Saturday, August 25, 2012

British Film Institute: The Top 50 Greatest Films of All Time

The British Film Institute conducts a global poll of critics and filmmakers every decade and for the first time in a long, long time, Orson Welles Citizen Kane is not the number #1 film. To check out the 50 films that made the list and to see what film is now #1: The Top 50 Greatest Films of All Time


  1. I liked this list very much! It gave me some good tips for classics I hadn't heard about.
    I just can't help but feel that it may be a bit too guided by the idea that "if it's an old classic it is better than a modern work". I think that a lot of modern day film directors are somewhat disregarded because they live in the modern day and what they produce isn't the same kind of artistic expression as it was in the past. It seems that as soon as you see a movie is in black and white there is automatically more respect for it.
    I think the list is missing films by Inarritu, Almodovar, Malick, the Cohen brothers, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Wes Andersen, Wim Wenders, and so on... One of the most beautiful films I have ever seen was "Eternity and a day" by Theo Angeolopos but it was totally skipped over.
    Anyway, my point is some modern day film makers' work isn't given as much credit as I believe it objectively deserves because it isn't called a "classic".

  2. Olivia -- I agree with you on this and all lists of these sorts are problematic (even our own) because they reflect the biases and perspectives of the "chosen" participants (in this case we can see a strong emphasis on the "classics" and films that reflect on the art of filmmaking -- as we would expect from "professional" critics and filmmakers).

    I must admit I haven't seen any Angeolopos films yet (although I almost bought a european box set of his films earlier this year) -- thank you for the recommendation. Maybe we should engage the class in a poll and see what we would come up with as the best films... we could publish the individual lists and the cumulative results (kind of like BFI?)

    Thank you for your thoughtful response -- as for the other filmmakers you mentioned, my favorites are:
    Almodovar -- The Skin I Live In
    Malick -- The New World
    Coen Brothers -- Miller's Crossing
    Jeunet -- Amelie
    Anderson -- The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
    Wenders -- Until the End of the World (although I just got a British DVD of Alice in the Cities so this may change)

    As you can see, these choices are idiosyncratic and they probably reflect my feelings and experiences when I saw them ... and as I re-experienced them.