AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movies — 2007 Edition

The American Film Institute released an updated version of their 100 Years…100 Movies list of greatest American movies. Apparently they’re going to do that every ten years. I only saw the tail end of the special last night–did any one else catch it? I think I saw the top fifteen or twenty.

The new list is here in pdf form; and the 1997 list is here in pdf. The new list helpfully shows what position each film was in ten years ago, and how much it has changed its position. As far as new films on the list, there are 23, mostly in second half of the list. Still, out of 100 films, that’s quite a turnover–and interestingly, most of the new additions are not films made in the last ten years, but older ones. Apparently AFI felt they had almost a quarter of the films wrong last time. ;) Some of the replacements are good, I think, but others not so much. The worst thing is that I was 86% through the first list, and I’m only 82% through the new one. :(

Films added for the 2007 list:

Films removed for the 2007 list:

After the jump, my version of the Top 100 American Films. They’re unranked, though, because I tried to rank them, and I got incredibly frustrated.

Also, I’m not sure this is my Top 100 Best American Films, because I tried to emulate the AFI’s voting criteria, which includes critical acclaim, cultural significance, technical innovations, and things like that as well as just pure goodness. Also, I tried not to go too far overboard on my favorite directors (though I, uh, sorta did with Hitchcock). So this looks pretty much like an AFI list, just…better. :) (Of course, that’s completely leaving aside my opinion that making a list of only American films is sorta stupid and artificial in the first place.)

(in chronological order)

