100 Greatest American Films

Everyone now and then, someone takes the time to round up a new list of 100 of the greatest films of all time, and it always stirs up some debate, even though probably 75% of the list is the same as any other. A new list from BBC Culture, however, is a little different, because the news organization from across the pond has rounded up a list of the 100 Greatest American Films, as voted on by an international assembly of film critics.

Some of your favorites like The Dark Knight, Star Wars, Back to the Future and Jaws made the cut, but there are only two films from the past five years, and only five total from the 21st century. The top films likely won’t surprise you, but there are still some questionable inclusions and exclusions on this list.

See the full list after the jump! Read More »

If you’ve ever really wanted people who handle your mail to know you’re a film fan, the US Postal Service has the answer. They’ve just created four new stamps featuring four of the greatest directors of all time: John Ford, John Huston, Frank Capra and Billy Wilder. Designed by Derry Noyes and Gary Kelley, each stamp portrays one of the director’s best known works. For Ford, it’s The Searchers. Huston, The Maltese Falcon. Capra, It Happened One Night and Wilder, Some Like It Hot. Check them out below. Read More »

In 1988, the National Film Preservation Act create the National Film Registry, which selects a couple dozen films each year for preservation in the Library of Congress. Up to 25 films are selected annually as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant films.” These have to be at least ten years old, can be feature, short experimental or ‘other’ — anything that is film, really — and are chosen from a list of films nominated by the public.

This year, 2228 films were nominated by the public and twenty-five were selected for preservation. Among those are the big Oscar winner The Silence of the Lambs, everyone’s favorite autistic history hero Forrest Gump, Charlie Chaplin‘s The Kid and one of the greatest (and earliest) train movies ever made, John Ford‘s The Iron Horse.

We’ve got a more complete list below. Read More »

With Guy Ritchie‘s re-imagining of Sherlock Holmes in production, you might want to take this oppurtunity to check out Billy Wilder‘s 1970 film The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes. And guess what, its available to watch for free (for US readers) on Hulu.com. The plot synopsis follows:

Holmes and Dr. Watson take on the case of a beautiful woman whose husband has vanished. The investigation proves strange indeed, involving six missing midgets, villainous monks, a Scottish castle, the Loch Ness monster, and covert naval experiments. Can the sleuths make sense of all this and solve the mystery?”

Shot over a period of six months with a 260-page script and a budget of $10 million, this was originally set to be a 165-minute Road Show picture complete with an intermission. But a number of flops resulted in United Artists scrapping the road show format, and the film was cut down to a 125-minute version. The original version has never been released.

Movie Playlist: Garth Jennings

Garth Jennings

Filmmaker Playlist is a new feature on /Film where we ask writers, directors, and stars to tell us their favorite movies of the moment. I’ve always found the celebrity playlists on iTunes to be interesting. Most everyone in the film business became involved after discovering their love of films. And I always love talking to people about their favorite films. So talking to the people who make the movies about their favorite films just seemed like a natural idea.

First up in the series is Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Son of Rambow writer/director Garth Jennings.

The Apartment

“You tend to have a top five that shifts around over the years and certain films go up and down. I definitely come back to a lot of Billy Wilder‘s films very often. I could watch those again and again and again. Certainly The Apartment is one of my favorite, favorite FAVORITE movies.”

Harold and Maude

Harold and Maude I think is a terrific film.”

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Raiders of the Lost Ark I think is a perfect film. Because I loved Star Wars. Star Wars was the very first film I saw but Raiders of the Lost Ark, oh, whenever I see it, I can’t not watch it. It’s just perfect and it has such a terrific sense of wonder, and it just has everything I want in a film. And it’s got a great sense of humor, and you travel the world… there isn’t anything wrong with that film. Those selections are very different, I know. But they’re all just big hearted.”

Garth later talked a bit about films that terrified him:

Pink Floyd's Another Brick in The Wall

“My first real horror film where I remember being absolutely terrified, it was a music video for Pink Floyd’s The Wall. Do you remember that? I remember sitting up watching that and there is a shot – Gerald Scarfe’s drawings were really macabre and brutal. And he pushes all these children through a mincer. I remember being up for weeks after that. I always had terrible nightmares as a kid anyway. And I remember seeing a clip from the Elephant Man and I didn’t know what it was. He just had a bag over his head and a hole for his eye. And he turned around for the camera and that was it. That was another week of sleepless nights.”

“But then by the time I got to horror films, I had left it so late because I was clearly not so good at watching them that I got to a point where I couldn’t tolerate it. And I haven’t gone back because Horror has become more gruesome – more about torture and less about creeping up on someone or creating frightening tense moments. Although I heard The Orphanage is good, and it sounds like I would actually quite like it.”

Garth Jennings’ Son of Rambow expands to a theater (hopefully) near you on May 9th 2008.

How Green was My ValleyHave you ever seen the movie How Green Was My Valley? Me neither.

Have you even heard of the movie? Didn’t think so.

Yet John Ford’s film somehow won 5 Oscars including Best Picture. But what’s more shocking: It beat out such classic films as Citizen Kane and The Maltese Falcon for the top honor. (Note: I’m not saying that Ford’s film is a bad movie. I’m just saying that in terms of reviews, user ratings, and all time-top 10 lists, it’s not to the level of Kane and Falcon)
How can that be? As it turns out there are a lot of movies that should have won Best Picture but somehow didn’t. Some of them weren’t even nominated!

Let’s take a look at the list.

Read More »