Sunday, September 28, 2003

Americans love their Westerns

When it comes to old times, we love the Wild West. Six of the 100 titles voted America's best in the first American Film Institute poll in 1998 are set in the West: Stagecoach (1939); Shane (1953); The Searchers (1956); Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid (1969); Dances With Wolves (1990); and Unforgiven (1992).

The Wild Bunch (1969) nearly falls into the same category, even though it is set in the early 20th century, as are fellow historical vote-getters Lawrence of Arabia (1962) and Doctor Zhivago (1965).

Among the rest of the AFI's top 100, here are the favorite period pieces:

• The Birth Of A Nation (1915)

• Mutiny On The Bounty (1935)

• Gone With The Wind (1939)

• Wuthering Heights (1939)

• Ben-Hur (1959)

• My Fair Lady (1964)

• Amadeus (1984)

A wider range of historical titles shows up on the Internet Movie Database top-films list, a running tally that includes more recent films than the AFI's as well as foreign-made films. Among the all-time favorites:

• The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)

• The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)

• Rashomon (1950)

• Spartacus (1960)

• The Lion in Winter (1968)

• The Man Who Would Be King (1975)

• The Elephant Man (1980)

• Glory (1989)

• Henry V (1989)

• Braveheart (1995)

• Gladiator (2000)

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