June 21, 2007

"Citizen Kane," "The Godfather," "Casablanca," "Raging Bull," "Singin' in the Rain," "Gone With the Wind"...

The new AFI top 100 American movies list is out. I've seen all but 9. How about you? I'll reveal the 9 I've managed to miss later, but I will see if you can guess. I'd be surprised if anyone (other than my sons) can guess more than 2. I have already blogged about the fact that I haven't seen one of these movies.

ADDED: Only 11 of the films (by my count) are centered on a female character:
6. "Gone With the Wind," 1939.
10. "The Wizard of Oz," 1939.
16. "Sunset Blvd.," 1950.
28. "All About Eve," 1950.
34. "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," 1937.
35. "Annie Hall," 1977.
40. "The Sound of Music," 1965.
44. "The Philadelphia Story," 1940.
47. "A Streetcar Named Desire," 1951.
63. "Cabaret," 1972.
83. "Titanic," 1997.
91. "Sophie's Choice," 1982.

UPDATE: I list the movies I haven't seen here. And it's actually 11.


Unknown said...

My two candidates are 1965's l,000 Clowns, and l981's Australian film, Breaker Morant.

--Jack Payne

Steven Donegal said...

Geez, neither Groundhog Day nor Caddyshack are on the list. What the hell does AFI know!

Unknown said...

My candidates are 1965's 1,000 Clowns and 1981's Australian film, Breaker Morant

--Jack Payne

Unknown said...

My candidate is 1965's 1,000 Clowns.

--Jack Payne

steve simels said...

Screw that. More vegetable porn!!!!

Revenant said...

I've seen 72 of them.

Who the heck put "Titanic" on the list? Does anyone (who wasn't a teenage girl in the 1990s) actually think that's a great movie? And "Do the Right Thing"? That isn't even one of Lee's better movies. If the people making the list really needed a "hood" movie to darken up the lily-white top 100 with, "Menace 2 Society" was a vastly superior film.

Anyway, I'm not sure if Steven was serious or not, but I agree that "Groundhog Day" really ought to have been on the list.

steve simels said...

Why isn't anybody talking about the onion ring and carrot scene in "Shakes the Clown"?

Sheesh, what's with you people?

blake said...

Besides the Spike Lee thing, there's also the Baby Boomer/Gen-X thing.

Star Wars is an important film but not an especially good film. Kubrick is probably over-represented. The Graduate? Really? Is anyone going to think it's funny 40 years from now, like The General (which I think is at an appropriate position).

I give some props for their noting of the first LOTR movie, though, unlike the Academy which took a mulligan on the third.

Yeah, Titanic is neither very good nor particularly significant except, I guess, as a moneymaker. As long as I'm in full snob mode, Raging Bull is hugely overrated, too.

Have I offended everyone yet?

Freder Frederson said...

Why would she not have seen Breaker Morant, one of the best courtroom dramas ever made?

(And she says I am art-deaf, pah!)

Freder Frederson said...

Yeah, Titanic is neither very good nor particularly significant except, I guess, as a moneymaker. As long as I'm in full snob mode, Raging Bull is hugely overrated, too.

On Titantic, no, on Raging Bull, yes.

Freder Frederson said...

My two candidates are 1965's l,000 Clowns, and l981's Australian film, Breaker Morant.

I thought you were referring to films on the list she hadn't seen. Of course Breaker Morant is an Australian, not American film. But then again, isn't Bridge over the River Kwai (and Lawrence of Arabia for that matter) actually a British, not American, film.

Ann Althouse said...

"Breaker Morant" isn't an American movie. (And I have seen it.)

Why so many mentions of clowns here? "A Thousand Clowns" is a movie I was watching on TV one time, putting up with the whole thing, dying to go out, and there were like 5 minutes left to go, and I realized I really don't care what happens to this guy. So I turned it off and left.

I know there are some British-looking films on the list, but they must be made in Hollywood or something.

Dave said...

Raging Bull overrated?

Yes, and Michael Jordan was overrated too.

Steven Donegal said...

