Thursday, June 21, 2007

The AFI America's 100 Greatest Movies list revision came out last night, and as with lists of this type, there are some surprises and criticism. While AFI has separate lists for greatest inspirational films, thrillers, comedies and so on, the "Greatest" movies seem to be the ones that "combine popularity with resonance and universality" (AFI voter Carrie Rickey), and the ones that seem to have inspired other filmmakers in their works. The voting structure is that voters list 100 movies from the ballot while ranking #1 - 5, with 5 write-ins.

Orson Welle's Citizen Kane remains the #1 Greatest American film. If you wonder why, don't rely on the fluff job the AFI did in the show, but go to ALOT5MA's Adam Bonin:

If you're going to hail Citizen Kane as the Greatest Film Ever (not that there's anything at all wrong with that), say why, and it's not because of the sled. It's because a ballsy 25-year-old wrote, directed and starred in a movie taking down one of the titans of his age, and did so using every available trick in the cinematic and narrative vocabulary, and then cinematographer Gregg Toland some new tricks like deep focus to explode what filmmaking could do and show. It's an utterly modern film that still surprises every time you see it . . . and all they really talked about was the damn sled.

The newest film added to the list is "Lord of The Rings: The Fellowship (2001)", which suggest AFI voters only start reaching a consensus when films have aged over 5 years, and we recognize whether the film will age well or not. So better luck next time to "Eternal Sunshine" and "L.A. Confidential", the later of which must have just missed the cut if they had Kevin Spacey on there.

A number of films that missed the cut during the 1998 vote made it this year. Additionally, several pictures jumped up the list in a huge way: "Raging Bull," which jumped from No. 24 to 4, and "Vertigo" from No. 61 to 9., the John Ford western "The Searchers," made the highest gain from No. 96 to No. 12. I noticed these pictures, and several of the new additions like "Bladerunner" and "Do The Right Thing", have been turning up on more and more modern cinema course curriculums over the past 10 years.

Of the films that fell off the list, I'm most shocked at The Coen Brother's sublime Fargo and the influential noir classic The Third Man dropping off. And I was surprised to see "Rebel Without A Cause" disappear too.

Wikipedia has the list of changes to the list:

Four films released between 1997-2006 were added to AFI list: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001); Saving Private Ryan (1998); The Sixth Sense (1999); Titanic (1997) (83).

Significant additions that missed the vote last time 12 Angry Men (1957) (87); Ridley Scott's Blade Runner (1982) (97); Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing (1989) (96); Buster Keaton's The General (1927) (18); In The Heat Of The Night (1967) (75) ; Robert Altman's Nashville (1975) (59); The Shawshank Redemption (1994) (72) ; and Pixar's Toy Story (1995) (99)

Twenty-three films were removed from the original list:

All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) (54)
Amadeus (1984) (53)
An American in Paris (1951) (68)
The Birth of a Nation (1915) (44)
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) (64)
Dances With Wolves (1990) (75)
Doctor Zhivago (1965) (39)
Fantasia (1940) (58)
Fargo (1996) (84)
Frankenstein (1931) (87)
From Here to Eternity (1953) (52)
Giant (1956) (82)
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967) (99)
The Jazz Singer (1927) (90)
The Manchurian Candidate (1962) (67)
Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) (86)
My Fair Lady (1964) (91)
Patton (1970) (89)
A Place in the Sun (1951) (92)
Rebel Without a Cause (1955) (59)
Stagecoach (1939) (63)
The Third Man (1949) (57)
Wuthering Heights (1939) (73)


brokenengine said...

Patton is removed, Do the right thing is in?

There is no god.