best film:  There Will Be Blood. There’s nothing terribly close so this film is absolutely huge for DDL’s resume. As of now it’s his lone masterpiece (I’m excited to revisit Phantom Thread after twice in theater and putting in my top 5 of 2017) but currently the next closest film is The Last of the Mohicans—which is just a spectacular film from Michael Mann. But back to There Will Be Blood—I have a 10-year wait period for all films in my top 100 (so technically TWBB isn’t in my top 100 since I haven’t updated it recently) but I’m confident of it’s top 100 status as I do have precedent and an easy comparison with other films in the PT Anderson universe. I have Boogie Nights at #93 of all-time but I think TWBB is the stronger film— high praise indeed.

best performance: There Will Be Blood. There’s frankly nothing terribly close here either. DDL has had a splendid career of course, which I’ll get to more in a second, but whatever film you want to go with as his second best (honestly anything from #2 to #8 below won’t get much of a fight from me) there can be no debating his zenith or apex. DDL’s Daniel Plainview is one of cinema’s greatest characters and I truly believe it to be one of the 10 greatest performance of all-time. He’s a whirlwind of greed and mania—truly hauntingly monomaniacal. He gets the long silent opening, the church scene with Dano, scenes with his brother’s (faux) death, the set piece oil rig explosion and the epic, devastating finale. If you’re talking about the best acting of all-time you should not go long before getting to this performance.

stylistic innovations/traits: Day-Lewis has a total of 15 films in the archives (2 of which are cameos very early in his career), Won three Academy Awards and was nominated a total of six times. He’s famous for his dedication to acting– method, staying in character out of scenes, building his canoe in Last of the Mohicans, refusing a warmer coat while shooting Gangs of New York even though he was sick because his character wouldn’t have had it—countless stories like this. It translated to nearly unparalleled intensity and levels of authenticity on the screen. He can slip away into a character (My Left Foot, Lincoln) as well as anyone. DDL can brilliantly underplay a role (Age of Innocence) and brilliantly overplay one (Gangs of New York). He’s known for taking long periods of time off between roles, working infrequently (I’ve basically heard he’s “retired” since 1999 when I started getting serious about film). Since 1989 he’s been in 12 total films and has given one of the best 5 performances of the year 8 times out of those 12. That’s absolutely incredible. In 1989 he gives the 5th best performance, in 1992 he gives the 4th (in the 4th best film of the year), and so on…

directors worked with:   Sheridan (3), PT Anderson (2) and Scorsese (2)— and then once a piece with Spielberg and Michael Mann

Top 10 Performances:

  1. There Will Be Blood
  2. Gangs of New York
  3. Phantom Thread
  4. In the Name of the Father
  5. The Age of Innocence
  6. The Last of the Mohicans
  7. Lincoln
  8. My Left Foot
  9. The Boxer
  10. My Beautiful Laundrette

Archiveable films

1971- Sunday Bloody Sunday
1982- Gandhi
1985- The Beautiful Laundrette
1986- A Room With a View
1988- The Unbearable Lightness of Being
1989- My Left Foot
1992- The Last of the Mohicans
1993- In the Name of the Father
1993- The Age of Innocence
1996- The Crucible
1997- The Boxer
2002- Gangs of New York
2007- There Will Be Blood
2012- Lincoln
2017- Phantom Thread