DAILY FILM DOSE: A Daily Film Appreciation and Review Blog: AFI TOP 100

Friday, 22 June 2007

AFI TOP 100


AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Movies

Updating the list of greatest American films from the 1998 list was a great idea. The AFI (American Film Institute) does the job very well providing us with a decent (though somewhat sappy) 3-hour program showing clips from all the films with interviews with filmmakers and celebrities commenting on them, though many of the interviews were from the ‘archives’ of 1998.

The list was created from a poll of 400 ‘nominated’ films sent out to “1,500 leaders from across the American film community - screenwriters, directors, actors, producers, cinematographers, editors, executives, film historians and critics.” The 1998 list was a fun endeavour, which caused a lot of debates, and now the AFI has repeated the poll to see how the cinematic landscape has changed in 10 years.

By updating the list the AFI appears to be taking a page from the BFI (British Film Institute), who administer the “Sight and Sound” polls which compiles a top ten list every ten years. The key difference being that the BFI includes international films as well.

The results are in, and it’s no surprise that “Citizen Kane” has stayed on top. In fact, it’s highly unlikely “Kane” will be bested in our lifetime. The legend and cache behind the film is so big, it would take a monumental new masterpiece in the next 10 years for something to usurp “Kane”.

The biggest improvement was John Ford’s “The Searchers”, which leaped from 96 to 12. Wow! It’s a great film, but why the new attitude for the film? I’m baffled, but also pleased. “Raging Bull” got some more respect by moving up from 24 to 4. Good on Marty. This is clearly due to the Scorsese-mania since the big wins by “The Departed” at awards season. The exclusion of Redford’s “Ordinary People” also reaffirms that despite not winning the big trophy “Raging Bull” was the film of the year in 1980. The other large jump into the top ten is “Vertigo”, which is generally considered to be Hitchcock’s masterpiece. This is no surprise. I’m still shocked there’s so many “Sunset Boulevard” fans voting. Don’t get me wrong it’s a good film, but number 16 (actually up from 12, ten years ago!) and trumping the likes of “Apocalypse Now”, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and more?

The silent films got a good dose of respect as well: “City Lights” moved up 65 places to 11. Buster Keaton’s “The General” entered the list at 18. “Sunrise” also enters the list at 82.

Newer films obviously need some time to ‘gain interest’. But recent additions of “The Sixth Sense,” “Do the Right Thing” and “Shawshank Redemption” and “Blade Runner” will likely move up the pecking order in the next few decades.

I was surprised to see that “Pulp Fiction” stayed virtually the same at 94. I guess most people still prefer “Forrest Gump”. A shame.

If you're wondering how the films break down, here's some analysis:

By Decade:

Pre 1920 - 1
1920's - 4
1930's - 11
1940's - 10
1950's - 17
1960's - 17
1970's - 20
1980's - 8
1990's - 11
2000's - 1

Most Frequent Directors:

Steven Spielberg - 5

Billy Wilder - 4
Alfred Hitchcock - 4
Stanley Kubrick - 4

Frank Capra - 3
Charlie Chaplin - 3
Francis Coppola - 3
John Huston - 3
Martin Scorsese - 3

And 11 directors had 2 films.

There are always the usual number of cynics who despise these types of rankings, but I’m not a hater. For me, the value of this list serves not to make the final word on which films are better, but as a means to reacquaint people with the classics that deserve to be rediscovered.

I was, of course, rooting for some personal favourites. Though I knew the list would largely look the same as ten years ago, but I was crossing my fingers that Terrence Malick or David Lynch would get some love. Guess not.

Here’s the full list (note, I’ve included the 1998 ranking and its rise or fall in parentheses beside:

