Esquire has published a list of the 70 greatest sentences from its 75 years of existence.
Most of them are indifferent as sentences, relying on context. One or two would be meh with a volume of context on either side. The very best is one which everyone thinks he knows:
But at three o'clock in the morning, a forgotten package has the same tragic importance as a death sentence, and the cure doesn't work--and in a real dark night of the soul it is always three o'clock in the morning, day after day. -- F. Scott Fitzgerald, "Pasting It Together," 1936
That’s profound. Another favourite is profound and important:
Negroes want to be treated like men: a perfectly straightforward statement, containing only seven words. -- James Baldwin, "Fifth Avenue, Uptown," 1960
And this one has no pretensions, but it does have something a great sentence must have -- a sublime economy:
Ah, Brandy, Misty, and Amanda, come out and sit on the veranda. -- Charles P. Pierce, "Two Strokes Back," 1999