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Sunday, July 11, 1999 Published at 21:46 GMT 22:46 UK


Star Wars hailed best film

Star attraction: Obi "Number One" Kenobi

Star Wars has been named the best movie of all time by British film fans - but critics are bemused.

The 1977 space epic took more than a third of all votes in the Millennium Movies survey run by the Sky Premier channel - a result no doubt fuelled by the prospect of the prequel, The Phantom Menace, opening in the UK on 15 July.

Titanic was second place in the poll, which attracted 162,000 votes. The Full Monty was the highest placed British film at number 10.

Norman 'astonished'

But many critics' favourite, Orson Welles' Citizen Kane, was down at 41. Other critical successes did not make the list at all.

[ image: Hungry for more: Star Wars fans queue for The Phantom Menace]
Hungry for more: Star Wars fans queue for The Phantom Menace
Barry Norman, Sky Premier's own pundit, said: "The total absence of Woody Allen does astonish me.

"I do think that Woody Allen is a genius of the cinema yet not any of the early comedies like Annie Hall or Manhattan get in.

"There is only one Clint Eastwood film. The Good, The Bad And The Ugly is in there but there was no Dirty Harry, no The Outlaw Josey Wales, no Play Misty For Me and no Unforgiven, which is a much better movie."

Referring to the Italian movie Cinema Paradiso, he added: "There's only one foreign language film, which is sad.

"It's quite unlike any list of the 100 best that I have ever seen."

Raves and joy

Film director Richard Attenborough, who helped launch the poll, was disappointed that Charlie Chaplin, Spencer Tracy, Jimmy Cagney, Billy Wilder and Ealing comedies go unmentioned.

He said: "The emphasis on that somewhat bedraggled word entertainment is enormous."

(Click here to see the Top 100 films)

Star Wars director George Lucas expressed surprise - and joy.

He said: "I'm amazed and surprised that Star Wars was picked as the number one film of the millennium.

[ image: Talking point: The Phantom Menace is set to break box office records]
Talking point: The Phantom Menace is set to break box office records
"Little did I know when I started this film 20 years ago that I'd be making a film that achieved such an outpouring of enthusiastic raves and joy.

"It's after all the fans that have made this film what it is today."

The Phantom Menace looks certain to smash UK box office records with screens around the country aiming to run round-the-clock, back-to-back showings to cope with the interest.

Steven Spielberg's seven films in the top 100 make him the most popular director with his highest placed film, Schindler's List, at nine.

Actors Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher - who both hit the big time with Star Wars - are the actors who appear most in the top 100, with six and five appearances respectively.

The oldest film in the top 100 is Gone With The Wind, which was made in 1939 but still has enough devotees to put it in third place.

Top 100 films:

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