I know I have been doing a lot of posts about film lately, it isn’t necessarily on purpose, it just worked out that way.
The AFI recently released the newest Top 100 (American) Films Of All Time List. As is always the case, these lists tend to lean toward critically acclaimed films and leave off more popular box-office hits.
I guess I’m ok with that. Film is such a wonderful medium, it can be didactic, it can be artistic, it can be escapist, it can be enlightening, and sometimes it can be just plain fun.
I tend to like small independent films that focus on character rather than special effects. That being said, I will certainly see the latest Harry Potter film on opening day. (I’ve read the books. While my kids are always there first weekend for big blockbusters, I have yet to see Spiderman III or Pirates III).
Some of my favorite (relatively) recent films are Whale Rider and Pan’s Labyrinth which of course are not American films and therefore ineligible for this list. I loved all of the Lord Of The Rings films, and I never get tired of watching
My DVD collection is embarrassingly large. I truly love film.
So, enough rambling, the point of this post is, there are some of these “Greatest Films of All Time that I just couldn’t sit through. There are some I’ve never seen. There are some I just don’t like. I don’t have time to go down the whole list, (maybe later), but what follows are some of the highlights. I will post the entire list; films I haven’t seen are in bold. I will comment on a few.
Please, feel free to post long rambling comments about this list. What is missing? What is over-rated? Would you re-order any of them etc…..
1 CITIZEN KANE 1941 I guess so. I wouldn’t necessarily put it first, but it is a solid film, and probably way ahead of its time in technique.
2 THE GODFATHER 1972 – A strong, strong case could be made for this film to be #1.
4 RAGING BULL 1980 – Boy, how did this one lose the best picture award? To Ordinary People? I mean really, the fix was in. De Niro was spectacular!!
5 SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN 1952 – Ok, start throwing produce at me, top 50? Probably. Top 20? Maybe. Top 10, no. Top 5? No freaking way!!
6 GONE WITH THE WIND 1939 – Perfectly cast, incredible camera work, moving and epic. A top 5 for sure.
8 SCHINDLER’S LIST 1993 – Just an incredible, beautiful, stunning film. So, so very moving. I could spend an entire post on how this film moved me, and I might some day.
9 VERTIGO 1958 – wev. A good, no, a great film, but not a top ten film.
10 THE WIZARD OF OZ 1939 – OMFG, I love Judy Garland!, (yes, I’m straight), and I love this film ….. but it is overrated and could have been much, much better. The editing is weak and the story line is choppy.
11 CITY LIGHTS 1931
12 THE SEARCHERS 1956 – Excellent film, way ahead of it’s time (thematically), but not half the film that Once Upon A Time In The West is.
13 STAR WARS 1977 – I saw it, I loved it, Empire Strikes Back was a better film.
14 PSYCHO 1960 – Great film, I can’t complain about it being here.
15 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY 1968 What makes a film American? This is a seminal work, but why is this one better than A Clockwork Orange? Not Top 20 material.
16 SUNSET BLVD. 1950 – Might be in my top ten. Best Noir film ever.
17 THE GRADUATE 1967 – Made Dustin Hoffman a star, and has a terrific theme song. Very quotable as well, and who could forget the poster?
18 THE GENERAL 1927
19 ON THE WATERFRONT 1954 – Ok, I’m embarrassed as hell that I haven’t seen this film!! I plan to remedy that, really, I do!
20 IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE 1946 – I’ve seen it about a hundred times and I still cry.
22 SOME LIKE IT HOT 1959 – Can you give a film 10 stars?, How about 8 thumbs up?
23 THE GRAPES OF WRATH 1940 – Not bad, but the book was so much better. I know it’s hard to take such a large book to the screen, but not top 100 material.
24 E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL 1982 – Cute, groundbreaking, and way over the top. Maybe in the 80 to 100 range, but not #24.
25 TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD 1962 – Excellent.
26 MR. SMITH GOES TO
27 HIGH NOON 1952 – About as good as a non Ford or Leone western can be. (But rated too high)
28 ALL ABOUT EVE 1950 – Ok, this is the type of film I should love!!
29 DOUBLE INDEMNITY 1944
30 APOCALYPSE NOW 1979 – A whole post is needed. In my top 5
31 THE MALTESE FALCON 1941 – Pretty much everything I said about
32 THE GODFATHER PART II 1974 Should be much higher.
33 ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST 1975 – Great adaptation!! Should probably be rated higher.
34 SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS 1937 – Creepy. The dwarves are great, but Snow White herself always creeped me out. Also, this scared the hell out of me when I was a kid. Not even Disney’s best. Way too high.
35 ANNIE HALL 1977 Top ten, at least. Even thinking about the therapist scene makes me laugh.
36 THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI 1957 – American film? I guess, whatever it is, it is terrific!!
