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AFI updates its 'Top 100 Films' list

Posted Thursday, June 21, 2007 at 4:46 PM Central

by John Couture

It took the American Film Institute 100 years to compile a list of the top 100 American-made movies. It took them only 10 years to trash their first offering and update it with a new "100 Years, 100 Movies" list.

Of course, If we're being picky it should really be "110 Years, 100 Movies," but what's a couple of years between friends, right?

The theme of the new and "improved" list seems to be change for, if nothing else, change's sake. One thing that didn't change was Citizen Kane at the top of the list. Only two other films stayed in their original spots (The Godfather Part II at 32 and The Best Years of Our Lives at 37).

Remarkably, nearly a quarter of the list is new with 23 movies making this list, but not the original list of top 100 movies. Of those, only Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (50), Saving Private Ryan (71), Titanic (83) and The Sixth Sense (89) were released in the last 10 years since the original list was drawn up.

There are more than a few oddities on this year's installment. One is that winning an Oscar is good for business. Just ask Martin Scorsese whose Raging Bull soared up the charts 20 spots to #4 following his Oscar win for The Departed.

Another is posthumously celebrating your 100th birthday last month as John Wayne did. His movie The Searchers had the biggest jump in ranking from 96 all the way to 12. I'm sure it didn't hurt that a 50th Anniversary DVD just came out last month either.

Leaving the industry for good (and the planet Earth for that matter) seemed to help Robert Altman land Nashville at 59 and Alan J. Pakula to guide Sophie's Choice in at 91.

And perhaps I slept through it but when did the United States invade New Zealand again? I know it's tough to find American movies filmed on American soil, but the Lord of the Rings movies is stretching the concept of an American movie to the most extreme point.

Some notable snubs include Fargo, Doctor Zhivago which fell from 39th place to off the list and The Jazz Singer despite its notable advancements that led to the advent of "talkies."

The entire new list is available here.