Bill Everts wonders:
"I have a family of avid film lovers, and I would be interested in
knowing if anyone has compiled a list of the "100 films everyone
should see" or as I have read recently in my field, literature,
the "Professor's Guilt List." Every once in a while I come across
a list of books every literate person should have read, etc.
I have never seen such a list for films. Does one exist? Or
would the list-serv attempt to compile such a list? I recognize
the cultural bias, and possible educational and/or generational
snobbery that such a list could engender; still as an educational
guideline for my myself and my children, I would find such a list
There are at least several such lists lying around. Check the back of the
latest edition of HALLIWELL'S FILMGOER'S COMPANION or the Film shelf at
any well-stocked bookstore (and even some not so well-stocked; such books
tend to crowd out more "serious" fare). You can, of course, find list books
that are also devoted to specializations in topic, genre, and so on.
Lists like these have often appeared in magazines as well. SIGHT AND SOUND
did one such list recently, and even the Vatican recently published a
list of Recommended Films (including a couple of Bunuels! *Someone's* having
fun!). (A correspondent on another list suggested the opposite of the
Church's "Index" of forbidden works should be called a "Table of Contents.")
I expect that there will be a great deal of crossover among the various lists,
but there will always be some to raise eyebrows as well. One recent list
of "great" film comedies included *no* silent or screwball films.
If all else fails, you could look at films that come in for heavy discussion
in various introductory film and film history texts.
Don Larsson, Mankato State U (MN)_
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