For many online writers, the end of the year is a time for top ten lists. I didn’t get around to making my own list this year, but I don’t mind borrowing from The NY Times and their 10 Best American Movies list.  This list is by Stanley Fish, who I don’t know from Adam. But here are his picks for the best American movies of all time:

  • The Best Years of Our Lives (William Wyler, 1946)
  • Sunset Blvd. (Billy Wilder, 1950)
  • Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder, 1944)
  • Shane (George Stevens, 1953)
  • Red River (Howard Hawks, 1948)
  • Raging Bull (Martin Scorcese, 1980)
  • Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)
  • Groundhog Day (Harold Ramis, 1993)
  • Meet Me In St. Louis (Vincente Minnelli, 1944)
  • A Tree Grows In Brooklyn (Elia Kazan, 1945)

You can read the entire Times article for the commentary that goes with each choice.

The list heavily favors classics from the forties and fifties. I agree that all of these films are exceptional, and some of them are even my personal favorites, such as: Red River, The Best Years of Our Lives and Sunset Blvd. The Billy Wilder and Raymond Chandler Double Indeminity screenplay is also one of my favorites from that period.

I’m amused to see Groundog Day featured on this list. This isn’t even the first time I’ve noticed the film getting notable critical acclaim. It may not be one of the ten best American films, but it’s frequently mentioned positively in several screenwriting books.

I suppose if I were to quickly throw together a top ten list, I’d name my ten favorite Bill Murray movies (in no particular order): Caddyshack, Ghost Busters, Stripes, Meatballs, Rushmore, Groundhog Day, Kingpin….

What? No Lost In Translation?

Sorry. But that’s a little boring and irrelevant for me.