I was completely serious. I"ve seen every movie on the list made after 1940 and Caddyshack and Groundhog Day ae better than the "comedies" that are on the list. Annie Hall? Some Like It Hot? Toy Story? Come on--those movies have earned a place in pop culture, but great movies--not so much. I will admit Caddyshack is a bit uneven, but tell me---which movie would you rather watch 10 times, Caddyshack or Annie Hall?

Roost on the Moon said...

I guess that Althouse hasn't seen:

49. "Intolerance," 1916.
50. "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring," 2001.
71. "Saving Private Ryan," 1998.
72. "The Shawshank Redemption,"
79. "The Wild Bunch," 1969.
89. "The Sixth Sense," 1999.
94. "Pulp Fiction," 1994.
98. "Yankee Doodle Dandy," 1942.
99. "Toy Story," 1995.

Brent said...

"A Clockwork Orange" is a British film, written, produced, directed by Brits, entirely filmed in England with only English actors, and an almost entirely English crew. Though released by Warner Bros over here, it was entirely back end financed by Brits. From a novel - written by a Brit - about events in England. Carried out by English boys.

It's not like "Mary Poppins" which is about England but mostly filmed, financed, and completed by a mostly American crew.

Why is it that the the location of the company releasing the film determines it's country of origin?

Or is that like a Toyota made in the USA with over 68% American parts still being a "foreign car"?

George M. Spencer said...

What, no Coen brothers?!

Check out the trailer for their new movie "No Country for Old Men" based on the Cormac McCarthy novel.


"Just call it, friend-o."

Ann Althouse said...

Roost: You got 1.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Was Roost's correct one Toy Story?

blake said...

Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring?

Did you blog about not having seen those movies? It rings a bell...

Roost on the Moon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Adrian said...

I can't believe Titanic is on there, but at least they didn't put The English Patient

Christy said...

Hey! "Some Like it Hot" absolutely deserves its place there. But so would "Groundhog Day." Nice to know that others didn't think much of "Titanic."

I was pleased to see the elevation on the list of some old movies. DVDs have obviously had an impact. Are we all more likely to mine the depths of Netflix now than we are to see a current movie?

Ann Althouse said...

I've seen "Toy Story" and "The Fellowship of the Ring."

Cedarford said...

I can't believe they dropped "Dr. Zhivago" from the 1998 list.

My own "never seens":

City Lights
Midnight Cowboy
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
The Sixth Sense
Sullivans Travels

OT, a reprise of the Scalia Thread about him not "caring" about terrorists rights;

From Michael Yon where US forces have encircled and are preparing to slaughter 300 AQ Islamoids trapped in Baqubah: The enemy in Baqubah is as good as any in Iraq, and better than most. That’s saying a lot. But our guys have been systematically trapping them, and have foiled some big traps set for our guys. I don’t want to say much more about that, but our guys are seriously outsmarting them. Big fights are ahead and we will take serious losses probably, but al Qaeda, unless they find a way to escape, are about to be slaughtered. Nobody is dropping leaflets asking them to surrender. Our guys want to kill them, and that’s the plan.

For killing civilians, shooting at US troops from crowds of civilians, fighting w/o uniform and other violations - Al Qaeda has lost the right to Quarter and POW treatment. No mercy, no ACLU lawyers...

Ron said...

I'm guessing that you haven't seen "Yankee Doodle Dandy."

Ron said...

Much to my own shock, I've seen all 100. I liked the Entertainment Weekly 100 list (published after the first AFI list)much better. A friend and I watched all 100 (over two years) , even if we had seen them before, and commented on how we felt about them now after each movie. It was there I found "Pickup on South Street" and "Sweet Smell of Success," both great movies.

Ann Althouse said...

I've seen "Yankee Doodle Dandy." That was often on TV when I was growing up, and there were only 4 channels, so you watched what was on. I even saw the musical based on it: "George M" (starring Joel Grey).

Eric said...

90. "Swing Time," 1936.

82. "Sunrise," 1927.

61. "Sullivan's Travels," 1941.

49. "Intolerance," 1916.

46. "It Happened One Night," 1934.

45. "Shane," 1953.

Ann Althouse said...

Eric: Is that what you haven't seen or what you are guessing I haven't seen? If the latter, you got 2.

Peter Hoh said...

I'm gonna guess that one of Ann's neverseens is "Pulp Fiction."

