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article imageOp-Ed: Why the British Film Institute, movie directors have it wrong

By Andrew Moran     Aug 2, 2012 in Entertainment
London - It’s no secret that I love motion pictures. It’s my blind mistress that permits me to escape the monotonous aspects of daily life. With the amount of films produced over the past century, did the British Film Institute and directors have it right?
My colleague Lesley Lanir reported on the British Film Institute’s (BFI) results of its Greatest Films of All Time: Sight & Sound’s 2012 poll. It concluded that Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 picture “Vertigo,” which stars James Stewart and Kim Novak, was the greatest movie of all-time and kicked Orson Welles’s historic 1941 film “Citizen Kane” from the top spot.
Meanwhile, legendary directors, like Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola, also published their 10 top greatest movies of all-time. Yasujiro Ozu’s 1953 film “Tokyo Story” was at the top of the list.
Although the movies on both lists deserve to be credited with best of all-time, each of the top 10 lists didn’t make much sense, at least to me. I concede that “Vertigo” was a superb film, but is it better than “Citizen Kane,” “8 ½” and “2001: A Space Odyssey”? I’ll get off at the depot and ask: is it the greatest Alfred Hitchcock movie of his 67 endeavours? I doubt it, especially considering that “Notorious,” “Rope,” “Psycho,” “Shadow of a Doubt” and “Suspicion” are far superior at every technical level.
To me, one of the biggest surprises of the top 10 list was the exclusion of Jean Renoir’s 1937 masterpiece “Grand Illusion.” Instead, “The Rules of the Game” was on the list and even placed in the fourth slot. This also befuddles me because film experts and successful Hollywood and foreign directors concur that “Grand Illusion” is the greatest of all-time.
Another pick in the top 10 list confused me, and even many other moviebuffs. John Ford’s 1956 Western film “The Searchers” made its way to the seventh slot. To those who love cinema, this was a wasted pick. Any film by Francois Truffaut, Ingmar Bergman, Charlie Chaplin, Billy Wilder or Vittorio De Sica could have been chosen to be in that spot.
Throughout the working day, or at least since I saw the Digital Journal article, I have been compiling my top 10 list. It’s a difficult task due to the fact that there are many, many fantastic movies that have been made in the United States, Italy, France, Sweden and Germany.
Of course, my opinion doesn’t have much substance compared to the likes of Martin Scorsese or Woody Allen, but as an avid fan of the silver screen, here are my top 10 picks of all-time (selected by enjoyment level, story, directing abilities, the aesthetic value and other film school snobbery):
1. The Seventh Seal | Ingmar Bergman
2. Grand Illusion | Jean Renoir
3. Paths of Glory | Stanley Kubrick
4. The Third Man | Carol Reed
5. Modern Times | Charlie Chaplin
6. Le Deuxieme Souffle | Jean-Pierre Melville
7. The Bicycle Thief | Vittorio De Sica
8. North by Northwest | Alfred Hitchcock
9. Citizen Kane | Orson Welles
10. Singin’ in the Rain | Gene Kelly & Stanley Donen
Here are some honourable mentions:
- The 400 Blows | Francois Truffaut
- City Lights | Charlie Chaplin
- Battleship Potemkin | Sergei M. Eisenstein
- La Strada | Federico Fellini
- Sunset Boulevard | Billy Wilder
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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