General News

'Schindler's List' Tops the List

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Jul 31, 2001 | 6:53am EDT

There's nothing flippant about the Top 10 films of the 1990s. At least according to the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

The group released its picks for the ultimate best-of list Monday -- and, boy, did its members like dramas with would-be stirring emotional content and longer-than-usual running times.

Claiming the title of best film of the decade was Steven Spielberg's appropriately sober (and lengthy) "Schindler's List." The mogul's "Saving Private Ryan" (also a butt-buster) finished No. 2.

"L.A. Confidential," the noir throwback that jump-started the stateside career of New Zealand-born Russell Crowe, was picked for the No. 3 spot.

"Forrest Gump," the mother of all idiot-savant films, was named the fourth best movie of the '90s, while Martin Scorsese's mob opus "GoodFellas" rounded out the top five.

With the No. 1 and No. 2 films under his belt, Spielberg was anointed filmmaker of the decade by the critics group.

"If you add [the first-place votes for 'Schindler's List'] to the votes that went to 'Saving Private Ryan,' the No. 2 title on the list, it's clear the BFCA members consider Steve Spielberg to be the most important filmmaker of the decade," Joe Leydon, the historian who oversaw the balloting process for the critics, said in a statement.

No word, by the way, if BFCA members really consider (much less call) the mighty Mr. Spielberg "Steve" rather than "Steven."

Tom Hanks and Morgan Freeman, meanwhile, were named the top leading actors of the decade. Both starred in two Top 10 films - Hanks in "Forrest Gump" and "Saving Private Ryan"; Freeman in "Unforgiven" and "The Shawshank Redemption."

Who were the top actresses? Who cares. Aside from "Fargo," which featured an Oscar-winning turn by lead actress Frances McDormand, and "The Silence of the Lambs," which featured an equally Oscar-winning turn by Jodie Foster, the critics' picks for the best of the '90s were decidedly macho. Two of the films, in fact, ("Saving Private Ryan" and "Shawshank Redemption"), barely featured women in crowd shots much less in starring roles.

Instead, the guys went for tough-talking R-rated flicks (nine of 10 titles were branded off-limits to kiddie viewers) and Oscar-endorsed products (four of the picks -- "Schindler's List," "Forrest Gump," "The Silence of the Lambs" and "Unforgiven" -- were Academy Award winners for Best Picture).

According to the group, 1994 was the best year of the decade for U.S. films, with three films of that vintage making the cut: "Forrest Gump," "Pulp Fiction" and "Shawshank Redemption."

M.I.A. from the list were some of the decade's more financially lucrative and popular films. Raunchy, lowbrow comedies (a true '90s phenomenon embodied by the "Ace Ventura" flicks, "There's Something About Mary" and "Dumb and Dumber"), romantic comedies ("Pretty Woman," "Runaway Bride") and blockbuster behemoths ("Jurassic Park," "Armageddon") were all ignored.

Also missing from the list were some of last year's Top 10 list makers such as "American Beauty," "The Sixth Sense," "The Insider" and "Magnolia."

The Broadcast Film Critics Association is the nation's largest critics group. The group will honor its picks for the best of the '90s at a Jan. 24 luncheon in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Here's a complete look at the decade's Top 10, according to the association:

1. "Schindler's List" (1993) 2. "Saving Private Ryan" (1998) 3. "L.A. Confidential" (1997) 4. "Forrest Gump" (1990) 5. "GoodFellas" (1990) 6. "Fargo" (1996) 7. "The Silence of the Lambs" (1991) 8. "The Shawshank Redemption" (1994) 9. "Pulp Fiction" (1994) 10. "Unforgiven" (1992)

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