The BBC Names the 100 Greatest American Films of All Time

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What is the greatest American film of all time? According to BBC.com, who just released a brand new ranking of more than a century of great U.S. cinema, the old favorites are still the best; perennial pick for best film ever, Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane, came in first in a poll of “62 international film critics ... from the United Kingdom and continental Europe to South America, Australia, India, and the Middle East” and the United States as well.

For the full list, you’ll have to check out the BBC’s website. But here is the top ten as chosen by these 62 critics:

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)

A few notes who voted on the poll and the entire 1-100 ranking:

  • The oldest movie on the list: #39, The Birth of a Nation (1915). The newest movie on the list: #99, 12 Years a Slave (2013).
  • Off-the-top-of-my-head notable omissions: Easy Rider, The Last Picture Show, 12 Angry Men, There Will Be Blood, Rocky, Sullivan's Travels, anything by Pixar, any animated movie period other than The Lion King.
  • Movie that’s too high (in my opinion): The Magnificent Ambersons (#11). Movie that’s too low (in my opinion): It’s a Wonderful Life (#46).
  • There’s a lot of odd bunching on the list. 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). It seems like a lot of critics voted by director as much as by movie, feeling like they had to include at least one movie by certain highly respected auteurs. They just couldn’t agree on which movie by those auteurs to choose.
  • Forrest Gump (#74) ranked higher than Raiders of the Lost Ark (#82). I demand the names of critics who voted for Gump so they can be held accountable for their actions.
  • The Dark Knight made the list ... at number #96. I’m sure Batman fans will be totally cool with that.

I did not get a vote, so as far as I’m concerned the whole thing is invalid anyway. (Where is Gymkata, guys?) But what do you think? Any other movies you wish had been included on the list? What should have been left off?

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