1 Citizen Kane (1) (+0)
2 The Godfather (3) (+1)
3 Casablanca (2) (-1)
4 Raging Bull (24) (+20)
5 Singin' In the Rain (10) (+5)
6 Gone With the Wind (4) (-2)
7 Lawrence of Arabia (5) (-2)
8 Schindler's List (9) (+1)
9 Vertigo (61) (+52)
10 Wizard of Oz (6) (-4)
11 City Lights (76) (+65)
12 The Searchers (96) (+84)
13 Star Wars (15) (+2)
14 Psycho (18) (+4)
15 2001: A Space Odyssey (22) (+7)
16 Sunset Blvd. (12) (-4)
17 The Graduate (7) (-10)
18 The General (New)
19 On the Waterfront (8) (-11)
20 It's A Wonderful Life (11) (-9)
21 Chinatown (19) (-2)
22 Some Like It Hot (14) (-8)
23 The Grapes of Wrath (21) (-2)
24 E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (25) (+1)
25 To Kill a Mockingbird (34) (+9)
26 Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (29) (+3)
27 High Noon (33) (+6)
28 All About Eve (16) (-12)
29 Double Indemnity (38) (+9)
30 Apocalypse Now (28) (-2)
31 The Maltese Falcon (23) (-8)
32 The Godfather Part 2 (32) (+0)
33 One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (20) (-13)
34 Snow White And the Seven Dwarfs (49) (+15)
35 Annie Hall (31) (-4)
36 The Bridge on the River Kwai (13) (-23)
37 The Best Years of Our Lives (37) (+0)
38 Treasure Of the Sierra Madre (30) (-8)
39 Dr. Strangelove (26) (-13)
40 The Sound of Music (55) (+15)
41 King Kong (43) (+2)
42 Bonnie And Clyde (27) (-15)
43 Midnight Cowboy (36) (-7)
44 The Philadelphia Story (51) (+7)
45 Shane (69) (+24)
46 It Happened One Night (35) (-11)
47 A Streetcar Named Desire (45) (-2)
48 Rear Window (42) (-6)
49 Intolerance (New)
50 The Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring (New)
51 West Side Story (41) (-10)
52 Taxi Driver (47) (-5)
53 The Deer Hunter (79) (+26)
54 M*A*S*H (56) (+2)
55 North By Northwest (40) (-15)
56 Jaws (48) (-8)
57 Rocky (78) (+21)
58 The Gold Rush (74) (+16)
59 Nashville (New)
60 Duck Soup (85) (+25)
61 Sullivan's Travels (New)
62 American Graffiti (77) (+15)
63 Cabaret (New)
64 Network (66) (+2)
65 The African Queen (17) (-48)
66 Raiders of The Lost Ark (60) (-6)
67 Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? (New)
68 Unforgiven (98) (+30)
69 Tootsie (62) (-7)
70 A Clockwork Orange (46) (-24)
71 Saving Private Ryan (New)
72 The Shawshank Redemption (New)
73 Butch Cassidy And the Sundance Kid (50) (-23)
74 The Silence of the Lambs (65) (-9)
75 In the Heat of the Night (New)
76 Forrest Gump (71) (-5)
77 All the President's Men (New)
78 Modern Times (81) (+3)
79 The Wild Bunch (80) (+1)
80 The Apartment (93) (+13)
81 Spartacus (New)
82 Sunrise (New)
83 Titanic (New)
84 Easy Rider (88) (+4)
85 A Night at The Opera (New)
86 Platoon (83) (-3)
87 12 Angry Men (New)
88 Bringing Up Baby (97) (+9)
89 The Sixth Sense (New)
90 Swing Time (New)
91 Sophie's Choice (New)
92 Goodfellas (94) (+2)
93 The French Connection (70) (-23)
94 Pulp Fiction (95) (+1)
95 The Last Picture Show (New)
96 Do the Right Thing (New)
97 Blade Runner (New)
98 Yankee Doodle Dandy (100) (+2)
99 Toy Story (New)
100 Ben-Hur (72) (-28)

I mentioned the Sight & Sound poll which includes international films as well. And traditionally these polls have been dominated by international films, but you may be surprised that six of the films mentioned here are on the most recent top 10 list conducted in 2002. Here’s that list:

1. Citizen Kane (U.S.)
2. Vertigo (U.S.)
3. La Regle de Jeu (Rules of the Game) (France)
4. The Godfather I & II (U.S.)
5. Tokyo Story (Japan)
6. 2001: A Space Odyssey (U.S.)
7. Battleship Potemkin (USSR)
8. Sunrise (U.S.)
9. Fellini’s 8 ½ (Italy)
10. Singin’ in the Rain (U.S.)

Buy it here: AFI's 100 Years, 100 Movies: American Film Institute (Complete Edition)


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2 comments :

Anonymous said...

The Sixth Sense? Really?

Ryan said...

It's great to see The Shawshank Redemption added to that list. Your right, it makes a great reference for revisiting titles or even to check out something new.