Wednesday, June 17, 1998 Published at 17:06 GMT 18:06 UK
Citizen Kane tops movie lists
Orson Welles' masterwork
Citizen Kane has been chosen the best American feature film of all time by a panel of 1,500 people from the film industry. . . and Bill Clinton.
The American Film Institute announced the results on Tuesday of a survey to determine the top 100 American films of all time.
It invited industry figures plus 50 individuals from across the US, the President and Vice President and their wives to choose from a shortlist of 400. They also held a poll on their web site.
Citizen Kane's chequered past
The winning film lost its makers $100,000 and though it won an Oscar for best screenplay, Mrs. Miniver was chosen best film in 1942. Incredibly, Orson Welles was only 26 when he directed and starred in the film.
Now, however, his tale of idealism corrupted is widely recognised as a masterpiece, not just in America but around the world.
The influential British magazine Sight and Sound polls critics across the world every ten years to find their top ten films. In 1952, Citizen Kane was just a runner-up, but in the three polls since, it has retained its top spot.
A few surprises
There were a few surprises among the AFI's top 10, however. Spielberg's Schindler's List is ninth, though it was released just five years ago, and Lawrence of Arabia is fifth, though many people would consider the film British, not American.
Despite continuing controversy over the film's treatment of the Ku Klux Klan as heroes, Birth of a Nation was 44th - the 83-year-old silent picture was also the oldest film chosen.
Ms Felperin acknowledges that the film "can be read as KKK propaganda," but feels it was right to include it as it was a landmark film in many ways.
Stephen Spielberg, with five films in the top 100, was the most successful director, followed by Alfred Hitchcock and Billy Wilder with four apiece.
Katherine Hepburn led the actresses with four starring films.
The AFI's top ten:
The top ten from visitors to the AFI's web site
What's your favourite film? Click here to e-mail us with your suggestion. Results will be published on Monday June 22.
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