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Top 100 Film Lists: AFI, Time, AWFJ

by Anne Thompson
June 25, 2007 3:01 AM
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I filled out the AFI Top 100 ballot. And I realized that I was being a total auteurist. I'd check anything by Keaton, Welles, Hawks, Ford, Huston, Wilder. Other directors--even the great Hitchcock, whose classics are dating fast-- were hit or miss. I realized that some movies had slipped in my estimation over the ten years since I last filled out the same list.

But one director had come up in my estimation considerably, which surprised me: Capra. His oeuvre is holding up really well. Is it the political tenor of the times? My liberal bias against the establishment? Capra rocks. When I took Nora to a double feature of It Happened One Night and Holiday, the Capra was fresh as a daisy; the Philip Barry/George Cukor was still terrific--and would make a great remake--but it was very much a product of its time. (On the other hand The Philadelphia Story, with many of the same collaborators, is still perfect.) Movies are supposed to be snapshots of a moment. But the great ones last, become timeless, universal.

Here are some other reactions to the AFI List.

Glenn Kenny has an alternative list.

Here's Time's Top 100.

Here's Edward Copeland's Top 100. And Bad for Glass.

The Media Center has a list of 100 films all directed by women.

And the 27-member Alliance of Women Film Journalists finally announced their top 100, a few days later than they should have to catch the crest of the AFI wave.

Sasha Stone (formerly of Oscarwatch, now called Awards Daily) noticed that Vertigo has actually risen on the new AFI list, while I think that the long-lauded Hitchcock classic is suffering as time goes by. Rear Window isn't as strong as I remember it either. North by Northwest is holding up better, as is Psycho. And Carrie Rickey applauds the rise of John Ford's The Searchers.

Spout's Karina Longworth rounds up some AFI reactions and has some of her own.

My own Top 100 is on the jump--in no particular order, btw, I just numbered the list to make sure I picked 100. OK, tell me what horrible omissions I've made! I decided not to have more than two films by any one director. Also, this list includes foreign films, which the AFI does not. Given a choice among films by my favorite directors, I have purposely not picked more obscure titles because I'm submitting the list to an alternative critics' poll. (So I substituted My Darling Clementine for Rio Grande, and Some Like It Hot for Ace in the Hole.) Any movies that earn just one vote won't make the cut. So it makes more sense to pick a better-known film from a director, or two.

I'll let you know when that list goes up.

1. The General

2. Sherlock, Jr.

3. Touch of Evil

4. Citizen Kane

5. My Darling Clementine

6. The Searchers

7. Ball of Fire

8. Bringing Up Baby

9. Notorious

10. Psycho

11. Gone with the Wind

12. Rules of the Game

13.Dr. Zhivago

14. Lawrence of Arabia

15. High Tide

16. The Piano

17. Reds

18. Fanny & Alexander

19. Swing Time

20. The Philadelphia Story

21. The Earrings of Madame De

22. Casablanca

23. 2001: A Space Odyssey

24. Dr. Strangelove

25. For Whom the Bell Tolls

26. It Happened One Night

27. It’s a Wonderful Life

28. The Apartment

29. Some Like it Hot

30. Ninotchka

31. Trouble in Paradise

32. Sunrise

33. La Strada

34. The African Queen

35. The Man Who Would be King

36. All About Eve

37. Meshes of the Afternoon

38. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

39. Annie Hall

40. The Conformist

41. Battleship Potemkin

42. Secrets and Lies

43. Napoleon

44. War and Peace

45. The Bicycle Thief

46. Way Down East

47. Bonnie & Clyde

48. The Last Laugh

49. The Third Man

50. The Last Detail

51. Meet Me in St. Louis

52. The Bad and the Beautiful

53. Goodfellas

54. Shanghai Express

55. Chinatown

56. The Wind

57. The Sweet Smell of Success

58. The Gold Rush

59. The 400 Blows

60. Jules et Jim

61. Duck Soup

62. Au Hazard Balthazar

63. E.T. -- The Extra-Terrestrial

64. West Side Story

65. I Know Where I’m Going

66. Pinocchio

67. Finding Nemo

68. Raise the Red Lantern

69. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgoisie

70. The Seven Samurai

71. The Marriage of Maria Braun

72. Fargo

73. The Road Warrior

74. From Here to Eternity

75. The Godfather trilogy

76. The Lord of the Rings trilogy

77. The Lady Eve

78. Frankenstein

79. Titanic

80. Terminator 2

81. Master and Commander

82. The Graduate

83. Do the Right Thing

84. Breaking the Waves

85. East of Eden

86. King Kong

87. Once Upon a Time in the West

88. The Wild Bunch

89. Blow Up

90. Midnight Cowboy

91. Mon Oncle

92. Nashville

93. Network

94. To Kill A Mockingbird

95. 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her

96. Platoon

97. Pulp Fiction

98. Unforgiven

99. All About My Mother

100. Pickup on South Street

Originally posted on Variety.com

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