Weighing In

Okay, one more post about American Film Institute’s 100 Greatest American Movies, and then I’ll leave them alone for another year. I appreciate the AFI and what they do for film and film history. Some of my first tentative pushes towards cinematic literacy were inspired by AFI lists, and a movie’s appearance on one of their top 100s is still excuse enough for me to see it (I have some major catch-up to play now, I still haven’t seen everything from the decade-old list). Nevertheless, despite my criticisms, I love how it gets people talking about this stuff.

Anyway, I took a long hard look at the old list, the new list, and my list and I came up with a definitive version of my own. I knocked 10 of the 23 new movies right back off again, reinstated 9 of the 23 banished movies, and added an additional 14 of my own at the expense of 13 of the remaining films. In other words, nearly 80% of the AFI’s selections for the new list are left intact . . . but I moved some things around quite a bit while still trying to respect the selections. I didn’t completely replace anything that was in the top 50.

Anyway, this is my new definitive, ordered list of the best and most significant movies that American cinema has to offer (* denotes any of the 74 that I have seen):

100 Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?*
99 Moulin Rouge!*
98 Planet of the Apes*
97 Blade Runner*
96 Toy Story*
95 Road to Perdition*
94 Rocky
93 The Last Picture Show*
92 The Jazz Singer
91 Pulp Fiction*
90 A Face in the Crowd*
89 Bringing Up Baby*
88 Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner*
87 Duck Soup
86 12 Angry Men*
85 Nashville
84 Titanic
83 My Fair Lady*
82 The Great Escape*
81 The Apartment*
80 Saving Private Ryan
79 Forrest Gump*
78 King Kong
77 Raging Bull
76 Cool Hand Luke*
75 All the President’s Men
74 In the Heat of the Night*
73 The Shawshank Redemption*
72 Annie Hall
71 A Clockwork Orange
70 Anatomy of a Murder*
69 The Silence of the Lambs*
68 Unforgiven*
67 Rebel Without a Cause
66 Sullivan’s Travels
65 American Graffiti*
64 Network*
63 Ben-Hur*
62 Raiders of the Lost Ark*
61 The Philadelphia Story*
60 Jaws
59 From Here to Eternity*
58 The Birth of a Nation*
57 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
56 The Sound of Music*
55 His Girl Friday*
54 All Quiet on the Western Front*
53 North by Northwest*
52 Taxi Driver*
51 Fiddler on the Roof*
50 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring*
49 Midnight Cowboy*
48 Amadeus*
47 The Searchers*
46 It Happened One Night*
45 Shane
44 City Lights
43 The Treasure of the Sierra Madre*
42 Bonnie and Clyde
41 All About Eve*
40 The General*
39 Rebecca*
38 The Best Years of Our Lives
37 On the Waterfront*
36 A Streetcar Named Desire*
35 The Bridge on the River Kwai*
34 The Sting*
33 The African Queen*
32 The Godfather Part II*
31 One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
30 Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
29 Rear Window*
28 The Maltese Falcon*
27 High Noon*
26 Double Indemnity*
25 American Beauty*
24 E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
23 The Grapes of Wrath
22 Judgment at Nuremberg*
21 Some Like It Hot*
20 Apocalypse Now*
19 It’s a Wonderful Life*
18 Chinatown*
17 2001: A Space Odyssey
16 Lawrence of Arabia*
15 Sunset Blvd.
14 Dr. Strangelove*
13 The Manchurian Candidate*
12 Psycho*
11 Star Wars*
10 The Wizard of OZ*
9 Vertigo*
8 The Graduate*
7 Singin’ in the Rain*
6 Gone With the Wind*
5 Schindler’s List*
4 To Kill a Mockingbird*
3 Casablanca*
2 The Godfather*
1 Citizen Kane*

~ by Jared on June 21, 2007.

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