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Tuesday, 23 June, 1998, 08:09 GMT 09:09 UK
List of top 100 films a "scandal"
Laurel and Hardy
Laurel and Hardy's films did not make the list
The American Film Institute's list of the top 100 films of all time has provoked an outcry from film critics.

Critics from coast to coast and around the world decried the list as a "scandal" saying it was Ameri-centric and shallow.

The list, which was compiled by a panel of 1,500 people from the film industry and political celebrities such as President Bill Clinton and Vice-President Al Gore, chose Citizen Kane as the top film of all time. The other 99 films, all US-made, included The Godfather I and II, Psycho, Gone With the Wind and Annie Hall.

Citizen Kane
Citizen Kane...top of the list
Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan was outraged that no films starring Ginger Rogers or Fred Astaire, Buster Keaton or Laurel and Hardy were on the list.

"Not to be found are any of the films of the great Greta Garbo, arguably the greatest actress of all time, not even her heartbreaking Camille," he said, adding that the list was equivalent to a list of the 100 greatest American books that forgot Ernest Hemingway.

Daily Variety film expert Leonard Klady pointed out more than half of the films were made between 1950 and 1979 and he said both the silent era and the modern era had been virtually ignored.

Star Wars
Star Wars...number 15 on the list
Chicago Sun-Times columnist Roger Ebert - also of Siskel and Ebert fame - said the criteria appeared to involve "critical recognition, major award winners, popularity over time, historical significance and cultural impact."

Other critics were quick to point out there were no films by women directors or black Americans.

Miami Herald film critic Rene Rodriguez, said: "Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing was as provocative and intelligent an examination of race relations as anyone ever put on film."

"Generally speaking, there's no denying the AFI's list is worthwhile. But how could they have left off Deliverance or The Last Picture Show or Strangers on a Train?" he said.

San Francisco Chronicle critic Mick LaSalle was perhaps the harshest. He accused the AFI of not promoting greatness with this list but instead the current moronic consensus."

The AFI's top ten were:

Citizen Kane
Casablanca
The Godfather
Gone With The Wind
Lawrence of Arabia
The Wizard of Oz
The Graduate
On the Waterfront
Schindler's List
Singin' In the Rain

BBC News Online is publishing a list of the top 10 films on Monday, June 22 following its own on-line poll. It's not too late to add your favourite film to the list.

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See also:

17 Jun 98 | Entertainment
Citizen Kane tops movie lists
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