Thursday, June 7, 2012

AFI Part IV of IV (25-1)

The Apex of AFI

      The time to anoint the twenty-five best films in MY AFI 100 has finally arrived. So anticipated was this final unveil that the Silent Chorus of Expectations can now rejoice. This, the culmination of extensive Amazon purchases, was not ill-advised. With one-hundred and twenty-three titles vying for inclusion, there was no shortage of deliberation.
      Keen readers will observe some audacious reshuffling. But this is a personal list, one that reflects the depths of my idiosyncratic tastes. I am if nothing else an eclectic purveyor of film and these twenty-five films fiercely reflect that sentiment.
      I will not hesitate to summon the Hulk if disagreements emerge. I'm being cheeky of course. I encourage debate. Now, please enjoy!     

*P.S. I expect to revisit these posts in the future, intermittently I presume, with the intention of contributing some minutia of wisdom for ALL of my selections. Yes, there is a lot left unsaid.

25). Apocalypse Now

24). Pulp Fiction
23). On The Waterfront

22). The Maltese Falcon

21). Goodfellas

20). The Wizard of Oz

19). All About Eve

18). The Apartment

17). Double Indemnity

16). Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

15). Gone With The Wind

14). Dr. Strangelove

13). Taxi Driver

12). The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

11). Lawrence of Arabia
10). The Godfather: Part II

9). Sunset Boulevard

8). The Third Man

7). The Searchers

6). Casablanca
5). 2001: A Space Odyssey

4). Chinatown

3). Raging Bull
2). Citizen Kane
      Orson Welles gave birth to a more vibrant and versatile cinematic language. His technical acumen prescribed new practices, his capacity for robust visuals intimated an artistic awareness seldom seen. And his narrative command, specifically nonlinear storytelling, opened up a playground of possibilities.
      The legacy of Welles' seminal work, the most important American film ever made, has discharged plumes of admiration so ubiquitous, even those anathema to film could still muster an obliging anecdote. Scholars have scaled Mount Everest appraising it. There's not one illuminating insight left to unearth. 
      The bottomline is that Citizen Kane is deserving not only of its eminent place among the pantheon, but it is indispensable to one's recognition of film as more than just story, entertainment and escapism. Film is art, too. And yes, this is a concept contemporaries embrace. But Welles, the paradigm of the modern auteur, is chiefly responsible for the shift.  
      Cinema, for Mr. Welles, was the endpoint of calculated creative control. Deep focus, complex lighting, inventive camera angles, were uncharted territories until he emblazoned the trail. Citizen Kane celebrated his journey to these newfound artistic heights, a testament to the power of film. As Welles ascertained, the camera, with its luring lens and universal glare, could be man's best friend.   

1). The Godfather
      Perfection is illusory. But man's very pursuit of an impossible ideal can yield extraordinary results. Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather is an embodiment of this pursuit, of a relentless craft unperturbed by circumstance, a vision so momentous it serves as cinema's catchall for greatness. Of the 123 films that comprise the AFI's two editions, The Godfather is the closest—perhaps the very incarnation—to perfection. Who am I to dethrone Mr. Perfect?  
      More of my enthusiastic musings on Coppola's magnum opus can be found here in my Great Alphabet.  

*AFI Films Absent From My Rankings: Amadeus, An American in Paris, A Night at the Opera, Annie Hall, The Birth of a Nation, Dances With Wolves, Doctor Zhivago, Fantasia, Forrest Gump, Frankenstein, Modern Times, Rebel Without a Cause, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Sophie's Choice, Swing Time, The Gold Rush, The Jazz Singer, The Mutiny on the Bounty, The Sixth Sense, The Sound of Music, Tootsie, Wuthering Heights, Yankee Doodle Dandy


  1. I'll have to go back and look for the LOTR trilogy. This week has been a blur and I don't remember if those movies were on the list.

    1. No worries and yes, LOTR: The Fellowship of the Ring came in at number 77 on my list (Remember: AFI only listed this film, not the entire trilogy).

  2. Pure classics! All 25 of them! :) Not a big fan of The Godfather, but I already accepted the fact that it's being considered the great film of all time. :)

    1. Can you tell I love the classics!? Haha! I'm happy to see you rationalize the fact that The Godfather is rightfully considered one of the greatest films of all-time, even if you yourself were not so arrested by its mastery.

      And thanks for the endorsement!

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks, Craig for stopping by and granting a thumbs-up! Approval is the bedrock of the Mutual Admiration Society :)

  4. I'm sorry I did not get here sooner. I kept looking for this post, then got busy. Anyway, astounding list. I am a huge fan of all of these and I knew Marty would be on there and fist bumps it's Goodfellas, my personal favorite mob movie of all time. I love Godfather, but Henry and crew speak to me on a more visceral level. There is just something about those foul-mouthed tough guys, the grunts of the outfit so to speak.

    I've got plans to do 50 of my tops during the first week of August along with Brent from Criminal Movies in a he said she said thing. Needless to say it's going to include some McQueen, some werewolves, aliens and some very badass bitches. ;)

    This list makes me think that you and I should do a He Said She Said movie list/discussion some time soon. It would be a blast.

    1. No need to lament, Mel. I just stopped by your blog, and I'm happy to see that you are taking productive steps towards restoring your good health :)

      Your suspicions were confirmed, unsurprisingly, right!? You know Scorsese' firmly emblazoned in my Pantheon and three of the reasons are supplied here. Godfather is still my favorite of the mafia genre, but I always have more fun with Goodfellas. Both are inimitable winners in any final analysis.

      I can't wait to read your's and Brent's Top 50. I'm sure it will encompass greater diversity as the AFI only deals with a small set of American films. And I know you will present some truly magnificent work as well as shine the light on some underexposed gems. The werewolves are fun, too.

      Hmmm...A "He Said She Said" sounds intriguing. We'll have to discuss this further.

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