Robert R. said...

I've seen 81 of the films.

Intolerance and Sunrise are probably the most obscure films on the list. I've never seen Intolerance, although I know its reputation. Sunrise absolutely belongs. Scorsese highlighting it in A Personal Journey Through American Film was probably the key for it making the Sight and Sound Top 10 and this latest list.

Didn't Ann mention that she's never made it through Nashville?

Probably worth noting, Birth of a Nation and the tepid Guess Who's Coming to Dinner are out, while In the Heat of the Night, Do the Right Thing, and Intolerance are in.

I'd go with the love for Groundhog Day as well. Comedies and horror films really end up underappreciated in these type of lists.

Ann Althouse said...

I'm really surprised you'd think I hadn't seen "Pulp Fiction." I even did a blog post where I linked to this. I've seen it many times.

Methadras said...

How is it that Escape from New York, The great Escape, and Die Hard aren't on that list. I demand a recount.

Ann Althouse said...

I guess I should say 10 then, and add "Nashville," because I couldn't force myself to the end of it.

I've seen "Intolerance," on a bad videotape. It needs a good DVD. I've never seen "Sunrise" though. Never had the chance. That's one I would like to see.

Ann Althouse said...

A hint for guessing what I've seen and not seen is that we were very snobby about commercial movies that were coming out in the 1970s, but we saw all the classic old films we could. When I was taking my sons to the movies in the 1980s and 90s, I was much more likely to go to popular films.

Tibore said...

For the ones that I have seen in the top 10 (all but Raging Bull and Singin'), I agree with all of them save one. And get ready to call me a heretic, 'cause some of you are gonna wanna crucify me. Here it is:

Citizen Kane.

Start throwing the tomatoes.

I cannot stand that movie. Overlong and feels like it, pretentious, dry... cripes. I wanted to like it, but 3 attempts to view that unbearable hunk of celluloid leaves me with the same impression each time. I do not like that movie. And to be blunt, I think most AFI voters were more enamoured with the story behind the maverick creation of the film than the film itself; the CNN article says as much.

In spite of my heretical ;) thoughts (is it possible to be excommunicated from a movie theater?) I do find much to praise about this list. I'm luuuuving the fact that Keaton's "The General" is there. He did so much more with expressions than most actors nowadays can do with an acting coach, pages of dialogue, and tons of writers. That movie is worth watching.

Unforgiven: First half to two-thirds of the film is a nearly unbearable drag through dry storytelling that puts you in danger of dozing off. But the remaining part is such an amazing payoff that it doesn't just carry everything before it, it makes you glad the stuff before was slow. William Munny's descent into hell wouldn't have had the same impact without the measured pace of the events before. That last half to one-third of the movie makes the whole thing completely worth it, and it puts this film among my personal top 10. I love that movie. It takes a flaw and uses it to magnify the impact of the climax, which I think is marvelous.

"The Silence of the Lambs": Just one thing to say - The escape scene. Some of the best few minutes of film storytelling I've ever seen. Even now, after all these viewings, if that scene is on TV, I always stop and watch.

"West Side Story": Love the music, love the story, but dammit, it's just impossible nowadays to be intimidated by gang members who dress and dance like that. An MS-13 banger'd cap a Jet faster than you could sing "America". Still, though, the movie's totally enjoyable, if anachronistic in some of it's aspects (no, really, even I could take those gang (*snort*) "bangers"...).

"Rocky": People forget that the first Rocky was really a movie, and not a caricature like III and IV were. It was God honest, real storytelling. I'm glad it's there too.

"Amadeus": Sorry to see it drop out, but I can't argue against its fall. It's a very good film, but I don't feel it's a great one.

Here's a question to everyone: The CNN story talked about films that dropped out, most likely because of changing tastes and values. What do you all think will drop out in later lists and why? I'll put forth a couple just to start a debate (argument ;) ): Annie Hall, and Blade Runner. Let the jousting begin!

By the way, I thought someone was going to throw a toma---...

dbp said...


