(and Commentary) About the 100 Greatest American Romance
- The number of films from each decade: the 1920's:
(3), the 1930's: (15), the 1940's: (13), the 1950's: (21), the 1960's:
(14), the 1970's: (10), the 1980's: (13), and the 1990's: (11). The
50s had the greatest number of films represented. The only 1990s films
to make the top 30 were Ghost (# 19) and Pretty Woman (# 21).
- The oldest film of the 100 selections was Way
Down East (# 71) from 1920, and the newest was Shakespeare
in Love (# 50) from 1998.
- Twenty-four films from the 1980's and 1990's (the
last twenty years), almost one quarter of those selected, is too high
a percentage, in this author's opinion. These more recent films (i.e., The Way We Were (1973) - # 6, Love Story
(1970) - # 9, Moonstruck (1987) - # 17, and Ghost
(1990) - # 19) should never have been ranked higher than
any number of timeless romantic classics, such as: Now,
Voyager (1942) - # 23, Camille (1937) - # 33, Random Harvest (1942) - # 36, The Philadelphia Story (1940) - # 44, Splendor
in the Grass (1961) - # 47, A Place
in the Sun (1951) - # 53, Sabrina (1954) - # 54, or A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) - # 67.
- Remarkably, none of the nominated films with these
great romantic stars appeared in the final list: Rita Hayworth (Cover
Girl (1944), Gilda (1946), and The Lady from Shanghai (1948) - unnominated),
Robert Mitchum ( Out of the Past (1947)), Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957) - unnominated), Errol Flynn
( The Adventures of Robin Hood
(1938) - unnominated), Tyrone Power (The Mark of Zorro
(1940) - unnominated), and Joan Fontaine ( Rebecca (1940), Jane
Eyre (1944), Letter From an Unknown Woman (1948),
and Ivanhoe (1952)). Also, Marilyn Monroe, Burt Reynolds, Paul
Newman, Steve McQueen, and James Dean were missing from the top 100
- No film made in the last 40 years was included in
the top 5 selections. And only two films from the 1970s (The Way
We Were (# 6) and Love Story (# 9))
made the top 10.
- Both Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn had six films on the list:
Grant: An Affair to Remember (# 5), The Philadelphia Story (# 44), To Catch
a Thief (# 46), Bringing Up Baby (# 51), The Awful Truth (# 77), and Notorious (# 86).
Hepburn: The African Queen (# 14), On Golden Pond (# 22), The Philadelphia Story (# 44), Bringing Up Baby (# 51), Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (# 58),
and Woman of the Year (# 74). [NOTE: Hepburn was not a lead romantic character in # 58.]
- Both Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn appeared
in five films:
Bogart: Casablanca (# 1), The African Queen (# 14), Dark Victory (# 32) - in a very minor, non-romantic role, Sabrina (# 54),
and To Have and Have Not (# 60). [NOTE: Bogart was not a lead romantic character in #32.]
Hepburn: Roman Holiday (# 4), My Fair Lady (# 12), Sabrina (# 54), Two For the Road (# 57), and Breakfast at Tiffany's (# 61).
- There are two animated films on the list: Beauty
and the Beast (# 34), and Lady and the Tramp (# 95), and
one non-human love story, King Kong (# 24).
- Notice how many classic films inspired later remakes,
although both films appear on the list: An Affair to Remember (# 5) inspired Sleepless in Seattle (# 45). Bringing
Up Baby (# 51) inspired What's Up, Doc? (# 68). Double Indemnity (# 84) - a film noir rather than
a purely romantic film or love story, inspired Body
Heat (# 94). And King Kong (# 24) was
reworked for Beauty and the Beast (# 34). [In fact, King
Kong seems terribly out of place in the listing, especially at
such a high ranking.] The nominated Cyrano De Bergerac (1950)
would have been a better choice than the selected film that it inspired, Roxanne (# 72).
- The two nominated Shakespeare renderings, Romeo
and Juliet (1936), and William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet (1996) were not selected, although the tale was honored by West Side Story (# 3),
a modern re-telling. [Note: Franco Zefferelli's superior version, Romeo and Juliet (1968) wasn't even
- Two directors had four films apiece on the
William Wyler: Roman Holiday (# 4), Wuthering Heights (# 15), Funny Girl (# 41), and Jezebel (# 79).
George Cukor: My Fair Lady (# 12), Camille (# 33), A Star is Born (# 43), and The Philadelphia Story (# 44).
- Four directors had three films on the list:
Mike Nichols: The Graduate (# 52), Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (# 89), and Working Girl (# 91).
