Movie Double Take Reviews The AFI's 100 Greatest American Movies of All Time: Introduction
We at MovieDoubleTake.com are excited to introduce our newest, most ambitious feature. We'll be tackling AFI's 100 Greatest American Movies of All Time. Here's everything you need to know about the feature.
- What is the AFI's 100 Greatest American Movies Of All Time list? AFI, otherwise known as The American Film Institute, is a famous long running film organization. They are probably best known for their high-profile film lists, specifically this one. This list, although incredibly divisive and controversial, is probably the most famous ranking of American films. 1500 members of the film community contributed in the list with the goal of selecting a definitive list of The 100 greatest American films of all time. The original list was created in 1998 to celebrate 100 years of film. The list was then revisited and revised in 2007. We'll be using the 2007 list.
- What was the criteria for the list? The movies in the list must be English-language films with significant production elements from the United States. The movies selected for the top 100 were chosen on the following criteria:
- Critical Recognition
- Enduring popularity
- Historical Significance
- Cultural Impact
As such, this list can be more accurately described as "The 100 Most Important American Films of All Time" or "An Arbitrary List of The 100 Most Iconic American Films of All Time." Unlike other lists of great movies, there are very few truly obscure films on the list, and those that are obscure, are only obscure because of the passage of time. The list can be found here.
- How will this feature work? We'll watch one of the 100 movies on the list, in no particular order, and write a review of the film. Then at the end of each review, we'll rank it among all of the other films in the Top 100 that we've reviewed. At the end, we'll have a new ranking of the top 100 films on AFI's list. Unlike AFI's list, we'll be ranking the films only on their quality, not on their cultural impact or importance.
- Why are you doing this project? We're hard-core film lovers, but like a lot of movie fans, we've missed a lot of the classics. This happens for a lot of reasons. Some great films are so thoroughly absorbed into the general consciousness, it feels like you've already seen it, so actually watching it feels superfluous. (Nearly everyone can quote the famous lines from Casablanca, The Godfather, and The Wizard of Oz, even those who haven't seen them.) Some films have a reputation as important but not as enjoyable, which can make the prospect of watching them feel like homework. Many of them suffer from the inaccurate assumption that they are too old to be culturally relevant anymore, and would say more about the time they were from than they would about the human condition today. And some of them just look boring. We wanted to close the gap on these classics, and thought that list would be a great impetus do so.
- Why The AFI's 100 Greatest American Films List? Doesn't their list suck? Why Not The Sight And Sound list? AFI's list has received a lot of criticism over the years. Many classics are left out of the list;the list is decidedly biased against more challenging or experimental films; and some selections feel downright arbitrary. Is Tootsie really one of the greatest films of all time? And by nature of being a list of American films, an incalculable number of the greatest films of all time are absent. So why choose this list?
One of the main criticisms of the list is one of the driving reasons we wanted to tackle it. This isn't a list of good films; it's a list of important and iconic films. So reviewing them today would allow for the opportunity to examine the quality of the film outside of the period it found success in. Was Easy Rider only successful because it so aptly represented the cultural values of the time, or does it hold up five decades later when the young people with bold ideas that watched the movie then are now the older adult conservatives complaining about youth today? Does Raiders of The Lost Ark hold up next to the thousands of big blockbusters it influenced and inspired? In coarser terms, how many of these movies are still good? Additionally, these films are important for their place in the cultural conversation. These films have stood the test of time for a reason, so watching them tells us something about the society we live in, regardless of their quality in a vacuum.
The Sight and Sound List is certainly more film-snob-friendly (and isn't limited to just American films), but it's also a whopping 250 movies long. It also has many more obscure films that are hard to track down and watch. Plus, have you seen that list? It's pretty intimidating. Look for that feature in the year 2035.
Movies Reviewed So Far: