EW’s 100 All-Time Greatest Movies

Annie Hall (1977) – this film was my talisman. I’ve seen it four times in the theater, and a few times on video thereafter.

There’s a list of Entertainment Weekly’s 100 all-time movies, TV shows, books, et al. It was printed in the magazine’s July 5/12, 2013 double-issue.

What I found interesting is how radically different than the film list EW put out in 1999 the 2013 movie roster is, once you get past the top three. (The number in parentheses represents the rank in 1999.) Given the fact that there are only three 21st century films included, this is not a function of new films, but rather a reassessment of existing ones.

1 (2). Citizen Kane (1941) – As I’ve noted, I tried to watch this on video a number of years ago, but fell asleep. Obviously, I need to try again.
2 (1). The Godfather (1972) – I was living in Binghamton, but the Okie and I, along with another couple, saw it in Syracuse. great film, of course, but I won’t see it again.
3 (3). Casablanca (1942) – I LOVE this film. Saw in outdoors near Rochester in the late 1970s, with my friend Debi. Did I mention I adore this film? I need to watch it again.
4 (48). Bonnie And Clyde (1967) – Never saw it, and don’t feel compelled to.
5 (11). Psycho (1960) – #1 on the list of greatest horror flicks, and I probably will see it at some point.
6 (56). It’s A Wonderful Life (1946) – My future wife Carol nagged me into seeing this on PBS in the late 1990s, after I had dismissed it, sight unseen, as too sentimental; it is not. Liked this far more than I could have imagined.
7 (64). Mean Streets (1973) – didn’t see; may not.
8 (15). The Gold Rush (1925) – #1 comedy, and I don’t know if I saw it or not. That’s my basic problem with movies on broadcast TV. I might have flipped through the channels and started watching something. But was it enough to give the film a fair shake?
9 (38). Nashville (1975) – I started watching this on DVD a few years ago, and simply could not get into it. I like a lot of Altman, but I just didn’t connect with this film. May try again.
10 (8). Gone With The Wind (1939) – haven’t seen, except snippets. Not motivated to do so.

11 (47). King Kong (1933) – #2 horror flick; I’ve seen scenes, but maybe not in toto.
12 (13). The Searchers (1956) – now this John Wayne film I feel I OUGHT to see, and probably will.
13 (60). Annie Hall (1977) – the #2 comedy, this film was my talisman. I’ve seen it four times in the theater, and a few times on video thereafter.
14. Bambi (1942) – #1 on the list of favorite family movies, and the higher of only two animated films. But it’s dark, and sad, at least the parts I’ve seen.
15 (37). Blue Velvet (1986) – didn’t see, feel I probably should.
16 (10). Singin’ In The Rain (1952) – seen bits and pieces, should watch from the beginning.
17 (12). Seven Samurai (1954, Jp.) #1 action flick, never seen. Probably should, since so many other films are beholden to it.
18 (52). Jaws (1975) – never saw. Someday.
19 (29). Pulp Fiction (1994) – did see this in the theater, and even though it’s rather violent for my taste, it was also oddly funny. Liked it.
20. The Sorrow and the Pity (1969, Fr.) #1 on the greatest documentaries, yet I don’t know it.

21 (9). Some Like It Hot (1959) – the #3 comedy I’ve seen big chunks of it; very funny stuff.
22. Toy Story (1995) – the other animated film, 2nd greatest family movie. Saw it in the theater, and bought it on videotape. Great Randy Newman score.
23 (66). Notorious (1946) – a Hitchcock film I want to see in full.
24. The Sound of Music (1965) – #3 family film. I’ve seen good chunks, but have I ever seen it in full?
25 (26). 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) – saw in the theater in the early 1970s. Didn’t “get” it, but it intrigued me.
26 (22). Bicycle Thieves (1948, It.) – #1 foreign film, saw this in the late 1960s at a theater in Binghamton. Great film.
27 (31). The Maltese Falcon (1941) – don’t think I saw this in full.
28 (32). The Wizard of Oz (1939) – #4 family film, I saw it several times on TV or video, so that like most people, I can quote big chunks by heart.
29 (44). North By Northwest (1959) – #2 action film, seen only clips.
30 (92). Sunrise (1927) – don’t know it.

31 (4). Chinatown (1974) – well crafted, yet it always felt at arm’s length. I don’t love it.
32 (43). Duck Soup (1933) – #5 comedy. This Marx Brothers film, I love.
33 (55). The Graduate (1967) – saw this only recently, in the past five years, on DVD. Probably would have liked it even more had I seen it when it came out.
34. Adam’s Rib (1949) – #4 comedy,. saw it on TV years ago; don’t remember it well.
35. Apocalypse Now (1979) – didn’t see.
36. Rosemary’s Baby (1968) – #3 horror flick, it was the first date with the Okie in 1971, so I remember the film less well.
37. Manhattan (1979) – the #6 comedy, I liked it at the time, but have only seen it twice.
38 (19). Vertigo (1958) – saw parts on TV, should watch from the beginning
39 (58). The Rules of the Game (1939, Fr.) -# 2 foreign film, don’t know it.
40 (50). Double Indemnity (1944) – I should see this! I hear Fred MacMurray is great.

41 (93). The Road Warrior (1981, Australia) (aka Mad Max 2) – #3 action film – didn’t see; didn’t actively avoid.
42 (41). Taxi Driver (1976) – one of those 1970s movies I didn’t see. I might, but it’s not high on the list.
43. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) – didn’t see. Saw the first movie and that was enough for me.
44 (17). On The Waterfront (1954) – great film, which I caught on TV one afternoon in the 1990s; why did this fall so far?
45 (30). Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) – saw this on TV. Should watch again.
46 (61). The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) – #4 action flick, and I know it not at all.
47. A Clockwork Orange (1971) – saw this in the theater. Disturbing, to say the least. Well done, if you like that sort of thing.
48. It Happened One Night (1934) – #7 comedy, I’ve only seen parts of it.
49. Goldfinger (1964) – #5 action film. Like most of the Connery Bond films, I’d see bits on TV, but I’ve never sat through the whole thing.
50 (25). Intolerance (1916) – The earliest film in the top 100; don’t know it at all, except that it was directed by D.W. Griffith.

51. A Hard Day’s Night (1964) -I didn’t see this until after the Beatles broke up, and I saw it in a marathon including Help!, Yellow Submarine and the depressing Let It Be. Wish I had seen the boys and their madcap antics before the band was dead.
52. Titanic (1997) – the romance is so-so, but the detail of the tragic event is quite remarkable.
53. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980) – yes, it’s the better movie, I suppose, but my heart belongs to the original.
54 (63). Breathless (1960, Fr.) – #3 foreign film – don’t know it
55. Frankenstein (1931) – #4 horror film, not familiar with which iteration this is.
56 (40). Schindler’s List (1993) – I saw this with two other people, then we spent longer than the movie’s running time, which was considerable, decompressing. Excellent, but won’t see it again.
57. Midnight Cowboy (1969) – managed to see this 4 times in a fairly short time. I went with one set of friends, then another. Bleak. But it does inform how I cross the street.
58 (45). The Seventh Seal (1957, Swe.) – #4 foreign film. I’m sure I say this when I was in high school, and am not sure I got it.
59. All the President’s Men (1976) – I thought the story was magnificent telling of the American body politic. But the movie dragged in places.
60. Top Hat (1935) – did not see, probably should.

61 (98). The Silence of the Lambs (1991) – #5 horror film. I was at my parents’ house and it was on HBO. At some point, I bailed on it.
62 (20). E.T. – The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) – #5 family film. Saw in a theater. I liked or loved most of this, but I found the ending treacly, and it all but ruined it for me.
63. Network (1976) – Saw it at the time, not since yet it still resonates with me. One of those films that is more true now than it was at the time.
64 (83). The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) – saw this on TV (PBS?) My this is a powerful film with its ironic title.
65. Last Tango in Paris (1973) – never saw, never particularly wanted to.
66. The Shining (1980) – #6 horror flick. After seeing a few violent films in short order, such as The Godfather, Clockwork Orange, and Catch-22 (one and a half times; long story), I swore them off for most of the 1970s. Finally, saw this and hated it, not because it was scary, but because it was laughable. Nicholson’s character is supposed to be altered by the building, but he’s already looking nuts in the first scene with Barry Nelson. I’m comforted by the fact that Stephen King also hates this iteration, suggesting that Shelley Duvall’s character is too weak for the story.
67 (86). Rebel Without a Cause (1955) – I’ve seen parts, but have I seen it all the way through?
68. GoodFellas (1990) – seen parts, but not compelled to see the whole thing.
69 (14). Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying about the Bomb (1964) – #8 comedy. The movie I MOST need to see on this list.
70. L’Avventura (1960, It.) – #5 foreign film. Don’t know it.

71. American Graffiti (1973) – I like it, and great use of period music, though I’m not convinced it belongs on this list.
72. The 400 Blows (1959, Fr.) – #6 foreign film. I saw this so long ago, more than 40 years ago, and I’ve mostly forgotten it. (Strange how some films I see once stick and others don’t.)
73. Cabaret (1972) – I saw this in the theater at the time and thought it was excellent, especially Liza Minelli and Joel Grey.
74. The Hurt Locker (2009) – the most recent film on the list. I actually had it on a Netflix disc for over four months and never had the block of time to actually watch it.
75 (54). Touch Of Evil (1958) – don’t know it.
76 (18). Lawrence of Arabia (1962) – saw it on TV 40 years ago, was bored by it. I probably need to see it on DVD in one dedicated sitting.
77. Dog Day Afternoon (1975) – one of those 1970s films i passed on. MAYBE I’ll see it some day.
78. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) – #6 action film. Good popcorn film, but not sure it belongs on the list.
79. Night of the Living Dead (1968) – #7 horror flick. Never saw. Probably should.
80. Dazed and Confused (1993) – never saw, for no particular reason. Would, if I thought to borrow it from the library.

81. Blade Runner (1982) – feel that I REALLY ought to see this, because of its significance.
82. Scenes From a Marriage (1973, Swe.) – #7 foreign film. Saw it at the time. Was depressed afterward.
83 (57). The Wild Bunch (1969) – Saw the graphic slo-mo ending, but not the rest. Probably won’t.
84. Olympia (1938, Ger.) – #2 documentary. Ah, the Leni Riefenstahl film. I’ve seen bits of it, but definitely should see the whole thing.
85. Dirty Harry (1971) – #7 action flick. I’ve seen bits and pieces of two or three Dirty Harry films, not enough to count it, punk.
86 (21). All About Eve (1950) – saw this one Saturday afternoon 45 years ago. It was great but haven’t seen it since.
87 (6). La Dolce Vita (1960, It.) – #8 foreign film. Also saw this more than 40 years ago, when I was in high school.
88. The Dark Knight (2008) – did not see. I think I’ve wearied of dystopia.
89. Woodstock (1970) – #3 documentary. This film, which I watched twice in a row, had a great impact on my musical development. The soundtrack was in the top ten of my favorite albums of 1961-1970. That said, not sure the FILM belongs on the list, given what it has displaced.
90. The French Connection (1971) – #8 action flick. Just read an interview with William Friedkin who expressed shock that this film did so well with the Academy Awards, and that The Exorcist did not. I enjoyed it a lot at the time. Still remember the dialogue from the movie; it helped that Poughkeepsie was not far from New Paltz, where I went to college.

91 (81). Do The Right Thing (1989) – I thought this was a tremendous film, Spike Lee’s best, and the best film that came out that year. SamuraiFrog wrote about his recent reevaluation of the movie, and he’s now where I was from the beginning.
92 (97). The Piano (1993, NZ) – I thought it was well crafted, yet at arm’s length. Can’t explain without seeing it again.
93. A Face in the Crowd (1957) – I saw this one afternoon in the past 10 years or so. 1) Andy Griffith is TREMENDOUS, 2) it speaks to today better than I could believe, and 3) it is the one film on this list that, if you haven’t seen, I most highly recommend that you see.
94. Brokeback Mountain (2005) – I’m not sure this belongs here either. It was socially significant, and once it got going, it could be quite moving. But for the longest time in the set-up, I was rather bored. The actors were great; the story could have been trimmed by 12 minutes without great loss.
95. Rushmore (1998) – the #8 comedy I’ve never seen this one. Probably will.
96. Sullivan’s Travels (1941) – not remembering this, the #10 comedy.
97. Diner (1982) – enjoyed this at the time, but wonder if it’s a bit overrated here.
98. All About My Mother (1999, Sp.) – #9 foreign film. I enjoyed this Almodovar film, but usually do like that director.
99. There Will Be Blood (2007) – did not see it, except the last 10 minutes on YouTube.
100 (49). Sweet Smell of Success (1957) – not recalling this one.

Next outing, which will be soon, I’m going to list the genre films that didn’t make the top 100. Plus, the MASSIVE list that were dropped from the 1999 iteration. Some of your favorites, I’m willing to bet.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

7 thoughts on “EW’s 100 All-Time Greatest Movies”

  1. I’m a big fan of Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, and I’d also highly recommend Blade Runner, if you’re even the slightest bit of a Sci-Fi fan, and Apocalypse Now, especially if you’ve ever read “Heart of Darkness” by Joseph Conrad.

    I’m surprised that in looking over this list I’ve seen most of these movies.

  2. I think highly of Citizen Kane, but to me it’s a triumph of technique over heart, Welles showing you in every frame just how freaking brilliant he is at the expense of actual human emotion — with the possible exception of repulsion.

    I have long suspected that what you think of GWTW is a function of where you grew up. I spent my formative years in Rhett Butler’s home town, so of course I love it.

    And while Do The Right Thing is Spike Lee’s best, I’d argue that John Singleton’s Boyz N The Hood is better.

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