The 1,000 Greatest Films (Introduction)

The banner image above is taken from Elia Kazan's Wild River, the 1,000th ranked greatest film.

INTRODUCTION to the
1,000 Greatest Films
As voted by 3,349 critics, filmmakers, scholars and other likely film types.
Current Version: February 2014

by Bill Georgaris

The 2014 version of TSPDT’s 1,000 Greatest Films is now at your disposal. I always aim for January, but somehow February seems to be where it all comes together these days. In terms of the final results, this year's edition could be considered a little dull in comparison to 2012's Sight & Sound-influenced goings-on. A total of only 34 changes we're made to the 1,000, despite the fact that over 400 new individual and miscellaneous lists were added to the calculations. It seems that most of the films in the 1,000 continue to be lauded in list circles, ensuring their ongoing places on the list.

Courtesy primarily of Cinephilia's 2012 poll, a total of 145 top-10 lists were added to the TSPDT database. A big thank you to Jasper van Holsteijn who kindly translated the Chinese Cinephilia lists for this update of the 1,000 Greatest Films. The total list of critics/filmmakers polled increased from 3,194 to 3,349. Some of the lists added and/or upgraded came from A.A. Dowd, Billy Bob Thornton, Bret Easton Ellis, Derek Cianfrance, Harmony Korine, Joss Whedon, M. Night Shyamalan, Robbie Collin, Sarah Polley and Spencer Selby.

Additionally, approximately 300 miscellaneous lists have been added to the brew taking the complete tally used to 1,900-plus. Some of those added were Dan Sallitt's Alternative 100 Films to the Sight & Sound 100, Slant Magazine's 100 Greatest Horror Films of All-Time, Time Out's 100 Best Romantic Movies, Spike Lee's Essential Films, Time Out New York's 50 Best Youth-Gone-Wild Films, and David Edelstein's 20 Commercially Unavailable Movies You Can Only Watch Online (and Only If You Know Where to Look).

In summary, here is the exact breakdown of individual ballots used, or if you like, from where we have begged, borrowed and stolen:

Sight & Sound's 1952-2012 polls (1,621 ballots)
Senses of Cinema's 2000-2007 Top Tens (128 ballots)
Rotten Tomatoes' lists from 2003-2013 (108 ballots)
Cinephilia's 2012 poll (88 ballots)
Time Out's 1995 poll (87 ballots)
Nickel Odeon's 1994-1998 polls (85 ballots)
El Mundo's 1995 poll (70 ballots)
Steadycam's 1995 & 2007 polls (66 ballots)
Your Movie Database's (YMDB) Critics Corner (66 ballots)
Positif’s 1991 poll (61 ballots)
PBS's Independent Lens lists (59 ballots)
The Cinematheque's Top 10 Project (56 ballots)
Facets’ polls (53 ballots)
Cinematheque Belgique's 1952 poll (52 ballots)
El Pais' 2009-2010 polls (50 ballots)
Libre Journal du Cinéma's 2009 poll (49 ballots)
One-Line Review's 2009 poll (49 ballots)
John Kobal Presents the Top 100 Movies (42 ballots)
PopCornQ's 1997 poll (38 ballots)
Fifty Filmmakers (2002 book) (28 ballots)
The Village Voice's 1999 poll (26 ballots)
IonCinema!'s Top 10 lists (2009-2013) (25 ballots)
Plus 442 more ballots from other sources.

TSPDT’s Top 10 Greatest Films
1. Citizen Kane (1)
2. Vertigo (2)
3. 2001: A Space Odyssey (3)
4. Tokyo Story (5)
5. The Rules of the Game (4)
6. 8½ (6)
7. The Godfather (8)
8. Sunrise (7)
9. The Searchers (9)
10. The Seven Samurai (10)

Listed below are the biggest winners and losers in this year’s edition:

The Winners – Top Climbers within the 1,000
Plácido (1961) 917 to 638 (up 279 spots)
And Life Goes On… (1992) 909 to 728 (up 181)
Funny Games (1997) 728 to 598 (up 130)
Brokeback Mountain (2005) 870 to 741 (up 129)
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) 567 to 443 (up 124)

The Winners – Highest Entrants into the 1,000
Titanic (1997), ranked 661
Arrebato (1980), ranked 708
Blue (1983), ranked 740
The Piano Teacher (2001), ranked 783
L'Arrivée d'un train à la Ciotat (1895), ranked 834

The Losers – Biggest Fallers within the 1,000
By the Bluest of Seas (1936) 515 to 684 (down 169)
JFK (1991) 759 to 860 (down 101)
Gilda (1946) 853 to 930 (down 77)
Fat City (1972) 678 to 754 (down 76)
Dumbo (1941) 674 to 746 (down 72)
Ballad of Narayama (1983) 758 to 830 (down 72)

The Losers – Biggest Fallers from the 1,000
Empire (1964), formerly ranked 619
The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On (1987), formerly ranked 711
El Topo (1970), formerly ranked 768
Das Boot (1981), formerly ranked 794
Grin Without a Cat (1977), formerly ranked 800

Thank you to everyone that has contributed lists and/or lent their support towards this venture over the years. I hope your interest and support continues. Special thanks, in relation to this year's edition, goes out to Jasper van Holsteijn, Aaron Dumont, Jason Kitchens, Alan Zhang, Ángel Gonzalez, Alan Cheung and Eugene Tonevizki for their brilliant contributions. And, to all else who contributed during 2013.

Narrowed down from a starting list of 12,057 films, utilizing some rather tricky formulas, we believe that this is quite possibly the most definitive guide to the most-acclaimed movies of all-time. At the very least it is a rather spiffy place for all budding/established film buffs to commence/enhance their cinematic experiences. So what are you waiting for? Start that checklist now!

You Can Help… If you have access to any additional film lists from critics and/or filmmakers (particularly from Asia or Africa) that you think we may have missed, then of course we'd love to see them. Please send all lists to bill@theyshootpictures.com. And, as always, I would love to read any feedback (good, bad, or otherwise) you have on this ongoing project.

Begin browsing the 1,000 Greatest Films.
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