The American Film Institute's top 100 lists now include the best American screen romances--and Casablanca wins the top honors.
The ultra-romantic film starring Humphrey Bogart as bar owner Rick Blaine and the exquisite Ingrid Bergman as his long-lost love, Ilsa, took the No. 1 spot when CBS aired the special AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions Tuesday night.
The rest of the top 10, in order, included Gone with the Wind, West Side Story, Roman Holiday, An Affair to Remember, The Way We Were, Doctor Zhivago, It's a Wonderful Life, Love Story and City Lights.
The oldest film to make it on the list was the 1920 Way Down East, which came in at No. 71, while the most recent film was the 1998 Shakespeare in Love at No. 50.
The range was very broad: from the hilarious, such as Annie Hall (No. 11) and When Harry Met Sally... (No. 25), to the tragic, such as Wuthering Heights (No. 15) and Titanic (No. 37).
During the broadcast, a myriad of directors, producers and actors gave their two cents about the choices on the list and pondered the question: What makes a love story great?
"At the end of the day, it's what happens between a man and a woman on the screen," When Harry Met Sally... said director Rob Reiner , who also had two other films make it to the list, The American President (No. 75) and The Princess Bride (No. 88). "It's a very different approach to that in all three cases with my films."
Director Sydney Pollack, whose film Out of Africa was No. 13 on the list, added, "When there's real closure in a love story and it's resolved in a happy way, it doesn't reverberate as much afterward. That's been true from Greek tragedy on, from Shakespeare on. Romeo and Juliet, Tristan and Isolde, Heloise and Abelard. Many great love stories have been about unobtainability."
According to AP, AFI began its tradition of annual lists on different movie themes four years ago. The top 100 screen romances were chosen by about 1,800 directors, actors, studio executives, critics and others in Hollywood, who voted from a field of 400 nominated films.
Another American Film Institute 100 Years countdown has come and gone--and with it, the realization that Hollywood's elite still prefer the films of yesteryear over the slick productions of today, even in the action/suspense genres.
AFI's 100 Years...100 Thrills, the fourth installment in the countdown series, which has already rated the greatest films of all time, aired on CBS Tuesday night, hosted by action hero Harrison Ford. The show revealed the collective psyche of industry insiders: older is better.
Not surprisingly, Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960) scored the number-one spot. Rounding out the top ten were: Jaws (1975); The Exorcist (1973); North By Northwest (1959); The Silence of the Lambs (1991); Alien (1979); The Birds (1963); The French Connection (1971); Rosemary's Baby (1968); and Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981).
How did 2000's Academy Award winner for Best Picture--Gladiator--fare in the top 100? It didn't make the list. What was the ranking for last year's martial arts masterpiece Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon? Again, didn't make the cut.
Is the AFI's tally an accurate representation of America's true feelings toward great works of film? According to a separate AFI poll, published on their Web site at www.afionline.org, users, not insiders, were also given the chance to chose their top 10 list of thrillers, and the results skew much more recent.
While Psycho, Raiders, Jaws and The Exorcist landed on the public's list, online users gravitated more toward the blockbusters than the black-and-whites. The entire Star Wars trilogy shot to the top, followed by the entire Indiana Jones trilogy and the first Jurassic Park.
In total, the average year of production of the AFI's top 10 thrillers was 1968. The average year of production of online users' top 10 was 1980.
Is the AFI concerned about the overall validity of their rankings? According to AFI director CEO Jean Picker Firstenberg, not in the least.
"AFI hopes this new list will spark another national dialogue and send a new generation of moviegoers to see these heart-pounding movies,'' she told Reuters late Tuesday. "Creating a movie is the ultimate collaborative effort. When it all comes together, it is, in a word, thrilling."
For their official rankings, the AFI polled more than 1500 members of the American filmmaking community, including actors, directors, producers, writers and more. No word yet on upcoming AFI 100 Years specials, but CBS spokeswoman Kate Fisher has told Hollywood.com: "I believe CBS plans to continue this tradition in years to come."
So you think "Airplane!" is the funniest movie of all time? Or maybe one of the Monty Python flicks? Well, you're wrong, because according to the really smart people at the American Film Institute, "Some Like It Hot," the cross-dressing Tony Curtis-Jack Lemmon vehicle that's arguably a teensy-weensy bit unfunny, is the top cinematic laugh-maker of all time. The AFI's "100 Years, 100 Laughs" list -- ranking the, yes, 100 top U.S.-made comedies of the 20th century -- was revealed Tuesday night in a CBS special.
Since only Hollywood products were eligible for consideration, the Monty Python boys never had a chance. "Airplane!" did, though. (It ranked No. 10.)
Seemingly ensuring that one day "Big Momma's House" will be remembered as the stuff of legends, four gender-bending movies made the AFI's cut: the aforementioned "Some Like It Hot," "Tootsie" (No. 2), "Victor/Victoria" (No. 76), and the teensy-weensy god-awful "Mrs. Doubtfire" (No. 67).
Here's the way the Top 10 stacked up:
1. "Some Like It Hot" (1959) 2. "Tootsie" (1982) 3. "Dr. Strangelove" (1964) 4. "Annie Hall" (1977) 5. "Duck Soup" (1933) 6. "Blazing Saddles" (1974) 7. "M*A*S*H" (1970) 8. "It Happened One Night" (1934) 9. "The Graduate" (1967) 10. "Airplane!" (1980)
A countdown of the top 10 films from 10 classic American film genres, including animation, fantasy, science fiction, gangster, western, sports, romantic comedy, courtroom drama, mystery and epic films.