Thursday, June 21, 2007

AFI's Silly List

As released yesterday, the top 10 movies on the 2007 AFI List of Top 100 Movies
include:

1. "Citizen Kane," 1941
2. "The Godfather," 1972
3. "Casablanca," 1942
4. "Raging Bull," 1980
5. "Singin' in the Rain," 1952
6. "Gone With the Wind," 1939
7. "Lawrence of Arabia," 1962
8. "Schindler's List," 1993
9. "Vertigo," 1958
10. "The Wizard of Oz," 1939

I can see why all of these movies are on the list and why they're at the top, but how do you really quantify which movie is better than another on a numbered list? How can you compare The Godfather to The Wizard of Oz?

Obviously you can't made this list objective and the AFI shows this by how volatile the list is. In 1998, the AFI rated Vertigo as #61. Yet the perception of the movie improved enough to make the top 10 this time around. John Wayne's The Searchers (1956) jumped from #96 up to #12, while Doctor Zhivago (1965), Dances With Wolves (1990), and The Jazz Singer (1927) all dropped off the list entirely.

UPDATE: I went through the list and discovered to my surprise that I haven't seen as many of these movies as I'd supposed. I've seen eight of the top ten but only 55 of the top 100 (only counting movies that I've seen the whole way through and can remember), so I've got a lot of catching up to do. Classic movies are important, not just as cultural markers but as studies in communication and story telling. In short, knowing the tales of a culture helps you communicate with that culture.

1 comment:

Jeff E said...

I don't see Napolean Dynamite anywhere in the top-10. ???

No "Man on Fire" either ? Any Denzel movie where he's mad and has a gun is automatically makes the top-10 of all time list.