40 Years of Sundance Films

reservoir dogs, a sundance film

We are a mere three days away from the 40th Edition of the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. The 2024 Sundance Film Festival opens this Thursday and runs through January 28, 2024, in person in Park City and Salt Lake City, with a selection of titles available online nationwide from January 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. You can still purchase single tickets at festival.sundance.org and register to watch online, anywhere in the world at festival.sundance.org/tickets/online (although I personally would wait to find out what the Fest darlings were before shelling out $25). But what about the showstoppers from past years? You can probably watch those for the price of a prorated Netflix subscription.

Therefore, as the excitement builds for what’s to come, Fest organizers wanted to take a fun look back at all of the 4000 films that have screened throughout the years by asking us to pick our top 10 all-time indie faves.


Today, the nonprofit Sundance Institute presents the results of a world-wide survey asking the filmmaking community to name their top ten feature films screened since Sundance began in 1985. Over 500 filmmakers, critics, and industry members shared their personal top-10 lists.

memento sundance film

40th Edition All Time Top Ten Sundance Films

10. Blood Simple (1985), Joel and Ethan Coen. This was the debut feature film of Joel and Ethan Coen and won the Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic.

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. The debut feature film of Steven Soderbergh and won the Audience Award: Dramatic.

5. Memento (2001), Christopher Nolan won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award.

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

3. Get Out (2017), Jordan Peele‘s debut feature film.

2. Reservoir Dogs (1992), Quentin Tarantino‘s debut feature film.

1. Whiplash (2014), Damien Chazelle. Won the Audience Award: U.S. Dramatic and the Grand Jury Prize: U.S. Dramatic.

Here’s the list they chose from. You too can scroll through the Sundance FESTIVAL FEATURE FILM LIST and see the feature films from the first four decades.

Sex Lies and Videotape Sundance Film

My Personal Sundance Films

Let’s not kid anyone. There’s no way I could come anywhere near watching 4000 films but I can say that of the ones I’ve seen over the years, these would be my top ten. You know how I can choose? Because I rarely see a film twice and all of the ones below are worth a second and third watch.

Cinema Paradiso
Garden State
Winter’s Bone,
Reservoir Dogs,
Riding Giants,
The Descent,
The Grifters,

What are your favorite Sundance films? Tell us in the comments below!


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