Monday, October 24, 2011

Top Ranked Films of William Wyler



William Wyler
4 titles, 61st in points 13,007
If all films were included, would be 50th in pts

Still the record for most Oscars for his films, 39
Still the record for most Oscars for actors in his films, 13
Still a record for five best picture nominees in consecutive years, 5 (38-42)


1. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)#175
2. Ben-Hur (1959) #221
3. Roman Holiday (1953) #319
4. Funny Girl (1968) #770

and those outside the top 1000
5. Dodsworth (1936) #1570
6. Wuthering Heights (1940) #1662
7. The Little Foxes (1941) #1831
8. Jezebel (1938) #1883 This film should definitely be ranked, top 1000
9. The Heiress (1949) #2185 Had the biggest fall of any film, from 685 to here in 2 yrs

Where is 1942 best picture winner Mrs. Miniver (1942)? That's a top 1000 classic for sure, definitely above Funny Girl and Roman Holiday. So are Little Foxes, Jezebel, and The Heiress for that matter.

His ranking at 62nd is a travesty, should have 8 titles in the top 1000 not 4. Even if all films were included in the rankings, with these 9 he would still only be 50th, and trailing Tarantino by 30 places, of all people. For me, The Little Foxes, Jezebel, and The Heiress all belong in the top 1000 as well – Dodsworth is borderline, I’d leave Wuthering Heights where it is, not my favorite novel or story so I tend to always dislike the film versions. Funny Girl is also perhaps overrated, but still, one of the best American directors of all time.

The Best Years of Our Lives is terribly under-ranked. In 1946, Wyler dared make an anti-war film, about the effect of war on the psyche of its participants. Unlike 1942’s Mrs. Miniver, in which civilians bravely fought a face-to-face enemy, this film’s veterans battle inner demons that alter their lives. It begins with three soldiers returning to the same home town after wars end, then shows how they attempt to deal with emotional scars from the war and suddenly having to face the harsh reality of an uncaring world upon their return, where life was expected to return to someone else’s expectation of normalcy.

The film treated an adult subject with grace and humility and was rewarded with seven Oscars, including best picture, director, and actor for Fredric March. As one of the best American films, a case can be made that this warrants some arguments as an all-time top 10 film, certainly well above the current ranking of 175. I was surprised how few polls had it near the top. Films it obviously influenced, by being not about war but the effect of war on individuals, were Coming Home, Born on the Fourth of July, The Deer Hunter, and even 2002's A Very Long Engagement.

No comments: