BFI, AFI, Filmsite - Top Movies of All Time - List and Comments

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Tyson

As a bit of a movie buff, but not a "cinephile", I have seen a lot of movies in my life.  So when the British Film Institute came out with their list of top movies a few years ago, I took a gander.  Since I was 40 years old and had watched a ton of movies in my lifetime, I figured I'd had to have seen a bunch of them already.  I checked out of the top 50 list I'd only seen 14.  14!!!!!  Shi!t.  So the past few years I've been on a mission to watch them all  :lol: 

After a lot of time spent at the library (checking out the movies for free), or Netflix or Amazon or iTunes or Youtube, I've finally been able to see all of the top 100 movies on the BFI list.  What a ride!!  I'm so happy that I decided to do it, even though some of the movies were difficult, it really has enriched my life. 

Here's the top 50 list, but if anyone wants the full list (more than 200 movies) in an Excel spreadsheet format, just PM me and I'll be happy to send mine to you.


British Film Institute
1   Vertigo   1958   Hitchcock
2   Citizen Kane   1941   Wells
3   Tokyo Story   1953   Ozu
4   The Rules of the Game   1939   Renoir
5   Sunrise   1927   Murnau
6   2001: A Space Odyssey   1968   Kubrick
7   The Searchers   1956   Ford
8   Man with a Movie Camera   1929   Vertov
9   The Passion of Joan of Arc   1928   Dreyer
10   8½   1963   Fellini
11   Battleship Potemkin   1925   Eisenstein
12   L'Atalante   1934   Vigo
13   Breathless   1960   Godard
14   Apocalypse Now   1979   Coppola
15   Late Spring   1949   Ozu
16   Au Hasard Balthazar   1966   Bresson
17   Seven Samurai   1954   Kurosawa
18   Persona   1966   Bergman
19   The Mirror   1975   Tarkovsky
20   Singin' in the Rain   1952   Donen & Kelly
21   L'Avventura   1960   Antonioni
22   The Godfather   1972   Coppola
23   Contempt   1963   Godard
24   Rashomon   1950   Kurosawa
25   Ordet   1955   Dreyer
26   In the Mood for Love   2000   Wong, Kar Wai
27   Andrei Rublev   1966   Tarkovsky
28   Mulholland Dr.   2001   Lynch
29   Stalker   1979   Tarkovsky
30   Shoah   1985   Lanzman
31   Taxi Driver   1976   Scorsese
32   The Godfather: Part II   1974   Coppola
33   Bicycle Thieves   1948   De Sica
34   Psycho   1960   Hitchcock
35   The General   1926   Keaton
36   Satantango   1994   Tarr
37   Metropolis   1927   Lang
38   Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles   1975   Akerman
39   La Dolce Vita   1960   Truffaut
40   The 400 Blows   1959   Truffaut
41   Pather Panchali   1955   Ray
42   Journey to Italy   1954   Rossellini
43   Pierrot le Fou   1965   Godard
44   Close-Up   1990   Kiarostami
45   Some Like It Hot   1959   Wilder
46   Playtime   1967   Tati
47   Gertrud   1964   Dreyer
48   Histoire(s) du cinéma: Toutes les histoires   1988   Godard
49   The Battle of Algiers   1966   Pontecorvo
50   City Lights   1931   Chaplin



American Film Institute
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
11   CITY LIGHTS   1931
12   THE SEARCHERS   1956
13   STAR WARS   1977
14   PSYCHO   1960
15   2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY   1968
16   SUNSET BLVD.   1950
17   THE GRADUATE   1967
18   THE GENERAL   1927
19   ON THE WATERFRONT   1954
20   IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE   1946
21   CHINATOWN   1974
22   SOME LIKE IT HOT   1959
23   THE GRAPES OF WRATH   1940
24   E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL   1982
25   TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD   1962
26   MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON   1939
27   HIGH NOON   1952
28   ALL ABOUT EVE   1950
29   DOUBLE INDEMNITY   1944
30   APOCALYPSE NOW   1979
31   THE MALTESE FALCON   1941
32   THE GODFATHER PART II   1974
33   ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST   1975
34   SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS   1937
35   ANNIE HALL   1977
36   THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI   1957
37   THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES   1946
38   THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE   1948
39   DR. STRANGELOVE   1964
40   THE SOUND OF MUSIC   1965
41   KING KONG   1933
42   BONNIE AND CLYDE   1967
43   MIDNIGHT COWBOY   1969
44   THE PHILADELPHIA STORY   1940
45   SHANE   1953
46   IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT   1934
47   A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE   1951
48   REAR WINDOW   1954
49   INTOLERANCE   1916
50   BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID   1969


