Staff Top 10
Top Ten Uses of Voice-Over on Film

By: Josh Timmermann

Posted 08/19/2005 - 09:15:29 AM by fmonar:
 No offense, but no voice-over list means anything without Chris Marker and especially his Sans Soleil.
Posted 08/19/2005 - 09:16:38 AM by hometapes:
 thank you so much! the second i saw the title of this feature I said to myself "he better put Malick as the top 3 or i'm going to be pissed." Malick is the absolute undisputed master of voiceover. I hate voiceovers...absolutely can't stand them 99% of the time. Yet, Malick's movies are my top 3 favorite films. I can watch them all day, every day. I had the chance to meet him in a small Q&A; session about 4 years ago, and he was kind, humble, and brilliant in a completely down to earth way. His wife was there as well, and they are definitely a team (almost Christo/Jean-Claude or Charles&Ray; Eames-like). The coolest part of it all was to see someone as critically acclaimed as Malick asking as many questions to us as we were asking to him. He really wanted to learn from everyone around him.... Thanks article.
Posted 08/19/2005 - 09:17:22 AM by hometapes:
 oh crap....san soleil! exactly! good call.
Posted 08/19/2005 - 11:02:18 AM by allison1:
 Raising Arizona I think also deserves a mention
Posted 08/19/2005 - 12:28:42 PM by sprkjonz:
 Good call on Raising Arizona. Also since Adaptation was referenced, the use of voice over as irony deserves special mention. Lastly, anyone who adds a voice over using Kevin Costner should be punished.
Posted 08/19/2005 - 01:36:04 PM by J.Timmermann:
 For shame! Marker completely slipped my mind when I put this thing together.
Posted 08/19/2005 - 04:59:41 PM by juxtag:
 no Kubrick :(
Posted 08/19/2005 - 05:01:20 PM by J.Timmermann:
 I considered both Lolita and Barry Lyndon, but they just missed the cut.
Posted 08/19/2005 - 08:04:02 PM by sawinthesky:
 Have you ever seen David Gordon Green's first film, "George Washington"? The main female character, Nasia, narrates the film. It's beautiful stuff. So innocent yet all-knowing. All from a first-time amatuer actress. Perfectly intertwined with the magnificent photography. That would be my choice for #1, by far.
Posted 08/19/2005 - 10:53:46 PM by grodinsky:
 dude wheres bladerunner!? (thats a joke!). putting malicks 3 films at the top seems uhh, sycophantic, not that he will ever see this. only badlands should be on here really and probably at number 1. id offer some suggestions, theres more than enough worthy candidates id have to think for a bit though, at least adaptation wasnt on here. the third man?
Posted 08/20/2005 - 04:09:09 AM by weisel:
 Malick's movies are in a class by themselves and transcend catagory, thus they should not be on this list. I believe Malick's films will serve as a strange companion to the written history of the late 20th century. In the same way old anonymous folk songs do not seem to mesh with the written history of the early 20th century when they are first recorded.
Posted 08/20/2005 - 02:03:29 PM by RoqueStrew:
 Well fucking done, man. I can't believe someone's actually watched Godard's HdC!
Posted 08/20/2005 - 03:10:48 PM by mheumann:
 Thank you for calling Spacey's work in _American Beauty_ "cringeworthy." I've always hated that film, especially the voiceover (though that paper bag is a close second).
Posted 08/20/2005 - 08:10:30 PM by grodinsky:
 i make fun of the paper bag in american beauty more than anything in any other movie.
Posted 08/20/2005 - 08:11:27 PM by grodinsky:
 also, doesnt kevin spacey buy an ounce of weed for 2000 (thousand) dollars in that movie?
Posted 08/22/2005 - 09:53:09 AM by gnarles:
 No "About Schmidt"? Ndugu would not be pleased.
Posted 08/24/2005 - 12:44:11 AM by bulb64:
 George Sanders in All About Eve!
Posted 08/24/2005 - 02:33:51 PM by hunky_dory:
 Excellent article. I would nominate John Hurt's voiceover narration in Lars Von Trier's 'Dogville.' Simplistic and slightly treacly on the surface, but it works in the same fashion as the narration in 'Diary of a Country Priest': to explicate the spiritual distress of the townspeople, as well as the perverse human condition. Something about Hurt's voice is soothing despite the film's horrors. 'Dogville' is a brilliant film, and my favorite of the last two years.
Posted 08/25/2005 - 06:40:50 PM by jrothman:
 This was great. I'd have ranked Brakhage higher, myself.
Posted 09/18/2005 - 06:33:39 AM by tangwei:
 thin red line was written by james jones, not james joyce. your article prompted me to re-watch TRL again. i 1st watched it in the cinema when i was 15 and i was in a daze when i came out of it. most of the audience didnt think so though, they clapped to celebrate the end of their 3 hour torture. most of the time i hate hans zimmer/james horner type scores and i hate voice overs but in this case both work so well in the film. goes to show malick's mastery of his art.
Posted 01/25/2006 - 11:47:51 PM by PlatypusQuest:
 OH MY GOD. The New World is absolutely breathtaking and DEFINITELY belongs on this list. The way he conveyed the romance between Smith and Pocahontas with so litle dialogue and through voice-overs was extraordinary! Malick is a one-of-a-kind.