The BBC has formulated a list of the top 100 “Greatest American Films of All Time” and there are some notable additions we here at Grizzly Bomb thought were worth noting.
After polling 62 critics from around the world, the BBC has come up with a list of the 100 greatest American movies of all time. In addition to the list, the package also includes comments on the Top 25 by the likes of Glenn Kenny, Stephanie Zacharek, Molly Haskell, Tania Modleski, Jonathan Rosenbaum, and Armond White. BBC Culture polled 62 international film critics, ranging from daily newspaper reviewers, magazine critics, bloggers and broadcasters to authors of book-length academic criticism. Each critic was asked to submit a Top 10 list, and the Top 100 was calculated using a point system giving 10 points for a #1 pick down to 1 point for a #10 pick.
It’s heartening to see films like The Dark Knight, Star Wars (both A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back), Jaws, and Back To The Future make the list, as such titles would have be obvious omissions as recently as 20 years ago. The top ten looks pretty standard among most other “greatest American film” lists go and you can see those below:
10. The Godfather Part II (Francis Ford Coppola, 1974)
9. Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1942)
8. Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)
7. Singin’ in the Rain (Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, 1952)
6. Sunrise (F.W. Murnau, 1927)
5. The Searchers (John Ford, 1956)
4. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968)
3. Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)
2. The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972)
1. Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)
As the BBC explains:
“All different kinds of critics are represented here, from daily newspaper reviewers, magazine critics, bloggers and broadcasters to authors of book-length academic criticism and the final Top 100 was calculated via a simple point system (10 points for each 1 pick, 1 point for each 10 pick). The criteria was simple: any film made by a U.S. studio or funded in some way from an American source qualifies as an ‘American film.’ The director of the movie did not have to be born in America and the film did not have to be made in America. In fact, 32 films on the list were directed by film-makers born outside the US, reflecting America’s immigrant identity.”
Scorsese’s ranked at 20 and 19 (Goodfellas and Taxi Driver, respectively). Chaplin’s at 18 and 17 (City Lights and The Gold Rush). Altman is 16 and 14 (McCabe & Mrs. Miller and Nashville), respectfully. Suggesting that critics tended to vote as much for a director as they do any one individual film.
The criteria was simple: any film made by a U.S. studio or funded in some way from an American source qualifies as an ‘American film.’ The director of the movie did not have to be born in America and the film did not have to be made in America.
You can find the complete list over on BBC Culture’s website.
Images: 20th Century Fox, Disney, Warner Bros.