Jonathan Rosenbaum's Alternate 100 Years...100 Movies

In 1998 the American Film Institute unveiled its 100 Years...100 Movies list, a list of the 100 best American movies as determined by a poll of 1,500 industry insiders. Jonathan Rosenbaum, distinguished film critic for the Chicago Reader, immediately took exception.

In a spirited essay he relentlessly tore the list and the AFI apart, attacking it as "a brute commercial ploy dreamed up by a consortium of marketers" and lamented the "dumbing down of film culture" it represented (he also lambasted the list for containing several non-American films, for good measure). The thrust of his argument is that the American film industry presents "their" favorites as representative of American film culture (for self-serving purposes) and appoints deputies to protect and…

  • Ace in the Hole
  • An Affair to Remember
  • Anatomy of a Murder
  • Avanti!
  • The Barefoot Contessa
  • The Big Sky
  • Bigger Than Life
  • The Black Cat
  • Frankenstein
  • Broken Blossoms
  • Cat People
  • Christmas in July
  • Confessions of an Opium Eater
  • The Crowd
  • Dead Man
  • Do the Right Thing
  • The Docks of New York
  • Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxographer
  • 11 x 14
  • Eraserhead
  • Foolish Wives
  • Force of Evil
  • Freaks
  • The General
  • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
  • Gilda
  • The Great Garrick
  • Greed
  • Hallelujah I'm a Bum
  • The Heartbreak Kid
  • Housekeeping
  • The Hustler
  • Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages
  • Johnny Guitar
  • Judge Priest
  • Killer of Sheep
  • The Killing
  • The Killing of a Chinese Bookie
  • Kiss Me Deadly
  • The Ladies Man
  • The Lady from Shanghai
  • Last Chants for a Slow Dance
  • Laughter
  • Letter from an Unknown Woman
  • Lonesome
  • Love Me Tonight
  • Love Streams
  • The Magnificent Ambersons
  • Make Way for Tomorrow
  • The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance
  • Man's Castle
  • McCabe & Mrs. Miller
  • Meet Me in St. Louis
  • Mikey and Nicky
  • Monsieur Verdoux
  • My Son John
  • The Naked Spur
  • Nanook of the North
  • The Night of the Hunter
  • The Nutty Professor
  • The Palm Beach Story
  • Panic in the Streets
  • Park Row
  • The Phenix City Story
  • Point Blank
  • Real Life
  • Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania
  • Rio Bravo
  • Scarface
  • The Scarlet Empress
  • Scarlet Street
  • Scenes from Under Childhood, Section One
  • The Scenic Route
  • The Seventh Victim
  • Shadows
  • Sherlock, Jr.
  • The Shooting
  • The Shop Around the Corner
  • The Sound of Fury
  • Stars in My Crown
  • The Steel Helmet
  • Stranger Than Paradise
  • The Strawberry Blonde
  • Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans
  • Sylvia Scarlett
  • The Tarnished Angels
  • That's Entertainment! III
  • This Land Is Mine
  • Thunderbolt
  • To Sleep with Anger
  • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son
  • Track of the Cat
  • Trouble in Paradise
  • Vinyl
  • Wanda
  • While the City Sleeps
  • Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?
  • Woodstock
  • The Wrong Man
  • Zabriskie Point