I think you haven't seen:

"Sullivan's Travels," 1941.
"The Searchers," 1956.
"The Grapes of Wrath," 1940.
"One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," 1975.
"The Best Years of Our Lives," 1946.
"Intolerance," 1916.
"Jaws," 1975.
"Rocky," 1976.
"Sunrise," 1927

Why is "Platoon" on the AFI list when the much better "Full Metal Jacket" is left off? The boot camp scenes were like having a flash-back to when I was in basic--without the whole killing the Drill instructor bit of course.

Fletch said...

Prof. Althouse-

Nine! Really!-- although I haven't actually seen two of the first eleven-("Schindler's List" and "City Lights")- I only missed 10-- but I'm sure that 3-4 of them are films that everyone else has seen...

My "misses" among the top 100--

#8(Schindler's...)!, 11(City Lights-- but, I've seen "parts"), 24(E.T.)!, 49(Intolerance), 50(Lord of the Rings)!(?) 72 (Shawshawk...)!, 78(Modern Times--more 'parts'...), 80(The Apartment), 82(Sunrise), and 90(Swingtime).

My guess at your 'misses' would be-


dericksch said...

I wouldn't necessarily call "A Clockwork Orange" an American film, but I don't consider Stanley Kubrick, its screenwriter, producer, and director, to have ever become a Brit, despite having lived in England for the last 30 years of his life. Kubrick had people send him videotapes of NFL games, which in my mind makes him an expatriated American. He also never lost his Bronx accent.

What strikes me as totally wrong is calling "Lawrence of Arabia" an American film; it's a British film produced by an American (Sam Spiegel).

Ann Althouse said...

dbp: I've already admitted to not having seen "Sunrise." You got one other right.

Peter Hoh said...

Well, Ann, I guess I don't have the chops to be the Historian around here.

I have a suspicion that among your neverseens is something that was very popular at the time. Scanning the list, "Pulp" seemed to fit the bill.

Ann Althouse said...

Fletch, you got one, and I've already named it: "Sunrise."

Ann Althouse said...

my anti-popular period was the 70s (and now, the 00s).

Peter Hoh said...

my anti-popular period was the 70s (and now, the 00s).

Alert the bats! Proof of Ann's misogyny.

Revenant said...

which movie would you rather watch 10 times, Caddyshack or Annie Hall?

I've always preferred "Manhattan" to "Annie Hall" -- it is in many ways a rehash of "Annie Hall", but I feel that Allen perfected the material in the second film.

As for which I'd rather see ten times -- I've seen both of them a lot more than that, but "Annie Hall" is more consistently enjoyable. Caddyshack suffers from the problem that the really hysterical characters are the ones in the supporting roles -- Chase, Dangerfield, and Murray. When the movie switches to follow the supposed main character it grinds to a halt.

"Animal House", in my opinion, would be THE comedy of that era to put on the list. That movie never gets old, and half the lines in it are quotable.

Speaking of old comedies, I'm kind of shocked that "Some Like it Hot" and "Bringing Up Baby" are on the list and "Harvey" and "Arsenic and Old Lace" -- which still hold their own against modern comedies today -- are not. Maybe they went for the fact that the former two movies are more "significant" (which they certainly are).

dbp said...

Hi Ann,

Blogger ate my first attempt at a comment and by the time I had re-entered it, you made your "Sunrise" admission. I hadn't seen that comment, so I should get credit for two correct. I sort of recall some comment (a while ago) where you said you hadn't seen "One Flew..." and the rest were guesses.

Ann Althouse said...

"Some Like it Hot" was considered the all-time best comedies by AFI a few years ago. "Bringing Up Baby" is much better than "Arsenic and Old Lace." Both have Cary Grant, but only "Baby" has Katharine Hepburn.

I've actually never seen "Harvey." Doesn't interest me. And I love Jimmy Stewart.

Jim Hu said...

Based on the hint, I'm guessing that you missed Jaws, Rocky, and maybe even American Graffiti.

The really sad thing is that I'm not sure of the precise number I missed because I don't remember which of the Chaplins I've seen and which I missed.
Although I missed a lot of them, I'm not sure how many are ones I have a burning desire to get on DVD and watch. For example, I don't feel a particular urge to rent Titanic, Rocky, Jaws, or Sophie's Choice. I don't remember whether I've ever seen Sound of Music from start to finish, but I still have a now 42 year old aversion to it based on my sister playing the sound track over and over and over.