Filmsite Top 300 by Decade

This is very interesting - it breaks the top 300 films (according to them) into decades instead of the usual "Best to Worst" rankings of other lists.  I found this very useful:

http://www.filmsite.org/300films.html

Here's a list of the 2 most recent decades they have:

The 1980's:

Airplane! (1980)
The Empire Strikes Back (1980) (tie)
Raging Bull (1980)
The Shining (1980)
Atlantic City (1981)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Blade Runner (1982)
E.T. - The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Koyaanisqatsi (1982)
Poltergeist (1982)
The Road Warrior (1982)
Tootsie (1982)
The King of Comedy (1983)
Amadeus (1984)
The Terminator (1984)
This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
Brazil (1985)
Blue Velvet (1986)
Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
Platoon (1986)
A Room With a View (1986)
Full Metal Jacket (1987)
The Last Emperor (1987)
Bull Durham (1988)
A Fish Called Wanda (1988)
Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)
Do the Right Thing (1989)
Field of Dreams (1989)
Glory (1989)
Henry V (1989) (tie)
When Harry Met Sally... (1989)

The 1990's:

GoodFellas (1990)
Beauty and the Beast (1991)
JFK (1991)
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
Thelma & Louise (1991)
The Crying Game (1992)
Unforgiven (1992)
Groundhog Day (1993)
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
The Piano (1993)
Schindler's List (1993)
Pulp Fiction (1994)
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Babe (1995)
Toy Story (1995) (tie)
The Usual Suspects (1995)
Fargo (1996)
L.A. Confidential (1997)
Titanic (1997)
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
American Beauty (1999)
The Matrix (1999)
Toy Story 2 (1999) (tie)
« Last Edit: 18 Jan 2017, 05:24 am by Tyson »

wushuliu

Re: BFI Top Movies of All Time - List and Comments
« Reply #1 on: 11 Jan 2017, 07:48 pm »
Huh vertigo number one.  Surprised. Not the best Hitchcock imo.

wushuliu

Re: BFI Top Movies of All Time - List and Comments
« Reply #2 on: 11 Jan 2017, 07:51 pm »
And I can't wait for filmstruck to be available on roku.

LesterSleepsIn

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Re: BFI Top Movies of All Time - List and Comments
« Reply #3 on: 11 Jan 2017, 08:03 pm »
Odd that Vertigo is #1 and North by Northwest didn't make the top 50. And 2 Tarkovskys but not one Spielberg? (I've seen all but 1 of the top 50.)

Would someone someday please tell me why critics are so gaga about In the Mood for Love?

Tyson

Re: BFI Top Movies of All Time - List and Comments
« Reply #4 on: 11 Jan 2017, 08:10 pm »
Here are the movies I'd already seen when I first started.  Oh, and I was wrong!!! I thought I'd seen 14, but I'd only seen 11:

Vertigo
Citizen Kane (hated it)
2001: A Space Odyssey
Apocalypse Now
Seven Samurai
The Godfater
In the Mood for Love
Mulhulland Dr
Taxi Driver
Godfather Pt 2
Psycho

Tyson

Re: BFI Top Movies of All Time - List and Comments
« Reply #5 on: 11 Jan 2017, 08:15 pm »
My advice for anyone looking to watch any of these is 2 fold - find a scrubbed up remastered blu-ray version if you can and second, watch it on as big a screen as possible.  I have a 100 inch screen and an Epson projector in a dedicate basement.  Some of these old films look AMAZING on a proper big screen after a recent bluray remaster. 

S Clark

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Re: BFI Top Movies of All Time - List and Comments
« Reply #6 on: 11 Jan 2017, 08:17 pm »
It's clear that Brits view cinema differently than Americans.  Vertigo? Are you kidding me?  I looked over the list but don't give it two thumbs up.  I put a few of the early Japanese movies on the que,  but some they've listed just aren't worth my time and effort.  Kinda like reading James Joyce.  Great if that's your thing, but not for me.

S Clark

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Re: BFI Top Movies of All Time - List and Comments
« Reply #7 on: 11 Jan 2017, 08:20 pm »
Some hate Citizen Kane, some hate Terrence Malick.  I'm in the latter camp.
I've seen 18 on the list of 50.  You understand why things like Battleship Potemkin are there, but its just not great cinema.

