Film institute again rates Citizen Kane top movie

UPDATED: 10:05, June 22, 2007

The years have been kind to Citizen Kane, including the last decade. The 1941 Orson Welles classic - the story of a wealthy young idealist transformed by scandal and vice into a regretful old recluse - was again rated the best movie ever on Wednesday by the American Film Institute.

In the CBS special AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies - 10th Anniversary Edition, Citizen Kane held the same No 1 billing it earned in the institute's first top-100 ranking in 1998.

There were notable changes elsewhere, though.

The biggest movers were Martin Scorsese's 1980 masterpiece Raging Bull, which bounded upward from No 24 in 1998 to No 4 on the new list and Alfred Hitchcock's 1958 thriller Vertigo hurtling from No 61 to No 9 this time.

One of the oldest movies on the list, Charlie Chaplin's 1931 silent gem City Lights jumped from No 76 to No 11, while the 1956 John Ford-John Wayne Western The Searchers took the biggest leap, from No 96 all the way to No 12.

"The ones that made the huge jumps are really, really fascinating," said Jean Picker Firstenberg, chief executive at AFI, which has done top-10 lists every year since 1998 showcasing best comedies, thrillers, love stories and other highlights in American cinema.

"I'd like to think this entire series has had a real influence on what people think about a film like City Lights, The Searchers, Vertigo. Gotten them talking about these films and going back to watch them again, and if they've never seen them, to go watch them for the first time."

Francis Ford Coppola's 1972 epic The Godfather ranked No 2, up one notch from 1998, switching places with Michael Curtiz's 1942 favorite Casablanca, which dipped from second-place to third.

The top-100 were chosen from ballots sent to 1,500 filmmakers, actors, writers, critics and others in Hollywood from a list of 400 nominated movies, 43 of which came from the decade since the first list was compiled.

Of those newer films, only four made the top-100: 2001's The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (No 50), 1998's Saving Private Ryan (No 71), 1997's Titanic (No 83) and 1999's The Sixth Sense (No 89).

Source: China Daily/agencies

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