I've always loved movie lists. Since the time I was a boy, I've collected countless lists of the 'greatest movies,' ranging from the AFI's Top 100 and lists of Academy Award winners to Roger Ebert's "great movies" to the Sight & Sound polls to online surveys wherever I could find them. No two lists are the same, and I love seeing the idiosyncrasies in each.
For the past several years, my favorite list has been the annual 'They Shoot Pictures Don't They' top 1,000. It uses a formula to combine and weight lists from thousands of other lists to create a canon of the 1,000 most critically-acclaimed movies of all time. The genius of the list is how it changes yearly, as critical opinion shifts and new movies come in to replace the old.
But, the list gives short shrift to some of my favorite types of films. Critical opinion typically looks down upon genre films like sci-fi and comedy. Silent films are often forgotten, and animated films overlooked.
So, I decided to start my own set of lists. I compiled some of the very best source lists, weighted them, and then used a spreadsheet to output the rankings. I plan to update each list once a year, and add good sources as I find them.
In each genre, I've included both general lists (i.e. Sight & Sound) and genre-specific lists. (i.e. Top 100 Sci-Fi) In the interest of further illuminating critical blind spots, I've also included a choice selection of lists of films made by the greatest female and greatest black directors of all time. And to ensure the lists aren't entirely dominated by critics, I've also included historically adjusted box office performance and IMDb user rankings as factors.
I've linked to a list of sources used in each list on the list's page. They are weighted by reputation and recency.
No list is "perfect," and these certainly aren't. If you have any suggestions of source lists to include, or have other comments or questions, please email me at email@example.com
- Adam Call Roberts