The New AFI 100: Fire Up Your Netflix Queue

Well, I was wrong. I guessed that the new AFI 100 -- which was announced over three hours of clips and celebrity gushing last night on CBS -- would be substantially the same as the old AFI 100. Boy, was I wrong. Only three films hold their original positions on the list: Citizen Kane (#1), The Godfather Part II (#32), and The Best Years of Our Lives (#37). Twenty-three other films are new to the list, including four of the 43 nominees from the ten years since the first list: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (#50), Saving Private Ryan (#71), Titanic (#83), and The Sixth Sense (#89).

The new top looks like this:

1: Citizen Kane (1941) [no change]

2: The Godfather (1972) [was #3]

3: Casablanca (1942) [was #2]

4: Raging Bull (1980) [was #24]

5: Singin' in the Rain (1952) [was #10]

6: Gone with the Wind (1939) [was #4]

7: Lawrence of Arabia (1962) [was #5]

8: Schindler's List (1993) [was #9]

9: Vertigo (1958) [was #61]

10: The Wizard of Oz (1939) [was #6]

What's gone from the top 10? The Graduate [was #7] and On the Waterfront [was #8]. Which are two of the films I predicted might fall out of the top 10. Hey, I'm grabbing at anything here.

What else is new on the list? Heck, what isn't new?

18: The General (1927)

49: Intolerance (1916)

59: Nashville (1975)

61: Sullivan's Travels (1941)

63: Caberet (1972)

67: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

72: The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

75: In the Heat of the Night (1967)

77: All the President's Men (1976)

81: Spartacus (1960)

82: Sunrise (1927)

85: A Night at the Opera (1935)

87: 12 Angry Men (1957)

90: Swing Time (1936)

91: Sophie's Choice (1982)

95: The Last Picture Show (1971)

96: Do the Right Thing (1989)

97: Blade Runner (1982)

99: Toy Story (1995)

(See the entire new list here. And it looks like I've got some updating to do.)

I know: You look at that list and you think, Wait, those movies weren't on the first AFI 100? Which just brings up another thought: If this list is supposed to represent timeless greatness in the movie world, how could it have changed so much in only ten years? Like this: John Ford's The Searchers moved up the list the most, all the way from #96 to #12. Has the stature of John Ford changed that much in a decade? Was there some revival of John Ford hysteria that I slept through? I'm not complaining about John Ford or his movies: I'm complaining, a little, about the authority of this list.

Which is silly of me. They're just movies, right?


MaryAnn Johanson (email me)

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