Tyson

Re: BFI Top Movies of All Time - List and Comments
« Reply #8 on: 11 Jan 2017, 08:36 pm »
I think (as with any list), there will be some movies that resonate with you more than others (and some not at all).  For me, I was grateful because my exposure to great foreign cinema was sorely lacking.  Some of the movies that I ended up really enjoying were:

Tokyo Story - Who knew that a domestic slide of life from postwar Japan could be so compelling? 

The Passion of Joan of Arc - get the Criterion DVD with the alternate music track.  Normally I hate Dreyer's movies, but the change in music made this an actually compelling experience.

Breathless - The first modern French gangster movie from the French New Wave.  It's amazing how light and breezy and effortlessly cool it is.

The Mirror - I'd never seen a Tarkovsky movie before.  Now I love his work so much, there's danger that he'll push out Kubrick as my favorite director.

Singin' in the Rain - Made me re-evaluate my general contempt for musicals.  Lighthearted and good in the best sense of the words

Shoah - Longest 'movie' on the list.  It's actually more of a documentary, but if you treat it like a mini-series and watch it over several nights, it's not that hard to get through.  Very powerful stuff, but it's a cumulative power.  Seems a bit boring in the beginning, but had me in tears by the end.

Bicycle Thieves - Another one that, by the end, you will likely be weeping.

La Dolce Vita - proof that we modern people don't have first dibs on cynicism and wry amusement.

City Lights - Kicked off a re-evaluation of Chaplin for me.  Of course, seeing it on a giant screen in pristine video (remaster) and sound helped a lot.  When I was young I dismissed Chaplin as silly, unsophisticated and trite.  I don't feel that way anymore. 

wushuliu

Re: BFI Top Movies of All Time - List and Comments
« Reply #9 on: 11 Jan 2017, 08:41 pm »
+1 on tarkovsky

Tyson

Re: BFI Top Movies of All Time - List and Comments
« Reply #10 on: 11 Jan 2017, 08:44 pm »
+1 on tarkovsky

The man is a giant. 

S Clark

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Re: BFI Top Movies of All Time - List and Comments
« Reply #11 on: 11 Jan 2017, 09:02 pm »
Tyson, you hit the nail of the head.  It's not important that you agree with a particular list, but that you see it as an opportunity to find new things to ?  Tokyo Story is now on my que.
But you wonder about the criteria of the British voter that includes Mulholland Dr. in the top 50... ahead of Schindler???  Yeah it was good, but Chinatown was better in the same genre.  But then you look at a list like this, and you say to yourself "You know, the Searchers really is a top flick" that you've downgraded because it's John Wayne. Maybe it's time to give it another viewing. 
And then there are movies like "Open Range".  K. Costner sank his own cash into the budget to get the details right.  Even the window panes were pulled from 19th century houses for any shot that  panned a window. If you saw a nail, it was a forged square nail.  It's one of  those movies where the more you look, the more you see.  Does that make it great? Is it better than movie #78?  Beats the hell out of me.  My wife now groans when it drop it in the blue ray. 

Charles Calkins

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Re: BFI Top Movies of All Time - List and Comments
« Reply #12 on: 11 Jan 2017, 09:05 pm »

  I don'see "The best years of our lives" on the list.
   If anybody has not seen the picture I suggest you watch it.
   Might be the best AMERICAN movie ever made!!

                             Cheers
                            Charlie

mcgsxr

Re: BFI Top Movies of All Time - List and Comments
« Reply #13 on: 11 Jan 2017, 09:05 pm »
I have seen 9 of the first 50.

Not many on that list I will likely pursue seeing though.

I don't always want a classic experience, sometimes movies are just a 90 minute escape.

Big Lebowski on on that list?  :lol:

Tyson

Re: BFI Top Movies of All Time - List and Comments
« Reply #14 on: 11 Jan 2017, 09:14 pm »
Mark,
Agreed, in fact I watch a ton of escapist movies.  But escapist isn't 'all' I want to watch.  When I want to watch something a little more challenging, the list is a great resource because otherwise I'm just picking stuff at random.

