Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The IRA Top 100 Films Of All Time

The IRA film group I've been a member of for 20 years gathers annually to name their top movies of the year. You can see our top picks for 2011 here. This year -- in conjunction with the every-decade Sight & Sound poll (due out in August) -- we made our picks for the top films of all time.

The final vote over the March 23-25 weekend was the culmination of months of debate, argument and balloting. First we each watched a bunch of movies we hadn't seen in years or classics which slipped through the cracks. Then we made our own personal lists of the Top 100 films of all time. We took all those lists, combined them and came up with a master list of the 100+ films that got the most votes. Then we broke ties and narrowed it down to exactly 100 films. I for one had never seen 20 of them so that meant more movie watching. Finally, on the big night we took those 100 films ten by ten and re-ranked them after discussion and debate. So the Top 10 vote getters (movies like The Magnificent Ambersons, The Searchers and Vertigo) were all treated as a group and ranked from #1 to #10. Then we did the same with the next batch of ten and so on.

The result? A list none of us are truly happy with, naturally. I bemoan the lack of animated films and just one documentary that made the cut. Others are embarrassed by the omission of Bollywood. And so on. But it's a good list: watch all 100 films and you will have a good grounding in some classic cinema. It happened for me. I somehow had never caught director Max Ophuls. Now The Earrings Of Madame De... is high on my personal list of the best movies of all time. Same with the ground-breaking, revelatory Jeanne Dielman. So debate and mock the list, but do watch the movies you've never seen before. Enjoy!


1. The Rules Of The Game
2. The Magnificent Ambersons
3. Citizen Kane
4. Vertigo
5. The Searchers
6. Letter From An Unknown Woman
7. The Big Sleep
8. Psycho
9. The Man Who Shot LIberty Valance
10. The Apartment

11. Shoah
12. The Earrings Of Madame de...
13. The Shop Around The Corner
14. Tokyo Story
15. Rear Window
16. Notorious
17. Touch Of Evil
18. North By Northwest
19. The Palm Beach Story
20. The General (1926)

21. Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles
22. The Big Heat
23. Sunset Blvd.
24. Red River
25. Chinatown
26. Sunrise
27. Double Indemnity
28. Laura
29. His Girl Friday
30. Ugetsu

31. Rio Bravo
32. Anatomy Of A Murder
33. The Miracle Of Morgan's Creek
34. Chimes At Midnight
35. All About Eve
36. The Decalogue
37. The Awful Truth
38. Some Like It Hot
39. Danton
40. Imitation Of Life

41. McCabe & Mrs. Miller
42. Sherlock Jr.
43. Once Upon A Time In The West
44. 2001: A Space Odyssey
45. Ordet
46. A Man Escaped
47. Man With A Movie Camera
48. Written On The Wind
49. The Philadelphia Story
50. Kiss Me Deadly

51. Out Of The Past
52. Force Of Evil
53. Advise & Consent
54. Home From The Hill
55. Sweet Smell Of Success
56. The Lady Eve
57. Make Way For Tomorrow
58. Breathless
59. The Third Man
60. Cluny Brown

61. Pickup On South Street
62. Shanghai Express
63. The Passion Of Joan Of Arc
64. The Naked Spur
65. White Heat
66. The Crowd
67. The Crime Of Monsieur Lange
68. Night Of The Hunter
69. The Band Wagon
70. The Scarlet Empress

71. Red (1994)
72. All That Heaven Allows
73. Victor/Victoria
74. Band Of Outsiders
75. Day Of Wrath
76. Rebel Without A Cause
77. In A Lonely Place
78. The Marriage Of Maria Braun
79. It's A Wonderful Life
80. The 400 Blows

81. Metropolis
82. Diary Of A Country Priest
83. Casablanca
84. Lola Montes
85. Raging Bull
86. The Last Picture Show
87. Shock Corridor
88. Meet Me In St. Louis
89. Fanny & Alexander
90. A Star Is Born (1954)

91. Ali: Fear Eats The Soul
92. The Leopard
93. Play Time
94. A Matter Of Life And Death
95. How Green Was My Valley
96. Mildred Pierce
97. What Ever Happened To Baby Jane
98. Travels With My Aunt
99. Days Of Heaven
100. In The Mood For Love


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the List..
I would appreciate it if you could put the year after the name of each movie, since many remakes are possible.
What does IRA stand for?..
Thanks again

Michael Giltz said...

Thanks for commenting. The IRAs are just named after Ira, one of the founding members. The letters don't stand for anything. I suppose Psycho has been remade but you can rest assured these are all the original films. I put a year next to the 1954 A Star Is Born. The only other confusion might be over Red. That's the 1994 film by the Polish director.

Anonymous said...

How many Ira members are there? I am trying to get a mental image of how big the discussion was? 5? 10? 100?

Michael Giltz said...

Membership ranges from about about 10-15 at any particular gathering. Life gets in the way and members who all used to live in NYC are now scattered across the country. Some have died while others have joined over the years. Picture about a dozen people kvetching and arguing about movies and you'll be about right.