Film Intuition Poll: Billy Wilder's Masterpieces -- The Results

I think it's safe to say that-- given the overwhelming number of diverse classics from which readers selected in pinpointing Billy Wilder's "masterpiece"-- there was no limit to what Wilder could do as a filmmaker.

But how did he do manage to make such a wonderful body of work which topped every single genre? Was it magic? An undeniable gift for creativity? The constant drive to challenge himself from one "picture" to the next?

Perhaps it's all of the above but before we get into the results, here's a little something from Mr. Billy Wilder himself that perhaps gives us a small insight into that genius for filmmaking, which we still celebrate many, many decades later. Or, if not that-- than at the very least words that celebrate his love for writing, craftsmanship, and how to best engage an audience.

From Conversations With Wilder
by Cameron Crowe
(pg. 357)

Wilder's Tips for Writers

1) The audience is fickle.
2) Grab 'em by the throat and never let 'em go.
3) Develop a clean line of action for your leading character.
4) Know where you're going.
5) The more subtle and elegant you are in hiding your plot points, the better you are as a writer.
6) If you have a problem with the third act, the real problem is in the first act.
7) A tip from Lubitsch: Let the audience add up two plus two. They'll love you forever.
8) In doing voice-overs, be careful not to describe what the audience already sees. Add to what they are seeing.
9) The event that occurs at the second-act curtain triggers the end of the movie.
10) The third act must build, build, build in tempo and action until the last event, and then--
11) --that's it. Don't hang around.

So to heed his advice, I'm not hanging around-- here you go:

Billy Wilder's "Masterpieces"
As Determined By Film Intuition Readers


1) Double Indemnity

2) Sunset Boulevard

3) TIE: The Apartment; Some Like it Hot

4) The Lost Weekend

5) Love in the Afternoon

6) TIE: The Seven Year Itch; Stalag 17; Witness for the Prosecution