Film organization rewrites history

The American Film Institute is a believer in revisionist history.

The film organization returned with a new version of its “100 Greatest Movies of All Time” countdown last night on CBS and tallied up the votes … again. And while there were some notable changes from the group’s 1996 poll, “Citizen Kane” was still No. 1 and eight original titles remained in the top 10.

As with ’96, the first time the AFI unveiled its choices, ballots with nominated movies were distributed to a pool of creatives (directors, screenwriters, actors, editors and cinematographers), critics and historians.

“The Godfather” and “Casablanca” were runners-up (the two swapped positions from a decade ago). But “Raging Bull” moved into the fourth position (from No. 24 in ’96), ahead of previous spot-holder “Gone With the Wind.”

Rounding out the revised top 10 choices (most of which are the same) were “Singin’ in the Rain,” “Gone With the Wind,” “Lawrence of Arabia,” “Schindler’s List,” “Vertigo” (up from No. 61 a decade ago) and “The Wizard of Oz.”

Of the new eligible films since the AFI’s original list (i.e., anything released between 1996 and 2006), only “Titanic,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “The Sixth Sense” and “Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” made the cut, all sprinkled within the final 100.

Other additions to the list: “The General,” “Intolerance,” “Nashville,” “Sullivan’s Travels,” “Cabaret,” “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” “The Shawshank Redemption,” “In The Heat of the Night,” “All the President’s Men,” “Spartacus,” “Sunrise,” “A Night at the Opera,” “12 Angry Men,” “Swing Time,” “Sophie’s Choice,” “The Last Picture Show,” “Do the Right Thing,” “Blade Runner” and “Toy Story.”

Of course, with new choices come notable subtractions.

Titles that didn’t make the cut this time: “Doctor Zhivago,” “Birth of a Nation,” “From Here to Eternity,” “Amadeus,” “All Quiet on the Western Front,” “The Third Man,” “Fantasia,” “Rebel Without a Cause,” “Stagecoach,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “The Manchurian Candidate,” “An American in Paris,” “Wuthering Heights,” “Dances With Wolves,” “Giant,” “Fargo,” “Mutiny on the Bounty,” the 1931 “Frankenstein,” “Patton,” “The Jazz Singer,” “My Fair Lady,” “A Place in the Sun” and “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner.”

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