roger Ebert.
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rogerebert.com

What films did Ebert himself consider to be the best?

"Lists are ridiculous," he once wrote, describing them as "ultimately meaningless." But he wrote he put a lot of thought and effort into the prestigious Sight and Sound magazine poll of the greatest films of all time.

The poll, taken only once every 10 years, was last conducted in 2012. It was the fifth Sight and Sound poll Ebert had participated in.

Here, in alphabetical order, are Ebert's final picks for the best films in history and the directors who made them.

"Aguirre, Wrath of God" (Werner Herzog): The 1972 story of the travels of a Spanish soldier is "one of the great haunting visions of cinema."

"Apocalypse Now" (Francis Ford Coppola): The 1979 Vietnam War film is "a grand and grave and insanely inspired gesture of filmmaking." 

"Citizen Kane" (Orson Welles): Said Ebert of the 1941 epic: "Its surface is as much fun as any movie ever made; its depths surpass understanding."

"La Dolce Vita" (Federico Fellini): Made with "boundless energy," the 1960 film about a journalist in Rome was first reviewed by Ebert when he was a student at the University of Illinois.

"The General" (Buster Keaton): This 1927 movie starring Buster Keaton is "an epic of silent comedy." 

"Raging Bull" (Martin Scorsese): Released in 1980, the tale of a fighter is "not a film about boxing but about a man with paralyzing jealousy and sexual insecurity."

"2001: A Space Odyssey" (Stanley Kubrick): The 1968 sci-fi flick "is not concerned with thrilling us, but with inspiring our awe."

"Tokyo Story" (Yasujiro Ozu): Released in 1953, the story of an aging couple who travel to visit their grown children is a "as simple and universal as life itself."

"The Tree of Life" (Terrence Malick): The 2011 film, which follows a father, his wife and two sons, is a movie "of vast ambition and deep humility."

"Vertigo" (Alfred Hitchcock): Ebert thought this 1958 movie, about a private investigator hired to follow a woman, was Hitchcock's most confessional.

Ebert was also adept at writing about bad movies. Here are a few of his more choice insults.

"Mad Dog Time" (1996): "Watching 'Mad Dog Time' is like waiting for the bus in a city where you're not sure they have a bus line."

"A Lot Like Love" (2005): "To say 'A Lot Like Love' is dead in the water is an insult to water."

"Johnny Be Good" (1988): "A squandering of resources equivalent to polluting a river or plowing under a rain forest. I'm serious. They oughta have their pictures on the post office wall."

"The Brown Bunny" (2003): "I had a colonoscopy once and they let me watch it on TV. It was more entertaining than Brown Bunny."

"Armageddon" (1998): "No matter what they're charging to get in, it's worth more to get out."

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