The BBC recently conducted a poll of film critics from all over the world to determine the 100 greatest American films ever created. To qualify for the BBC poll, the films selected included any movie that “received funding” from a source in the United States. As a result, the directors of the films selected for the BBC poll did not have to be born in the United States, and 32 of the films on the final list had directors who were not.
Again, the results of the poll were selected by film critics the world over, meaning that the BBC is not directly responsible for films that were picked. Each film critic was asked to send in their top ten American films of all time in order. The BBC then assigned the critics’ choices a point value. Their top American film was given a point value of 10 and their tenth pick was given a point value of one, with the others valued accordingly by the BBC. In the end, all of the scores the individual American films received were added together and ranked in the final list.
It should be noted that the film critics were asked by the BBC what films were the greatest American films “on an emotional level,” and not necessarily the most important, meaning that if, say, Jurassic Park may have been a vitally important turning point in the onset of CGI in film, if it didn’t hit with a critic on an “emotional level,” it wasn’t to be included.
Now that the BBC list has been released, it has, of course, become the subject of much debate. Just about everyone has their own idea of what the best films of all time are, and if their favorite films aren’t on the list, or listed below, a film they think isn’t as good, well, fur is going to fly.
Case in point. Several people commented on the BBC film poll on Twitter. Prominent author (and son of Stephen King) Joe Hill commented thusly.
BBC lists the 100 greatest American films, puts Eyes Wide Shut ahead of Apocalypse Now, is laughed out of existence. http://t.co/G4YX8IuWmD
— Joe Hill (@joe_hill) July 26, 2015
Others had similar notions of the list.
this BBC American film poll doesn’t have Casablanca in the top five so I’m refusing to acknowledge it
— Ciara (@nevillelovegood) July 22, 2015
— Frank Conniff (@FrankConniff) July 22, 2015
How can I take BBC’s list of 100 Greatest American Films seriously when it features no mention of Robocop, Die Hard, The Matrix or John Wick
— JAPSPEPORJ FENWAY (@SidizenKane) July 21, 2015
And so it goes. Here’s a look at the top 10 films from the BBC 100 Greatest American Films poll.
10. The Godfather Part II (Francis Ford Coppola, 1974)
9. Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1942)
8. Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)
7. Singin’ in the Rain (Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, 1952)
6. Sunrise (FW Murnau, 1927)
5. The Searchers (John Ford, 1956)
4. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968)
3. Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)
2. The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972)
1. Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)
What do you think about the top 10 picks from the BBC poll? Is Vertigo better than Casablanca? Is Psycho better than The Godfather Part II? Who has actually seen Sunrise? Are all of these better than Star Wars? What would be on your top 10? You can see the full list of films at the BBC.
[Photo by George Konig/Getty Images]