100 Greatest Films
Film Selection Criteria

 

Part 1


Film Selection Criteria
Part 1 | Part 2

Understanding the Selections for Greatest Films:
Commentary

All film criticism is extremely subjective and there is no such thing as the definitive list of the 100 Greatest (English-language) Films. Great Films can't be measured scientifically because greatness is extremely subjective. The artistic greatness of films (and other works of art) can never be rated or quantified, although critics, reviewers, and fans persistently make ten best lists, hundred best lists, all-time greatest lists, awards lists, and generate results of polls. There is no accepted standard for rating cinematic works - there are 4-star and 5-star scales, 1-10 and percentage ratings, letter grades, fresh/rotten tomatoes meters, and thumbs up/down judgments, to name a few. These only confuse the issue. This site steadfastly refuses to rank films, since it is completely frivolous to say one great film is a notch higher than another one.

In a sense, anyone who watches a film is instantly a film critic. Therefore, everyone will have their own favorites, choices, or other criteria for selection of the greatest films, and some may disagree with at least some of the selections below. This selection of 100 Greatest Films in the last century of film-making covers, by conscious choice, a wide range of genres, decades, stars and directors. Emphasis in these selections is purposely directed toward earlier, more classic Hollywood/American films than more recent films, although some recent films (and British films) are included. (An Additional 100 Greatest Films, and Third 100 Greatest Films, and a compiled, chronological listing of all 200 and 300 Greatest Films are also indexed here.) The Greatest Films selected do not include foreign films or non-English language films for purposes of specialization and focus. Negative judgment on foreign films or non-English language films is not intended or implied. (See Movieline's 100 Greatest Foreign Films provided at this site.)

Over a long period of time, the English-language films found here have repeatedly appeared on all-time best film lists and are often noted in the collective responses of film viewers and critics. See this site's Summary of the Top Films of All-Time - an attempt to compile various rankings of films together in one place and provide comparisons of film rankings over time. Arguably, there has been reasonable consensus by most film historians, critics, movie-lovers, and reviewers that the selections chosen by this site are among cinema's most critically-acclaimed, significant "must-see" films (of predominantly Hollywood-American production). They are the films almost every educated person with a solid knowledge of film history and cinema would be expected to know and be literate about. See also this site's Tips on Viewing Films Critically.

These crucial film selections provide a common ground and foundation for the study of film. They have undoubtedly left an indelible mark upon our lives and reflect many defining moments of the last 100 years. They are films that give us pieces of time that we can never forget. They have refused to fade from memory even after the long passage of time - they share the unifying fact of being seen and talked about decades after they were made. Many of these Greatest Films were made decades ago, and overlooked when they were first released, yet they have endured the test of time. They have the power to entertain, enchant, inform, and move us emotionally - and change our perceptions of things. There is nothing more dissimilar than a selection of great films - just naturally, there will be comedies, dramas, westerns, animations, silent films, etc., that are impossible to rank or quantify against each other in a collection of masterpieces. The films below range from the earliest defining silent films of Hollywood, to all the genre types (screwball comedies, westerns, etc.), and to the blockbusters and epics of today.

Comparative analysis and criticism provide the rationale for having many other Greatest Film Lists available for viewing on this site. For comparison's sake, you may wish to see the American Film Institute's 100 Greatest American Films and their original list of 400 Nominated Films.



100 Greatest Films
(alphabetical)
100 Greatest Films
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
 
Another 100 Greatest Films
(alphabetical)
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
 
Third 100 Greatest Films
(alphabetical)


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