Jim Hu said...

Bringing up Baby is one of my favorites of all time. As for it holding its own over time...there was recently an NPR piece on a film critic whose young daughter decided that she wanted a Bringing up Baby theme for her birthday party.

blake said...

So...you've never seen "Star Wars"?

Ann Althouse said...

Jim: You guessed 1.

Blake: I've seen "Star Wars" a few times. I've only seen "Empire" once, however, and none of the subsequent sequels. We were snubbing "Star Wars" when it first came out, then friends dragged us to a 10 pm show and we sat in the front row and watched it a second time at midnight. I think... or was that "Close Encounters"? Anyway, I've seen the original "Star Wars" a few times. I think it was rereleased sometime when my kids were young and I took them to it.

knox said...

I got sucked into watching "Double Indemnity" the other day for the 100000th time. It's so great.

There's lots of bogus Boomer entries on that list. Platoon, MASH, American Grafitti... ick.

knox said...

Horror is underrepresented. Where's The Shining? and (the first) Alien? They're both better than Jaws anyway. And I'm sure I'm the only person on the planet to think Dressed to Kill is a masterpiece, but I do.

Jeff with one 'f' said...

Bleargh, more Boomer-centered lists. I'll take any black-and white films from a random week of AMC programming over at least half of the post-1965 films on this list.

"Sunrise" is a truly great and engaging movie, lively and creative in unexpected ways.

Fletch said...

I think a more interesting question is...

Of the movies based upon a previously published 'novel' or other written work, how many did you 'read' before ever seeing the movie?

For instance, I read "The Godfather" after seeing the first two movies-- so that doesn't count!

I've only got 7:

15) 2001: A Space Odyssey
23) The Grapes of Wrath
25) To Kill a Mockingbird
47) A Streetcar Named Desire
50) Lord of the Rings(I haven't actually seen the movie yet, but I have read the book(s) many times...)
77) All the President's Men
97) Blade Runner-(AKA "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep"?)

Laura Reynolds said...

I've seen about 65 of them, I'm sure I don't remember which older films I saw in my Friday and Saturdays spent at Don Panchos across the street from UNM in the 70s.

Pretty subjective list (and we love lists). Can someone tell me why saving Private Ryan didn't win best picture?

Jim Hu said...

I'm curious about why you would list Philadelphia Story as being female-centered, but not Bringing up Baby. I can see the argument against calling either of them female-centered, but I'm not sure I see the difference. How to draw the line in romances seems unclear to me. Is Winslet more central to Titanic than Stanwyck to Double Indemnity (disclaimer: I haven't seen either)? Is Annie Hall about Annie or about Woody Allen's character - as most of his movies are. Of course, Hepburn was a center of just about anything she was in...which means that I'd add African Queen.

I haven't seen Silence of the Lambs (the whole idea creeps out my wife so much that she won't rent it), but isn't Jodie Foster the actual protagonist?

Ann Althouse said...

dpb: I've seen "One Flew Over" many times, including in its original theater run and quite recently (when I blogged about it).

Fletch: I read "Gone with the Wind" before seeing it. (And believed it would never find a better book. I was maybe 15 at the time. It's probably the only book I ever read where I felt terrible when I reached then end and ran out of book. And I thought that since all other books could not approach it, my only option was to go back to the beginning and start over. I don't feel that way about the book now, but the story and all the detail had a huge effect on me.)

I avoided "Blade Runner" for many many years because they'd screwed around with "Do Androids" and I just couldn't deal with it. (Reverse effect with "One Flew Over" -- saw the movie, then could not stand the book. Ditto "Forrest Gump.") "Mockingbird," I read decades before seeing the movie.

Jim: I was making a distinction between a central female characters and stories with a balanced male/female couple at the center. It was hard to draw the line in the case of "Titanic" and "Baby," but that was my judgment call. "Philadelphia Story" is clearly the female character's story, in my view.

Roost on the Moon said...

I avoided "Blade Runner" for many many years because they'd screwed around with "Do Androids" and I just couldn't deal with it

Alright, I started thinking you were super-cool when the vortex started kicking up vegetables. Hats off.

Unknown said...

