100 Greatest American Flicks Ranked By Global Critics

– by Joseph Medina

Ever wonder how American flicks would be ranked if international critics were included in the mix? Sure, the American Film Institute has their special “Top 100” list, but as indicated by the name of the organization, that’s a distinctly American perspective. If there was a poll that went around to critics both inside and, perhaps more importantly, outside the U.S., asking to rank their top 100 greatest American films, what would that look like?

Luckily for us, the folks over at the BBC Culture have already done all the heavy lifting for us. They too shared the desire to “get a global perspective on American film.” This poll had 62 international critics give their input.

“The critics we polled live and world all over the world, form the United Kingdom and continental Europe to South America, Australia, India and the Middle East – and of course the United States as well.”

One last important question to be asked is what constitutes an American film? In the eyes of the poll, that’s any movie that “received funding from a U.S. source.” For the sake of clarification, that would mean if a film received 90 percent of foreign funding and 10 percent of U.S. funding, then that would still be considered an American film in the eyes of this poll.

So what was the result? Check out the global perspective on the top 100 American films below!

100. ‘Ace in the Hole’ (Billy Wilder, 1951)
99. ‘12 Years a Slave’ (Steve McQueen, 2013)
98. ‘Heaven’s Gate’ (Michael Cimino, 1980)
97. ‘Gone With the Wind’ (Victor Fleming, 1939)
96. ‘The Dark Knight’ (Christopher Nolan, 2008)
95. ‘Duck Soup’ (Leo McCarey, 1933)
94. ‘25th Hour’ (Spike Lee, 2002)
93. ‘Mean Streets’ (Martin Scorsese, 1973)
92. ‘The Night of the Hunter’ (Charles Laughton, 1955)
91. ‘ET: The Extra-Terrestrial’ (Steven Spielberg, 1982)
90. ‘Apocalypse Now’ (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979)
89. ‘In a Lonely Place’ (Nicholas Ray, 1950)
88. ‘West Side Story’ (Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins, 1961)
87. ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ (Michel Gondry, 2004)
86. ‘The Lion King’ (Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff, 1994)
85. ‘Night of the Living Dead’ (George A Romero, 1968)
84. ‘Deliverance’ (John Boorman, 1972)
83. ‘Bringing Up Baby’ (Howard Hawks, 1938)
82. ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ (Steven Spielberg, 1981)
81. ‘Thelma & Louise’ (Ridley Scott, 1991)
80. ‘Meet Me in St Louis’ (Vincente Minnelli, 1944)
79. ‘The Tree of Life’ (Terrence Malick, 2011)
78. ‘Schindler’s List’ (Steven Spielberg, 1993)
77. ‘Stagecoach’ (John Ford, 1939)
76. ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ (Irvin Kershner, 1980)
75. ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ (Steven Spielberg, 1977)
74. ‘Forrest Gump’ (Robert Zemeckis, 1994)
73. ‘Network’ (Sidney Lumet, 1976)
72. ‘The Shanghai Gesture’ (Josef von Sternberg, 1941)
71. ‘Groundhog Day’ (Harold Ramis, 1993)
70. The Band Wagon (Vincente Minnelli, 1953)
69. ‘Koyaanisqatsi’ (Godfrey Reggio, 1982)
68. ‘Notorious’ (Alfred Hitchcock, 1946)
67. ‘Modern Times’ (Charlie Chaplin, 1936)
66. ‘Red River’ (Howard Hawks, 1948)
65. ‘The Right Stuff’ (Philip Kaufman, 1965)
64. ‘Johnny Guitar’ (Nicholas Ray, 1954)
63. ‘Love Streams’ (John Cassavetes, 1984)
62. ‘The Shining’ (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)
61. ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ (Stanley Kubrick, 1999)
60. ‘Blue Velvet’ (David Lynch, 1986)
59. ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ (Miloš Forman, 1975)
58. ‘The Shop Around the Corner’ (Ernst Lubitsch, 1940)
57. ‘Crimes and Misdemeanors’ (Woody Allen, 1989)
56. ‘Back to the Future’ (Robert Zemeckis, 1985)
55. ‘The Graduate’ (Mike Nichols, 1967)
54. ‘Sunset Boulevard’ (Billy Wilder, 1950)
53. ‘Grey Gardens’ (Albert and David Maysles, Ellen Hovde and Muffie Meyer, 1975)
52. ‘The Wild Bunch’ (Sam Peckinpah, 1969)
51. ‘Touch of Evil’ (Orson Welles, 1958)
50. ‘His Girl Friday’ (Howard Hawks, 1940)
49. ‘Days of Heaven’ (Terrence Malick, 1978)
48. ‘A Place in the Sun’ (George Stevens, 1951)
47. ‘Marnie’ (Alfred Hitchcock, 1964)
46. ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ (Frank Capra, 1946)
45. ‘The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance’ (John Ford, 1962)
44. ‘Sherlock Jr’ (Buster Keaton, 1924)
43. ‘Letter from an Unknown Woman’ (Max Ophüls, 1948)
42. ‘Dr Strangelove’ (Stanley Kubrick, 1964)
41. ‘Rio Bravo’ (Howard Hawks, 1959)
40. ‘Meshes of the Afternoon’ (Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid, 1943)
39. ‘The Birth of a Nation’ (DW Griffith, 1915)
38. ‘Jaws’ (Steven Spielberg, 1975)
37. ‘Imitation of Life’ (Douglas Sirk, 1959)
36. ‘Star Wars’ (George Lucas, 1977)
35. ‘Double Indemnity’ (Billy Wilder, 1944)
34. ‘The Wizard of Oz’ (Victor Fleming, 1939)
33. ‘The Conversation’ (Francis Ford Coppola, 1974)
32. ‘The Lady Eve’ (Preston Sturges, 1941)
31. ‘A Woman Under the Influence’ (John Cassavetes, 1974)
30. ‘Some Like It Hot’ (Billy Wilder, 1959)
29. ‘Raging Bull’ (Martin Scorsese, 1980)
28. ‘Pulp Fiction’ (Quentin Tarantino, 1994)
27. ‘Barry Lyndon’ (Stanley Kubrick, 1975)
26. ‘Killer of Sheep’ (Charles Burnett, 1978)
25. ‘Do the Right Thing’ (Spike Lee, 1989)
24. ‘The Apartment’ (Billy Wilder, 1960)
23. ‘Annie Hall’ (Woody Allen, 1977)
22. ‘Greed’ (Erich von Stroheim, 1924)
21. ‘Mulholland Drive’ (David Lynch, 2001)
20. ‘Goodfellas’ (Martin Scorsese, 1990)
19. ‘Taxi Driver’ (Martin Scorsese, 1976)
18. ‘City Lights’ (Charlie Chaplin, 1931)
17. ‘The Gold Rush’ (Charlie Chaplin, 1925)
16. ‘McCabe & Mrs Miller’ (Robert Altman, 1971)
15. ‘The Best Years of Our Lives’ (William Wyler, 1946)
14. ‘Nashville’ (Robert Altman, 1975)
13. ‘North by Northwest’ (Alfred Hitchcock, 1959)
12. ‘Chinatown’ (Roman Polanski, 1974)
11. ‘The Magnificent Ambersons’ (Orson Welles, 1942)
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? Do you agree with a good portion of this list? One interesting thing to me personally is the number modern films on the list, including "Tree of Life" and "The Dark Knight."

Also, for reference, you can see how this compares to AFI’s top 100 movies.

Source: BBC Culture

Film top 100 movies, american film institute