37 THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES 1946
38 THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE 1948 – Excellent. About right.
39 DR. STRANGELOVE 1964 – Boy, I love Kubrick, but I am not a huge fan of this one. It’s good, but not #39 good.
40 THE SOUND OF MUSIC 1965 – Only #40? It was robbed!!
41 KING KONG 1933 – Top 20 for sure!
42 BONNIE AND
43 MIDNIGHT COWBOY 1969 about right.
45 SHANE 1953 – Pull out the tomatoes, I’m not wild about this one either.
46 IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT 1934 – Terrific!! Top 25 maybe.
47 A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE 1951 – I’m going to get shot for this one. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this play. The movie is good, but it comes off as a bit dated to me in a way that the stage version never has. It should be on the list, if just for Brando and Leigh. I know I’m going to get massacred for this, but I really liked the TV version with Jessica Lange, Alec Baldwin, John Goodman, and
48 REAR WINDOW 1954 – I’ve actually never seen this straight through. I’ve seen bits and pieces (mostly on TV), but never the whole thing. I will, I promise.
49 INTOLERANCE 1916
50 THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING 2001 – As discussed before, LOVED IT!!!! The best of the three for sure. Top 20 at least.
51 WEST SIDE STORY 1961 – Boy I loved this film a lot. Where to start? The music, the gritty, yet carton colored
52 TAXI DRIVER 1976 – Why is this rated so low?
53 THE DEER HUNTER 1978 – Christopher freaking Walken!!! Great cast, probably an important film, but it really bores me.
54 M*A*S*H 1970 – So much better than the TV show, and I LOVED the TV show.
55 NORTH BY NORTHWEST 1959 – Great!!!!!!! Maybe my favorite Hitchcock.
56 JAWS 1975 – Loved it. Saw it over and over and over. But the book was better.
57 ROCKY 1976 – Actually a very good film. But how the hell did it beat Taxi Driver?
58 THE GOLD RUSH 1925
60 DUCK SOUP 1933 – YES, YES, YES!!!!!!! Top Ten
61 SULLIVAN’S TRAVELS 1941
62 AMERICAN GRAFFITI 1973 – Good, but not top 100 good. (Sorry)
63 CABARET 1972 – Top 20 For sure!!!!! Are you kidding me?
64 NETWORK 1976 – It should be on the list for the money-shot quote alone.
65 THE AFRICAN QUEEN 1951 – Way too low. Best acting Bogey ever did.
66 RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK 1981 – About right.
67 WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? 1966 – Wow, how did this end up so low? I guess many people don’t understand it. If you’ve never seen this, please do. If you like great acting this is your film!! All four of them are great, but
68 UNFORGIVEN 1992 – It gets a lot of flak, but I liked it.
69 TOOTSIE 1982 – Cute, but not top 100.
70 A CLOCKWORK ORANGE 1971 – Better than 2001 or Strangelove.
71 SAVING PRIVATE RYAN 1998 – wev. War, blood, gore. If you need a great WWII film, Bridge over the River Kwai or Midway is better.
72 THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION 1994 – Excellent. Maybe too low.
73 BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID 1969 – about right.
74 THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS 1991 – Pretty damn good adaptation. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say it was better than the book.
75 IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT 1967 – I know, I know, I know….
76 FORREST GUMP 1994 – I guess. Everyone seems to think so.
77 ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN 1976 – Good film, but even more important because there are probably a lot of people who wouldn’t otherwise know the Watergate story.
78 MODERN TIMES 1936
79 THE WILD BUNCH 1969
81 SPARTACUS 1960 – sort of homoerotic, don’t you think? Oysters anyone?
83 TITANIC 1997 – Yes, Celine Dion aside, it was good. Leo is finally getting his due, and I love Kate!!! It doesn’t hurt that she has curves and a real woman’s body!! Are you listening Kiera Knightly?
84 EASY RIDER 1969 – A fine film which I never need to see again.
85 A NIGHT AT THE OPERA 1935 – No Duck’s Soup, but great.
86 PLATOON 1986 – Best Vietnam film ever. (Apocalypse now isn’t really a war film. To quote Giles, “It’s about the journey”.
87 12 ANGRY MEN 1957 – Better on stage, but ok.
88 BRINGING UP BABY 1938 – I suppose so, but if it is here I can think of several of its genre that should be included. Where are any of The Thin Man films?, How about Hudson/Day films? Hmmm? Pillow Talk anyone? Hate to tell you. I think Hepburn is over-rated. I really do.
89 THE SIXTH SENSE 1999 – Good, but out of its league on this list.
90 SWING TIME 1936
91 SOPHIE’S CHOICE 1982 – this was an American Film? No complaints.
93 THE FRENCH CONNECTION 1971 – About right.
94 PULP FICTION 1994 – Top 25 or 30 in my book.
95 THE LAST PICTURE SHOW 1971 – Top 20 for sure!!! His best film by Far. And Holy FSM, Cybil Sheppard was beautiful!!!! (She looks a lot like Rene’L)
96 DO THE RIGHT THING 1989 – Sorry Spike, not top 100.
97 BLADE RUNNER 1982 – No complaints here, but the Director’s cut is much better.
98 YANKEE DOODLE DANDY 1942 I love musicals, just not this one.
99 TOY STORY 1995 – WTF??? If you need another animated film, I can think of MANY others.
100 BEN-HUR 1959 – This movie is about 5 hours too long. (So is this post)
So, I hit every film on the list. It’s hard to say what has been left off because it is so hard to know what makes a film “American” I would have sworn 2001 and A Clockwork Orange were English. Why is there only one Woody Allen film here? What about Reservoir Dogs, Bull
What do you think?
Take your time, post as long as you want.