A little over a month ago, Film Threat’s own Doug Brunell covered some very interesting and inspiring ground with his “Excess Hollywood” column. The feature in question was titled, The Top 500 Greatest Films of All Time – Sorta. Using a list published by Rolling Stone (which was about the 500 Greatest Songs Ever) as inspiration, Doug wrote about his experiment (and the success and failure) of making his own 500 Greatest Film List.
The best part was that Doug was not about to put the typical “Great Films” on his list. There was no room for “Casablanca” or “The Godfather” or even “Citizen Kane”. Even though Doug didn’t think those particular films were great, it is safe to say that those films have appeared on enough “Great Film” lists to last a lifetime. It was time to move those titles over for a new generation of good films.
When Doug’s column broke, The Film Threat Back Talk Forum blew up with ideas like the Dirk Diggler sign. One post questioned, “How come no one ever put (1991’s) “Riki-Oh – The Story of Ricky” on any of these lists?” If “Pulp Fiction” can make it, why can’t an epic tale about a man’s trials and tribulations in a futuristic prison make it too? And it was this fine question that brought other such films into light.
One such Back Talk participant, Greg Bismarck (AKA “The Baron”), then made it his mission to put together a list of 500 films. He compiled a list based on votes from readers and filmmakers. Which is exactly what makes this list so great. Sure, there were some Film Threat writers voting as well, but there were more “regular Joes” that contributed to it, making it more genuine. All they had to do was list their favorite films, not just schlock, but films they felt needed mentioning.
In the Rolling Stone song list, there were 23 Beatles songs. Almost 5 percent of their list of great songs was of one band. We aren’t discrediting The Beatles (some of us anyway), but 23 songs?
Some suggestions were tossed out about what should actually be included on the list. We were hoping not to include the usual “Great Films” mentioned above, nor did we want any Beatles related films on there either. As the list compiled though, both suggestions were scrapped. Both “A Hard Days Night” and “The Godfather” made its way to the list, proving that rules were meant to be broken and no matter how many times you call a movie great, it certainly isn’t enough. Listing 500 films, without including those greats that were mentioned all too often, was discovered to be pretty impossible.
It was then decided that it didn’t matter. There are still many movies included on the list that may very well be never included on any kind of list again.
Due to the nature of how this list was actually compiled, (we did use the internet, a mecca of seriousness, truth and honesty) some questionable titles came into play. For instance, no self-respected journalistic entity of any kind would even dare to put “Rugrats in Paris” on a list of top films. That would be publication suicide.
After a few weeks of taking names, it was over. Greg took all the titles and began a painstakingly excruciating research process, using the Internet Movie Database. He looked up every film and found out the year it was released and who the director was, just so it was known exactly which film we were talking about, so “The Beauty and the Beast” that actually made it to the list wouldn’t be confused with the Disney film of the same name. This research would also prove valuable when trying to compile some of the data, like what director appears on the list the most or what year has the most films, etc.
But enough talk… you probably want to see this list of 500 (which is in alphabetical order by the way). You’re anxious to find out if your favorite movie “Freejack” is on there, aren’t you? Well, thankfully, that film isn’t. Actually, you should be thankful that “Freejack” isn’t your favorite movie. You may be surprised at some of the other fine choices that made it, and maybe even more surprised at some of the stuff that didn’t make it. So sit back and enjoy… and get your Netflix queue ready.
Get the list in part two of BACK TALK’S TOP 500 FILMS>>>
Posted on February 22, 2005 in Features by Michael Ferraro, Greg Bismarck
If you liked this article then you may also like the following Film Threat articles:
- BACK TALK’S TOP 500 FILMS
- EXCESS HOLLYWOOD: THE 500 GREATEST FILMS OF ALL TIME — SORTA
- EXCESS HOLLYWOOD: THE SOUND OF FILM
- AFI UNVEILS NEW TOP 100 MOVIES OF ALL TIME LIST
- FILM THREAT’S TOP 10 LOST FILMS PART 2
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