BBC Culture lists The 100 greatest American films "BBC Culture polled film critics from around the world to determine the best American movies ever made. The results are surprising – Gone With the Wind appears at 97"
America’s films are among its greatest exports. Since Thomas Edison’s innovations in the medium in the 1890s, the United States has consistently been a powerhouse in the development of cinema – from the massively popular entertainments of Hollywood to independent and avant-garde film. In recognition of the astounding influence of the US on what remains the most popular art-form worldwide, BBC Culture has polled 62 international film critics to determine the 100 greatest American films of all time.
What defines an American film? For the purposes of this poll, it is any movie that received funding from a US source...Each critic who participated submitted a list of 10 films, with their pick for the greatest film receiving 10 points and their number 10 pick receiving one point. The points were added up to produce the final list. Critics were encouraged to submit lists of the 10 films they feel, on an emotional level, are the greatest in American cinema – not necessarily the most important, just the best. These are the results.
I've seen all but eight:
- 89) In a Lonely Place (Nicholas Ray, 1950)
- 72) The Shanghai Gesture (Josef von Sternberg, 1941)
- 70) The Band Wagon (Vincente Minnelli, 1953)
- 64) Johnny Guitar (Nicholas Ray, 1954)
- 63) Love Streams (John Cassavetes, 1984)
- 53) Grey Gardens (Albert and David Maysles, Ellen Hovde and Muffie Meyer, 1975)
- 43) Letter from an Unknown Woman (Max Opuls, 1948)
- 40) Meshes of the Afternoon (Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid, 1943) - it's a 14 min short available on YouTube.
Most of the rest I'd concede are all very good films. Well maybe not Heaven's Gate. I don't know how Hitchcock's Marne made it and Rear Window didn't. and why is Kubrick's Barry Lyndon on the list, let alone his highest?
Here are the directors with more than one film in the list:
- Alfred Hitchcock (5)
- Billy Wilder (5)
- Stanley Kubrick (5)
- Steven Spielberg (5)
- Francis Ford Coppola (4)
- Howard Hawks (4)
- Martin Scorsese (4)
- Charlie Chaplin (3)
- John Ford (3)
- Orson Welles (3)
- David Lynch (2)
- John Cassavetes (2)
- Nicholas Ray (2)
- Robert Altman (2)
- Robert Zemeckis (2)
- Spike Lee (2)
- Terrence Malick (2)
- Victor Fleming (2)
- Vincente Minnelli (2)
- Woody Allen (2)
Apparently the best films of this century are: 12 Years a Slave, The Dark Knight, 25th Hour, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and The Tree of Life.
For me that list (best on an emotional level from this century) is more like: 12 Years a Slave, The Dark Knight, Inception, Where the Wild Things Are, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Winter's Bone, The Act of Killing
Here's Kim Morgan's submission, I've only seen six of these and none would have made my top 10. And here's Devin Faraci complaining about the list (though not mentioning his submissions), THE DARK KNIGHT Is Better Than Any Paul Thomas Anderson Movie.