Saturday, May 3, 2008

Countdown to AFI's 10 Top 10: Gangster

"You can go a long way with a smile.
You can go a lot further with a smile and a gun."
-- Al Capone

Defined by the American Film Institute as a genre centered on "organized crime or maverick criminals in a twentieth century setting", gangster films depict the "dark side of the American dream". They are also the next step in the Movie Dearest countdown to AFI's 10 Top 10.

With a total of eight combined mentions on previous AFI lists, there is no doubt that the combined might of The Godfather and The Godfather Part II will place both high on this list; the only question is which will place highest? Another sure thing is Bonnie and Clyde, an AFI favorite with six previous placements. Next up are two films, On the Waterfront and Some Like It Hot (with five and four previous mentions, respectively) who's "gangster film" status is negligible at best; more likely are two more recent examples, Pulp Fiction and GoodFellas, both of which placed on both of AFI's top 100 movies lists.

Looking at the bad guys portion of the AFI's Heroes & Villains list nets such old school vets (and thus strong contenders here) as Edward G. Robinson’s Little Caesar and James Cagney for both The Public Enemy and White Heat, plus the original Scarface, Paul Muni, whose Cuban descendant also placed on the Movie Quotes list with his legendary "Say hello to my little friend". All five are possibilities this go round, along with single list honorees Touch of Evil and The Usual Suspects, plus the sole AFI Award winner in the bunch, A History of Violence.

Notably absent from the AFI Awards in 2005 was The Departed, the most recent of the fifty nominees (see comments section below for the full list); the oldest nominee is 1927's Underworld. In all probability, I have mentioned the final top ten already, but other notable films in contention include Donnie Brasco, Miller's Crossing, Once Upon a Time in America, Out of Sight, Prizzi's Honor and Reservoir Dogs, plus oddities like a musical (Bugsy Malone) and a Woody Allen comedy (Bullets Over Broadway).

Who is the best of the "worst" will be revealed when AFI's 10 Top 10 airs on CBS on June 17.

1 comment:

  1. AL CAPONE 1959
    ANGELS WITH DIRTY FACES 1938
    ATLANTIC CITY 1980
    THE BIG HEAT 1953
    BLOODY MAMA 1970
    BONNIE AND CLYDE 1967
    BOYZ N THE HOOD 1991
    A BRONX TALE 1993
    BROTHER ORCHID 1940
    BUGSY 1991
    BUGSY MALONE 1976
    BULLETS OVER BROADWAY 1994
    CASINO 1995
    CITY STREETS 1931
    DEAD END 1937
    THE DEPARTED 2006
    DONNIE BRASCO 1997
    FORCE OF EVIL 1948
    GET SHORTY 1995
    G-MEN 1935
    THE GODFATHER 1972
    THE GODFATHER PART II 1974
    GOODFELLAS 1990
    GUN CRAZY 1949
    HEAT 1995
    A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE 2005
    KEY LARGO 1948
    THE KILLERS 1946
    LITTLE CAESAR 1930
    MILLER'S CROSSING 1990
    NEW JACK CITY 1991
    ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA 1984
    ON THE WATERFRONT 1954
    OUT OF SIGHT 1998
    PRIZZI'S HONOR 1985
    THE PUBLIC ENEMY 1931
    PULP FICTION 1994
    RESERVOIR DOGS 1992
    THE RISE AND FALL OF LEGS DIAMOND 1960
    THE ROARING TWENTIES 1939
    SCARFACE: THE SHAME OF A NATION 1932
    SCARFACE 1983
    SCARLET STREET 1945
    SOME LIKE IT HOT 1959
    THIEVES LIKE US 1974
    TOUCH OF EVIL 1958
    UNDERWORLD 1927
    THE UNTOUCHABLES 1987
    THE USUAL SUSPECTS 1995
    WHITE HEAT 1949

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