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EW's Top Five All-Time Greatest Films, TV Shows and More -- Do We Need More Lists?

by Beth Hanna
June 27, 2013 1:47 PM
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"Citizen Kane"
"Citizen Kane"

Entertainment Weekly's upcoming edition (on newsstands June 28) is being trumpeted as their first All-Time Greatest issue. This means lists galore. The sneak peek they've sent along, which includes their Top 5 films, TV shows, albums, novels and plays, is solid enough but adds nothing new to the firmament. We all love "Citizen Kane" and "The Wire" -- do we need another list saying so?

Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo," which was crowned last year by Sight and Sound as the all-time greatest film, doesn't make EW's top five, though "Psycho" does.

Here's the 25 selections over five categories:

All-Time Greatest Movies:

1.     Citizen Kane -- Directed by Orson Welles, 1941, PG. Telling the story of a newspaper tycoon based on William Randolph Hearst, the 25-year-old genius Orson Welles poured his own swaggering, larger-than-life soul into a tragic and exuberant American saga of journalism, power, celebrity, idealism, betrayal, and lost love.

2.     The Godfather -- Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, 1972, R. Coppola’s tale of crime and family is the most mythic cinematic landmark of the past half century. It heightens Mafia violence into a metaphor for American corporate ruthlessness, presenting Marlon Brando’s Don Corleone as the grandest of movie criminals—a monster we revere for his courtly loyalty.

3.     Casablanca -- Directed by Michael Curtiz, 1942, PG. WWII movie perfection. Hollywood’s most celebrated love story was made as just an average studio pic but now exemplifies old-movie magic. Story, lighting, music, craftsmanship, and every glance between Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman resonate with a magnificence that even the brashest studio mogul couldn’t have predicted.

4.     Bonnie and Clyde -- Directed by Arthur Penn, 1967, R. A touchstone of screen violence, the exhilarating account of ’30s bank robbers Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker kicked open the door to the cinematic freedom of the post-studio-system era.

5.     Psycho -- Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, 1960, R. The granddaddy of all slasher films (as well as the most profound horror movie ever made), Hitchcock’s famous thriller takes the revolutionary step of killing off its heroine (Janet Leigh) halfway through, all as a way of placing the audience in the mind of a madman (Anthony Perkins).


All-Time Greatest TV Shows:


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More: News, News, Entertainment Weekly


  • tyler4all | June 28, 2013 11:50 AMReply

    "Long before Oprah praised the novel, Dostoevsky, Faulkner, and Nabokov knelt before it in awe. We do too." this has to be the worst writing I've come across in a long time. really? they have to mention in their little summary that Tolstoy's work was in Oprah's Book Club? i had no idea she was a premier literary critic. who is writing this drivel!?

  • john obrien | June 28, 2013 2:02 AMReply

    oh right! all american films.bonnie and clyde?!good choice ...way ahead of anything bergman.tarkovsky,kurosawa,rossellini,polanski,etc. etc.etc. could ever hope to make.

  • DChute | June 28, 2013 1:03 AMReply

    No Shakespeare? No Dickens? No Renoir or Kurosawa? No "Twin Peaks" or "24"?

    There must have been some constraints placed on the selection process that you've neglected to mention.

  • Beth Hanna | June 28, 2013 11:42 AM

    @DChute -- No constraints were mentioned in the material they sent us. Just that "we [EW] used our pop culture expertise to create lists that encompass the contemporary work that will endure for centuries to come, alongside the classics that we look back on for inspiration."

  • jg | June 27, 2013 9:43 PMReply

    I got some lists for ya: Best Political, Sci Fi, War, WTF and Comedy lists.

  • pol | June 27, 2013 9:25 PMReply

    Mostly blah. If a film doesn't affect you, it's hard to stomach calling it the "greatest" anything.

    It's all subjective anyway, and some of this resembles the dying shrieks of dinosaurs. (Or those dressed up in dino costumes and howling along).

  • Anne Thompson | June 27, 2013 3:55 PMReply

    we all know lists, races, numbers of things learned etc. drive online traffic, but this seems a desperate measure on a print magazine cover. Wonder how it will do on the newsstand.

  • Brian | June 27, 2013 3:39 PMReply

    In what universe do any of these lists make sense? Oh, right, the EW universe. Which is why, after 20-odd years as a subscriber, I refused to renew my subscription when it expired this year. Yet they keep sending me issues.

  • tyler4all | June 27, 2013 2:45 PMReply

    this idea, that its ok to rank art, is ridiculous. does anyone really buy into this? these are just opinions...why dont they just publish the same lists without rankings? can anyone really prove that Tolstoy was a better writer than Fitzgerald? no, you can't. this is laughably bad.

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