AFI List: The Best American Films -- Where Are the Women?

In looking through the list, you don't have to be an expert to recognize that not a single film in the top 100 was directed by a woman.
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Last night, CBS in its infinite wisdom devoted its full prime time schedule to release the American Film Institutes's list of the 100 "best" movies. Those movies were picked by film historians, critics, actors -- "a blue-ribbon panel of leaders from across the film community" -- according to their website. Those panelists are not identified by name, race or sex so we have to take the AFI's word that they are experts.

So, the top ten according to the "experts" are: Citizen Kane; Casablanca; The Godfather; Gone With the Wind; Lawrence of Arabia; The Wizard of Oz; The Graduate; On the Waterfront; Schindler's List and Singin' in the Rain. In looking through the rest of the 90 you don't have to be an expert to recognize that not a single film in the top 100 was directed by a woman.

The films themselves are boy-centric, and the only ones that are women driven (after The Wizard of Oz) include: Sunset Blvd; All About Eve; Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (give me a break); The Sound of Music; and Sophie's Choice. In fact, of the top 400 films nominated for the best of honors, only four were directed by women including: Penny Marshall for Big; Amy Heckerling for Fast Times at Ridgemont High; Sofia Coppola for Lost In Translation; Nora Ephron for Sleepless in Seattle and Vicky Jensen, for co-directing Shrek.

The Alliance of Women Film Journalists will address this gender exclusion by releasing their own list of the top 100 films next Monday, June 25th in New York City. Their goal was to see if a group of professional women film experts would come up with a substantially different list than the AFI. The full list will be released on Monday at Association of Women Film Journalists but here is an advanced peek at a couple of the titles which include Carrie; ET; Harold and Maude and Julia.

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