BBC Names 100 Greatest U.S. Films

Every now and then a major publication or news organisation comes up with a top fifty or one hundred films of all time list – a list which always stirs up debate, discussion and often interesting arguments about the justifications of the list’s inclusions, ordering and notable exclusions.

Today it’s the turn of BBC Culture who consulted sixty-two international film critics including print reviews, bloggers, broadcasters and film academics to come up with what they consider the one-hundred greatest American films of all time. To qualify, the film had to be made by a U.S. studio or mostly funded by American money.

Usually when a list of this type is done it is by institutes or publications within the United States asking American critics their favourites. This time it’s non-American critics born outside the culture what they think are the best representations of that culture. Specifically they were asked to submit the ten films they thought were the best on an emotional level, and necessarily the “most important”.

Only five films from the past fifteen years made the list, here it is in full:

1. Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)
2. The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972)
3. Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)
4. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968)
5. The Searchers (John Ford, 1956)
6. Sunrise (FW Murnau, 1927)
7. Singin’ in the Rain (Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, 1952)
8. Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)
9. Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1942)
10. The Godfather Part II (Francis Ford Coppola, 1974)
11. The Magnificent Ambersons (Orson Welles, 1942)
12. Chinatown (Roman Polanski, 1974)
13. North by Northwest (Alfred Hitchcock, 1959)
14. Nashville (Robert Altman, 1975)
15. The Best Years of Our Lives (William Wyler, 1946)
16. McCabe & Mrs Miller (Robert Altman, 1971)
17. The Gold Rush (Charlie Chaplin, 1925)
18. City Lights (Charlie Chaplin, 1931)
19. Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese, 1976)
20. Goodfellas (Martin Scorsese, 1990)
21. Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)
22. Greed (Erich von Stroheim, 1924)
23. Annie Hall (Woody Allen, 1977)
24. The Apartment (Billy Wilder, 1960)
25. Do the Right Thing (Spike Lee, 1989)
26. Killer of Sheep (Charles Burnett, 1978)
27. Barry Lyndon (Stanley Kubrick, 1975)
28. Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, 1994)
29. Raging Bull (Martin Scorsese, 1980)
30. Some Like It Hot (Billy Wilder, 1959)
31. A Woman Under the Influence (John Cassavetes, 1974)
32. The Lady Eve (Preston Sturges, 1941)
33. The Conversation (Francis Ford Coppola, 1974)
34. The Wizard of Oz (Victor Fleming, 1939)
35. Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder, 1944)
36. Star Wars (George Lucas, 1977)
37. Imitation of Life (Douglas Sirk, 1959)
38. Jaws (Steven Spielberg, 1975)
39. The Birth of a Nation (DW Griffith, 1915)
40. Meshes of the Afternoon (Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid, 1943)
41. Rio Bravo (Howard Hawks, 1959)
42. Dr Strangelove (Stanley Kubrick, 1964)
43. Letter from an Unknown Woman (Max Ophüls, 1948)
44. Sherlock Jr (Buster Keaton, 1924)
45. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (John Ford, 1962)
46. It’s a Wonderful Life (Frank Capra, 1946)
47. Marnie (Alfred Hitchcock, 1964)
48. A Place in the Sun (George Stevens, 1951)
49. Days of Heaven (Terrence Malick, 1978)
50. His Girl Friday (Howard Hawks, 1940)
51. Touch of Evil (Orson Welles, 1958)
52. The Wild Bunch (Sam Peckinpah, 1969)
53. Grey Gardens (Albert and David Maysles, Ellen Hovde and Muffie Meyer, 1975)
54. Sunset Boulevard (Billy Wilder, 1950)
55. The Graduate (Mike Nichols, 1967)
56. Back to the Future (Robert Zemeckis, 1985)
57. Crimes and Misdemeanors (Woody Allen, 1989)
58. The Shop Around the Corner (Ernst Lubitsch, 1940)
59. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (MiloÅ¡ Forman, 1975)
60. Blue Velvet (David Lynch, 1986)
61. Eyes Wide Shut (Stanley Kubrick, 1999)
62. The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)
63. Love Streams (John Cassavetes, 1984)
64. Johnny Guitar (Nicholas Ray, 1954)
65. The Right Stuff (Philip Kaufman, 1965)
66. Red River (Howard Hawks, 1948)
67. Modern Times (Charlie Chaplin, 1936)
68. Notorious (Alfred Hitchcock, 1946)
69. Koyaanisqatsi (Godfrey Reggio, 1982)
70. The Band Wagon (Vincente Minnelli, 1953)
71. Groundhog Day (Harold Ramis, 1993)
72. The Shanghai Gesture (Josef von Sternberg, 1941)
73. Network (Sidney Lumet, 1976)
74. Forrest Gump (Robert Zemeckis, 1994)
75. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Steven Spielberg, 1977)
76. The Empire Strikes Back (Irvin Kershner, 1980)
77. Stagecoach (John Ford, 1939)
78. Schindler’s List (Steven Spielberg, 1993)
79. The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick, 2011)
80. Meet Me in St Louis (Vincente Minnelli, 1944)
81. Thelma & Louise (Ridley Scott, 1991)
82. Raiders of the Lost Ark (Steven Spielberg, 1981)
83. Bringing Up Baby (Howard Hawks, 1938)
84. Deliverance (John Boorman, 1972)
85. Night of the Living Dead (George A Romero, 1968)
86. The Lion King (Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff, 1994)
87. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry, 2004)
88. West Side Story (Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins, 1961)
89. In a Lonely Place (Nicholas Ray, 1950)
90. Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979)
91. ET: The Extra-Terrestrial (Steven Spielberg, 1982)
92. The Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton, 1955)
93. Mean Streets (Martin Scorsese, 1973)
94. 25th Hour (Spike Lee, 2002)
95. Duck Soup (Leo McCarey, 1933)
96. The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan, 2008)
97. Gone With the Wind (Victor Fleming, 1939)
98. Heaven’s Gate (Michael Cimino, 1980)
99. 12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen, 2013)
100. Ace in the Hole (Billy Wilder, 1951)