The #1 Romantic Drama (#3 overall).

The #1 Romantic Drama (#3 overall).

Here it is: the final AFI list. It is also the sparsest, for a variety of reasons, including the fact that I’ve been busy trying to get my Academy Award posts ready for later this month, because it takes forever to do the links for a list this long, and because I’ve been working at Borders a lot to make up for the fact that my job for AAS no longer exists. So, with no links or quotes or descriptions, I simply give you the 100 best dramas.


Ingmar Bergman directing Fanny and Alexander, one of his 16 films on the list.

Ingmar Bergman directing Fanny and Alexander, one of his 16 films on the list.

One more genre after this and that’s Drama.  This list is outside the scope of AFI’s lists, of course, because these are Foreign Language Films.  This is the list in fact I said I would do months and months ago.

Since it takes forever to do the links (that’s why the last few lists have taken so long), I’ve just linked the directors, and only on their highest-ranking film.  I’ll eventually do the 100 Best Directors list, but it won’t be until after the Academy Awards because from the nominations to the awards I’ll be doing a daily post on each Oscar category. (more…)

Sterling Hayden explaining the way things are to Peter Sellers in Dr. Strangelove (1964).

Sterling Hayden explaining the way things are to Peter Sellers in Dr. Strangelove (1964).

You’ll notice I didn’t say the 100 Funniest Comedies. Because it’s the 100 Best. That was the problem with the way AFI did their Comedy list; they tried to make funniest mean the same things as best. Now the funniest films, in order from 1 to 5 for me would be: Monty Python and the Holy Grail, A Fish Called Wanda, Airplane, The Producers and Blazing Saddles. They’re not the 5 best (though all are on this list), but they’re definitely the 5 funniest. As for the best? Well, since I have so much a longer list to choose from for this category, I went with a top 100. I’ve attached a quote for each film. Some you may not find funny. Some won’t make sense unless you’ve seen the film. And I don’t include films I’ve already categorized in another genre’s list (like The Princess Bride or Almost Famous). So here they are – the 100 Best Comedies. (more…)

For Your Consideration for Best Picture - The Dark Knight

For Your Consideration for Best Picture - The Dark Knight

I’m not sure why AFI decided to go with Sports instead of Action-Adventure. Act-Adv films have a long tradition in film history, from the great Errol Flynn films down to the great comic books films of today. And this list encompasses a whole range of them: swashbucklers, literary adaptations, James Bond films, comic book movies, kung-fu, cop films, spy films.

I could have split this up and done Action films separately from Adventure films, but the two have always been blended together by everybody else, so why not just make one list?

I didn’t bother to list the directors with the films this time, because for a lot of these films, it doesn’t really matter who directed them. No list of genres is so resplendent with mediocre directors as is this one. The top 10 has a lot more A-list directors (in terms of talent as opposed to money), including John Huston (twice), John Boorman, Quentin Tarantino and Michael Mann. But in the end, depending on what he chooses to do after Batman, it might turn out that Christopher Nolan is the most talented director on this list. He’s made six films so far, and with the exception of Insomnia, each film has been better than the last. Of course, it will be hard for him to top The Dark Knight, but we’ll see (his films, in order: Following, Memento, Insomnia, Batman Begins, The Prestige, The Dark Knight). (more…)

Alfred Hitchcock

Alfred Hitchcock

These are actually two different genres of film that are often combined.  I will be separating them out and giving a top 10 for each.  The essential difference is that in a Mystery, the audience (and characters) are trying to find out what has happened, while in a Suspense, you are trying to find out what will happen next.  In other words, in a Mystery, you chase someone and in a Suspense film you get chased.

Of course the bald man to the left was the master of suspense films.  He’s got four in the top 10 and four more in the next 10.  The other 16 films are by 16 different directors (unless you believe the rumor that Orson Welles directed a lot of The Third Man), and surprisingly, Stanley Kubrick is not one of them. (more…)

Can Fargo (1996) be classified in many genres?  You betcha!

Can Fargo (1996) be classified in many genres? You betcha!

The American Film Institute seems to have trouble telling the difference between a genre and a subgenre. A genre encompasses a type of film with a number of distinguishing traits (in this case, a Crime film, a film which focuses on criminals, whether a specific one, or a group of them). A subgenre is one specific group of genre films (in this case, a Gangster film, which is a Crime film that focuses on gangsters, as opposed to other subgenres of crimes films which include True Crime, like In Cold Blood, or a Heist film, which I think is fairly self-explanatory). When AFI did their lists of the top 10 in 10 Genres, they kept using subgenres. My goal is to include the genre as a whole. Thus, I give you the 25 best Crime films.

With a slight caveat. My spreadsheet uses on genre for each film, and all Foreign films get swept up in Foreign. So these are really the 25 best English Language Crime films. The Foreign films that would have probably found a spot on this list would be Shoot the Piano Player, City of God and M. But I’ll cover them all in Foreign Film.

There are a few films that AFI put in the Gangster genre that are good enough for this list but I don’t consider Crime films. If the primary focus is on the cop, rather than the criminal I don’t consider it a crime film (eliminating The Big Heat and Touch of Evil). Bullets over Broadway and Some Like It Hot are comedies that happen to have gangsters. And On the Waterfront is a drama. (more…)

I’ve managed to have an article posted on with a link to the blog, without having a film blog in the last couple of weeks, thanks to work and Comcast somehow killing our internet for a week.

So, here are the links so far to the various lists I’ve done in response to AFI and their 10 Best in 10 Genres Lists from earlier this year. I plan to eventually do a Best Of list for every genre, so Action-Adventure, Mystery, Crime, Comedy, Drama and Foreign will eventually get their day in the sun. But here’s what I’ve done so far:

Fantasy (Top 10)

War (Top 10 – Foreign / Top 10 – English Language)

Kids (Top 5 Non-Animated)

Musicals (Top 10 – Traditional / Top 10 – Non-Traditional)

Science-Fiction (Top 10)

Horror (Top 25)

Westerns (Top 10)

Animated (Top 10)

more film links below (more…)