Luckyoldson said...

two must sees and a two bonus picks:

1. The Carrot or the Stick (2004)
2. The Onion Patch (1915)

*honorable mentions:
French Fried Patootie (1941)
French Fried Frolic (1949)

Christy said...

I'd include "It Happened One Night" in the list of Female central movies. Some may see it as a more balanced couple movie, but I see her as central. Could that be one you've never seen?

I highly recommend watching "Some Like it Hot" on as big a screen as can be managed. Totally transformed the movie for me. And the costumes are stellar. Monroe might as well be stark naked in one scene with the effects of lighting on that costume. It also has one of the best exit lines in any movie.

I never minded so much what Scott did to the Dick story. Still love "Blade Runner."

I saw a review of "Citizen Kane" once that went into detail about the subliminal messages delivered by the lighting effects and camera angles. Orson Welles would have done wonders with a carrot stick.

Roost on the Moon said...

Tibore asks (is it possible to be excommunicated from a movie theater?)

There is a character in the William Gibson novel "Virtual Light" who was excommunicated from the church he was raised in: a cult of movie worshippers. His heresy? Liking Cronenberg's Videodrome.

Eli Blake said...

Also: Note that no matter how you look at it, there is a dearth of true comedies on the list.

Underscoring the fact that while it takes a good movie to make people feel angry, happy, sad, afraid or pensive, the truly best actors, and the ones with the most unique skill are those who can make people laugh.

My own nominees for comedy:

The Gold Rush
Blazing Saddles
Animal House (which has been mentioned before).

Though I have to admit that I like really screwball comedies so I would also include (for me, only-- not that any of these is top 100 material):

Kentucky Fried Movie
Raising Arizona
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Looney Tunes back in Action

Eli Blake said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eli Blake said...

Oh, and two more screwball ones which could be considered (though probably not quite make) a top 100:

Young Frankenstein
The Pink Panther (the original, with Peter Sellers, not the Steve Martin version).

Danny from Milwaukee said...

I'd say at least two more are arguably centered on female characters, in a beauty and the beast sort of way: King Kong, and The Silence of the Lambs. Although the male character in both is more memorable, the femaile is the plot-driving force in both.

Eli Blake said...

Dang. I missed that Chaplin's masterpiece is in there, at #58.

Shoulda read better before I made a fool-- I mean a Clouseau-- of myself.

Eli Blake said...


Don't forget 'Tootsie' ;)

Although I have to admit that if one got their idea of fashion from the movies then they'd think every guy had a couple of drag outfits in the closet.

blake said...


"The General" comes in at #18, and is one of my favorite comedies.

"Duck Soup" and "Night at the Opera" are both in there, too.

"Modern Times" is in there and "City Lights" comes in at #11.

So there are some comedies.

blake said...

And "Tootsie" was hugely overrated.

Actually, most of the "great" movies of the early '80s are overrated.


Revenant said...

I've actually never seen "Harvey." Doesn't interest me. And I love Jimmy Stewart

Those three sentences make no sense when taken together! :)

You really ought to give it a shot.

Ann Althouse said...

I've seen "It Happened One Night." I've seen nearly everything that's old and highly praised unless it's been hard to see. "Sunrise" was never around in the 1970s in revival houses and campus movies when I was catching up on everything that came out before my time.

The only other pre-1959 movie on my list of unseen movies is "Swing Time." Really, I've never noticed that was supposed to be so great. Why is that here? Seems like they just wanted musicals represented and decided they needed something early and wanted to honor Fred and Ginger.

My unseens are mainly commercial movies from the era when I was going to the movies, plus two big commercial movies from around 1960 that I've never bothered with, one of which I intend to get around to eventually (and have owned on DVD for years).

So the others I haven't seen are 4 big commercial movies from the 1970s, and a movie from the 90s that I've never cared about.

And I agree about "Tootsie." It was a solid comedy, but there is no reason for it to be on the list (unless there's some crying need to cater to Dustin Hoffman).

Ron said...

Why Swing Time? EW had it at #39 in their top 100 list, and here is their quote: "the one where they seem like equals dancing with the idea of love, and less like brilliant hoofers crammed into a fine, but stilted, romance."

The best work of the best pair of dancers in a form that's meant a lot to Hollywood over time. I'd say that's a pretty good reason to put it in there.

