We finished the remainder of the AFI top 100 this weekend. It took a bit of dedication, but we are now done with the list. Like I did for the bottom fifty, I have taken the time to make my own rankings. Basically my criteria are: acting, direction, plot, and cinematography (in that order). I will admit, that my top choice might be determined by outside influence (aka sentimentality), but I had to make it my number one.
I have combined the two Godfather movies because I do not think that they should be taken as a separate film. I also like the second slightly better than the first, but one is incomplete without the other. Since they must be seen together, they have to be considered as one film (in my mind).
1. It's a Wonderful Life – As far as I am concerned, this movie is perfect. I will again admit my prejudice, but there is nothing better.
2. Casablanca – Endearing love story set just before the attack on Pearl Harbor. It has a rushed naivety that seems to have capture the time period.
3. The Godfather Part I and II – The Vito flashbacks are what I enjoy the most.
4. Dr. Strangelove – Peter Sellers.
5. Sunset Boulevard – I knew nothing going in and I was glad after. The plot structure is the best part.
6. The Philadelphia Story – Grant, Steward and Hepburn. I just wish that they made every movie together.
7. Vertigo – There is not one word that you can ignore the whole time. Having seen it a few times, it is impossible to remember every detail enough to not pay attention.
8. Singin' in the Rain – Had high expectations that were easily exceeded.
9. Chinatown –
10. On the Waterfront – Brando (this will be a theme) either plays himself really well or is the best male actor of all time. I like to think the latter.
11. The Wizard of Oz – Who does not cheer when the Wicked Witch of the West melts?
12. 2001: A Space Odyssey – Visually, the best film ever made. I would say Barry Lyndon in some ways exceeds this. It is an imaginative trip that I still am trying to understand and grasp.
13. Citizen Kane – Wells made this movie when he was basically my age. I feel like I have done nothing.
14. Schindler's List – It could have been higher if it was not for the overly sentimental ending. I know it is not fair to allow it for some and not others, but it just tries too hard.
15. City Lights – Chaplin with a happy ending. Just the ending separates it from the rest of his movies.
16. Some Like It Hot – I thought this would be terrible because of Monroe. She is barely in it and the paring of Curtis and Lemon is the point. I would recommend this movie to anyone.
17. Double Indemnity – Two despicable characters lead and somehow make you wish that they can get away.
18. Lawrence of Arabia – Epic in every way. Exactly how I like movies.
19. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington – Sentimentality triumphs. I am against just about everything Sen. Smith believes, but I cheered him on as he filibustered.
20. It Happened One Night – Colbert and Gable on the run. What a romantic comedy should be.
21. The Searchers – John Wayne is ruthless and unyielding in Ford’s epic. I can’t really explain why I love it, but I do.
22. Raging Bull – Black and white? Why? I think a bit of a strange choice, but everything else is so well done that I cannot move it any lower.
23. Gone with the Wind – Maybe I would get it more if I thought of the old south as glorious and perfect. The grandness is almost too much, but Gable reels it all in.
24. The Maltese Falcon – There is no way to predict the ending. I challenge anybody.
25. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre – Searching for gold in a semi-western that keeps all the good (ruggedness) and gets rid of the bad (disconnected male characters).
26. Rear Window – It tenses me up every time when Stewart is flashing his camera in defense.
27. King Kong – I really wish Peter Jackson did not remake this film. The original is far better.
28. High Noon – Cooper is a little too old, but you forget that quickly. So little happens throughout but the pacing is perfect.
29. The Graduate – I hated this the first time I saw it. The second time warmed on me, this time I loved it. However, terrible use of Simon and Garfunkel for the soundtrack. Scarborough Fair once was fine, twice ok, but the fifth time was just too much.
30. The General – Buster Keton was as good as Chaplin at physical comedy. The scenes on the trains had me rolling.
31. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – Perfection for animation.
32. All About Eve – I wanted Eve to be good the whole time, it is exactly why I liked it.
33. Psycho – Hitchcock pulls of a switch from a caper to a murder without the audience knowing.
34. The Bridge on the River Kwai – Stubbornness reigns supreme whilst blowing the bridge in a dying lunge.
35. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest – I love a movie where the World Series can cause a conflict. I have also never hated nurses so much.
36. Bonnie and Clyde – Great Depression? Why not rob banks?
37. The Best Years of Our Lives – Life after WWII must have been tough. A simple narrative that nears the line but is never heavy handed.
38. The Grapes of Wrath – Disappointing adaptation of a masterpiece. I would have liked to have the ending kept the way it is in the book.
39. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial – When the kids fly over the police might be in the top ten chill inducing moments in film.
40. To Kill a Mockingbird – For the courtroom scene alone.
41. Apocalypse Now – Again, Brando. He is terrifying.
42. Annie Hall – Woody Allen’s does what he does best: neurotic guy meets quirky girl and intellectual humor ensues.
43. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope – I had to resist putting this too high because of my personal love for the series, but alone it has to sit here in comparison to the rest. My only complaint is not enough Alec Guinness.
44. The Sound of Music – The music alone is reason enough to get it into the top fifty. Throw in Julie Andrews to sing it and some Nazis and you have an enjoyable family film.
45. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring – A good movie that I think was rewarded for the effort by Jackson. Can’t really complain but I think should be in the bottom fifty.
46. A Streetcar Named Desire – Marlon Brando makes the film.
47. Midnight Cowboy – Well done in every aspect minus the plot. Really could have been a much better film.
48. Shane – I just do not see why this is on the list at all. Shane is an undeveloped character and the boy who played Joey made me want to stop watching film.
49. Intolerance – As a theme, the idea of intolerance is compelling. I am sure there are innovations that I missed, but it was a hard movie to watch and it was just too long to withstand ( 197 min).