Rob Reiner: When Harry Met Sally... (# 25), The American President (# 75), and The Princess Bride (# 88).
George Stevens: Swing Time (# 30), A
Place in the Sun (# 53), and Woman of the Year (# 74).
Billy Wilder: Sabrina (# 54), The Apartment (# 62), and Double Indemnity (# 84).
- According to the AFI, seven of the top 10 greatest
love stories featured star-crossed couples that did not end up together
by the film's finale, due to either terminal illness, heroic sacrifice,
gang warfare, impossible circumstances, or frustration. Two films
where the lovers clearly end up together, in their happy endings,
include: An Affair to Remember and It's A Wonderful Life. The list contains approximately 187
fights and 260 kissing scenes, "proving that lovers quarrel,
but more often than not, they make up."
- The top 100 included one prostitute love story, Pretty
Woman (# 21), at least one aberrant sex love story, Last Tango
in Paris (# 48), and one cradle-robbing love story, Manhattan (# 66).
- The AFI's criteria stated that the selected films
must contain "significant creative and/or production elements
from the United States," so one can argue about the following
choices: Doctor Zhivago (# 7), Last Tango in Paris (# 48), The English Patient (# 56), Two For the Road (# 57), Sense
and Sensibility (# 70), and The Unbearable Lightness of Being (# 87). Or the following nominees: The Remains of the Day, Robin
- The following films were surprisingly not chosen (from AFI's own list of nominees) to be on the list of 100
films: Broken Blossoms (1919), The Big Parade (1925),
Flesh And The Devil (1926), Seventh Heaven (1927), Tabu (1931), A Farewell To Arms (1932), Trouble In Paradise (1932), Queen Christina (1933), Of Human Bondage (1934), Alice Adams (1935), My
Man Godfrey (1936), Holiday (1938),
Love Affair (1939), His Girl Friday (1940), Pride and
Prejudice (1940), Rebecca (1940), Waterloo
Bridge (1940), Hold Back the Dawn (1941), That Hamilton
Woman (1941), Laura (1944), The
Enchanted Cottage (1945), Duel in the Sun (1946), Gilda (1946),
Humoresque (1946), Letter From An Unknown Woman (1948), Portrait of Jennie (1948), Adam's Rib (1949), The Heiress (1949), All That Heaven Allows (1955), Oklahoma! (1955), Carousel (1956), Love In
The Afternoon (1957), Raintree County (1957), Sayonara (1957), South Pacific (1958), Some Like It Hot (1959), Lolita (1962), Charade (1963), The
Americanization of Emily (1964), A Patch Of Blue (1965), The Taming Of The Shrew (1967), Carnal Knowledge (1970), Summer Of '42 (1971), Badlands (1973), Robin And Marian (1976), Rocky (1976), Days Of Heaven (1978), Somewhere In Time (1980), About Last Night (1986), Children Of A Lesser God (1986), Fatal Attraction (1987), Bull Durham (1988), Dangerous Liaisons (1988), The Little Mermaid (1989), Say Anything... (1989), Wild
At Heart (1990), Jungle Fever (1991), Basic
Instinct (1992), The Last Of The
Mohicans (1992), Groundhog Day (1993), The Remains Of
The Day (1993), Before Sunrise (1995), While You Were
Sleeping (1995), As Good As It Gets (1997), Chasing
Amy (1997), and The End Of The Affair (1999).
- The following were glaringly absent from the
nominated films list: Dodsworth (1936), Maytime (1937), Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), The Old Maid (1939), Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941), Kings
Row (1941), Lydia (1941), Meet John Doe (1941), Penny Serenade (1941), Suspicion (1941), The
Palm Beach Story (1942), Since
You Went Away (1944), A Song to Remember (1945), The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), Brief Encounter (1946), To Each His Own (1946), The Red Shoes (1948), In
a Lonely Place (1950), The Band Wagon (1953), On The Waterfront (1954), Rebel Without a Cause (1955), Giant (1956), North by Northwest (1959), Romeo
and Juliet (1968), Baby, It's You (1983), Flashdance (1983), Sixteen Candles (1984), A
Room With a View (1985), Something Wild (1986), Cousins (1989), Truly, Madly, Deeply (1991), The Crying Game (1992), Indecent Proposal (1993), Shadowlands (1993), Untamed Heart (1993), Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), The Horse Whisperer (1998), Out of Sight (1998), and Rushmore (1998). (Some of the above films were undoubtedly
considered 'non-American' films and therefore ineligible.)