Sundance Film Festival marks 40th edition with iconic film survey results

PARK CITY, Utah — Yesterday, in advance of the 40th edition of the Sundance Film Festival kicking off on Jan. 18, the nonprofit Sundance Institute commemorated the four decades of extraordinary independent filmmaking presented at the Festival with the results of a survey taken by the filmmaking communities on their top 10 feature films that have screened at the Festival since it began in 1985.

In honor of this milestone Festival, filmmakers, critics and industry members shared their personal top 10 lists. Over 500 people participated, pouring over the nearly 4,000 feature films that have been presented at the Festival. Below is the collective top 10 list of the Sundance Film Festival films that have touched hearts and changed lives.

40th Edition All Time Top Ten Films Selected by the Filmmaking Community

10. Blood Simple (1985), Joel and Ethan Coen

9. Y tu mamá también (2002), Alfonso Cuarón

8. Boyhood (2014), Richard Linklater

7. Before Sunrise (1995), Richard Linklater

6. sex, lies and videotape (1989), Steven Soderbergh

5. Memento (2001), Christopher Nolan

4. Little Miss Sunshine (2006), Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris

3. Get Out (2017), Jordan Peele

2. Reservoir Dogs (1992), Quentin Tarantino

1. Whiplash (2014), Damien Chazelle

About the films and filmmakers whose features were selected as the personal favorite films by the filmmaking community

  • Blood Simple was the debut feature film of Joel and Ethan Coen and won the Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic.
  • Richard Linklater directed two of the ten films selected.
  • sex, lies and videotape was the debut feature film of Steven Soderbergh and won the Audience Award: Dramatic.
  • Memento won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award for Christopher Nolan.
  • Get Out was the debut feature film of Jordan Peele.
  • Reservoir Dogs was the debut feature film of Quentin Tarantino.
  • Whiplash won the Audience Award: U.S. Dramatic and the Grand Jury Prize: U.S. Dramatic.

Share your top 10 films that have screened at the Sundance Film Festival

Maybe they challenged you, thrilled you, made you cry, laugh or see the world differently. For you, what ten films best represent the breadth, diversity, artistic resonance, social, political or cultural impact of independent storytelling that have screened at the Sundance Film Festival?

You can scroll through the Sundance Film Festival’s archives and see the feature films from their first four decades on this list: FESTIVAL FEATURE FILM LIST

Social Graphics to post your own list can be found here. Please also include the Sundance Film Festival’s official social channels:

Facebook: @Sundance Film Festival

X: @sundancefest

Instagram: @sundanceorg

Linkedin: @sundanceorg

TikTok: @sundanceorg


Create your personal top 10 list for the 2024 Sundance Film Festival

The 2024 Sundance Film Festival will take place Jan. 18–28, 2024, in person in Park City and Salt Lake City, with a selection of titles available online nationwide from Jan. 25–28, 2024. This year marks the 40th edition of the Festival, bringing together audiences in Utah and beyond to celebrate Sundance’s rich history of supporting engaging new stories and groundbreaking independent artists. Tickets are still available at

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