MadisonMan said...

Of the top 10, I've only seen Citizen Kane, Singin' in the Rain, Vertigo and The Wizard of Oz. Other movies I've never seen: Chinatown, The Graduate, Taxi Driver, Deer Hunter, Annie Hall (I've only seen 1 Woody Allen movie: Sleeper), Cabaret, Network, Forrest Gump...

I can't believe Vertigo is above Rear Window. And total agreement that Groundhog Day should be on that list.

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

And where is Smokey and the Bandit?

I wager more people worldwide have seen Smokey and the Bandit a dozen times than have sat through Citizen Kane once- or even heard of it.

Part of the problem here is most, if not all, of the people who vote on these lists were educated by the same small group of people, who were in turn educated by the same, smaller, group of people. To them an original thought is as foreign as a conservative one.

Not that I disagree with the entire list, but certian movies occupy the same places year after year for no apparent reason other than to criticize them is heresy.

Modern Otter said...

Only 11 of the films (by my count) are centered on a female character:...

I think there would be an argument for including Jody Foster's character in Silence of the Lambs.

My MIAs from the list would include Five Easy Pieces and Fargo.

Biggest zit on the list-- Gump. Arguable runner-up-- Virginia Woolf

Ann Althouse said...

Otter: I had "Silence" on my list, but then took it off. There are a lot of scenes -- if I remember correctly -- with Hannibel and not her. Is it his story or hers? I think both. I think it's a case of a balanced pair more than a clear central character.

paul a'barge said...

Annie Hall?

Oh please, spare me.

From Inwood said...

Edjamikated Redneck

You’ve got it; my Lord, you’ve got it, when you say
“Part of the problem here is most, if not all, of the people who vote on these lists were educated by the same small group of people, who were in turn educated by the same, smaller, group of people. To them an original thought is as foreign as a conservative one.

”Not that I disagree with the entire list, but certian movies occupy the same places year after year for no apparent reason other than to criticize them is heresy.”

This is the same point, made more succinctly by you here, which I made in the thread about Law School Rankings. And last night I saw The 50 greatest MLB catches. I thought # 20 (1985 catch by Ken Griffey Sr.) shoudda been #1; at least in the Top Ten.

Some dreck in here; much representation of boomer chic.

My (partial since I ran out of gas) choice of missing movies:

Paths of Glory
Some Like It Hot
The Heiress
Long Day’s Journey
Forty Second Street
Bride of Frankenstein (aside, a theme from Franz Waxman’s score gets picked up by Richard Rogers in his Bali Hai)
The Informer
Mutiny on The Bounty
The Awful Truth
The Adventures of Robin Hood (aside, superb Korngold score)
Pymagalion (maybe this is not considered American)
My Fair Lady
Wuthering Heights (superb Newman score)
His Girl Friday
Mildred Pierce
Postman Always Rings Twice
The Naked City (It’s The Williamsburg Bridge, not the Brooklyn)
The Pianist (or is that American?)

Ok, gotta stop at the end of WWII except for the first two & the last two; gotta get a life. (I coudda bin somebody, I coudda been a cotenda….”)

Ann Althouse said...

"Some Like It Hot" is on the list.

I think "Double Indemnity" snagged the "Postman" niche.

Smilin' Jack said...

two big commercial movies from around 1960 that I've never bothered with, one of which I intend to get around to eventually (and have owned on DVD for years).

I'm guessing that's "Lawrence of Arabia."

I think "Double Indemnity" snagged the "Postman" niche.

And deserved it. I'd also place the original D.O.A. above Postman...that opening scene has never been topped.

Ann Althouse said...

I've seen "Lawrence of Arabia."

blake said...

Two out of three "mutinies" could've been on the list (the Clark Gable and the Marlon Brando one). Remarkable and entirely different interpretations.

The idea that there's a "slot" for certain kinds of films (like "Postman") highlights the folly of the exercise. They aren't just picking the 100 best films; they are picking the 100 films that make the best list.

There should be a lot more Hitch on the list.

blake said...

By the way, Syd Field (possesion of whose book "Screenplay" is a cliché of the wanna be screenwriting sect maintains that there is only one main character in a film.