S Clark,
The BFI is the British Film Institute, but they survey ALL critics in all countries.  The list is actually put together from that international poll.  For American centric movies, I find the American Film Institute "100 years 100 movies" list to be very good:

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
11   CITY LIGHTS   1931
12   THE SEARCHERS   1956
13   STAR WARS   1977
14   PSYCHO   1960
15   2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY   1968
16   SUNSET BLVD.   1950
17   THE GRADUATE   1967
18   THE GENERAL   1927
19   ON THE WATERFRONT   1954
20   IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE   1946
21   CHINATOWN   1974
22   SOME LIKE IT HOT   1959
23   THE GRAPES OF WRATH   1940
24   E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL   1982
25   TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD   1962
26   MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON   1939
27   HIGH NOON   1952
28   ALL ABOUT EVE   1950
29   DOUBLE INDEMNITY   1944
30   APOCALYPSE NOW   1979
31   THE MALTESE FALCON   1941
32   THE GODFATHER PART II   1974
33   ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST   1975
34   SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS   1937
35   ANNIE HALL   1977
36   THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI   1957
37   THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES   1946
38   THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE   1948
39   DR. STRANGELOVE   1964
40   THE SOUND OF MUSIC   1965
41   KING KONG   1933
42   BONNIE AND CLYDE   1967
43   MIDNIGHT COWBOY   1969
44   THE PHILADELPHIA STORY   1940
45   SHANE   1953
46   IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT   1934
47   A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE   1951
48   REAR WINDOW   1954
49   INTOLERANCE   1916
50   THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING   2001

Again, I don't agree with everything on there, but when I get an inkling to watch something with a bit of historical importance, it's a good reference.

brother love

Re: BFI Top Movies of All Time - List and Comments
« Reply #15 on: 11 Jan 2017, 09:23 pm »
Here is a link for the BFI top 100:  http://www.bfi.org.uk/films-tv-people/sightandsoundpoll2012/critics

I've seen 31 of the top 50 & 58 of the top 100. Many more to go ....  :thumb:

Impressive that (3) Tarkovsky movies are listed in the top 50! I have only seen Stalker (quite memorable), so I will need to check out the other two.

Edit: Seen all of the AFI top 50 except for "Intolerance". I will need to put it at the top of the list for sure.

It's nice revisiting these lists. Thanks Tyson !   8)

Tyson

Re: BFI Top Movies of All Time - List and Comments
« Reply #16 on: 11 Jan 2017, 09:37 pm »
Here is a link for the BFI top 100:  http://www.bfi.org.uk/films-tv-people/sightandsoundpoll2012/critics

I've seen 31 of the top 50 & 58 of the top 100. Many more to go ....  :thumb:

Impressive that (3) Tarkovsky movies are listed in the top 50! I have only seen Stalker (quite memorable), so I will need to check out the other two.

Edit: Seen all of the AFI top 50 except for "Intolerance". I will need to put it at the top of the list for sure.

It's nice revisiting these lists. Thanks Tyson !   8)

Welcome!  And if anyone wants the AFI list in excel format, I have that too :)

There's a few I haven't seen on the AFI list but I started out having already seen like 40 out of the top 50 back when I started.  So I had a pretty good exposure to American great movies, which is why it was so surprising that I'd seen so few on the BFI list. 

Re: Intolerance - here's a fun fact - Buster Keaton made a movie call the 3 Ages, and it's basically a spoof of Intolerance.  I didn't know that going in when I watched the Keaton movie, but about halfway through I thought "Hey, this seems an awful lot like Intolerance!".  I learned later that it was pretty common practice for people like Keaton and others to "make fun" of these big blockbuster films.  Awesome.

S Clark

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Re: BFI Top Movies of All Time - List and Comments
« Reply #17 on: 11 Jan 2017, 09:43 pm »
  I don'see "The best years of our lives" on the list.
   If anybody has not seen the picture I suggest you watch it.
   Might be the best AMERICAN movie ever made!!

                             Cheers
                            Charlie

+1

Tyson

Re: BFI Top Movies of All Time - List and Comments
« Reply #18 on: 11 Jan 2017, 09:49 pm »
+1

It is on the American Film Institute's list - it's #37.  Also, I've modded my first post so it contains the AFI list as well as the BFI list.

dburna

Re: BFI Top Movies of All Time - List and Comments
« Reply #19 on: 11 Jan 2017, 10:11 pm »
Thanks to all for the lists.

I had seen about 45 of the BFI Top 50 and about 90+ of the Top 100.  A few had slipped my radar, so I'm glad to pick those up.

So many movies, so little time......

-dB