Thursday, July 18, 2013

Top 100 Films of the 20th Century – Part 1: Introduction

Many critics put together their ‘Top 100 Films of the 20th Century’ lists in 2000, and thus I am a bit late to the party. I was not quite ready then to gather my thoughts and really commit to a list – mostly because I was uncomfortable with the amount of great, classic, and iconic films I had not yet seen. There are still plenty of films I have not seen, and there always will be. After countless hours and films over the last few years, I have, however, reached a point in which I do feel very good about my ability to put together a list that details the last century’s truly great films.

My criteria for the list are as follows: firstly, this is not just a list of my favorite films disregarding all other factors. That list would be much different than this one. Secondly, with this list I have picked films and ranked them based on their place in film history (whether they are iconic, influential, and otherwise revered as an important work that changed or progressed the future of the medium), their overall aesthetic brilliance, and how well they work as a piece of entertainment – and of course my own opinion has snuck its way in as well.

A few notes on the list: 1) Only four directors have five or more films on the list: Alfred Hitchcock has six, while Stanley Kubrick and the team of Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger each have five. 2) The 1950s lead the list as the most prolific decade with twenty-one films. 3) Due to my specific knowledge and experience, the list is skewed towards American and British films (for which there are fifty-nine and twelve of each respectively). And 4) while the Oscars are somewhat still a highly regarded metric of quality, the list only contains eighteen Best Picture Winners (of eighty-two possible).

I hope you enjoy the list. Get started with numbers 100-96.

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