Variety issued a list of the 100 greatest movies ever made, and an Alfred Hitchcock film made the top of the list.
Variety’s staff introduced their list by noting they wanted to reflect the fact that “the very spirit of cinema is that it has long been a landscape of spine-tingling eclecticism.” Then they picked “Psycho” as the greatest film ever made, totally ignoring “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy on the list, whose last film, “Return of the King,” tied the record for the most Oscars given to any film.
“There’s hardly a frame of Alfred Hitchcock’s cataclysmic slasher masterpiece that isn’t iconic,” Variety argued. “If you don’t believe us, consider the following: Eyes. Holes. Birds. Drains. Windshield wipers. A shower. A torso. A knife. ‘Blood, blood!’ A Victorian stairway. Mother in her rocking chair.”
The writers waxed political about the movie: “In 45 seconds, the shower scene rips the 20th century in half; what Hitchcock was expressing was profound — that in the modern world, the center would no longer hold. And once the movie kills off its heroine (killing off, in the process, the very idea that God will protect us), it turns into the cinema’s most hypnotic, seductive and prophetic meditation on fear, lust, innocence, violence and identity.”
“More than perhaps any movie ever made, ‘Psycho’ is a film you can watch again and again and again,” the writers contend.
Famed writer and two-time Oscar winner William Goldman harshly criticized the last minutes of the film, which show a psychiatrist giving a long speech explaining the killing, in his book “Adventures in the Screen Trade.”
The other choices in the top 10 included films widely regarded as iconic; “The Wizard of Oz,” described accurately as “the gold standard against which all other cinematic enchantments are judged”; “The Godfather,” called “the greatest film since the fadeout of the studio system”; “Citizen Kane,” “the visionary excitement of it, the through-a-snow-globe-darkly Gothic majesty of it, the joyous acting, the hypnotic structure, the playfulness, the doomy haunting symbolism of Rosebud, and on and on,” and “Pulp Fiction,” which “inspired countless knockoffs, liberated movies to come from chronological storytelling and restarted the careers of Bruce Willis and John Travolta, while bringing a kind of hipster credibility to genre cinema that forever changed audience tastes.”
Those films were followed by Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai,” “ruthlessly economical in its storytelling”; “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “The ultimate trip — the only sci-fi spectacle that feels, at every moment, like it’s taking you to another world … trancelike thriller meditation on the place of man in the universe stands as one of cinema’s monolithic achievements”; “It’s A Wonderful Life,” “one of the most touching movies ever made … one of the most profound movies ever made”; and “All About Eve,” a “fire-breathing satire of the fragility of stardom.”
The number 10 pick, Steven Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan,” was picked by the staff instead of his other movies, including “Jaws,” “E.T.,” and “Schindler’s List.”
Other choices the staff made included picking “Do The Right Thing” over “Casablanca,” “Blue Velvet” over “On The Waterfront,” “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “Brokeback Mountain” over “E.T.” and “Bambi,” while including “Pink Flamingos” and “Bridesmaids” on the list.