The BBC released its top 100 American films list, and it's a joke

Hindustan Times | ByRohan Naahar, New Delhi
Jul 22, 2015 08:03 PM IST

Lists are controversial, and now, the BBC has released their's. They claim to have decided the Best American films ever, and even though they've included Citizen Kane, The Godfather and even The Dark Knight, their omissions are controversial.

Lists are controversial. Just ask your average movie geek. Or Schindler. Now, the BBC has released their's and they claim to have decided the 100 greatest American films.

The BBC has released their list of the top 100 American films. (Twitter)
The BBC has released their list of the top 100 American films. (Twitter)

Before you ask: Yes, the BBC is British. Why they've decided to compile a list of the best 'movies' from across the pond is up for debate. But they have, so let's move on.

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The process they used involved lassoing 62 of the finest film critics writing/blogging/tweeting today and asked them to make, you guessed it, a list that resulted in a hundred titles, the top 20 of which you can see here.

The rest of the top 100 can be seen here.

So there you have it: In the BBC's own words, these films aren't necessarily the most 'important', just the 'best'. But that leaves us in a very awkward position: After having accepted, with great resentment, that the list is subjective, as all lists inherently are, we've decided to argue nonetheless.

The American Film Institute regularly puts out list of the best 'American' movies, which, after the initial curiosity wears off, ends up becoming a three-way tussle between Citizen Kane, The Godfather and Casablanca.

Make no mistake, all three films are prominently featured in the BBC's list, albeit at different positions. And deservedly so: They're all excellent films.

As are most that have made the final cut. We notice Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, The Searchers, Annie Hall, Raging Bull and even Groundhog Day.

The critics have also found room for some relatively newer films like The Dark Knight (2008), The Tree of Life (2011), and 12 Years a Slave (2013, making it the latest).

That done, let's move on to some of the more controversial aspects of the list.

Do we really need Ace in the Hole? Especially since there are already several Billy Wilder movies in the list. And why is there space for Heaven's Gate, that languorous, studio-destroying slog? Is Crimes and Misdemeanours really better than Midnight in Paris? And why is Apocalypse Now, genre-defining in its own right, ranked 90? And if you're going to cram in five films by Stanley Kubrick, would you really include Barry Lyndon and Eyes Wide Shut?

There will always be films that are left out, but to have glaring omissions is unacceptable. Sure, they've managed to include a reasonably fine number of great pictures, they've even contrived two Hitchcock movies in the top-ten, but they've also left out a few recent gems for presumably no other reason other than the fact that they aren't ancient.

Here they are.

For those who haven't identified these classics, here's another outrageous nugget for you: There are no films by David Fincher, Michael Mann, Paul Thomas Anderson or The Coen Brothers included in this list.

We can't imagine a Best American films list without Heat, There Will Be Blood, The Shawshank Redemption, The Big Lebowski, Boyhood, The Social Network, Titanic, Reservoir Dogs or American Beauty (it's right there in the name for Gods' sake). But that's right, we don't have to: Thanks BBC.

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