  1. Intolerance (1916, D.W. Griffith)
  2. The Gold Rush (1924, Charlie Chaplin)
  3. The General (1926, Buster Keaton)
  4. All Quiet on the Western Front (1930, Lewis Milestone)
  5. City Lights (1931, Charlie Chaplin)
  6. Frankenstein (1931, James Whale)
  7. Duck Soup (1933, Leo McCarey)
  8. King Kong (1933, Merian C. Cooper & Ernest B. Schoedsack)
  9. It Happened One Night (1934, Frank Capra)
  10. The Thin Man (1934, W.S. Van Dyke)
  11. Top Hat (1935, Mark Sandrich)
  12. A Night at the Opera (1936, Sam Wood)
  13. Modern Times (1936, Charlie Chaplin)
  14. The Awful Truth (1937, Leo McCarey)
  15. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) – there are several better Disney films, but this was the first and that earns it a place in film history
  16. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938, Michael Curtiz & William Keighley)
  17. Bringing Up Baby (1938, Howard Hawks)
  18. Gone With the Wind (1939, Victor Fleming)
  19. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939, Frank Capra)
  20. The Wizard of Oz (1939, Victor Fleming)
  21. The Women (1939, George Cukor)
  22. His Girl Friday (1940, Howard Hawks) – It’s a travesty that this isn’t on AFI’s actual list
  23. Philadelphia Story, The (1940, George Cukor)
  24. Citizen Kane (1941, Orson Welles)
  25. The Lady Eve (1941, Preston Sturges)
  26. The Maltese Falcon (1941, John Huston)
  27. Sullivan’s Travels (1941, Preston Sturges)
  28. Casablanca (1942, Michael Curtiz)
  29. To Be or Not to Be (1942, Ernst Lubitsch)
  30. Double Indemnity (1944, Billy Wilder)
  31. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946, William Wyler)
  32. The Big Sleep (1946, Howard Hawks)
  33. Notorious (1946, Alfred Hitchcock)
  34. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946, Frank Capra)
  35. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948, John Huston)
  36. On the Town (1949, Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly) – this wasn’t even on AFI’s ballot list of 400 films!
  37. All About Eve (1950, Joseph L. Mankiewicz)
  38. Sunset Blvd. (1950, Billy Wilder)
  39. The Quiet Man (1952, John Ford)
  40. Singin’ in the Rain (1952, Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly)
  41. The Band Wagon (1953, Vincente Minnelli)
  42. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953, Howard Hawks)
  43. On the Waterfront (1954, Elia Kazan) – another one that isn’t a personal favorite, due to my non-infatuation with Brando, but I’ll give him his cultural due with it
  44. Rear Window (1954, Alfred Hitchcock)
  45. A Star is Born (1954, George Cukor)
  46. Rebel Without a Cause (1955, Nicholas Ray)
  47. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956, Don Siegel)
  48. Searchers, The (1956, John Ford)
  49. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957, David Lean)
  50. Touch of Evil (1958, Orson Welles)
  51. Vertigo (1958, Alfred Hitchcock)
  52. Ben-Hur (1959, William Wyler)
  53. North by Northwest (1959, Alfred Hitchcock)
  54. Rio Bravo (1959, Howard Hawks)
  55. Some Like It Hot (1959, Billy Wilder)
  56. The Apartment (1960, Billy Wilder)
  57. Psycho (1960, Alfred Hitchcock)
  58. Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961, Blake Edwards)
  59. West Side Story (1961, Robert Wise & Jerome Robbins)
  60. Lawrence of Arabia (1962, David Lean)
  61. The Manchurian Candidate (1962, John Frankenheimer)
  62. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962, Robert Mulligan)
  63. The Birds (1963, Alfred Hitchcock)
  64. Dr. Strangelove (1964, Stanley Kubrick)
  65. Mary Poppins (1964, Robert Stevenson)
  66. The Sound of Music (1965, Robert Wise)
  67. Bonnie and Clyde (1967, Arthur Penn)
  68. The Graduate (1967, Mike Nichols) – I’m not a huge fan of The Graduate personally, but I left it on because I sense the reason for that is that I wasn’t around in 1967 to see it.
  69. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968, Stanley Kubrick)
  70. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969, George Roy Hill)
  71. The Wild Bunch (1969, Sam Peckinpah)
  72. The Last Picture Show (1971, Peter Bogdanovich)
  73. Cabaret (1972, Bob Fosse)
  74. The Godfather (1972, Francis Ford Coppola)
  75. American Graffiti (1973, George Lucas)
  76. Chinatown (1974, Roman Polanski)
  77. The Conversation (1974, Francis Ford Coppola)
  78. Jaws (1975, Steven Spielberg)
  79. Network (1976, Sidney Lumet)
  80. Taxi Driver (1976, Martin Scorsese)
  81. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977, Steven Spielberg)
  82. Star Wars (1977, George Lucas)
  83. Manhattan (1979, Woody Allen) – bucking tradition here because I just plain like Manhattan more than Annie Hall
  84. The Empire Strikes Back (1980, Irvin Kershner)
  85. Chariots of Fire (1981, Hugh Hudson)
  86. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981, Steven Spielberg)
  87. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982, Steven Spielberg) – I know I said I’d leave off E.T., but I decided to leave it on simply for cultural literacy purposes.
  88. The Untouchables (1987, Brian De Palma)
  89. Do the Right Thing (1988, Spike Lee)
  90. Goodfellas (1990, Martin Scorsese)
  91. Beauty and the Beast (1991, Gary Truesdale & Kirk Wise)
  92. The Silence of the Lambs (1991, Jonathan Demme)
  93. Unforgiven (1992, Clint Eastwood)
  94. Schindler’s List (1993, Steven Spielberg)
  95. Pulp Fiction (1994, Quentin Tarantino) – I prefer Kill Bill, but it isn’t as groundbreaking as Pulp Fiction
  96. Braveheart (1995, Mel Gibson)
  97. Shakespeare in Love (1998, John Madden)
  98. American Beauty (1999, Sam Mendes)
  99. The Matrix (1999, Andy and Larry Wachowski)
  100. O Brother Where Art Thou? (2001, Joel and Ethan Coen)

And I should mention that I have not seen the following films which are on the AFI lists, and quite probably would be on my list if I had: