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Everyone's a Critic

The AFI's much-debated list of top American films isn't bad, our readers say, but it could have been so much better. Take a look at what got their thumbs-up.

June 22, 1998|MICHAEL QUINTANILLA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

They make us laugh. They make us cry. They scare the heebie-jeebies out of us. And they make us wanna holler: "We're as mad as hell, and we're not going to take this anymore!"

We're not talking about movies here--we're talking about surveys. And here's ours.

We asked you what you thought about the American Film Institute's list of the 100 greatest American movies, which it released last week. We asked for your own faves--both on and off AFI's hit list. Via fax and e-mail, you endured "The Agony and the Ecstasy" of it all and delivered the goods, mostly agreeing with AFI's 100 best of 100 years.

You made a "Giant" effort, you were "Nobody's Fool" and, most of all, you said your "War and Peace." Yep, several of you "Ruthless People" angrily disagreed with many of the picks made by the AFI's 1,500 voters. Others blasted the group for such glaring omissions as "The Ten Commandments," "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" and "Camille." No Mel Brooks. No Garbo. No Preston Sturges. No Ginger and Fred.

Several "Bambi" lovers, shall we say, were not endeared at all.

A few movies on the AFI list failed to receive a single vote, such as "All Quiet on the Western Front," "Mutiny on the Bounty," "The French Connection," "The Jazz Singer" and "Vertigo."

But you've been "GoodFellas." So now--envelope, please--let's "Pillow Talk."

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

READERS CHOICES THAT THE AFI IGNORED

1) Braveheart

2) Titanic

3) The General

4) Sunrise

5) (tie) Blazing Saddles

Field of Dreams

Out of Africa

Roman Holiday

The Shawshank Redemption

The Way We Were

Young Frankenstein

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Reader's Choices

1) Gone With the Wind (1939)

2) Casablanca (1942)

3) Citizen Kane (1941)

4) The Wizard of Oz (1939)

5) The Godfather (1972)

6) It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

7) Star Wars (1977)

8) Lawrence of Arabia (1962

9) Doctor Zhivago (1965)

10 (tie) Forrest Gump (1994), Psycho (1960), Schindler's List (1993)

*

"I find it incomprehensible that 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?' was left off the AFI list. This brilliant film cannot be forgotten."

--Terry Lynn

" 'Rosemary's Baby' is the best film ever made, not only because it influenced an entire genre over the next decade, but because of its clear understanding that real horror involves the loss of one's humanity."

--Ken Anderson

" 'Bullitt' was not on the 100 list! Why?"

--Dave Lopez

"Not only did AFI omit 'The Ten Commandments,' they overlooked the legendary De Mille. Apparently, AFI still isn't ready for its close-up."

--Lisa Mitchell

"The greatest movie I've ever seen is 'Night of the Generals.' It is the first movie that just my dad and I saw together."

--Mary L. Hermann

"I went through the entire list with my mother, and we're still arguing over the placement of 'Casablanca.' I do not like 'Casablanca.' My mother thinks I am insane."

--Sara Caswell

"Every gay male has 'All About Eve' on his list. I even named my dogs Margo Channing and Addison DeWitt after the characters in the film."

--Mark B. Brandt

" 'Forrest Gump' makes the list, but 'Nashville' doesn't? 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' makes the list, but no Garbo film does--not even 'Camille' or 'Ninotchka'? They should change the title to the AFI Suck-Up Stroke-the-Egos-of-Possible-Contributors List."

--Laurelea Williams

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