That may be an oversimplification, although it could be fair to argue that a GOOD screenplay generally has a just one main character. (He sidesteps with Nashville by arguing that Nashville, the city, is the main character.)

In Titanic it's Rose. It's not Jack--nothing about Jack changes in the film. Rose is the one who goes from pampered, miserable rich girl to freewheeling American jewel thief. (Heh.) Jack is the catalyst.

In Silence of the Lambs it's Clarice Starling, no question. Hannibal can't change, really. Starling comes face-to-face with evil, and has to lose a lot of her pretensions. Hell, Hannibal's not even around for the, what, the last third of the movie?

Ann Althouse said...

Blake, if that were true "Bringing Up Baby" would be the story of Dr. David Huxley.

XWL said...

Out of curiosity, I compared the Academy's decisions over the years with this AFI list.

The Academy gets it wrong a lot more than they get it right (not that the AFI is perfect, but their list is a little better than the Academy's history of decision making)

Cushing said...

The Third man and Patton should never have been dropped. Ground hog definitely deserves a place on the list.

God, I thought Titanic had finally died away. Where the judges teenage girls?

From Inwood said...

Prof A

My bad – you’re right: Some Like It Hot was on the list.

After a long day, I've thought of more "shoudda bin includeds"

Any list which leaves out the following movie is materially misleading:

The Court Jester (The pellet with the poison's in the vessel with the pestle; the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true! A Jester without employment is nobody’s fool!)

I’d also add:

My Favorite Year
Birdman of Alcatraz
The Hustler
All The King’s Men
Midnight Express
The King of Comedy
Rain Man
When Harry Met Sally

And some great war movies:
The Caine Mutiny
Twelve O’Clock High
Command Decision
Bridges At Toko-Ri
The Great Escape
Mr. Roberts
The Red Badge of Courage

Maybe you ought to do a Top 100 list for lawyers:

Let me start by noting that Twelve Angry Men (which I saw numerous times while selling candy in The Capitol in NYC does not belong on the list. It has no relevance today. Oh, wait, did someone say "Nifongool"?

My Cousin Vinny has no relation to reality, but it's fun all the way if we engage in a willing suspension of disbelief.

Inherit The Wind had great performances, but has been shown to be mostly untrue; need suspension of disbelief here also.

The Paper Chase is fun for lawyers & law students, but not an all-time all-time.

Anatomy of a Murder is also fun for lawyers but is too contrived. Bad things that can happen in a small town can also happen in a bigger town (Think Nifong again). Joseph Welch is such a ham that he makes one yearn for Brian Aherne & John Barrymore in their twilight years.

The Paradine Case is God-Awful.

I have a soft spot for The Young Philadelphians (not even in the Top 500, perhaps) though most criminals, even in the 1950s, would find it hard to ask a corporate lawyer to defend them on a murder rap

The Verdict is too Black & White, Good acting, but caricatures rather than characters.

Now if you want to see a new film, try

Crazy Love.

This is a cinema verité or Direct Cinema version of the romance & marriage of two folks from Da Bronx in the ‘50s who now tell all from their apartment in 21st Century Rego Park, Queens. While one can see the CliffsNotes’ version of this story everyday on TV, this is the complete work, edited, without an annoying intrusive ringmaster & an insipid audience acting as a poor-man’s Greek Chorus.

It’s a twist on the old, perhaps apocryphal, movie synopsis to: boy meets girl; boy loses girl; boy messes up girl so no one else meets girl; boy gets messed-up girl. For those of us who are on a higher intellectual plane, it’s Ethan Frome without the presence of Ethan’s wife.

And it’s an embodiment of the adage: “You can’t make this stuff up!”

blake said...

Blake, if that were true "Bringing Up Baby" would be the story of Dr. David Huxley.

I'm not an expert on that film (only seen it twice) but sure, why not? It's not the most colorful/flamboyant character, it's the character whose story it is. But I'd have to see it again to defend the point.

To take another example, arguably the lead character of "The Sixth Sense" is Bruce Willis'. (I haven't seen that enough to defend that point vigorously either, but his character seems to be the one with the necessary revelation. But I guess Haley Joel Osmont does, too. Hmmmm.)